Blog Entries
October Muse
Category: Site News
Tags: October

Itís round and itís yellow

A very odd fellow

I found on the living room floor.

Itís not good to eat

Itís some kind of cat treat

But Iím not sure what it is for.

Cacophony and Chaos
Category: Writing

Late this August I was systematically working my way through my writing course. The assignment was to write a travel piece. Iíd decided to target a literary travel magazine and set off around my adopted home town to collect some stories. I found Margriet, the patron saint of waitresses, Erasmus, the Toren Zonder Nagels† (literally the tower without nails that somehow survived an allied bomb blast in 1944. The adjoining church was destroyed but the tower remained intact), the cityís commitment to music for all ages - which it provides free during the summer, the festivals, the public transport system, the canal system, the footpath network, the cycle path network, where to rent cycles - ordinary, electric, tandem and more. I also found bells, a lot of bells.†

Having decided to focus on the bells for my assignment I settled into a book on the subject. My personal deadline sailed past with a whoosh as I became engrossed in the history of carillons. Eventually I managed to write the piece despite the racket in my head, like a flock of sparrows, from the other story lines Iíd uncovered. They were fledglings vying for attention. Having written the piece I double-checked what was expected for this exercise and found an outline for a second pitch to a different magazine was also needed. Settling onto the sofa I thumbed through my yearbook looking for likely candidates. My eye paused over a religious magazine title. At that very moment one of the inner stories on reconciliation chirped up. I wrote the outline and bundled everything off to my tutor. She encouraged me to submit both the story and the outline to the target publications.

† The outline was a success. They gave me a commission, my first ever commission, to write a feature piece for, of all things, a religious magazine. Iíve got an eighty year old aunt who is a devout christian. Luckily she has a pretty strong constitution because sheís going to need it when she hears this news. The travel story got rejected but it was far and away the most constructive rejection Iíve ever received. Theyíd left the door ajar. I changed the angle on the original story towards another of the chattering story lines and made a second pitch. The magazine said theyíd be happy to read it. Late September and instead of moving methodically on with my writing course I had a piece that needed a home, a first proof under consideration, the design of a new piece dancing in my head, the next writing assignment to do, a speech to deliver that hadnít been written yet, and three other pieces that needed finishing for various writing commitments.†

In my previous incarnation I tended to work in a linear fashion and thatís the way I started with writing but Iím beginning to believe there is comfort in chaos. The speech Iím working on is a, hopefully, humorous nod towards the benefit of cooperating constructively. Echoes of it run through the reconciliation piece. Echoes of the reconciliation piece run through the speech. The new, possibly second, commission starts from the history outlined in the original piece and then picks up the story of cooperation between the two cities to effect a reconciliation over an event that drove a wedge between them just over one hundred years ago. The pieces for the next writing assignment, supposedly a restaurant review, an event review and an anniversary have taken on tones of community gaining strength and focus as a result. While working on individual pieces and outlines other story lines keep chittering away colouring the language and mood. Without being directly mentioned they support the written pieces like undercoats on a canvas support the final visible image.

†This cacophony, which would have driven me to distraction previously, has become essential. The constant chatter creates movement. Each individual piece is examined from a variety of angles, prodded for consistency, and poked to check resilience. Whether or not this is a good methodology for writing only time will tell but, for the time being at least, it certainly is a lot of fun.

This Week on Writers Abroad 25th September
Category: Site News
Tags: Writers Abroad writing ex-pat writers

The news feed is whizzing past at the moment, so it is not easy to keep up, but great to see so much activity. I have added an image at the top to see if we can stop Facebook posting our mug shots! (It didn't work...).

First and foremost, we have two new members this week, both of whom have contributed to Writers Abroad anthologies. Welcome aboard, Susan Eames and Bruce Dodson!

Monday Muse this week is a great selection of word prompts and picture prompts from Crilly. Alyson has posted them on behalf of Crilly, who is recovering from a hip operation Ė see below. Usual drill Ė 500 words (or poem) in 20 minutes or so. Just go where the inspiration takes you.

Richard is down for this weekís blog post and we wait with bated breath to see what topic heíll cover.

Apologies if Iíve missed anything, but the Bragging stool was unoccupied last week. Considering the fabulous run of WA successes recently, members have to have a break sometimes! But I can mention that Nicola has a new release today: Unspeakable in her ĎBeyond Humaní series. Dianne recently released the fifth book in her WWII series ĎThe Yankee Yearsí, Only One Remedy. Those are certainly worth a brag.

Contributions are due for the WA Magazine 7th edition by 30th September. Ideally, please post yours onsite for others to comment on if you have time. Mea culpa, just about to post mineÖ

The October Challenges and Opportunities are still on, but the November ones will be posted soon. If you know of any appropriate competitions or opportunities, please post details and links in the forum once itís up.

Crilly has been out of action for a short time while having a hip operation. We wish her all the best for her recovery and trust that she is using any period of immobility to get a lot of writing done!

Thatís all this week. If Iíve missed anything or got anything wrong please let me know.

Have a creative week.


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