sarahpotterwrites

Pursued by the Muses of prose, poetry, and music.

Tanka #25

camellia

Transient glory,
this Camellia moment:
better here than not.
Remember that day she wore
her red-flowered poplin dress.

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For those of you who are unfamiliar with this poetic form, you might like to read my earlier post at http://sarahpotterwrites.com/2012/12/07/tanka-3-a-brief-guide-to-the-31-syllable-poetic-form/ and then perhaps have a go at composing a tanka of your own. Please do feel free to post links to your poems in “comments” to this post.

For The Love Of Haiku 39

Click to see the making of this week’s haiku image :-)

Geisha sails by,
charms lost on forever boy
and his immortals.

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To read what others are saying about the image above and learn how you can join in with this week’s haiku challenge, visit http://allaboutlemon.com/for-the-love-of-haiku/

Wordless Wednesday — The Latest Range in Easter Bonnets ;-)

hat parade 01hat parade 02

Wordless-Wednesday-Button-150

Monday Morning Haiku #10

ladybird on child's hand

Two creatures in flight,
ladybird captures child
to hold her spellbound.

Music Passion – Night

My music passion for April is “One Charming Night” (Secresy’s song) sung by Andreas Scholl (countertenor). This song is from Henry Purcell’s semi-opera, The Fairy Queen, based on William Shakespeare’s play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (1692).

As you can see, the lyrics of the song are most playful!

One charming night
Gives more delight
Than a hundred lucky days:
Night and I improve the taste,
Make the pleasure longer last
A thousand, thousand several ways.

To find out how you can join in with this month’s music passion and to listen to other songs with “Night” in the title, visit http://allaboutlemon.com/music-passion/

A big thank you to, Phil at Random Thoughts for choosing the theme for April.

Guest Post: Editor, Gary Bonn, Talks About His Fascination for Autobiographies

The sheer joy of editing (really!). Gary 1 290x290

The startling revelations of scary intimacy.

Themes that shock your soul.

Most authors are happy to edit other people’s work. This is often a reciprocal exercise and I don’t know of a single writer whose work doesn’t benefit from their having edited the work of others, or whose writing hasn’t been significantly improved by the labours of skilled and experienced input.

I am an editor, and working on autobiographies is my favourite by far. Everyone has a unique and fascinating life and I haven’t worked on a single autobiography that doesn’t have profound themes.

*Gasps from the audience* “Themes in non-fiction?”

Oh boy, yes.

Currently I’m working on the autobiography of a nurse who worked in the community, in a bombed-out area of London, shortly after the second world war.

As if her descriptions of post-war chaos, the beginnings of the Health Service, the antibiotic and immunisation revolutions weren’t enough to blow my mind, there are social and personal themes in her commentary that enable me to step outside of my world and take a hard look at how things are now—both in my world and in me.

As in fiction, the editor has to work out what the writer is trying to say, exterminating ambiguities, clarifying the unclear, and strengthening the weak. This is the most beautiful challenge, taking people’s often blurry ideas and accounts of real life and working with the writers to make everything crystal clear.

And you learn about the authors. There is nothing more fascinating to me than another human. I…

Oops… yes… themes… ahem. I was getting there, honest.

Themes are the depth of a novel and the most moving element of a personal history. But there can be no richer source of themes than another person.

Everyone heads off into life armed with around 18 years of it and the knowledge that they know just about everything. When amply supplied with 80 years’ experience, and the realisation that they’ve never really known anything, people’s wisdom and humanity are often their strongest points. These can reveal the themes of human existence—and can profoundly shake you.

One client was dying, and this catalysed a unique situation. On toxic levels of medication to fight the oedema that crept, day-by-day, up her legs and would eventually flood her lungs, she started to tell me her life story. Recording it was a race against time as either the medication, or heart-failure would inevitably kill her.

However, she became more interested in my life and insisted, like an interrogator, “I’m asking the questions!”.

So, over a couple of weeks, we discussed ourselves and each other.

What developed from this highlighted just about the strongest human theme imaginable. Fuelled by impending death, my client became increasingly honest and open. She warmly encouraged me to do the same.

