Posts Tagged ‘writing’

We had waffles, watched a race, went for a walk and generally enjoyed a beautiful, lazy summer’s day. Now somehow it’s time for dinner so I’ll leave you with a brief excerpt from a stroll in the woods, once upon a time in Thailand.

Chang Mai—Jungle Trek

A rutted dirt road led from the parking lot through a stand of tall trees. The road quickly narrowed to a track that led past a small facilities building, scattered picnic areas, and into denser woods. A huge centipede scurried past my sandals and exposed toes, making it clear that Thais eat such creatures for their size, not their beauty. After this apparition I had no trouble keeping my eyes open. An unexpected benefit of being alert was that I found an amulet someone had lost on the trail. The guidebook had mentioned that Thais always carry at least one amulet with them wherever they go, and I’d made a note to look for one in the market as a token of the visit. Presto, there it was. I hope it wasn’t the owner’s only protection.

Good luck charm in hand, we wound our way along the stream bed as the sound of crashing water grew louder. The little valley opened up, the sun broke through the tree tops, and a waterfall appeared. The impressive thing about it wasn’t so much its height, which was hard to gauge through the trees, but its power.

A pool carved out at the fall’s base and the mist all over my clothes and the trees attested to the water’s strength and the abundant runoff in this waterlogged part of the country. The trail around the pool had gone muddy from the mist and visitors’ feet, giving me what was to be the first of many intimate moments with Thai muck. I had no idea how familiar I was to become with that red earth over the next day and a half.

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Photo by Norbert Braun on Unsplash

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It is Canada Day today and I am wearing a red and white beaver shirt and my Tilley hat and we’ve just come back from a long walk through the wild and glorious suburbs of Ottawa. Now I’m going to use the strawberry syrup I made from local berries for a strawberry lime freeze because it is hot and muggy.

I’ll leave you with the start of a poem about this great country; click through the link to read more.

Canada by Billy Collins | Poetry Foundation

I am writing this on a strip of white birch bark

that I cut from a tree with a penknife.

There is no other way to express adequately

the immensity of the clouds that are passing over the farms   

and wooded lakes of Ontario and the endless visibility   

that hands you the horizon on a platter…

While we’re on the subject of poetry, I discovered the Poetry Atlas, which does exactly what it says on the tin. Navigate to your favorite locale to find an associated poem, like these about Canada:

Poems about: canada – Poetry Atlas

O Canada!

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Photos by Joshua Balsamo and Joel Henry on Unsplash

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We rose early. At 5:30 the world was quiet, not just because of the hour but because a heavy blanket of grey fog covered the neighborhood. Houses across the street loomed in the haze, their trees mere outlines. 

The fog is almost gone now but the grey sky remains, a low ceiling that dampens sound. The birds don’t mind. A family of grackles is flitting from back yard to front, jays and finches and robins visit for a bath, and a pair of mourning doves make themselves at home on the stonework. The plants don’t mind either. Yellow tickseed flowers stand open and bright yellow even without the sun. And now, a slight breeze whispers through the maple leaves. 

The wider world awakes.

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If you’ve ever had writers’ block you’ll know that it is, hmm, not fun. In my experience, getting past it requires taking a step back and reassessing your project, your goals, and your self. It can also help to understand what kind of block you’re dealing with. For that, Charlie Jane Anders has some advice:

The 10 Types of Writers’ Block (and How to Overcome Them)

Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the terrifying mystique of Writer’s Block, it’s better to take it apart and understand it — and then conquer it. Here are 10 types of Writer’s Block and how to overcome each type.

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Photo by Eva Elijas on Pexels.com

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Not everyone who is old is wise. Not everyone who is wise is old. But it is true that for many of us, age equals experience which equals at least some measure of perspective. There is a reason elders are respected in many societies. 

The written word has many benefits, not least that it allows such wisdom to be widely shared. For the past several birthdays, the maverick, artist, futurist and professional optimist Kevin Kelly has made it a point to aggregate advice he wishes he had known. Then, through the magic of the internet, he shares that advice with the world. 

“I am extremely optimistic about the future – despite reading the news.”

— Kevin Kelly (I’ll have what he’s having)

Does every suggestion work for me? No, but that’s ok. As he says, “Half the skill of being educated is learning what you can ignore.”

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The Technium: 103 Bits of Advice I Wish I Had Known

• The advantage of a ridiculously ambitious goal is that it sets the bar very high so even in failure it may be a success measured by the ordinary.

• A great way to understand yourself is to seriously reflect on everything you find irritating in others.

The Technium: 99 Additional Bits of Unsolicited Advice

• That thing that made you weird as a kid could make you great as an adult — if you don’t lose it.

The Technium: 68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice

• Over the long term, the future is decided by optimists. To be an optimist you don’t have to ignore all the many problems we create; you just have to imagine improving our capacity to solve problems.

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Photo by Chirag Saini on Unsplash

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Today in authorial fun: I signed a short story contract with Parsec Ink. It’s for a story I love and I’m very happy to have found it a home. The acceptance came through a few months ago but the contract was officially signed today. The anthology is scheduled for publication later this year.


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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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Do the things you care about to the best of your ability.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Today that’s work. And cake. Cake and work. Mostly cake.

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Photo by Heather Barnes on Unsplash

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You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.

— Maya Angelou

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Photo by Ashin K Suresh on Unsplash

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The title on this post is not quite fair; the actual article I’m sharing with you today is perhaps better categorized as how to think about the future. Still, as a reader and writer of speculative fiction I like the concept.

Will this approach help you to predict the next Stanley Cup winner? Maybe not, but it does seem helpful for building plausible alternate, slipstream and near-future worlds.

How to Be Less Wrong

Last year, some colleagues and I invited people from around the world to compete in a tournament to predict the future. Over the course of seven months, more than 2,000 participants registered over 20,000 predictions… here are their key principles and practices…

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Photo by Wyron A on Unsplash

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George Saunders, celebrated American writer, journalist and teacher, was asked for his thoughts on story endings. Here’s what he had to say:

Ten Ways of Thinking About Endings

I once defined “ending” as “stopping without sucking.”  And I’m going to stand by that…

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Photo by Eric Tompkins on Unsplash

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