Shawn L. Bird

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

writing-conference power February 19, 2019

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 8:49 pm
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I’m a huge advocate of the writing conference as a crucial key to a writer’s development.  For many years, I thought they were silly and over-priced.  I figured I could learn anything I needed to know by reading books about the writing craft and business.

What I didn’t understand was the importance of connection.  Writers tend to be solitary creatures. Their creativity happens when they’re alone.  Often our friends and family members don’t understand the stress of having to kill off a character we love, or the trauma of maintaining our words per day quota, or the soul-destroying nature of the twelfth (or hundred and twelfth) rejection letter for a project we adore.

Other writers do.

When you sit in a room with other writers, hear their stories, and realize they have the same kind of feelings and experiences you do, you realize you aren’t the only one. You’re not weird! (Well, maybe you are, but it’s probably a good weird, and you realize there are a lot of weirder people and you thoroughly enjoy being in their weird company!).  You feel like you belong.  You listen, you learn, you laugh, and you long for it to last.

Next March I am going to a new conference for me: Creative Ink in Burnaby, BC.  I see that some of my friends from other conferences (Surrey International, When Words Collide in Calgary, Word on the Lake in Salmon Arm) will be there. How great!

If you’re in BC and you’ve never been to a conference, this one is a good price ($80 for the weekend) and has some phenomenal people presenting and attending, so I already know it’s going to be great.  Learn about the craft and business of the writing life.  Share some weird.  Enjoy some fun.  Buy some books.

If you decide to go, tell them I sent you!

Creative Ink is at the Delta Marriott Burnaby, BC  March 29-31, 2019.


poem- censored September 15, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 5:56 pm
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You do not believe in censorship

you say

and yet you sit there and complain that

I accept work with curses.  Work that is

about process, about drafting, about stretching.

I do not censor youthful voices

that may want to shout,

to try new language, new words.

We learn about audience and persona

and your child is allowed to stretch her wings

to try on new faces and expressions with me.

She is allowed to find her voice in my class room,

even if her voice

is louder than you like.


poem- dubious June 10, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 3:36 pm
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you scribble,

hiding words,






So many kids constantly writing, but not handing in their work!  Arg! 


poem-welcome November 17, 2014

Filed under: Poetry,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:22 pm
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You came on evening light

uttered soft greetings,

“Tell my tale,” you whispered,

and so begins






This weekend, as I was drifting off to sleep (see yesterday’s poem), I was introduced to Dustin who wanted to tell me the story of his life with Lydia.  I had not intended to start a new novel (if that’s what this is) before finishing the projects already on my plate, but Dustin was pretty insistent.  So, instead of doing what I planned today on my Sunday off, I lent my fingers to Dustin.  I have no idea where this will lead, but it looks like it will be an interesting journey.



poem-writers’ bed November 16, 2014

Filed under: Poetry,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:54 am
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The poetry is loud tonight,

smashing and crashing through

synapses of my neocortex,

drowning the bovine bellows

of my bedmate.

Short stories are shouting.

Poetry is proclaiming itself.

Words are wailing.

They are insistent

in the seams between sleep,

and will not quieten

until I write them down.



(This is post 1717 on the blog.  It was very loudly proclaiming itself when I tried to go to bed last night, and would not stop until I got out my little book kept beside the bed, turned on the little book light, and wrote down the essentials).  Do you have this problem, too?


poem- 3 powers October 19, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:30 am
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Three powers

of the ancient bards:

to rouse the listener to joyful laughter,

to desolate the listener to sorrowful tears,

to comfort the listener to peaceful sleep.

Three powers

of the harper.

Three powers

of the wordsmith.

Three powers

I seek.




poem-moving on July 28, 2014

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 3:35 pm
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One project sent;

another moves

into priority position.

A circle of

unending creative


crafting worlds

from nothing but


and time.




I sent my latest YA title, While I Was Out off to the editor this morning at 6 a.m.  Later this week we’ll meet to discuss it, and hopefully by the end of the summer it’ll be off to my agent. 

Now I’m back to selecting pieces for my poetry collections which I also hope to be sending off to publishers by the end of the month.  

As well, I need to pull together the last workshop I’m presenting at When Words Collide.


poem-exploding you March 4, 2014

Filed under: Poetry,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 5:20 pm
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Oh, belligerent woman

at the gas station.

You know you are wrong.

You see the arrows.

Instead of backing up

You drive forward,

and make obnoxious remarks.

The other ten of us

can follow directions.

One of these things is not

like the others.

You’re embarrassed.

I get that.

So apologize, and back up.

Don’t yell at me.

I’m going the right way.

I am an author, though.

So while you rant,

I have the satisfaction

of seeing the bomb

the terrorists have set

that you accidentally trigger

by going the wrong way.

As your car explodes in a fiery


the ten cars that are secure

in our rule following

are protected by our bubble of sanctity.

We smile contentedly

knowing karma is at work,

as the litter of your dissatisfied life

rains from the sky,

bouncing off of us and

our aligned automobiles.

As you back out,

muttering a chastened,


I am glad that imagination

trumps aggravation

every time.



It’s a popular saying, “Don’t mess with authors.  They will put you in their novels, and kill you.”  Today, I discovered the poetic equivalent. 😉


quote- identity October 30, 2013

Filed under: Commentary — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:24 am
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“You’ve always been what you are.  That’s not new.  What you’ll get used to is knowing it.”

(Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel p. 308)

In 2009, my novel Grace Awakening was finished, and I was staring stunned at the proof book, dumbstruck that I had actually done it.  I had written 150,000 words over six months, and created a world that other people were reading and liking.  I reflected this amazement to a friend who’d been reading my work since I was a kid, and he wrote, “You’re a writer.  You’ve always been a writer.”

I stared at those words on the screen for the longest time, trying to absorb them:

I am a writer.

Not a wanna-be writer.  Not a hopeful writer.  Not a someday writer.  I am a writer, and I have *always* been a writer.

It probably took me 3 years to fully accept that identity.  To embrace who I am.  When my friends started introducing me, not as a teacher, but as a “Shawn, the published author,” it was very profound.  It still gives me goosebumps

Then I started paying attention to the comments on my blog posts, and realised that I am also a poet.

I am a poet.

I was a little quicker to accept that idea, since it is so closely related to being a writer.  I have this image of poets as slightly crazy people, who live in weird houses, dress in crazy outfits, and have a lot of cats.  Well, two out of four is enough to face the truth.

I have embraced my creative self, and it is getting weirder and weirder.  The other day I seriously considered buying a wooden caravan style RV (I’ll try to take a photo of this beauty).  My husband would freak out at the very idea.  There probably isn’t enough room for my shoes, but I looked at that caravan, and was ready to hit the road. To become the wandering Bohemian I’ve beaten down my whole life.

Who I am is not new.  My friend was right, I’ve always been a writer.  I’ve been chattering away telling stories since I could talk.  I shared stories I wrote in grade 3 show and tell.  I won my first poetry prize in grade 4.   I’ve always been who I am.

Now that I’m not just accepting it, but I’m embracing it, I feel alive.  I feel like I am fulfilling my destiny.  I feel RIGHT in my world, because I am able to be who I am supposed to be.  I write.  I can not do things because I need to write.  People come to my blog, and tell me how my words make them feel, or think, or…  My words are who I am.

Who are you?


poem: how to be a writer September 14, 2013

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:50 am
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How to be a writer:
put words on the page every day.
Nothing more.
Nothing less.
Just write.


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