Shawn L. Bird

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

I think I can… I think I can… November 12, 2012

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:22 pm
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Today, day 12 of NaNoWriMo par is 20,000 words.

This morning I had under 16,000, but if I don’t get caught up now, I’ll only get further behind.   So today’s blog post is compliments of the inspiration of The Little Engine that Could:



The day 12 report:

midnight: 15,674

noon:   16, 326  words

1:18 pm: 16,436  (110 words in 80 mins?  Seriously?  One and a half words a minute?  At this rate it’ll take days!  ARG!)

1:42 pm: 16,680 (a bit better!)  250 words in 24 minutes. 10 words a minute.

3:13 pm: 17, 495 (took a bit of a break there, ech hem).

4:00 pm 17,934

4:24 pm 18,314

5:11 pm 18,768

5:51 pm 19,071

6:00 pm 19, 260

6:20 pm 19,617

6:40 pm 20,087!

YEEEE HA!  Just in time for me to make it to the meeting of the Shuswap Association of Writers where I get to announce that Diana Gabaldon had agreed to attend the 2014 Word on the Lake Festival of Readers and Writers! 🙂


Alex pays a visit to Calgary November 9, 2012

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 5:05 pm
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Another snippet of Grace Awakening Destiny (book 4 in the series), the project that I’m working on for NaNoWriMo.  Ben is narrating.


Ryan and Paul were lounging on the couch setting up for a Star Wars marathon.

“Do we go old school and watch chronologically by creation, or by watch them in story order?” Ryan asked, fanning the DVDs.

Paul shrugged.  “I vote for story order.  Do you care, Ben?”

I turned off the popcorn maker and stirred in the butter, “No, that’s fine.”  I just wanted them distracted.  Paul had been watching me suspiciously since he’d found me stepping out of glowing light into a U of C toilet.

The movie started and they sat mesmerized, even though they had probably watched the story a hundred times already.

I checked the pizza, but it wasn’t quite ready yet.

Ryan was reciting lines along with the actors.

It was a comforting familiarity.  Everything was fine in their world.  It was kind of soothing.  Ryan didn’t have anything to worry about beyond picking up cute girls and Paul’s greatest worry was…  Well, I guess I was probably Paul’s greatest concern at the moment.  How was I going to distract him from that?  I reached into the oven to pull out the pizza.

The door bell rang.  Ryan glanced over, saw that I was busy, and said, “I’ll get it.”

There was a murmur of voices.

“Come on in, then.”  I heard him say, “We’re watching a movie marathon.”

I walked into the room with a pizza in each hand.

“Hey, Ben.”

I stared, eyes glued to his until the heat from the pizza pan started burning through the oven mitts.  I hastily set the pizzas on the table while Paul and Ryan looked curiously between the newcomer and me.

Ryan said hesitantly, “He said you know him?”

I grunted, “Oh, yeah.  I know him.”  I stared, eyes narrowed.

“Come on, Ben. Don’t be such an ass.”  He strolled over to the couch and sat down in my place.  He nodded to Paul, “Hi.  I’m Alex.”

Ryan glanced over to me.  I spun on my heels and went back into the kitchen.  I’d try to hit him if I stayed in the room.  That would not be a good thing.

I heard Ryan ask, “So how do you know Ben?”

“We go way back.”  Alex laughed in a way that caused the sensation of  insects running marathons up and down my spine.

“So are you family? old friends?”

Alex chortled, “Something like that.  Pass the pizza.  Old Ben was always fond of the Italian food.”

I breathed deeply, fighting to get my temper under control.  He had to be here just to drive me crazy.  If so, he was probably thoroughly enjoying my reaction.  I needed to get a grip on myself.  I was just too sensitive where Mars and Alexandros were concerned.

I took four cans of Coke out of the fridge and dropped the cans on the coffee table.  Alex leaned forward first, snapping the ring with his thumb.  He poured half a can down his throat, belched, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and asked, “So, where are your ladies tonight?”

Ryan and Paul looked at each other and then over to me.

I looked at Alex, ignoring them.

Ryan said, “Paul’s girlfriend, Georgia, is babysitting.  I’m between girls at the moment.  Ben’s girlfriend is…”

“Stop it, Alex.” I interrupted.  “You know damn well where Grace is.  What the hell is going on?  Why are you here?”

“What?  I can’t drop in on an old friend?  Shoot the breeze?  Enjoy some of Lucasfilm’s great artistry?”  He smirked, enjoying the success of his bait.

“No one says ‘shoot the breeze’ these days.  Get your vernacular correct.”

Paul snapped his eyes over to us.

Alex laughed.  “Whatever.  I’m not trying to blend in with the locals.”

“Oh?  What are my friends?”

