Thursday, March 31, 2011

The 4 Ps's rule

I said the Artist's years book is a bible for anyone who wants to get published.
Well I looked at the literary agents section and what good was it to me that they were ordered alphabetically!
Why could they not think of ordering it by category's genre.
It would save a lot of people the trouble of reading them all individually trying to find who specialised in what!
So I read that there might be two other bibles around
The Writer's market
And the Guide to literary agents.
My local library only had the Writer's market book at hand. And It was from 2009. And I could not even bring it back with me. I had to consult it.
Any way I still felt happy that they had one of the bible. I read through it and realised that this book would not be helping me much since it seemed to cover the U.S market.
Not much of help when you want to publish your book in Europe.
Any way I did read something interesting. There is 4 Ps' rule when it comes to writing. 
It sets the successful writers from the ones you do not succeed apparently.
The rule is:

I should add:

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hadrian's Wall

If I could be a stone
I would be a wall
I would be Roman
I would belong
to an Empire
to History
to a man's vision
beyond time
And space.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Walking trees

Every time I moan about something, I should remember that my life is good. When I think that the good half of the women of this planet work in fields, I must pause and think I am lucky.
From visiting Morocco I was surprised to find out that it was tradition for the women to carry heavy loads of grasses of one sort or another on their shoulders.
Even as we stopped in a largish city, I was more surprised when my friend pointed three dots further up the hill from us and said they were women. I blinked and then I saw the legs moving. I could hardly believe my eyes.  They looked like walking trees. I could not even guess their human figures. They were that covered with large branches, hunched as they walked about with their heavy loads. God, they are hard workers.
I didn't take a picture at the time. I should have.
So complimentary to this text, I am adding a picture I found on the internet of hard working women to give an idea to the reader and even though these are not the women I saw, we can still see that the mustard grasses seemed heavy enough on these Indian women.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dear soon to be friend Editor

As I was looking into how to and where to send the query letter to the vast big bang world of the literary agents and I felt pretty desperate about it, I did encounter one funny website that receive all type of crazy query letters and from it, I came up with this cover letter.

Dear soon to be friend Editor:
You don't know me and I don't know you but you will definitely know me a lot more if you pick me. Enclosed are the first three chapters plus an outline of my 100,000-word fantasy novel, Adolf Hitler in the marvelous land of Oz. It is a good read and I am pretty sure all the children on earth would want to be in Adolf Hitler's glittery red's shoes and would want to have a red moustache - that is if you publish me.
In addition, I have absolutely no related credentials or experience since this is my first fantasy novel, but on the other hand I will buy you a bottle of the most expensive champagne if you overlook that tiny detail.

I do not enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope because I am pretty sure you won't return my manuscript.
Thank you for considering my 9th marvel of the world. I look forward to hearing from you.
Miles Bigways

Truly your dear hopelessly dreamer-like borderline desperate wanna-be author

p.s: If you think these are the first 3 best chapters you have read in the last 5 years, wait till you read the rest.

Seriously, I would rather send something funny and off beat and know for sure that even if I didn't get selected, at least I will have make him or her laugh or smile even.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Peter Pan

Sometimes I wonder if I am not swallowing too many little Utopian sweet candies.
One after another. 
Feeding myself with the belief that not far from now, I will be a writer.
And a successful writer at that.
But then the terrible nagging feeling that I am just a kid who doesn't want to wake up from a nice dream rises and my heart gets cold.
What if I am just a big kid who doesn't want to grow up?
But if this thought was like a toy which I couldn't let go?
This dream being something to play with but not to be considered seriously?
Is the kid being reasonable?
Is the child not getting too spoilt and is loosing sight of reality?
Some days, when I am on my desk writing and I rise my head off the screen and I see time passing by, inexorable grains of sand falling from the top of the hourglass, I am worried that life is passing me by and that I am running after a long forgotten dream and by the time I actually get the beginning of some minor if not far away sucess, it might be too late for me to realize that I actually had a life and I, let it slip away from me.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Hopes and dreams

One day, not so far from here, I would like to write a witty funky modern chick lit novel which I would write without the headaches that I currently have with the book I am writing now.
Something easy but something really funny too.
A love story, simple yet moving.
Yes, a love story that rings really true to all women's heart.
The expected "ever happy" ending but with all the hiccups in between.
Something that any women could identify too and think " Oh I am so like that!"
Hopeless and hopeful.
Fearless and fearful.
Beautiful and ugly.
Dead serious and pathetically silly.
One day maybe.
I haven't found that story yet. I am looking though.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Red shield

I wasn't very inspired by this picture two days ago when I saw it, or even yesterday. However I saw Sweet Pea's work and I decided to give it a go.

