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Posts Tagged ‘bridges’

When a faded picture from a by-gone era sets in motion a perilous quest…

…five young men not only encounter harrowing danger in the forbidden Niagara Gorge, but must confront the swirling illusions of the world they knew – changing their lives forever.

The day we decided to go down into the gorge of Niagara Falls—to walk on the ice bridge—had started out normal enough but quickly showed itself as anything but normal …

Living in the City of Niagara Falls in the early 1960s, winters were simple for teenagers – like snowball fights and warm-ups at “Ol’ Gordy’s” general store, and arguing over his “wall of pictures.” It’s a ritual—sipping Cokes while studying the old photographs … listening to Ol’ Gordy’s tales..and dreaming about the daredevils of old.

Then, on a frigid February morning, all that changed. An ice ball to Kevin’s face, and a funny looking picture, snatched from Ol’ Gordy’s wall, sets in motion a journey from which they will never recover. Despite Ol’ Gordy’s warnings (or perhaps because of them) that, not only is it extremely dangerous, but against the law, they secretly vow to venture forth and walk on – the ice-bridge of Niagara Falls.

The ice-bridge of Niagara Falls – an aberration of nature—steeped in history – fraught with tragedy – challenged through the ages, by daredevils, bootleggers and tourists alike – lures them from the world they know into the depths of the mysterious Niagara Gorge. As in a time machine, they enter an exhilarating bygone world of impassable rapids, massive frozen sculptors and unassailable walls of ice.

Coming face-to-face with the mighty Falls itself, from the bottom looking up, as it proclaims its dominion over them, they find themselves in a struggle of life and death with a Niagara they never knew existed.

Peeling back time, along the way we encounter others, who had made their own journeys across Niagara in eras gone by. We’re there when the ‘Hermit of Niagara’, living on top of the mighty Falls itself, finds his destiny in becoming one with the water. Years later, we stand in awe on the day Niagara stood still and explore a riverbed never before walked on by man – until the water returns – sealing the mystery of the flute.

We follow the journey of the feather, and witness slavery through the eyes of a runaway slave girl, as she rides the ‘Underground Railroad’ seeking to find the bridge to freedom and paying the fare to ride that train.

We march to the beat of the drum and the chant of the the tom-tom, as nations clash and cultures collide when the journey of a British drummer boy converges with that of a young Iroquois brave at the brutal and bloody “Devil’s Hole” massacre.

‘Journeys across Niagara’ (previously titled: ‘Bridges -a Tale of Niagara’ and recipiant of the Readers Favorite 2011 Silver medal for General Fiction YA), is much more than a simple tale of camaraderie and adventure shared by young men. It a  tale that is rich in both historical fact and fiction, weaving a series of unique historical events, in a twist of mystery and revelation, with a group of 1962 teens, caught up in the complexities of a changing world around them. While each struggles with his own inner demons and angels – together they face the demons and angels of the Niagara Gorge.

It is my hope that you enjoy the journeys, and that you hear the crack of the ice, while feeling the tremor beneath your feet travel up your loins, knowing the mighty Niagara is reaching to claim you as well. ‘Journeys’ is a kaleidoscope of adventure and history, exploring the questions confronting people of all ages and from all times.

The earth is forever, and we’re just visitors—and only for a short time at that. By the time we begin to understand enough about the world to ask the right questions, our visit is over, and someone else is asking the same questions.


Until Next Time:

Embrace Life’s Bridges – For they Define Who You Are

DK Levick

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The year was 1976, America was relishing in its Bicentennial anniversary of independence, and I found myself in a musty antique shop, browsing among the discarded treasures of generations gone by. There, in a small offshoot room, hanging on a crowded wall, suspended amongst pictures, tapestries, murals, and rick-rack, I spied an old picture. It was a Stereoview, taken around 1890 by the famous George Barker. Stereoviews were the rage around the turn of the century, consisting of two almost similar views of the same thing, mounted side-by-side, in one frame. When fitted into a special, wooden viewer and held up to your eyes, it created a single picture with a stereo effect to it. The picture on the wall was of the ice bridge of Niagara Falls.

It fascinated me, both with the idea of the mighty Falls frozen completely over and hundreds of those old-time people walking around on it, and because it brought back memories of seeing a similar ice bridge myself when I was a kid, growing up in Western New York, in the ‘60’s.

Niagara Falls! The water—the roar—the mist—the smell—the power—the mystery. Niagara is a mystic enchantment that pulls people into its swirling mists and absorbs them into its magic. Niagara is a gift to man, declaring the glory of creation and thereby the surety of a Creator. Surrounded by history and steeped in lore of fascinating legends and people, it’s not only the Falls, but the rivers—the gorge—the mighty lakes, all splendid, magnificent and oozing with life. Take a walk through the Niagara Gorge (but please, not in the winter like my ‘boys’ did) and I guarantee you’ll come out a different person than when you went in. You’ll meet God in the Gorge (See post titled:  “Come Walk with Me”  at right.)

And then—the 60’s. It’s strange for me to think of the 60’s as nostalgia, but in fact they are. The 60’s were special years, creating a decade, unique and stand alone in our history.  In 1961, the world feared atomic war and we built backyard bomb shelters and we had ‘A’ bomb drills hiding under school desks, while spewing the illusion of being at peace with ourselves and the world. We felt ‘everything had been done and invented’ and there was nothing left for us to do. Meanwhile, the decade was on the verge of being the most dynamic, world-changing decade history had ever seen. Communications, civil rights, technology, economics, drugs, assassinations, space travel, society values and wars all around the globe, exploded literally overnight, turning America, and the world, upside down. The 60’s came in with the ‘Twist’ and bobby socks and left with us with VietNam and a man on the moon, leaving us in shock and yearning for those years when we wore bomber hats, drank hot chocolate and our only wars were snowball fights.

How much more inspiration would one need? A combination of a forbidden Niagara few people know about, coupled with the decade of the best and worse times in America. The ‘picture’ itself brought all this into focus for me, and I started writing.

I wanted to write about people who felt their life was unimportant, and didn’t know where they fit in. A decade when America was at its prime and at its worse, when young people thought everything had been done and there was nothing left for them to do, yet, aside from the Revolutionary War era itself, was the most revolutionary decade in American history.

Meanwhile, it’s no different from any other time, with people having the same needs, fears, joys and sorrows across the generations. All are ‘journeys’, traveling the same road, only in different times.

That was 1976 and I wrote 12 typewritten pages, put it aside and continued my own ‘journey’.

Fast forward 32 years and now it’s September 2008. I had just endured a personal loss and as a result was forced to sort out files of old papers. Buried among bill receipts, technical reports, letters and various doodlings, I came across 12 typewritten pages. They were yellowed, stained and crinkled when I held them. As I read them, I immediately grabbed a pen and began editing them. 350 pages later,Bridges – a Tale of Niagara was conceived and a year later gave birth to Journeys Across Niagara.  I give this child to you, with my wish that you enjoy reading it as much as I have in writing it.

Until Next Time:

Embrace Life’s Bridges – For they Define Who You Are

—-Dk Levick

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Hello Friends…

I trust you have all been well and good.

I’ve been asked lately about an embedded story in my novel “Bridges – a Tale of Niagara”   http://www.bridgesataleofniagara.com/ which recounts a strange man called the Hermit of Niagara, whether he was a real person or if I just made him up.

Let’s talk about him a little today…

WAS THERE REALLY A ‘HERMIT OF NIAGARA’?

Oh yes! There certainly was.

He came from England – he lived on Goat Island – he was musically talented – he frolicked in the brink of Niagara Falls – he spoke to no one – and he’s buried in Niagara Falls.

“He was real enough, fellas—a certified nut case for sure, but real all the same he was. Lived on Goat Island all by himself, ya know. Didn’t talk to no one, and he sure ’nough died there, too. The Hermit of Niagara is what they called him.” Ol’ Gordy; Bridges – a Tale of Niagara

Arriving in June of 1829, Francis Abbott shunned society. The villagers had this knowledge of him: He was an English gentleman. He was educated, skilled in music and drawing. He had visited Egypt, Palestine, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and France. He wrote in Latin but destroyed his compositions. After his death, when the towns people investigated his hut they found his dog guarding the door (which took considerable effort to remove) and his cat on the bed. There was a guitar, a violin, some flutes, and a number of music books scattered about. The pages were blank. He explored Goat Island extensively, which was a thick forest at the time and had relative solitary confinement due to the only access being a scary bridge crossing the fierce rapids.

“A narrow, rickety foot bridge crossed the treacherous rapids, dividing the mainland from the island. Few dared cross it—so violent were the rapids below, so unstable was the bridge—as it were mere yards away from the brink.” The Hermit’s Story; Bridges – a Tale of Niagara

He did, in fact, find and live in a small log cabin that had been previously erected by a pioneer family before the island was purchased by Peter and Augustus Porter. He lived in it for almost two years before being evicted by the Porters.

