Posts Tagged ‘languages’

This month’s challenge was to write a letter about peace, or send a letter out to peace, or imagine a letter coming back from peace or any and all variations of the above.

Well, I’ve interpreted this a little differently.  It’s not a letter to peace, but letters of peace: an A-Z of peace-related words.  Well, almost – I couldn’t find a x that I liked!

I always thought that ‘actions speak louder than words’ – that is, you can say you feel something, but if you don’t show that through your actions it has no meaning.  There should be a follow-through of some sort.

But I also realise that words have power (which is lucky for a writer!).

Words can wound and heal, words can be barbed and get stuck inside you, or they can  break through a wall you’ve built up.  The problem with words is that we are often far more careless with them than we are with our actions.  This is something that has cropped up in my writing in many ways, and is a strong tool for exploring relationships.

By choosing our words carefully, we can begin building peace into every communication we make.

A = accord

B = brotherhood

C = consideration

D = delight

E = enlightenment

F = friendship

G = goodwill

H = happiness

I = irenicism

J = joining

K = kindness

L = love

M = mindfulness

N = neighbourly

O = orderly

P = pacifist

Q = quietness

R = respectful

S = solidarity

T = tranquility

U = unity

V = value

W = wisdom

X =(e)xquisite

Y = yielding

Z = zen

Of course there are hundreds more, but everyone should choose words that have meaning to them.  Words are the ingredients to make peace – and every cook needs space to use their inspiration!

I spent a while considering whether yielding and peace go together, but I decided that peaceful people judge when it is wise to yield and when to stand firm; being yielding isn’t the same as being walked over.

I’d be happy to see other words people feel are important to peace; please let me know your ideas in the comments!

Happy writing,



B4Peace Central

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Fish of Gold

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… said the project plan to the writer.

Last night’s catchup went better than expected.  I finalised first drafts of four space poems – one changed quite a lot and has had two stanzas replaced with new content. I hadn’t realised until I read them all together that two had similar imagery, and I couldn’t have that!

I’m really happy with my mythological one, and the others are coming together – I like the ‘feel’ and the structure.

I also spent a bit of time on Torch Tales identifying the key elements of each story so I have a plan. I’m still hoping to write a bit more but at least I have the ideas all set out.

And of course I looked at the Chinese. I definitely need the cd!

Today, I split my time between ‘The Story of One’ and reviewing poetry to put into a pamphlet.

I’ve got two themes in mind for the poetry, and I can’t choose between them.  They are similar and of the five poems I’ve picked so far three will work with either category – so whichever choice I make I have four poems to start with!  I have not chosen any that were submissions to competitions yet, I may keep them for future submissions or for the blog, not sure yet.

I know I’m supposed to send out the short stories by tomorrow but in my extremely organised way I realised I have no printer ink (all submissions have to go snail mail for some reason that I can’t understand) so they’ll go as soon as I can print them.  They are complete though – unless I decide to edit them again before sending, which wouldn’t be unusual!

The Story of One is turning into a series of conversations – not ideal but at least words are being added; I am doing half an hour here and there on that.  I definitely want to reach the additional 20,000 words on the piece as a minimum so I’ll continue on that piece tomorrow, and give it a bit more time.

I will be annoyed with myself if I don’t complete everything on my plan but I’m really happy how much I’ve achieved so far this month and think that monthly targets may be the way to go in the future.  Structure is good!

Happy writing,



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As I’ve been feeling a bit grotty today, I have only just started getting to grips with work – oops!

That means I haven’t really got an update for you so instead of saying what I have done, I’ll tell you what I will do before I go to sleep – and tomorrow I’ll own up if I don’t quite make it!

I plan to revisit my space poetry with a view to signing it off for this month – that will mean four new poems with structures, subjects, themes and any metaphorical allusions I care to use. As I said before, using words from alternative root languages hasn’t worked as I’d hoped so that will form part of the revision process, and all I’ll do for this month is write solid first drafts.

