Guest Blogger – beeblue

Guest Blogger – beeblue

Today I would like to introduce you to a blogger from Australia – beeblue, who blogs ‘life, or something like it, in poetry and photos’ over here. She is also known as bluebee (just to confuse us).

bluebee or not bluebee, that is the question. (sorry – couldn’t resist ūüôā ).

She is a very talented poet (rumoured to have an aunty famous for poetry – I wonder who it could be?), unafraid to dredge the deepest waters for material. Her poetry will make you laugh, make you cry and make you wish you could write better.

Beeblue also posts lovely photographs of trips to places like New York and makes us all very jealous – haha. Now without further ado, the wonderful beeblue will answer my usual two little questions.

Why do you blog?

I started my blog mainly as a way of relieving stress and to balance out what I consider the left-brained nature of my work with a bit of creativity. I’ve dabbled in creative writing on and off over the years and started writing a novel two years ago but don’t really have the necessary time to devote to it given my work and personal commitments. Writing poetry is less time-consuming but it satisfies that need for a creative outlet and helps me to focus on articulating some pre-occupations.

What do you like best about blogging?

I’m very interested in the way people distil their view of the world through their unique manipulation of language. And the fact that people from almost (almost) any global demographic can exchange views and debate on almost any subject is remarkable – it provides a fantastic opportunity to engage with talented and interesting people we would never otherwise meet and I’ve learnt a lot from my experiences with the good, the bad and the downright weird ;-). And the whole meme aspect just blows my mind, too. But what I love most of all is seeing the humour and resilience shine through people’s writing when the subtext indicates that they are struggling with some pretty serious issues – it’s instructive and keeps my faith in humanity hanging on by its fingernails, ha, ha.

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Thanks beeblue ūüôā

Guest Blogger – Val B Russell

Guest Blogger – Val B Russell

Today, I am guest posting Canadian writer and poet Val B Russell who blogs ferociously at Words.

There is not a blogger like Val. She has led the most extraordinary life and shares snippets of her reality with us via her poetry, prose, ‘diatribes’ (to quote herself) and photography. She is brutally honest, wise, and talented plus she can make you laugh yourself silly.

She is also a writer in need of an agent and publisher – that’s a heads up for any talent scouts out there after a gritty memoir.

Val has kindly allowed me to reproduce her poem:

METHOD ROAD

You cannot gain distance
on the road
with the ball and chain
of wants
of another
You cannot make it from here to there
on the road
carrying the burden of a self made cripple
who envies
your strength
You cannot brace yourself
on the road
against the cold wind of envy
from the storm
in another heart
Sometimes the only method
on the road
is to remain unfettered
and travel in peace as a solitary soul

written by V B Russell

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To find out more about Val the blogger, I pitched a couple of questions her way:

Why do you blog?

I started blogging as a way of putting my shingle out as a writer looking for a career.¬† I’d been away from it for a while and my writing credits and clips were so old they qualified as museum artefacts.¬† I also felt that blogging would ease me into a daily writing routine and discipline my errant ways.¬† It worked.

I write everyday and I feel my focus is clearer and my work cleaner than if I’d just cloistered myself away without the input of others, which segues nicely into the most important reason for my blogging: other writers.¬† There is no resource more important for any artist, than the company of their peers.¬† To begin any project is daunting for a writer and the self doubt can kill a story before it gets from your head to the paper/screen, therefore it is so important to commiserate with others who share the unique summits and valleys inherent in this profession.

If it weren’t for the other writers I’ve met through my blog, I don’t believe I would have advanced this far on the road to my ultimate goal of supporting myself full-time with my words.¬† I can never say thank you often enough for the encouragement and honest critiques I’ve received from everyone, in addition to the verbal jousting matches we writers are known for and which keep us on our toes intellectually.

What do you like best about blogging?