Your words,

my heart,

cut in.
Like angry hordes.
State of the art

You win.
Your swords struck.
I kneeled,
and bleed thunderstruck
despite my shield.

Magpie #58

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The blogs are her acorns

Night has fallen.
In her cavity nest,
she arises and wrinkles her nose.
Her expert eyes scan the unknown.
Hungry and ready.
she looks up to the moon for just over a second
then she hops and skips,
leaping from tree to tree.
Versatile and earnest
she bounces from find to find.
This one find does taste particularly pleasing tonight.
She grabs her price.
Efficiently she cracks it open
tests its quality and nods.
Its rock-hard shell is her candy.
Her lips tastes of hazelnuts
She spreads her wings
and jumps on the move again,
Flying Squirrel Girl.

Dedicated to Sweet Pea.  ;-) Yet again.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

From afar

I should have lots to talk about. I am in Malaga, Spain. I am on holiday. I have visited part of the city today so I should be inspired but I can´t think of anything.
I have visited the Alcazaba which was beautiful.
This Alcazaba is the best-preserved Moorish fortification in Spain. Built around the middle of the 11th century during the rule of King Badis, the Zirid ruler of Granada, to serve as the palace of the governors of the city.
It was truly something.
I have also visited an Arts museum of the famous Malaga painter Felix Rebello de Toro. His work is amazing. He is still alive although he is eighty five.
I wanted to talk about his work tonight by posting one of his paintings on the blog but I couldn´t find any of his work on the internet and I can´t upload my pictures at the moment.
If I look back on the day today, the only most powerful image that stays in my mind is the large waves that kept crashing against the Malaga´s beach which I could see from the top of the Moorish fortification. It was a very breezy day and the waves looked very mighty even from afar.
That´s all I got for today.

Monday, March 21, 2011


As playful as Poseidon can get
As generous as Apollo can be
As forceful as Aeolus has tried
Our skins stretched with sun and salt
We crossed the sea
Our heart a little bit heavier
To leave behind
A country where the Gods are a little mightier.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A tug at the heartstrings.

Morrocco, I don't understand your language but you speak to me.
The mosaics of your culture
The colours of your words
The handcraft of your little shops
The courtyards and your houses
The smiles in your people
The smells of your orange trees
The green of your hills
And the red of your earth
Your narrow streets
Your cooking pots
And flavoured meals
beaming with your conical hats
Your large tea pots steaming of delicious sweet mint
Your shadows grow on me.
Your slow rythm of life,
and your simplicity
craddle me.
Who knew I would fall for you
You, busy and yet lazy?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Long day

The day has been long
And the night very short.
The moon was my witness
and the sun my mistress.

That´s all I got for tonight. It needs re work but too tired...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Not my forte...

I don't know why I am trying so hard at improving the short stories I wrote because no matter how much I will try to improve them, there still won't be good enough for competitions (even minor competitions)
I just don't think short stories will ever be my forte.
So Why bother?
I am not sure.
I have been thinking about that.
I just can't accept the idea of something unfinished. I guess.
It is writing. It is an exercise. So I should try harder.
After all Thomas Fuller said:
All things are difficult before they are easy.
And William Ellery said:
Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict.
And those short stories are definitely the cause of my conflict.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Why Read Poetry?

I read something very true tonight. So I am going to write it down.
Why read Poetry?
Someone Called Robert Waldron answered that question. He did say it was because it is beautiful and pleasurable but that's not what stayed with me.
He said we read poetry because it awakens us to the beauty of the world around us.
I agree.
Poets look. And Poets translate. Henry David Thoreau said that it is the desire to speak like people in a waking moment to other people in their waking moments.
Poets help us to appreciate that everything is holy. They help us to feel more alive and encourage us by their example, to cleanse our windows of perception in order to see the world anew ( both the inner and outer world) and to enjoy it more abundantly.
Thoreau hoped that when he came to the end of his life he could go back on it  and know that he had lived his life "deliberately".
In giving ourselves over to the reading of poetry and then the praying of a poem. we are developing ourselves not only intellectually or aesthetically but also spiritually.
Poetry is a sacred language because it speaks of qualities. and behind qualities and sustaining them, mysteries, meanings, the holy ground of the soul's country.
Thus surrender ourselves to reading poem requires a selfishness akin to prayer.

I thought that was lovely and thought I would post it on this blog to share. That is it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

If my dream could be seen

If my dream could be seen,
It would not be a bean,
Or even a tree,
But just a little pea.

Don't tell anybody
But I carry it with me.
Against my heart
Like a spare part.
My dream in bracket
In the bottom of my pocket 
I often fear it gets crushed
Between people who rushed.

