Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Book Launch at BookLore in Orangeville

Come one, come all. To the launch of Harry Posner's third novel, Auroch Unbound. This one's completely different (as are they all, as it turns out), being a story touched by romance, magic mazes, hybrid creatures, and a seriously skewed narrator. The myth of Theseus updated, if you will...The event is free. Come and hear some readings from the book, get a book signed, ask pointed questions, drink a glass of wine and hobnob with the literati! Altogether not a bad way to spend a Wednesday evening.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Meeting Minutes June 11, 2017

We announced the opportunity to participate in a half hour Sunday radio program with 91.7 Erin Radio, www.erinradio.org , dedicated to local writers starting in July.

Anyone interested should contact Phil Taylor, who contacted the Headwaters Writers' Guild directly. A reading and possible interview would be pre-recorded for airing at the show's scheduled time. You do not need to be published. Poetry, short stories, part of a novel, memoir or children's stories are welcome. You may not want to be interviewed, just read from your work. Alternatively, you may not like the sound of your reading voice and can have someone else do the reading for you.

In the case of poetry, a discussion regarding the nature of the poem(s) would be the best way to record this. If two poems are read, there could be a brief music break in between.

Contact Phil Taylor at 905-875-8348. This is a cell phone. He will accept text messages. Or you can contact him via email at erinradio881@gmail.com


Don suggested we use a timer for reading our work to the group so that everyone has a chance to read their work and to ensure we don't run out of time to do the writing exercises.

We will look into doing this for larger groups and Don is willing to bring in a timer for us.


Diane, Don and Nicky read from their current works in progress


Thanks to Diane for compiling the lengthly and highly detailed information from the Saturday June 10th Workshop with Nora Zylstra-Savage and to Patricia for posting the information and pictures. Well done ladies!


Here are the prompts from the meeting:

Headwaters Writers’ Guild
June 11, 2017
Family Matters

Family – set of parents and children or of relatives; person’s children; members of household; all descendants of one lineage; group of kindred peoples; related objects; group of allied genera of animals or plants
                Oxford Dictionary 1984

Write an essay on what your definition of family is.


Choose one of the prompts below relating to family connections and relationships.

1.       I always think of my mother when…

2.       I never knew how much I was like my father until…

3.       It was a shock to find out that my best friend was the father/mother of my adopted child.

4.       I always had to smile when I saw the plaque that hung above the toilet in Uncle Bob’s cabin. “Home is where the fart is.”

5.       When I’d sent out the DNA kit to Ancestry Inc., I never imagined the results I would see.

6.       I thought that when I married him/her I’d finally be part of a loving family.

7.       Sometimes the best family members aren’t human.

8.       If a family is like a tree, then there are some branches that should just be cut off.

9.       My sister/brother was my best friend and worst enemy all rolled into one.

10.   When my brother/sister suggested that we’d be better off without our parents, I thought he/she/ was just on one of his/her tirades again.


Our next meeting will be Sunday June 25th at 1:30 p.m.  Clare is scheduled to lead.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

OPL & HWG Writing Workshops, June 10, 2017

June 10, 2017 – Workshops with Nora Zylstra-Savage

Nora Zylstra-Savage
Nora is the owner of Storylines which is an organization that promotes personal self-worth and community appreciation of individual life stories and experiences.

These writing programs and workshops assist individuals and groups in listening, sharing and documenting their personal life stories. Nora provides memoir and creative writing courses, recording and content editing services for the past 20 years.

Nora has created and currently facilitates intergenerational memoir writing programs with well, frail and seniors with dementia working with high school and middle schools for the past 14 years. The program is called Bridging the Gap, Intergenerational Memoirs. These programs encourage seniors and youth to discuss and compare their life stories and are captured in different media.

Nora brings enthusiasm, humour and sensitivity to all art forms.
(from Storylines website www.myhousememories.com)

Beginner Group 10am - Noon
·         Group members who attended:   Patricia, Diane, Don

Warm Up
Show – Don’t Tell
Writer’s Block

Patricia and Diane both chatted about the Writing group before we got into the workshop.

Warm up: 
We took 2 (or more) words from a box and did a rapid write for 8 minutes. Those words are triggers that bring out ideas, memories, or thoughts. We used them to write a piece either from a memory or made up.
When we were done, we went back and underlined lines from our piece that we liked to see what has come up in our writing. Underlining makes you focus on a word or phrase that could be a jumping off point for a new piece or even in a current piece.
Something else may come up while we wrote and we don’t recognize it until we go back and read over our words.

