I can’t recall just when I first encountered haiku, that subtle, concise and often baffling Japanese poetry, but I suspect it was sometime in the late 1960s, not long after I was first introduced to Buddhism. I recall having the four-volume set of seasonal haiku by Blyth back in those days, but long since gone from my library for reasons I can no longer fathom. I’ve had several other books of haiku on my shelves since then, and turn to … click below for more!
To the tune of Sounds of Silence, with apologies to Paul Simon… Hello, winter, my old friend I have a bone to pick, again Because a snowplow softly creeping Passed my house while I was sleeping My driveway’s blocked and I’m shovelling again My back’s in pain I curse these days of winter. Every day we play this game. Digging out then filled again. The snow drifts reach up unto my knees Beneath the heavy snow my pipes do freeze … click below for more!
You don’t expect Wal Mart to be the source for literary tools, but if you amble into the section crammed with toys, you can pick up a set of Rory’s Story Cubes for just $10 (the base set). Now, I realize these are meant as a creative game for children and/or families (marked ages 8+), but they are actually an ingenious little tool for plot development and ideas in storytelling. And for some exercises in creative thinking. Wait, you say: … click below for more!
These old bones; You wouldn’t think they’d cut a rug jitterbug dance between the rain drops but once I could. Once I did. Danced to the music, lover in hand, that time in the park when we didn’t care laughing in the face of the storm. The rain, the wind, splashing in the grass. The music was all in our heads, our breath, our hearts beat with the tunes we sang inside. I remember every line, every lyric. These old … click below for more!
Once upon a time, a crafty, old crow was sitting in his nest while his dole of pet doves brought him his breakfast. He happened to look down to the forest floor and saw a convocation of animals had been called. The animals gathered in front of their leader, a wise old lion. I don’t like lions, said the crow to himself. They’re too full of themselves. The animals like them too much. The lion shouldn’t be king of the beasts. … click below for more!
Alack! what poverty my Muse brings forth, So begins Shakespeare’s sonnet number 103 (I started rereading the sonnets recently because, well because it’s Shakespeare, damn it all, and what other reason would anyone need?). It’s a sentiment I well know. The impoverished Muse thing, I mean. There are three dozen pieces in draft mode I’ve started here, then hesitated, and left incomplete. Unable to pull the threads together into a coherent tableaux because my muse is busy somewhere else. I … click below for more!
Reading involves bit of trickery. Mental trickery. It engages the imagination and fools us into thinking we are there within the book: nestled beside the author, or better yet, beside the characters. Immersed in the created world, floating through it like a ghost in a haunted house movie, or perhaps in the imagined flesh, interacting on the mental stage. We ask ourselves how we would play the scene, how we would decide, take action, engage the other characters. How would … click below for more!
There’s always been a place for amateur or new writers to present their efforts and hope to see print: publications where you could submit your work and hope the editors found it good enough to print in an upcoming issue. That’s how some famous writers got their start, in the pulp magazines of the 1930s and 40s: Robert Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Isaac Asimov and many more. But all of these depended on getting past the gatekeeper, someone like John Campbell: … click below for more!
Bought a book at Loblaws (of all places) this week, one by Harry Turtledove: The Big Switch. It’s one of his many alternative history novels, about what might have happened if things had happened a certain way – a different way from what actually transpired – in the opening years of World War Two. He’s written several in this vein and they’ve all been generally well received. I’ve liked what I’ve read of him in the past. Many authors have … click below for more!
My third book for Municipal World, Brands, Buzz & Going Viral, has just been published as part of the Municipal Information Series. I received my author’s copies yesterday. I am very proud of this book; it took a lot of work to research and write. I enjoyed writing it. I hope my municipal readers find it both informative and interesting. I am also delighted to be able to share my knowledge and experience with others in the municipal governance realm across … click below for more!
I came across Plotto a few years back – references to it in other works, rather than the actual book. it sounded strange, complex and wildly over-reaching. I couldn’t find one – it was long out of print. It wasn’t until I got my own copy that I realized how really odd, clumsy – and delightful – it is. Plotto was first published in 1928, and not reprinted until recently as far as I can tell, which is why it’s … click below for more!
Writing before the arrival of the internet*, Bob Blackburn commented on the nature of exchange on then-prevalent BBS (Bulletin Board Systems), words that could as easily be written today about the internet: “…the BBS medium reveals not only a widespread inability to use English as a means of communication but also a widespread ignorance of that inability, and, in consequence, a lack of interest in doing anything about it.” Words that were prescient. As if he could foresee Facebook. Blackburn … click below for more!
As of this writing, I will have published 253 posts since I began this blog at the ending week of December, 2011. Two hundred and fifty three posts in 21 months. Just over one post every two-and-a-half days, on average. Plus 30 or so still in draft mode. Another half-dozen scribbled in word processing notes or notebooks. And that doesn’t include the six years of blog posts – a list of 91 pages – on my previous blog site (still … click below for more!
Before I carry on with my exploration of Miriam Van Scott’s Encyclopedia of Hell, I wanted to note that I just got my copy of her other book – the Encyclopedia of Heaven, from Abebooks. It’s dated 1999, so it’s a year later than her book on Hell. Yet it has many related topics – like Goethe’s second Faust. And it has lots of pop culture – like movie references – but nothing post 1999. Miriam, why not consider a … click below for more!