Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tuesday Poem - Emily Dickinson.

 1510 - How happy is the little Stone

How happy is the little Stone
That rambles in the Road alone,
And doesn't care about Careers
And Exigencies never fears—
Whose Coat of elemental Brown
A passing Universe put on,
And independent as the Sun
Associates or glows alone,
Fulfilling absolute Decree
In casual simplicity—

Emily Dickinson.

It seems that the third line is particularly pertinent when you're in the middle of NaNoWriMo and as many thousand words behind as I am! When you've contemplated the stones and pebbles of the Universe, find more poetry on the Tuesday Poem blog

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Tuesday Poem - in honour of the Melbourne Cup

I offer you a link to some Australian horse poems. And then gallop over to the Tuesday Poem blog to read the guest edited poem there, 'Here We Give Thanks (after Gregory O'Brien' by Mary-Jane Duffy, brought to you this week by Claire Mabey.

I can't stop and chat - I'm already approximately 6,000 words behind NaNoWriMo - arrrgghhh!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tuesday Poem - Small Harvest

Apropos of nothing, happiness
smaller than a heartbeat
but puffed up, nonetheless,
perched on my window sill
and sang like a diva.
Grace, the I Ching warns, is  temporary -
a break in the fog,
a sapphire wren and his mate courting,
the way a dog grins at you
as though you both share a joke.

Hold this small harvest lightly

given without supplication
given away - merely
a seed on a ghost of breath.

Catherine Bateson, 2014.

I have been watching wrens from my study window and they inspired this poem, just in time for Tuesday! Flit over to the Tuesday poem blog where you can read guest editor, Helen Rickerby's chosen poem -  'No Rough Verses' from I, Clodia by Anna Jackson.

Clodia was, very likely, the Lesbia of the poems of  Catullus. And, of course, one of his most famous poems also featured a bird - 'The Death of Lesbia's Sparrow'. You can read a translation of that poem here. I do love it when there's a link between my poem and the Tuesday poem, however tenuous!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Eleven more sleeps

until NaNoWriMo. Who is going to be on my cheer squad? I really want to do this. I feel as though I've been stuck in a bit of a writing/not writing/writing/not writing rut and the impetus to finish NaNoWriMo would be good for me. But, as my daughter points out - rather too often - I need gold stars....
Recruiting my cheer squad now. No dancing required!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Quote for the day

Just write every day of your life. Read intensely.Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.

 —Ray Bradbury

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Fast Food/Slow Cooking

NaNoWriMo is coming up - are you in? I'm in - I'm going to use the month to write something quite new and I'm already excited. Here are some thoughts on fast writing - look out for my thoughts on slow writing coming soon!

“There's an old folk saying that goes: whenever you delete a
sentence from your NaNoWriMo novel, a NaNoWriMo angel
loses its wings and plummets, screaming, to the ground.
Where it will likely require medical attention.”
Chris Baty

It’s October – the month where some writers thoughts turn to NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo was started by Chris Baty in 1999. Participants of NaNoWriMo (now an international internet-based programme) set out to write 50,000 words between 1st and the 30th November. You may, and many do, begin at midnight on the 1st and end just before midnight on the 30th. Although when it was started, there were only 21 participants, over 200,000 people sign up for now, a website is dedicated to it, and there are hundreds of NaNoWriMo events around the world.

These can include pre-NaNoWriMo picnics and parties, ‘plot-ins’, all-nighters and café writing. NaNoWriMo merchandise is available through the website and there’s a special programme for young writers. Municipal Liaisons help organise events in different regions.

What are the rules? Only that you submit 50,000 words by the 30th November – this can be done through the NaNoWriMo website – and the words can be scrambled or encrypted if you’re worried someone might steal your ideas/novel/novella. Everyone who submits that number of words is a ‘winner’. Winner of what, you might ask? The winners of NaNoWriMo receive a printable certificate, an icon they can display on their webpage and inclusion on the list of NaNoWriMo winners. Since 2011, CreateSpace, a self-publishing production company has offered winners 5 free paperback proof copies of their manuscripts.

