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Monday, February 18, 2013

D. A. Adams Between Dark and Light tour + giveaway

What do red wheel barrows and white chickens have in common with writing? Author D. A. Adams is going to tell you!
fantasy, book, dwarves
In my Comp II classes, I teach the famous poem “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams:

so much depends

Red wheelbarrow, poem, writing advice
Add caption

a red wheel


glazed with rain


beside the white


For this guest post, I want to apply my interpretation of this poem to writing. First, let’s start with the rain, which for this example illustrates the trials and tribulations of life. For a writer, these can include rejections, bad reviews, self-doubt, personal struggles, and even creative dry spells. In the poem, the rain has moved on, leaving the wheelbarrow “glazed” with the remnants of those hard times. If you want to be a writer, expect the rain. Count on it. We all go through these difficulties in some form or another.
A wheelbarrow is a useful device that innovated and revolutionized human existence. Today, it seems quaint and provincial, but few technological advancements have changed humanity quite so profoundly and remained in use for as long. Anyone who has ever worked on a farm or a construction site can attest. If we think of it as a metaphor for a type of person, a wheelbarrow is someone who gets things done. If we apply this to writing, it’s a person who sits down and goes about the daily chore of writing. 

The color red can symbolize many things, but for our purposes here, let’s imagine blood. The wheelbarrow is red because it has withstood the rains and rusted, in effect becoming bloodied. Anyone who chooses to enter this arena will get battered, bruised, and bloodied in some form or another. Take Stephen King, one of the most successful and prolific writers of this time. Listen to his stories about starting out, of being turned away from the writing program at Iowa, of piling up rejection letters before finally breaking through. He faced the rains, heard the criticisms, and developed his own sheen of rust. Like the wheelbarrow, he is scarred and bloodied, but from his perseverance, he found success.

The color white signifies purity. Typically, we associate purity as a form of virtue, but in this case, it has a negative connotation. The only way to keep something pure is never to use it. Collectors know this and shield their possessions to preserve the value. However, other than monetary worth, the possession has not lived up to its potential because it hasn’t been used for its intended task. For example, when I was a teenager, my grandfather bought a home photocopier to replicate some of his important documents. At that time, the machine was quite expensive, and he warned all of us not to use it because he didn’t want it broken. After he made his copies, he put the machine away, tucked back in its original packaging. When he passed away, the job of sorting through his possessions fell to me, and I found the copier under his bed. It was pristine, perfectly intact and functional. But it was obsolete. No one carried the ribbon it needed for printing, and other than as a novelty, it was useless. Papaw had made maybe fifty copies with it, and then, from fear of damaging it, never used it again. For someone aspiring to write, purity is a sin because anyone who chooses to write will immediately face criticism, usually harsh and scathing. The only way to avoid this is either never to write anything or never share that writing with anyone. Writing not shared is writing wasted, much like that obsolete photocopier.

The symbolism of the chickens is obvious. In nature, they are prey with virtually no defenses other than to dart quickly away from any potential danger. For our purposes, I’m going to divide the chickens into two categories. First, is the hand wringer, the person who out of fear of failure hides from the rain and never tries. Yes, they remain pristine and never have the rust of rejection and failure, but they also never know the satisfaction of accomplishment. While they can delude themselves with grand visions of how they could’ve been successful if this or that had happened, deep inside it will gnaw and nag at them, the not knowing. Someone who tries and fails will hurt deeply from that failure. But the pain eventually fades. It’s replaced by a calm certainty of knowing that at least they had the courage to try. They took the risk, and even though it didn’t work out as they had hoped, they can look themselves in the mirror without the nagging doubt, the lingering what if.

The second kind of chicken is the critic, the person who stands to the side and picks apart others’ efforts with a pretentious grandeur of how they would’ve done better. They dissect and disparage what has been done, while they themselves never create. Yes, they remain pristine, but as they age, their criticisms typically grow more bitter as the weight of their own cowardice presses inward. In this world, there are far more critics than doers, far more people who want to tear down others than step into the arena and face the rain. After the rain has passed, they’ll come out and peck for worms, but they themselves will never take on the hard tasks of doing. As Teddy Roosevelt said, “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better.” The critics, though more numerous, never do as much for society, for humanity, as the wheelbarrow who faces the rain and rusts. So much depends on a red wheelbarrow.

If you want to write, set aside your fears of failure, of judgment, of pain, of loss, of humiliation, and just go write. Get rusty. Fall down. Fail. Learn and try again. Shrug off those who say you can’t because more than likely the reason they are telling you that is because they are white chickens and are only expressing their own fears. Be brave and face the rain because even if you fail at least you’ll know and never have to hide in the shadows of what if. Every single person who has ever accomplished anything of value had to face doubt and uncertainty head on. Every writer who has ever shown their work to another person has faced some form of criticism. Don’t be a white chicken waiting for the rain to pass. Be a red wheelbarrow and wear your rust with pride.

fantasy, dwarves, series, D. A. Adams
Between Dark and Light Book 4 of the Brotherhood of Dwarves Series

The stakes are higher than ever in the fourth installment of the popular dwarven saga!
The Great Empire has surrounded the Kiredurks and are preparing to conquer the kingdom, but unknown to them, Kwarck, the mysterious hermit of the plains, has his own plan in action. To the east, he has summoned an elven army and charged Crushaw with leading them into battle. To the south, Roskin will gather an army from the fractured Ghaldeon lands. But to the west, an ancient and powerful evil stirs.
The Great War is about to errupt, if Roskin can overcome the Dark One...

