Showing posts from August, 2013

Writers And The Art of Eavesdropping

I once suggested to a class of young writers that if they were looking for writing ideas, they should practice the art of eavesdropping and listen for snatches of conversation that regularly float past. -Words of wonder that hang in the air, waiting to be rounded up and written down. The playground, the park, shopping malls are all great places to harvest such wondrous words. A boy looked at me quizzically, before informing me his parents had told him it was impolite to listen in to other people’s conversations. I then recalled my own collection of parent tapes. I have a host of ancient messages swirling around in my brain, reminding me such things as,  - small children should not be listening to adult conversations! I tried to re-assure him that as writers we enjoy a special exemption, so long as we are tactful when listening. He remain a little unconvinced. Poet, Naomi Shihab Nye backed my position on this issue of listening in when she wrote: ‘ I have also kept no

Writing and Photography -SNAP Into Action

Wandering with my camera beside the creek looking for Monarch butterflies. I find the connection between photography and writing an irresistible and compelling force. Along with writing, I have always loved photography and I believe the attention to detail that photography requires, has assisted me as a writer to observe more closely the small detail of my surrounding world. It is a partnership that enables creative perspectives and enhances visual and verbal literacy. The outcome hopefully produces outcomes that are pleasurable to the eye and the ear. Modern technology has made photography so accessible. Smart phones, ipads, and social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook have created infinite opportunities for sharing visual images. Our lives are increasingly documented in images. Some have inherent beauty, others provoke while others are questionable. Our photographic archives are rapidly expanding. My computer contains more that 15000 images. It grows daily.

10 Picture Books That Make The Reader Think About Writing

It is frequently said that reading in the input and writing is the output. For this reason, it is important to consider carefully what we read and what we advise students to read.  As Annie Dillard notes in 'The Writing Life, 'The writer is careful of what he reads, for that is what he will write. He is careful of what he learns, because that is what he will know.' I am inspired by the initiative of fellow educators and bloggers, Cathy Mere and Mandy Robek to compile a list of 10 books that work for me. I am focusing on picture books that encourage me to think, rather than do the thinking for me. Books, that present me with a host of possibilities for literary explorations. I felt incredibly torn. As I began exploring my library, so many many titles screamed 'Pick me!' I am in no doubt, that some titles have been unfairly treated here. My selections are presented in no particular order. Colin Thompson is a master at writing about the human condition. His c