Archive for May, 2012

Dear Hamish,

I very much enjoyed your latest letter. It made me eyes tear up remembering the times the new lambs came to the pasture. And congratulations on becoming an uncle. Bonny! She looks very sweet. Now, talking about the unsweet, I am sorry to hear about your chair. I am thinking Steenie is correct when he says he saw it floating down the burn. Mum said the twins came home all wet as if they’d fallen into a puddle that day. Peat caught a cold. Heather catches everything except illnesses. A pity for all.

I too have been thinking of the games. With all the crofts I have been building, I thought me muscles were strong enough for the caber. I practiced and rested. Pawnee Kitty had to sit by me, close by, probably to eye me wool. I compared my ‘noodle’ arm to her thick paws. It gave me the thought she could take that caber and toss it well. She may be a wee bit shorter, but she is more than a wee bit stronger and she can aim.

Toss the caber for me, Pawnee.”

That what?”

Caber.” I rolled it over.

The stick?”

Tis a caber. In Scotland it is a sport to toss it. See how one end tapers? That is the end you hold and then you must pitch it so that end is away from you, straight ahead.” I picked it up and heaved upward and forward. Och it was a grand toss, that one only a few degrees off.


Why? Why? Why do you do the things you do? I wish to see how well you can toss it.”

Pawnee wiggled her toes, picked up the caber, with one paw, and threw it. Far.

Nae! I said you toss it over end so the tapered part is away from you. Tis direction, not distance.”


Are you going to retrieve me caber?”


But she did. I had to bribe her, but she did, and then she tossed it and it was perfect. Twelve o’clock exactly. This time I went to get it and when I had got it all the way back, I was too tired, but to go inside and eat.


I’m out for another go,

until then,

your friend

Angus. McSheep.


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Karl May

Many Americans won’t know his name, but Karl May is an extremely prolific writer popular in Europe. He is the best selling German author of all times. He wrote adventure books and his characters find adventure in all areas of the globe particularly North America and the Middle East/Northern Africa.

I don’t remember when I first heard of him, but I saw the movies Winnetou before I read the books. I think it’s pretty much because of Karl May that Germans became obsessed with Indians and their idea of Native American life is based on his books.

May was born in the 1840’s and died in 1912. He was blind for the first five years of his life. After becoming a teacher, he was imprisoned for seven years for theft. His books are so descriptive that it shocks the reader that he never went to most of the places he wrote about. Many people thought he actually partook in the adventures he wrote about.

As much as I like Karl May, I haven’t read many of his books. There are only three in English and they weren’t translated all that great. I ended up reading the original German, which, for me, takes a rather long time. Right now I started a book and I read about three pages a day. It may be slow, but I can sure remember the book afterwards. One reason it takes longer to read is that I read it aloud to practice my pronunciation.

I quite enjoy the adventures, but I do have issues sometimes with the long windedness. Sometimes it feels like the main character tells his friends what he’s going to do, then he describes what he does, and then he tells someone else what he did. Hearing it once is enough for me, but maybe that’s how books were written back in the day.

I love his descriptions of the characters. One cowboy had pants so dirty they could stand by themselves in a corner. He makes the characters interesting and enjoyable to read about. It’s a pity that more translations, better translations can’t be written so more people can read his books.

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Beginnings IV

I’ve changed story ideas again, but this one appears to be going somewhere. I got the idea while cleaning my mom’s garage. I was thinking about school and how a student in my class just won’t stop talking. It’s not just talking, it’s eating, throwing things, trying to hit another student with a plastic lid and so on. It gets so bad, I can’t teach a thing. From that I thought what if a school actually kicked out all the disruptive kids and placed them somewhere else. A teacher’s dream, I know, but this isn’t from an adult’s point of view, it’s from a student’s and what if it starts out okay, but ends somewhere creepy because there has to be some sinister reasoning behind this. Exactly what I don’t know yet. The bad guys haven’t told me yet.

I’ve got some good characters and now I can practically see the double-wide trailer where the main character, Stacy Steiner, lives. She has a younger brother and an older sister who’s in college, and a best friend who lives off a dirt road somewhere behind Stacy’s house.

I think I have a pretty good hook.

Joey got turned away from school. “You don’t go this school anymore,” the guy at the cafeteria door told him. I’d be lying if I wasn’t thinking that was the best thing I heard all month. Still, I was a bit shocked, I mean, they couldn’t do that could they? And who were these guys anyway?

Now I have to make sure I keep up the momentum. The whole plot isn’t quite there yet, but with the characters I have, it shouldn’t be too far away.

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