Shawn L. Bird

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

quote- word spirit May 22, 2017

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

Speaking of how the Dalai Lama can fill a stadium of people to hear him speak, Desmond Tutu observed,

It’s not the words.

It’s the spirit behind the words.

(in The Book of Joy.)

When I read really great writing, I sense the ‘something’ that takes it from good to phenomenal.  I was recently judging poetry, for example, and for most pieces, it was easy to set them aside as pretty words to something worth a second look.  Others grabbed me and were set in the possible winner pile.  My co-judges ended up with piles that included the same pieces.  They were special.

I just spent the weekend at the Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival in Salmon Arm.  I have reached the place in my writing where I have many skills.  I am shortlisted for many competitions. But I often feel that ‘something’ is missing, and judges must too, since I have never won a first.  What is it?  This is the year I’ve been specifically searching for the answer.  Through the course of the weekend, I found a familiar refrain through many workshops.   The universe was answering my question.

It’s about intention.

We need to know WHY we’re telling the story.  We need to know the audience and we need to know why we’re telling the story to THAT person (different things, possibly).  Knowing these things puts a point of focus on the work that can elevate its power.

So I have this newfound knowledge in my pocket, and the next day, Desmond Tutu tells me this.  It’s the spirit behind the word.  What is that if not intention? I think personality is spirit, but fundamentally, it’s about intention.  The Dalai Lama’s intention is spreading peace, love, and acceptance.  It’s the spirit of the words he speaks, and the truth behind his intention resonates deeply within those who hear him.  I’m not sure, precisely, how to do this, but I am fairly certain that like dealing with addiction, acknowledging it is the first step.

 When the universe has a message for you, it can get quite insistent.

Well then.

Let’s begin.

Advertisements
 

lyrics-Skye Boat Song August 5, 2014

Filed under: OUTLANDERishness,Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:15 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

My Outlander theme lyrics to Skye Boat Song:

.

Called through the stones and carried ‘cross time

Voyaging far from home

All she has known is gone and she roams

Lost beneath Scotland’s pines.

Centuries part

Where is her heart?

Two hundred years away

Two men to love

Prayers to above

Whose love will she betray?

Carried through time, she’s called through the stones

Where will she make her home?

Highland wars loom

they’re leading to doom

Destiny knows its own 

 Centuries part

Where is her heart?

Two hundred years away

Two men to love

Prayers to above

Whose love will she betray?

Third verse, harp only

Repeat chorus with harp to end.

(c) Shawn L. Bird

.

Starz has released the first episode of Outlander, and with it, Bear McCreary’s theme song based on The Skye Boat Song.

I might be going against the current here, but I really don’t like those lyrics  Horrendous.  Grammatically cringeworthy.  I mean seriously, “Say could that lass, be I”  ARGGGGGGGGG!!!  It hurts me.  It really does.  Not to mention they’ve stuck “Skye” in there, and Claire never goes to Skye in the books.  He has feminized Robert Louis Stevenson’s lyrics to the tune, I understand, but there was no need to do that.

I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is when I complain about something, so here is a poem that fits with the tune of the Skye Boat Song and also reflects the story of Outlander.  What’s more, I think it is a better fit for the romantic tone and the essential conflict of the story.  Nothing about Skye, and the grammar is correct.

If Starz wishes to replace their lyrics for the next season, I am delighted to offer these.  Feel free to send them a link and encourage the idea! 😉  If you’re from Starz, you can find my agent is listed on my About page.  Drop her a line, she’ll be delighted to negotiate something.

.

.

Blooper lines:

Centuries part

Where is her heart?

Will she get back to Frank?

Though she is torn

Jamie she’ll mourn

but he is known to spank

PS.  I made a video of myself singing and playing the harp (I’ve never been coordinated enough to do that before!  How exciting!)  The dogs got up and left the room, their ears twitching on the high notes.  I listened to the video and apologized to them.  Plainly, G is not my key.  Yikes! So, while I assure you that this works beautifully, I may have to learn it in another key before I try to demonstrate .  😉  In the meantime,  click to play on the video, then scroll up to sing along yourself.  Hopefully G is YOUR key. 😉

.

 

title as theme September 28, 2011

When my high school English students are struggling to figure out the theme of a novel they are exploring, I always suggest that they take a good look at the title.  Most of the time, the title distils the essential element of the story.  This is certainly the case in each book of the Grace Awakening series.

Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks this way.  According to Poynter, in 1962 songwriter Johnny Mercer was asked whether lyrics or music begin the songwriting process for him.  He replied,

First — the title. That encompasses the grand idea, the crux of the obsession, the thought; it all goes into that … that’s what hits first, that’s what’s way back in your mind brought together in sharp focus; the title hits like a bullet, and if it’s right, then you have it, all of it, ready to go, in a succinct package — all the crazy, unconscious groping has merged into something real. … A title sends me. Is it the title that comes first? Or is it all of the inside of you that has produced the title, and suddenly you recognize it, and you think there it is — and from there you go. When a title occurs — I have begun.

I have to say that when I began Grace Awakening, I had the feelings conveyed in youthful poetry and some nostalgia.  I started writing about the feeling and imagining a scenario that went with it, but it wasn’t long before Grace introduced herself, and once she had, the title arrived soon after.  The feeling scene that started the book was edited out rather early on, as Grace herself pulled the story in a different way than I originally intended, but from the first week, Grace awakened to herself, and her dreams held the key.

 

 

 
%d bloggers like this: