Features Night of the Sand People by Paul Malone
A suprise in the mail this week: two copies of The School Magazine (Touchdown, Nov. 2018) featuring my short story, “Night of the Sand People”. With some lovely illustrations by Australian illustrator / author, Gabriel Evans. More about Gabriel and his impressive work here.
Have you ever tried sculpting a sand person? You can use seaweed for hair, starfish for eyes, and shells for a smile. Give it a try next time you visit the beach.
Why is creative writing sunshine for the imagination? This is the question I asked myself the other morning on the way to coach a 5-week short story workshop. The writers in the workshop are in the middle of writing their short stories, and as expected, have confronted many exciting and sometimes frustrating challenges along the way. Although group spirits are high and their writing is exceptionally good, I wanted everyone to step back for a moment and think about the bigger picture—what is the personal significance of writing a short story? Is creative writing really sunshine for the imagination?
Here’s what I suggested to the group. See if you agree:
Through writing stories we open doorways into our imaginations. We shine a light with our inquisitive minds and our hearts, writing all that we discover down on the page. In our search for our perfect story, we uncover the meaning in our own lives. This search is rarely, if ever, straight forward; much is hidden. There are riddles, enigmas; one has to be patient and trust oneself. But each time we write our story to its very end, we discover a little more about ourselves.
Writing a story is a journey of self-awareness. It’s not just an inner journey: Through writing our stories we gradually change our lives.
In a couple of weeks I will have the pleasure of listening to the group’s final stories. I will ask them if they agree with the above and share the news with you!
Writing on the bus can be bumpy affair. Especially in the city swerving in and out of stops, the big bus wheels bouncing over every pot hole or dished drain. There’s barely leg room to set a notebook upon one crossed knee. The sun glares through the window, and by the aisle people brush past. Writing on the bus is a challenge. But if you commute by bus every day, it provides a unique writing opportunity. Consider the math:
1 bus trip every working day for 20 minutes = 100 minutes or 1 hour and 40 minutes
If a person writes both in the morning and the afternoon, they’ve written for over 3 hours!
If they are extremely diligent (not advocating, mind you) they will amass over 157 writing hours over the working year! That amounts to around 4 weeks of full-time work. They can cover some serious mileage on the page in that time.
As a corollary: driving to work doesn’t allow any writing time.
My advice: Even if you own a Lamborghini, leave the car at home and get writing on the bus.
With January 2017 only a few months away, preparations are well underway for the Short Story and Creative Writing boot camps in Vienna, Austria. More news about these boot camps and future Creative Writing on the Go projects to follow soon!