A Blip in History

On this day in history, March 3 in 1791, the United States created its first federal tax. My upcoming novel relates to the backlash that started because of that decision to tax whiskey sales. I call this novel In the Shadow of the Mill Pond and as yet, it is still sitting in my computer archives waiting for me to take it from first draft to finished book. It is a mystery based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when it was little more than a hub on the Ohio River. The story occurs during the event known as “the whiskey rebellion”.

Whiskey RebellionI have done some research on the subject and in the process, I have come to understand why the whiskey rebellion occurred. These western farmers were many of the same Americans had recently fought a war which they believed was against taxation and here the government started taxing them. No wonder these former revolutionary war soldiers were angry enough to come to arms. Tensions rose as the realization that anger like that could easily spread across the countryside infuriating patriot after patriot until full blown civil war broke out ending the infant nation. George Washington was wise to send troops to quell the uprising when he did. By his quick actions, what could have been the first civil war in the United States ended up becoming simply a blip in history.

Sending troops to western Pennsylvania ended the Whiskey rebellion, and the whiskey tax continues to this day. The only time the tax was not in effect was during prohibition when selling whiskey was illegal. The reason we have income tax today was because plans had been in the works to prohibit whiskey sales. The dilemma that created was the fact that the federal government needed some form of revenue because whiskey tax was the only tax the government required prior to prohibition. Of course, when prohibition ended, the whiskey tax resumed. Resuming the whiskey tax did not end income tax, however. Now our government has the legal privilege to tax us with both.

With Editing, Cliches Become Blips In History

avoiding veryAlthough In the Shadow of the Mill Pond is currently in mothballs, that does not mean that I am not currently working on fiction. Currently I am working on editing my third novel in The Locket Saga called A Coward’s Solace. Editing takes as much work, if not more work than writing the book in the first place.

Just as the rules changed after the Revolutionary War from no taxation by the national government to taxation of the federal government, so rules change when a writer goes from utilizing the creative work of the muse to the diligent work of the internal editor. Certain words or phrases known as “cliches” need to be replaced by more descriptive, words that “show rather than tell” the story. One word that writers often have to get rid of is the word “very” above is  simple chart showing different words that a writer can use as a substitute for “very”.  This, of course, is one word of many cliches that each writer uses as a go to word or phrase. I have been learning mine and have done to prohibit using those words in the final draft. It is all part of my growth as a writer. Soon, any struggle I have with these cliches will become blips in my own writing history.

Comparing the Poems of R. Leonard Swanson and Edgar Guest

Dad at nursing home 001Since my father’s death on October 19, 2013, I have been working on compiling a permanent memoir of him along with his poems for a hardcover copy of his work. When I was growing up, my father, R. Leonard Swanson always said that he wrote write in the style of Edgar Guest. Because the Nursing Staff at Corry Manor called Dad “Santa Claus” and because it is the holiday season, I thought it would be appropriate to compare Dad’s poems to Mr. Guest’s poems. I have done a little research into Edgar Guest’s work and found a Christmas poem that he wrote and I have a Christmas poem that Dad wrote. There is a bit of difference in style, but there is definitely a similarity.

A Christmas Greeting

by

Edgar Albert Guest

Here’s to you, little mother,
With your boy so far away;
May the joy of service smother
All your grief this Christmas day;
May the magic of his splendor
Thrill your spirit through and through
And may all that’s fine and tender
Make a smiling day for you.

May you never know the sadness
That from day to day you dread;
May you never find but gladness
In the Flag that’s overhead;
May the good God watch above him
As he stands to duty stern,
And at last to all who love him
May he have a safe return.

Little mother, take the blessing
Of a grateful nation’s heart;
May the news that is distressing
Never cause your tears to start;
May there be no fears to haunt you,
And no lonely hours and sad;
May your trials never daunt you,
But may every day be glad.

Little Mother, could I do it,
This my Christmas gift would be:
That he’d safely battle through it,
This to you I’d guarantee.
And I’d pledge to you this morning
Joys to banish all your cares,
Gifts of gold and silver scorning,
I would answer all your prayers.

The Greatest Gift

by

R. Leonard Swanson

On early Christmas morning

The kids ran down the stair

To open all the presents,

They knew were waiting there.

I was so very happy

As I stood beside the tree

Watching them open up the gifts

And clap their hands in glee.

Suddenly I closed my eyes

And I began to pray,

“Dear Lord, help them remember,

Whose birthday is today.”

They, with their toys are playing

In merriment and mirth,

Dear God, impress upon their hearts

The blessed Savior’s birth.

Victims of the worldly things,

Please do not let them fall,

But grant them Thy salvation

The greatest gift of all.

What do you think? Can see the similarities?

My writing is quite different from that of Dad’s for instance, he wrote short carefully worded poetry, whereas I see a bigger, more complex scene so I tend to write novels. I know they say that writers should begin with short stories and move onto the more complex. I didn’t do that. I don’t know that I could write a short story now. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading short stories. For instance I love Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” as well as “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” by James Thurber which will be coming out as a movie on Christmas. I like poetry too, when I’m in the right mood, but I personally would rather write novels and articles. Last month I wrote the first draft of my upcoming novel: In the Shadow of the Millpond which I hope to have finished late in 2015. This past week I wrote two new articles for hubpages. At hubpages  hubs are what they call articles. If you would liek to write hubs for hubpages, here’s the link.

The articles that I wrote this week were:

Chicken and Lentil Noodle Soup

The Legend of Johnny Appleseed

Simply click on the links to read the articles. I want to thank Bill Holland and Lisa V for the comments they made this week! I really appreciate the feedback. It certainly helps know that there are people who enjoy what I write. I will be writing my next post on Monday! Have a Safe and Wonderful Weekend!