Shawn L. Bird

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

on being thoroughly mused June 30, 2013

For Outlander author Diana Gabaldon:



were not

just kissed

by the muse,

Diana, huntress,

goddess of the moon.

You were ravaged.

You were embraced;

your buttocks clutched

and hoisted high,

as the muse impaled you,

roughly pierced your soul,

raised hairs the whole length of you.

Seized by such  divine  inspiration,

you stretched, back arching,

and received the pulsing

thrusts of






















that  called forth

rippling quivers,

left you heaving,



and pregnant

with story.


Diana muse


This post began with a random comment made on Diana Gabaldon’s Facebook page yesterday, and here we are!  My first erotica!  ((blush))  lol


For those who wondered, yes, Diana has seen this, and I even have a recording of her laughing lustily about it, as we were wrapping up our blue pencil at SIWC 2013. 🙂  Her comment, should you not be able to read the image is, “Wow! That’s a GREAT poem Shawn! I’m truly honoured #mindIusuallyhavetodomoreofthework”


In August 2013 she dedicated her Daily lines to me:


The daily lines in question can be read here:

And if you’re a fan of Outlander and are now watching the TV series, you may enjoy the poem Dear Sam Heughan from August 2013 when Sam was first cast to play Jamie:  Diana has seen this one as well, and coached me through some necessary vocabulary alterations (see notes at the end). 😉


author take aways video October 28, 2012

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 8:29 am
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After the Surrey International Writers Conference, while people were packing up, Michele asked writers what they were taking away from the event.  I am in the video at 4:41 after ‘noted author Sam Sykes,’ who is apparently stunned at being groped by an old lady.  For the record: it wasn’t me.



literary wedding August 13, 2012

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:03 pm
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I’m still thinking of weddings and anniversaries!  Yesterday our niece Sara married Mario in a simple backyard ceremony.  Congratulations,  you two!  We were unable to attend due to my high school reunion, but apparently it inspired some writing.  That’s the thing about real life.  It tends to show up in our writing, though often with extensive imaginary embellishment!

A month or so back, I posted the start of a story called 479 which is set at a wedding.  I asked for some suggestions.  I also learned that if by any chance I wanted to enter the piece in a short story competition at SIWC I can’t post the rest of it.  So…

I did finish manage to finish it yesterday, though.  So if you’re wondering what happens in the next 1500 words, I will tell you that there are two fires, a murder, a hidden room, and a polygamist involved.  For the rest of details, you’ll just have to wait until October 23!

(I did say extensive imaginary embellishment!) 🙂


inspiration August 1, 2012

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:16 pm
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I have been asked to do a reading and discuss the inspiration behind my writing with a group of seniors.  That has me pondering a bit.

I have a lot of inspirations.  There’s a common “be careful or I’ll put you in my novel” sort of thing with novelists.  It’s true that there are several plot elements that reflect events going on around me.

For example, when my Communications 12 class was regaling me with some of their more foolish adventures, they described the infamous time that one of them had leapt from the top floor down into the open atrium below- some 20 feet.  That  became a scene in the book.  An evil character leapt to attack Grace.  At the end of the semester when they convinced me to read it to them, the young man in question laughed and shouted, “That’s EXACTLY what happened!” even though I had merely taken the fact of the jump, and imagined how it would play out.

One scene happens at a wedding.  The events described are true.  I attended that wedding, and experienced that strange radar.  The context of the event is different, as it fits into the story to explain something about a character.

Of course, I’ve already explained to you the germ of truth behind the concert scene.

Then there is the whole use of mythology, which came after reading Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, and realising that  incorporating mythology solved all my plotting  issues.

What about the inspiration to actually sit down to write?  That was that niggling saying, “Those who can, do.  Those who can’t, teach.”  That aphorism has ticked me off for years.  Finally I thought, “Well then, I guess I’d better ‘do’ and prove it wrong!”

So many inspirations!

  • personal experiences
  • stories from others
  • desire

To be honest though, there is something more than all of that.  It’s as if the characters needed to live, and they asked me to record their voices.  They came into my breath and became part of my world.




on the muse… April 10, 2012

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:31 am
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When the muse is dancing,
one plays her a tune.

Just thinking about inspiration.  I try to keep my teaching work at school.  I treat the job as ‘9 to 5’ and mark and prep after school.  I try to never bring any marking home with me, mostly, I confess, because there are so many other distractions at home that I’d never look at it.

Writing, however, is a different thing.  I’ll have ideas simmering on the back burner most of the time, but when I sit down and the words are coming, sometimes it is impossible to shut them off.   I might be stuck, writing frantically for hours.  If I don’t, then the words will still be pouring out, while I’m lying in bed.  There is no sleeping at such times.

