Shawn L. Bird

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

poem-trysts July 15, 2014

Filed under: Poetry,Reading — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:45 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

In quiet corners

obsession lingers

eyes stuck tight

while passion flames.

Wrapped in arms,

stroked, caressed,

paper thin

each moment savoured

with lingering longings

until with sighs,

the last

page is turned.

.

.

.

(Always so sad when a great book comes to an end)

 

poem-reading at the Cracked Pot February 22, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 6:53 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

At The Cracked Pot

three crack pots,

(story pouring

word winders)

read.

Audience fights

coffee makers,

straining ears

to hear,

relaxes with smiles

at trials below amid the coal,

at parking problems,

at teen trouble.

The writers who read have only words

with which to weave a moment

to give a gift, to share

with those gracious ears

filling the chairs.

.

.

Allusion to The Cracked Pot Coffee Emporium in Vernon, which hosted writers Patricia Donahue, Howard Brown, and me this afternoon.  A packed house strained their ears, and it was a lovely time!

 

poem- lit up February 10, 2014

Filed under: Poetry,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:20 pm
Tags: , , , ,

You read

lit up,

laughing.

You read

looking

into the depths.

You read

seeing beyond

what is

to what can be.

You read

lit up

and light me,

too.

.

.

.

(In praise of my wonderful editor, Vikki, who looks at the messes I get myself into, and asks all the right questions to help me find my way again).

 

quote- Stephen King on books December 17, 2013

Filed under: Quotations,Reading,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 8:27 pm
Tags: , , , ,

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
― Stephen KingOn Writing

 

quote-Cassandra Clare on books October 18, 2013

Filed under: Quotations,Reading — Shawn L. Bird @ 6:26 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

   Will grinned. “Some of these books are dangerous,” he said.  “It’s wise to be careful.”

   “One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us…  Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry.”

Cassandra Clare in Clockwork Angel (p. 86)

I’m always so sad when I hear from kids boasting that they’ve never read a book.  They miss so much opportunity to learn and grow!  Readers live thousands of lives, experience diverse perspectives, and make emotional connections with worlds far apart from their own.

What literature and poetry have influenced you?

 

poem- confessions of an addict September 18, 2013

Filed under: Poetry,Reading,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:04 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Someone said,

“Books are a hard-bound drug

with no danger of over-dose.”

Lies.

I am an addict.

I have clutched my paper-bound

or hard-bound drug until

my hands are frozen claws,

I have lost hours of my life

in the blink of an eye,

I opened the cover for

just a few pages before bed,

and blinked up at the dawn light

as the birds mocked outside my window.

I turn pages until my eyes

can not focus,

my lids rasp close,

my arms tremble,

my fingers numb,

my neck kinked,

but still I read on, until

my eyes

close.

I stagger in a stupor

to my bed.

When I am lost to consciousness,

my dreams are vivid,

I wake with an aching head,

the morning after.

I am a book addict.

I know over-dosing

is a danger,

but

the paper smells so good,

the rustle of the pages

is music,

the story is magic,

and I am helpless in

its thrall.

That’s all.

My name is Shawn,

and I am addicted to books.

 

 

interview- blog chain from Jodi McIsaac to Carol Mason September 7, 2013

In August I met the lovely Jodi McIsaac at When Words Collide Writers Conference in Calgary.  I loved her excellent novel Through the Door.   Jodi has invited me to participate in an author blog chain.  She asked me eleven questions. Here are my responses.

1. What do you love about the YA genre?

YA is awesome because it encompasses everything that the teen years encompass- pathos, angst, joy, celebration, challenge, success, energy, dreams, fear, possibility, and hope.  Whether it’s fantasy, sci-fi, horror, adventure, sports, drama, or romance, if it’s YA it has that vital spark of youth.  I love that.

2. What do you hate about it?

I don’t think there’s anything to hate.  It’s so diverse a genre that hating anything seems a bit shallow and pointless.  I do dislike authors who write for a young adult audience like they’re preaching and teaching to idiots.  I know teens are capable of deep thought and understanding.  They deserve a respectful attitude.

3. What was the first story you ever wrote?

I don’t know for sure, but my mother found a story called “Minnow’s Pride” that I’d written in grade three or four.  It was about a pride of lions.

