Writer's Quote Wednesday title pic with The Bee Writes Logo

Re-Post: Writer’s Quote Wednesday ~ Erich Fried

August 2020

There have been many exciting blog events on WordPress over the years. Some are still going. Some had to go. This one I really miss:

June 2015

Sometimes it is quite disturbing to be bi-lingual ;-). Today I was looking for a quote from one of  my favourite poets: Erich Fried. I went on Goodreads, which usually has a vast collection of quotes and I chose one which I really like:

“Eigenartig
wie das Wort eigenartig
es fast als fremdartig hinstellt
eine eigene Art zu haben.”
Erich Fried

Well, you probably realised it directly: it is in German. I didn’t. Must still be my mother tongue then :-).

Ok, some words about Erich Fried just in case you don’t know him. He was an Austrian poet who lived most of his life in the UK. He is in English speaking countries mainly known for his marvellous love poems, e.g. my favourite “Es ist was es ist/It is what it is“. In German-speaking countries, he is more known for his political poetry and especially for his peace work.

This is quite ironic as his last name “Fried” is a short form for the German word for peace: “Frieden”. “Fried” would have been used for “peace” in the dialect I grew up with.

His translations of Shakespeare are just beautiful. I can appreciate this even more now that I live in Great Britain. And yes: He became even more important for me when I realised that he chose the same country to settle in than me even though due to much darker reasons.

But back to his quote, which is a little difficult to translate because the whole thing is a wordplay that does not really work in English.

“Odd

how the word odd

makes it look nearly strange

to have your own way”

this is how you would translate it the right way, but if you translate it literally it sounds like this:

“ownway

how the word ownway

makes it look nearly strangeway

to have your own way.”

Well, maybe that does not make it any more transparent, but maybe it makes you laugh a little. The point is though that writers are often seen as strange because they do their own thing and have their own way in how to shape their lives. This quote reminded me that even though it might look odd or strange to other people my way of living and of creating my life is necessary to be able to create art.

I hope this motivates you a little more to do things your way and maybe it also  motivates you to play a little with words and create some “ownways” and “strangeways” 🙂

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Writer's Quote Wednesday title pic with The Bee Writes Logo

This post takes part in Colleen’s motivational “Writer’s Quote Wednesday“. Please head over and find some more inspiration!

Aside

Take five

dainty flowers
all in a row
so pretty
as I sit
Waiting for my dog
To finish his 5 minute run
around the garden
Dainty flowers
Smell so good
As I breathe
In their sweet aroma
Now it is time
To take 5
Go get a coffee
And then
Relax with my book

Aside

My favourite dress

A prompt from bee which I got, and am going to write on today is, my favourite dress. So here is a little poem about that very thing!

light, and very summery
long and flowy
oh how I love it
cool breeze whips it
making it spread outwards
making me blush
because there are others around me
do they really need to see me flushed?
still though
Oh how I love that dress
Summer sun
Summer fun
Me in that long flowy dress
Happy as can be.

image and quote by Terry Pratchett

A Self-Care Suggestion and Sir Terry Pratchett

Hello good people of the blogosphere, how are you doing? I hope all is well in your neck of the woods. I have scheduled this post and am either at the beach or sipping a good cuppa on the sofa. So cheers to all of you 😉 .

But I wanted to share two things: The self-care suggestion by Rachel Kelly in the next chapter of her book “Singing in the Rain – 52 Practical Steps to Happiness” and my thoughts on Terry Pratchett’s anger that Neil Gaiman mentioned in an article by The Guardian several years ago. It also mentions “Good Omens” one of my favourite books by the two and as it happens a new TV series by… Netflix? Amazon? No idea… 😉

But first things first:

You might recognise the situation: Something happened. You might have missed a step and your foot hurts. Your mind goes crazy and develops all sorts of scenarios from having your foot in a cast to having it cut off.

This is what Cognitive-Behavioural-Therapy calls “Catastrophising” and it usually is a strategy that we embraced while dealing with trauma. Mind you we certainly don’t do this consciously. It’s rather that your brain has changed its connections and now expects catastrophes instead of miracles.

Rachel describes a technique to find perspective when something happens that is less than fortunate and might get you into the downward spin:

 

Page of Rachel Kelly's book "Singing in the Rain"

She suggests to ask yourself the questions in the above image and then go and create a paper folded boat. Good old origami 🙂 will help you to get your  mind off the catastrophe you are expecting.

There are different ways of dealing with catastrophizing. I usually use something called “Safe Place” but I guess the above questions help to bring everything into perspective much faster. I am going to give it a try.

Maybe you do not consider this self-care as such. Many think when it comes to self-care of a hot bath or something nice to eat. But keeping your mind off the hamster wheel of negative thinking is an important part too. So go on. Give it a try.

