I began to write a memoir years ago, but found myself struggling and put the project away. Whenever I wrestled internally with thoughts and feelings, I would get the project out and add to it, thinking this was the stuff I needed to write down, scenes and all the drama involved that always made life – and books – so interesting. As a matter of fact, it was how I started writing to begin with! [Read more…]
Last night I did something I hadn’t done in a while. I laid out some tarot cards and gave myself a reading.
I’m not great at knowing what each card represents. I still need the companion book to decipher what the Four of Cups is trying to tell me, or why the Queen of Pentacles is upside down. After all thirteen cards were translated, I realized they all fit together and told a little story. A story of my life; the recent past and what the future might hold, and right in the middle – the present – was The Fool. Me. [Read more…]
Happy New Year everyone! It’s January 2 and by now, you’re into your second day of that resolution you made, or you’ve broken it, either once or several times, or you’re still thinking of one, or some.
Resolutions are not for the faint-hearted. You need to summon the willpower to make a resolution stick. It’s all about change! Can you change from your before to your after all in one day? It only takes one second to create a pivotal moment in your life, but a whole heap of drive to keep the momentum flowing in the direction you’ve decided to go in. [Read more…]
On this morning of Hallowe’en, it seems appropriate to write about something scary. The synopsis! If you’re like me, writing a synopsis for your novel is a frightening task. Just staring at that blank screen makes my neck hair bristle.
The synopsis is a one or two page summary of your novel that is submitted to a literary agent. Some agents require a summary in the form of condensed chapters. How much detail do they want to know? How does your story begin? How does it end? What are the plot twists, and who are the characters? Where does it take place?
Let’s shine a flashlight on the synopsis so we know exactly what we’re dealing with. [Read more…]
Gord Downie, lead singer of Canada’s The Tragically Hip, has been referred to as a poet. Yes, he’s published a book of poetry, but I wanted to read the lyrics to his songs to confirm this kind of writing. I admit that although I loved the sound of the band in my high school years, the words he sang were not entirely clear (I did not pay attention to lyrics back then) so I never really knew what he was singing about.
Fast forward to his last concert a few weeks ago. Gord dazzled me. And now I had the internet to look up all his lyrics! I did not recognize his words as “poetry” as I understood poetry to be. Here’s more that I discovered.
Poetry is a language that isolates feelings. Poetry came first, before prose, as in children’s verses and music. It is decorative, more expressive than prose. Poetry uses rhyme and rhythm, and when read aloud a poem carries an emotional sound and feel. Poetry is primarily used to provoke thought. Lines in poetry can be very long or as short as one word in keeping with an intended rhythm or to emphasize an idea. Lines may be arranged in stanzas.
Come in, come in, come in, come in
From thin and wicked prairie winds come in
It’s warm and it’s safe here and almost heartening
Here in a time and place not lost on our imagination
(from The Tragically Hip’s “The Darkest One”, 2002)
Prose is a straightforward delivery of an accumulation of ideas arranged in sentences and paragraphs. The first word of every sentence is capitalized. Prose is what we read in everyday writing. Large blocks of words communicate thought and information. Novels, essays, short stories are all prose. Some prose can read lyrically which leads to a third form, the Prose Poem.
Prose Poem is writing that appears like prose but reads like poetry. Writers who are part of literary circles have been innovative in developing their own styles. Prose poem can be a few lines or a few pages and utilizes techniques typically associated to the form of poetry. Techniques such as fragmentation of lines, repetition, and rhyme are vehicles that enable greater expression in writing.
An example of this is from Campbell McGrath’s “The Prose Poem”:
On the map it is precise and rectilinear as a chessboard, though driving past you would hardly notice it, this boundary line or ragged margin, a shallow swale that cups a simple trickle of water, less rill than rivulet, more gully than dell, a tangled ditch grown up throughout with a fearsome assortment of wildflowers and bracken. There is no fence, though here and there a weathered post asserts a former claim, strands of fallen wire taken by the dust. To the left a cornfield carries into the distance, dips and rises to the blue sky, a rolling plain of green and healthy plants aligned in close order, row upon row upon row.
I’m wondering what form Gord Downie’s work resembles more closely. Poetry? Or Prose Poem? Maybe a bit of both? His thought-provoking lyrics tell true stories, offer unwavering opinion and truths, and tug at the emotions. I am reluctant to pin his style down to one thing or another.
If there’s a goal that everyone remembers
It was back in old ’72
We all squeezed the stick and we all pulled the trigger
And all I remember is sitting beside you
You said you didn’t give a f*ck about hockey
And I never saw someone say that before
You held my hand and we walked home the long way
You were loosening my grip on Bobby Orr
(from Tragically Hip’s “Fireworks”, 1998)
Late breaking story on the CBC
A Nation whispers, “We always knew that he’d go free”
They add, “You can’t be fond of living in the past
‘Cause if you are then there’s no way that you’re going to last
(from Tragically Hip’s “Wheat Kings”, 1992)
Whatever style it is, it’s Gord’s. He is a poet. And a story teller, and a lyricist, and a musician. An artist. And so much more. Thank you, Gord Downie, for being Ahead by a Century.
I’m sitting in the parking lot at the grocery store watching a senior couple load their purchases into their antique car. A refurbished red dodge convertible.
Something makes me relax and decide to watch them. I’m sucked into the scene when I notice that this couple is different than the usual parking lot shoppers, the ones who have just gone in for a few things and have a bag or two to throw in the front seat, or the ones in high gear trying to get the shopping task done as fast as they can.
It has taken them ages to organize the mechanics of this task, he’s opened the trunk, and packing it properly is obviously important – like they’re going on a long trip -a combination of bags and a case of G2, his wife is waiting, gazing at the sky with a smile on her face, holding loose bags of munchies to pass to him when he’s ready. He packs those and she takes trays of baking from the cart and stands there waiting again.
I want to be a writer. I want to write. All day, at my laptop, in a journal. In my little cubby hole of a space, or by a quiet river.
This dream is obsessive enough that it can depress me. I’m forced to live in the present, each moment of my day consumed with obligatory life tasks. You know – work? My Aromatherapy course? Preparing meals? Cleaning the house? Walking the dog? Then there’s reading to do, spending time with my wonderful partner and her son, and sleeping! Where does the time go… [Read more…]
Just when I thought everyone who writes for the public is aware of the importance of grammar, sentence structure, editing, and comma placement, THIS headline glared back at me THIS WEEKEND! It’s still happening folks. I suppose I should be forgiving and say yeah, mistakes are made all the time. I make them too. There will probably be something in this very post that I overlook even after the fourth time reading through it and editing, revising and tightening sentences to flow for your reading pleasure.