Archive for ‘Writing’

August 7, 2012

Writing Poetry in Public

Met with my friend Keith, the poet, this a.m. We have a standing agenda of items to discuss. Usually we both have some kind of electronic device and wind up googling for something.

Today I took him (electronically) to Henko: A Powell Street Many Ways Renga. Keith knows all about renga and was intrigued with the “many ways” adaptation.

You can see the poem here:

It’s kind of a choose-your-own-adventure poem.

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December 28, 2011

Next posting goal

I think this is funny. I posted about writing resolutions with a focus really on not taking them too seriously. and then wordpress congratulated me on my 129th post and  assigned me the Next Posting Goal: 130 Posts.

I am weak. I’ve spent so much time creating SMART goals for myself and others, the R for realistic side of this was just way too compelling to not do it.  But what now? Will I just get another goal assigned to me? Is this how my staff felt about our regular goal setting discussions?

October 21, 2011


OK, So I’m going to do it again – 50,000 words in one month, that month being November. ready… set….

(don’t go yet – wait till post Hallowe’en)


January 8, 2010

H is for Hate – a Bad Word

According to the Wisdom of Lukas (4-year old grandson), you shouldn’t say “hate”. I think he’s probably right (and whoever told him that is too), but I do slip up. Lukas never misses a slip, though. He’s persistent. “Don’t say hate. That’s a bad word.”

In fact, whenever he’s caught me, I didn’t really *mean* hate – I probably meant something like: I’d rather not.

So I’m not convinced hate is never a good word, but being more precise with language is definitely a good idea.

Thanks, Lukie. I’m sure I’ve got a lot more to learn from you.

January 8, 2010

F is for Fallow

I just finished reading Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood.

As  a new year begins I’m torn between making ambitious new year’s resolutions, goals and objectives, strategies and tactics and, simply, following my country’s leader’s approach to just prorogue everything.

So the God’s Gardener’s approach of having depression a non-word and thinking it’s a natural rhythm to have “fallow periods” seems rather appealing.

The GG’s (not to be confused with the Governor General’s awards – which don’t go to those who prorogue/procrastinate!) do, however, feel that feeling fallow shouldn’t go on for too long.

Even here in Vancouver, the weather is cold – and, of course, wet – and while I turned over the compost and raked up some dead leaves, it’s a good time for feeling fallow.

November 26, 2009

NaNoWriMo Reflections – 50,000 words in a month

So, it’s my first time in NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month and I did a lot of prep – in terms of note-making; reading books about how to write a novel and determining a structure and focus to the very first draft of a “novel” (Note the quotation marks.)

November is NaNoWriMo and the primary requirement to be a winner is to write 50,000 words during the month. You submit your manuscript and if their computer says 50,000 words, you’re a winner and you’re sent a web link where you can download your own certificate and a badge for your website.

I’m at only 38,000 and most of it is really not even close to being novel-ready. One of the books I read said for memoir (which is kind of like a novel, or at least can follow a similar structure, or even be a draft of a novel – i.e. get your own experience and thoughts down and then power-tweak into fiction) you just write and the structure reveals itself, as opposed to *real* novel writing where it’s highly advised to start with an outline and character profiles etc. – But not so detailed that you can’t be open to changes as your characters take on a life of their own.

So, it’s November 26, I’ve written 37,000 words, but I’m lagging behind what’s required. If you’re lagging behind, you’ve got company.

But the good thing is that after years of saying ONE DAY I’ll write a novel or in THREE DAYS on the Labour Day weekend I’ll do the novel writing contest, the THIRTY DAYS approach is working – I still hope to win – but it’s been a good focus any how. Possibly I’ll be in the habit of writing every day or at least most days by the time November 30 hits.

I’ve resorted to fairly devious methods to up my word count. I figure the style of the novel/memoir may wind up including diary bits like Bridget Jones etc., so, for instance, I’m counting this blog as a contribution (330 words so far.)

My previous desperate measure, which I’m continuing with is when I’m writing something that involves a person I was connected with, I’m sending off a bit of the memoir to that person. So far,I’ve had good response to 3 of them, and no response yet from the 4th.

It feels scary doing that even though I’m “picking my spots” – they’re basically “gratitude” notes to people who were supportive during my 8 years “dream job that turned into a nightmare”.

As an extrovert, I find it easier to write to someone than to keep on writing something that I may never show to anyone.

Many novels are, as they say, “frankly autobiographical” so I recommend this process to anyone. Even if you’re keeping for the first draft to the truth (as you perceive it), knowing that it will change to fiction or at least creative non-fiction before being shared, allows a bit of latitude. As I understand it “memoir” as opposed to “memoirs” or “autobiography” is in fact reflections rather than an effort to document events and history as it happened. So lots of room to claim one’s own voice and perspective.

I’d been thinking about the structure and was told the basic structure is the protagonist is in a cage; they make attempts to get out that are unsuccessful and then they do. It was even hard to think about: what was the cage? was the cage the previous work that I was looking to change? or the new job that was very demanding? was the cage the fact I had to travel a lot? – a cage away from home?

Ultimately while attending a weekend workshop with Jungian analyst James Hollis it occurred to me to use the 22 Major Arcana cards of the Tarot as my structure. A little odd, but I know a fair bit about tarot – have done some art work based on it too – and from Fool through to World (as in a new–inner–world order) it follows  a sequence and journey.

I like structures – recently I heard Corwin Fergus, another Jungian, say that creativity/unconscious responds well to limits.

It’s been helpful to me to reflect on what experiences and what people come to mind when I contemplate the various cards and their meanings.

For instance, The Empress Card, Number III, is all about creative abundance and it makes me think of the religious educators in our congregations – always full of hugs, smiles, snacks, art supplies and ideas. I found my contact with RE folk very nourishing to my soul during my work time.

I remember once going to a meeting and everyone was sharing why they were there. It occurred to me that beyond the obvious need to connect with these congregational leaders in their roles and share with them updates and answer questions, I was there to get fed – in so many ways. I left feeling supported and uplifted.

Long Live the Empresses!


July 13, 2009

N is for Necessary

My grandson, Lukas, is three and a half. He’s now way beyond the initial stages of language acquisition. Last time I visited, he used the word “necessary” in a sentence. I loved the way he said it so much, I’ve forgotten what the sentence was about.

“Necessary!” I said, “What a lovely word. It feels good to say it even. Neccccccccccesssssssssssary,” I strung it out. with its sibilants.

“Lukie, what are your other favorite words?” I asked.

Lukas was wrapped in thought for some time and finally responded with, “Grandma, I like all the words.”

A poet in the making, I’d say.


Grandkids and Grandmas

All the words


October 7, 2008

Beauty and Integrity – a nice ring to it, but…

I went to an all candidates debate on Arts & Culture last night and learned that Green supporters were having trouble finding “Arts and Culture” on the Greens platform. It’s there! I learned that it’s under BEAUTY & INTEGRITY.  Adriane Carr, candidate for Vancouver Centre (a hotly contested riding) said, leader Elizabeth May evidently said something like “Beauty should be there.”  I’m with you, Elizabeth – AND… if we’re comparing Arts & Culture platforms, one shouldn’t need to be too creative in order to find your stance.

I’m among the hordes that haven’t decided 100% how to vote on October 14, but I’ll be at the polling station for sure.  Following the polls and considering strategic voting.

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September 9, 2008

A is for Atonement or at-one-ment – Yom Kippur for Dummies

My women’s group goes away for a retreat once a year. This year we decided to learn more about the Jewish Days of Awe or Days of Repentance. Two books were useful: A Book of Life by Rabbi Michael Strassfield and Judaism for Dummies by Rabbi Ted Falcon and David Blatner!

We ate a lot of round, golden food – like florentines, apples, carrots – all soaked in honey!

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June 18, 2008

The First Day of the Rest of My Blog

This is not my first attempt at blogging.

They say it takes an average of 6 times to successfully quit smoking.

If blogging is the same but in reverse, I may be on my 4th attempt, and may succeed this time at under the average. 


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