D. A. Adams, author, picture
About the Author:
D. A. Adams is a novelist, a farmer, a professor of English, and in my estimation, a true gentleman. His breakout fantasy series, The Brotherhood of Dwarves, transcends genre and illuminates the human soul in all its flashes of glory and innumerable failings.

He is active on the Con circuit and has contributed writing to literary as well as fine art publications, and maintains his active blog, "The Ramblings of D. A. Adams". He lives and works in East Tennessee, and is the proud father of two boys, Collin and Finn.

His ability as a storyteller breathes life into every character, and his craftsmanship as a writer makes these stories about relationships; human or otherwise.

Limited editions, soft covers and art work:

(ends Feb 24 at midnight)
Seventh Star Press is offering 2 winners all 4 ebooks in the
 Brotherhoodof Dwarves series.
1. leave a way to contact you
2. Do you have a favorite poet or poem?
*did you notice the stanzas in the poem look like wheelbarrows?


  1. Great interpretation of the poem. So much from so little. I think it all comes down to you should not be a chicken not matter how pure they are. Poetry is not for me.
    dfebby236 at gmail dot com

  2. I enjoy Poe... "The Raven" specifically. I had a friend in high school who memorized the entire poem!
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    mestith at gmail dot com

    1. O_o impressive, I can't even remember what I had for breakfast... thanks for stopping by :)

  3. Think I had this taught to me when I was a college student as well. Good job, Alex, in personalizing it to the writer's journey.

  4. Thank you for letting D.A. play with the Flock today! I loved this post, definitely one that writers can and should connect with!

  5. Cool the poem looks like wheelbarrows
    No fav poet or poem


  6. I have three poems I constantly go back to for relaxation or inspiration.
    They are The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (I still have the 1947 print edition given to me by my father when he realised how much I enjoyed reading it), also The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Gunga Din by Rudyard Kipling.

    felinewyvern at googlemail dot com

  7. What a fun guest post! :) I love that we have folks from different genres come over and expose their work to possibly a new audience.

    I don't know if there is a fav poem or just collective love for literature. Thanks for hanging with us D.A.!

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. I am not a huge poetry fan, but there are those you never forget and that stay with you over time i.e. The Raven, How Do I Love Thee, and one my son wrote when he was in the sixth grade that was actually published in the local paper (without our knowledge until after the fact) that had our mouths hanging open and staring at out manchild to make sure it was really him. As for a wheelbarrow, I understand your explanation of the intended symbolism, but my brain generally does not look for symbolism in the writing (I know Philistine here) and feel sometimes a chicken is just a chicken ;) Thank you so much for your generous sharing with us today. I really enjoyed the post.

  10. I'm not sure I have a favorite poet or poem. My favorites leap out at me when I hear them, then disappear into the darkness of memory. The raven of course, which leaps frequently due to the prevalence of large black birds in our neighborhood... I love this post though, and I love the first book in your series. sheiladeeth at gmail dot com

  11. My favorite poem is 'She Walks in Beauty.'


  12. Vincent van Gogh


  13. Edgar Allan Poe..

    darkworld_cutie at yahoo dot com

  14. First of all, that was a cool poem :) I follow the Flock everywhere and everyway, I even have 2 twitter accounts I follow by lol.
    My favorite poet is Edgar Allan Poe and my favorite poem is the Raven by said poet.
    (and Yeah, the stanzas in the poem in the post DO look like a wheel barrow!)
    Ashley A

  15. Thank you for the chance to enter the giveaway. I kind of have to go with a lot of others with my favorite being Poe but most poetry tends to go right over my head (I shouldn't admit that but I will. I think sometimes the really real poets are way smarter than I could every hope to be!). My favorite is "Eldorado". If it has words, I will read it, so I've read quite a bit of poetry (Langston Hughes, Walt Whitman, Rudyard Kipling, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Anne Sexton, etc,) but most of the time I don't really fully understand what the heck they are talking about! One other that I really like is Pablo Neruda.
    I enjoyed reading the interpretation of this poem to writing. I never would have been able to see all of that! That's some talent to take all of that from what was there. I liked reading this a lot!

    Shelly H

    1. I haven't read some of the poets you mentioned. I will check them out. Poetry is like art, open to individual interpretation. :)

  16. Contest closed and the winner is Ilona!!! Congrats, I will be sending you an email soon :) thanks to everyone who took the time to read and respond :)