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Creative Living: Be More Creative, Excerpts

Today’s Book Extract: From The Psychology of Creative Success

The field of creative studies is enjoying a huge upsurge, with research coming to new conclusions and confirming ancient wisdoms. One finding is surfacing over and over, across a wide range of studies, including  anecdotal evidence, historical reports, the new neuroscience technologies, and our ability to map the world’s knowledge through digital archives and search engines. Creative flow is not, as we used to think, an elite state, possessed only by a few, but  a mind state that we all experience many times a day. Though writers and artists earn the appellation as a noun (“creatives”),  creative is more accurately…

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Creative Writing: Excerpts

Today’s Book Extract: How Authors Sell Publishing Rights by Orna Ross and Helen Sedwick

This is a necessarily brief introduction to something that is really, like so much in self-publishing, a learning-by-doing activity. Negotiation and pitching take practice. But once you have an understanding of the rights you own, a sense of your books and where they fit in the market and which rights you want to sell, you are ready to search out some potential rights buyers. Then to make a pitch and, if it’s successful, negotiate a deal. Yes, learning by doing. Making A Good Pitch Your pitch will vary depending on what rights you’re looking to sell and whether you are…

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I Am: A New Poem

I have thoughts but I am not my thoughts. I am one who sees them swirl. What can be seen is not the seer. I have thoughts but my thoughts are not me. I have a body but I am not my body. I am one who makes it move. What can be moved is not the mover. I have a body but my body is not me. I have feelings but I am not my feelings. I am one who feels them feel. What can be felt is not the feeler. I have feelings but my feelings are not me. I have…

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Today’s Book Extract: From The Psychology of Creative Success
November 2, 2016
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Countdown to Christmas: WH Auden's For The Time Being
December 29, 2013

Countdown to Christmas: WH Auden's For The Time Being

This is a section from the most remarkable Christmas poem ever written, “For The Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio”, by WH Auden. Composed in 1942, the darkest days from the British Allies perspective of World War II, the poem is 1500 lines long (more than 50 pages), a series of dramatic monologues spoken by the characters of the nativity story, in twentieth-century speech, as if the events were happening in that time. It’s a long parable, merging biblical and contemporary into an audacious display of metaphysical poetics underpinned by Anglican theology.   How could the Eternal do a temporal act,…

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This week’s F-R-E-E-Writing prompt: Collaboration for Creative (And Creativist) Success
November 26, 2016
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November 2, 2016
Today’s Book Extract: How Authors Sell Publishing Rights by Orna Ross and Helen Sedwick
October 26, 2016
: Excerpts

Countdown To Christmas: Patrick Kavanagh's Christmas Childhood

It is a poem born out of loneliness and solitude.  Kavanagh wrote it after spending another festive season alone in his bachelor flat in Dublin and the poem is infused with nostalgia for rural, farm-family life, recalled through the lens of Christmas. The memories come dressed in christian imagery, from the story of genesis to the virgin birth. The first section of the poem sets the scene. The adult Kavanagh recalls the “gay Garden that was childhood’s”: the frosted potato-pits, the music coming from the paling-post, the heavenly light between ricks of hay and straw, the “December-glinting fruit” on an…

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Countdown To Christmas: TS Eliot's The Journey Of The Magi

Yeats’s near contemporary, TS Eliot, also pictures Christmas through the lens of the magi, though his are more human, more physical, occupying a poem full of the mundane details of travel: snow, lack of decent shelter, cursing camel-men, hostile cities and towns, dirty and overcharging villagers, exhaustion and confusion and questioning if “this was all folly”. But then one morning “at dawn”, it is all worthwhile as they come down into a temperate valley and find what they sought. Written in 1927 shortly after his conversion to Anglican-Catholicism, Eliot has his magus surprised by the consequences of a significant birth….

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: Excerpts

Countdown To Christmas: WB Yeats' The Magi

The “god-shaped question” is the subject of W.B. Yeats’ poem about The Magi, the three men variously called kings or wise men who came to Bethlehem on the night of Jesus’s birth to pay homage to a new saviour. For Yeats, they are trapped forever in that posture of searching for that which they can revere. He pictures them “in their stiff, painted clothes… pale [and] unsatisfied…their eyes still fixed,” caught in an eternal seeking that will never find what it is looking for. In this short poem, he projects onto the wise men his own inability to find consolation…

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Countdown to Christmas: Orna Ross' Midwinter Benediction

I’d like to offer a poem from another tradition, a tradition that absorbed Christian ideas and melded them with old, pagan ways into a belief system and social structure that, because of its isolation on the edge of an island on the edge of Europe, stayed intact in Ireland well into the twentieth century. These ancient traditions of roving and hospitality that date  from before the birth at Bethlehem were still at play in the Irish village where I grew up in the 1960s. I remember them well and with great fondness and have adapted this simple mid-winter blessing that…

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Creative Publishing

A Reply and An Answer.

Here is a small poem about a big subject: Listen, my parents, the grasses are crawling, the trees are all thrumming. Soon, birds won’t be able to sing. Listen. Hear me. Our time  Read More

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Creative Publishing

Truth To Tell. A Poem.

‘”Thou Shalt Not!” soon fades,’the Storyteller* said. ‘But “Once Upon a Time…” goes on forever.’ It is morning, May in England, Ascot Priory wood. In a clearing by the pathway, a branch invites a bow. I lay my forehead on its bark, its skin on mine is cool with rain.  These trees once belonged to nuns, who too found time, between bell and candle, to walk and wonder, to look overhead when summoned by the wind’s reason and the leaves’ reply. Now that whisper is for me and some Buddhist friends, here for a retreat. My room in this place once was someone’s…

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