A to Z Challenge – Y is for You’re in there!

April 29, 2015 at 12:05 am | Posted in A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015, Poetry, Writing | 10 Comments
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A2Z-BADGE [2015] - Life is Good

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Do you ever have trouble finding a word?

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You’re in There – I Know You Are!

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Stop, Word! I saw you.

Get back here, I need you.

I’ve been looking for you everywhere.

Oh, no. Don’t you go and hide;

I know you’re in there –

Come out and let me see you!

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Come on out. Please.

This happens every time I need you;

You’re nowhere to be found.

Stop hiding behind the others!

No, I don’t want them,

I want you!

They just aren’t right for this work.

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Oh, please, Word.

Don’t you want to be famous;

Have everyone quoting you;

Be the very latest “bon mot”?

You do? Great!

Share? Well, yes, of course

You’ll have to share

The poem with the other words.

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You don’t want to? But why?

They’re just the everyday words;

The run-of-the-mill words.

They just can’t do the job like you can!

I need a word

That says it just right;

That conveys the perfect idea;

That creates the exact emotion.

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That’s you. Yes, you!

Oh, come on, Word.

You’ll look so good on the paper,

Or on the screen.

You’ll be admired, and …

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Word! Come out, this minute!

You’re spoiling everything.

My poem will be ruined.

You don’t care, do you?

You just don’t care.

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This is your last chance, Word.

Get yourself out here!

Come out of my memory.

Right now!

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(c)  Linda Visman

A to Z Challenge – J is for Justice

April 11, 2015 at 12:05 am | Posted in A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015, Poetry | 9 Comments
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A2Z-BADGE [2015] - Life is Good

During my most creative and productive years, when I still had the enthusiasm and energy for my writing, I entered many competitions. A lot of these were on wordpress.com. Some were for short stories, and a lot were for poetry. Through entering these competitions, I encountered many different forms of poetry, and wrote them too. Some were better than others.

One form, with which I was previously unfamiliar, was the pleiades. This was

invented in 1999 by Craig Tigerman, Sol Magazine‘s lead editor.

The poetry form name comes from the star cluster Pleiades in the constellation Taurus, which consists of hundreds of stars, though only six are visible. In Classical Mythology. seven daughters of Atlas and half sisters of the Hyades, were placed among the stars to save them from the pursuit of Orion. One of them (the Lost Pleiad,) hides, either from grief or shame. The Seven Sisters were Alcyone, Asterope, Celaeno, Electra, Maia, Merope and Tygeta. Nearby in the cluster are the parents, Atlas and Pleione, which are clearly visible.

The Pleiades form consists of the following:

A one-word title;

Seven lines, each beginning with the same letter as the title;

Each line is usually six syllables, but can be longer.

Here is the Pleiades poem I wrote for a competition:

Justice

Judges, uphold rule of law;

Juries decide outcomes,

Juggling fact and fiction.

Judicial process becomes a

Juggernaut, lumbering,

Jealously guarding forms’ sake;

Jeopardising true justice.

(c)  Linda Visman

January 20, 2015 at 9:55 pm | Posted in Friendship, Gratitude, Social mores, Writing | 3 Comments
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Share Your World blog badge

 

Here are Cee’s Share Your World questions for Week 3

 

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

I don’t really know, apart from my family and friends. I am not a celebrity follower, rarely watch TV (and even less if it’s commercial TV), don’t often go to movies or follow sports. The only possibility I could see would be an author whose work I enjoy, so we could chat about writing.

When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

I sang to myself a few days ago as I listened to the radio whilst doing the ironing. It’s a good way to make the job (seem to) go faster. I’ll often sing a few lines of a song to my husband when I am reminded of one that seems appropriate.

Because I know a lot of (usually) old songs, I developed a habit that he’s also taken up. When we hear a phrase or sentence that brings a song to mind, we’ll start to sing it. Sometimes we can hardly have a conversation because so many come up! We usually laugh a lot then too.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

I would like to get back the passion and enthusiasm I used to have for my creative writing. It seems to have gone walkabout and I cannot find it anywhere.

What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

I am looking at the broader context of society here, and child sexual abuse should never be something to joke about. There is nothing funny about such a horrendous crime.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week, we were invited to dinner by our good friends. The meal, the wine, the conversation and the friendship were all wonderful.

This coming weekend, we may be able to go out in our sailing boat to join people from our Careel Cruising Association to enjoy friendship and celebrate Australia Day, which falls on the 26th January.

Linda Visman

Share Your World – 2014 Week 40

October 7, 2014 at 12:11 am | Posted in Australia, Culture, Family, Gardens, Nature, Reading, Writing | 12 Comments
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Share Your World blog badge

Every week, Cee, at Share Your World, posts a few questions for us to answer. This is a great way of getting to know others, and to let others know about our own world. Here are my answers to Cee’s latest Share Your World Questions.

