Shawn L. Bird

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

snippet of the WIP March 18, 2014

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:34 pm
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I’ve been posting snippets on Facebook, rather than here on the blog, but I don’t want you to feel left out, so here is a bit of the current Work In Progress, working title While I Was Out:

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Our yard was long and narrow with a small stand of trees in one corner, set behind the shed my mom had painted to look like a little cottage.  When my mom was in her gardening phase, she’d made paths and a gazebofacing the picturesque little copse, with a bench hanging from its ceiling.  It was a relaxing place to sit, swinging in the evenings, and it offered a bit of privacy from the house as well.  If I was on house arrest, I needed a bit of escape.

I stepped out onto the back porch and inhaled the scented breeze.  Mr. Hoskin’s lilacs were thick with scent.  It wafted past my nose with a declaration of spring and a promise of summer.

I headed down the steps toward the swing, and then caught sight of a movement in the trees behind the shed.  My heart sped up.

It was probably Mr. Hoskin’s ginger cat.

“Marmalade!  Pss-pss-pss!”  She was a friendly cat, and usually was content to join me on the swing if it meant a thorough patting.  She liked hunting in our copse, though.  If she had caught the scent of a mouse, she’d be less likely to come.  “Come on, Marmalade.”

A stick crunched with a snap.  There was no way that was Marmalade.  It was unlikely to have been anything much smaller than a bear.  The leaves rustled.

“Who’s there?” I asked, fighting to sound [aggressive, brave, confident, assured].  I leaned down to pick up a small brick from the border of the path.  Just in case.  “You’re on private property!  Come out of there!”

A figure stepped out of the trees.

My heart was pounding so fast I could hardly breathe.

He took another step forward and I recognized him.  “Carl?”

He stepped out of the shadows.  It seemed as if it had been ages since I’d last seen him.  At the party he was laughing and confident, like usual.  This evening, he looked drawn and slightly haggard.  His usually immaculate hair was tangled.  There were dark circles under his eyes.

“What are you doing hiding back there?  Is something wrong?”

He just looked at me.

“What?” glancing down at myself.  I didn’t think I looked so terrible.  My bruises were mostly covered, and the ones I could see were fading from their initial vivid purple into a sort of mottled blue-green.

His lips tightened and he looked at the ground.  I watched him scuff a foot on the grass as he avoided my gaze.  After an age, he blinked up at me.  His eyes were brimming with tears.  He muttered, “I’m sorry.”

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on being a teen when your birthday says you’re not November 11, 2012

Filed under: Commentary,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:04 pm
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I was just reading a blog post by a writer who was pondering the complications of writing from the narrative perspective of a 16 year old girl.  Here are  my thoughts about writing as a teen, when one is actually years or even decades past the teen years.

It’s been a few decades since my own high school graduation, but I am lucky.  I write for teens, I am with teens all day long, and I never grew up (this means  that I actually gave birth to children who are older than I am).  I have a unique perspective on the life of the average teen, and access to them.  I watch, listen, and absorb what I can in the hallways of the high schools where I teach .  I hear about the latest vocabulary, music, games, movies, and books.  At the same time, I am no longer a teen, despite not having grown up, so I’m not really in the club.  Then again, I wasn’t in the club when I was actually a teen, either.  That’s not such an uncommon scenario.

Many things haven’t changed much.

There are the kids who party.  There are the jocks.   There are the kids who escape their troubles (real or imagined) with substance abuse, with music, art, writing, mechanics or with academic excellence.  There are the kids who are motivated and going far.  There are the kids who don’t have a lot going for them, and don’t have big dreams.  There are enthusiastic kids.  There are depressed kids.

Teens are a snap shot of society, though in a time of striving for identity, they are inclined to extremes now, just like they were then.

If you’re writing as a teen in the present, the biggest change in modern teen life compared to life as a teen  in the 60s, 70s or 80s is that the ubiquitous cell phone must be part of the action.  Cell phones are umbili for social survival for teens today.  They require constant connection like The Borg. It’s quite a fascinating thing to observe, especially when the paradox of feeling ‘different’ creates the fundamental paradox: connected and outside simultaneously.  That’s the nature of being a teen today.

The most important things remain the same.  They still want to change the world.  Many still believe, rightly, that they can.  That optimism is also an essential component of youth, and the one I like the best.

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Here I am at Hallowe’en with some of  the people who make me happy to get up and drive to work each day, my Acting class.   Can you find me?  🙂

NaNoWriMo Day 11: 1100 words   (Total 15,000)

 

An Almost Perfect Review July 14, 2012

I realise that I am posting more book reviews this week than I’ve posted all year, but that has something to do with it being summer.  🙂  I can get through two books a day during the summer time  (or a read of someone else, and some work on my own writing projects).  Here’s a great one for you!