That’s it for today. But there is an interesting post I wrote in March 2015 about one of my most favourite authors and here you can enjoy it again:

July 2019

I can’t believe it’s over four years ago that Sir Terry Pratchett passed over to another life. RIP may you have left your anger behind.

Here are my thoughts from 2015

March 2015

Last October The Guardian published an extract from Neil Gaiman’s introduction to “A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Non-fiction by Terry Pratchett”. I read the article then but got bored and didn’t really concentrate on what he said.

On Thursday Terry Pratchett passed away and this time I fully read the article and these sentences touched a cord:

“…Terry looked at me. He said: “Do not underestimate this anger. This anger was the engine that powered Good Omens.” I thought of the driven way that Terry wrote, and of the way that he drove the rest of us with him, and I knew that he was right.

There is a fury to Terry Pratchett’s writing: it’s the fury that was the engine that powered Discworld. It’s also the anger at the headmaster who would decide that six-year-old Terry Pratchett would never be smart enough for the 11-plus; anger at pompous critics, and at those who think serious is the opposite of funny; anger at his early American publishers who could not bring his books out successfully.

The anger is always there, an engine that drives. By the time Terry learned he had a rare, early onset form of Alzheimer’s, the targets of his fury changed: he was angry with his brain and his genetics and, more than these, furious at a country that would not permit him (or others in a similarly intolerable situation) to choose the manner and the time of their passing.

And that anger, it seems to me, is about Terry’s underlying sense of what is fair and what is not….” (quote from “Terry Pratchett isn’t jolly. He is angry.” Extract from Neil Gaiman’s introduction to A Slip of the Keyboard)

Video credit: Arts & Ideas at the JCCSF via YouTube

I struggle with my feelings for many years. Especially anger which I have directed at myself in self-harming. I also suspect it expresses itself in grinding my teeth at night which causes an awful lot of physical problems like headaches, shoulder pain and exhaustion.

While doing “Love Is In Da Blog” I realised that it is time to do something about that and not the “usual” way with medication or therapy. I began to feel strongly that I needed another maybe more spiritual approach. It feels like these sentences are the answer to my healing wish.

My anger, acquired when my mother passed away when my father did what he did when I got bullied at school and other things, is not a disease that stops me from doing what I want to do. It is the fuel that powers my creativity but I need to allow it to do its job.

I suspect I let it do its job when I decided out of nowhere to do “Love Is In Da Blog” and it has transformed me. It has kick-started a development which end I do not know yet. But I do not need to know it. I trust the process. I trust that the great creator knows where I am heading and that my intuition will guide me the right way.

At last, I know where to go: I go with the flow 🙂

image and quote by Terry Pratchett

image source: AZQuotes


Just in case you don’t have enough yet from reading blog posts:

Please check out the blogs of these great people:

Beckie

and

I am my own Island

And if you feel very generous towards me then please share my Dreamstime profile where I sell some of my photo’s:

(its an affiliate link btw)

Bee Halton on Dreamstime

Have a wonderful day and don’t forget
 
 
Love & Rage my friends Love & Rage
Aside

Bee’s poetry prompt for Carol anne…

Bee has very kindly given me some new poetry prompts to work with. So here is the first one and my attempt at a poem for this week!

The prompt is, the wizard of poetry ponders…

A fine prompt that is! Now to think of something to write! Well here goes!

Magic spells
Oh how I like
To create them
1, 2, 3
Pondering, wondering
What is the best way
To make a splash
How to make myself known
Get recognised
For the wizard that I am
I shall create
Magic tricks
With a click
Of my fingers
The wizard of poetry ponders
Wonders
Just how
To make this happen?

FREE Writing Resources ~ Sarah Kolb Williams & WritingForward.com

May 2019

A re-post of a re-post?! Well, yea, sorry but this writing resource is worth it!

December 2017

There are a lot of great and free writing resources out there and I am surprised how many I found in 2014 still exist. Here is one of them

July 2014

Hello, apprentice science fiction writers.

Have you wondered how to start writing good science fiction and are you looking for some resources to help you? If so, you are in the right place. On my travels in the world wide web for some guidance on better writing I have come across an article by Sarah Kolb-Williams on writing science fiction, which was first published on Writing Forward: “9 Steps to Writing a Science Fiction Novel”

I have come across Writing Forward at first on my search for poetry prompts for “A Prompt A Day For Bee” at the end of May just before I started my year-long poetry project. The page seems to be a great resource in itself, but this post just hit a note.