Did he hang on to those boards over the Falls like in the book?

According to many witness reports – he did!

The sketch below is the one that ‘Sam’ bought in the novel and was drawn by James Edward Alexander in 1831, shortly after the hermit’s death.  Look closely and you’ll see the Hermit hanging off the wooden planks located on the brink of the Falls at Terrapin Point.

“The walkway ended in a single twelve-foot beam, a mere ten inches wide, extending out like an accusing finger from the tempest. Francis walked the length of the beam for hours, as if strolling down a country road. Spectators were shocked and fearful and often broke into hysteria. He’d sit on the end of the beam, dangling his legs over the edge, and on occasion, he’d suspend himself off the beam, kicking his feet into the roaring maelstrom that spewed and tumbled down past him. Women swooned and fainted; brave men trembled, their knees buckling as they watched Francis casually pull himself back onto the beam with no more concern than if he was rising from his dinner table.” The Hermit’s Story;  Bridges – a Tale of Niagara

Did he really drown in Niagara?
Yes he did – but by the best accounts – he didn’t drown going over the Falls. I took a little literary license with that. After getting booted off the island, he resumed his hermit lifestyle at the base of the Falls. It was down there on June 10th, 1831, he was observed ‘bathing’ by a passing ferryman who saw Francis go under the water surface and not come back up. A search for Francis was conducted – without success. On June 21st, 1831, the body of Francis Abbott did surface at Fort Niagara and he was buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Niagara Falls, New York.

There is a headstone but it’s been knocked over and neglected so that it is unreadable now. It read:.

“Francis Abbott, the Hermit of Niagara Died June 10, 1831 He died in his 28th year” 

What happened? Suicide or accident? 
“What, it will be asked, could have broken up and destroyed such a mind as Francis Abbott’s? What could have driven him from the society he was so well qualified to adorn — and what transform him, noble in person and in intellect, into an isolated anchorite, shunning the association of his fellow-men? The history of his misfortunes is not known, and the cause of his unhappiness and seclusion will, undoubtedly, to us be ever a mystery.”  New York Mirror 1890

Of interest is that found on a rock on Luna Island was the following inscription:

“All is Change, Eternal Progress, No Death”

Did the hermit leave this?

Why was he here?

What was he looking for – or running away from?
To this day, no one knows.  ‘The Hermit’s Cascade’, located between Goat Island and First Sister Island, is named after Francis Abbott, the Hermit of Niagara. If you’d like to read further about the ‘hermit’ let me suggest the following:

“Niagara – A History of the Falls” by Pierre Berton

www.niagarafrontier.com

New York Times article:  July 6, 1875   http://bit.ly/qmnKK6
The Montreal gazette   Oct. 29, 1948      http://bit.ly/mOXxUm
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What have I been doing lately?

Well, on a personal note, I’m been overwhelmed with a couple of things, not important here but they’ve taken up a great deal of my time.
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Meanwhile – I’ve published another short story on Amazon and Smashwords titled:  “The Man in the Painting”. Take a look at it and leave a review.  Use this code during the next week and get it free on smashwords:  FA24C
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Also, I’ve been writing two projects simultaneously. First, is a new novel that I’m not ready to tell you about yet. Suffice it to say it’ll be quite different from my previous work.
Second, is something quite similar to my previous work, which I’ll tell you about next time. (I know, I didn’t talk about either one. Sorry… what can I say?)

Until Next Time:

Embrace Life’s Bridges – For they Define Who You Are

dk Levick

 


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Hello Friends –

Buried among the hundred plus emails I received yesterday was one that brightened up the room, made this old wrinkled face break into a huge smile and , how do they say it it? – Made my day.

It was an email from Reader’s Favorites, the international book review organization and they were announcing the 2011 award winners.

It’s with a great deal of pleasure, happiness and humility that I can tell you that “Bridges – a Tale of Niagara” has won the Silver Metal for Young Adult General Fiction!

YOUNG ADULT GENERAL FICTION

To share this celebration with you, use this code “Bridgesone” and buy the book on Amazon at a reduced cost.

I want to thank everyone who has help to support ‘Bridges’ and especially all those who have written reviews on Amazon and Goodreads – they are greatly appreciated.

I’ve been working hard on a couple of projects. Will have a new short story “The Man in the Painting” coming out next week on Amazon and Smashwords and another is in the mill.

Mostly, I’ve been working on a new novel that I plan on releasing the first part of by November. Will be something different.

Until Next Time:

Embrace Life’s Bridges – For they Define Who You Are

dk Levick

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Hello all –

I trust everyone is well and working diligently on reading good things and writing better things.

