Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Jor - Journey North - Land...! Cape Town, Cape Colony - 1901.

Standing at the bow, my mouth hang open I think. I sees this in the vision I had in the woods in Ioway. The most beautiful mountain, in front of me. Bart, the First Mate, he call it Table Mountain, and at its foot lies, above a thin white strip of sand, the city of Cape Town.

Cause I save Bart's life with the great swell that hit us out in the ocean, he say I be Free when we reach land. There be land. Soon, I be Free.

But above the white strip of sand at the bottom, there be, the mountain above it, an' on top of the mountain, just like in the vision in the woods, there be a white cloud, a true table cloth, like what the muckity-mucks have on their tables. The cloud rolls in and down the face of the mountain, till just above the city... then it disappears. Soon as we pass this island to port, Bart say it called Robben Island, we will drop anchor. Bart tell me he will honour his word, as I kept my word to him.We'll see. And Rippens, the ship cat, who kept the brig real free of rats for me. We can not part, he'll just have to come along.

I am trying hard to make my writing better - but I will still spell Freedom with a big F. Just because it be so important to me. As Mister Franklin Rudd say, Ma's father, you can not appreciate something, till you do not have it. This be my Journal, the Journal of Rudd. --FRB. Sometime, 1901.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

I, Frank Rudd Bybee, master of me...er fate... now write the Journal

Somewhere on BIG water. 1897.

Let it be known to all, that I, Frank Rudd Bybee, the writer of The Journal of Rudd, have thrown this other fellow, Jack, overboard. An' that he be now shark-food, jus’ as Bart say.

For I have now assumed control of this er… blog thingy. My Journal continues. Writers need to write. I ain’t  writing. I ain’t also not a writer. I jus' keep a record of how I be caught and thrown on board this tub. That bastard's name be Kelly… Blunko Kelly. Well, it be me sketches as well. I like sketching. These be my sketches. Come back sometime soon. Right now, we be heading for someplace called Chile. Valpariso, Chile. So Bart say.

Bart he say, he can’t find Rippens. Everyone on ship to search for Rippens. Black and white, and furry – with long black tail. I see Bart’s eyes twinkle. He not be human. Rippens, he be a cat. Rippens is the ship’s cat! Soon, he become my friend.

An’ who is not my friend no more. Ha. Who is not?! No more silly writer stuff.  For I now be a man, after I run away from the farm in Ioway and Pa’s whipping. I am now a man – I be 17 years old. Cheeze! That be old.

Come back to read me blog soon.

Friday, March 14, 2014

As the saga of the Journal of Rudd starts to reach it's climax, I research the Boer war. The classic is a book by Thomas Pakenham, titled...: The Boer War. Whereas, under apartheid, most, if not all, British or South African English speakers were anti-apartheid, it would appear that the British war analyst, Lord Milner, back before the Second Boer War (1890 something) had actually laid plans for a similar, if not harsher version, of what eventually became the disgrace of apartheid in 1946. Here I thought it was solely due to original members of the apartheid regime studying in Germany just prior to WW II, that they emulated what Hitler had described as '...preservation of the races....' and that horrible concept came back to South Africa just before the outbreak of hostilities.

However, we view it, Thank God, that era is over - for now - I hope. So... on with the Journal, and it's time that Frank meets Mini-Clara and in turn he gets sent off to help with the siege of Mafeking.

Started the sketches for The Journal, as Frank has very little training in sketching, and most meager art supplies, the sketches that turn up in his Journal, are not the greatest works of art - but they are sketches that he treasures.

Leave a comment, if you like.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

March 13, 2014.
One thing a writer must have - a good (working) relationship with every reference librarian within 30 miles of his or her keyboard. Again, this was exemplified at Pima Community College West Campus Library, where Jim spent more than 30 minutes searching for two books - two appropriate books - and found them for me. The Boer War, (that one I knew about) but, The Scramble for Africa - that I had no knowledge of. All this to provide background information as Grandfather [fictitiously] heads north, at the bidding of Cecil John Rhodes, to help in the relief of Baden-Powell at the Siege of Mahikeng (English  = Mafeking).

The absolute shocker that I have received? Baring in mind that Thomas Pakenham is/was regarded, even by the Afrikaner who preferred his version of the Boer War, as the authority on the Boer War (and Pakenham is English at that) 

Aaah! Yes, the 'shocker'. I suppose it comes as no surprise to the American reader, but the English in South Africa, most of whom were the 'good guys' trying to oppose apartheid, but now I read in The Boer War, that what evolved into apartheid, in 1946, actually was also foreseen, and nearly instituted, by Lord Milner, a British war tactician working with Rhodes, Baden-Powell, Kipling and others in 1899. [Not, let me hasten to add, did my esteemed literary hero, Rudyard Kipling have anything to do with British politics, but hey... you never know.]

