Shawn L. Bird

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

Writers’ Festival musings May 17, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 4:27 pm
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I’m home after 3 days of hanging out with talented writers, still-not-acknowledging-they’re-writers-but-wishing-to-be, and lots of lovely volunteers, readers, and so on that fill a writers’ festival’s workshops and events.

If you have never attended a writing festival, here’s what goes on at the best of them, in my experience:

  • lots of talking to others at various stages of the writing journey
  • celebrations of writing successes
  • envy of writing successes
  • dreaming of writing successes
  • strategies to develop confident approaches to one’s work
  • strategies to be a stronger writer
  • strategies for selling one’s work
  • opportunities to gain feedback on one’s writing through ‘blue pencil’ sessions
  • inspiration to take the risk of submitting one’s work
  • inspiration to finish projects
  • laughter
  • empty pockets due to book purchases
  • joy at growing one’s signed book collection

A few years ago, Sylvia Taylor told me that the writing life is about reaching down and reaching up.  We share what we’ve learned and pull someone just beginning up to greater skill and confidence.  We sit at the feet of masters and are stretched to grow a little more.  A conference is a great source for this.

Sometimes, conferences yield contracts.  (Surrey http://www.siwc.ca is particularly good for this).

Usually, conferences yield contacts.  New friends and introductions to publishers/agents/editors are not uncommon.

If you haven’t been to a conference, take the leap.  There is something for all levels to learn.  At the very least, being with ‘your tribe’ is a wonderful thing.  Who else can relate to your habit of writing all night?  (Charles De Lint, Diana Gabaldon, and I all write after midnight.  We’re not alone!)  Who else can appreciate the voices in your head that you need to record?  Who else can offer tips and suggestions to move your project along?  Who else appreciates the significance of a ‘send the full manuscript’ in response to a query?  Who else really knows about this mystical journey to make worlds out of nothing but imagination and words?  Where else do you belong?

I took a few things out of this year’s Word on the Lake.  I attended a workshop by Anne De Grace on Writing Critique Groups.  I have wished to be part of such a group for a long time, but hadn’t formulated the vision.  This gave me concrete ideas.  I kept my eyes open, and approached the first person I thought would also find value in such a group and be an asset.  She agreed.  So we will keep our eyes open for a third, and see where it goes.

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poem-lake music August 17, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:49 pm
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A Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival poem

.

They’re dancing at the main stage

Melodies entwining in their hair

Pulses beating with the rhythm

of the musicians everywhere.

 

 

poem- ending May 18, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 5:22 pm
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The skies weep on the airport

bidding melancholy farewell

to the time of aggregation.

On my return drive, troubled skies glower,

containing their tears while

eagles, ospreys, and hawks wheel

on rising wind born of wistful  anamnesis.

At home a beam of sun light

glows at my door, grateful

illumination:

recollecting joy.

.

.

It is always bittersweet on the last day of a gathering, as participants return home.  Graduation celebration, weddings, funerals, conventions, conferences, camp.  The greater the anticipation of the event, the more melancholy the ending.  

I will treasure fond memories of Word on the Lake 2014.  43 hours of conference, anticipated for 572 days = 1.2 days of anticipation per hour of experience! 🙂

Sometimes, the ending remains a clear memory, while the middle disappears.  Do you have any poignant endings that you hold in your heart?

 

 

 

cannibal art May 15, 2014

cannibal art.

I’ll be referencing this in one of my introductions of Diana Gabaldon this weekend.  Workshop? Key note? Banquet? Come to Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival in the Shuswap this weekend and find out which!

 

 

Roots and Blues August 20, 2011

Filed under: Pondering — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:01 am
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Having read all last night, (The Help) and getting only 3 hours sleep before I had to start my day, I’m now sitting here at 11 p.m. having awoken from a five hour nap, listening to the music from the main stage of the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival.

This is quite a lovely festival, with generally well-behaved guests of all ages, who listen to a variety of music from around the world on several stages throughout the day, and settle in for the main stage once night falls.  A significant portion of Salmon Arm comes free as volunteers for one area or another.

This year I am volunteering on the dance stage.  Various  local dance groups are performing a little, and then leading a participation workshop.  We’ve been practising all summer, which is good, because usually we all desperately miss dance between the spring and fall sessions.

Lots of people make up these local festivals, doing all sorts of little jobs.  Our time makes it happen.  Come on and enjoy a day with us!

 

 
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