That’s exactly what I’ve been doing. In the midst of a lot of turmoil in my life right now, I’ve started a new project and it’s taking me and my writing into some new territory. The research on the subject has been extensive and seems to spread faster and further than a summer thunderstorm. But it’s been exciting and I like the thunder and lightning.

The project started out as a joke (you’re already in on it, you just don’t know it yet) and is growing into a novel – a big novel. I plan on releasing it in parts on a serial basis.

As a result of the research, I’ve been buying quite a pile of books and gaining an impressive library on the subject. Some are e-books and some are book-books.

You know I love my Kindle and also my Kindle for PC, but when doing research they just don’t compare to working with the real McCoy. Being able to thumb through a book from cover to cover, searching for a phrase or picture and spreading books out all over the table or floor (whatever works) and jumping back and forth from one to the other with ease brings back warm memories of years in school and at study with my love affair for real, paper, marked up, musty smelling books, for it truly is a love affair. After using e-book media for a while, you tend to forget that part of it and you lose the ‘feel‘ of the book. I don’t mean the actual feel of paper in your hands, (if you miss that then wrap paper around your Kindle) but I mean the internal ‘feel’ of holding a book.  I know – it’s all mental, but then, isn’t everything? Trust me on this, hold a favorite book in your hands and the memories start to flood back in. You never forget them. You find yourself cradling it, stroking it and holding it with affection and at times your emotions for the memories inside cause you to smile and squeeze it tight. Pick up your Kindle and it’s not there. I have to conjure up a ‘book‘ from the ‘library’ first and then what do I visualize?   (I’m afraid to squeeze my Kindle anyway – don’t know what pressing all those buttons would do and who knows what I’ll be reading in the next instant – if anything.)

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Hello All –

Been tied up this past week with a lot of things that have taken up all my time – and energy. Sometimes life takes us along on a ride and there’s not much we can do except fight to stay upright and ride it through.  We’re doing just that.

But – I did get to publish a story on Amazon and Smashwords!

And I’m giving it to you as a gift from me. Go to Smashwords and search for “Potatoes  dk levick”.  Use code # RL64M to buy it free.  It’s a short story so it won’t take much of your time away and I think you’ll enjoy it. If you do – then let me know and I’d appreciate it if you’d leave a review on Smashwords and Amazon too.

If you’re not familiar with Smashwords, then you should check it out and join (it costs nothing to join). You’ll find lots of good writing there. Once you get something you can download it in various forms. The one I like best is .mobi which is the Kindle format. If you don’t have a Kindle that’s not an issue. You can go to Amazon.com and click on “All Departments” and then search for “Kindle for PC” and you can download the Kindle software to run on your computer.

That will allow you to gain access to all the Kindle features to include buying books. Once you download from Smashwords you can run it on your computer Kindle. It’s actually better than the Kindle itself because you have full color for the cover and any pictures.

“Potatoes” is a story about an old man who goes back to the scene of an accident. Take a few moments of  your time and take a look at it, I wrote it for you.

Until Next Time:

Embrace Life’s Bridges – For they Define Who You Are

dk Levick

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This weeks blog post is in conjunction with the Blog-A-licious Blog TourI am pleased to be on the tour along with some very interesting and informative writers. At the bottom of this post will be a listing of the addresses of the other bloggers also discussing this weeks subject. I encourage you to visit them also.

Thank you for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoy it.

The topic for this week’s Blog-A-licious Blog Tour is:

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 “Freedom To Me Is…”

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I sit in the corner of the room and I open my eyes…

… The room is small, eight feet by ten – smaller maybe, not any bigger for sure. The floor is cold, hard and wet. The walls are stone and they too are cold, hard and wet. They seep a gooey mixture of condensation and slime that smells and oozes down the walls forming green puddles on the floor.

There are no windows in the room and so – there is no light, except for a narrow slit cut through the bolted, heavy wooden door, no larger than the width of an eyeball and just a few inches long. I don’t know why it’s there, it just is but it allows a small sliver of dirty light to invade the room. I never knew light could be dirty but this light is dirty having a dingy, yellow pale just bright enough for me to see the outline of my hand (although it looks nothing like my hand but more closely resembles a mangy paw from some poor creature that’s been run over in the street). When I hold it in front of what was once my face but is now an infested, matted hair covered orb, it is unrecognizable as anything once belonging to my body.

The room stinks a foul, pungent odor of stale urine, decay and blood. Things crawl in here.

How I miss the privilege of light.

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