So who is Sarah Kolb Williams? Sarah is an editor and blogger specialising in science fiction but open to other genres as well. She has a wonderful page where she offers e-book proofreading, copyediting services and developmental editing. Her blog gives you lots of information around science fiction, but more importantly, everything you ever wanted to know about editors and how to approach them the right way.

Her nine steps to writing a science fiction novel seem pretty logical when you read the article, but knowing my own writing practice with the sci-fi serial “Morsmart at the End of the Galaxy” has shown me that you can get carried away quite easily. And then you are in trouble. She warns of being carried away. One of her first pieces of advice is to really get your world right and know the rules of it. Readers do not like books that contradict themselves and I know she is right. I am a reader :-). But not only the world building is important. Stories happen to characters and if you neglect to live and breathing characters in your novel you will not get anywhere.

Then, of course, advice you will hear again and again: Write! All your great ideas are for nothing if you do not sit down and get to the tough bit of writing it. And then forget it. Yes, she wrote exactly that. A tip you hear very often is to let your first draft rest for at least a month as you then can go about it with a readers eyes and not the writer’s eyes. Those are too much that of a mother hen protecting every single chick in our case words. But if you want to please readers you need to see it through their eyes and rewrite until it is perfect which is another tip of Sarah Kolb-Williams.

Another good advice I think is even when you self-publish to afford the expense of an editor as again the mother hen eyes come into play. But she also suggests using the help of beta-readers. And at last: You need to get out and sell the thing. Hopefully with much success.

The reason why I like this article so much is Sarah’s style: it’s professional but at the same time amusing. She keeps you interested in short paragraphs which give you the essentials in understandable words.

This has been just a short summary of Sarah Kolb-Williams post on Writing Forward and why I like it. However, I suggest you head over and read the real post and bookmark it to come back to it again and again: 9 Steps to Writing a Science Fiction Novel

Guest Post: “Fact vs Fiction” by Tamara Ferguson

Portrait of Author Tamara Ferguson

This was first published on my old blog in February 2015

FACT VERSUS FICTION

Writing Contemporary Romance
Just howimportant is it to stick to the facts when inventing the background for your story?
This question never really came up for me until I submitted Tales of the Dragonfly Book II: In Flight for a Wisconsin Romance Writers contest back in 2013.  Overall, the rough draft had scored fairly well in the Chicago Fire & Ice RWA Contest a few months before.
 
Since time is an issue in my life, it’s difficult for me to participate in workshops, even when they’re online.  These RWA contests have proved to be some of my most valuable learning tools when it comes to assessing my writing.  I try to take advice from my judges and work it into my manuscripts as I revise and edit.
 
I’d like to think I’ve conquered the majority of my problems I’ve had with my POV and fondness for adjectives.  But a couple of unrelated comments from the judges from a Wisconsin really threw me!
 
In Flight takes place in the lovely growing resort town of Crystal Rock, Wisconsin.  Loosely resembling the small town in Northwest Wisconsin where my family cabin was once located, this setting is purely fictional, and larger than life.
 
Since I created a fictitious town as well as The Dragonfly Pointe Inn, I thought—why not invent fictitious transportation?  After all, with the emphasis I put on the enchantment of Dragonfly Pointe, there’s a slight element of fantasy running through all of my stories, anyway.
 
Coincidentally, it was kind of a family joke that there was no other means of reaching our cabin other than to drive, since the final leg of our journey, until

recent years, had always been along a narrow two lane highway.   

 
Well—when scoring my manuscript, two out three judges drew attention to the fact that there was no train running through that region of the country at the time period in which my story takes place.  One of them even went so far as to research the railroad and bus schedules.
 
Okay—when developing my characters, I do agree that it’s essential to get the facts straight when it comes to creating their background.  In fact, I’d give it a 10/10 for its importance.
Examples:
In the novella I’m currently writing—Two Hearts Surrendered—the hero of my story will be one of the pilots responsible for dropping bombs used to contain terrorists in Iraq.  And he’ll return to his hometown physically and emotionally scarred.  I won’t go into too much detail about the war—after all, it is a romance.   But I’ll validate facts like the branch of the service he served in, as well as the actual timing of the attacks to coordinate with my character’s homecoming.  I’ll even research the design and color of his uniform, since he’ll come home on leave to attend a wedding.  These details are important to make your characters believable.
But, did I go back and rewrite my prologue for In Flight, and eliminate the train, just because two Wisconsin judges told me to stick to the truth—even though one of these judges actually subtracted points from my score sheet? My answer is no.  Don’t be intimidated into thinking that the advice from those who critique your work is an absolute.
 
But do go back and analytically evaluate their suggestions before you make any final decisions to ignore them.  If five out six judges point out problems with your sentence structuring or POV, then you know you have a definite problem and need to fix it. But when it comes to advice that’s not related to your writing, itself?  You need to think carefully.
 
