Shanghai

Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary People

Tonight

I’m in a city of 14.50 million

souls. I know no-one

here. I’m a nano-human, a speck

in the smog. I make myself big

riding the subways with no-one

with light-coloured hair. No-one notices

the gweilo; the ghost-person, I think,

until I step into the deluge at Shanghai

Library, and a dark-haired

girl steps in time beside me, her umbrella

banishing the rain, her words, my ghostliness

“Where are you going?

Can I take you there?”

***

“They’re irresponsible”, my husband says, “sending you there on your own.“

“It’ll be fine. I’ll be careful”, I say. I have an unspoken list of no-go countries for work, but China’s not one of them; my 8-year-old self has waited a lifetime for this. From a young age through most of my teens my dreamscapes were exotic places far from my home in Africa, in particular, somewhere intoxicating called the Far East. There…

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An Umbrella on the Wind

Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary People

I was in primary school when I heard that crazy laugh for the first time. Other girls in the class tittered and giggled in typical 8-year-old manner: Janine Scott’s laugh was anarchic, dangerous and often inappropriate. I loved it. Sharing an absurdist sense of humour and a love of dancing, we became firm friends.

Frequent sleepovers at each other’s homes were spent choreographing our latest dream dance production and laughing for hours at nothing in particular, amusements in an era devoid of personal computers, internet and smartphones.

But one Friday night, as we lay about her bedroom, chatting, she became increasingly agitated as I mindlessly threw her small brown Teddy bear into the air.

Stop that!

What?

Stop throwing the Teddy around.

       Me, laughing and dangling the bear upside-down by one leg: What’s wrong?

       Janine, almost crying now: It belonged to Morgan.

Who’s Morgan?

Morgan was…

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Poetry Challenge – Form and Style Assignment from W.H. Auden

Calling all poets! Pop over to 👉 Gabrielle Bryden’s blog and take on the challenge.

Gabe Feathers McGee

Famous Anglo-American poet W.H. Auden once taught in the 92nd Street Y’s Unterberg Poetry Center (officially known as the New York City’s  92nd Street Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Association).

Here is a copy of an assignment he gave to students, in January 1956, who were attending his ‘Form and Style in Poetry’ course.

Auden Assignment

Do you want to give it a go? 😉

I’d love to see what people come up with. If you feel the urge to complete the assignment you can email me (gbryden at bigpond dot com) the ‘result’ in the next couple of weeks and if it fits the bill I will post it on my blog.

I’ll throw my hat in the ring and then we can say we were taught by W.H. Auden 😀

______________________________________

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‘not looking back to wave’: A Book Review (Poetry)

Thanks, Gabe 😀

Gabe Feathers McGee

‘not looking back to wave’ by Karen Price

cover

We’ve all been waiting a long time for the release of Australian blogger beeblu’s debut poetry collection and now that time has arrived.

Don’t tell anyone but we now know that beeblu has another name – Karen Price! I told her not to disclose her real name but did she listen? There’s even a lovely photo of her in the book – the cloak of invisibility has forever been thrown into the laundry basket.

Anyway, they’ll soon forget 😉

Those who follow beeblu’s blog (those discerning readers) will be familiar with many of the poems in her collection. I love it when poetry bloggers collate their poems into a book – blog’s can disappear but a printed book can sit snugly in one of my bookshelves without fear of banishment.

Beeblu’s collection is very beeblu! The cover is black with white lower…

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Kill Your Darlings Not Your Editor

Given the grammar and punctuation transgressions on this blog, you’ll probably find it hard to believe that I qualified as a book editor over a decade ago. *Sharp intakes of breath around the Blogosphere* Yes, you know who you are. 😀 Breathe easy; I’ve yet to give up my day job.

What I do know is that editing is critical to the writing process and essential for, at the very least, published works and professional documents. And what I did learn in studying for my editing qualification is the need for tact when dealing with authors and their work, no matter how awful either.

At work, I edit my own writing before and after I get someone else to edit it. Even so, when I do the final edit, I’m often bemused to find a number of errors remaining. When it comes to prose, I know my weak areas: omission of functions words, homonym misuse and comma confusion, to name but a few, so I know what to look for. But, poetry? I really have no idea.

So it is with heartfelt gratitude, appreciation and admiration that I thank Linda Cosgriff (a.k.a. The Laughing Housewife) for the gift of her editing expertise on my first poetry collection.

Linda is what the publishing industry (if she were to put herself out there) would consider an exceptional editor: she knows her stuff, and she is unafraid to say what needs to be said on both form and style but does so in an encouraging, tactful and respectful manner. And she sends gifts. 😀

I’ve taken most of her advice…
..OK, I admit I’ve granted clemency to some of my poor darlings.

Any errors remaining in the book are purely mine.

You have done me an immense favour, Linda dear. Thank you for the gift of your friendship, your valued input and the Olympic Games bookmark with the inspiring quote. ♥♥♥

bb-kyd

Weekly Photo Challenge: Zigzag

bb-zz2

Exquisite Botanical Art – Ho Chi Minh Square

I missed last week’s photo challenge…
..and my 4th blog anniversary.

And because of M-R’s powers of suggestion, I got only as far as selecting three instead of the usual five photos for my list of favourites on the WPC theme.

Just as well I’m not OCD. 🙄

For more entries to this week’s photo challenge, see The Daily Post.

 Five Three standouts from this week

tea and paper

2812 Photography

Margaret-Rose Stringer