Flights of Fancy: A Book of Poetry, Prose, and Imaginative Short Stories by Bernadette Bland is a slim volume of heart-felt pieces that explore the author’s appreciation of nature, God, and family.
Throughout the book, Bland employs a variety of forms, both prose and poetry, to express her thoughts and feelings. The prose piece “Reflections,” for example, uses a list to detail her moments of spirituality: “I am nearest God,” Bland writes, “when I am: Imagining myself in a flowering mountain meadow…Meditating in a great silent forest… Basking in the summer warmth…” The repetition of the “-ing” form of verbs creates a gentle rhythm that lulls readers into a serene state of mind that matches the content of the prose.
Bland uses personification skillfully in a longer prose piece, “Rejuvenation: A Point of View from an Old House.” She characterizes the house’s “youth” with vivid adjectives, active verbs, and crisp-sounding visual imagery: “I have stood here for 150 years and was once proud and strong with a spiffy white coat and a slate cap. I sported three chimneys…and harbored cheer…” The story carries a tone of appreciation that remains consistent throughout the collection.
There are some missteps in the collection, however, particularly with the rhymes. Some can be overly simplistic and sing-songy (“She’s young and bright/ having nary a fright”) or forced in ways that create unnatural sentence constructions (“Amethystine mountains in the misty dawn,/ verdant hills and golden meadows it spawns”). The poems about the author’s life are stronger than those focused on God because the former are more specific and the latter tend to rely on stock imagery and vague sentimentality.
The thoughts expressed here don’t offer startlingly fresh insights or unusual takes on God. Overall, however, the collection contains enough skillful language and breadth of honest emotion to engage those readers interested in reflective personal writing.
Also available as an ebook.