Our NOTL Writers Circle had an interesting task this week. One hundred words or less on the topic "How I use technology in my writing..." Here's one of my attempts to answer this questions. A Word (click on the coloured title and follow the download)
I also created this as a slide show, with animations and transitions. Sorry - it just wouldn't link in a way that I liked people to see. I'll be sharing the slide show this afternoon at our meeting, and again in a public performance at the NOTL Library on January 28th.
Here it is without the background visual (which I think adds a lot!)
stick scratching the dirt reed in wet clay cuneiform
Oracle bones in ancient China papyrus
Maya glyphs and Linear A script pictographs – how many beers did you sell?
pictograms and phonograms of Sumer
phonetic writing …vowels and syllables
Messages, hymns, epic tales and the emergence of poetry
colonies, cultures and the beginning…
for the learned, the priests and scribes
The Alpha, Beta
parchment, scrolls, calligraphy
paper and the press
ink and the fibre of thought made visible Fingers and keyboard
and the whole world open to my words.
I am my word
I am my world
Many of us will miss the excitement of NOTL’s Canada 150th birthday celebrations in the upcoming year. On an early morning training walk with my yellow Labrador, I was reflecting on the events, debates and discussions that have unfolded during the last twelve months in our town. And I was thinking about personal resolutions for 2018.
I hurried down Flynn Street with Bala heeling at my side, just like at puppy class, when something stopped us dead in our tracks. It was predawn, almost December and most of the community was still sleeping. The Christmas decorations at a house near the corner of Rye Street caught my eye, so I used my dog training voice and called, “Sit!”
Bala plopped her hind end down on the cold, snow spotted asphalt and we stared at a large plastic reindeer poised under a fir tree, half hidden behind a hedge. The reindeer stared back at us, and then it blinked. Bala stiffened to alertness, but remembered her ‘friendly neighbour greeting’ lesson and remained quiet and still.
It wasn’t an artificial reindeer, but a large doe that we’d disturbed at breakfast on the neighbour’s lawn. We all froze. The deer’s eyes met mine and something primal was exchanged. She read my mind and saw no malice, and Bala – who could have been an enemy, didn’t flinch. The doe’s neck bent slightly and she resumed her breakfast, then changed her mind and stared at us again. Minutes passed as we measured and judged each other. She didn’t seem like a wild animal – she was just a resident I hadn’t met before.
Who was the native and who was the newcomer? Was there a threat, or could we be friends?
We heard the oncoming danger at the same time. A roaring engine, throbbing bass and spinning tires. “Heel,” I yelped to Bala and we darted off the road and into the ditch. The doe whirled on her toes like a figure skater and bounded away. The white underside of her tail flipped like a hand wave as she fled for the scruffy undeveloped bushland that borders the road.
Rainwater splattered by the speeding car soaked my dog as we scrambled for safety. The blue sedan, vibrating from the blasting speakers, hesitated at the stop sign and roared around the corner.
The minutes of quiet reverie and the chance to understand that beautiful creature, whose ancestors predated modern habitation were lost. The driver of the car, oblivious in his rush and electronic boom of power had endangered us and ruined something precious. But maybe there was a lesson.
As we say goodbye to the complex dynamics of Canada’s 150th birthday and move on with the relentless march of time, let’s all slow down, turn down the modern world’s noise, and look at the fragile natural beauty that’s still around us.
Like the vanishing deer, it will soon disappear without our protection.
A Second Chance
On the day the sky was a particular shade of blue, I had to write about it.
On the day it rained so hard, I thought we’d flood, I had to write about it.
On the day I thought my heart would burst with joy, I had to write about it
to calm the sparks that jumped inside.
On the day my heart broke, I had to write to stem the tears,
and the paper dried the flow.
I saw something that was hilarious, so I had to write it down,
to make me laugh again.
I saw something that was so beautiful, I wrote about it to remember
the shape and colour.
I ate something delicious, and afterwards, I wrote
to taste it again.
I experienced tragedy…to help me forget, I put the pain into words on paper
I heard something so loud, it hurt my ears
I heard something spoken so softly, I couldn’t hear
I heard the sound of the wind, and couldn’t stop it, so I put these sounds on paper.
I touched something, discovered something, learned something, researched something
that helped me understand…
so I wrote those things down.
I was in love, and writing became a compulsion.
I was angry and it was easier to write than speak.
I was hurt, and writing about it helped me heal.
I write, because it gives me a second chance.
We've been on a journey this year, haven't we? Politics and environmental disasters, violence, struggles and ethical issues around the world have kept us all on edge. But if you're reading this blog post, you survived it. I think it's important to keep those news stories and personal challenges in perspective. Each morning, the glorious sun - our life source reappears, travels across the heavens and then drops below the horizon to give us a change to rest and rejeuvenate. Look for the quiet places where you can see this daily miracle. It gives us hope, and it will be there again in 2018.
This acrylic painting was a scene directly across the street from me, just at sunset on a December winter evening. An amazing array of colour flooded the sky - spills of yellow, blue and purple brightly illuminated the west. It gets dark early now - by 5:00 pm the sun has disappeared. Tonight, around 7:00 pm incredible fireworks exploded at this same location. Just where you see the sun disappearing in the painting, dazzling chemical displays lit up the inky sky. Then they were gone. I'll watch for the quiet sunset again tomorrow night. It will mark the winter solstice, and then the light will begin to return.
Sharon Frayne is a writer and artist. She is a member of the Canadian Author's Association, the Niagara Writer's Circle and the Pumphouse Art Gallery. She looks for the universal experience and the mystery in everyday things.