Almost Perfect

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Almost Perfect
by Brian Katcher  

ISBN 978-0-385-73665-7

New York: Delacorte Press, 2009.  361 p.

This is a brilliant book. Katcher created fully drawn, believable characters dealing in confusion and sincerity with complex issues. Logan, a kid in a red necked town in Missouri falls for the new cute girl at his school. Much to his shock, she turns out to be transgendered. Issues are explored. Love. Sexuality. Violence. Acceptance. Families. Friendship. Katcher has it all, and it is absolutely wonderful.

A great read for anyone willing to walk a mile in other shoes, straight, or LBGTQ. The courage it takes for Sage to be who she is, makes a profound statement about what a hero is.

Cheers to Brian Katcher. I couldn’t put this book down. Great read.

All 5 stars.

 

Review- Lost in Spaaaaaaain July 11, 2012

Filed under: book reviews — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:52 am
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Lost in Spain.

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LOST IN SPAIN by John Wilson

Markham: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2000.  174 p.

YA historical novel

It is a fast read, so it’s not deep, but it did give me a real sense of the Spanish Civil War that fit with what I experienced and heard when I was in Spain earlier this year. Lots of action to keep you flipping pages. I was stunned when I started reading and discovered the book opened in my small BC town! Not what you expect about a book set in Spain, you can imagine. I was irritated by how Ted refers to his father as Will throughout the book. Why doesn’t he call him dad? or father? It’s so strange, it seemed there should be a reason for it. He calls his mother, Mom, after all. An interesting read that seemed to give a good glimpse at the character of the country and the context for the history.
 

heat in the band room June 14, 2012

The latest snippet from Grace Awakening Myth

Things are heating up in the band room!  (Ben is narrating).

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Ryan came in.  “Did you see Tanis?”   His eyes were wild.

“When?”

“Today.  She’s wearing something.”

“I should hope so.  Otherwise she’d be arrested.”

He shook his head, as if to shake out an image, “No, I mean, she’s wearing some…thing.  Ahhh.”  He shook harder, then hissed, “Look!”

Tanis sauntered in.  She was definitely wearing ‘something,’ all right.  Skin tight.  Mini-dress.  Black leather.

Ryan cast a frantic look over to Mr. J.  Mr. J glanced back and raised an eye brow.

Paul came in, grinning.

Tanis glanced over her shoulder and then bent over.

Paul sucked in his breath.

Ryan gulped.  Loudly.  Like he had swallowed his tongue.

“Tanis,” Mr. J called.  “I need to see you over here, please.”

She grinned at us, our jaws hovering somewhere around our navels, and gave a little shoulder wiggle as she passed us.

Mr. J spoke to her quietly.

She shrugged and left the room.

He came over to us.  “For whose benefit was that display, gentlemen?”

“I…uh…well…” Ryan stuttered.

Paul twitched, but didn’t seem to have the capacity of speech anymore.

I inhaled.  “It’s complicated, sir.”

 

light June 13, 2012

Filed under: anecdotes — Shawn L. Bird @ 2:52 pm
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I had modified a round plastic lamp shade into a bowl by putting a couple pieces of tape across the hole at the bottom.  It was sitting out where it had just served as a draw bucket for a game of charades with my drama class.

We were waiting for the bell.  Rylee picked up the lamp shade and set it on his head.

Justin looked up and said, “Hey Rylee, feeling a little light headed?”

 

Review of Matched by Ally Condie September 27, 2011

Filed under: book reviews,Commentary,Reading — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:14 am
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First let me say that I LOVE the cover of this book. I thought it was absolutely fantastic, and although I’m still trying to figure out exactly what the symbolism is (I get the green dress- but why the bubble?), I think it is a very powerful image.

I enjoyed this book. On Goodreads there are a lot of angry statements that it’s a rip off of The Giver.  I appreciate the many comparisons to The Giver, but the oft-repeated statement that it’s a copy are unjust. While there are some similarities, I see more in common with Orwell’s 1984, Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, or the 1970’s move Logan’s Run. It’s dystopian literature. There are only so many ways to interpret the theme! A few concepts are going to overlap. I don’t hold that against Condie.

I like the protagonist, Cassia. I like her feisty nature and her thoughtful approach. She knows she’s good at things, and she isn’t humble about it. I like the logical development of her awareness and her conscience. I do think the impetuousness is going to cause trouble. It’s inevitable, otherwise there wouldn’t be more books coming, right?

I like Xander. I like the strong security of him. I like his unquestioning devotion. I understand the attraction of Ky, with his mysterious past and strange knowledge, but personally, I would say good-bye, think fondly of him, and stick with the steadfast spirit of devotion that Xander provides willingly. (That’s a Bright picking Jim kind of choice, I realise).   I wouldn’t walk into the trouble that Cassia is going to get into because of Ky. But then, I don’t live in a dystopian novel.

Thankfully.

 

 
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