Though He Slay Me Ramblings

I have decided that I really need to give an explanation for why I am writing Though He Slay Me.

 

Really, all the credit for inspiration should go to Edgar Rice Burroughs.

 

I was ten when I first picked up a copy of the original Tarzan of the Apes. I fell in love with John Clayton and was devastated when he died, along with his lovely wife. But then, there was a son who survived.

I followed that son on his journey from childhood to manhood. I loved how he was raised by apes who loved him as their own. I loved how he was smart and quick and agile, how he was caring for those he loved, especially his mother. And how he survived.

 

That was the part that really got me.

 

Survival in the jungle, I realized at age ten, was harder than I thought. Tarzan battled lions and apes with his bare hands, yet he know that being a man set him apart from the other animals. He knew that eating human flesh was wrong, so he ate deer and whatever else he caught with his rope or stabbed with his spear or killed with his strength.

 

Another thing that fascinated me was how he moved.

 

In all  the movies I had seen, Tarzan flew through the trees on vines. Not so. He climbed and leaped from branch to branch or swung on boughs, not vines. He was as graceful as a swan yet as strong as ox.

 

And when I was eleven, I decided that jungle life sounded fun.

 

I wanted to go to Africa, I told myself. I want to live like Tarzan. I want to run through the jungle being chased by apes and leopards. I want to leap from branch to branch in the treetops. I want to hunt, using only organic matter and my wits. I want to exist where few men dare to exist. I want to be in constant danger of my life and have fun.

 

And then, an idea known as Katie Riley was born.

 

couldn’t go to Africa, I knew, despite my daydreams. That was out of the question. I had no money and wasn’t born into a wealthy family. There was no way my parents were going to be able to pay my way, and probably not allow me to go, either. Nobody wants their teenage daughter in the jungle with no communication to the outside world. My being able to survive out there was highly illogical, anyway. The jungle wasn’t what I had dreamed, anyway. It was a lot more dangerous and frightful.

 

Ways I could get around this started forming in my mind. What if, for some reason, I was flying over central Africa when my plane crashed? Everyone else would be unconscious, and I wandered off, never to be seen from again, until several years later when I was finally found.

 

And then the Idea, the great, wonderful Idea occurred to me.

 

 

What if it wasn’t my plane that crashed?

What if it was a character’s?

 

I had tried to write once or twice before. I had started Soldier Boy and had written a few short stories and poems. But this was my first real inclination to write a full novel. So I started plotting.

 

Katie (or Jamie, I couldn’t decide) was a twelve-year-old girl who lived in Cairo (I was enthused by Egypt) as a missionary to the entire African continent. (How this would be possible, I have no idea. I was eleven. Bear with me.) When her favorite brother, Jack, was lost to the jungle after a plane crash in a tropical storm, Katie sets out to find him, as she cannot imagine life without him. (Talk about cliche.) Katie’s Search and Rescue chopper crashes in the jungle, also. As she is the only survivor, she must learn to live on her own, this learning many Tarzan-like skills.

 

From then on, my Idea blossomed.

 

Katie was definitely going to be her name. She was no longer twelve, but somewhere in the 14-15 age group. Her family and some others ran a small mission on the edge of the savanna. The goals of the mission were to reach ‘natives’ (for lack of a better term) to Christ. Incidents in the jungle realm changed, too. Though she was still to learn several Tarzan-like skills, her main crisis was her faith. She wanted her brother back badly, and everything she tried to do to find her why home and hopefully see her brother again (as she had a feeling he was found) seemed to be futile. Nothing was working. She was surviving, yes, but she was lost in the green abyss of the rain forest surrounding the Congo River. Finally, she would come to a breaking point where she knew she had to give it all up and give it to God. Whether she finds her family and gets home is still untold. (Mwahahahaha)

 

 

There are also several aspects to her breaking point (why she’s so afraid to lose Jack, etc.) and probably waaay too many subplots for a novel. But at this point,  I don’t really care. I plan to finish the rough draft before January 1st, 2018, and start editing soon thereafter. Hopefully I didn’t give too much away. Sometime I’ll do a post about why I like writing in general, but I love Katie’s story because it inspires me.

 

And it’s all because of a man named Burroughs wrote a novel that caught my attention and ultimately changed my life.

 

–Abby

Sebastian

Sebastian, a lonely, unhappy bear, was never heard from in the animal kingdom after he went to visit Miss Franny Block’s library on the corner of Burden Avenue and 21st Street in Naomi, Florida. He was normal looking bear: tall, shaggy, and somewhat mangy with carrion usually stuck in his teeth and big, black eyes. Thus being said, he caused quite a stir whenever he left his forest abode, particularly when he went into civilizations known as towns.

 

Being scorned by the bears and all woodland civilization because of his quiet demeanor, Sebastian longed to do something more with his life than sit by himself and eat berries. It came to him that there were other places in his vicinity besides the forest. So, after giving his favourite tree one last scratch, ate a few blackberries, and, armed with his wits and claws, set out to see the world.

 

It was only chance, Sebastian knew, that he came across the town of Naomi first in his travels. The tiny community was made famous for its Litmus Lozenges, a candy created by a lonely survivor the Civil War. Its ingredient that made it special was sorrow, which, according to India Opal Buloni, went well with flavors reminiscent of strawberry and root beer.

