Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

Where did it all begin? August 10, 2011

I was asked this question yesterday, and I figured you might be interested in the answer.

Short answer: it began with a poem.

Long answer: it’s been a long journey, but it began with a boy, a poem, and some books.

When I was ten, I developed a crush of epic proportions. Since I was an avid reader, I was also a writer. I’d been making up stories and writing poetry since I was in grade three. The unexpected, overwhelming emotions involved in this crush, led to outpourings of poetry. The theme was common: where had this emotion come from? Surely something this intense couldn’t just have happened? Surely such emotion must have been in the universe forever?  The year I was twelve, I wrote this poem, which summarizes this sensation:

When I look at you
I see sunshine in darkness
Passion through naïveté

I think that we were lovers once
In another life
You and I belonged
And that is why we were drawn

That is why I love you so much
And why your name
Brings happiness through sorrow

A wisp of a smile
When day dies
I remember you and I smile

You are my day and my night
Your face is a memory
That time cannot erase,
And someday
In another life
We will be lovers
Once again

It’s the poem Grace’s hand writes in the library. She is shocked and dismayed by what it reveals to her.  I know it isn’t a great poem, and I would tighten it up if I was writing it now, but I wanted it to be here as an authentic voice, flaws and all.

That poem begged to be a novel. There was a need to explore that sense of infinity that comes with a profoundly intense relationship like a first love, and like a lasting love, as well.

I tried to write it a few times over the years, but it didn’t go anywhere. I could get a narrative, but there was no hook to hang the story on. It was boring. If it was boring for me, it’d be boring for readers. Still, that love story wanted out, and it waited.

Then one day, I was reading some questionaires I”d given my students. In answer to the question, “What is the best book you’ve ever read?” About a quarter of my class had answered, “Twilight.” I’d never heard of it. I mentioned this to one of my older students and she told me she had all three of the books that were out, and that I needed to read them. The next day I had Twilight. A few hours later I was dying for the next books. They were delivered, and I read between work, dance classes and way too many Rotary meetings. I adored the story and I adored the characters. I was making connections like crazy- the key to one’s enjoyment of a book- and I had an epiphany.

Myth could be the hook. I started writing the week after Thanksgiving 2008. The characters started introducing themselves. I tried to move them in one direction, they chose to go another. The book was done the week before April. And it was good.

It wasn’t perfect, of course. The first readers picked out weak scenes, slow spots, confusing things, etc, but they loved it. They wanted more.

And that’s where it all began…


If you’re visiting from Poetry Potluck 48, please include the link to your poem in any comment you leave!  Thanks and thanks for coming by!


9 Responses to “Where did it all begin?”

  1. Lovely poem and a lovely site. Thank you for stopping by my blog.

    BTW I have a standard poodle in black.

  2. Brittany Says:

    This makes me happy 🙂
    Now, can you please upload part 2 already?!

  3. Andy Says:

    I thought this was beautiful.
    Nice ending.

    Congratulations too on being featured in the Special Interviews over at Jingle Poetry!

    My Potluck 48:
    Remove These Satin Sheets…

  4. swanrose Says:

    very sweet and beautiful….

  5. When I look at you
    I see sunshine in darkness
    Passion through naïveté

    love it.

    well done! 😉

  6. Morning Says:

    creative and cool,
    Thanks for linking.

  7. zumpoems Says:

    Thanks for posting! What children lack in technical writing skills is usually balanced with an uncensoried insight and an intuitive sense of what is really important. Enjoyed your post!

  8. […] a paraphrase of the quote from the poem that I recited for her which included, “I think we were loves once. In another life you and and I belonged.”  Since it is not in the context of the poem, it gets a completely different […]

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