Shawn L. Bird

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

poem- lying to yourself September 1, 2018

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 6:49 pm
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You make it

so

inside your head.

Convince yourself

you’re right

and true.

Ask for advice,

but

debate each position

deny each observation

sputter

rant

and grumble about lack of support.

If you don’t want

to hear,

don’t ask.

If you won’t consider

perspectives,

don’t request them.

If you only want approval,

just say,

“Aren’t I great!”

and don’t be surprised

by silence.

 

Writing conferences: The Magical Realm June 6, 2018

Here’s a guest blog I wrote for Gail Anderson-Dargatz about the value of attending writing conferences:

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https://www.gailanderson-dargatz.ca/cms/index.php/resources/35-guest-blogs/326-shawn-l-bird

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Do you have a writing conference that has changed your life?  Tell me about it in the comments below!

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I’m always happy to present at conferences, too, so if you are an organizer, drop me a line.

 

poem- The Bird by Patrick Lane April 28, 2017

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 3:08 pm
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From The Collected Poems of Patrick Lane (Harbour Publishing, 2011)

The Bird

The bird you captured is dead.

I told you it would die

but you would not learn

from my telling.  You wanted

to cage a bird in your hands

and learn to fly.

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Listen again.

You must not handle birds.

They cannot fly through your fingers.

You are not a nest

and a feather is

not made of blood and bone.

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Only words

can fly for you like birds

on the wall of the sun.

A bird is a poem

that talks of the end of cages.

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I’m attending a poetry retreat with Patrick Lane this summer, so I’ve been reading his work.  I’m looking forward to the opportunity to study with him!

 

 

poem-going July 19, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:47 am
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He’s going.

I feel him stretching out

like old elastic on the tops of pantyhose.

How old are your pantyhose?

That’s not the point.

You need to refresh your pantyhose, seriously

that elastic is good for a decade at least.

Oh forget I said it.  He’s going.  I can feel him slipping away.

Like pantyhose falling off your hips if they’re so old the elastic is brittle?

Well, yes.

I have some elastic lace.  We can sew it onto the pantyhose.  They’ll be like new.

It’s not about the pantyhose.

No.  It’s about the elastic.

No. It’s about the leaving.

You know, if you put a pair of panties over the pantyhose, it will keep them up.

Like a hug.

Exactly like a hug.  Sometimes the pantyhose work down a bit and are uncomfortable, but they stay up.

How do you know these things?

Oh.  We all have our emergency strategies.

Emergency.

Definitely.

Hmm.  Right.  Thanks.

 

 

poem-turn back time January 7, 2015

In Outlander,

Jamie, the good husband, is always giving his wife, Claire,  good advice.

He gives advice to keep her safe.

Stay here in this clearing, away from the soldiers.

Sage advice.

Stay here in the hold, away from the pirates.

Good counsel.

Claire, a modern woman with a mind of her own, makes her own decisions.

Her decisions often run counter to Jamie’s.

Invariably, Jamie has to bail her out of the trouble she’s landed in,

because she didn’t listen to him.

Today,

my good husband came home for lunch and said,

“Don’t go out there.  It’s treacherous!  I had to put down salt,

to melt the ice on the driveway!”

When he returned to work,

I saw the mail lady come.

I’m expecting a parcel.

There’s salt down.

What’s the worst that could happen?

I stepped on islands made by salt pellets

down our steep drive,

crossed the slippery road, and was within a meter of the mailbox

when I was splayed out on the edge of the road like a frog.

Ah!  So that’s the worse that could happen.

Stay here in the house, away from the ice, he’d said

And after, my good husband didn’t even say,

“I told you so.”

Oh, if I could turn back time!

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DSCN1452  5 hours in Emergency because I have a spiral fracture in my ankle, and apparently orthopaedic surgeon will screw in a plate tomorrow, but at least I don’t have to pay anything for this adventure thanks to Canadian MediCare!

🙂

Outlander is written by Diana Gabaldon.  It’s an amazing historical, time-travel, adventure, romance, amazing novel that you should read.  My husband adores it, and tried to get everyone he knows to read it, as do I.

 

poem- how to find writing ideas September 26, 2014

Filed under: OUTLANDERishness,Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:11 am
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Just

pay

attention.

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I should probably give credit to Diana Gabaldon, who responded to a question about how she knows so much about human interaction. This was her response.

 

poem-ten thousand June 12, 2014

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 5:43 pm
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“No one

in the publishing industry

takes a blog seriously,”

said the presenter

“until it has at least

ten thousand followers.”

I thought about my three hundred

loyal followers and sighed.

I would never manage that.

For six months I thought

about her words, knowing what

WordPress said to do,

and how I wasn’t doing it.

So one April, two weeks

before I gave a social media workshop,

I tested their theories.

In two weeks, 444 followers

became a thousand.

