Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Myrtle Brooks brings Yellowstone to Life

My guest today is Myrtle Brooks. Her work is more mystic than fantasy. It glories in the beautiful of the natural world, and one of my favorite places on earth, Yellowstone National Park. This should remind us of the importance of protecting our parks and public lands from the political forces that now threaten them.
As written beneath her yearbook photo, Class of 1970, the expressed lifetime goal of the author herein known as Myrtle Brooks is: “to realize the love present in everything.” When not at home in her beloved Brooklyn, N.Y., she may be found dancing with the big rigs on the interstate as she heads for places of quiet beauty.




Interview

1.      Tell us a little about yourself? 
I am a retired clerk from the United States Postal Service in Brooklyn, N.Y. When I got my first driver’s license c. 11 years ago, I hit the highways to California and back. Writing found me at an early age when my grade school teacher told us to pen a poem. It was ‘Love at first write.’ Having traveled to Yellowstone Park at age 10, my return there in 2009 revived the childhood short story I had started, entitled: The Geyser Girl. Blessed with the maturity to pull the story together, beginning with its theme, I began what turned into a full-blown novel.
2.      What are your biggest literary influences? Favorite authors and why?
The Bible is my first influence. And as a grown child (smile), I have never outgrown the fairy tales and cartoons with which I was reared. Each novel or book of short stories I read is an intravenous injection of vitamins and tonics. Love Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca. Her world is astonishingly lush and vivid like a thick perfume which lingers long after the last page.
3.      Tell us something about how you write? i.e. are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you have any weird or necessary writing habits or rituals? 
A pantser with self-discipline (smile). The story carries me. I live a vicarious life through my characters: laugh and cry with them as events unfold. But when I get stuck, I turn into a temporary mini-plotter, writing directional possibilities down and making choices. I want to convey life’s realities: no one knows what will happen from one moment to the next: why should my characters?
4.      Do you think people have misconceptions about the speculative fiction? Why do you think it is a worthwhile genre?
I believe anyone inspired by the genre will love and understand its genius. It enables every possibility of the imagination and evokes the same in the reader, while many times grounding itself in fact.
5.      What was the hardest part of writing your book? 
There wasn’t any. Editing, however… ahem…
6.      What is your favorite writing tip or quote? 
Never write, worrying whether anyone else will like your work. That is not writing: it is editing.
7.      Tell us a little about your plans for the future.  Do you have any other books in the works? 
Endeavoring to finish editing my completed second novel. It is in the beta-reader stage.
 Where can we find you online? 
Twitter: @JGCitygin

The Geyser Girl of Yellowstone Park

In Yellowstone National Park at the turn of the twentieth century, an infant of mysterious origin is
adopted by Old Faithful geyser and by a mother buffalo named Bearer of Song. Beloved to all the park, Flower of the Steam Basin grows up with their stories, proverbial sayings and teachings: in a land where the animals, winds and geysers speak their own languages.
Having met a child her age and her parents, trust ripens between families, and Flower of the Steam Basin gains a closely protective circle of human friends. At nine, she is brought face-to-face with Retired Lieutenant Ned Halpen of the Yellowstone Cavalry, whose exemplary career embodied the role of protector of Yellowstone’s spiritual and physical heritage.
In the wake of Lt. Halpen’s passing, her sacred vow to continue his legacy brings both reward and mortal danger. And when the circle is breached, Flower of the Steam Basin and her father are forced to choose between her well-being and the performance of her sworn duties.
This is her story as seen through the eyes of Yellowstone.

Excerpt

In a sacred and pristine land called: Yellowstone Park, the story has been recounted of the baby found crying amid the geysers with none but a diaper cloth for her cover, some many snowy April nights ago.
After the western sun has faded, the trails of car headlights and tail lights dissipated and the campfires laid low, it is echoed throughout the mountains and hills from Wyoming to Montana and Idaho, from the deeps of the blue waters to the winds that sweep through the tall and stately pines.
The bears taking up residence in the eastern region of the park recall it was a mother buffalo named: Bearer of Song, who pitied the girl and longed to take her in. But as she approached, the child crawled towards the elder geyser spring called: Old Faithful and disappeared down into his hole.
The cries of the mother alerted the families of buffalo and bears in the southwestern parts. They sent word, to learn if any humans had reported a missing child to the U.S. Cavalry. There had been one report two days prior, that of a five-year-old boy discovered wandering off into the woods to chase a whitetail deer. His distressed parents, overjoyed at his return, had fallen upon him tearfully, hugged him and spanked him.
But neither did the animals inside Yellowstone Park nor those outside its borders know of anyone coming forward to claim this infant girl.
All the animals feared that she had died.
But she did not die.

The flakes of snow swirling in the icy gusts of wind heard Old Faithful call the child, that night, as they danced close to the earth. “Come; take your refuge with me. Warm yourself in my abode, and drink of my waters.” As the flakes were lifted high again, they carried Old Faithful’s words to the tops of the pines in the surrounding woods.
When the grieving Bearer of Song awoke to nurse her newborn son whom she had named: Races with Lightning, an elk was passing. “Why are you crying?” he asked her.
“I mourn the loss of a child never having known the good and sweet things of life. And I, robbed of the opportunity to give her these. Oh, had I been but a few steps closer...”
“The baby has been given these even as we speak,” the elk told her in gentle tones.
“Only in the Kingdom of Heaven.” She continued to weep.
“She has been taken in by the Faithful Elder,” the elk explained. “To be reared as his own. All the treasures of his wisdom will be hers.”
Overcome by great relief and joy mixed with a mother’s longing, Bearer of Song fell silent, her son nursing at her side.
At daybreak, she arose and hastily prepared to leave. Her husband, named: Sires with Grace, sensing her urgency, enquired where she was bound.
“I am going to see the Faithful Elder.” She stood erect and determined.
“My wife, few better places to be brought up than in the house of the elder of our land, whose inspired ascent is teacher to us all. Would you seek to take away from the child such extraordinary gifts?”
“I was also there, my husband,” she reminded him. “And have tasted the salt of a mother’s tears as they flowed down upon my lips. I will do no such thing as deprive her of her gifts; only speak in the way a mother speaks: from the soul within her frame.”
“Then, you must do as your heart bids you.” 


If you like what you've read, please comment below. The book can be purchased at the following link: