Why Don’t Stories Help You Anymore?

Remember when you were little how stories enchanted you? Your parents could read or tell the simplest story to you and you could see it all in your imagination. When you were scared, all you had to do was think about the peaceful scene from the story, and you were no longer frightened.

Do you no longer experience this magical imagination with stories? What has changed over the course of the years?

The elements that create good storytelling should not change from childhood to adulthood. They should only mature. This is one of the fundamental problems with storytelling today. Many stories of the day are not imaginative because they’ve forgotten the innocence of imagination. As a child, your imagination was gripped by the way the light looked as it streamed through a window, or the way your shadow lengthened in the evening time, or the sound of your parents’ pens as they scratched on paper, or the noise of a babbling brook as it flowed over the rocks, or the tossing of a horse’s mane. These elements of storytelling should not change when you become an adult. Only now, you can steer that horse all by yourself . . . you can write with pen and paper yourself . . . you can arrange those rocks at the bottom of the stream however you want.

The point I want to get across to you is this: It is the simple innocent things that best awaken the imagination. You do not need to turn even to other worlds to awaken it. All a story needs is imaginative descriptions around characters having adventures and doing ordinary things.

Your fellow writer,

Joshua Reynolds

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What Makes a Good Story? Demystified!

Have you ever wondered what makes a good story? When you were a child, why was it that some stories you loved, and other stories you hated. I think that as children, we sometimes can have a much better mind for judging stories than when adults. This is because as children, we are always wanting to go back to the secure world we live in. If we see a scary movie, we want to sleep in our parents bedroom the next night so that we can be reassured of the stable world we live in. If we read or are read an inspiring and imaginative story, we want it to be retold to us over and over again. In this, we could be considered very critical as children.

But, let me say something: As adults, we shouldn’t change our screens for what makes a good story. No, I’m not saying that there won’t be stories we’ll understand or appreciate better as adults. As our minds mature, so should our appreciation for proper storytelling. However, our minds shouldn’t change. They should only mature on what we knew as children.

In other words, the secret ingredients that make a good story for a child ARE THE SAME ingredients for what make a good story as an adult.

So, what are these ingredients?!?

Simply put, these ingredients are the same ingredients that encourage healthy society – that is, stories that build up the reader – stories that the reader can think about any time of day with fondness – stories that give them hope, inspiration, imagination, and wholesomeness.

To be more boiled down than the above: “There is but one good; that is God. Everything else is good when it looks to Him and bad when it turns from Him.” ~C.S. Lewis

Ultimately, good storytelling is that which looks to Him. I think many stories of the past understood this principle better, even if the author wasn’t aware of it, which is why many stories have stood the test of time to be called a classic.

E. Nesbit’s The Railway Children / Five Children and It
Frances Burnett’s The Secret Garden
Kenneth Graham’s The Wind in the Willows
Beatrix Potter’s many short animal stories, including Peter Rabbit
Kate Wiggin’s Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Mary Dodge’s Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates
Laura Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie

This list can go on and on. . .

Why is it that these stories have stood the test of time? In some way, they all give hope, inspiration, imagination, wholesomeness, outdoors adventures, vivid and wonderful descriptions, a theme of redemption.

Such elements in storytelling are the ingredients to making a good story.

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

P.S. As further extrapolation with what I mean by “good storytelling”, check out my authored books The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor in my bookstore! You can find free chapters of them here.

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Children’s Hour

‘Tis been a while since Conservative Cornerstones has posted a selection of its favorite children’s rhymes. I hope you enjoy!

Travel

The railroad track is miles away,
And the day is loud with voices speaking,
Yet there isn’t a train goes by all day
But I hear its whistle shrieking.

All night there isn’t a train goes by,
Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming,
But I see its cinders red on the sky,
And hear its engine steaming.

My heart is warm with the friends I make,
And better friends I’ll not be knowing,
Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take,
No matter where it’s going.
~Edna St. Vincent Millay

Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a gray mist on the sea’s face, and a gray dawn breaking.

I must go donw to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and th esea gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
~John Masefield

A Windy Day

Have you been at sea on a windy day
When the water’s blue
And the sky is too,
And showers of spray
Come sweeping the decks
And the sea is dotted
With little flecks
Of foam, like daisies gay;

When there’s salt on your lips,
In your eyes and hair,
And you watch other ships
Go riding there?
Sailors are happy,
And birds fly low
To see how close they can safely go
To the waves as they heave and roll.

Then, wheeling, they soar
Mounting up to the sky,
Where billowy clouds
Go floating by!
Oh, there’s fun for you
And there’s fun for me
At sea
On a windy day!
~Winifred Howard

They That Go Down to the Sea

They that go down to the sea in ships,
That do business in great waters;
These see the works of the Lord,
And his wonders in the deep.
~The Bible: from Psalm 107

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Joshua Reynolds on Conservative Cornerstones – Author of Children’s Books, Young Adult, Historical Fiction / Family Stories – Finding Conservative Thought in Olde Books. Check out my Authoring Conservatism Post. Look up my two books, The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor in my bookstore!

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Children’s Hour

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Grasshopper Green

Grasshopper Green is a comical chap;
He lives on the best of fare.
Bright little trousers, jacket, and cap,
These are his summer wear.
Out in the meadow he loves to go,
Playing away in the sun;
It’s hoppety, skipperty, high and low,
Summer’s the time for fun.

Grasshopper Green has a quaint little house;
It’s under the hedge so gay.
Grandmother Spider, as still as a mouse,
Watches him over the way.
Gladly he’s calling the children, I know,
Out in the beautiful sun;
It’s hoppety, skipperty, high and low,
Summer’s the time for fun.
~Author Unknown

Minnows

. . . Swarms of minnows show their little heads,
Staying their waxy bodies ‘gainst the streams,
To taste the luxury of sunny beams
Tempered with coolness. How they ever wrestle
With their own sweet delight, and ever nestle
Their silver bellies on the pebbly sand.
If you but scantily hold out the hand,
That very instant not one will remain;
But turn your eye, and they are there again.
The ripples seem right glad to reach those cresses,
And cool themselves among the em’rald tresses;
The while they cool themselves, they freshness give,
And moisture, that the bowery green may live.
~John Keats

Mice

I think mice
Are rather nice

Their tails are long,
Their faces small,
They haven’t any
Chins at all.
Their ears are pink,
Their teeth are white,
They run about
The house at night.
They nibble things
They shouldn’t touch
And no one seems
To like them much

But I think mice
Are nice
~Rose Fyleman

The City Mouse and the Garden Mouse

The city mouse lives in a house;-
The garden mouse lives in a bower,
He’s friendly with the frogs and toads,
And sees the pretty plants in flower.

The city mouse eats bread and cheese;-
The garden mouse eats what he can;
We will not grudge him seeds and stocks,
Poor little timid furry man.
~Christina Rossetti

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A Cold Attic Discussion

For those who love The Williams House. . .

The Williams House; Chapter 8: The Cold Days of February; Pgs. 153-157

.     Once the holiday season ended, snow continued to fly and the days continued to become colder and colder. School resumed, and the days of January tolled slowly by. Timothy found that his Latin much improved, and Will found he could now recite the entire Declaration of Independence. Lilly and Ann found the higher math and sciences to be challenging, but they studied it with new found rigor and interest. Johnathon could play the piano better than any of his siblings (and even Will eventually had to admit it), and Margaret was improving much on her spelling and grammar. Susan was learning a lot too, and would have qualified for a first grader—and Maria for kindergarten.
.     The days and nights passed into February, and still the temperature dropped. It was now so cold that the children were very seldom let out, and when they were, it was normally to shovel the driveway or the sidewalk leading to their barn. A snow plough would every once in a while come along the road and dig it out. And of course, when this would happen, the plough would fling a lot of snow back onto the Williamses’ driveway, and the children would have to shovel some of it again. And so, with all the hard work outdoors and in school, the month of February became one of those months that just slowly lumbered by.
.     One of these days, Will was sitting by the back door with textbook, paper and pencil in hand. It was mid-afternoon, and the house smelled mostly of stale food, schoolwork, and wood burning from their fireplace. (I can’t describe how a house can smell of schoolwork, and you will have to imagine it unless you do school often in your house too—then you will know what I mean.) Gray clouds had completely covered the sky, and everything was relatively quiet. The grandfather clock in the upstairs hall could be heard ticking as its pendulum swung. It was altogether a very dull day.
.     “Is there going to be another blizzard, Mother,” Will asked as he looked at the clouds.
.     “Whatever you say, dear,” Mrs. Williams answered haphazardly from the schoolroom. Will could hear her teaching someone, though he didn’t know who. He sighed and ploughed back into his schoolwork, though he was thinking all the time, How slow the time can go these days.
.     The evenings seemed to be the great relief during these times. All the children would go up to the attic, schoolwork being completely done for the day, and spend hours and hours holding meetings together, playing, reading, and telling stories. The warm stone chimney and furnace did wonders to keep the large room warm, and only if they put their hands on the window glass could they feel the cold of the outdoors.
.     This particular evening, chaos seemed to be erupting, everyone feeling tired and rowdy after the school day. Timothy was going back and forth from pounding on the piano to chasing the youngers and making them scream. Lilly and Ann were trying to manage the situation, but it was clear that they were quite put out themselves and not engaging fully. Johnathon was doing his best to ignore and was playing the same song on the flute over and over again.
.     “Attention, everyone,” said Will. He was the only one sitting on one of the sofas, and his head was bowed to his chest and his fingers laced on his lap as his fedora was pushed down to his eyebrows.
.     Everyone paused and looked at him, eager for any change.
.     “I propose we hold a discussion,” said Will. “We could have it right here, as usual, with me presiding as moderator.”
.     “Yes, let’s,” said Lilly in a relieved voice.
.     “Very well, then,” said Will. “Gather around.”
.     The youngers perked up now that something was really happening, and they crowded around the sofas and cushioned chairs, waiting for the meeting to begin. The windows were dark, but they knew that snow was falling and could see several white flakes come up to some of the windows in the wind. It was a soft wind, though, and they couldn’t hear it. Everything seemed to be quiet and still, their breathing being the only audible noises until Will spoke.
.     “We all know of the trials these days are,” said Will, “and I think, personally, that we have done a very good job at trudging through them. But I say let’s take stock and see where we are.” He paused to gain affirmations from the others.
.     “Very well,” said Lilly and Johnathon. And after a moment, everyone started nodding their heads and saying “yes,” “good idea,” and even a “hear, hear!” from Timothy. Ann added, “Proceed.”
.     “So ordered,” said Will. “It seems as though this bitter weather could continue for several more weeks, even though it has lasted for several already. We have come up with many ideas over these past weeks, reading stories and playing exploration and writing poems and songs. Many thanks to everyone for the brilliant work we have all done in selling several of the poems and short stories we have made. But now, where from here? I propose that we do something with the money we will hopefully gain from our work—I mean something that will actually help Father and Mother somehow.”
.     Everyone thought this a splendid idea, and there were many remarks about how good it would be to surprise their parents. “But how?” Johnathon finally asked.
.     “Well,” said Will, “Perhaps we should just give it to them, and then they can decide what to do with it.”
.     “Do we know when the money is coming?” asked Margaret.
.     “The check for the stories should have been sent out by now,” said Lilly. “It might even be in today’s mail, though poor Mother is too covered up with our school papers to have checked yet.”
.     “Well then,” said Will, “is it decided? We shall give the money to them, keeping none for ourselves. They’re sure to do something grand with it, whatever that might be, and it might even surprise us when we find out.”
.     “Let’s vote,” said Johnathon. “I’m in favor.”
.     “Aye,” said everyone simultaneously.
.     “Good,” said Will, “then that’s settled.”
.     “Perhaps we could read a story now,” said Margaret.
.     “Or perhaps Mother could,” said Susan.
.     “She can’t,” said Lilly. “And anyway, she already read to us late this afternoon.”
.     Will cleared his throat, looking sharply as though the discourse was out of order.
.     “Then how about Lilly and Ann read,” said Margaret. “They have great reading voices, and I’m in the mood to listen.”
.     “Attend, everyone,” said Will, clapping his hands. “The meeting has not come to a close yet. Is there any other business?”
.     No one had any, and so Will was forced to close the meeting, calling out “adjourned.”
.     “Now Lilly and Ann can read to us,” he added.

Audio Continuation of Story; Pgs. 157-160

You may purchase The Williams House here at Xulon or here at Amazon

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Joshua Reynolds on Conservative Cornerstones – Author of Children’s Books / Family Stories – Finding Conservative Thought in Olde Books. Check out my Authoring Conservatism Post. Look up my two books, The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor in my bookstore!

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Children’s Hour – Biweekly

Because I’m pressed with time as I write my third novel and am heavily engaged in marketing my first two, I have decided to make my Children’s Hour posts biweekly. I hope you enjoy!

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Old King Cole

Old King Cole was a merry old soul
And a merry old soul was he;
He called for his pipe, and he called for his bowl
And he called for his fiddlers three.

Every fiddler he had a fiddle,
And a very fine fiddle had he;
Oh there’s none so rare, as can compare
With King Cole and his fiddlers three.
~Mother Goose

Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat

Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been?
I’ve been to London to visit the Queen.
Pussycat, pussycat, what did you there?
I frightened a little mouse under her chair.
~Author Unknown

A Wise Old Owl

A wise old owl sat in an oak,
The more he heard, the less he spoke;
The less he spoke, the more he heard;
Why aren’t we all like that wise old bird?

~Old Nursery Rhyme

Blow Wind Blow

Blow wind, blow
And go, mill, go
That the miller may grind his corn
That the baker may take it
And into bread make it
And bring us a loaf in the morn.

Blow wind, blow
And go, mill, go
That the miller may grind his corn
That the baker may take it
And into bread make it
And bring us a loaf in the morn.
~Old Nursery Rhyme

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Joshua Reynolds on Conservative Cornerstones – Author of Children’s Books, Young Adult, Historical Fiction / Family Stories – Finding Conservative Thought in Olde Books. Check out my Authoring Conservatism Post. Look up my two books, The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor in my bookstore!

Children’s Hour – past deadline!

Hello everyone! I’m sorry that I am just now getting around to my Children’s Hour post. It has been a crazy weekend!

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The Rooks

The rooks are building on the trees;
They build there every spring:
‘Caw, caw,’ is all they say,
For none of them can sing.

They’re up before the break of day,
And up till late at night;
For they must labour busily
As long as it is light.

And many a crooked stick they bring,
And many a slender twig,
And many a tuft of moss, until
Their nests are round and big.

‘Caw, caw.’ Oh, what a noise
They make in rainy weather!
Good children always speak by turns,
But rooks all talk together.
~Aunt Effie (Jane Euphemia Browne)

Pleasant Changes

Summer’s sun is warm and bright,
Winter’s snow is cold and white,
Autumn brings the sheaves of grain,
Spring will scatter flowers again;
Pleasant changes
God arranges
All throughout the year!

First there’s darkness then there’s light,
First we’ve day and then we’ve night,
First we’re hot and then we’re cold,
First we’re young and then we’re old;
Are we knowing
Where we’re going,
What we’re doing here?
~Aunt Effie (Jane Euphemia Browne)

[As to that last poem, if you don’t know where you’re going, read the below poem and put your faith in Jesus.]

Above the Bright Blue Sky

There’s a Friend for little children
Above the bright blue sky,
A Friend who never changes,
Whose love will never die;
Our earthly friends may fail us,
And change with changing years,
This Friend is always worthy
Of that dear name [H]e bears

There’s a home for little children
Above the bright blue sky,
Where Jesus reigns in glory,
A home of peace and joy;
No home on earth is like it,
Nor can with it compare;
And everyone is happy,
Nor could be happier there.
~Albert Midlane

Walking Song

We waited for an omnibus,
In which there was no room for us,
But Right foot first, then Left, his brother,
Tried which could overtake the other;
And that’s the way,
With nought to pay,
To do without an omnibus,
In which there is no room for us.
~William E. Hickson

Joshua Reynolds on Conservative Cornerstones – Author of Children’s Books / Family Stories – Finding Conservative Thought in Olde Books. Check out my Authoring Conservatism Post. Look up my two books, The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor in my bookstore!

Bookstore Back Up and Book Release!

First off, the Xulon Press Bookstore is back up! You may purchase my book The Williams House there directly at: http://www.xulonpress.com/bookstore/bookdetail.php?PB_ISBN=9781498496216&HC_ISBN=

Also. . . .

Treasure on the Southern Moor is finally in print!

You can now buy this book directly from the Xulon Press bookstore as well! http://www.xulonpress.com/bookstore/bookdetail.php?PB_ISBN=9781545607206&HC_ISBN= I am currently emailing my production team regarding book orders and will be doing a video rundown of my book Treasure on the Southern Moor as soon as I have the printed book in my hands.

Joshua Reynolds on Conservative Cornerstones – Author of Children’s Books / Family Stories – Finding Conservative Thought in Olde Books. Check out my Authoring Conservatism Post. Look up my two books, The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor in my bookstore!

 

Harem Scarem Fife Tune – Music Room

Hi everyone! This is a well-known fife tune in the Fife and Drum Reenactor world. It is called Harem Scarem and is one of the favorites at the mid-west annual fife and drum event known as Freezer Jam. I hope you enjoy!

Joshua Reynolds on Conservative Cornerstones – Author of Children’s Books / Family Stories – Finding Conservative Thought in Olde Books. Check out my Authoring Conservatism Post. Look up my two books, The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor in my bookstore!