Dusting Books

This one time, I overheard my mother telling my older brother as he unloaded the car, “There are books in the cooler.”

Books.

In the lunch cooler.

I would be surprised if it had been anyone but my mother who said that. My mother can find all kinds of things to collect books in to bring them home. I am somewhat more mild of a bookaholic, although I must say that books seem much more useful to collect than, for example, shoes. Why on earth I would need a closet full of shoes (especially when I could put books in that space instead) is quite beyond me. I have almost a dozen pairs of shoes (excluding flip-flops which don’t count) and that is a nice enough range for me – I have hiking boots and high heels, which the boys don’t want me to wear because they’re afraid I’ll fall down, and Mary Janes, and sneakers, and snow boots, and sneakers, and mud boots, and some more sneakers. I need many pairs of sneakers for my many sneaky purposes, you know.

Whenever my brothers find something I’ve randomly stashed somewhere, I just tell them it’s for a top secret mission. That way I don’t have to remember why the fifth Anne of Green Gables book is in the fridge next to the cottage cheese.



Some of my own old books…


My mother has a top shelf in the upstairs hall (the upstairs hall, you must understand, is lined floor to ceiling in bookshelves) for her old books. She has some Louisa May Alcott, some Rudyard Kipling, some Henty, a couple ancient math books from my Twitchell relations, and others.

We were never allowed to read them – a bunch of kids under the age of fifteen, and hundred-year-old books. Mkay, not such a great combination. But I loved the smell of old books, and the feel of the thick, worn pages, and the ornate artwork, and the embossed covers…

So cute little ten year old me would go, every month or three, and dust them. I would dust their spines, all lined up in a row on the shelf, and I would take down a few of my favourites and dust them a little more carefully. I would tuck the dust rag in my pocket and open the book open, ever so slowly… I would study the cover page and the copyright date, and just inhale the scent of the old, slightly musty, and very comfortable books. I adored them. (Hint: I still do.)

Some of my mother’s old books…

Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell

A Sheep’s Adventure

This short story I wrote when I was twelve. I submitted it in a Christmas Short Story contest and I won first place, which I was some excited about. The funny thing is, I wrote it before my family got sheep, and then I was reading it over after we’d had the sheep for a year or so – gosh, I’m good. In the story, Alexandria behaves just about like my Peanut Butter, who is staring out of the photograph below. (She wanted to know if I was going to put away my camera and give her some sweet feed.)





The adventures of Alexandra,

As told to Bartholomew the owl.


Hello. My name is Alexandra. My shepherd boy calls me Woolly. Can you imagine? I mean, there are at least six other sheep in the flock that are named Woolly! But anyway, where was I? Ah, yes! I was going to tell you about my adventure. My adventure, you say. What, didn’t you know that sheep can have adventures too? That is what I am going to tell you about.

Well, it was night and my shepherd and his boy were lying on their backs, watching a huge star. They were suddenly, well, I am not sure how to describe it. One moment all was peace and calm and quiet, then the sky exploded with light! 

There was this huge man with wings that were white like a dove’s, but bigger than an eagle’s. 

And the man said, “Fear not, for I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior named Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you, you will find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” Then there was a lot more of these huge people, men and women, all with wings. They were singing “Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace good will toward men.”


Then they, well, disappeared. One moment they were there singing and then they were gone. Just gone! Then all the shepherds from the whole field came up and said, 

“Did you see that?” 

“WHAT were they?”

“Well, do we go to Bethlehem?” This last question came from my shepherd.

“I think we should, if this is the Savior we have waited for so long , as I think likely, seeing that angels of God Most High heralded his birth.” This was an old woman, whom everyone called Grandmother. (She was only my shepherd’s grandmother, but acted as everyone’s).


“But I think that it is strange that he did not come as a warrior.” This was Matthew, the oldest man present.

“Ah, but do you not know what Isaiah said over 6 hundred years ago, ‘A virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and will call his name Immanuel’? ”.

“Yes, Grandmother, but how do we know?”

“Well, I would think that when angels tell you, you might credit it. I will go to Bethlehem. Who will come with me?” 
“I will, Grandmother.” 

“And I!” The shepherds were all in agreement. All except Matthew, that is.

“But what of your flocks? You cannot expect to take them, surely.” 

“Ah, why not? If Messiah is lying in a manger, you can’t expect him to mind a few sheep.” This was Grandmother. 

“A few! A few! Grandmother, do you realize that there are 3 flocks here?”

