Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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Disappearing Assumptions


I have not posted for over two weeks. It is not that I have not been writing. I have. But that writing is not fit for public display.

I have been reading and studying about ayurvedic lifestyle changes for myself. I’ve been taking an online herbalism course which requires writing profiles and essays about herbs and their uses. Furthermore, I have been doing quite a bit of writing related to the day-job.

None of these writings will ever see the light of the blogosphere.

If you’ve been around this blog long enough, you’ll know that I believe that to be a writer, one must write… frequently…. every day if possible. But you should not think that this means that you must give that writing out to the world every day — if at all.

Let that assumption disappear.

Now, I need to go off and write a stimulating profile on, of all things, fennel.

lgj (c) 2018

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Suddenly, She Was Without Words

I cringed when I saw this morning’s word prompt, “Suddenly.” This is a word with which I struggle almost every time I write a bit of fiction. My short stories tend to have abrupt changes in action, especially after several slow paragraphs of explanatory material. For example, “Suddenly, the door flung open and jarred her from her thoughts.”   I spend a lot of time agonizing over this one little word.

Like the word “very “, “suddenly” for me has become overused and boring.   I have tried using a thesaurus to find alternative words, but most of the time these alternative words are just as overused: “quickly” “abruptly”.   Or they don’t suitably or precisely convey the action or the flavor of the piece.   For example another word for “suddenly ” is the word “forthwith”.   This would be fine if I were Will Shakespeare.  “Forthwith, he dreweth his blade and ventured yonder.”

This is an extreme example, but I hope you get that my point is in not relying too heavily on the thesaurus  for your word choice. It doesn’t always work well.

So what is the alternative to using a thesaurus?

Reading.  Yes, it is not an immediate fix, but in the long run, nothing replaces reading as the best way to build a writer’s vocabulary.

For every paragraph you write, read a novel.

OK, that was extreme too, but you get my drift.

 

ljg 2018


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Peering at the World through Cat’s Eyes

The amazing thing about writers, poets, artists, — creators of all kinds– is that we have the innate ability to observe the world around us and feel wonder. Wonderment is as important a tool as pens, brushes, cameras, and musical instruments. Here is a poem I wrote 22 years ago, and I think it explains this.

Peering at the World through Cat’s Eyes

To meditate like a cat,
Poised, enigmatic, sphinx-like,
on a redwood deck
watching morning sun splinter
through dew-drops,
sniffing the fading
night scents of jasmine,
listening to rising
birdsongs and strong steps
of mistress in the kitchen,
to meditate on such as this
in stillness, in silence,
peering at the world
with golden almond-split eyes,
is to watch it crack
open and display
its wonderous beauty.

ljgloyd, 1996, 2018


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Creative Space

I have recently discovered a wonderful podcast series, Write Now, hosted by author Sarah Werner.   This morning I listened to her episode on creating a space for writing where she posed the question:  what is your writing space like and how is it reflected in your writing?

I am fairly agile when it comes to the physical act of writing. I made a creative corner in my bedroom consisting of a bookcase filled with writing, reference, poetry, and spiritual books. I have my laptop, assorted art supplies and writing implements, and several dozen notebooks and pads of art paper. Typically, I write here only in the oh-so-early-butt-crack o’dawn and only on morning pages or personal journaling.  For my other writing sessions, I pop around from place-to-place.

Sometimes I dictate onto a hand device while lounging on the living room sofa.  Sometimes I write at a proper desk on a computer before I start working at the day job.  Sometimes I hand write in coffee houses and libraries.   I have tried writing outside in the park or at the beach but that, for reasons that I need to explore someday, is not an optimal experience.

How does that affect my writing?  You only need to look at the posts on this blog to see:  just as I jump from place-to-place when I write, so too do my blog posts leap from subject-to-subject.   Even my writing style demonstrates some agility:   I tend to write quick, short pieces in a simple, active voice — most suitable for blog-writing.

I wonder how my writing would change if I had a whole room dedicated to writing filled with my entire library and decorated with art pieces and other dinkerdoodles?   Would it change?

Since that is not likely to happen anytime in the near future, I guess I better keep flexing my muscles to stay fit and mobile.

 

ljgloyd (c) 2018

To hear the podcast, go to Creating a Space for Writing