First, I considered my target audience.  My Tales of the Dragonfly is romantic suspense, and meant to appeal primarily to women—but within a broad age group.  Would my readers really care that there wasn’t a train running through Wisconsin when they’re reading my story?
 
My answer was no.  In fact, out of all the critiques and reviews of my book, not one single person seems to have noticed it.  And then there’s that one remaining judge from Wisconsin, who gave me my highest score, and mentioned nothing about it at all.
 
Secondly, I considered the train as I’d used it in the prologue of my story.
Example 1:
Murphy had his nose back in his paper when he suddenly became aware of another presence rising up from the very rear of the deserted passenger car.  Odd, Murphy frowned, with a confused shake of his head.  He was slipping.  He could’ve sworn he was the only one left in the car.  Of medium height, the individual held his head down as he quietly shuffled by, seeming purposely to conceal himself. 
Example 2:
Suddenly, a calculated movement from further down the station platform snapped Murphy’s eyes back through the window.  Hovering only a few yards behind the woman, the stranger in the hooded sweatshirt stealthily pulled out from the shadows of the dimly lit stationhouse.
Impulsively attempting to draw the woman’s attention, Murphy knocked on the window of the train.  Apparently aware of the knocking, tauntingly challenging Murphy, the stranger in the sweatshirt met his gaze through the window with a shattering, bleak hollow stare.  Helplessly, Murphy watched while the woman entered the stationhouse, the shadowy figure in the sweatshirt following closely behind. 
Would I have been able to substitute this train with a plane or an automobile?
This time I answered with an emphatic no.  This change would’ve impacted my entire novel.  How would I have been able to build this degree of tension on a plane or in a crowded airport?  And would the villain of my story have even been noticed? 
 
Expert though the person or persons critiquing your work may be, you need to remember, when it comes to advising you about conceptual details, it’s largely their opinion.
 
It’s important to stick to the truth when at all possible–I’d give it a 7/10.

 

But, as a writer, the first thing you should do is eliminate your self-doubt.  The key to believable and effective writing is to always be true to yourself.  This is what makes your story unique.
 
Thank you very much, Tamara, for this brilliant guest post. I enjoyed it very much!

Blast from the Past: Good Morning Writers! ~ I don’t wanna be in that dark place!

May 2019

I never realised in what a bad place I was in the last couple of years until recently. Hopefully, I managed to get out of there now…

January 2015

How is your writing going? Are you inspired or in a rather dark place?

After a spell of activity and writing like mad, I am going back into the dark places. Winter is always a hard time for me as it seems to be more difficult to keep my thoughts and feelings on a positive path.

St. John’s Worth has always helped me and so does it now, but I do not want to take it longer than six months which is probably too long anyway. I start taking it in October one pill every day but now I try to wean myself off it. Meaning I take one every two days.

It has an effect on my mood, of course. I am back on the coffee and a little alcohol which does not help. My usual downing thoughts are arriving: “I do not want to be in that dark place.”

It’s no point though to pity myself. I know I suffer from depression and it just needs managing which I can after 20 odd years of living with it. No matter the healing I have gone through. It’s just part of my life.

I also think it’s part of my creativity. There are so many who have and still suffer from it. Some are highly successful no matter what. Some aren’t, and some have not survived it.

That’s a matter of fact if I like it or not. I just go through my cycles and keep on writing. Because there is one thing I have learned in those 20 odd years: If you give up doing what you love you have already lost. No matter how hard.

How about you? Do you have cycles of writing and not-writing?

Aside

Sing me a song of longing?

This week, Bee challenged me to write a poem using the prompt sing me a song of longing. So I shall try, not sure how good it will be, not really feeling the creative streak at the moment.

sing me a song
a song
as I long
for warmer days
brighter times
peaceful nights
I long in my heart
for all that is calm
sing me a song of longing
a song which brings joy
to my heart and mind
just sing, sing
sing me a song of longing…

Aside

Bee’s poetry prompt for Carol anne, the day I met Nitro

Bee has given me this awesome prompt to write on for this week, the prompt is, the day I met Nitro!
For those who don’t already know, Nitro is my guide dog!
😀
So here goes!

The day I met you
The day you bounced into my life and my world
Was October 26th 2012
You were turning 2 years old the day before
I bought you a badge to hang around your neck
It said worlds best birthday boy on it
You melted my heart
You were so cute
The way you hold your lead in your mouth
Telling me you want to go for a walk
Your waggly tail
Your soulful eyes
Your warm fur as I rub it gently
Makes me feel so amazing
The day I met you
Is a day I will cherish
Forever