“Yes Matthew, but I don’t think we should let this chance go by. I don’t think a manger is to be found but in a stable, and most stables will have a yard. We can put the sheep there. But we must hurry if we are going. Matthew, will you come?” 

“Yes, I guess.” 

“Good! No time to lose! We must go now.”


It was not far to Bethlehem, and we made good time on the roads. When we got to Bethlehem, we quickly found the stable. It was not hard to find: a wide beam of light from the star fell across the roof. Inside was dark except for the light of a single candle and a soft glow from the back wall of the stable. A soft voice sang a lullaby, and we heard the gentle sounds of animals bedded down for the night. Grandmother knocked on the door. 
“ I am coming, just a moment.” A big man opened the door. “What? Who are you?” I took this opportunity to introduce myself. I pushed forward and rubbed my head against his knee. 

“Oh! You are shepherds! Come in, if you can, we are a little crowded,” he said, scratching behind my ears. “Are you Jews?” 

“Yes, I am Matthew, of Bethlehem.”

“Joseph, of Nazareth, a carpenter. Whose sheep is this?”

My shepherd come up, “She’s mine, I hope she has not been a bother.”

“ No. What brings you here?”

“We have seen angels, and they told us to go to Bethlehem, where we would find a babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger”, said Grandmother.

“Yes, that would be here. Come in!” said Joseph. We went in, and saw a baby lying in the manger. The voice we had heard was that of his mother, Mary, who stood and lifted him out of the manger. 

She said “This is Immanuel, God with us. When you leave, tell all you meet, ‘ I have seen the Messiah! He was indeed born of a virgin, as God through Isaiah said.’ ” 

“We will, you may be sure of that!” said Grandmother “But you will want rest, and our sheep want tending. We will bid you farewell now!” 

“Goodbye!” said Mary and Joseph. “God be with you!”



Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Maine Maple Sunday, Mud Season, and Poetry Contests

I am late.

I am not a wizard, therefore it is not surprising.

I meant to do a new blog post on Sunday. Sunday was Easter. I was baking a ham and helping drain the flooded basement.

I meant to do one on Monday. Monday didn’t happen this week, not entirely sure why. I think maybe someone stole it or something.

I meant to do one on Tuesday. Tuesday was crazy, as usual.

I meant to do one on Wednesday. I didn’t do much of anything on Wednesday, until after 9pm, at which point I went for a run.

It is now Thursday and I am finally making a new blog post.

Anyway.

I mailed in my poems for the National Poetry Month contests I’m doing this year. We shall see. *cue first photo*

I spent time with my cat. Actually, my cat spent time with me. *cue second photo*
Some of my family and I went to Maine Maple Sunday, on Saturday. I love maple season. I love it when I drink so much maple sap that I start talking Old Entish. I love it when we make our own syrup and get to climb on the woodshed roof and roast hot dogs over the smokestack. And smores with cinnamon graham crackers and Reese’s peanut butter cups are amazing. But we didn’t make syrup this year, so I settled for inhaling as much hot sticky steam as I could at the two farms we visited. It was a lovely day, as the chickens were discussing while they lounged in a sunbeam. *cue third photo*
I am doing Camp NaNo this year, which starts tomorrow, so we shall see how that goes.

Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Annie Lou, Artist

Those who’ve known me for a while know that I am an artist. I create stuff out of other stuff and occasionally out of nothing at all, but that’s a lot more work. I adore words and have a passion for them, but I also love working with other forms of art. Like dancing or swordfighting or painting.

I’ve always loved to draw and paint, and I even have a few pieces of which I am extraordinarily proud. 
Smaug, one of my favourite dragons.

This is the dragon I sketched while I was supposed to be working on math competition work. And Daddy dear, before you get indignant that I wasn’t paying attention to you, please observe that the above drawing is almost entirely lines. That style of drawing helps me concentrate, just like knitting helps me listen better. I was listening most attentively. I promise.

Bag End.
Gosh, you might think that I like Tolkien, too. Hint: I do.

It was a fundraiser for our local (hehe, it’s Western Maine – I do not think that mean what you think it means) hospital. We were doing art classes based on the works of Rudyard Kipling. This is my painting of The Cat Who Walked By Himself. It sold for over a hundred dollars at auction which made ten-year-old me very, very, very excited.

I got bored of writing one day, a while ago. I’d been typing for a while and my eyes were starting to ache from staring at the screen for so long. I’d dreamed about painting with watercolors just before I woke up that morning, so I decided to do some. I found some envelopes and set about painting them with no particular intent, pattern, or design, just what happened to show up. Hint: that’s the way I do a lot of things.