4. What is your favourite mythological creature?

I quite like griffins.

5. Do you write on a regular schedule, or just whenever you can find time for it?

When I have a project on the go, I try to keep a regular schedule of about 6000 words a week.  I aim for 1200 words a day, Monday to Friday, and if I don’t reach that, then I have to have it done by Sunday night.  I tend to write throughout the day in three or four spurts.  I’m most active at night, though.

I’ve also done NaNoWriMo in November.  This involves writing 50,000 words in the month, averaging 1867 words every day.  This is a killer pace!  I prefer Camp NaNoWriMo in July because you can set your own goal.  I chose 28000 words which was much more humane pace for me.

When I’m working on the editing and re-writing I tend to procrastinate a lot.

6. What is your ideal writing space, and how does it compare to what you have now?

I want to write with a view of the lake and hills, but my current windows are too high for a view of the hills visible from the front my house, and my house is about five feet too low for a lake view, so….

I dream of a writing turret set as a third story with a wall of floor to ceiling windows on the front and wrapping six feet along each side.  On the rest of the wall space, I’d like floor to ceiling book shelves.  Following Stephen King’s instructions, the desk will be in the middle of the room.  There will be a comfy arm chair with room for dogs, who will readily climb the spiral staircase with a skill that amazes guests.

I keep mentioning this wonderful writing space to hubby, but so far he has not bought into the brilliance of my plan, hired the architect, or scheduled a builder.  (I do have a friend who’s an architect and my brother is a builder, so I could make this happen with the barest of encouragement…)  😉

Now, I write all over: lying on the couch, at a desk in the living room, in the bath…

7. What is your best strategy for dealing with critical reviews? 

If it’s a reviewer you trust, consider whether there’s any  observations there to take in order to improve the next project.  If there aren’t, and it’s just a matter of the reviewer having different taste or expectations, ignore it and focus on the positive interactions with those who enjoy what you write.  No point dwelling on the negative.  I had one review where the reviewer plainly hadn’t done more than skim the book, because she made several blatantly incorrect statements about the plot.  What can you do?

8. What is your best piece of writing advice for young writers?

Read.  Write.  Read.  Write.  Repeat.

Kids don’t accept the simplicity of that, though, so here’s what I repeat ad nauseum in my English classes to encourage them to do the above:

The words are in the pen.

The act of writing frees the words.

Don’t think: write.

Write crap.

First drafts don’t have to be good, they just have to be written.

Yes.  You can.

9. Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter?

Harry Potter.

10. If you could be one of the characters in your books for a day, who would it be?

Auntie Bright.  (I”m giggling as I type that).

11. Who is your literary hero, and why?

Diana Gabaldon.  She is a brilliant writer, crafts characters so real they are like dear friends, builds relationships with her fans, generously shares her wisdom with new writers, and encourages excellence.

.

And now onto the next person in the literary chain! Let me introduce you to Carol Mason,  best-selling author of The Love Market, Send Me A Lover,  and The Secrets of Married Women.  The books are published in more than thirteen countries and available in more than nine languages.   I met Carol at the Surrey International Writing Conference where she was presenting a workshop on writing a good pitch.  She coached me through the writing and polishing of mine.  Her advice was so good the publisher requested  three chapters.  Carol is from Britain, but lives in Vancouver, BC now.

1. What inspired you to begin writing?

2. How does being a British ex-pat living in Canada impact your writing?

3. In your own books, who is your favourite character?  Why?

4. What author has inspired you?

5. You frequently write about your travels on your Facebook page.  What is your most memorable travel story?

6. Do you have a favourite writing quotation to share?

7. What do you like about writing for ‘women’s fiction’?

8. What has been the most interesting thing that has happened to you because you are an author?

9. Which of your books was the easiest to write?  Why?

10. Which of your books was the most difficult to write? Why?

11. I remember you telling me that someone broke into your house and stole your computer, and the two completed novels on it.  Was losing those works a blessing or a curse in the long run?

Now stay tuned to see how Carol replies!  I’ll provide a link when she does!)

 

living a dream with Diana Gabaldon July 12, 2013

Sam Heughan Headshot - P 2013

Sam Heughan is already charming Outlander fans and schmoozing with them via Twitter. Things are only going to get better from here for this youthful tri-athlete actor!