I kept taking notes – notes I’ll probably not allow to be published, for both our sakes. Never have I had such an intimate conversation. It was a mutual invasion of each other – but with every question welcomed, respected and handled with absolute honesty and openness.

Scary stuff, asking a question reveals a lot about the person asking it.

We abandoned any moral judgements of each other. She helped me find the courage to follow her lead and ask personal questions. She led us both to a revelation.

The theme? How little we humans know about each other, how much we could know, but dare not ask about; how scared we are of ourselves, of revealing our most intimate secrets, even to close friends and relatives.

I’ve never heard of a conversation so unrestrained. Surely it’s happened to others at some time, but there’s nothing in all the literature and other media I’ve come across that even approaches it.

What emerged, and profoundly shocked both of us, was the depth of separation between people and the desperate tragedy of it. Even in our closest relationships we reveal very little of ourselves and know so little of each other. The tragedy is we are not aware of it.

My client and I realised how lonely humans are, at least in our culture, and how close they could be.

In a world where politicians role-model ways to humiliate and ridicule even a single statement made by another, and strut their momentary moral superiority like posturing cockerels and hens, it’s easy to understand why we’re so timid.

Caught up in this extraordinary situation, driven by imminent and inevitable death, this awe-inspiring and courageous woman pushed us both into a whirlpool of openness and unconditional acceptance. I learned not only how easy it is to accept everything about someone, but also how wonderful it is to have a person know you completely and yet still admire and cherish everything about you, no matter how much you despise yourself .

Maybe the details will never be aired, but, for me as a novelist, this theme is too hot not to handle.

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Sarah says: Thank you, so much, Gary for sharing this insight into autobiographies. I admit to not reading an autobiography for ages, but perhaps I should.

My beloved Grandmother, who died aged 98, read them avidly up to the end of her life. I remember her sometimes getting through about four books a week; then she’d delight me with snippets about whoever she’d been reading about, calling them by their first name as if they were her best friends. 

Other guest posts by Gary:

http://sarahpotterwrites.com/2014/04/05/aprils-guest-storyteller-gary-bonn/

http://sarahpotterwrites.com/2013/12/16/gary-bonn-talks-about-writerlot-where-im-guest-storytelling/

And for anyone interested in having their manuscript professionally edited by Gary, you can check out the details at

http://garybonn.com/about/editorial-services-2/

 

 

 

Wordless Wednesday — Miss Tulip, One Bright Spark :-)

LoneTulip

Wordless-Wednesday-Button-150

Monday Morning Haiku #9

pink and white magnolia trees

trees overhang stream
magnolia petals float
think tranquillity

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April’s Guest Storyteller, Gary Bonn

Gary 2 290x290Gary Bonn, me … a bio. Shouldn’t be hard. Men like talking about themselves, don’t they?

I live in Scotland, write books, short stories, edit other people’s books and … oh, wot? … this is harder than I thought.

I’m delighted to have had two books published, and there’re more on the way. I like to write in as many genres as I can. This is more or less down to my friends at WriterLot, who challenge me with, “Gary, you haven’t written from the point of view of a frog”, write a story named “The Girl, The Kite, And The Broken Gate” and, “How about a sweet little vampire story too?”.

I baulked at the last and wrote the book, “Expect Civilian Casualties” instead. Why write about vampires? It’s been done.

Actually, WriterLot is a laugh. The members ensure that a new piece of writing goes up every day. We’re always happy to include guest-writers’ pieces, so feel free to contact me through garybonn.com.

If any of you are short of reading material, do visit writerlot.net and garybonn.com. It’s all free.

A big thanks to Sarah for inviting me to this blog!

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Sarah says: You’re most welcome, Gary. It’s always a pleasure having you visit my blog and grace the place with your originality and wit. As for your story below — that wry take on the inefficiency of road maintenance in the UK (both North and South of the border) — all I can say is LOL! And so, a warning to fellow bloggers, do not read what follows while holding a beverage anywhere near your computer keyboard for fear of spillage.

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YAAD

Bill Wild is acting a little odd today. The lashing sleet rattles his hi-vis jacket, but utterly fails to wipe the smug grin from his face.

