Shawn L. Bird

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

both ears to the ground November 23, 2012

Filed under: Reading,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 8:53 pm
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I appear to be moving through a bit of a fog the last few days, quite drained of energy.  Not sure why, but it’s brought my NaNo efforts (and apparently, also my blog entries) to a screaming halt.

Here’s a token for today, care of Ian Weir’s Daniel O’Thunder which is full of beautiful prose.

It’s to his friends he’s saying things.  He’s saying them in private, but of course nothing stays private for long, does it?  Not in the world we live in, no indeed.  And not when a man keeps his ears to the ground.  Both ears fixed firmly to the ground, Daniel, for this has always been my way.  Consecutively, of course, not simultaneously, which would involve an anatomical impossibility.  (p. 183)

Now, if I think about that, I’m sure I’d have something to say about privacy, humour in literature, narrative voice, or some such.  However, I really feel too blurry for any such contemplations.  Instead, why don’t you tell me what you think?  What does that quote make you ponder?


literary strip tease? November 1, 2012

Filed under: Literature — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:51 pm
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 “…what is it about literary endeavour that strips a man of all dignity?

Ian Weir in Daniel O’Thunder  (p. 73)


NaNoWriMo update: 1670 down, 48,330 words to go


June 19, 2010

Filed under: Literature,Pondering — Shawn L. Bird @ 6:39 am
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It’s odd how you can leave a friend for nine years, then feel surprised when he turns up looking a decade older.  In fact, you feel betrayed, as if he’s aged you along with him, and personally dragged you a decade closer to the grave. (Ian Weir.  Daniel O’Thunder. p. 61)

I chuckled when I read this paragraph. 

I suppose it shouldn’t surprise us that our friends and family members are aging as the years go by.  It’s always a surprise when some young relative appears to have shot up several inches in height, dropped a voice an octave, or turned from girl to woman.  We ponder that we ourselves haven’t changed at all, and yet those kids prove just how much time is going by.

Gathering with old friends also reminds us how time doesn’t matter.  We may not have seen each other in a decade, but the relationships are easy and natural.  Shared history makes an easy link and conversations are picked up as if they were left yesterday. 

Time marches on, but what are we doing with the time?  Are we marching closer to the grave without anything to show for our time here, or are we making the most of the years, leaving a legacy for those who follow?


The readers’ bargain June 10, 2010

Filed under: Commentary,Literature,Reading,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:02 am
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Fine: if you’re still reading, then I’ll trust we have a bargain. You will not judge—and I will tell the truth. Or at least you will withhold your judgement as far as seems humanly possibly—which is seldom very far—and I will tell as much truth as can reasonably be expected from a man—which is seldom as much as one might hope—and between us we’ll do the best we can. (Ian Weir in Daniel O’Thunder p. 8.)

It is an interesting bargain that is struck between writer and reader. The reader agrees to suspend belief, so long as the writer crafts a believable world. The art is taking the reader on a journey of the imagination that stretches so tightly it almost snaps. When the leap is too great, the reader puts down the book in disgust and may not return to it.

Ian Weir’s Daniel O’Thunder is a lovely book. I don’t want to mislead you into thinking it is full of sweetness and light, because it is a dark book full of poverty, murder, shame and the blackness of evil, but it is beautifully crafted. There is poetry in every line. Weir took me on a journey and surprised me.   His narrator, who breaks the literary equivalent of the ‘4th wall’ to address us throughout the novel, is quite an enigma.  Unreliable narrators are so much more painfully realistic than reliable ones!

Weir’s narrator takes us on a journey, that amid the surprises (and a token ending in BC that seemed all about qualifying for grants or awards!) leads to contemplation of evil and spirituality.  He may break the contract (see what you think!) but he’s too interesting for you to be concerned.

What literary  journeys have you had to abandon? What writer broke the contract and made you so irritated that you couldn’t go on?


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