Shawn L. Bird

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

poem- grateful December 12, 2017

You can


you do.




You give yourself

in generous helpings,

spinning your blessings

into our blessings

into your blessings

into our blessings.

Oh, I am grateful

for such a



I’m deliriously thankful

to be


this dancing, scribing circle

of joy.



Another one for Diana, whose generousity of time and spirit are an inspiration.

Early in my publishing life, editor Sylvia Taylor spoke at a workshop about the importance of community: how as writers we reach up for guidance and assistance  and we reach down to share benefit of our experience.  I have seen many examples of this in the last decade, to my privilege and joy.  Just this week, on one hand I purchased the book from a writer I’d encouraged at a conference, when this book was a dream, and on the other hand, I received an endorsement for my new book from a best-selling author. It’s a giant circle of support.  We’re each other’s readers, promoters, flag wavers, editors, and shoulders to cry on.  If you’re a writer, don’t sit alone, join a circle! You belong where people *really* understand about the voices in your head! 🙂  I highly endorse writing conferences as being the places to meet.





The beauty of being banged and bruised December 12, 2012

Filed under: fun — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:39 pm
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Here’s a passage from Sylvia Taylor’s The Fisher Queen that particularly struck me:

Everything was bare and spare and hard.  Couple that with almost constant lurching, bouncing and bangs , and enormous amounts of water and slime, and you had a perfect studio for hematoma art with you as the canvas.  Each technicolour lump was brushed with colours from hell’s sunsets: obsidian, aubergine, vermilion, puce.  They were war wounds and medals to display and tell stories about on harbour days.  One thing for certain, fishing was not a good vocation for a hemophiliac or people with bird bones.  (p. 100)

Bird allusions aside, I frequently sport technicolour skin just from walking through my house, let alone bouncing on a rocking boat.

The remark about haemophilia reminded me of  a photo I found quite amusing back when I was an exchange student.  It’s of Czar Alexander fishing at his country house in Langinkoski, which was a few blocks from my 4th host family’s house.  Alexander’s grandson, the famous haemophiliac Alexsi who was under the care of Rasputin, probably could have handled fishing this way.  (Alexander is busily fishing there on the left of the photo… 😉 )


platform June 2, 2012

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:43 am
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At the recent Word on the Lake Festival of Readers and Writers, Sylvia Taylor, former president of the BC Federation of Writers, gave an excellent workshop on developing one’s writing platform.  It’s all about gathering a portfolio of your work to be able to present it to future clients, or for being able to keep track of what you’ve done.  (Proof for Revenue Canada that you take this work seriously, at the very least).

I would write a long blog detailing all the brilliance gleaned at this workshop, but Lee Rawn was there, too, and she has already written an excellent blog about it.  So, I direct you to for all the gritty details.


engineering artistry June 13, 2010

There’s an artist and an engineer on your team.  They have different skills and you need to use both of them!  (Sylvia Taylor)

Sylvia Taylor presented a very practical workshop on editing at the Shuswap Lake International Writers’ Festival, and this quote is from that workshop.  Our very exacting and critical left brain and our very creative right brain can either work against one another or with each other.  This lesson is a very practical one for writers.

In this case, there is an “I” in team, since both members of the team are in our own head. When they’re fighting for our attention, nothing productive happens.  While our right brain is happily thinking up new plots and dialogue, our left brain is telling us our ideas are stupid and forcing us to second guess every line.  Sylvia recommended harnessing the ‘engineer’ of the right brain by doing timed writes.  The engineer is busy keeping tabs on the time, while the artist of the right brain is free to write without disturbance.

Another fabulous way to harness the critical left brain is during the editing process.   If we tell the left brain that it will get its chance afterwards, the right brain can create the story, article or poem, but then we can turn the piece over to the left brain to turn the art into craft: honing in on problems, pruning, improving and generally simply making the right brain’s effort stronger.  Editing is as important as the inventing, and often takes far more time.  Take advantage of your left brain’s skill in this area.

Writing is a team effort, it requires both our inner engineer and our inner artist.  We need to take full advantage of our whole brain to be stronger writers.  Thanks for the inspiring lesson, Sylvia.


Sorry about the shoes Sylvia! June 1, 2010

Filed under: Pondering — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:42 am
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Sylvia Taylor, President of the Federation of BC Writers, has had a life full of interesting adventures and accomplishments.  She is the author of a book about her time on in fishing boat on the Pacific Coast called The Fisher Queen, but tough as she is, she can still be distracted.

And apparently, all through her moderating of the Forum on the State of Canadian Publishing  at the Shuswap Lake International Writers’ Festival she was being sorely distracted by an adorable pair of shoes worn by a writer in the front row.  They were Cute Shoes: very graphic black and white patent leather peep-toes with big buttons, bobbing on the end of animated feet.  They’re the kind of shoes that are busy gossiping things like, “Come be my friend!”  or “I’d love to talk to you!”  or even, “I love your Fisher Queen book, Sylvia!” even while the hands above the feet are busily typing notes about the discussion, and the head is busy processing the information and asking intelligent questions.  Those shoes were not the smart girl with her hand in the air, they were the cheer leader in the back driving the teacher – or moderator – crazy with her giggles.

My shoes.

Sorry Sylvia.

You did a great job moderating.


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