A pea is so fragile, so small. 
A wrong or clumsy move.
My dream to remove.
Often it is been a close call.
But a pea can grow. 
If you do let it go. 
Here cupped in my hand, 
Will you stand your ground?
Vulnerable but tangible. 
His whisper barely audible
To me
Only to me...
I let you go.
Live on then.
Go on, for both of us.

Dedicated to Sweet Pea. ;-)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pretty Still Butterflies

Which divine magician
put this spell on you?

Nodding in the breeze
Reflecting the light
Feathered forelimb of lime and purple

Extend your wings
And let the wind
Carry you away.

Yes come to life
Pretty Still Butterflies.

Magpie #57.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

the literary agent who will make you run

Did I say writing a synopsis was difficult and writing a smashing cover letter was an haunting task, I must have also forgot the jolly talk of picking single-handedly the literary agent that will save your soul, the one that will be:

The hungers in your wardrobe
The shampoo in your shower cabin
The sock to your naked foot
The cheese on your pizza...

And I can't wait for that quattro formaggi pizza...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Synospis: the art of folding the accordion

I don't know what is worse: writing a cover letter or writing a synopsis.
I guess I will start with the synopsis.
I have started reading articles about how to write the perfect synopsis.
No wonder why writers get depressed. It is mission impossible.
Be concise but be plain.
Be professional but be enthusiast.
Be original but follow the guidelines.
Be marketable but be honest.

Can it get more difficult than that? One thing I learn is that just because it is an awful task to do, it doesn't mean it shouldn't require dedication and tenacity.
In fact, the synopsis seems to be as important as the book itself. And I understand it now.
It is not only about selling your idea, you sell your writing skills, your desire to convince others, your ability to think about structure, plot, characterization and the overall credibility/joy that it is to read the whole story.
So yes, it is crucial to get it right since it basically is the mini version of your book.
But why is it such a pain to do then?
Just got my answer while I was writing this:
We, writers, are basically asked to compress all our love in this non-lovable exercise.
How can you compress love?
Love expands. It doesn't contract. That is why it is such a damn difficult thing to do.
Yet we must bend, squeeze, fold it like an accordion. And if we get lucky, just if we get lucky, we get to unfold our instrument to play our part.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Die you Damn Cursor!

The cursor is blinking at me
One, two. One, two.
What are you going to say?
One, two. One, two.
Do you even know?
One, two. One, two.
You know what you are afraid of.
One, two. One, two.
Please she says in her plea
One, two. One, two.
I can only try day after day.
One, two. One, two.
Try until the deathblow 
One, two. One, two.
I am not bulletproof!
One, two. One, two.
Two, one...
Die you Damn Cursor.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Meditation Balls!!

"Disengage with your thoughts", he asked
"Don't fight with them,
Don't hold them either
Let them drift like clouds..."

I say Balls!
Who says there are clouds any way?
And not anvils? 

Everytime I have tried to throw them away,
they ended up crashing on my feet!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Wednesday. Feeling as plain as a stone, as hollow as an empty vase, as discouraged as an athlete who sees the end line but can't reach it,  as useless as a credit card with no money on it....

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The vital and the non essential

I understand why we rush.
I really do.
Fitting everything in
The material and the emotional
The vital and the non essential
The dreams and the struggles
The hopes and the despairs
The kids, the house, the car and the carreer
I understand.
We are jumping from project to project.
We fill our schedule not always wisely
but it is difficult
to think straight
When we are on a deadline.
Not even knowing when we will run out of time.

Monday, March 7, 2011


 Ah this picture. It makes me smile. And isn't it what it does back at me on this picture? With his crescent brown golden shapes, the many cloves are smiling at me like familiar faces. Yes. Garlic is bliss.

Ah Garlic.
Nostalgic garlic.

 Take on magpie#56

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Program of the World Book Day

Now the real World Book day:

At 12.00pm in theory we had an Inkslingers creative writing session led by Andrew McEneff. This was supposed to be a structured hour where participants were given a series of writing prompts and critique. In practice it wasn't much structured and we only did three prompt lines since MrEneff forgot to check the time and was as busy to write the next prompt line as his students which gave little time for any of us to share or listen each other's works. However even though he has completed a M.Phil in Creative Writing at Trinity Collegeall he is  only a volunteer  at the center so I guess I couldn't blame him.  
We then quickly ran down the stairs to enjoy the rest of the program.
1pm Lunchtime Poetry Readings with acclaimed poets Peter Sirr, Jean O' Brien, Gerald Dawe, Richard Halperin, Aifric Mac Aodha and Paul Perry.
We did hear four of five poems of each of the mentioned poets. Peter Sirr  shared with us  an interesting poem inspired from a victorian black and white picture he showed us on his Ipad. Jean O'Brien read to us her poem of the Merman which won the Arvon International Poetry Award. Richard Halperin recited "In the Memory of James Joyce", Aifric her grief on loosing her parents and Paul Perry  a very unusual, quirky poem on the frustration of translating from English to Ukrainian but the ones that stayed with me the most were from Gerarld Dawe whose theme as he said himself was about "fucking grief". His poems had a particular type of honesty that forced people to face their emotions as well as his.
At 3pm Film screening of James Joyce's The Dead followed but I didn't follow that! I would understand why it would be interesting to see how the Irish middle class lived in and around Dublin in the early years of the 20th century but I failed to concentrate on anything on that movie that day.
However I did thoroughly enjoy the last part of the program at 7pm with the dramatic performance by Peter Duffy of The Great Hunger by Patrick Kavanagh. Despite a terrible headache, Mr Duffy kept through his work-in-progress performance with a dedication and calm that awed his audience. His dramatisation of Monaghan farmer's life (with the help of sounds effects) was so accurate and efficient than we were right with him in the middle of Mr Maguire's field. A very memorable play.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Let me be easy

