Shawn L. Bird

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

Writing conferences: The Magical Realm June 6, 2018

Here’s a guest blog I wrote for Gail Anderson-Dargatz about the value of attending writing conferences:

.

https://www.gailanderson-dargatz.ca/cms/index.php/resources/35-guest-blogs/326-shawn-l-bird

.

Do you have a writing conference that has changed your life?  Tell me about it in the comments below!

.

I’m always happy to present at conferences, too, so if you are an organizer, drop me a line.

Advertisements
 

Writers’ Festival musings May 17, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 4:27 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

I’m home after 3 days of hanging out with talented writers, still-not-acknowledging-they’re-writers-but-wishing-to-be, and lots of lovely volunteers, readers, and so on that fill a writers’ festival’s workshops and events.

If you have never attended a writing festival, here’s what goes on at the best of them, in my experience:

  • lots of talking to others at various stages of the writing journey
  • celebrations of writing successes
  • envy of writing successes
  • dreaming of writing successes
  • strategies to develop confident approaches to one’s work
  • strategies to be a stronger writer
  • strategies for selling one’s work
  • opportunities to gain feedback on one’s writing through ‘blue pencil’ sessions
  • inspiration to take the risk of submitting one’s work
  • inspiration to finish projects
  • laughter
  • empty pockets due to book purchases
  • joy at growing one’s signed book collection

A few years ago, Sylvia Taylor told me that the writing life is about reaching down and reaching up.  We share what we’ve learned and pull someone just beginning up to greater skill and confidence.  We sit at the feet of masters and are stretched to grow a little more.  A conference is a great source for this.

Sometimes, conferences yield contracts.  (Surrey http://www.siwc.ca is particularly good for this).

Usually, conferences yield contacts.  New friends and introductions to publishers/agents/editors are not uncommon.

If you haven’t been to a conference, take the leap.  There is something for all levels to learn.  At the very least, being with ‘your tribe’ is a wonderful thing.  Who else can relate to your habit of writing all night?  (Charles De Lint, Diana Gabaldon, and I all write after midnight.  We’re not alone!)  Who else can appreciate the voices in your head that you need to record?  Who else can offer tips and suggestions to move your project along?  Who else appreciates the significance of a ‘send the full manuscript’ in response to a query?  Who else really knows about this mystical journey to make worlds out of nothing but imagination and words?  Where else do you belong?

I took a few things out of this year’s Word on the Lake.  I attended a workshop by Anne De Grace on Writing Critique Groups.  I have wished to be part of such a group for a long time, but hadn’t formulated the vision.  This gave me concrete ideas.  I kept my eyes open, and approached the first person I thought would also find value in such a group and be an asset.  She agreed.  So we will keep our eyes open for a third, and see where it goes.

 

poem-filled May 16, 2015

I’m filled with words

Your words.

My words.

Our words.

A story concocted in laughter.

A story unraveling fears.

A story exploding conjecture.

A story that brings forth your tears.

I am filled with our words

softly spoken

I am filled with our words

shouted loud

I am filled with our words

barely whispered

I am filled with our words

lacking sounds.

Your words.

My words.

Our

story.

.

.

Enjoying a lovely weekend with amazing authors like Charles De Lint, Kathryn Para, Anne De Grace at the Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival.  Collected a lovely certificate and cheque for a writing contest prize, as well. 🙂

 

poem- greeting May 31, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:31 pm
Tags: , , , ,

So welcome are you

the eagle soars to your window

and grebes dance across the water,

all eager to hear your

words on the lake.

 

poem- waking May 19, 2014

Filed under: OUTLANDERishness,Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:24 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I woke this morning

pleasantly foggy and

imagined my day.

What workshops will I attend?

Yes.  That one. This one.

Then I stretched my mind

into clarity and realized

conference is over;

everyone has gone home.

It was a melancholy moment,

before the smile,

savouring memories.

.

.

.

.

A memory like this one.  My dear husband, grinning broadly with Diana Gabaldon beside him outside the conference banquet.  This is the first time he’s met an author whose work he admires.  I’m laughing because I just had to sprint down the hall to get into the photo.  Despite being with Diana all weekend and snapping many photos of her with/for other people, this moment was the only one I had taken with her myself this year.

John-Diana-Shawn1crop

P.S. The counter says that this is my 1400th blog post.  Nice to celebrate with two of my favourite people! 😉

 

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!

 

 

poem- tribal longings May 3, 2014

I miss my tribe.

The house is full of pessimistic

scientific thinkers.

I can’t coax them into poetry.

“I just can’t appreciate it,” says one.

“Poetry.  Yeah.  Whatever,” says the other.

They analyze and ruminate with

cold logic.

They don’t hear the wind’s song,

or feel the blackbird’s call.

I am a lone poet boat tossing

on their scientific sea.

But soon, my tribe will come.

I will be immersed in the language

of verse, pressed into prose.

I will know the companionship

of a crowd of like minds,

feeding on the energy to

fuel our words,

until we come together

again.

.

.

Just 2 weeks until Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival here in Salmon Arm, BC

I’m looking forward to learning from Diana Gabaldon, C. C. Humphreys, Gary Geddes, Ursula Maxwell-Lewis, Carmen Aguerra, Carolyn Swayze, Howard White, and more!  It’s always a fantastic weekend for a bargain price.  You should come.  Seriously.

 

 

 
%d bloggers like this: