Archive for ‘Writing’

Monday, August 18, 2014

An ode to a silent boy

by ednatru

Beautiful sun halo

For my brother.


You haven’t spoken a word
Not once these twenty odd years
Although we’ve learned to read you
Like a book without a spine
It’s still a hit or miss affair

When we were but children
Vague emotions do I remember
Of times when we would play
We never really did get along, eh?
Or perhaps it was jealousy
But that soon turned to shame

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Professionalism

by Leanne Yong

layers

Writing. Something everyone can do, but something very few excel in. Now, before I get into the swing of things, there is a delineation I’d like to draw between people writing for fun, and people writing with the aim of becoming a professional.

I would love it if everyone wrote for fun. It doesn’t matter how terrible you think you are, or how tenuous your grasp of your chosen language. Just write! It’s a wonderful thing to see the dreams and fleeting thoughts in your mind take form, hewn out in the rough constructs of language. Yes, rough–for who has managed to perfectly represent the vivid clarity of our thoughts with words alone? But we try, and sometimes we come close enough to that representation to touch someone else’s heart, regardless of whether our words are the stick figure drawings of a child or the works of Michelangelo.

But it’s another world when one decides to take writing as their profession. One analogy I use often is that of a cook. I can throw together a meal that is edible and tastes somewhat decent–at least, decent enough that everyone doesn’t turn it down from the get-go. But place me within a professional kitchen and the other chefs will tell you that I am more likely to slice my finger than the onion, that I have no subtlety whatsoever with flavours (salt, salt, oh and a pinch of chicken salt for variety!), and that by the time I’ve got anything ready to serve, the customers will have tired of waiting and left the restaurant.

Monday, August 4, 2014

About Change

by ednatru

Arizona educators experience Marine Corps boot camp

Change. Wanting to change. Knowing when to implement the change. Knowing how to change, what to change and why? Is it right, is it wrong? Should I, shouldn’t I?

These thoughts roll around in my head once in a while, especially when I’m feeling overwhelmed. When everything seems to be slipping out of your grasp, anyone would panic, right? Once you’re in that state, nothing seems to work, and days start to blur together. If you remain in an extended slump, all that you see is tainted with an ugly hue and motivation fades into a dull buzz in the background. There’s something else that you’d rather pit yourself against and a small voice in your head cries, “Get me out of here!”

That is a sure sign that something needs to be done.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Of Giants and Men

by Leanne Yong

You were a giant, once.

Every step resonated through my world, every word tolled like the great bells of London. You were the sky I aspired to reach, the limits I aspired to challenge. The limits, my mind whispered, that I could never hope to surpass.

For how does one swim better than a dolphin, or change the shifting of the tides, or explore the furthest reaches of space? How does one measure themselves against proportions physically impossible to achieve?

In your shadow, I found my security. You were a fortress, a reassuring presence that meant all was well. I didn’t have to worry. Knowing you went before was enough.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

This is What it Feels Like

by Leanne Yong

Tartan surfacing on athletics track

This is what it’s like to be ‘strong’ and ‘confident’ and ‘capable’.

I am in a runaway car hurtling down a road. The accelerator is stuck to the floor, and the brake is loose beneath my desperately pounding foot. My hands are tight around the steering wheel. It presses against my sweaty palms as I jerk it one way, then the other, praying my grip doesn’t slip and I careen into a pole, or a barrier, or heaven forbid, another car.

All I want to do is close my eyes and scream. I wish I could. But I have passengers in my car. They hold on tight, grit their teeth, and tell me what an amazing driver I am. They how glad they are that I’m behind the wheel. All I can think of is the impending crash, the high-pitched sound of tearing metal, the car and the passengers in a jumbled, screaming cacophony.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Cycle

by Neil Fein

Hardcover book gutter and pages

How can I improve my writing? It’s a common question. There are a few things you can do:

Reading

Reading and writing is a cultural conversation. People write books to say something. Other people read those books and a few of those write books in return.

As has been pointed out many times, you should read. You want to write books and stories and contribute to the cultural conversation? That’s great! Read a variety of books in different genres, from different eras. Pay attention to what you’ve read, internalize it. This is exactly how native speakers learn the language.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

The Beautiful Trap of Belzhar

by donnaleemiele

Project 50 - Day #1 (Moleskine)

Meg Wolitzer is revealing herself to be a terrifically nimble, as well as prolific author. Since 2011 she’s published The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman, an acclaimed middle-grade novel, and The Uncoupling and The Interestings, both for adults, following a career that’s spanned over thirty years so far. Forthcoming in September 2014 is Belzhar, Wolitzer’s foray into the young adult world, a novel that explores the boundaries of physical and emotional reality.

Why a young adult novel following the success of The Interestings? That was my one question to the author as I stepped up to have my advance copy of Belzhar signed at Book Expo this summer. “I was inspired by John Green’s Looking for Alaska,” she said, not offering further explanation, obviously knowing that I would now tear into Belzhar the moment I got home and not stop reading until I discovered what, exactly, she meant. I was not disappointed to find that Belzhar delves into the difficult territory of teenaged mental illness and grief. The novel is also fueled by the budding beauty of young humans finding themselves through relationships with others.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Boys and Girls

by Sara Goas

Notepad Art

If I ever have a second baby, I hope I’ll have the patience not to find out ahead of time whether it’s a boy or a girl. Team Green, as they call it these days.

You see, when my husband and I found out two years ago that we were expecting, we were only too happy to share with friends and family that we were having a boy. What followed was a barrage of blue teddy bears, football onesies, and statements like: “No tea parties in your future” and “Boys are awesome… but your house is going to be dirty.”

One older male relative said that he couldn’t wait to teach the new baby how to kick a soccer ball. I nodded politely and added that for my part, I couldn’t wait to read a book with my son. To which Older Male Relative smiled and sadly replied, “You’re having a boy. He might not like that.”

Monday, July 7, 2014

Reaching Out in Melbourne

by ednatru

Melbourne, Australia :: Webb Bridge

Written by Edna Truong.


There are so many communities, groups and other individuals out there to support writers, and all you really need to do is reach out and know where to look. Writing can be a lonesome task, but it doesn’t have to be. Not all the time.

Melbourne, dubbed one of the Cities of Literature by UNESCO, is where I call home. Upholding its title, the city stages many national writer events, conventions, and competitions. It’s also home to many organisations, groups and associations, as well as writers from across a range of platforms.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What’s With All the “Giver” Hate?

by Sara Goas

Abandoned

On my first day of school last year, the students in one of my all-boys classes asked if we would be reading The Giver.

Published in 1993, The Giver by Lois Lowry was one of my all-time favorite books as a teenager. I read it in eighth grade, and then again in high school, and then again whenever I had some downtime during my college years. I’d been delighted to learn, upon taking my first middle school job, that The Giver was part of the curriculum for my seventh grade students.

So when the boys started asking about the book, I mistook their curiosity for literary enthusiasm and broke from my first-day script to tell them yes.

They erupted in groans. “Do we have to read it? The kids who read it last year said it was really bad.”

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