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Archive for the ‘Creative writing by Ruth’ Category

Eight weeks of writing classes have taught me heaps, and stimulated all kinds of writing.  Fiction writing is a challenge for me, but we were given good questions to trigger this.  I found I love the Tanka format.

Tanka are similar to Haiku, but written from a subjective viewpoint, with a syllable count that goes 5,7,5,7,7.  The first two lines are an introduction.  The third changes the tone, gives a twist.  The last two lines should have a profound meaning and/or prompt reflection, and the whole should be able to be read as one sentence.   We were also introduced to Haiga, where the poem (which could be a Tanka) is combined with a picture.  I enjoyed being given a picture and asked to write an accompanying Tanka within ten minutes.  Here are a couple I wrote (sorry I don’t have the pictures they were intended to go with).

Your concentration
is focussed on one pathway
let your mind wander
there are other points of view
that may give a fresh outlook

 

Together apart
each of us on our own path
there is unity
with an agreed objective
reached by diff’rent processes

 

Have you come across Tanka poems before?  And do you know whether the plural of Tanka should have an ‘s’?

“After this course I now hanker
to be writing many Tanka.”

 

 

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I’m not a fiction writer, and short stories have never attracted me.  I read one occasionally in a magazine, but rarely choose a whole book of them.  My feeling is that they tend to engage my head, whereas a novel is more likely to engage my heart as well.  Having said that I enjoy articles about real people.  I was moved by one in last weekend’s ‘Press’ about procedures around stillbirth in the 1970s.  Not sure whether that qualifies as a short story?

My creative writing has lately been lacking in inspiration, and I enrolled in a writing course for encouragement and stimulation.  This week we were given the first two pages of a short story, and asked to write an ending as our homework.  It’s a ‘coming of age’ story and the instruction was to draw on our own experiences, and use them in our writing.  I have experiences I can recall, but I find it hard to rewrite them in the first person to fit with the rest of the story.  Usually when I write about my experiences, e.g. in this blog, I am completely truthful.  The blending of imagination and authenticity offends my values of openness and honesty.  I would find it easier to write this exercise in the third person.  It seems to be writing imaginatively in the first person that’s difficult.  It seems I have a lot to learn about creative writing.

“If I’m to write words about me
then I need authenticity.”

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Presents I’ve been given reflect the support of my family and friends for my writing ambitions.

writing-gifts-small

I’ve received a new rhyming dictionary (my 1947 version is falling to pieces), and an inspiring book with ‘642 things to write about’.  Plus pads, a blank book with a ribbon marker (!), and some sticky page markers.   Lots of inspiration for new writing in the New Year.  Today I might just put my feet up and enjoy what others have written.

“Today’s a day when I may choose
to grant a day off to my muse.”

 

 

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Okapi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A beast that’s sensitive and shy
was rarely seen by human eye
its home the Congo far away
discovered in Victorian day
by Stanley, the explorer whom
said ‘Dr Livingstone I presume’.

The Okapi was found to be
part of the giraffe family
long neck, large ears that help it hear
whenever predators are near.
It is distinguished you will find
by stripes on its legs and behind.

A plant-based diet every day
plus salt and minerals from clay
all gathered with prehensile tongue
this mammal also feeds its young
but each one tends to live solo
except at breeding time, you know.

There’s some resemblance to a deer
But deer cannot lick its own ear
the Okapi’s the only one
by whom this behaviour is done.
How do I know all this is true?
I saw one in the London Zoo.

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With remorseless grinding
gravel is pressed deep
foundations must be strong
for land liable to liquefaction.

A dozen homes in this block
overlooked the river.
When Ruaumoko struck they crumbled
and neighbours flew apart.

Today a landlord builds again
placing a new footprint,
friends yet unknown will come
to fit these shoes.

Riverview Flats Rebuild (Small)

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I jump by way of kitchen table
that’s easy, for I am most able
then straight across the cooking stove
I’m glad it’s cool this time, by Jove.
The bench requires a careful path
I’ve no desire to take a bath.
With infinite and cunning skill
I reach my goal – the window sill.

That dratted cat has got up there
it’s obvious he doesn’t care
his muddy paws make such a mess
I’ll wipe it all again, I guess.
He must have walked around the sink
whatever would a caller think?
It’s unhygienic, just not done!
But he looks so sweet in the sun.
Ziggy in window (Small)

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When out upon my bike I ride
a car will often come beside
the gap between us far from wide
they don’t obey the road code guide
and are a Daily Danger.

There’s now a notice in each bus
If driver falls unconsci-ous
emergency plan’s up to us
we may need to be heroes plus.
Is this a Daily Danger?

Within my cottage down the hall
the step could make a stranger fall
and hit their head upon the wall
the possibilities appal.
Another Daily Danger!

My surname can be hard to spell
and errors cause my ire to swell
why don’t folk listen when I tell
no ‘i’, no ‘e’, just Gardner? – well
it’s one more Daily Danger

But wait, was that another quake?
I thought the earth began to shake
but even if it makes us wake
it’s best that we no notice take
forget the Daily Danger.

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