For the last week, I have had the privilege of being a fly on the wall as an author has a dream come true.  The Starz network signed Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series last spring, and has finally begun casting.  This week her lead character, Jamie Fraser, was cast, and the role went to Scots actor Sam Heughan.

With typical enthusiasm Diana shared her excitement  over his audition tape with her Facebook followers:

She observed how she started watching the audition tape, “and five seconds later, Sam Heughan’s GONE, and so am I.  It’s Jamie Fraser, right there in front of me, moving, talking.  One of the biggest thrills ever.”

Talk about understatement!

Of course, not everyone is able to visualize Diana’s quite explicit descriptions of what Jamie looked like at age 22 in the first Outlander book, and those people leapt up complaining about Sam’s physique, his hair, etc.  Diana firmly and unequivocally put them in their place.  (A hilarious blog about the whole storm  on Thatsnormal.com if you want the details)

Meanwhile, Diana took to Twitter and started messaging Sam Heughan (like many in the Outlander world!) Sam is embracing the enthusiasm of his army of new fans and he and Diana are carrying on a public flirtation for the whole world to see.

I am so thrilled for her.  I suppose this is how Stephenie Meyer felt when Rob Pattison was cast to become Edward in the Twilight movies.  Bad makeup and a low budget probably couldn’t kill her buzz either.  I’m sure when Charlaine Harris first saw Anna Pasquin bring Sookie Stackhouse to life she was equally thrilled (Sookie be damned, how about the perfect choice of Joe Manganiello to be  Alcide Herveault?! Be still my heart!).  Both Twilight and the Sookie Stackhouse series took some serious deviations from the original plots.  No matter.  How amazing must have been those first halcyon days when the incarnate word was made flesh!

Starz has a budget and a social media savvy author who is sharing her excitement with a legion of fans.  The buzz is amazing.  On one hand, I feel very sorry for all the companies over the years that optioned the rights to make a movie or TV series out of this story and then had them lapse before funding could be put together.  Foolish money men.  You will see what you missed!  On the other hand, I think Tall Ship Productions and Ron Moore are going to do Diana’s work proud.  They know very well that rabid fans are going to be unforgiving if they screw up Diana’s story!

The absolutely best part of this, what has me grinning constantly and bouncing around my house, has been the fun of watching Diana in the absolutely giddy excitement of seeing her character come to life.  I can hardly wait until she gets to go on set and meet all the cast!

Some day, perhaps, I’ll get to see my Grace, Ben, Marco, and Alex become flesh.  In the meantime, I’m living vicariously through Diana, and I’m enjoying every minute!

Diana on Sams audition

 

Poem-book journeys July 11, 2013

Filed under: Poetry,Reading,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 7:30 pm
Tags: , , ,

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ve travelled roads I’ve never walked

Leapt chasms I’ve not seen

Met madmen, trolls, and dreamers, and

watched lovers, lairds and queens.

I’ve journeyed to the future, friend

and I’ve explored the past

I’ve heard the thoughts of robots, dogs,

slaves, aliens and rats.

I’ve been around this great wide earth

and fantastic worlds, too

I’ve lived a thousand lifetimes, and

I’ve swum in oceans blue

A magic travel agency’s

in pages if you look.

Explore lives you’ve not imagined,

Come sit  and read a book.

 

new library locks April 22, 2013

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:34 am
Tags: , , ,

In the four hours

I spent

trying fruitlessly

to load a library book

on my new e-reader,

I could have driven

to the library

taken out the book,

read it,

and returned it.

.

.

I have a new e-reader, since my Sony died this weekend.  The Kobo Glo is quite sleek and light weight and the screen is fantastic.  However, it does not seem to want to transfer library books.  I’m feeling a trifle grumpy with Kobo today, despite the fact that they show all my books in their catalogue and on preview. (Though some as Shawn Bird and others as Shawn L. Bird- what’s with that?).  Anyone have a secret method of getting library books to transfer?  I”m using Adobe Digital Editions, and I’ve tried dropping and clicking files from my download location to the Kobo, which worked with all my existing e-library, but didn’t with the new library book. Suggestions?

 

 
%d bloggers like this: