Tag: <span>writing</span>

Writing a short story has become the new challenge—something different at a time when individual and national complacency has been shaken up. Perhaps, that is the best time to shift gears, when life changes require adaptations and new avenues of effort.

I’ve been trying to remember the many short story techniques I studied during my college years and since then. I remind myself that lyrical poetry and short stories are similar in the use of concise language that, at best, awakens and moves the reader from beginning to end more quickly than a meandering novel. Perhaps, this is because a novel does well to create a believable sense of truth, in spite of the adage that truth is stranger than fiction.

A short stories’ intensity, like a poem, often surprises, even shocks the reader in order to poke holes in consciousness. There is little time for plot complexities and extensive character developments. Just like poetry, the short story, I believe, uses subtle techniques that require careful, sustained attention by the reader best implemented in one sitting.

On the other hand, one sitting would not be adequate for me to produce either a poem or a short story. Once again I recall something heard at a writer’s luncheon—“I have a policy never to revise anything more than three times.” Wow! All I know is that I do not know when the story “Are You a Holocaust Survivor?” will be finished.

Gudrun Mouw (c)

Journal Entry The Process of Writing

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We remember, and the memories float
like clouds that shape themselves
then dissolve into something else.

We remember, and the past comes to life
as if there is no difference.

We remember how the years pile up
like children’s blocks we try so hard
to keep from crashing down.

We remember and at our best embrace
sweet gratitude.

Gudrun Mouw (c)
May 9, 2017

A Poem

lightfiltersNovember 25, 2014

Late morning light filters through green oak leaves that throw a hue on the walls inspiring me towards a pale yellow paint I have yet to bring to the room.

Inspiration and manifestation are two different ends of the spectrum. Where is that barely turquoise accent wall I’ve been wanting? Where is the completed manuscript about my teacher, Dear Gurudev?

And how is it, by the way, whenever I write about my teacher, the early drafts seem to need so much help. In general, I realize, I’m a many-drafts type of writer.

At an author’s luncheon, I once heard someone, sitting across the table, say, “I never do more than 3 drafts.” How lucky she is, I remember thinking, to be able to do that. I never could do just 3 drafts, I wish I had that gift.

There are exceptions: A writer’s journal has few corrections. Perhaps, that’s why it is a mirror-to-the-soul type of thing.

Ideas percolate, but something stands in the way. Several shelves and piles of projects wait to end.

November 27, 2014

The journal is a bits and pieces medium, or at times it is the process of remembered videos around Thanksgiving holidays gone by, especially those before the passing of my parents. We are alone this year.

Perhaps, there is a new story needing to be born, even with old ones not finished. Circumstances change one’s priorities, sometimes, like that recent Gallery visit, seeing beautiful bowls with crows that sit on the rims.
The Love of Crow

It was a long time ago, but I still vividly remember a fearless creature, its beak seemed to point me in a fierce direction. I was hesitant. I had been writing for a contest and had arrived at a stopping point punctuated by insecurity about my writing being too stark. Compelling with a bold, steady gaze, he looked down at me from a wall next to the beach where I had gone to discover additional inspiration.beachinspiration

It seemed I heard him with words I could understand and which quickly manifested on the page like a gift straight from universal consciousness. I was able to finish the piece I had been working on, and that crow helped me win “The Dream” contest.

Today, I also remember the saying, “Eat crow.” I understand that to mean needing to do penance after having been proven wrong about something. Ah, I realize, the crow made me eat crow.

I think of recent writing work, classes, Thanksgiving, an event that will soon to require extensive preparations. I lean back in my chair and see a point of light with no discernible source.

The light comes from a pink quartz crystal. The rest of the room is in shadow, except for afternoon sunlight visible a distance down the hall–a different color light, more yellow, through a tall, west-facing window in the dining room. The warm patches on white wall fade, but light from the rose quartz still calls out to me.

Beyond the English garden building, the bamboo fence shines so strongly that it reminds me of a soon-to-appear-sunset. Time to start dinner.

When I sit down again, I have missed the sunset. It has turned very dark outside the sliding glass door–the color of crow.

Inside, the rose quartz still shines. This has happened before. I sat in in the dark, several weeks ago, and light came out of the pink quartz glowing as from an unknowable source. I remember feeling uplifted.


This time, I do a test. I turn off the kitchen light, then the hall light which I had turned on during the food preparations. Nothing happens until the hall light goes off. The quartz, shaped in a circle, glows around its circumference and then goes dark. Crow.

The play of opposites. Door of mystery. A willingness to be amazed, to be curious and, at the same time, not to know.

The Process of Writing

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