Thursday, August 29, 2019

CRC BLOG Analysis on "THE HEART'S NECESSITIES: LIFE IN POETRY by Jane Tyson Clement and Becca Stevens

*The images in this specific piece are granted copyright privilege by:  Public Domain, CCSAL, GNU Free Documentation Licenses, Fair Use Under The United States Copyright Law, or given copyright privilege by the copyright holder which is identified beneath the individual photo.

**Some of the links will have to be copied and then posted in your search engine in order to pull up properly.

by Jane Tyson Clement and Becca Stevens
“Seasonal Interlude Amongst Two Artists”

The heart’s necessities
include the interlude
of frost-constricted peace
on which the sun can brood
--Excerpt from Jane Tyson Clement’s poem “Winter”,
--Excerpt From Becca Stevens’s song “Tillery”

This is the mark of a great artist:  that she can write something as if she’s speaking directly to you at a particular moment, and yet, with the same line, speak just as clearly to you in a different moment.
--Becca Stevens, excerpt from Prelude, The Heart’s Necessities: Life In Poetry

          Jazz musician, singer, and songwriter Becca Stevens was grieving the loss of her dear friend and music collaborator Kenya Tillery (Right), who had succumbed to breast cancer on March 7, 2008. 
     She also experienced writer’s block:  she couldn’t find the words to honor Kenya through her own music and lyrics.  Becca came across an unopened book on her own library shelf – the poetry collection No One Can Stem the Tide that her father gave her for Christmas of 2007.  She opened the book and immediately found the two poems “Winter” and “February Thaw” side by side and incorporated phrases from those two poems to complete her eulogy song for Kenya titled “Tillery”.

Not only did they capture the season of loss so perfectly, but they did so with exactly the right rhythm and number of syllables to fit the melody I had already written.
--Becca, The Heart’s Necessities: Life In Poetry

     With the approval and permission from Jane’s original publishers Plough Publishing House and family, Becca has thus far recorded five songs using phrases from Jane’s own poetry: “Tillery”, “105”, “For You the Night is Still”, “Response to Criticism”, and “I Am No Artist”.  The song “Tillery” has been recorded on four different albums in four different settings and is now a band name.  All of the writing for the music and lyrics was done in numerous Brooklyn apartments Becca has lived throughout the past eleven years. And she plans on writing more music and lyrics, using lines from Jane’s own poetry.
Jane Tyson Clement (1917-2000) grew up in Manhattan, New York and always had a love for poetry.  She graduated from Horace Mann High School in 1935 and was awarded the high school’s top poetry prize.  She attended Smith College where she majored in literature and poetry.  She was awarded the Mary Augusta Jordon Prize for her poem “Strange Dominion” which was deemed the “best original literary work” of her 1939 Smith College graduating class.

     Even though she lived a life of privilege she was discouraged by the modern day Christian church’s tolerance of war, nationalism, racism, injustice, and inequality and felt those very things were in direct contradiction to Jesus Christ’s teachings of love and peace and the gospel.  

     She found respite on the ocean when she would vacation in Bay Head, New Jersey.  There she would walk the ocean’s shores and meditate and write poetry. 
     Becca also found solace in the ocean where she would vacation in Hilton Head, South Carolina.  When she read Jane’s poems about her experiences with the ocean she felt another connection with Jane.
     Soon Becca was not only incorporating Jane’s poems into her own music but writing conversation pieces in response to Jane’s poems and how those poems affected her life.  
All of this, along with photographs, is detailed in THE HEART’S NECESSITIES:  LIFE IN POETRY by Jane Tyson Clement and Becca Stevens; Edited by Veery Huleatt; jacket cover photo by Tabor Chichakly; and published by Plough Publishing House on April 22, 2019.
          Becca felt another connection to Jane with her poem “Into the Dark Which Is Not Dark” specifically when Jane writes these lines:  Into the dark which is not dark/ but only the light we cannot see,/ reluctantly I let you go.