You’re given $500,000 dollars tax free (any currency), what do you spend it on? 

I would give each of our eight children $50,000 to reduce their mortgages or, for one, to buy his own place at last. The rest I would use to pay off our own mortgage and to pay for us to visit the countries of our birth for the first time since we left them over 60 years ago.

What’s the finest education?

I must say that, of all the formal education I have received – primary (elementary) and high school, Teachers’ College diploma, a university degree and graduate diploma – nothing can compare to the education I have received from life itself. To be open to what is around you, to observe and learn to understand the world, its people and yourself grants you an education that is second to none.

What kind of art is your favorite? Why?

Although many people will say it is not an art, my favourite is writing. I have always loved reading. I love the worlds and the characters and the situations that are created by writers, and I have become one of them myself.

I believe that those who cannot be impressed by how words can be put together in artistic, creative and meaningful ways to create works of wonder and beauty – and even horror and violence – are missing a piece of what it means to be human.

Is there something that you memorized long ago and still remember?

When I was in primary school, I learned a poem that expresses much of what our country (Australia) is. That poem is “My Country” by Dorothea McKellar (1885-1968) when she was in England, and homesick for her own country. It was first published in 1908. It compares the softness of the English countryside with the starkness of the Australian. I love the poem, as I have seen so much of what it expresses.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Through the last week, I spent quite a bit of time in the garden. It is spring here in Australia, and there are so many plants and trees blooming that there is a riot of colour all around us. The blossoms also bring the birdlife, and I enjoy listening to them warble, twitter and even shriek through the trees that surround us.

In the week ahead, I will be spending plenty of hours with my writing group, being stimulated in my word-production, helping others with their writing, and hopefully letting non-members know what we can do to assist them if they want to write.

Reading: From Print to Digital

August 14, 2014 at 7:38 pm | Posted in Culture, Mental Health, Psychology, Reading, Society, War and Conflict | 11 Comments
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kindle-book-shelf

When I reached my sixties, I was reading lots of murder mysteries, forensic crime and dark thrillers, depending on my mood. I have read just about all of the books by Kathy Reichs and Patricia Cornwell, and some of Sue Grafton’s alphabet crime series, a couple of Richard North Patterson, and lots of others. Raymond Khoury’s thriller, The Sign, was particularly good.

I have gone back to the past a few times and to more literary novels. A couple were Australian authors. I enjoyed Eleanor Dark’s Slow Dawning (written in the 1930s), and Ruth Park’s Playing Beattie Bow (written in the 1960s), as well as Park’s two-part memoir. I also read Ken Follett’s World Without End, set in the Middle Ages.

I even tried to read D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, but I gave up on it about half way through. I did, however, relish the style and language of Paul Morgan’s The Pelagius Book. Then there are the novels of Tim Winton, Alex Miller and Khaleid Hosseini – wonderful writers!

Lady Chatterley

Now, well into my sixties, I read more post-apocalypse novels than I ever did, and even quite a bit of fantasy. I didn’t really get into those until the last few years, and I was wondering why recently. I decided that the state of society and the world these days – the violence, destruction, intolerance and hatred – have caused me to need an escape.

Destruction

The end of the world as we know it now seems to be a just outcome for those who have caused such pain and misery to so many innocent people. Unfortunately, many more innocent people would dies. However, post apocalypse times are when the resilient and resourceful have their chance to survive, even if it is against terrible odds. Perhaps it is a hope I have that the better aspects of mankind will finally prevail against the worst.

The same goes for fantasy. In other worlds, heroes – male and/or female – battle the evil forces that would destroy them. In the end there is victory for the good – even if it does come at the end of a series of three or four books!

LordofTheRings

I loved JRR Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy and even watched the movies – which I thought extremely well done (and I am not a movie-goer). I have tried Stephen King again and got through Under the Dome and The Stand. I have the complete Harry Potter books in a boxed set (I haven’t seen the movies though), and have found several good fantasy authors on Amazon Kindle. There are lots of fantasy series out there which are quite well written, as well as being great stories.

Two series by Edward W. Robinson – The Breakers and The Cycle of Arawn are good. The Muirwood series by Jeff Wheeler really got me in, as did Aaron Pogue’s trilogy, The Dragonprince’s Legacy. I also really enjoyed Michael G. Manning’s Mageborn series. I recently read Jason Mott’s The Returned, which, I believe was made into a telemovie. All of these I obtained as e-books.

MuirwoodTrilogy

My Kindle has led me into a whole new range and variety of reading. E-books are cheaper than print, and because of that, I have been able to sample a whole new range of authors and genres. Either I would never have come across these in print, or the price would have put me off.

kindle_look_insideYes, there is a lot of rubbish out there, but if you check the synopsis, reviews, and the success of the author, you can usually tell which will be of a reasonable standard. And if you can read a sample, you will get a good idea of the quality of the writing.

Some of the new authors I have come across through accessing e-books on my Kindle, apart from those I have already mentioned, include:
Fantasy & Post-apocalypse: Anna Elliott, Robert Clive Parnell, Peg Brantley, Erica Liodice, Julie Morrigan, Lori Brighton, R.T. Kaelin, M.R. Mathias, Jodi McIsaac, Erica Stevens, Katie W. Stewart, Kevin Bohacz.
Thrillers: Michael R. Hicks, Robert Ellis, Barry Friedman, Tom Lowe.

Lee Goldberg The Walk

Whodunits & Murder Mysteries: Kathleen Backus, Jeffrey Siger, Camilla Chafer, L.L. Bartlett, Debra Mares, Andy Straker, Lee Goldberg, Terri Reid, James Hankins, T.R.Ragan, Edie Claire.
Real life novels: Melissa F. Miller, Othello Back, Helen Ginger.
Young Adult: Aida Brassington.
Writing: Chris Thrall.
Memoir: Joy deKok, Cynthia Harrison
Of course, I have come across a lot more than these, but I decided just to share the ones I liked best.

Kindle

My Kindle goes with me whenever I travel. That is another of its great advantages. I can carry a hundred books in the space and weight it would take for only one slim printed volume. However, I will never give up on printed books. If you saw our bookshelves you would see that! There is something about them that is more evocative of worlds and more personal than an e-reader can ever be.

Talking about Books

Have you made the transition from print to electronic books? Do you use both, or do you stick mainly with one medium?

© Linda Visman

I Resolve to Make No Resolutions!

January 6, 2014 at 8:53 pm | Posted in Experiences, Mental Health, Psychology, Writing, Writing and Life | 7 Comments
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Many people begin a new year by pondering changes they will make. They review the year just gone and look at how they could have done things better. Then they make resolutions for the year ahead. 2013-2014 sign

They vow they will drink less, quit smoking, join a gym. They decide on ways they can become happier, slimmer, more active, more productive, more engaged with others, etc. They make resolutions. I will do this, or that, or the other.

newYearsResolutionsList

However, within very little time, most of those who have made resolutions break them. And break them again, and again. And then give up on them.

Why do they break them? Because they are not completely and utterly committed to keeping those resolutions. There is something between the them and the decision to do or not to do something – and that makes their decision, their resolve, worthless; lost before they even begin.

And then come the feelings of guilt. Oh, don’t I know all about those feelings of guilt! After all, I was brought up as a Catholic, and nobody knows guilt like Catholics.

 guilt_carry-man

I’m not good enough! I’ve failed – again! I’m useless!

Guilt it paralysing. So, this year, I have avoided making resolutions altogether (except for the decision not to make any). Instead, I have set goals that I would like to achieve this year.

 goals

All the goals are associated with my writing, since that is the area of my life that I need most to sort out. I have tried to make my goals realistic and achievable. I do not want those guilt feelings to overwhelm me again this year!

2014 goals

And that is why I am writing this blog entry. One of my goals was to write a blog entry at least every week. I wrote one on the last day of 2013 – that’s just under a week ago. This is the first one for 2014. This goal I have achieved – for this week anyway. Phew!

(c) Linda Visman, January 2014

 

Local Writers Showcase

August 30, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Posted in Australia, Promotion, Reading, Writing, Writing and Life | 2 Comments
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I have been very busy lately helping to organise a showcase of local writers in the Lake Macquarie area. That has means I’ve been unable to do much in the way of writing myself.
The Showcase is on tomorrow, and goes for five hours – a mini Writers Festival. I am looking forward to it. Should be a great day – and the weather is fabulous too, even though it is the last day of winter tomorrow.

Here are the details:

postercolour

Showcase Programme FINAL.2

2012 in review

December 31, 2012 at 11:44 am | Posted in Experiences, Family, Health, History, Mental Health, Society, Special Occasions, Tourism, War and Conflict, Writing and Life | 2 Comments
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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Hello readers. I haven’t blogged nearly as much as I’d intended this year. However, when I look back, I realise I haven’t done too badly. As with you all, I have had health and other issues to face, but I think I have come through the year pretty well.

I would like to thank all those who have been kind enough to follow this little blog, and especially those who have commented on my posts. It is always great to receive feedback.

The most viewed and commented on post was The Long Goodbye, which really struck a chord for many people.DSCN5516 (1024x768)

My dad is still there, living at home on his own. However his short-term memory is gone and the longer-term memory is all mixed up. Fortunately, he knows his children still. He has lots of visiting care workers, as well as my sister who goes over to see to specific needs a couple of times a day. I make the trip (4-5 hours each way) every couple of weeks and spend a few days with him to give my sister a break. Dad is still so accepting and positive, and we can still have conversations about general things. He is a wonderful man.

I have posted several times about reading and writing, and those posts have also attracted lots of views and some comments. Perhaps the most popular was When do you know when you’ve found a good author?

Travel or tourist posts have been popular, including Mystery Bay, The Entrance and Kiama Blowhole.

A couple of philosophical posts attracted a few comments. I think we all tend to look back and wonder what effect the past has had on out present selves. Bringing Back the Past and Whose Tradition? were popular, but What would you go back and change? topped them.

And finally, Making Lists brought out those who like to make sure they don’t forget to do those important things that may be lost to memory if not written down.

2012 has been a rather tumultuous year, with political, social, religious and economic instability in evidence around the world. It has been a difficult one personally for many of you, with illness, loss of loved ones and other issues taking their toll on confidence and optimism.

I hope that 2013 brings a much more positive and creative approach to solving both the problems in the world and your own personal challenges. Wishing you all peace, health and happiness for the year ahead. And I hope to see you here again through 2013, the Chinese Year of the Snake.

Regards to all, Linda  

Happy NewYear 2013

Bringing Back the Past

May 27, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Posted in Australia, Making History, Publishing, Writing, Writing and Life | 12 Comments
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  I have been writing a personal journal on and off for a long time – probably about forty years.

When I was a girl, I had one of those little diaries with a clasp and a key, a special gift I received one birthday when my parents had a little extra money. But you can’t write much in a few small lines, and we couldn’t afford more exercise books than we had to get for school. So, during my teens, I didn’t write much at all.

I wrote a little during my twenties and thirties, but my latest stint of journal writing has been a constant for the last ten years or so. It has been a great help in keeping me sane and in helping me sort out what my life is about. Now, it also helps me work out my writing problems.

I had always wanted to do more than write diary/journal entries. I was great at writing essays, reports, analyses, but I lacked the confidence to try writing stories or poetry.

Then, in 2005 when in my mid-fifties and with my husband’s encouragement, I undertook a short creative writing course. That course opened a door for me that had been stuck since my childhood.

Short stories flowed from my pen. I tried writing poetry to improve my imagery and to cut down the word count in my stories – it worked. I even did well in competitions. I wrote more short stories. Then I did what I had never believed myself capable of – I wrote a novel. It was good – my writing group said so, and so did others who read the drafts.

I am sure it could be improved, but I cannot afford to employ a professional editor. There is also no chance of a writer like me getting either an agent or a publisher. The only way I could get it ‘out there’ was to self-publish it. Thankfully, self-publishing has become more acceptable today, though there is still a taint of amateurishness and vanity publishing to it.

My novel was originally written for middle grades and young adults. The main character is thirteen-year-old Ben who, with his friend Joe, tries to find out who killed Ben’s father. One of the main reasons I wrote it was to show today’s younger generation what life was like in an Australian farming community back in the 1950s.

However, nostalgia has become a strong drawcard for my generation. So much has changed since we were young that it has been difficult at times to come to terms with this new world. Many of us hanker for the more simple and innocent times we knew as children and teenagers. As a result, Ben’s Challenge has found its main readership among the Baby Boomer generation.

I am working on a follow-up, using the same main characters, but with a different theme to the story. I still would like youngsters to read it and compare their way of life with that of kids like Ben and Joe who grew up in the 1950s. But if the Baby Boomers take to it, then that’s all right with me. Anyway, it is the writing itself  that is really the most important to me.

© Linda Visman

27th may 2012

When do you know you’ve found a good author?

May 14, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Posted in Reading, Writing | 11 Comments
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Like many writers, I love to read books. I have done since I was a small child. I have found authors with writing skills at many levels, from poor to mediocre and right through to wonderful.

I have searched for as many books by my favourite authors as I can and wish there were more – and I have wondered why many other books were ever published at all.

So, what makes an author a favourite? For me, it is someone who gets me so involved in the story and characters that I can’t stop turning the pages, and yet not want it to end either.

But how can one author get me so involved while there are so many who don’t, and lots who even turn me right off?

I don’t think it is just the plot or story line of the book, though that needs to be engaging.

I don’t think it is just the characters or setting, though I want them to be believable.

I don’t think it is just the grammar or sentence construction either, though they can make a story much better – or much worse.

No, it is none of these things and yet all of them. But it is something else as well.

It is writing that makes you feel you are there, that you see the place where the action happens, that you identify with the characters and their responses; that you are inside the story, lost in it, and you want to stay there.

It is writing that flows so well that the writer makes an emotional connection with the reader, so much so that you don’t think of it as a story but as something you are experiencing as you read.

It is when, remembering the story long after, you see it more as an experience you have had, and not as a book you have read.

That’s when you know you have found, not just a good author, but a really talented author.

© Linda Visman

14th May 2012

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