Shawn L. Bird

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

poem- universal messages June 1, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:40 am
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Strangers in the mall.  Abridged.

“Excuse me?

Can I just say, you look beautiful?

You’re so vibrant and joyful!”

“Why, thank you.

I was just told at a writing conference

that I am colorful and songful.”

“Oh yes! What a perfect description! You are!

What writing conference was this?

I’ve always wanted to write!

The universe has brought you to me

to give me this message!”

“I hope you’ll join us next year,

please say hello.  I’ll still look like

this, but hopefully there’ll be less of me.”

“Oh! There’s less of ME!  I just lost 40 lbs,

just walking and cutting out chips.”

“Well done!

Clearly the universe brought you to me today.”



3 levels of story: Donald Maass workshop June 7, 2012

I am beyond excited to be going to Surrey International Writers’ Conference next fall (in 133 days!).   I attended SIWC in 2009 after I’d written Grace Awakening, and successfully pitched it there.  I was a walk in registration on the Saturday that year.  This year,  I registered and paid on the first day I could for the full conference.  As a result, I have appointments with agent Victoria Marini and with Diana Gabaldon!  I’m so excited I can hardly stand it.

In the midst of my excitement, I’m feeling the pressure to be finishing up book 3, Grace Awakening Myth, and getting back to work on Grace Beguiling.  Beguiling is the book I was in France to research in 2011, and it has already had some help from Diana Gabaldon, as she responded to some historical questions about Roman Catholic practice that I’d posted on the Compuserve Writers’ Forum.   I was poking around the Forum today, looking for some interesting conversations and tips, and I came across links to this blog post that is the notes that L. S. Taylor  took at SIWC in a masters’ class by agent Donald Maass in 2011.    Maass handles some serious talent, and I’ve heard him speak before.  This workshop is so full of fantastic stuff that I thought I’d direct you to the link.   I’m going to be chewing on this for a while.  Taylor records, “Fiction that keeps us enthralled works on three different levels at once: the macroplot, the scene structure, and the line-by-line tension. A throbbing beat that keeps us dancing/reading, enthralled.”

Click here to read Taylor’s notes from Maass’s Master Class: Impossible to Put Down: Mastering the Three Levels of Story.  Thanks Laura for taking these great notes and posting them on your blog for us all!


Buddha & ballet January 27, 2012

Filed under: anecdotes,Pondering — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:03 am
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I think, at least, that it was Buddha who said, “When the student is ready, the master appears.” It’s a good observation; however, the master will no doubt have been there all along, but until the student was ready, he had no focus to see him/her.  What if the master is ready, but no student appears?

As a kid, I took ballet lessons from the founder of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet,  Dr. Gweneth Lloyd. Not advanced, pointe work ballet, mind you. Twinkle-toe tots kind of of ballet. I think it was a complete waste of talent for her to have been teaching me. Perhaps others in the class went on to become amazing stars, but not me. Mind you, I can still do the 5 positions, but the discipline of mind and body required by ballet was definitely not mine. I am not of the “No pain, no gain” school. (My particular mantra is “No pain! No pain!” ) I remember her walking through the class, with her bright red lipstick on, stick in hand, prowling to poke at us “Move this, tighten that.” I was rather traumatized by the whole affair.

Then there was the recital. I was a swamp fairy. Unlike the cute flower fairies who got to wear pastels and tutus, the swamp fairies wore dyed khaki green waffle weave underwear. Yes. really. Undershirts and undershorts. Dyed pukey green. They made me go on stage in underwear.  Did I mention that I had a personal seamstress who’d kept me in adorable little outfits since birth?  All that work to learn a choreography only for public humiliation in underwear.  I cried.  I didn’t want to go on stage.  It was not a happy day.  I did dance, of course, because it was a stage, but plainly I’ve never gotten over it.

I did not go onto further ballet studies, which was probably for the best.

There was a master, but I was not meant to be her student.

Explain that one, Buddha.


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