So my metaphor is explained.  When the muse is dancing, one must play her the tune, because she will keep dancing one way or another.  If you don’t capture her inspiration, it will carry on without you.


write the magic February 15, 2012

Filed under: OUTLANDERishness,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:48 pm
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Little things kind of reveal themselves to me in the (process of) writing. A lot of people think that magic happens when you write, and it does, but they think, “Well you must be struck by inspiration, this magic bolt hits you and then you just sit down and … it must just pour out of you.”  Well no.  First you work and then the magic happens, if you’re lucky.  (Diana Gabaldon podcast Episode 3: The “Kernel Process”)

You have to write to find the words.  I tell my high school students to “think with your pen, not your brain.”  It’s an odd concept at first, but once the pen is moving (or the keyboard is clicking), the words tend to find their way onto the page (or screen).  If you wait for the thunderclap of inspiration, you’ll never get the words.  If you sit, ready to work, they flow by themselves.  Perhaps there won’t be thousands of them, perhaps they won’t all be brilliant, but there will always be something that you can use, even if only as a jumping off point for something else.

Think with your pen, not your brain.  That’s where the real magic is.


catalyst December 23, 2010

Filed under: Grace Awakening,Pondering — Shawn L. Bird @ 3:47 am
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In science, a catalyst causes a reaction in other substances without being used up itself.  In history, a catalyst is the precipitous event that causes other events to unfold.

Sometimes people we meet have a great impact on our lives.  While we are changed in amazing and dramatic ways, their lives go on much as before we met them.  

The impact can be positive. Perhaps the person was a teacher who inspired us to believe in ourselves.  Perhaps it was a celebrity who had a dramatic weight loss.  Perhaps it was an author whose words transformed our morals.

The impact could be negative, though.  Perhaps a stranger spoke cruel words that led to rash decisions.  Perhaps following a celebrity’s high life, we were led into alcohol and drug abuse.  Perhaps bullying leads to suicidal depression.

In all cases, the person is blissfully ignorant of the results of his or her interaction with you.  Will you tell him or her?  Will you put an ad in the paper or post a poem on a wall to announce it?   Will you write poetry? a novel?  blog entries?

If you’re a writer, you probably will.  Send the person a letter and let them know.  Teachers love to get those letters, I know.  Authors toiling with their typewriters are eager to distract themselves from their writer’s block with a return note to you.  Everyone likes to be appreciated.

Now consider, if  small throw-away encounters can change your life, how much more can years of encouragement and highly charged encounters influence you?   How much can you influence others with loving attention and respectful interaction year after year?


The power behind change: for better or worse.


beguiling August 22, 2010

Filed under: Grace Awakening,Pondering — Shawn L. Bird @ 7:11 pm
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I’m just thinking about the way we sometimes get attached to things that are not good for us. Something tantalizes us and we are drawn, perhaps against our common sense, perhaps completely innocently. Suddenly we are trapped as attachments glue us firmly to the thing that beguiles us.

It might be a person we fall for. It might be a substance. Others can look at us and see the dangers. We are blind to them in the immersion of our delight as the endorphins of discovery flood our senses.

Our intoxication might destroy us, as alcohol, cigarettes and heroin break down those who adore them.  In a short time or a long time their impact is always negative.  However, what beguiles us might benefit us.  While it might fill us with a gleeful obsession for years, it may also act as muse, fueling dreams and imaginings.  So while others only noticed irritating dangers looming over us, some take the danger, celebrate it, and turn it into something beautiful.

Petrarca’s obsession is a case in point.  Sure his adoration of Laure endured for decades, well past the time she was moldering in her crypt in Avignon.  The poetic expression of his obsession has lasted even longer, coming onto seven centuries.    Petrarca prayed to be released from it, to be free to focus his adoration on his God.  The writings at the end of his life suggest he felt he reached the stage of relief eventually, but thankfully the hundreds of poems about her remain as a testimony to the benefits of obsessive adoration and addiction to an ideal.


Layer a shimmy onto your life May 24, 2010

Filed under: Pondering — Shawn L. Bird @ 4:52 am
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In belly dance, as you advance in skills, it becomes time to start layering. It’s not enough that your hands are zilling a rhythm while your arms are making a pattern, your chest is moving in one pattern, your hips are moving in a different pattern, and your legs are traveling you around your dance area, perhaps with a few kicks thrown in for emphasis. No. To all that you must add a shimmy.

You’d think that there would be quite enough movement without needing anything else, wouldn’t you? Truthfully, if you were watching a dancer who was using terrific technique, you’d be unable to take your eyes off her if she was doing all that. However, if another dancer came in, doing all the same moves but layering the shimmy on top, you would notice the difference. You’d see that all the other great moves, complicated though they are, were intensified and polished with the addition of that shimmy.  Those vibrating hips would make you smile, lean in closer, and sigh with delight.

Although a shimmy can be an exhausting move, it is possible with discipline to train it to go on auto-pilot. When a shimmy is on auto-pilot the whole dance changes, because it can go everywhere.   It adds a vivacity and intensity to your dancing when a shimmy is  layered on top.

Life is just the same.

No matter how much we’re doing in our day, if we layer on a little shimmy, everything is improved. A little extra physical activity, a little pep, a little sparkle that captures some extra enthusiasm makes all the difference in our own day, but can also improve the day for others we meet.  If we shake things up by adding a little extra effort, eventually that’s our norm, like a shimmy on auto-pilot, and everything we touch becomes more vibrant because of it.

So go ahead. Layer a shimmy on everything in your life and see what happens!


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