How many of you have wanted to use a poem in your manuscript and then got caught up in obtaining the rights? It wasn’t easy, was it?
In my novel, LOVE’S MIRACLES I wanted to quote the poem, SUFFICIENCY by Marie Doerr Boehringer. It went perfect with the the story. I wrote to the magazine where I had read the poem and they put me in touch with the author. Fortunately Ms Boehringer was delighted to let me use the poem in my novel and we wrote up a contract.
Then if any of you have read LOVE’S MIRACLES you know how significant the words to a song were in the story. The hero had history with this particular song and the words triggered events and reactions throughout the novel. Well when writing LOVE’S MIRACLES I had a Bob Dylan song in mind. Can you imagine the process and expense involved in getting the rights to use that? HA HA HA HA. I’m still laughing.
Once I discovered how expensive that was going to be, I despaired, because the song was critical to the story. Then I had a brainstorm. Why not write my own words to a song. Then I wouldn’t have to worry about copyright infringements. Really, if you look at most songs, they are simply poems with music.
I had been writing poems since I was a little girl. In fact, it is a Christmas tradition for me to write a poem that I include in my Christmas cards each year. I use the poem to recapitulate the year’s events. It is very corny but we can summarize our year in a fun, quick and easy to read manner. Those of you who have received one know what I mean. LOL
I had also written some poems that I had published in magazines. So I thought, why not?
I wrote the poem FOREVER FRIENDS and that became the song that replayed over and over in Zane’s head.
By Sandra Leesmith
“There are worlds to see and know my friend.
To far-off lands your sails unfurl.
Ride across the oceans of experience.
Friends we’ll be forever.
Forget mistakes of yesterday.
We’ll dream another dream.
Tomorrow discover truth and promise
On the tides of destination.
Friends we’ll be forever.”
And that started a tradition. Since LOVE’S MIRACLES was originally published by Warner, I started all of my novels for them with a poem. I really need to do that again because I love writing poetry.
I wrote a poem for DREAM SONG that boasts the same title. I hope to publish DREAM SONG next spring. Can you guess where the setting is for this novel?
By Sandra Leesmith
In the land of open spaces, rugged cliffs,
And endless sky
The home of the Navajo Nation,
I found a treasure worth more than silver
Or numbered horses, or blankets
Woven in the hours of day.
In the early hours of dawn the crescent moon
lit up the darkness.
A coyote sang in the distance.
I asked for courage to face strangers
that I would encounter
And wisdom to understand a new way.
In the pink glow of sunrise, when rays
Streaked across the sky
Orange light reflected in the lake waters.
I realized I have so much to share with you
And you with me,
And experiences yet to know.
In the time we spent together,
Sharing thoughts and laughter
And discovering our dreams
I found a kinship to others that crossed barriers.
Together we learned to grow.
In the end we had found our treasure
Of friendship new and rare,
The kind that last forever.
I remember your smiles, your words of caring,
and especially, your special gift
When your hearts touched mine in a song.
How many of you write poetry? Have you considered using it in your novel? It is a great tool. And if you write it yourself, you won’t have to worry about obtaining the rights.
It is Christmas Eve day so I want to keep this short as I know you all have fun things planned for the holiday. (holy day- did you know that is where the word came from?) If you have a poem you want to share, go ahead and post it. You’ll be in for a drawing of a choice of a Seeker book or one of mine.
And because one of my favorite things is to give away my books, today and Christmas day, LOVE’S REFUGE (Kindle version) is free. Click here for your merry Christmas gift. ( you night owls might have to wait until morning as Kindle operates on Pacific time )
And for holiday fun, here is my version of THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS (Original version written by Clement Clarke Moore)
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The Seekers were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
Tina and Ruthy in their 'kerchief, Sandra and Julie in their caps,
Had just settled their brains for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
The Seekers sprang from their beds to see what was the matter.
Away to the window they flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to Myra and Mary’s wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
Cara and Janet knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blixen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—
And then, in a twinkling, Glynna and Pam heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As Audra drew in her head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And Missy laughed when she saw him, in spite of herself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave Debby to know she had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But the Seekers heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”