I will also look at my ‘speak Chinese’ book – I am trying to learn to say ‘I live in the UK’ at the moment. I probably ought to listen to the cd that came with the set but I’ve never yet found a language cd that I had patience to listen to all the way through…  Mind you, that could be why I’ve never been very good at languages!

So I’m off to get some work done – wish me luck!

Happy writing,



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I have decided, after two fruitless days in a row, that editing of short stories will be pushed until next week.  I am not doing well with it at all – I am reading sections, then re-reading them, and making random changes that don’t really have the desired effect.

In short, this target had a big red warning sign over it.

There’s something about short stories, I just seem to have a block about them.  When it comes to editing, I manage a few lines, a few paragraphs, and then I hit a wall.  Looking back, it’s always short stories that I complain about, and I am starting to think I should stop working on them and focus on the poetry and the novels…

But not this month – this month I have a target!

To make me feel better I researched where to send which piece, so I can edit with the magazine in mind; I’ll buy the most recent editions just to make sure nothing has changed in their focus, which I think will help.

Because I wasn’t working on short stories, I decided to do some more space poetry work.  I have now got four new poetry pieces in various stages of draft, plus one completely bonkers extra one written with modern and Old English, just for fun.  I have got mythology textbooks in a pile next to me – I’m really enjoying writing a poem about something I love, using a background of something else I love, it’s really exciting!

I also did some more work on the NaNoWriMo piece from last year.  For the sake of discussion, from now on it will be called ‘The Story of One.’ This comes from a point I make in the intro.  I wish I’d carried on writing it until it was completed – it’s hard to start again after such a long break, and not flowing as well as I’d hoped, but I’ll get to grips with it and until I do, I just have to keep going!

Tomorrow I am taking part in a charity workout (am exhausted just thinking about it!) so my output will be limited…  I am not setting any targets for the day, and will fit in what I can.  Tomorrow’s post may be very short!

Happy writing



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Today I have split my time between the poetry and the new novel project plan. After some fairly painful attempts to find the root of words in my giant dictionary, I remembered that google is my friend and searched for words that have come into English from other languages.

There’s many Wikipedia pages on this, so I wrote a whole load down to have a basic vocabulary to choose from for the space poem.  From this, I could look at the word in more detail in the giant dictionary and decide if it fitted into my vision.

I have now started writing up the first one and feel a lot happier that I’ve got it under way – the words have such different sounds that they add a lovely texture and I’m hoping to exploit that to make it work both on paper and as a performance piece.  In effect, the sounds should exaggerate the story I am telling.

After working on that for a while I needed a change for a bit, so I returned to the woods novel plan.  I had a ‘eureka’ moment when I was looking at it, that seems to have answered all the outstanding questions and given the context I was looking for.  Basically, I moved a specific, defining incident back by a generation, making one of the main characters the result of this instead of part of it.

I am really pleased that I came to this decision: it means a few changes to my plan for November but it allows me to do what I really want, which is leave the story with a twist in the tail!  It also makes a big section seem more pertinent to the story and justifies my change of point of view character.

So on the list for tomorrow is to get some more work done on the first new space poem; to re-revisit the plan for the next novel, and to start pulling together the various notes I have for Codename Wedding Belles as the timeframe for that has just been moved up!

I love it when I feel I’ve achieved something – I think this project month is proving to be quite a useful exercise!

Happy writing,



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What a mixed bag of a day – I started off thinking about the space poetry, went on to Chinese, dug out my Welsh/English dictionary then went back to poetry via the baking of cookies…

Dictionary number one is the simple one in the back of my ‘learn Chinese’ book.  I have now learnt how to say ‘Hello, I am called EJ,’ but whether I’ll remember tomorrow is another matter entirely!  As this is a basic conversation set, I am not learning how to write the words in Chinese script, which is both easier and a little sad.  Maybe when I’ve learnt a bit more I can explore that.

Dictionary number two came out when I started on the space poetry (I’ll come back to that) – I decided to look at Welsh words for my mixed language piece.  The words are mostly too unfamiliar to fit into the poem but I might sneak ‘cariad’ in if I get a chance, what a gorgeous word!

So onto the notebook: I have chosen my space images (I am starting with 4 as I already have one space poem) – all of them will be approached in different ways, using different themes.  Two are very visual, metaphorical pieces, one is all about the sound and language and one is possibly an analogy for something else – I am not sure yet, the notes I have taken are quite visual but use descriptions of another environment entirely!

My notebook is a bit messy on these, actually – there’s crossovers, metaphors, references to mythology, biology, romance, the natural world, spirituality, chemistry… but this is also the joy of writing: you start with a blank sheet of paper and fill it up and then you can shape your work.  It’s a bit like a sculptor chiselling away excess stone – we writers chisel away excess words.

The third image takes me onto the third dictionary, which I have yet to delve into in detail for this project, but which has taken up residence next to me: my giant Oxford Dictionary of English – which incidentally includes ‘cariad’!

I have found a few words that come from Latin that I want to use, which I think is inevitable, but I want to find some more unusual root words to give the different sound qualities.  I may be digging into the dictionary for some time!

So add in the cookies and that’s been my day – tomorrow I hope to actually get something typed up, so wish me luck!

Happy writing



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Ok – I have an admission – I barely started on my space poetry this weekend, as I was too busy enjoying myself at the spa! I feel like I should feel guilty but – nah…  A weekend off is ok, right?

Still, I have started taking notes on a couple of the images I want to use, and now I am back I will get on with them.  I feel confident that one piece will have a very clear metaphor running through it, which has come together really quickly, and as soon as I started taking notes and really absorbing the content of the image, this idea came into my head.  The other piece I have started making notes on is actually based on an observation I made some time ago about the nature of celestial movements.

I feel a bit sad that I haven’t really celebrated National poetry day yet, but I will focus on it tomorrow: it’s a belated celebration, not a forgotten one!

There is one thing that I have done quite a lot of this weekend, and that is think about the new novel.  I am going to go back to the outline tomorrow with some very specific questions.  I have decided to approach it as objectively as I can to ensure it can carry a full length book on the basis of what I have written down – in my head there’s a lot of detail but if I don’t incorporate it in the outline or subsequent planning process, it is inevitably going to become confused and overly complicated in some areas.

I am so excited about the idea that I want to make sure it all comes together as it should.

Finally, this week I dug out the ‘learn Chinese’ course book so am starting to read through that.  I can say ‘hello’, so I only have three more words and I’ll have met my (very basic) target for the month!  I have an interest in Chinese history and mythology, and have read Chinese poetry translated by Jeanne Larsen, which is the reason I chose this language: I hope I do it justice.

I will catch up with myself a bit tomorrow – but at the end of the first week of project month, I have started a few bits and finished nothing, so I need to get my completer-finisher skills on board for next week!

Happy writing,



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As part of this project month, I am going to start learning conversational Chinese.  I probably won’t use it in my work, but I think it will be fun to learn another language; it’s good for my memory if nothing else.

One language I have used for my work is Old English.  Old English pre-dates the Middle English of Chaucer by 400 years or more, so when I use it I have to take some liberties and mix it in with modern English.  What I love about it is that it seems designed for the oral poetry tradition: the language is musical and when speaking it there is a definite rhythm.  You can hear extracts of OE poetry read out on the web if you’re interested.

I want to learn some Welsh for the same reason – it’s a musical language that will suit oral poetry.

Incorporating different languages in poetry is for my own enjoyment though; I don’t intend to publish this type of poetry.  Some people do write in multiple languages, and there is an art to making this work accessible.  I have not mastered this art!

However one way to explore the rhythmic quality of speech in a more reader-friendly/listener-friendly (and writer friendly!) way is to use words that have their origins in other languages.

This got me wondering whether I should try something different with one piece of space poetry – not a different language throughout, but a different form,  incorporating recognisable words from other languages.  The result should be a mixture of hard and soft sounds.

I’ll try some new things out and see how they work!

Let me know if you write in different languages and how you think it influences your work – it would be really interesting to see if different subjects work better in different languages…

Happy writing,



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