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Archive for November, 2010

The Irish Story – Bite Chunks of History

08/11/2010 Comments off

The Irish story is bad and getting worse if we are to believe Morgan Kelly in today’s Irish Times.

Maybe it’s time to get some perspective – and some solace – from our history. We can do it online through The Irish Story, a digital first publisher of concise ebooks and short, snappy features on Irish history. Their very first ebook is  The Story of the Easter Rising (15,000 words).

In the features and ‘Today in Irish History’ sections we can dip into varied and vivid scenes from our past. Some pieces I enjoyed:

Dip into the stories and maybe you’ll come out with a sense of perspective on our contemporary tale of woe. Worth a try.

Photo credit: informatique photostream

So you want to write do you?

01/11/2010 Comments off

I’ve nothing to say.

What would I write about anyhow?

My grammar would be all wrong.

They’d laugh at me.

All this at a recent writing class. And then there was a tea-break and the chat and the story-telling started and could have gone on all night.

So you want to write but just can’t work up the courage? 

Here’s a list of a half-dozen tips I’ve picked up along the way. Maybe they’ll help you to get started on the writing or to keep going.

  1. You are a camera: You can try this anywhere –  in a place you know really well, in a doctor’s waiting room, in your back garden. Write a detailed description of the scene. Another approach is to take an actual photo of the scene or place, go away  and write about it from the photo. This approach can work well with old photos that conjure up vivid memories.
  2. Tune in to what people around you are saying. I visited a chiropodist once who talked non-stop and very vividly about her young children. I tuned in to rhythm of her sentences and as soon as I left wrote down as much as I could remember. Soon after I made a poem of my notes, keeping lots of the turns of phrase she had used.
  3. Write your stories like you talk.  To begin with write down your stories like you tell them. This will get you started. A good idea is to keep your stories filed by the actual year in which they happened. This gets you started on building up a memoir file.
  4. Imagine your daily life is in a foreign country. Carry a notebook around with you. Imagine you are traveling in a foreign place (Deena Metzger suggestion) and want to capture everything you see and experience.  Record it all.  Add in dialogue, your own thoughts, feelings, memories evoked …
  5. Write a letter. This is great writing practice and can draw out memories and storytelling well as re-connecting with friends and family.
  6. Fix a writing time and place. I write first thing in the morning, in an upstairs room that looks straight out at a chestnut tree where the yellow leaves are swirling down in the rain right now as I write. Fix a time and keep the appointment.

As Stephen King once said, you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start (writing), you will.

Try out a great writing resource site at Writing4all and their excellent section on getting started on writing here.

Have you any tips to share with would-be writers?

 

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