Friday, March 5, 2010

Crickets in the snow

My daughter, handy with a camera, has received several photo credits at the newspaper where I work. When I'm busy at a public event, I turn her loose with the camera. She has a good eye and also creates interesting and fresh angles due to being a couple of feet shorter than most of her subjects.

She recently wrote a poem that her teacher praised and said "ought to be in the paper." Anyone who thinks nepotism is dead never heard of Hank Williams Jr. or Joe Hill. So I submitted it to the editor, suggesting it "might" make a good cutline for the next snow photograph, since we've only used about 200 of those this winter.

The poem (posted below) ran in the "Letters to the Editor" section. She was pleased to get published but said no one had noticed it or mentioned it to her. In other words, what's the point of doing something cool and special if nobody notices and you don't get applause and celebrity status and money? (Incidentally, this is the girl who wants to change from her mom's last name to mine so "people will know who I am.")

I put on my Good Dad hat and patiently explained how you can't really expect acclaim or recognition, and I told her about all my rejections as a writer, and how in the end it came down to the feeling of satisfaction--that the accomplish is the accomplishment, not the reward. She was a little dubious, as was I, but it sounded good. I always mumble that when I do something spectacular that should have the world throwing roses at my feet and clamping laurels on my brow. Sometimes I even believe it, though secretly I'm thinking a truckload of cash would be just as welcome.

The Feeling. Sometimes it's all you get, and sometimes it's all that lasts. Books go out of print. Money gets spent. People go on to other amusements, celebrities, and car crashes. But you DID IT!

Negative Snow
By Miranda Owen

Snow is bad.
It makes me mad.
When there's no school,
It's not so cool.
Sitting at my mom's work place,
I'd really rather be in space.
Snow is cold.
The joke gets old.
It falls in your hair.
And everywhere.
Snow makes ice.
Ice brings mice.
In my house.
Traps for the mouse!
Positive I try to be.
But that job's really not for me!
Snow please give us a break.
There's not much more that I can take!



Christa Polkinhorn-Umiker said...

Hey, this is a great poem. It's a true art to write a poem that rhymes and doesn't sound contrived or strange. This one has a nice flow, good images, good vocabulary. I like it. Well done. I'll send it to my nephew who lives in Switzerland and hates winter. Poor guy.
Are we going to see some of her photos?

Christa Polkinhorn-Umiker said...

Of course I should ask her permission to send it to my nephew. But that way, it gets read in Europe!

Christa Polkinhorn-Umiker said...

Well, I took the liberty and sent the poem to my nephew and here is his comment. He emailed me in German, so I have to translate:
"Dear Miranda. This is a wonderful poem and it really captures my mood! I live in a small town near Zurich, Switzerland. I was just outside shoveling snow for over an hour. Last week, we had the first signs of Spring and now it's all white again. I'm sick and tired of it. I know what you mean! I hope you keep on writing poems. Best regards, Rico Spiegel, alias The Snow Shoveler."

See, Miranda, people do notice! May I put your poem on my blog as well? Of course with your name underneath. Christa

author Scott Nicholson said...

Thanks, Christa, that will make her happy! I put her toddler picture on my Web site but don't want to show her face as she is now. You're welcome to post the poem.

She's hard at work on a couple of books right now--130 Ways To Bug Your Parents (We'll have to work on the title!) and 99 Ways To Treat Your Stepmom.

Christa Polkinhorn-Umiker said...

Actually, I meant photos Miranda took with her camera.
How old is Miranda? Those book titles sound very interesting. 99 Ways to Treat Your Stepmom - hmm. I smell a bestseller.

author Scott Nicholson said...

yes, we were going to do one "good" one for every "mean" one but decided nobody would buy that. so we're doing all wicked ones!