Shawn L. Bird

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

quote- the world is high school August 22, 2018

Filed under: Quotations — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:34 pm
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“Maybe it’s better to look stupid, but strong, than it is to look smart, but weak.  I don’t know.  I not sure that I want to believe that the world stage bears that strong a resemblance to high school.”

Jim Butcher in Turn Coat.

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quote- writers January 5, 2018

Filed under: Poetry,Quotations,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:08 pm
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“Writers are different,” said Waldegrave.  “I’ve never met one who was any good who wasn’t screwy.”

~Robert Galbraith (aka J. K. Rowling) in The Silkworm.

Uh oh!

 

quote- beginning August 27, 2017

Filed under: Poetry,Quotations — Shawn L. Bird @ 4:15 pm
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“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.”
― Louis L’AmourLonely on the Mountain

 

quote-attracting poets July 17, 2017

Filed under: Quotations — Shawn L. Bird @ 5:56 pm
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From The Colour Master by Aimee Bender:

…part of trying to attract those poet-men was to look a little like I had wandered onto campus by accident after having spent 10 years with the wolves behind some farm house, living off scraps and reveling in the pure air like a half-girl Mowgli, half-woman Thoreau.” p. 76

I found this quite amusing, as I had just come from the Honeymoon Bay Poetry Retreat and had spent some time with a few poet-men.

 

quote- creations June 15, 2017

Filed under: Poetry,Quotations — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:20 pm
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 “Creations are creatures, and they have lives of their own.”

Louise Penny.  The Nature of the Beast.

I’m reading this Inspector Gamache novel, and Ruth made this comment about a play.  The line after indicates that the play was the playwright.  It seems both powerful and succinctly true.  When we create something, it comes from us, often reflect deep truths about us, but it also becomes itself.  It speaks to those who view/read/listen/watch with its own voice (filtered through or reflecting their voice).  I am often fascinated to hear what readers have taken from my work.  Sometimes they find things I put there, but often they find things that are completely different, and just as valid.  Once the book or poem left my hands, it became its own entity.  It’s an interesting experience.  It reminds me of the first time an adult mentions they know your child- they’ve interacted with them in a way that is unconnected to you, and you realize they have their own independent lives.  Children are creations, too.  They’re equally part of us and completely themselves.  Ah. Creation is a complex thing!

From a writing point of view, what a perfectly crafted sentence for this character.  Ruth is a poet, and doesn’t the line sound like a poem?  Louise Penny is my hero.

 

quote- Desmond Tutu on writing May 23, 2017

Filed under: Quotations,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:35 am
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If you want to be a good writer, you are not going to become one by always  going to the movies and eating bonbons.  You have to sit down and write. Which can be very frustrating, and yet, without that, you would not get that good result.

-Archbishop Desmond Tutu in The Book of Joy.

 

quote- word spirit May 22, 2017

Filed under: Quotations,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:34 am
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Speaking of how the Dalai Lama can fill a stadium of people to hear him speak, Desmond Tutu observed,

It’s not the words.

It’s the spirit behind the words.

(in The Book of Joy.)

When I read really great writing, I sense the ‘something’ that takes it from good to phenomenal.  I was recently judging poetry, for example, and for most pieces, it was easy to set them aside as pretty words to something worth a second look.  Others grabbed me and were set in the possible winner pile.  My co-judges ended up with piles that included the same pieces.  They were special.

I just spent the weekend at the Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival in Salmon Arm.  I have reached the place in my writing where I have many skills.  I am shortlisted for many competitions. But I often feel that ‘something’ is missing, and judges must too, since I have never won a first.  What is it?  This is the year I’ve been specifically searching for the answer.  Through the course of the weekend, I found a familiar refrain through many workshops.   The universe was answering my question.

It’s about intention.

We need to know WHY we’re telling the story.  We need to know the audience and we need to know why we’re telling the story to THAT person (different things, possibly).  Knowing these things puts a point of focus on the work that can elevate its power.

So I have this newfound knowledge in my pocket, and the next day, Desmond Tutu tells me this.  It’s the spirit behind the word.  What is that if not intention? I think personality is spirit, but fundamentally, it’s about intention.  The Dalai Lama’s intention is spreading peace, love, and acceptance.  It’s the spirit of the words he speaks, and the truth behind his intention resonates deeply within those who hear him.  I’m not sure, precisely, how to do this, but I am fairly certain that like dealing with addiction, acknowledging it is the first step.

 When the universe has a message for you, it can get quite insistent.

Well then.

Let’s begin.

 

 
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