If you ask me it is good advice because we never know exactly what the day will bring.
The other day while my husband and I were walking along a beach near our home we were surprised by two pods of dolphins swimming so close to shore we could have practically walked out to meet them. Sadly, we didn’t have the camera to capture them but it certainly brightened our day.
Earlier this week on another beach walk, my husband found this shell which has been added to my collection.
It is lovely to find one so full of colour and perfectly intact washed up.
When it comes to surprises and writing, one morning I received an email from someone about Homes Kid, one of my poems she had read. I’m not sure where the woman who is a senior lecturer in social sciences at one of our universities found it. Probably it was in the literary magazine where it was originally published, way back in 1995. Being a person who lectures at university and who was researching about children placed into foster care and care situations, she emailed me about the poem’s origin. We emailed back and forth a bit about the inspiration of and the content of the poem. The result was she ended up buying a copy of Kaleidoscope to read my other poems.
Just recently I was given Echoes of Memory - poems by John O’ Donohue. Apparently I had mentioned it once in passing and my son had picked up on it, even though I had forgotten all about it. Once I started to read I was immediately transported by the simplicity and beauty of the language. You can be sure it is one of those poetry books I will be pulling out and reading again and again.
As writers, whether we write fiction, poetry or some other form of nonfiction one of the most important things we can do as well as write, is to read and keep on reading. We need to read to see what is out on the market place already. Not that we want to copy the style or ideas of someone else, far from it! But as we read and read widely we see what works and what doesn’t. We begin to see faults that may show up in our own writing and find ways to overcome them. Since I have been writing I have found I have become a more critical reader. Has anyone else found this? So longs as it helps me weed out the unnecessary words, dialogue or whatever it might be in my own writing that is not working, then it is a useful tool to have.
Often it is not only reading the good books with fully fleshed characters or beautiful prose we learn from. We can learn from those with cardboard cut out characters, false sounding dialogue and clunky sentences because we learn what to avoid. Anything that rings false has the capacity to pull the reader out of a story, a poem or piece of writing. That’s something we definitely don’t want to happen to those reading our work.
When you read are you conscious of looking out for specific things or do you just get so caught up in the story or the beauty of the language that you find yourself unable to distance yourself and view it objectively? Love to hear your thoughts on this.
Dale writes fiction and poetry. Her latest novel is Streets on a Map is currently available as an E book. She has also written children’s books, bible studies, Sunday school material, devotionals, and articles about marriage, home and Christian living. She is currently at work on a new novel, tentatively titled Sandstone Madonna.