Show – Don’t Tell:
“Nice” is a label, but is it a nice look, that you treat someone well, that someone takes you out?
What does it MEAN? PROVE IT – give an example.
Write so your reader can FEEL it. Externalize emotion so your reader can see what your character is going through. Give emotion physicality.
If you can’t express it, ROLE PLAY the emotion. How do YOU react?
For example:
Excited:  arms in the air; hands clenched and arms clutched to chest; bright eyes; eyes closed tight or scrunched; skin red; jumping up and down; sweating under arms, lips, brow; squealing; kicking feet; licking lips.
Nervous: wringing hands; wipes hands on pants; toys with fingers, hair or jewelry; biting nails; holding stomach; heart racing; shaking hands, fingers, legs; breathing shallow; short breaths; voice uneven; stuttering; tapping fingers or toes; sweating at brow; eyes downcast; eyes darting; no focus; clearing throat.
Sad: head forward, chin to chest; gaze at floor or away; no eye contact; sighing; blinking away tears; cough to keep from crying; drifts away from others to be alone; hugs arms around body; slow moving; eyes red; face red; sniffling; moaning; holding breath; can’t speak; tears; head in hands; body hunched over; food tastes like soggy cardboard; licking lips; clearing throat; don’t see color; falling to knees; downturned mouth.

More specific wording gives readers stronger emotional responses.
Should be able to reach conclusion about character’s mood by descriptions.

BE SPECIFIC – adds to your writing. Add in the pet’s name, woman’s name, place (where are they?), date, time period, age, description, items.

Writer’s Block:
How to get past it:
·         Rapid write
·         Word box “words”
·         Tv shows or books “lines”
·         Write everyday
·         Headlines
·         Storylines or Dr. Phil issues/themes
·         Visualizations
·         Conversations
·         Music
·         Sounds effects (purpleplanet.com – royalty free music and sound effects)
·         Imagining – “what ifs”
·         “phrases”
·         Memorabilia – objects. What is the story behind them?
·         Passions; what Annoys you?
·         Photos

Always as “so what?” & “why?”
Slow the moment down. Flesh out the emotion. Ask questions. Write specifics. Show.


Intermediate Group 1pm – 3pm
            HWG Members who attended:  Clare, Judy, Don, Sonja, Patricia, Diane, and Nancy

Warm Up

We had a brief introduction to everyone and talked a little about the writing group.

Warm Up:
We took 5 words from the box and used them to rapid write for 8 minutes. We could use the words individually or as one overall concept or central idea.
Rapid writes – short bursts of writing (8-10 minutes in length) that help to see what’s inside you.
Can be from prompts /music/words.
Don’t get too attached to it, you can toss or keep it, or keep some of it.
Underline words or phrases as spring boards to deeper work. What came up for you?
Memoir writing – easiest to do 10 minute memories.
Read our pieces to our neighbour.

A great way to get out of the box. Starts with a single word. From there, draw a connecting line from it to connect to a new word. For example:

From there, you can choose the longest thread and use all the words in once piece. You can also select random words to use for rapid writing or the last words in all the lines for different effects and possibilities. Or just close your eyes and pick words at random.

·         Move the story forward. Can set the scene by having characters comment on surroundings and time period. Provides additional information about events, characters, location, etc.
·         Characterization. Gives depth and understanding to characters through their speech and inner thoughts. Insight into relationships – what is and is not said.

Prune away dull bits, repetitions, everyday talk. Keep only the essence.
·         Create interesting, informative exchange between characters
·         Try not to use dialogue too often – it loses effectiveness
Dialogue modifiers – “she/he said”
·         Between two people, only one takes the modifier and only every so often
·         She/he said should be used ¾ of time
Descriptive modifier – she shouted, exclaimed, moaned, etc
·         ONLY use descriptive modifier when it is needed to show how it is said.
·         What is said is usually more important than how it is said.
Gesturing and action – physical action to create a mood, look or tone of voice
·         Use to portray a character, to develop mood in the story, emphasize a dramatic moment, or a pause between dialogue
·         Gestures and dialogue should match, avoid too many, they should have a purpose
Narrative – intersperse short narrative to create a more realistic conversation versus a question and response scenario.

1.      Create a scene/ dialogue in a restaurant between a couple about a recent trip that one of them has taken.
a.      Use dialogue modifiers and gestures and action as needed to create a tense or angry mood.
b.      Use the columned paper – ONLY write in the centre column with “External Dialogue”
c.       SHARE

2.      NOW… use the other two columns for “Inner Dialogue”
a.       Label column on the right for your first person
b.      Label column on the left for your second person

c.       Write “inner” thoughts and feelings for each person as the “outer” dialogue takes place.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Great news! I am chuffed to the bollocks to accept the role of first Poet Laureate of Dufferin County. It was officially announced tonight, and I'll be meeting with Nanci Malek of the Dufferin County museum to work out PR and public appearances over the term of service. As Laureate I will be given opportunities to promote poetry, literature and the arts in different settings - public, educational, etc., and will be expected to produce a number of  significant new works. What a thrill and challenge this will be. Stay tuned, as I will no doubt be in touch around various projects and events that I'll be dreaming up in this strange brain of mine. Thanks to all who have supported my writing/performing over the years. It takes a community to encourage artistic endeavours of any stripe, and I have the fortune to live in a fantastic community that takes the arts seriously. So, let the poetry shine! Write a poem, read a poem, share a poem. Let's make this next year one in which new ears and eyes are regaled with fantastic words by those of us who revel in the beauty and inspiration of language that touches the heart and the gut. And... go!