Tempus Fugit

28 01 2012

I had the urge to write and no real desire to work on something already in progress. Instead, I looked at my surroundings and took in the sound of the town clock chiming and this is what came out.

Tempus Fugit

It’s funny how time flies.

Moving back to the city I grew up in is in equal measures familiar and alien. As much as this city changes, its core stays the same. There are reminders on every street of my past, the ghosts of remembered actions and conversations pushing themselves forward in my mind for their short moment in the forefront. Then the next street or building comes into focus and forces the ghosts back as others take their place.

I’m seated in a cafe across the street from the closest thing this city has to a central square. It’s a brick paved open area in front of the local mall, raised planter boxes sporting evergreen bushes trimmed into cotton ball shapes, tufts of wheat coloured grasses ascending with swaying stalks like tentative bursts of agricultural fireworks. Trees rise in the middle of the planters, their limbs bare and weeping towards the ground. The wind rustles them and their tips brush the ground, searching fruitlessly for the leaves they have lost

In them middle of the open, a clock is raised on a brick and concrete platform.  The centennial clock. Green and gold, it echoes the Robert frost poem. Green as the city it is celebrating, a hundred years not even a blink of an eye to the senescent cities of Europe and Asia. Gold like the years this city is heading into, the population ever aging and the city itself hemorrhaging jobs and with it the green that this city needs to renew itself.

The square’s clock is one of my ghosts. The low and mournful tones of its chimes, ringing out, carrying on the wind, making its reach arc out further than the silent sentinels of schools and theatres and playgrounds. The sound of the clock carries with it pieces of the ghost of my father.

He was involved with community groups and those have seasonal ghosts that come with them, fading as the heritage weekend, or historical re-enactment passes by in the waning days of autumn. The clock remains, a year-round reminder of both him and the time that pushes me forward on my journey and further away from the moment when his journey stopped.

Time does fly and even though the seconds, minutes,  hours, days, months, and years have stayed the same measurement of time that they always were, I’m finding as I collect more of them, the faster they, and the ghosts that live in between one measure of time and the next, come.

The ghosts used to be grudgingly accommodated, but now I find that as i collect more of them, they have lost their potency. The memories the ghosts carry with them no longer pull up regrets of past decisions, friends grown away from, or thoughts of paths not taken. Instead they serve to remind me of the journey that I’ve already travelled down and how those decisions have made me into the person, and more importantly, the writer that I am.

The writer in me is the curator of my collection of ghosts, separating those with stories to tell, from those that only serve as a milestone, remembering that point in my past, but offering nothing towards my future. The ones with stories to tell wait for me to give them away, covered in words and dressed up in names that are not their own. I will call them fiction, but my ghosts and I, we will know the truth.

Wordpres Fail

8 01 2012

I just wrote a long blog post about this week and an update on the writing and hit publish and great, WP ate the damn thing. So, this is subbing as my blog post. Now I know to keep a copy in my clipboard before pressing publish.

Word count on writing: 5,545.

Frustration at WP: 100%

New swear words invented in the last five minutes: 3

Hours until I have to gt up for work: 7

I’ll rewrite the post that was supposed to be, but first-sleep.

A Little Wednesday Whimsy

7 12 2011

I was wandering through some interesting links and stories on the internet this afternoon and came across a delightful little story.

An unknown person had started leaving paper sculptures made from books in several different libraries and museums around Edinburgh like this one.


Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisdonia/6076308161/

They all came with notes from the artist conveying support of libraries and the other places that the sculptures were left. They’re all so detailed and so beautiful that, as far as I know, they’re on display for the public to marvel over at each location.

People love a good mystery and there were always a lot of hidden literary references, combined with the fact that no one knew who did them, it was an irresistible combination and captured the imagination of a lot of people. There was even a poll when a person at one of the locations thought they may know who it was on whether the name should be given. The public actually voted on not knowing who it is. Good for them! There is far too little mystery in the world today.

The whole timeline and pictures of the 9 other sculptures are here,


Enjoy a few moments of Whimsy and mystery (one that is still unsolved and may it be forever that way!)

Can You Send Your Writing For Voice Lessons?

3 10 2011

When you’re starting out as a writer, one of the hardest things to craft is your voice. Going beyond your use of narrative and tense, voice is what digs down deep inside of your writing and is always indicative that you wrote it.

When I think of literary voices that I know instantly, there are a few that come to me. Hemmingway’s machismo and guys guy way of writing. Anthony Bourdain’s unmistakable narrative voice in his shows that carries over to his writing. It’s quick, in your face, and very New York City. Just like the man himself. I have to wonder what it says that I’m having trouble recalling a female writer that has a distinct voice. Most female readers I’ve read tend to let the storyline and characters speak for them and I remember the voices of their characters, but not theirs as a writer.

When you’re first starting out , your voice is informed by what you’ve read, what you love to read and what inspired you to pick up the pen and start writing Your voice is overlaid on top of the voices that you’ve been soaking up and emulating when you decide to start to write. Writing teachers recognize this stage, it would be hard not to when you’re reading submissions that sounds like amateur versions of well known authors. They then urge novice writers to find their voice. They stress the importance of that voice, that you must find it to succeed and you must find it now.

I’m of the mind that your voice develops as your writing does and that for a lot of people, that voice has several different octaves and changes as you go through different stages of learning the craft of writing. Finding your voice can not be forced to come quickly. It comes with time and experience and it also changes with them.

I’m finding that looking over my own writing for the past year that my voice has been undergoing a change. My writing has always been detail-filled and, I’m going to admit it, wordy. Over the last few projects I’ve been working on, I’ve noticed my narrative is tightening up, I’m choosing what I’m revealing in plot points more selectively and finding ways to convey the story I want to tell with fewer words. I’ve learned that sometimes the act of finding your voice is also the act of shutting yourself up.

Have you found your own writing voice has changed over the years? What changes have you noticed?

Could the Japan Earthquake Mortally Wound Broadcast News?

11 03 2011

I was still awake last night when the earthquake hit Japan. With several people on my personal twitter list being based in Japan, I knew of the earthquake within minutes of it hitting. Like pretty much anyone, my first thought was to turn on the t.v. and find out what had happened, how bad it was.

Knowing that my Canadian news would not be the choice to go to right away, I turned on CNN and it hit me how little I get my news off of the television these days. I actually saw CNN being informed of the earthquake while I watched. Expecting that news and video updates would be incoming within minutes, I was surprised to see newscasters reading twitter  and the  pictures and videos were coming from  the social media streams I was watching.

The earthquake had knocked out telephone service and probably a lot of internet service as well. As we’ve learned from Egypt and Libya, the world is becoming more and more informed and interconnected thanks to the mobile phone culture thriving in almost every continent. Even areas in Africa where there is no electricity or landline phone service, people have mobile phones and charge them at vendors who have set up charging stations in the markets and the preference of texting over voice communication thrives. Japan is legendary for their mobile phone culture and as long as the cell phone towers stand, news is able to get out of pretty much any place when newsworthy events happen or disaster strikes.

On the surface this would look like a boon to network news, live and local coverage with no overhead payout for the, but if you dig deeper, it may be what actually puts another stake through the heart of t.v. news. As I was watching the news coverage, I found myself getting more and more annoyed, the newscaster kept talking over pictures and videos that were coming in like that  person who speaks through a tv show or movie that you just want to duct tape their mouths. It was also very disconcerting to see the anchors visibly excited to be  reporting a high profile disaster. but we can’t lay the blame on the anchors,  it’s the way they’ve been trained to report and  that it’s more about soundbites and entertainment value. It’s increasingly showing itself as an antiquated way of reporting.

Like a lot of people I’ve been reading on my twitter and facebook feeds, the common theme has been people turning off their tv’s because they feel they can better, less interrupted, less repeated over and over coverage through their their technology than they can from network t.v.

There was a definite shift in media consumption last night that could have far-reaching effects for the networks. Viewership has been shifting, but this seems to be a turning point and it will be interesting to see how this all shakes out for online vs. traditional media.