       In The Heart’s Necessities: A Life In Poetry Becca writes about those lines, and her response could also be a description of her relationship with Jane:  Deciding that your creation is complete means it’s no longer in your control.  That can be unsettling, but if you want your hard work to live on beyond yourself, you have to share it.  Only then is it free to move through others, to grow, inspire and live a life of its own.  

          The Heart’s Necessities: Life In Poetry is a 182-page masterpiece of a communion between two artists, both women, both in love with poetry and the belief in its eternal power.  Jane communicates with Becca through her poetry and Becca responds by writing artistic pieces to Jane’s poetry, thus the living language between two women, across two realms of reality, and two time frames, continues – forming its own art form – that will continue
to live on as each page is read.       
          Communications between Jane and Becca continue about the similarities and differences of their relationships with their husbands:  Jane’s Bob (Right Top) and Becca’s Nate (Right Bottom), one of the similarities being that both do not believe in hasty love.

and know the hasty blossom
as swiftly will decay,
while other flowers are waiting
to grace a forward day.
--Jane “TO R.A.C. XVI”

Jane warns that hasty love, love that is rushed or clinging, will not last, while love that is patient and steadfast even through ups and downs or “necessary evils” has the strength to “grace a forward day.”
--Becca, The Heart’s Necessities: Life In Poetry       

The climax of The Heart’s Necessities:  Life In Poetry is when in the Fall of 1952 Jane and her husband Bob listen to a talk by prominent Philadelphia Quaker Florrie Potts about her visit to the Bruderhof, a Christian pacifist movement founded in Germany in 1920 by Eberhard and Emmy Arnold (Left); a movement Jane, her husband Bob, and their seven children embraced.   As a result Jane wrote some of her best poetry, which could be deemed spiritual by other Christian believers.  Becca finds all of Jane's poems, both secular and spiritual, to be inclusive to all people. 

       Every so often I come across a poem like “Out Of A Difficult And Troubled Season”, where Jane’s faith is apparent, but not in a way that seems exclusive, or that pushes away a non-Christian reader.
--Becca, The Heart’s Necessities: Life In Poetry

       To read “Out Of A Difficult And Troubled Season” click on the link below to order The Heart’s Necessities: Life In Poetry

Saturday, August 24, 2019

#75 Inside the Emotion of Fiction's "THE BIG CRESCENDO" by Jonathan Brown

*The images in this specific piece are granted copyright privilege by:  Public Domain, CCSAL, GNU Free Documentation Licenses, Fair Use Under The United States Copyright Law, or given copyright privilege by the copyright holder which is identified beneath the individual photo.

**Some of the links will have to be copied and then posted in your search engine in order to pull up properly

***The CRC Blog welcomes submissions from published and unpublished fiction genre writers for INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION.  Contact CRC Blog via email at or personal Facebook messaging at

****Jonathan Brown’s The Big Crescendo is #75 in a never-ending series called INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific excerpt from a fiction genre and how that fiction writer wrote that specific excerpt.  All INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION links are at the end of this piece. 

Name of fiction work? And were there other names you considered that you would like to share with us? It is titled: THE BIG CRESCENDO…A Lou Crasher Mystery.
The original title was: Fired Up but as the book progressed I realized I wanted to have a musical term in the title. The reason being is that my protagonist is a working rock n roll drummer turned amateur P.I. As a result I’m going to keep up with the music/drumming titles. For example book two in the series shall be: DON’T SHOOT THE DRUMMER.

Has this been published? And it is totally fine if the answer is no. If yes, what publisher and what publication date? The book comes out in November 2019 on Down and Out Books.
What is the date you began writing this piece of fiction and the date when you completely finished the piece of fiction? Late 2015 is when the early scenes and vignettes hatched then it was finished in mid 2017.

Where did you do most of your writing for this fiction work? And please describe in detail. And can you please include a photo? My kitchen table is where most of what I hope readers will consider magic happened ha ha! Then there is our (my wife and my) studio/gym, which is a converted garage. (Right) I built some cabinets and a little desk where I work sometimes. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention an array of coffee shops (yes I’m that guy, sadly) and last…my truck. I always keep notebooks with me and ideas often invade when I’m driving so I’ll either hit the mic button on my phone or pull over and get the idea down.