 

During Sebastian journeys, Opal’s father wasn’t even thought of, let alone the girl herself. But as this leads into her dog’s story, it is only right to give her credit for the retelling of Sebastian’s.

 

Naomi was quaint town, Sebastian knew. It boasted a Litmus Lozenge factory, a church, and mom-and-pop shops. But what interested him most was the library.

 

The library was Miss Franny Block’s, given to her by her father, who, because of his grandfather’s candy-making success, was filthy rich. It was a small library, but held the classics, such as War and Peace, A Tale of Two Cities, etc.

 

Well, by Miss Franny’s own account, it was a Thursday in the summer that Sebastian first came to visit Miss Franny. Sebastian had been watching the town for a little over a week, hanging around the outskirts, watching the farmers and farmhands and pastors and teachers and factory workers and rich people come and go. And he noticed that the people who went into the little white house with the picket fence on the corner of Burden and 21st always came out with something. Boxes, he thought. Little boxes that are somehow bigger on the inside. The people open them and stare at them. I’ve seen them do it lot’s of times. The children in the schoolyard do it, too, only their boxes are different.

 

And then, on that Thursday, Sebastian the bear decided that he wanted a box.

 

And what do you do when you want a box?

 

You go to the place where the boxes are being distributed.

 

So Sebastian did.

 

Now, by her own account, Miss Franny was a real smart-alec when it came to her library. On the particular day that Sebastian came to visit, Miss Franny was engrossed in a novel, War and Peace to be exact. Sebastian, who was a very kind bear, did not want to disturb the lady at the desk, so, as quietly as he could, he walked through the open door. Miss Franny, asking if she could help him, did not look up.

 

And then, it happened.

 

Perhaps it was the whiff of rotting flesh that Sebastian carried, or the way his big shadow fell across Miss Franny’s page. Sebastian never knew. All he knew was that Miss Franny did not want him in her library.

 

So, raising her thousand-page novel in her hand, Miss Franny launched her book right at poor Sebastian’s head.

 

Sebastian had his box.

 

 

 

–Abby

 

(Disclaimer: I do not own the copyright for any of the characters related to Because of Winn-Dixie. I only wrote this story as a sort of fanfiction for myself and others to enjoy)

 

 

 

Character Interview–Katie from Though He Slay Me

Me: Hello, Katie. It’s nice to finally be able to meet you after all these years. Did you know you were originally going to be named Jamie?

 

Katie Riley: Yes, Abby, I had heard that from my parents. I’m glad they named me Katie. Jamie is okay, but I prefer Jayma, especially for a middle name.

 

Me: That’s interesting. Anyway, since I want to ask you a few questions, I’ll start off with some simple ones.  How old are you and how many siblings do you have?

KR: I am fourteen. I have six siblings, four brothers, two sisters. I’m a middle child. My brothers are two sets of twins, one pair five years older than me, the other three years younger than me. Alice is the oldest and Becky is the baby of the family.

 

Me: Wow, that’s a lot. Do you have many interests, hobbies, or obsessions?

 

KR: *laughs*  You could say that I do. Music is one of my interests, I suppose. I play violin, so I guess you could say that it’s a hobby, too. A few other interests would be soccer, skiing, aerospace dynamics and engineering, carving, and molecular biology. To name a few hobbies…reading, obviously. I love to read. Ummm…reciting poetry, quoting Shakespeare, flying, tackle football with my brothers, riding Troop, playing chess, watching old war movies from the 40s.

 

Me: So, an obsession of yours would be…?

 

KR: I guess I don’t really have any…well, I guess you could say I’m obsessed with Jesus. *grins* He’s a noble Person to be obsessed with, isn’t He?

 

Me: He surely is. Speaking of Christianity, is it true that your family and a group of others is moving to Africa in a few short weeks?

 

KR: Yes, that’s true. We will be leaving for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We plan to set up a larger mission on the edge of the forest and gradually migrate into a smaller mission in the interior. The mainly untouched tribes will be who we are trying to reach primarily.

 

Me: How do you feel about this intercontinental move?

KR: *sighs* It’s okay, I guess. I mean, I know God wants us to go, but I’m going to hate leaving my extended family, some of my friends, and of course, my horse.

 

Me: I take it that Troop is your horse?

 

KR: Yes. He’s an old retired racehorse my dad bought for a few hundred at an auction. He’s really sweet.

 

Me: He sounds dreamy. You must love him a lot.

 

KR: Yeah. We’re giving him to my uncle before we move. He has a farm in Idaho.

 

Me: Potatoes, huh?

KR: You got it. Potatoes, a little bit of corn, some beans, alfalfa, a few hogs, two cows, and, sooner or later, Troop.

 

Me: So, what would you say it is your most embarrassing moment?

 

KR: Ummm…*laughs nervously* When I was seven, I thought this guy was a police officer….I was mad at Jack at the time…anyway, he wasn’t a police officer, and he thought what I said to him was hilarious. He picked me up, put me on his shoulder in the middle of the cold foods section of Walmart, and yelled out what I had said to everybody who would listen.

 

Me: Well, what did you say?

 

KR: I’d rather not let that cat get out, if you’ll pardon the expression.

 

Me: No problem. That’s the all time I have, though. Can we do this again sometime?

 

KR: Sure. God bless.

 

–Abby