Warsan Shire's poetry is beautifully sharp, and I love the way it cuts through the world she sees and feels. You might have seen some of her poetry online, like the amazing 'Home' which was widely shared online when the refugee crisis hit Europe: no one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark you… Continue reading Poetry by Warsan Shire
Recently, I've been working on several short stories. Two will surface in a new Mind's Eye anthology, two (so far!) saw the light of day in R.B. Wood's Word Count Podcast (you can check them out here), others have been submitted to various places but don't have homes just yet. It's been a rather intense few months of writing for… Continue reading “The best writing is rewriting”
Author Umberto Eco has passed away. He was one of my favourite writers, and two of his books: Foucault's Pendulum, and The Name of the Rose, are imprinted in my brain because I've read them so many times. His books were complex, multi-layered, beautiful, sometimes bewildering, but usually mesmerizing creations. The first book I read by… Continue reading Farewell, Umberto Eco
Interview Magazine has a new interview with author Ursula K. Le Guin, and it's a must-read if you're a writer. Much of the interview concerns the craft of writing, something that Le Guin certainly knows a thing or two about. I've just added her recently updated book on writing - Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide… Continue reading Ursula K. Le Guin on the craft of writing
Writing is a kind of way of speaking, and I hear it and I think a lot of readers hear it, too. And so the sounds of the language and the rhythm and the cadence of the sentences are very powerful. - Ursula K. Le Guin, in an interview with NPR There are a lot… Continue reading Writing & listening – style, flow & rhythm
"Perfectionism is very addictive because it is very seductive. It’s so great to think ‘There’s a way I can do things where I can never be held in judgment by other people, that I can totally escape criticism.’ But it doesn’t work." Brené Brown, The Power of Vulnerability "Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the… Continue reading 7 great quotes about the power and peril of perfectionism
The full quote by writer Anton Chekov (or at least one variation of it) reads: "Remove everything that has no relevance to the story. If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it's not going to… Continue reading Chekov’s gun, writing, Frodo, and Westeros
"The dictionary is based on the hypothesis - obviously an unproven one - that languages are made up of equivalent synonyms." - Jorge Luis Borges As a translator and a writer, this quote rings very true for me. Words can not always (usually) be translated in a 100% accurate way. This is the constant… Continue reading Jorge Luis Borges, on dictionaries and translation
"Write a little every day, without hope, without despair." The words are Isak Dinesen's, AKA Danish writer Karen Blixen. And that is my new creed, mantra, and motto.
“Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book.” — Marcus Tullius Cicero Just a reminder that if you're wondering what the world is coming to (aren't we all?), Cicero already complained about it over 2000 years ago.
I found an old notebook the other day. And when I say old, I really mean it: this is a notebook I used when I was in my teens. I wrote down short poems I had written, and quotes I liked from books and songs and movies. Kind of like a Facebook page or Tumblr… Continue reading The thrill & embarrassment of finding an old notebook
At this point in my life I don't even know how many times I've read Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. 20? 30? 40? Not sure. Not as many times as Christopher Lee (who apparently re-reads it every year), but still: quite a few times. Even now I find new details and shades in the… Continue reading Reading Tolkien – some of my favourite bits of “The Lord of the Rings”
There's a lot of truth in this quote by one of my favourite authors: Umberto Eco. Try as you might, a translated text will never equal the original. You can come close to conveying the meaning and feeling, but you can never capture it completely. And yet, it's wonderful to try.
“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” -Anna Quindlen That is some deep inspiration for me this Friday afternoon.
J.R.R. Tolkien's book The Hobbit has been on my mind the last few days, ever since I watched the final installment of Peter Jackson's movie trilogy based on that book. I won't post my full review/rant here, but you can read it on my Tumblr-blog. The Hobbit is not my favourite Tolkien book. That would be The… Continue reading Thinking about “The Hobbit” this morning
The Earth is beautiful, and bright, and kindly, but that is not all. The Earth is also terrible, and dark, and cruel. The rabbit shrieks dying in the green meadows. The mountains clench their great hands full of hidden fire. There are sharks in the sea, and there is cruelty in men’s eyes. And where… Continue reading The powerful writing of Ursula K. Le Guin
I know I can definitely relate to this as a writer (especially right now when I'm counting down the days until "Odin's Eye" is released as an ebook), and I think a lot of people can relate to this, whatever creative activity they're involved in. It's worth keeping in mind that not everyone will stab you in… Continue reading A sharpened stake
Today on Twitter, I came across this telegram. It was posted by @Tatum_Flynn, and it's a telegram writer Dorothy Parker sent to her editor. Most of us, whether we are writers or whether we do some other kind of work, can probably relate to this feeling of absolute emptiness and despair. I know I can.… Continue reading “…all I have is a pile of paper covered with wrong words”
It's summer, it's sunny and warm and I am not writing or editing or translating anything on this particular day. It's the kind of day when there's almost nothing better you can do, than spend time at the beach. When I looked through my pictures from Third Beach in Vancouver today, this photo made… Continue reading Summer, poetry, the sea, and mermaids
Every now and then you find a piece of literature, a quote, or in this case a poem that really speaks to you. I just stumbled across this poem online the other day, and it's definitely good enough to share. A story that could be true If you were exchanged in the cradle and your… Continue reading A beautiful poem by William Stafford