Please let me hear music
to stop the agonising torment
of my mind
the churns in my stomach
the questions in my head.
Let it cover the noise from within
Let it wash away
the excruciating doubts and fears
the troubles of sorrow and pity
Let it erase "me"
fill it with melody
so I can reborn empty
so I can be clarity
so I can have rythm
a beginning and an end
with no hiccups
no blackouts
just black notes
on a music paper
following ledger lines.
Let me be easy
Let me be beautiful
Let me be simple.
Let me be.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Parnell Square!!!

It is the World Book Day and I am watching the Dead.
Well not the Dead as such, the third part of a trilogy film based on James Joyce's book called the Dubliners.
But I am in no mood to sit inside in darkness watching the Dead unfold when it is sunny and lively outside.So I sneak out, pretending to go to the toilets and I stepped out in the light.
I stepped out of the Irish Writer's Center.
I stepped out in Dublin.
This is Ireland!
The Country of Poetry, poetry in Irish being the oldest vernacular poetry in Europe, with the earliest examples dating from the 6th century.
I am on the steps of the Irish Writer's Center and to my right, there is the Writers' Museums, the restaurant called Chapter One, and nearby on North Great Georges Street, the James Joyce center.
I can't get closer to writing in body and mind.
And I can't get closer to the history of the country.
Parnell Square.
I mean Parnell Square: religion, arts, history, writing, politics and science all squeezed up in one square.
First religion appears striking and wonderful with the Gothic Revival Findlater's Church and arts with the Hugh Lane Gallery then the rest unveils like the winning numbers of a lottery ticket:

No 5 – Birthplace of Oliver St John Gogarty, a friend of Michael Collins and the writers WB Yeats and James Joyce.
No 9 – Living place of Dr Bartholomew Mosse who founded the Rotunda Hospital
No 25 – Gaelic League Building.
No 29 – Formerly Vaughan’s Hotel; a favourite hiding and meeting place for freedom fighter Michael Collins.
No 41 – Formerly the Irish National Forester’s Hall.
No 44 – The Kevin Barry memorial hall is the current headquarters of Sinn Fein.
No 46 – Formerly the Headquarters of Conradh na Gaeilge, the Irish language league.

Yes today I feel I got lucky. I am standing where so many great people stood before me on a day where I can enjoy modern poets talking about older poets and out in the open in this beautiful afternoon unfolding before me is Ireland at its very core, breathing.
Red bricks, Georgian buildings, taxi bursting out with music, cars and buses whizzing by, junkie bikers, old ladies shopping, business woman with smart suit and business case, foreigners and Irish walking, poor and rich crossing by.
All in the sunny crispy March air.
Ireland full of possibilities and Ireland full of disasters:
Dublin made City of Literature by the Unesco this year while down in this very street, the Irish Writer's Center threatening to close in June.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

World Book Day

I went to the World Book Day in town today, listened to four poets (my world has turned upside down with poetry since I started with Upstart) saw a movie (third part of a trilogy) called "the Dead" based on a book by James Joyce named the Dubliners and last but not least, seen one person playing the poem called the "Great Hunger" by Patrick Kavanagh.
What a full and inspiring day! Some of the read poems really inspired me. Didn't like too much of the movie but the play was very insteresting.
I have lots to think and write about but for now, I call it a day.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lunch breaks

Walking greyness
vomiting in waves
Out of the building
In ten
In twenties

Flocks of youthfulness
alike and disparate

Onto their way

marching, laughing

No one will stop
The progression
The vital thirst
The hunger for life.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

At the bus stop

I heard a tree complain today
The seesaw cutting at the roots
The worker bending low
His face expressionless

I saw a girl wiping tears
Off the edge of her eyes
Waiting for the bus
But not getting on it

Invisible feelings
Silent emotions
Yet here there are
For everyone to see.