Kipling and Rhodes were great friends. After all, Rhodes gave Kipling Woolsack House, still standing and occupied on the University of Cape Town campus. Politicitians - dey don't change much, do they? Why not ask my Grandma? She [fictitiously] had a crush on Mister Kipling - or so it seemed, as I sat on her knee listening to stories from Kim, Just So Stories and the like.

Read the Journal of Rudd. When? Soon, Dearly Beloved, soon to be available.

I have now come to the realization that the writing will end - and the tweaking will begin, real soon. This tweaking entails the creating illustrations that I have been working on studies for, for insertion in the Journal of Rudd. After all, that is how grandfather survived - creating sketches and bartering. [Pssst ! Sounds like a recent artistic tactic with a recent recession?]

That's it! Stay tuned. Leave me a comment or two. Know an agent looking for an ms? Let them know about me. THKS!
-- JSB.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Journey South continues...July 18th, 2013

July 18th, 2013. This page out of sequence - sorry. Blogspot issue.

The Journey South continues. Off the coast of South America, heading for Valparaiso, Chile, it seems that FRB is slowly, and reluctantly finding his sea legs - slowly.

A storm strikes suddenly... leaving the Shornet-II badly crippled, and limping toward port. Seemingly simultaneously, a clipper, recognised as belonging to arch-rival Bunko Kelly, the scoundrel who got FRB into the mess in the first place, is seen abaft and to starboard. Could Kelly, well be on board - and what about his politico cronies?  But crippled by the storm... what can FRB, Bart and the crew do... but wait it out?

Will FRB encounter Bunko et al? We'll have to see - the moving finger, has not yet writ.

The writing of this Middle Journey, once seen as difficult to describe, seems to be flowing more easily.

March 12th, 2014.
I'm reasonably technology literate, I mean, I got to this country in 1982, just as the Commodore 64 was launching. Technology-wise it has been a fabulous trip. So what has this to do with the Journal of Rudd - (hereafter JoR)? Not much and everything.

What made my mouth drop open, and stay open, (for almost 15 seconds - a near record) was that writer's absolute gem of a research tool... Google Earth !

Let me explain. Having reached the point in JoR that Grandpa has reached Cape Town, a new character, my Grandmother, Mini-Clara Harriman, needs to arrive on the scene. A few days ago, what with Grandmother's birth certificate in hand,  I accessed Google Earth, and typed Plumstead, Woolwich, Kent. That, Dearly Beloved (as Kipling used to put it) is when my mouth dropped open - and stayed open. (see above.) I was looking at a rather decent view of where, or at least, the town where, my Grandmother was born.

Now... realizing that Plumstead, in South-East London is only a few miles north of Batesman, where Rudyard Kipling lived, I decided to access that address. And by gosh ! There was Kipling's farm-house skirted by walls covered with green-creeper and paths ... winding little country paths... BUT WAIT! I'm sitting in Tucson, Arizona, USA. That was a shocker. So... THANK YOU ALL at Google Earth! A marvelous research tool. All I'm hoping for now, is, as an author of historical fiction, would it not be great to have a 'Historic View of Earth' so I could go back and see what Cape Town loooked like back in the 1900's. ENOUGH ! Be grateful for what I have. Not so?

-- JSB. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

March 10th, 2014.
Seems that the Tucson Festival of Books spurs me on each year; and each year, I am a good bit closer to finishing The Journal of Rudd. (fictitiously) written, by my grandfather, after he fled Iowa, got shanghaied in San Fransisco, and via the Straights of Magellan and a mutiny in the South Atlantic, landed up in Cape Town, South Africa.

Recently, I was stuck for a month or two. The description of the journey around Cape Horn was complete and, I believe, well written - at least it is very descriptive. The tsunami and mutiny scenes, ditto, and then it was arrival in Cape Town - and wham!, I stuck. OK... so... Frank Rudd Bybee arrives in Cape Town - so what? And stuck... and stu...! BINGO, for a writer to write, a writer must read - so read up on the Boer War and other events circa 1900 just before Grandpa met Mini Clara Harriman (my Grandma). One of the beautiful synchronous events I feel, that will make this whole ms, is  that Grandma grew up in SE London (Plumstead, Woolwich, Kent) and... drum roll please, Rudyard Kipling, whom with me on Grandma's knee, said she adored Kipling and read me the Jungle Book etc. Kipling lived in Batesman, Kent. only 26 miles south of where Grandma lived. Now the will meet in Cape Town, also Cecil John Rhodes joins the fray.

We'll see what transpires. This is going to be fun to write this Journey North... even more fun to get this published... and then. As dad would say, "...it's in the lap of the mountain gods."

Stay tuned - let me know what you think.