Hmm. I thought.

If I keep doing this,

I could have ten thousand

in a year or so.

So I visited other blogs,

commented, and liked their work.

Introducing myself, and noticing others.

It’s the old mantra

‘the only way to have a friend

is to be a friend.’

and here we are!

14 months later,

ten thousand people

see my posts, leave their comments,

share my words, welcome me into their world

laugh with me

offer suggestions,

and make every day

interesting.

I send ten thousand

thank yous to each of you.

I’m grateful you’ve joined my journey

that you share your lives and your time.

Thank you

Thank you

Thank you.

 

 

poem- junction June 2, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:32 am
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There is an explosion of me

that while not cause for misery

does lend itself to some worry

(as health dictates less mass, you see).

 

While pondering this desperate state

in search of cover, you apparate

into my view and tell me straight

the simple way you’d lost your weight.

 

The fact that you think that I was there

to inspire you is laughable, I swear.

You wish to write and I’m aware

that you will do so, we’re a pair

 

The universe conspires to bring

Strangers together to the thing

that makes the possibilities ring

Opens universal everything.

 

 

 

 

writing- advice I wish I’d had January 13, 2014

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:14 am
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This is a great series worth reading from C. S. Lakin at  Live Write Thrive who  interviewed authors about what they wish they’d known before they started writing their novel.  This link takes you to the final post in the series, so you may want to poke around her blog a bit and read the rest of the series.  It’s a really good source of information for writers.

 

Poem- Dear Sam Heughan July 31, 2013

As previously posted, Sam Heughan has been cast to play the character of Jamie Fraser in Ron Moore’s TV series Outlander based on the book series by Diana Gabaldon.  Here is a bit of friendly advice for him.

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Dear Sam

I am

afraid that the Jamie-philes

will compile more

scary photo-shopped dreams.

It seems that in face of

the depraved 

you are as brave

as your homeland.

So lad,

be glad

of this career boost

But go canny, aye?

They’ll grab that manly thigh

and try to catch your eye,

tear kilt askew

aim for the dagger hilt of you,

and hurdle for the spurtle, too!

Are you up for the ride?

For jokes aside,

Jamie is seriously adored,

these books explored

they touch a chord

with inflamed hordes of fans.

They’ll give you fame

but give them James

Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser

Give them frenzied pleasure.

Be the man the fans adore

and they’ll be yours forever more,

those fanatical fannying fans galore.

Thanks Sam.

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Sincerely,

Fan.

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A little advice for actor Sam Heughan as the devoted fans of Outlander take over his life (and his Twitter feed)

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August 1. 2013 Note:

This poem was the subject of much hilarity and edification on the Twitter feed when it was posted at about 2 a.m. July 31st.  The line following, “Go canny, aye” was originally about a fan reaching for ‘fanny and thigh.’  Diana Gabaldon tweeted almost immediately to let me know that fanny didn’t mean the same thing in UK as it does in North America, specifically that ‘men don’t have one.’ Then the Scots started posting about their amusement of American usage of the term i.e. falling on your fanny is difficult.  I was sent photos of the beverage called Fanny, which confused me a great deal, because if fanny means vagina, why would you name a carbonated beverage that? (answer: “Scots humour”).  Diana also added that there is the term “fannying around” and that was explained to me by various eager tutors as meaning being silly or goofing off (rather than whoring, which might be the more logical assumption).  So obviously I had to alter a few lines of the poem.  Forgetting that the key was rhyming ‘canny, aye?’ (likely due to the posting of Diana’s infamous Jamie butt pumpkin that evening as well) most tried to think of euphemisms for bum.  This was not helpful at all, but was highly entertaining.  With a few keystrokes, the fanny and thighs became ‘manly thighs’ and the ‘fannying fans’ were added to reflect my new knowledge.   By about 5 a.m. Heulighans from the American Eastern seaboard were waking up, and the responses to the Twitter conversation and the poem went wild.   I update this to honour a wonderful night of giggling over the keyboard with Diana and my fellow fans of her work around the globe.

This post received a remarkable number of visitors- over 450 in the day with many, many lovely comments left for me on Twitter and Facebook.  I thank you all.  I consider myself thoroughly educated and well entertained as well.

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If that wasn’t enough awesomeness,

Diana dedicated her August 5th Daily Lines to ME!

(see Shawn swooning in astonishment)   Read those hashtags:

 #ThisOnesForShawnLBird  

#poetess 

 That’s pretty fantastic support for anyone, don’t you think?  She saw some craziness happening, and this was her response.  I am so glad to know her, to have her support, and to learn how to handle social media hysteria by following her example. “The words get into their heads and drive them mad.”  Yup.  Glad I have friends in high places!  With Diana on my side, I feel almost invincible.

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And now this poem is the subject of my very first poem video!  Click to see and hear it! 🙂

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