This is a passage from my upcoming novel, A Spent Bullet. It’s set in 1941 Beauregard Parish. This passage features 10 year old Ben, his sister Elizabeth (who’ll be teaching him in school), and their grandmother, Ma.
I’d like your honest input on this passage that I’m not quite satisfied with.
He began whistling as he walked past Elizabeth. He was right on key and she recognized it as “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
Ma threw up her hands. “Don’t be whistling that Yankee song.”
“It’s Elizabeth’s favorite song,” Ben said.
Elizabeth scowled as Ben continued. “She likes my schoolteacher version of it.” Easing to the safety of the screen door, he sang,
“My eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school.
We have tortured all the teachers and have broken all the rules.
We have cracked all the windows and busted all the doors,
And it ain’t my school any more.”
Curt’s note: This was a favorite song on my elementary school playground. I’m not positive about some of the lines. Do any of you rednecks remember it?
She clenched her fists. “Little brother, if I hear you singing that at school, or even whistling it, I’m going to whip you, and then let Mr. Miller finish it up. I promise.”
He slammed the screen door behind him.
“Glory glory hallelujah hit my teacher with a ruler.
Shot her in the shoulder with a loaded .44,
and she ain’t my teacher any more.”
Curt: In our politically correct time, that now would get a student expelled. Any ideas on using it?
Another passage: Ma and Elizabeth are shelling peas.
Ma slung a double handful of peas into Elizabeth’s pan. “You better get to shelling and start telling.”
Elizabeth couldn’t resist it. “Oh, I see you’re a poet.” She nudged Ma’s foot. “You’re a poet and don’t know it, but your feet show it: They’re Longfellows .”
Curt: One of my editors* groaned at this. It is corny, but it’s how folks in our neck of the woods talked. Do you think it’s too much? Be honest.
* Editor’s exact words: “All these wordplays are getting a little wearing.”
Ma grimaced and sadly shook her head. “That’s bad. Where’d you learn something that corny at?”
“From you. That’s who.”
New Post: Passionate Living
“A different world cannot be built by indifferent people.” -Peter Marshall.
It’s one of the six words* I choose to live by: Passion.
It’s a good word. It simply means doing whatever we do with gusto. with grit. with gratitude. and hopefully with some degree of greatness for God.
The Apostle Paul had passion. Whatever he did, he did it with passion.
His Philippian prison letter tells of his passion: “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil. 1:21)
It’s a reminder of being passionate about the right things.
Passion is great if it’s directed in the right direction.
Paul’s passion was in serving the Lord Jesus Christ.
May that be said of each of us.
It was true before his conversion. It became the hallmark of his life as a Christian.
“Lord, teach me to live passionately for you. Make my passions to be yours. Amen”
* My current six words: