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Something to Share

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12 the December 2015

            I love the idea of the blog as a platform as it not only allows us to speak up about a number of things but also to share things we love.  One of my closest friends, Patricia, told me I should do more of it even in as far as sharing a recipe, or small facets of day to day life.  It might sound strange but what she is meaning is that this kind of sharing allows insight into the author and that is one of the best ways to connect to readers. The blog was never meant to be about just writing as readers are keen to absorb information about all sorts of things.  Why not add sharing things personal to ourselves?  I mean it is a way to make more of a connection to readers and readers are what gives our writing credence.  Of course in many ways I already do that by discussing writers I like but I would like to take it further.  Fortunately for me I get to share two things at once by talking about a fellow writer and an old Japanese art form.
            
          Gavin Austin is a gentleman I met through my eldest daughter.  He dabbles in many things and writing is one of them.  The reason I have become a fan is because of his affinity with the ‘haiku’.  Actually it is much more than that as he is also a short story writer but it was the poetry that first held my interest.  I am not someone of few words.  I wish I was but I’m not and hence my love for most things Japanese.  There is such an elegant simplicity in their culture that I find irresistible.  It began when I was made to dress up as a geisha for a school play when I was four years old.  It was before a lot of changes occurred in my family’s lives so it is a wonderful memory.  If there was such a thing as past lives (not saying there isn’t) then I was made for this culture, or at least parts of it.  The ‘haiku’ is one small part but a part I love.  When I first looked at Shadow Play (a few posts ago) by Gavin Austin I was enthralled by the manner in which so much is said in so little a combination of words.  To keep it up for a whole book is amazing and such a pleasure to browse through.

            Recently Gavin sent me a link to the 17th issue of A Hundred Gourds, a quarterly journal found online of haiku, haibun, haiga, tanka and renku poetry.  If you care to follow www.ahundredgourds.com  you will find yourself on a reading journey with a burst of sweet simplicity that makes you wonder why anyone takes so long to get to the point.  I am Italian and I was born taking the long way to get to the point so I often ask myself why I feel so drawn to the clean cool lines of Japanese culture.  I just am.  It is bold yet crisp, elegant yet simple and lastly beautiful yet never overpowering but always complete.  How can you not like that?   It’s funny but in Unexpected Obsession what happens between Nico and Lia is very much along these lines  Whatever leads them to be with each other is powerful but once together it is simple, complete and unquestionable.

            Recently Gavin had a short story published with Blue Crow Magazine, Issue 4, October 2015 entitled A Piece of Sky. This publication showcases some wonderful Australian talent but I particularly liked Gavin’s story. Again with great succinctness he manages to tell a story about someone who wasn’t given an opportunity to understand something that as a mother she would have accepted with such grace.  People often think they know us and they have no idea.  This was poignantly clear and brought to mind so many times when those that claim to love us the most fail to see who we are.  You can see it left quite an impression on me.  I would love to make that kind of impact but first I need to consider what I say and how I say it.

This brings me to another interesting link Gavin provided and has this also had a huge effect on me?  Hell, yes!  Try this link and be prepared to be horrified at how often we use the exact words discussed.  The web site is very good in general but this link had me thinking about how unthinking or complacent we can become about the way we write and the choices in word we make. The link provides some good insight.  http://dianaurban.com/words-you-should-cut-from-your-writing-immediately
These are just some brief examples.  Note my comments at the end are not flattering to me.

   That. If a sentence still makes sense after removing “that,” delete it. For example, “This is the most amazing blog post that I’ve ever read.” can be, “This is the most amazing blog post I’ve ever read.”  I say to this that I am guilty over and over again.
Just. I have a hard time removing “just,” especially in dialogue. But for the most part, you don’t need it, and too many can make your dialogue or prose repetitive. Guilty again I’m afraid but I can’t lie.
Then. When showing a sequence of events, either remove “then” or try using “and” instead of “then.” Oh my goodness the amount of times I do this.
Definitely, certainly, probably, actually, basically, virtually. Again, these words don’t add information. If the sentence makes sense without these words, remove them. I am too scared to check this post. Because I know I have used them.
            So my sharing has been interesting I hope but if not I tried.  I wonder what Patricia would say.  I shared my love for Japan; I shared a favourite writer and in the end shared some of my sillier errors.  I think that may be enough for me to start with.  What do you think?
Arrivedella,

Barb 

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