Bau: A Favorite Poem

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This is one of my favorite dog poemsIt was written by Nobel Laureate Wislawa Szymborska.

 

 

Monologue of a Dog Ensnared in History

There are dogs and dogs. I was among the chosen.
I had good papers and wolf’s blood in my veins.
I lived upon the heights inhaling the odors of views:
meadows in sunlight, spruces after rain,
and clumps of earth beneath the snow.

I had a decent home and people on call,
I was fed, washed, groomed,
and taken for lovely strolls.
Respectfully, though, and comme il faut.
They all knew full well whose dog I was.

Any lousy mutt can have a master.
Take care, though — beware comparisons.
My master was a breed apart.
He had a splendid herd that trailed his every step
and fixed its eyes on him in fearful awe.

For me they always had smiles,
with envy poorly hidden.
Since only I had the right
to greet him with nimble leaps,
only I could say good-bye by worrying his trousers with my teeth.
Only I was permitted
to receive scratching and stroking
with my head laid in his lap.
Only I could feign sleep
while he bent over me to whisper something.

He raged at others often, loudly.
He snarled, barked,
raced from wall to wall.
I suspect he liked only me and nobody else, ever.

I also had responsibilities: waiting, trusting.
Since he would turn up briefly, and then vanish.
What kept him down there in the lowlands, I don’t know.
I guessed, though, it must be pressing business,
at least as pressing
as my battle with the cats
and everything that moves for no good reason.

There’s fate and fate. Mine changed abruptly.
One spring came
and he wasn’t there.
All hell broke loose at home.
Suitcases, chests, trunks crammed into cars.
The wheels squealed tearing downhill
and fell silent round the bend.

On the terrace scraps and tatters flamed,
yellow shirts, armbands with black emblems
and lots and lots of battered cartons
with little banners tumbling out.

I tossed and turned in this whirlwind,
more amazed than peeved.
I felt unfriendly glances on my fur.
As if I were a dog without a master,
some pushy stray
chased downstairs with a broom.

Someone tore my silver-trimmed collar off,
someone kicked my bowl, empty for days.
Then someone else, driving away,
leaned out from the car
and shot me twice.

He couldn’t even shoot straight,
since I died for a long time, in pain,
to the buzz of impertinent flies.
I, the dog of my master

 

Monologue of a Dog

 

WHAT MAKES STRONG WRITING

In a recent interview with Natalie Portman and CBC’s Tom Power at the Toronto International Film Festival, Portman talked about the inspiration behind her critically-acclaimed performance in Vox Lux.

One of the reasons she so easily accepted the role was because the writing was so strong. Brady Cobert is both the director and writer of Vox Lux.

Brady Cobert

 Attribution: Georges Biard

That got me thinking.

What makes writing so strong?

EM Castellan, a writer of YA Historical Fantasy novels and winner of several Wattpad awards, provides pointers on what you need to make your writing stronger.

One of the most common reasons for agents and publishers to reject a manuscript is « weak writing ». Rather than listing here what makes your writing weak, I’d like to offer a few pointers to help you make your writing strong – or stronger.

To continue reading  click here. 

John Keats: Truth is Beauty

In my early twenties, fresh out of university with a B.A. in English literature, I was lured to London where I spent the summer in the Bloomsbury District doing research at the British Museum Library in the mornings and in the afternoons I explored the city.

A favorite thing to do was to visit the homes of the great poets and writers who had lived in London. One such home was that of the poet John Keats, a great figure of the British romantic poets.

 
Fast-forward – almost fifty years – and I am in Rome where I stumble upon the Keats – Shelly Memorial House right next to the Piazza di Spagna.

Keats had travelled to Rome hoping that the warmer climate would cure his tuberculosis and that the view of the Piazza di Spagna from his room would uplift him.

Keats Window

But, at only 25, the uplifting view and the warmer climate were not enough and he died in this bed

Keats bed

and left behind a legacy of great poetry which two hundred years later is still being honored and read. One of my favorite lines comes from his Ode on a Grecian Urn.

Beauty is truth, truth beauty

 

 

 

 

 

Anneli Purchase: The Wind Weeps

The Wind Weeps ​

A romantic fishing tale​​​​​​​​​

Although knowing practically nothing about fishing, Andrea accidently finds herself in the hard-working sub-culture of commercial fishing. She painfully learns the ins and outs of fishing from preparing the boat for the season to the camaraderie within the fishing community and its inevitable human tensions.
The setting is exquisite, wild and beautiful and the author has the talent to create vivid, emotionally packed images.

Annel photo

photo source

In her attempts to redefine a life for herself Andrea is forced to face the complexities of her abuse and their devastating effects on her romantic relationships.
This is a story about survival: physical survival, moral survival and survival of the soul.

 

Anneli

The Wind Weeps, is a must-read for any woman who has been or is trying to get out of an abusive relationship. But it is also a man’s story as it involves the rugged world of commercial fishing on the gorgeous coast of British Columbia.

Click here for more details on Anneli Purchase’s books.

 

 

 

 

 

How To End With A Bang

To finish the novel is one trick, but to end your story is quite another. C. Patrick Schulze.

This was on one of the slides in a webinar I recently listened to.

The class was given by Dr. Barbara Henderson as one of the Penquin Random House Writers Academy Masterclasses in which she discussed aspects of writing a crime novel, including such topics as keeping the plot tight and how to end your novel with a bang.

Barbara Henderson

 

A good ending must feel right. Finish with a sentence that has impact and leaves your reader thinking. Make the ending satisfying to the reader. Satisfying the reader not just intellectually but emotionally.

 

If you’re interested in listening to the entire class here it is. It runs about 50 minutes. I picked up some good tips and found it to be an excellent reminder of what crime fiction is about. Many of the tips though can be applied to writing in general. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Free Online Crime Writing Course

How to write crime fiction

Just thought I’d pass this along:

Free Webinar on how to write a crime novel presented by The Writers’ Academy at Penguin-Random House.  Thursday March 29.

It sounds interesting. 

Here’s more info: 

http://www.course-enquiry.com/webmail/107002/360067594/c40d1da3646c3c2495bd94d88c24286b5b903de9a8966d1b7ddcab0276647878

Tasting Samples

All my bags are packed

I’m ready to go…

cayo largo

Besides, a rather small carry on, I’m taking along these books with me. Although my list may seem ambitious (even crazy) – especially for a one week holiday – except for a couple books, the rest are samples which I downloaded from Amazon to my iPad. I’m eager to get into them as I’ve read fantastic reviews for all these books. 

The Secrets of Married WomenOur Little SecretThe Perfect neighboursDon't Stand so Close

The Wife Between UsThe Chalk ManAdriftJourney to Death.jpgBecause she loves meThe Woman in the Windowbook-cover-the-perfect-nanny-by-leila-slimani The Memory Watcher

The Perfect Roommate Depth of Lies e.c. Diskin do-not-wash-hands-in-plates