It is immediate.  If I write something, I can know if it is utter crap within a matter of hours because the silence in the comment section is deafening.  I have saved myself a lot of time and effort by using the blog as a testing ground for plot lines, character development and of course poetry.  It is planet sized classroom, packed to the rafters with people from everywhere and sometimes they stroll by and stop to drop in their two cents, or they read and leave.

As an artist, it’s priceless to have that sort of access and for your work to reach such an incredible number of souls from all walks of life and cultures.¬† It is an unbelievable gift our generation is enjoying, exploring and expanding.¬† It is probably akin to how writers felt when the printing press was invented; we are liberated by the technology.¬† This technology has allowed me the privilege of being a guest on your blog Gabrielle and the opportunity to connect with you and the other spectacular writers and human beings who teach me what it means to be an artist.

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Thanks Val!

Guest Blogger – Aletha Kuschan

Guest Blogger – Aletha Kuschan

Today, I am guest posting USA blogger and artist extraordinaire Aletha Kuschan (probably not her real name).

She posts drawings and paintings on her blog, accompanied by artistic pointers on process and the like, as well as snippets of prose and poetry. She is obsessed, oops loves intensely, drawing Koi and they are so splendid that I have grown rather attached to them. She has a secret bunker in which to paint (well that is the story she is telling) and store her booty Рmuch like the underground headquarters in Get Smart.

I have included two of her paintings for your viewing pleasure (is that a fish I spy in those clouds!). Please pop over and have a squiz at her blog over here.

by Aletha Kuschan

I have a couple of questions for Aletha:

Why do you blog?

Before I started writing a blog, before I even knew what a blog was, I bought a black page-a-day diary and made myself write down one or two ideas every day. I figured that over the course of a whole day, I ought to be able to come up with at least one idea. I had to write it articulately enough that I would understand my topic long after the context for it had passed into cob-webbed memories.

Keeping this journal turned out to be great preparation for blogging. I always wrote regularly, sometimes by hand in cursive and sometimes on the computer.  I formatted the computer written entries so that I could print them out and fit them into my day book.

I was faithful to my idea-a-day adventure for several months until practicality and sleep-craving won out. I proved that I could do it – that was the main thing. I think that’s when I first really began being “a writer,” and after reaching that milestone, I became sane again, ratcheted back my project and continued writing “often” or “several times a week” or “almost every day” and got some much needed rest.

Proving to myself that I could do it, though, was a hugely valuable experience. I’d say that for any challenge that you want to set yourself, find a form of it that you can use to measure yourself against – by means of some difficult but do-able goal and then let yourself enjoy both the hard work and the pleasure of success.

What do you like best about blogging?

Certainly “meeting” people from around the world is a great part of blogging. It expands friendship in unimagined ways. Of course, similar things have been around – like the old practice of finding a “pen pal” that was sometimes pursued in schools. However, it’s a whole different world to become “pen pals” with people who can respond to your ideas within hours of you having written to them.

Otherwise, I think what I love most about blogging is the spontaneity. Sometimes I plan posts ahead – occasionally I have a whole program, a “do this/do that” theme that I’ve dreamed up. But typically the writing is off the cuff.

Usually posts relate directly to whatever I’m doing that week in the studio – whether it’s drawing or painting, landscape or still life – or koi, my I’m trying to make them famous koi. So usually I’ve been working in the studio and then in the evening, I post the image to the computer and just start writing using ideas I get while I’m looking at the picture on the screen.¬† It’s called ekphrasis.¬† And it’s supposed to be a big deal in rhetoric so I figure it makes my little bloggie very fancy and literary.

And not knowing ahead what I’m going to write appeals to the jazz-loving side of my nature. It’s a bit of improvisation. I may have a vague idea about approach, but don’t know whether it’ll be Stella By Starlight or Body and Soul. What I write just kind of happens. Thus, when a post turns out to be a good one – how fine.¬† I celebrate having been “in the groove.”¬† It has a strong element of luck.

Of course the idea-a-day thing hangs in the background. I played my “scales and arpeggios” back before I started blogging.¬† And I still regularly keep a journal in that old fashioned way your English teacher told you to do.¬† And email correspondence helps enormously.¬† I like to have fun when I’m answering email from friends – I find that all these forms of writing teach you your chops.

I still think of myself more as an artist than a writer (isn’t it interesting the mental dialog that goes on in one’s head, and the need to classify oneself, and also to have permission to think of yourself in this way or that).¬† Nevertheless, I do a lot of writing these days and more and more I see “a writer” when I look in the mirror.¬† I’m even nervy enough to call myself a “writer” when I meet people.

That’s perhaps the greatest joy in this – the way that blogging has extended my horizons.¬† It’s like a competitive swimmer who starts running or playing tennis for the benefit of cross-training and afterwards develops a skill and deep love for the new sport.

Like our mutual internet friend, the late, great Paul Squires of the blog gingatao, I have also a special fondness for the sentence. He wrote “Australian sentences.”¬† I write some “art sentences” and also “koi sentences.” But I’m definitely not ready to tackle that hard diamond of writing the “tweet.”¬† I will leave it to others to develop that vein in an artistic way.¬† For me blogging is enough and of course we are all wondering how it will expand into new things.¬† It’s an on-going venture.

by Aletha Kuschan

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Thanks Aletha.

Guest Blogger – Stafford Ray

Guest Blogger – Stafford Ray

Today, I am guest posting an Australian blogger Stafford Ray.

Stafford Ray (not his real name) lives on a huge old yacht on the Sunshine Coast (Queensland, Australia) about 2 hours south of where I live. His blog covers limericks and other funny poems, political satire, plays and short stories, as well as humerous posts about his earlier life as a professional musician in Sydney clubs and TV studios (he notes that he had fifteen minutes of fame with the Daly Wilson Big Band).

Here is one of Stafford’s poems about the classic Volkswagon – one of my favourite cars of all time (Aussie’s have been known to¬†call them DakDaks ’cause of the sound the engine¬†makes on the older syle VW).

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Icon; Near gone.

Tok Tok Dakka dakka Put-put Put-put,
Tok tok dakka dakka put!

Hear the clatter of a Vee Dub Vee Dub,
With the donkey in the back!

Now the engine’s in the front-front front-front
Water cooled and full of grunt;

Changed forever is the sound-sound sound-sound,
Never more the ears astound!

Sounds like every other car-car car-car,
What a shame they went that far!

Tok Tok Dakka dakka Put-put Put-put
Tok tok dakka dakka put!

Phut!

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Here’s a couple of questions I asked Stafford.

1. What made you start blogging and what do you blog about?

Blogging started for me as a means to an end. A few years ago a teaching colleague noticed that kids doing my drama course jumped in reading age over the time of a production. We were preparing to use standardised testing when he was moved away and the new boss wasn’t interested. Then I retired, so although a lot of material was prepared for the trial it never happened, so I was looking for teachers who might like to run a trial.

Meanwhile, poetry and stories came bubbling up and the original plan became less important. I would still like to do it and¬†it does deliver amazing results, particularly with right brain kids and those who are ‚Äėsocially challenged‚Äô. So teachers out there, mail me if interested.

After having written about twenty operettas and one novel (and have begun two more), I stopped after numerous approaches to agents didn’t get me anywhere. That was so disheartening I gave up, but after Hughsey sent out a notice she was offering blogging courses as part of her Writer in Residence gig at Cooroy, I enrolled about this time last year.

2. What is it about blogging that you love?

I am such a show off! I just love the making people laugh and GB, you are the best laugher! But I am also a teacher and have been encouraging tryers all my life, so I enjoy reading other people‚Äôs work and of course, commenting. It is becoming a community for me with my few closest ‚Äėfriends‚Äô and many friendly people I am yet to really get to know and an unlimited number of people I have yet to meet! It is an awesome way to exercise the brain and to socialise.

 

VW Beetle (not the one with the engine in the back)

 

Thank you Stafford