What were your writing habits while writing this work- did you drink something as you wrote, listen to music, write in pen and paper, directly on laptop; specific time of day? I hope you’re cool with another long answer. I write at different times of day due to my day job. I teach drums and I’m personal trainer so I often write between lessons/sessions. Being that I’m a drummer I try and write to music whenever possible. Here’s where it gets kooky. If at night and it’s an action scene or hip dialog I’ll listen to rock mostly and sometimes funk. If I have a drink it will be beer. However, when the mood strikes or it’s an emotional or sex scene I’ll go classical with Chopin (usually) and have a glass of wine or scotch (The Macallan if anybody’s Christmas or birthday shopping).
If it’s early morning writing as in 4:30 am there’s usually no music. (Don’t want to wake the wife right?) But if I must I’ll put headphones on. For beverage it will be tea, as I quit coffee three years ago.
When it comes to getting the words down it’s 60% laptop and 40% handwritten.

What is the summary of this specific fiction work? Journeyman drummer Lou Crasher works at the Practice Joint, a low-rent rehearsal space for bands in L.A. Being black and a transplant from Vancouver Canada Lou finds L.A. to be a trip. The day Angela walked into his shop the wisecracking drummer fell head over heels on sight. One night the ‘Joint’ gets burglarized and a bunch of bands including Angela’s get their gear stolen. Lou sees his shot: get the gear, get the girl!
Lou offers to find the gear and with a beat up 1965 Mustang and a couple bucks in his pocket he hits the pavement. What seems will be a walk in the park quickly heats up as Lou gets mixed up with a dangerous gear theft gang and a small but deadly drug cartel. Toss in a coke addicted celebrity music producer, a priceless beautifully crafted decades old musical instrument and that’s Lou’s new world. Not to mention Angela the girl of his rock n roll dreams may not be who she says she is. Lou’s only hope is to maintain his wits, his cocktails to a minimum and his wisecracks to a dull roar.

Can you give the reader just enough information for them to understand what is going on in the excerpt? Hmm well, I think the excerpt sort of says it all. I’ll add that this is the first time Lou Crasher meets Angela at his place of business, The L.A. Practice Joint. As you can see Lou’s a tad less than smooth at first blush.

Please include the excerpt and include page numbers as reference. The excerpt can be as short or as long as you prefer. As of this awesome interview the excerpt is chapter 2, page 13.
I opened my eyes to see one of the most beautiful African-American women that I’d ever seen standing in front of me. But who was I kidding? She was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen, period. Her dark ringlets cascaded over her slender shoulders like a gentle waterfall. Her eyes were a sharper green than mine, and much prettier. When she smiled they nearly disappeared into tiny little slits. Perfect teeth beamed through slightly parted sensuous lips that danced up to her dimpled cheeks. This was pure insanity. She had the kind of face that I wanted to see more of. It was also a face that made fashion photographers cancel the makeup artist before a photo shoot. Into their cell phones they chuckle, “She doesn’t need any darn make up. Take the day off.”
There she stood, more beautiful than Nefertiti. Her tank top exposed tight abs and toned arms. A tiny lime green cell phone poked out of the pocket of her nice-fitting faded Levi’s. She laughed as I stood and knocked my Pepsi into the garbage, which naturally hadn’t been emptied, so the drink bounced off the debris, hit the floor and soaked into the dirty rug. Her laugh, which was another part of her I could get used to, rang out. It was like an intro to a Chopin piece played upon a finely-tuned Steinway.

Why is this excerpt so emotional for you? And can you describe your own emotional experience of writing this specific excerpt? I can’t say this excerpt is emotional so much but it was a blast to write. To get there all I had to do was go back to my elementary/ early high school days (Right) to a time when a crush on a girl was a monumental event, especially if you felt the girl was out of your league. And back in the day pre-any-confidence-at-all 95% of the girls were out of my league ha ha! With that frame of mind I stuck Lou right in the middle of it and put him through what I’d been through so many times before…back in the early days.


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