Posts Tagged creativewriting

To be recognised as a poet

Wouldn’t it be something to be recognised as a poet?

I mean, not just to be a poet – many of us write poetry, and are already poets.

But to actually be recognised for it!

To have people read your pieces and like them enough to want to share them, by giving them an award, or publishing them in a book…

Now that would be something!

Fun with Poetry in SL

Fun with Poetry in SL – by Anyaka CC-BY-2.0

Links of interest:

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Voices from Elsewhere…

I was recently directed to the Wheeler Centre website to take a look at the speeches and talks they had available to view and download.

Finding out about the Wheeler Centre was very interesting…did you know that Melbourne is one of UNESCO’s ‘Cities of Literature’? The Wheeler Centre was established to celebrate this:

Melbourne has a new kind of cultural institution. The Wheeler Centre – a centre dedicated to the discussion and practice of writing and ideas. Through a year-round programme of talks and lectures, readings and debates, we invite you to join the conversation.

Their slogan is ‘Books. Writing. Ideas.’

Isn’t that wonderful?

It wasn’t long before I found a resource that drew me straight in – I am a big fan of Nam Le’s collected short stories in The Boat and even set the book on our ETAQ Book Club list this year!

If you also like books, writing and ideas, please enjoy this 10 minute talk by Nam Le, on the theme ‘Voices from elsewhere’:

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Writers on writing

I’m just choosing some quotes about the writing process to put into an English course book chapter on identity and storytelling.  Some corkers out there!  Here are a few that struck a chord with me, but which I suspect are a bit too terrifying to introduce to 7th graders ;)

  • Writing is turning one’s worst moments into money. (J. P. Donleavy)
  • As for me, this is my story: I worked and was tortured. You know what it means to compose? No, thank God, you do not! I believe you have never written to order, by the yard, and have never experienced that hellish torture. (Fyodor Dostoevsky)
  • I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. (Douglas Adams)
  • Remarks are not literature. (Gertrude Stein)
  • The misuse of language induces evil in the soul. (Socrates)
  • There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write. (Terry Pratchett)
  • Any magazine-cover hack can splash paint around wildly and call it a nightmare, or a witches sabbath or a portrait of the devil; but only a great painter can make such a thing really scare or ring true. That’s because only a real artist knows the anatomy of the terrible, or the physiology of fear. (H. P. Lovecraft)
  • You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair – the sense that you can never completely put on the page what’s in your mind and heart.  You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names.  You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world.  Come to it any way but lightly.  Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page. (Stephen King)
  • Poetry is not a career, but a mug’s game.  No honest poet can ever feel quite sure of the permanent value of what he has written, he may have wasted his time and messed up his life for nothing. (T.S. Eliot)

So: ‘torture’, ‘evil’, ‘hack’, ‘nervousness’…’a mug’s game’.  Yep, that seems about right!

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Speaking and Writing

I found this excellent quote to describe the different processes of speaking and writing, and the importance of engaging in talk.  Check it out:

Since talking, listening, and reading are all easier than writing, you should use them to prepare for writing.  It is much harder to decide how to say something before you have said it.  And it is definitely harder to decide how to say something in writing that you have never said in conversation.  Talk to people about what you believe.  Test your ideas in the faster, less permanent medium of speech before you try to set them down in the slower, more permanent medium of writing.  Read all you can about what you want to write about, and then talk to someone about it.  Remember that you will have no chance to see how people react when you are writing to them, but you do have a chance to see how they react when you are talking to them.

The full article Thinking About Writing is at http://daphne.palomar.edu/jtagg/thinkwrite.htm

This kind of explanation could be really valuable for teachers and students to discuss.  It is also a great reminder about the importance of structuring class work that gives everyone an opportunity to talk meaningfully, and with purpose.


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Ten rules for writing fiction

I came across this link today – it is one of the best articles I have ever seen about writing fiction.

Inspired by Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing, The Guardian newspaper asked authors for their personal rules for writing.  The rules often apply not just to writing long novels, but also to writing short stories…some of the rules are hilarious, and some are applicable to life in general, not just to writing!  (Make sure you click through to the second part of the article as well – loads more ‘rules’)

I would love to do an activity with these – perhaps a jigsaw group activity, or something where students were given a random selection to read and discuss.  They could make a poster of their favourite rule/s for the classroom wall.  They could form their own sets of rules…

Here are some of the rules that I like best:

  • Forget the boring old dictum “write about what you know”. Instead, seek out an unknown yet knowable area of experience that’s going to enhance your understanding of the world and write about that. - Rose Tremain
  • Do keep a thesaurus, but in the shed at the back of the garden or behind the fridge, somewhere that demands travel or effort. Chances are the words that come into your head will do fine, eg “horse”, “ran”, “said”. - Roddy Doyle
  • Take a pencil to write with on aeroplanes. Pens leak. But if the pencil breaks, you can’t sharpen it on the plane, because you can’t take knives with you. Therefore: take two pencils. - Margaret Atwood
  • Description is hard. Remember that all description is an opinion about the world. Find a place to stand. - Anne Enright
  • Marry somebody you love and who thinks you being a writer’s a good idea. - Richard Ford
  • The reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator. – Jonathan Franzen
  • Never complain of being misunderstood. You can choose to be understood, or you can choose not to. - David Hare
  • The nearest I have to a rule is a Post-it on the wall in front of my desk saying “Faire et se taire” (Flaubert), which I translate for myself as “Shut up and get on with it.” - Helen Simpson
  • Remember writing doesn’t love you. It doesn’t care. Nevertheless, it can behave with remarkable generosity. Speak well of it, encourage others, pass it on. - Al Kennedy

Love it :D  Good writing IS hard work, and students need to understand this if they want to refine their abilities.  It can also be a lonely task, solitary and isolating, and remembering that there is a whole community of writers out there, bunkered down at their desks and struggling to keep themselves in check, is a comfort.

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Electronic Poetry

I found this great site full of creative writing resources (languageisavirus.com), which includes a range of electronic poetry kits.  You can choose from poets such as ee cummings and Jack Kerouac – I chose Sylvia Plath, and here is the poem that I made:

I also recommend the poetry, slam poetry and spoken word videos that are housed on the site.

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