Saturday, July 02, 2011

On, In, and Around Mondays: Writing with Luci Shaw

Luci Shaw Red Umbrella

I open my computer today and notice Friday’s red umbrella. It belongs to Luci Shaw.

I have Luci's umbrella, because I have her picture. I have her picture because I used it to create a background for her new Twitter account. She has a new Twitter account, because on Thursday she will be coming to a Twitter poetry party.

Just yesterday I listened to someone deride Twitter. There are those, I suppose, who make it something to deride. But even with talk of heavy rain or indigestion or lost keys, I believe that Twitter is a red umbrella— a tiny space in which to work, to express oneself on the way, to move through crowds in the crimson shadow of words.

Once I took a writing seminar with Kay Marshall Strom. The thing I remember most was her assertion that the good writer benefits from writing small. "Limit yourself to a few sentences," she said. That feels to me like red-umbrella talk.

If you are going to say something of worth in a few words, you will be forced to concentrate more carefully on details. If you don't concentrate on details, it will seem you have said nothing at all, except perhaps heavy rain, or indigestion, or lost keys. Details make the rain like needles or like a sky of white nectar. Details make the indigestion burn the esophagus, like an old woman with a kerosene lamp, winding her way back to the sea. Details remember that the keys were on the counter at the bakery, just when you were choosing to splurge on a chocolate-filled croissant.

On Friday, over the phone and online, a friend and I helped Luci open her red umbrella on Twitter. We wrote about fishermen and red bobbers, casting lines and car hats. She laughed and played and saw the possibilities. She found her keys.


On, In and Around Mondays (which partly means you can post any day and still add a link) is an invitation to write from where you are. Tell us what is on, in, around (over, under, near, by...) you. Feel free to write any which way... compose a tight poem or just ramble for a few paragraphs. But we should feel a sense of place. Would you like to try? Write something 'in place' and add your link below.

If you could kindly link back here when you post, it will create a central meeting place. :)

On In Around button

This post is also shared with Laura Boggess, for...

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Blogger Megan Willome said...

Beautiful! I think Twitter is great for writers because of the reasons you mentioned. And the "few sentences"--that's why I love poetry. It makes me better to read and write it.

8:12 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Good words for those of us who may just be the tiniest little bit wordy. Ahem.

9:50 AM  
Blogger Maureen said...

Planning to join you under the red umbrella.

Have a splendid 4th!

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Diana Trautwein said...

Wow. I have been pretty much just plain terrified of Twitter - not feeling superior to the medium, but definitely ill-equipped and inferior, technologically speaking. But my word, if Luci Shaw can do this - maybe I can too? I will explore, do my usual fits and starts and self-embarrassing attempts and see where I land. MAYBE by Friday, I will have figured it out. I think I own everything she's ever published and would love to at least be able to read along as the rest of you make good use of the economical writing this stuff requires. I'm with you, Nancy. Ahem. Sigh.

12:28 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I cannot wait! I am in the throes of Luci's Breath for the Bones and am seriously falling in love with this woman.


Have I said how much I love your way with words? This post might sell my grandpa on twitter. And he's been gone for quite some time...

1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your message in this post. The details are my favorite part of your writing.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Jerry said...

I might be the lone male in this conversation...but I must say that Luci Shaw was one who highly influenced and nudged me to write after several years of hibernation. Her poem Spring song, very early morning was read during a church service about a decade ago...and moved me to tears. It was an invitation to create again and not be so utilitarian with words or anything for that matter. As far as twitter...I am not so skilled but I will try to enter in sometime. Thanks L.L.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Jerry said...

P.S....the Luci's Shawl post doesn't come up when you hit the link...sorry...but it is in the archives of my blog...sorry again.

7:03 PM  
Anonymous Ann Kroeker said...

I LOVE this. And you. And Luci. And red umbrellas. And the few choice words that I scramble after, like a kid spilling a bag of marbles and palming each smooth orb, precious.

10:08 AM  
Blogger Connie said...

"If you don't concentrate on details, it will seem you have said nothing at all," peel the leaves down to the heart...thank you for helping.

5:52 PM  
Anonymous violet said...

How cool is this! I met Luci Shaw in person a few weeks ago at the book launch of a mutual acquaintance (Mike Mason - who wrote 'The Blue Umbrella') - look, photos to prove it here. I will try to attend the twitter party - which is, I believe, 6 p.m. Pacific Time - something like that.

Also, Happy Independence Day to all my US neighbours. LL - loved your "Declaration of Independence" on TS Poetry newsletter - so fun... especially the fence made with sausage links. Ha!:)

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Enuma Okoro said...

What a delightful idea. I loved your few sentences on details. Beautiful. I look forward to stopping by and dropping a few words here and there...

11:41 AM  
Anonymous Diana Trautwein said...

I did open a Twitter account - but I have not as yet figured out how to actually use the dang thing. I managed to read through the dialog after the fact tonight. If you ever do this again, I'll try to not lurk, but join in.

Loved this post, as I do each and every week. Thank you.

1:53 AM  
Blogger Deidra said...

"...a sky of white nectar..." Wow.

8:20 PM  
Blogger Bonnie said...

Thank you Laura! I'm not on Twitter but I can read! Luci is one of my mentors in print, in poems ~~ to love the Lord.
" And my heart turns over when I see Jesus in you." Favorite line from Salutations.

9:46 PM  

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