Shawn L. Bird

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

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!

 

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listen May 24, 2013

I am here

to listen.

I want to savour each word

of the story you create

to make meaning of the world.

I am here

to listen.

I want your words to come

clear on the air

to my ear,

each one a gift.

I want to listen

So speak your passion

in whispers and shouts

enunciated

truncated

dissipated

like leaves in fall

wisked away by wind.

I want to capture each one

so your story

becomes part of my story,

so I can raise my voice

sing my song,

tell my tale.

We share together:

I am;

hear.

.

.

Tonight I was at the Shuswap Association of Writers Coffee House, presented annually in conjunction with Word on the Lake Festival of Readers and Writers.  I heard some amazing writers and poets read, some were easier to appreciate than others.  I like when the poet savours his/her words, and crafts the reading like a performance piece, so you can experience the poem.  I dislike when a poet tosses off meaningless dribble, and then explains it, and the explanation is a better poem than the poem, itself.  Bad form, famous poet, bad form.  There was great stuff to enjoy, though, as there always is.

 

graduate school: it’s in the mail! February 24, 2013

I love learning. I like researching and writing papers. I like developing programs and evaluating them. I like coming up with innovative ways of doing things. I love the satisfaction of successfully meeting a challenge.  In short, I’m a nerd.

This also means, I probably should have applied for grad school years ago. It was first suggested to me by a teaching assistant in a Women’s History course I did back about 1989. At the time, in a one income household with a toddler and baby, it was just something to sigh about and say, “Some day…”

I did apply for an extremely competitive Creative Writing program at an eminent university two years running. They have very, very low acceptance rate, but I figured, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” As it happened, I received the second rejection the same day I got my first royalty cheque from Grace, and somehow that told me that it didn’t matter. Most people enter that program so they can get a royalty cheque. I was ahead without them. I will continue to develop those skills working with amazing authors, attending conferences, reading, and being challenged by my editor and friend, Vikki.

I still want to learn though, and I want the credential, because it will open other opportunities. Today I dropped two grad school applications in the mail. Ideally, I’m going explore the Finnish education system and how it can be adapted for use in B.C. I’ll focus on some sort of curriculum development, either in the traditional class room or via distance learning. Both options offer all sorts of exciting prospects, so I’m eager to see where I’ll end up.

Should I confess that my biggest fear is that if I end up in a program that requires weekend study, that it will impact the May 2014 weekend when Diana Gabaldon will come to be presenter at the Shuswap Association of Writers’ Word on the Lake Festival of Writers and Readers? The grad school will have to do without me that weekend, as I’ve already booked it off! My kids aren’t allowed to get married that weekend either. I have my priorities.

And how should I celebrate this new adventure? Some would raise a drink with friends, or take their honey out for dinner. I’m celebrating with new Vogs, culled from the collection of the ultimate Vogger, Rebecca in Winnipeg.

Welcome to the family Fluevog Second Miracle Cascades…   (See if you can find them in the group photo of Rebecca’s shoes, in the link above!)

FluevogSecondMiracleCascades

 

We are The Borg May 31, 2010

The Shuswap Lake International Writers’ Festival is over for another year.  What a wonderful experience it was!  Last year the SAOW ran a mini festival, but this year they truly outdid themselves.  So many talented, inspiring presenters (too many, perhaps, since you couldn’t possibly get to be in every workshop you wanted to) filled our heads with information, examples, considerations,  ideas, and possibilities.  I know there are a lot more writers in the Shuswap than attended.  How sad to miss such an amazing opportunity on your doorstep!  I’m going to share some tidbits that I took away from various presenters over the next while, so stay tuned!

Today I attended a workshop with the amazing Crawford Kilian (LOVE that name! So distinguished!).   Crawford is a retired Capilano College prof who’s lived all over the world, and is published basically everywhere.  Crawford was speaking about “Techie Tools For Writers.” Essentially he showed the group how to use advanced search functions of Google.  None of this information was particularly new to me, but there is always something to take away from a workshop!  Crawford has an amazing collection of blogs on a wide variety of subjects.  Looking for information on H5N1?  Crawford Kilian is your man.  How about black pioneers in British Columbia?  How to write for the webEnglish tips?  Yes.  Crawford Kilian’s blog is the place to find everything you need.  He is astounding! 

He is also inspiring.  To maintain his many blogs is a labour of love.  They are a mixture of vocation and avocation.  He shows how a good writer uses all the resources available to him, and how being open to new technology brings your words to the world.

After Crawford’s workshop I offered my card to a writer and invited her to visit my blog.  She replied, “Oh, you write for teens so you need to do that stuff.  I don’t do that.  But thank you.”  I am still trying to figure out what she was thinking.  Crawford Kilian doesn’t write for teens.  He writes for every person on the planet.  I’m not writing for teens on my blog.  I’m writing for anyone who’s curious about the things I’m curious about.  I’m writing for anyone who wants to explore ideas and artistic perspective.  I’m writing for anyone who likes something yummy to eat!  We have technology available to us that connects us to the world and gives the world an opportunity to connect to us.  We are The Borg.  We are all part of each other in the new world of internet connectivity.  Writers need to tap the collective consciousness for the symbiosis of mutual productivity.

I’m glad to be here on the net with you, dear symbiotic reader!

 

Words May 28, 2010

Words.

We fill our days with them.  We speak them.  We read them.  They shout at us from billboards.  They whisper at us from between the notes of a song. 

 We celebrate upon a baby’s first words.  We’re empowered when we first read words.  We grieve when a stroke steals words.  We hover around a bedside to hear last words.

This weekend is a celebration of words.  I will be attending the Shuswap Writers’ Festival.  I had just finished Grace Awakening last year when I attended my first writing conference here in the Shuswap.  I thought meeting some professional writers and  mingling with the writing community was bound to be a good experience.  It was all  new. I wasn’t sure what a blue pencil was, and why I’d want to participate in it.  It was enlightening.  Every workshop offered gems.  I hung on the edge of my seat listening to Andrea Spalding share her experiences and work.  Words filled the weekend and led to more words.  On the basis of my experience I was encouraged to be brave  and travel to attend the huge Surrey International Writers’ Festival 5 months later.  That conference  was also phenomenally inspiring and led to some new writing friends and connections.

Now I will be hanging on the edge of my seat again.  What words will be shared this weekend?  Will a book sell?  Will a career launch?  Who will I meet?  What will I learn?   I am eager to meet the professionals and soak up as many of their words as I can.  I’m hoping to hear some encouraging words.

Words are waiting to change my world again.  Whose words willl they be?

 

 
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