Alex raised an eyebrow and looked over to Ryan and Paul.  “Oh!  I just presumed…”  He looked back at me and whispered, “They don’t know?”


“But we want to.” Paul said.

“Want to what?” asked Ryan, looking completely confused.  “What are you talking about?”

“No, Paul. He’s not telling you anything.”

Alex grinned.

I scowled.  “You are not.  Do you hear me?  My friends.  My rules.  They are not going to be endangered.”

“They won’t be.”  His grin was devious.  “Not really.  You know that you need all the help you can get.”

“We’d love to help,” said Paul.

“Help do what?” asked Ryan, without taking his eyes off the screen.

“I don’t need help.”

Alex laughed.  “Actually, you do.  They sent me to warn you.”

Paul studied him.  “Who sent you?”

Alex returned Paul’s curious look and then turned to me.  “I like this one.  He’s eager.”

“The eager ones are always the first ones to die,” I muttered.

Paul got a funny look on his face.

Alex nodded.  “Well, that’s true enough, but they do it with such enthusiasm.”

I sighed.

Ryan glanced over at me and then back to the screen.  “Who’s going to die?”

“Me, apparently.”  Paul said.  “How exactly am I going to die?” he asked Alex, conversationally.

Alex shrugged.  “It could go any number of ways, really.  Torn apart by monsters. Impaled by a spear.  Sliced open by a sword.  Exploded.  Drowned.  There’s no predicting, I’m afraid.”

Paul looked at me.  “What is he talking about?”

I shook my head.

“He’s crazy, right?”

“I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised.” I said.



NanoWriMo Day 9 total: 1519   (November Total 12,799)


NaNoWriMo begins… October 31, 2012

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 8:00 pm
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November is National Novel Writing Month.  Participants in NaNoWriMo are challenged to write 50,000 words  of a novel throughout the month and keep track of their output on a central site.  1667 words per day.

The NaNo team sends you a calendar and encouraging emails.  If you have friends doing it, you can watch each others’ stats, in order to nag or cheer each other.  You can find other writers in your area by writing in a central location.  They suggest libraries or independent book stores.  I have decided our local McDonalds offers the best hours and space, but I haven’t managed to ask them if they’d like to officially participate! (This would involve putting up a WRITER AT WORK sign and leaving us alone).

If you work full time and have several activities that fill your free time, getting 1667 words per day offers some serious challenges.  But you want to WIN, so you make the effort!

Winning at NaNoWriMo means you reached that magic number.  You succeeded in pounding out 50,000 words.  You get to feel the thrill of accomplishment that comes from a sustained, anguished effort to force your muse to be at the top of her game every day, inspiring you to a hitherto unimagined production of words…

I will be hosting NaNoWriMo in my class room throughout November.  During lunch hours students will be welcome to come and write along with me.  Of course, 30 mins of time is not likely to equal 1667 words, but it should be quite possible to regularly reach 1000 words .  33 words a minute seems far more plausible that 56 words a minute for some reason.  Maybe because while I can type at 60 words a minute, doing it for 30 minutes suggests a need for support staff and a lot of caffeine.  But it’s possible.

What might NOT be possible while doing NaNoWriMo is creating brilliant blog posts every day.

I may post samples of what I’m writing, or forward the odd bit of brilliance that comes my way.

I may go through my files of quotes I’ve found in my reading, and share them.

I might find time to go through my SIWC2012 notes, tidy the phrases into sentences and get one posted now and then.

Or I might not.

Be patient with me, dear reader.  I am diving off the deep end, and I may not come up for air until hubby’s big birthday on the 30th.


Modern pict, in miniature June 11, 2012

Filed under: anecdotes,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:40 pm
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NB.  Beaufort is pronounced Byoo-furt in this one.

Just a snap shot in words.


“Beaufort T. Scott!  Is that your mama’s blue eye shadow all over your face?” Sadie looked again and rammed her hands onto her hips, elbows jutting out menacingly.  “And why on Earth are you wearing your sister’s skirt?

“It’s not a skirt!  It’s a kilt.  Kilts are for men.  Mama says so!”  He thrust his tongue out to emphasize the point.

“It’s a gingham skirt with a calico ruffle, Beaufort.”

His lower lip quivered.  “It’s a kilt!”

Joline’s kitten pounced by, narrowly missing a lucky grasshopper.  Beaufort bent over to examine it, demonstrating that he was wearing his ‘kilt’ in the traditional manner.

Sadie raised an eyebrow.  “Careful that cat doesn’t reach up and slice off your privates.”

In alarm, the little boy swooped up the cat and dangled it protectively over the privates in question.

Sadie bit back a laugh.  The poor little cat looked for all the world like a pipe major’s badger sporran hanging there, tail twitching between the little boy’s knees.

“Ah, Beaufort,” she sighed.  “You’ll be the death of me.”


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