This is all hardly the point, of course. The point is that NaNoWriMo offers established, new and emerging writers the opportunity to sign a contract with themselves that over the month of November they will work put their writing before all else, work to a tight deadline and produce. NaNoWriMo gives a writer the opportunity to say it’s all about the quantity, never mind the quality. It offers liberation from perfection. It also offers writers a sense of community – you are participating in a world-wide writing event. You can, if you wish, meet other writers in real life or in cyber-life. You can participate in forums, whinge to writing buddies at the various writing events or you can stay at home, emerging in December, rough draft in hand. Or at least the beginning of a rough draft.

You can scoff at NaNoWriMo. You can ask what novels are only 50,000 words anyway? (The Great Gatsby is one and many novels for younger readers rock in at under that count…but you can still ask!) However, many writers find that they work well under the kind of perceived peer pressure or personal contract that is NaNoWriMo. And, despite the emphasis on quantity, not quality, publishable books emerge.

“It worked I think because misery loves company, and I knew that thousands and thousands of other people were out there beating their heads on their desks at the same time,” Sara Gruen interviewed by Lindsey Rivait.

Gruen is the author of Water for Elephants which she began as a NaNoWriMo novel. She wrote only 40,000 words and was not, therefore a NaNoWriMo winner. However, the book hit number 1 on the New York bestseller list, has sold over 3 million copies worldwide and is now a movie.

FanGirl by Rainbow Powell, declared ‘absolutely capitivating’ in Kirkus Review, is another novel that started life during NaNoWriMo. Powell is the author of the bestselling young adult novel, Eleanor & Park, also headed towards the movies. In a NaNoWriMoPep Talk, Powell says this:

I was very skeptical about NaNoWriMo at first.

It seemed like something that amateur writers would do. Or young writers. People who needed to be tricked into finishing their books. I’d already written two books by October 2011, and sold them to publishers, and I couldn’t imagine writing either of them—or anything good—in a month.

That’s not writing, I thought, that’s just piling up words.

But then I thought about how wonderful it would be to have a pile of 50,000 words…

Maybe some writers enjoy the first draft—the part of the writing process when anything is possible, and you’re out there forging your own path. I hate that part. All I can think about when I’m starting a book are all the words I haven’t written yet. I actually feel them, hanging around my neck, tugging at me. First drafts always make me feel anxious and a little desperate—like, “Oh God, I just need to get all of this out and on paper, so that I have something to work with.”

I like having something to work with.

You can join NaNoWriMo simply by registering on their website (linked to this Session). It’s free – although donations are welcome and there is merchandise if you feel you’d participate more fully wearing a NaNoWriMo t-shirt or drinking from a special coffee cup. There are events happening already around Melbourne, including plot-ins at Knox Library and Melbourne Central. There is also a new region – Gippsland and Baw Baw Shire, so if anyone is interested and from around Gippsland – you have a Municipal Liaison of your very own.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Tuesday Poem - Thomas Hardy continued

Proud Songsters

The thrushes sing as the sun is going,
And the finches whistle in ones and pairs,
And as it gets dark loud nightinglates
        In bushes
Pipe, as they can when April wears,
   As if all Time where theirs.

These are brand-new birds of twelve months' growing,
Which a year ago, or less than twain,
No finches were, nor nightingales,
          Nor thrushes,
But only particles of grain,
   And earth, and air, and rain.

Thomas Hardy, The Complete Poems, Macmillan, 1976, p. 835-36

I love watching birds and the only thing I regret about changing my office from it's old room is that no birds yet use the bird bath. In my old office, I could look out the window and see different birds throughout the day - magpies, currawongs, little wrens and honey-eaters and the occasional rosella. Despite The Accountant putting together a decent bird bath on the other side of the house - and despite sightings from my window of a very attractive larger honey-eater and rosella, not to mention little wrens, they have yet to bathe. But what I love about this Hardy poem is those last two wonderful lines.

After contemplating the long and prolific career of Hardy, hop over to the Tuesday Poem blog and sample this week's featured poem. Tuesday poems are freshly baked each Tuesday and you can read a delicious selection by clicking on the blog roll. Bon appétit!