I proceeded quite merrily with brother #5 watching me intently from the other side of the table and running a commentary on how lovely they were and what was I going to do with them?
Huh. Do with them? You mean I have to do something besides have them in my letter box to be pretty and make me smile?
I guess I have some letters to write, since I kind of intended to mail the envelopes. I’m not a big fan of mailing empty envelopes, and these ones are too small to put cookies in. Sorry, folks.

So anyway, I do lots of other stuff besides writing, when the mood strikes. Every so often it strikes violently and I am left breathless, staring at a piece of paper in bewilderment.

Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell

House of Books

I wrote the basics for this poem back in November while I was resting one afternoon, in between being stepped on by a horse and supper being ready.


Dedicated to my mother, who taught me that the greatest thing about books is what can happen when you share them.

House of Books
Annie Louise Twitchell
I made a house of books.
I built the walls up high;
I built a door of hardcovers
and tightly closed my eyes.
I made a house of books.
Like a hermit, lived inside.
All alone with the words
until I wanted to cry.
I made a house of books,
and opened up the door.
I opened up the windows
and opened up some more.
I took the books away,
and revealed something new.
I had a house already,
and in that house, was you.
We made a house of books,
lined the walls with shelves.
Put curtains on the windows,
made the words ourselves.

And a image copy because I love you guys and also because I got bored the other day and decided to have some fun with Paint, OpenOffice, and Snipping Tool.
Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Winter’s Breath


Winter’s Breath

Encased in ice,
with the sunlight
flooding through
like I walked into
a world of prisms,
the trees stand tall,
frozen; waiting
for spring to peek
around the corner
and say hello.

Annie Louise Twitchell



We can all thank my mother for this picture. How she managed to get it out of a moving vehicle, I haven’t got a clue.

This was inspired by a memory I had while trying to find a specific picture in my dad’s Facebook albums. Instead of the picture I was looking for, I found this. This was from Christmas Eve 2013. There had been a huge ice storm the night before, and on our way to my grandparents for dinner, we went over a mountain. The trees on the mountain were completely iced over and it remains one of the most stunning sights I’ve seen. 
Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Love Lines, Part One

First of all, Happy New Year! It’s 2016 and for the next month anything I handwrite a date on is likely to look funny because I may have to change it from a 5 to a 6. Please don’t be offended.

Secondly, a collection of love lines that randomly occur in the middle of a batch of cookies. Actually, the first one occurred to me while I was elbow deep in lemon-scented soap suds. I made my brother get out my laptop and type it out because it was a glorious sink of water at just the right temperature and I didn’t want to waste it or the line.

Most of these are inspired by Ethan and Sophie from one of my works-in-progress, A Promise Rose. Honestly, Ethan and Sophie are so much fun to write. I have lots of happy giggles from writing them. And the younger siblings are so cute!
When I sit down to work on Tattoos and Tiaras a bit more, I might have to find a baby to babysit or just play with. Toddlers, I’m all good. Kids, oh yes, I’ve got them covered. Teenage boys I feel like I understand pretty well, from living with hordes of them for much of my life. Teenage girls I have less understanding of, despite the fact that I was one. I’m weird and don’t count. But it helps that I did some summer camp work this past summer, with a cabin of teenage girls. I learned a lot and have been able to apply it. But babies? My minion was a baby ten years ago. That was a long time ago and I haven’t had charge of many since, and certainly not enough to get a better idea of development and learning and growth, which is something I need a better grasp of for that story. 
Ah yes, the problems of Annie. This is almost as much of an Annie Problem as accidently making soft caramel candies. Sometime you should try explaining why that is a problem and see if anyone believes you more readily than they believed me. And no, I don’t have a recipe. Sorry.
~AnnieLou

Copyright 2015 by Annie Louise Twitchell

New Year’s Eve




New Year’s Eve
Annie Louise Twitchell

The stage is set.
We, the actors,
are poised,
waiting for the
curtain to lift.
The silence
is heavy
and fragrant
with expectation:
what will
the new year bring?
The curtain shifts
and we wait 
a breathless moment 
more before
we tumble forth
to a play not
yet written,
a performance
not yet told.

I scribbled this just before starting my family’s traditional New Year’s Eve movie, The Sound of Music. I’m getting off the computer now because Maria is running to the Abbey, terribly late and in quite a state.
Blessings for the New Year 2016!
Copyright 2015 by Annie Louise Twitchell