With the ease of many years’ experience, he winches the generator from the glistening road and secures it on the back of his lorry.

A passing car slows and the driver’s window slides down. The driver shouts to Bill, ‘Thank the bloody gods. How long have these roadworks been here?’

Bill, given more to economical truth than downright lies, shrugs and says, ‘It’s been a while, hasn’t it?’

The driver goes on, ‘But what did you actually do? I didn’t see anybody working all these months.’

Bill shrugs again. ‘Dunno. I’m just the bloke that puts up the traffic lights and sets the cones out.’

The driver, under pressure from traffic behind, moves off into a flurry of wet snow, tyres hissing and squelching in slush.

Bill collects the last of the cones, stashes them lovingly, even patting them and muttering his thanks, and climbs into the cab.

He shrugs off his jacket and takes a moment to enjoy the way the warning lights on his lorry sweep swathes of yellow light, gilding the dripping trees and banks of bracken.

He’s looking forward to the headline news tomorrow. All it needs is one anonymous call and some photos plastered over the internet.

As Bill revs the motor; the lorry trembles and shakes like a wet dog.

A woman, half-hidden behind the wind-whipped foliage at the side of the road, lowers her camera; a mute witness of Bill’s triumph.

He says to his phone, ‘Call the headquarters of “For No Good Reason”.’

As he pulls away for the last time, a woman’s voice comes through the speakers. ‘Mr Wild, we are honoured to receive you into the ranks of the élite. A year and a day. Well, well, who’d have thought no one would question why roadworks sat there so long without anyone actually working? You are our first official Year And A Day member.’

Bill replies, ‘Thank you, Mary. But there’s more to this day, for me, than my becoming an élite. No way will Mac be able to top this. It’s a double victory for me. We had a bet on.’

‘You had a bet with Mac? That’s courageous.’

‘The loser gives all his traffic equipment to the winner. He can’t afford new stuff. He’s a goner.’ He smirks, cuts the connection, and turns the radio on.

After the booms of Big Ben, come the headlines.

‘The Queen’s Flight, carrying members of the Royal Family on their way to Balmoral, has been forced to divert to the only other open airport in the British Isles, Dublin. Prestwick Airport has been closed due to the inexplicable, overnight appearance of roadworks on the main runway.’

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http://sarahpotterwrites.com/2013/12/16/gary-bonn-talks-about-writerlot-where-im-guest-storytelling/

http://sarahpotterwrites.com/guest-storytellers-2/

 

 

   

Yay! It’s Publication Day for Sara Crowe’s Young Adult Novel “Bone Jack” :-)

51OspgEiqZL._SY445_Ash’s dad has returned from war. But he’s far from the hero Ash was expecting. He’s close to a breakdown, lost in a world of imaginary threats. Meanwhile, Ash’s best friend Mark is grieving and has drifted away into his own nightmares. Ash’s only escape is his lonely mountain running, training to be the stag boy in the annual Stag Chase.

But dark things are stirring. Ghostly hound boys prowl the high paths, and in the shadows a wild man watches. Ash begins to wonder if the sinister stories about the Stag Chase are true. Could Mark and Dad be haunted by more than just their pasts?

sara1

Sara Crowe is a writer and photographer. She was raised in various parts of England. In 2012, she and her partner set off in a camper van and have been travelling around Britain ever since.
Her interests include folklore, collecting and using vintage cameras, nature and wildlife, and going for long walks with her dog.

She blogs at http://theforest.me

Bone Jack, her debut novel, is published by Andersen Press/Random House

It’s available in paperback and Kindle versions in the UK and Commonwealth countries from Amazon, Waterstones, and all good bookshops.

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Sarah P. says: I’m so excited for Sara having arrived at this great day. We first met on an on-line writing colony before she had an agent or a publishing deal, so to see her travel this journey to success is such an inspiration. She’s a very talented writer, whose rich and haunting prose, world-building and characterisation will delight young and old alike.

In the next couple of months I will invite Sara to my blog for an author interview, when those of you who’ve read  Bone Jack will have the opportunity to post mini reviews in “comments” and put your questions to her.

Wishing all the best :-)

  

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