Shawn L. Bird

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

CHEESE! May 29, 2011

Cheesy Write gift basket from Sedo's Old Fashioned Butcher and Deli

Each year at the Shuswap Writers’ Festival they offer a story start for a Cheesy Write that must be deposited in the basket about 28 hours after the opening of registration. The winner is announced at the Storytelling event on Saturday evening. The writing is supposed to be ‘cheezy’ and the prize reflects this.

Tonight Kay Johnson announced, “I’m glad this year the winner of the Cheesy write is actually in attendance to receive the prize. Shawn, come on up!” Yeah!! I won last year, but I was late arriving and so the prize was given to someone else.

This year was a murder mystery start, and the selection had to provide clues and solve the murder. I had a notion of what I wanted to do with it, so I took lots of notes at the Friday night coffee house, and incorporated things we learned about the writers and their stories in my piece.

You know, I got compliments for this doggerel from a Governor General Literary Award winner.  Gotta love Writers’ Festivals!   😉  One wins $25,000; another wins a basket of cheese, but a win is a win.  lol  It’s nice that people got the jokes and had a giggle.

Here it is, for your confusion and/or amusement:

2011 Cheezy Mystery Write:

We hear there’s been a murder and we’re not sure yet whodunit
So let’s consider options and hope that there’ll be some fun yet!
John Pass might take the Higher Ground, so it’s a bit far fetched
To imagine a GG nominee could murder is quite a stretch!
And that eliminates Annabel because she made the GG short list
And also clears GG prize winner, amazing Wendy Phillips.

There’s some suspicious folks among the nudes at Burning Man
So Deanna’s worth some pondering, but first let’s get another scan
Wait! What is that object lying on the boardwalk over there?
Oh my! A tattered playing card of a lady who’s quite bare,
Across her chest’s an invitation to a “Come Naked” pot luck dinner
Taking place on Galiano*, among the family friendly sinners

The sleuths picked up the card and noticed tiny print-
The dead man is a lawyer. “Ah ha!” they shrieked, “A hint!”
Now who would kill a lawyer? They pondered by the lake
Nancy said, “Apparently almost everyone would like to plunge a stake
Into their heartless chests!” There is nothing there to beat
The rhythm like what throbs from Ken Firth’s drumming seat
“That’s it,” they called, “we’ve solved it! The lawyer’s heart was taken
To provide Ken’s powerful rhythm, unless we’re much mistaken!”

* this is actually an error-

The ‘family friendly nudes’ were in Desolation Sound with Grant Lawrence, not on Galiano Island…  Luckily I wasn’t penalized for errata!


Whoo hoo! I won! May 30, 2010

How delightful to be a winner of the Shuswap Lake International Writers’ Festival Cheesy Suspense Quick Write Contest. 😀

These are a fun part of writing conferences. The committee prepares an opener, and participants can create a 80 word or less ending to the story in either prose or poetry.

OPENING: It is a wild and stormy night on Shuswap Lake. No one in their right mind should be out in this. Wait! What was that? A lightning flash caught a movement on the beach! Who, or what, could it be? Whatever it was seemed to be pulling something heavy towards the water. The next lightning flash showed only an empty beach. Maybe I should investigate…


The heavy thing splashes
Like manuscript ashes
While that thing on the beach
Is extending its reach.

In the storm a crowd gathers
And houseboat slosh lathers
The shore, when another bright flash
Shows the victim making a dash
From the whole Shuswap Watershed commission
wielding a thick anti- Smart Centre petition.

Who’s the guy fleeing the party?
I would swear it was Marty…

Apologies to those who are not local and are missing the humour! 😉 Marty is our mayor and voted for a WalMart Smart Centre to be built in a sensitive Watershed area. It’s a bit of a hot issue in the Shuswap these days! This entry should have won me a gift basket of gouda cheeses apparently. Unfortunately, since you had ‘to be present to accept your prize’ and I was having dinner with a publisher when they announced the winners, I get the accolades but not the yummy prize.    2nd place Brenda Melnachuk got to take home the cheese. Well, I may get a better prize out of a wonderful evening. We’ll just have to wait and see.


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