A Matter of Perception – Play Time! (Part One)

leopard-wildcat-big-cat-botswana-46254

QUESTION: When do we perceive what we are reading as poetry and when do see consider it to be prose? First look at the following:

Leopards on the Loose

Two leopards escaped from the local zoo today by climbing up a tree that had fallen into their enclosure. It is believed they climbed up the uprooted tree and jumped down from there. One was darted and recaptured. The other is still on the loose. Residents are requested to stay alert. (A short newspaper article.)

Leopards on the Loose

Two leopards escaped

from the local zoo today

by climbing up

a tree that had

fallen

into their enclosure.

It is believed they

climbed up the

uprooted trunk and

jumped

down

from there.

One was darted

and recaptured.

The other is still

on the loose.

Residents are requested to

stay alert.

‘’The eyes see only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.’’ is a useful quote by author Robertson Davies with which to start.  In the context of this discussion it is perhaps more accurate to say the eyes see the way the mind has been trained to perceive. I am limiting this discussion to matters of layout concerning writing and reading when it comes to thoughts and feelings typed or written onto a page. Broadly put, if a writer uses literary conventions pertaining to prose when placing information on a page, it is read as prose. Should a writer employ one of the genres open to poets (lyric, sonnet, narrative, epic, elegy, ballad, haiku), the reader will talk of having read a poem. I have deliberately kept this discussion brief. There is a lot one can find online regarding the inter-workings of the eye, ear and brain. What I am most keen on is encouraging writers to work at putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and getting them to play around; to experiment and explore. Start with turning prose to poetry and then poetry to prose. Then extend this by working within either one and ask how readers are likely to perceive your work if, for example, you alter sentence, paragraph and chapter lengths or use different fonts and page formats. What, if any, paradigm shifts are likely to occur when a form of presentation is altered? See it as a game. You’re likely to have more fun that way. Keep writing and reading.

Andrew Pender-Smith        

Note: Another prose-to-poetry experiment will be posted in a day or two.

 

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Building Readership Starts Here (Part Two)

boy with big glasses

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. Joseph Addison

The first part of this discussion was published on the 26th of June 2017.

How you can help: Donate books to schools, libraries, families and individuals. CD’s, DVD’S and even computers, laptops and iPads are also welcome donations when institutions cannot afford them.  I know of individuals and service clubs who pay for internet connection in instances when schools and children’s homes cannot afford it.

Read and tell stories to young children with whom you are in contact. Sing to them and teach them songs. Include actions when possible. Volunteers at children’s homes, hospitals and under-privileged schools are most often greatly welcomed. Readership, which mean a love of stories and learning through them, starts from the youngest of ages and it includes YOU.

When doing all of these, make sure the material is appropriate to age and ability.

As this is a blog posting and full discussion is limited by constraints of space, only an outline of benefits and how to help have been included. There is a great deal available online or through discussion with teachers (especially teachers of Speech and Drama and those involved in early learning phase education), with whom you can discuss further. Hopefully you can all come up with ideas on how to develop literacy in your community or one which desperately needs it. Some of your future readers might come from the very children you have helped. You might even be tempted to write stories for these young audiences and, in so doing, find a whole new market for your writing. Older children can be encouraged to write and illustrate stories and poems of their own. You might even make copies and place them in other classrooms and school libraries. Children often love reading stories and poems written by other children. 

Have fun inculcating and building a culture of reading and writing in the young. It will benefit others, and you.

 Andrew Pender-Smith

https://www.amazon.com/author/andrewpendersmith

Never Too Old

 

 

 

Building Readership Starts Here. (Part One)

 

laughing boy

If we want readers, we need to grow the base from the beginning. This beginning starts with very early childhood, and includes infants.

When you read to a child, when you put a book in a child’s hands, you are bringing that child news of the infinitely varied nature of life. You are an awakener. Paula Fox

Aim: To encouraging listening, thinking, observation, participation, imagination, empathy and speaking through reading and storytelling.

I read many blogs and books designed to help writers improve their craft and help market their work. We also need to be proactive about developing readers and, more particularly, developing them from a very young age. This comes through reading to children, sharing and discussing pictures with them, and encouraging them to observe, interact with, and question their environment and all within it. I regularly meet children who live in towns and cities with access to a library or resource centre who are never encouraged to visit it. I also encounter children whose parents do not read to them. In terms of cognitive and emotional development this is really setting a child up for failure.

In areas where books are scant or non-existent, parents should be encouraged to tell stories to their children. These could be imaginative tales or of a biographical or autobiographical nature. When it comes to the latter two examples, this helps keep family history alive while children’s listening and language skills are improved. Once children are able to draw and paint, they can create illustrations of the stories they have heard. Singing songs together is also a great way of enhancing confidence and communication. It is even better if some action is included.  If parents and children do have access to books, it is still important to tell stories and sing songs. In other words, the more activities you include, the better.

Andrew Pender-Smith

Part two follows in a day or two. 

Dance Lightly

 

sunset-100367_1280

South Africa, like so many places on earth, is facing decimation of its flora and fauna at a horrendous rate. The need to protect what we have left has never been greater. ‘Dance Lightly’ is this poet’s plea to do just that.

Dance Lightly

Dance lightly upon this earth
because it is not yours.
Take radiant wing with a butterfly.
Listen to the tiniest hum of the bees.
Pause during the rush and grab of life
to hear a frog and a chirruping cricket.
Let snakes live in slow, slithering peace.

Know where fish swim and clean waters flow.
Understand the sea and all that lives within.
Fly high with migrating birds and
look about with empathy.
Watch closely the sunning insect and the
travelling spider.

Join the song of the cicada and the
hop-sing-flight of every bird, and
smile knowingly.
Touch the new moon and savour
the true value of the sun.
Then share the joy of the insider.
Teach others not to stamp and bulldoze.
Be a sharp hawk against pollution.
Laugh with the wind and run with arms
outstretched along the wildest of rivers.
Dive deep into the cool pool below a
cascading waterfall.

Teach all of Nature to those who do not understand.
Be part of the drive that helps our planet thrive
so that you can say:‘’Do you see?
Do you now truly see why it is best to
dance lightly?’’
                       © Andrew Pender-Smith

cool pool
 

EQ? IQ? You Got de Best in You

Colourful Guy

Sebastian de Vervet, a JUMPY MONKEY if ever there is one, has written two poems on his favourite subject: CREATIVITY. More particularly, he encourages you to take a brave leap into creative action.

EQ? IQ? You Got de Best in You.

Sebastian de Green Monkee

says to you and you and you:

You can hop right here.

You can hop right dere.

In your imagination,

you can hop anywhere.

Jus get that ‘I can go anywhere’ feeling

an you will be inside de mind

of any character you’re creating.

Visualise, my friend. Visualise.

An what you got five senses for?

Why to use, of course, to use.

Be de traveller.

Do some exploring.

EQ? IQ? You have dem both.

Paint de picture. Write de poem.

Tell de story like it is.

Sing de song. Dance de dance.

De true artist waits for no one.

Now, go an have some

real creative fun.

                              Sebastian de Vervet

frog-butterfly-pond-mirroring-45863

Don Fear to Fly

Yo Bro,

Dis is called going

where others fear to fly.

Take de main chance.

Be jus like dis butterfly.

Have creative courage, my friend.

Don paint yourself into no corner.

No Kidding.

Go flying!

From Sebastian de Vervet, de one who’s never afraid to jump or leap. ”You bros, I can be here, I can be dere, I can be everywhere. As one of my favourite bloggers, Prakash Helgade, likes to say – Happiness!

 

 

 

 

Writing Clubs

The first part of this article was published on the Green Money Publications website on 06/06/2017. Here is the continuation. 

success - go get it

Writing Clubs

Part Two

 The Business Side

As you are seeking to publish professionally, each member needs to bring an agreed monthly financial contribution to every meeting. They may, for example, pay in five dollars or five pounds at each session. The money accrued goes to the running of the club and eventual publication. Remember, this is a co-operative venture designed to develop writers and to help them publish their work and bring it to the attention of the wider world. You need to bear the following in mind:

  1. Monthly contributions should be affordable to all even if this means some writers, such as students and pensioners, paying less.
  2. Stick to the same date and time each month. For example, the second Saturday morning of every month from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  3. Have at least one person who will help collect and deposit the money into the group’s account.
  4. As this is a professional venture, ensure that all rules are known, agreed upon and stuck to. The group needs to clear about its aims and objectives and how it will attain them. Obtain signatures when it comes to attendance and money. It could save problems arising later on.

Publication

After a while, and this could be a few months or a year or more, the group should have produced enough short stories to publish in an anthology. Discuss the following if you have not already done so:

Who will collate the stories?

Who will edit them?

Who will help with layout and cover design?

This could be one or more people within the group or a paid editor may be asked to help in the processes of publication.

Also, have fun choosing a name and logo for your publication venture. 

NEXT    Will you publish privately and go for a small print run, or are the group aiming for something bigger? You might, for example, want to publish the book as an e-book and a print book on a platform such as Amazon. At least one of the group will be needed to do all the negotiations and help upload the work. Now comes:

Marketing and Advertising

I have been looking closely at the whole business of publishing through organisations such as Amazon. This is a long discussion in itself and I know a great deal has been written about it. My conclusion is that it is best to pay for some form of advertising. Amazon is a big business with millions interacting with it book sections. The best way to get noticed is to pay them to advertise. As part of marketing, have a group website and also do the now usual routes of making announcements on Facebook, Twitter, et al. Free community newspapers and magazines might be happy to do a feature on the group and its accomplishments.

NOTE: Before venturing onto these platforms, the group will need to spend a lot of time analysing exactly what publishing spaces such as Amazon, Smash Words and Barnes and Noble offer.

Novels, Novellas, Children’s Books, Autobiographies, Biographies and other Publications.

As writing and publishing are expensive to many, here is when being part of a co-operative can really help. When a writer has competed a novel, novella or other work, the group may add to its success by helping the writer publish and market his or her work. The money collected by the group could be used to cover costs such as editing and cover design as well as advertising. Perhaps it could be agreed that when the writer has made enough money to cover the costs of publication, he or she gives the money back to the group. Any income after that goes to the author.

Have fun being part of a writing group and building yourself and fellow members. May a great writing club and publishing success be achieved in bright gold stars by you and your group.  

VISION + STRATEGY + PERFORMANCE + RESULTS = HAPPINESS

With good wishes,

Andrew Pender-Smith

writing 1

 

 

Writing Clubs

Together We Create.jpg

Writing Clubs

Part One

KEYWORDS: writing, development, co-operation, support, publication, advertising, marketing, success

An excellent way to develop your skills, and get published, is to create or join a writing club. I was involved one for about seven years. The group published anthologies of short stories and poems, and some of the writers went on to publish children’s books and novels. I was also involved in the editing and layout for several of the anthologies we published. A suggested system for your group could work as follows:

The Creative Aspect

  1. A group of writers eager to be part of a group writing and publishing venture gets together to write in a quiet space. If you do not already have a number of keen individuals, advertise for them online, at your local library or on campus, if you are a student.
  2. Getting started as writers: Writers may write on a subject of their choice or be prompted by a stimulus. Set writing times. Initially, ten minutes is often a good time space for what could be treated as a warm-up. Once the time is up, even if what is being worked on is incomplete, each member reads out what they have written. Special Note: this is not the time to be critical. The idea is to get and keep people writing with the aid of encouragement. It is a case of create first and craft afterwards. Your primary aim is to get your story out on paper, PC or laptop THEN work at polishing it for publication. This is all about process and building as new writers often have a lot to learn. To use an analogy, you are creating the rough diamond or piece of clay first. Once you have created it in the form of a first draft, you then set about shaping it into a desired piece of fiction.
  3. If members of the group wish to comment after one of the writers has read out his or her work, they are to only mention what they think works. Do not, at this stage, enter any form of criticism. Criticism can have a negative effect on the right hemisphere of the brain (the creative side) send it into melt down. See the end of part one for some useful links.
  4. The writers may now tackle a new piece or continue with the one on which they were working. This could well be a longer session. If the first was ten minutes, the next could be twenty. Again, people are encouraged to read out what they have written.
  5. If the writers have not been writing with a cup of tea or coffee at the side, now is the time for refreshments.
  6. The pieces the writers have created in the group could be left simply as exercises or developed into publishable fiction, be it a poem, short story, novelette, novella or novel.
  7. On some days you might like to hold discussions concerning issues such as plot or character development or writing through the senses, before tackling more writing while taking into account the contents of the discussion. Times such as these could be informal within the group or you could have a workshop on one or more aspects of writing and invite a local writer to spend time sharing with you. The main aim here are about trying different approaches to writing including exploring a broad range of literary forms. There is great deal that can be found online to assist writers.

Here are links to two useful discussions on the roles of the left and right hemispheres of the brain in the writing processes. Though I have not included any links here, you will numerous discussions online on the actual workings of the human brain.

http://www.writersonthemove.com/       https://ruthlivingstone.net/

Part two will follow in three days.

Regards,

Andrew Pender-Smith

writing 2

Good luck finding the stories in you. May they sprout forth and grow in abundance. 

Feel de Breeze

 

sky jumping

Feel de Breeze

When it comes to creativity,

don be shy –

swing through de trees

an feel de breeze.

Let go, my friend, let go.

Jump high!

Explore de highways

an de byways.

Get a feel for dis and dat.

Do your ting

by jus exploring.

Feel de way.

Tink de way.

Dive deep, my friend.

Fly high.

Know de waters

an de sky.

De mind must flow.

So, yo bro, yo,

take wing.

Learn to really swing.

Let go. Let go!

Let your body shake.

Feel de riddum.

Get de mind to dance.

Pick up your feet.

Clap your hands.

Now you’ve got de new partner.

It’s called CREATIVITY.

Now, my friend, you’re really free.

Sebastian de Vervet

hand and sea

Humming Amongst the Roses

bees in flight

pexels-photo-24878

Humming Amongst the Roses

What turns a pleasant town, in which everyone knows and cares for each other, into a place of unexplained death and tears? As bees hum contentedly amongst the park’s roses and insects skim above the peaceful lake or fly from tree to tree, kindly Molly Jones, a retired school librarian and keen gardener, finds herself unwittingly drawn into a sinister world amidst this happy place of pretty flowers and good friends and neighbours. As loved ones die in the town and nearby, and a young man is missing, Molly Jones finds herself running along a lonely path, step by breathless, sweaty step, into a contemporary horror only a few have contemplated, let alone met.

‘Humming Amongst the Roses’ is another work of short fiction in the crime and horror genres by Andrew Pender-Smith

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HZ4TYAK

beetle and hand

The images are connected with the story of poor Molly Jones and the torment she encountered. The first photo was used for the cover.

If they have not already seen it, I hope readers will be interested in looking at an earlier post with the title ‘Alicia Billington’s Best Cat’. Please scroll down.

To those of you who write, ‘Happy writing’ from Andrew Pender-Smith, Craig Carden and Sebastian de Vervet of Green Monkey Publications.