Monday, April 21, 2014

Poetry Analysis: Requiem by Robert Louis Stevenson

by M. J. Joachim

Under the wide and starry sky, 
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be, 
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.

Analysis


Perception is reality in this seemingly harsh remembrance for the man who died. There is no fondness, no heart-felt mention of good character, loving family man or loyal friend. In death, this man is remembered as one who was absent, not only because of the work and duties, which rightfully kept him away, but also in spirit. The very first line of his epitaph so declares, “Her he lies where he longed to be.”

Human connection is lost in the translation, with a tombstone engraving that leaves one cold. Clearly the man himself felt deserving of more - simple recognition perhaps that he was glad in life, with a possible inference that he was also peaceful in death.

Clearly he died with a will. My first inclination is to believe “will” refers to an inheritance for those he left behind. However, it cannot be dismissed that “will” is also desire. Was the man happy to die?

My personal analysis approves both meanings of “will” in this poem, determining that he was ready to go and put his affairs in order accordingly. This makes his epitaph all the more chilling, because those he left behind apparently didn’t know how much he meant to them.

Thank you for visiting and commenting on Writing Tips today.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit courtesy of Jeremy, A - Z Co-Host

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Poetry Analysis: Quiet Waters by Blanch Shoemaker Wagstaff

by M. J. Joachim

Our lives float on quiet waters…
Down softly flowing streams,
Where silvery willows
Shadow calm waves.
Gentle bird-songs
And murmuring freshets
Leap from the woodland


In snowy circlets.
Green embowers us,
And fragrant mosses,
Spicy odors
That drift in the languid
Swaying breezes…

Our lives float on quiet waters…
And my Love and I
Wonder at twilight,
When flaming banners
Spread in the heavens,
How long this Beauty -
This stately silence…
E’er once again we shall drift
On the turbulent, open sea.

Analysis

Picturing two lovers in a canoe was easy for me as I read this poem silently, and then aloud. Becoming entranced with this poem was practically unavoidable, as I toyed with my diction, tempo and tone, until I found myself staring up at the sky and figuratively drifting on the lake.

Sunsets have always intrigued me, whether they are vast and endless over the wide blue ocean, or ferociously fiery in the Arizona desert.

It was nature’s whisper that caught my attention in the first stanza - the excitement of the day beginning to settle down.

Transitions in this poem are subtle, yet intricately stimulating and vibrant - filled with detail, action and a certain futuristic fate. For night will come, and with its arrival, the silence of sunset will disappear.

Thank you for visiting and commenting on Writing Tips today.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit courtesy of Jeremy, A - Z Co-Host

Friday, April 18, 2014

Book Review: Public Relations for Authors by Babs Hightower

by M. J. Joachim

Public Relations for Authors, Take Hold of Your Own Promotions by Babs Hightower is one of the sloppiest books I’ve ever read. Considering this book is supposed to be written by a (self-proclaimed) Public Relations expert, I was shocked by the lack of editing and careless workmanship shown therein. 

The information shared is elementary enough that I wouldn’t waste my time or money reading it in this book, which seems to be nothing more than a self-promotional ploy, attempting to lure unsuspecting authors in with its appealing title. After reading this book, I certainly would never consider hiring Babs Hightower to work on my own PR campaign, if the writing in this book represents how she might run my promotions and campaign.

Much of the book appeared to be nothing more than notes she forgot to draft into clear and concise thoughts. There were punctuation and spelling errors too, something I don’t enjoy finding in published books, and certainly wouldn’t want sent out in any press releases.

Another oddity was her reference to using landlines instead of cell phones for radio interviews. Call me crazy, but I don’t know a whole lot of people who have landlines or house phones anymore. Needless to say, I strongly urge you to avoid purchasing this book, as a valid reference to help you publish and promote your own book. Sorry Babs, but when you represent yourself as a professional, you should at least do us the courtesy of editing your book.

Thank you for visiting and commenting on Writing Tips today. I’ll look forward to seeing you again soon.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit courtesy of Jeremy, A - Z Co-Host

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Open-minded Writing Increases Popularity

by M. J. Joachim

Open-minded writing is such a positive force in this world. It is writing capable of making an audience digest and think about the words and ideas being shared. Expressing opinions in one’s writing is perfectly fine, provided these opinions are expressed in a balanced and non-judgmental way.

No one I know likes to be told what to think, do or say. People would rather contemplate and discuss things, than listen to someone preach to them. Tone is so important in writing; an open-minded tone, one that values the reader, knowing each and every reader comes from different places and experiences in life, is welcoming and friendly, as well as a joy to read.

One of my favorite sayings is, “Don’t kill a fly with a sledge hammer.” This philosophy holds true in so many circumstances. Sharing your point of view in your writing is one thing. Imposing it on your readers, as if they haven’t the ability to think for themselves is quite another. That’s why it is so important to keep an open mind, not only when you are writing, but also when you’re doing your research, because if you do, you’ll be able to engage your audience, and if you engage your audience, you’re more likely to be popular with it.

Thank you for visiting and commenting on Writing Tips today. I really appreciate you stopping by.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit courtesy of Jeremy, A - Z Co-Host

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Negativity Almost Never Leaves Your Audience Happy

by M. J. Joachim

Negative writing can destroy your reputation. I mean, who wants to read a bunch of negative words, griping and complaining all the time? That’s not to say you need to be happy and jovial all the time. It is to imply you should consider your tone, and minimize the harshness of your words, if necessary.

Negative writing is a lot like venting, except you’re venting on an unsuspecting group of readers. There’s almost nothing that will make me hit the back button or put a book down faster, than when I feel bombarded with some nasty, ill-mannered writer who doesn’t want to do anything but explode and blow up the entire world with them.

Expressing negative thoughts is a worthwhile thing to do. I’m doing it here in this post. However, I’m not bashing anyone or spewing anger and hate all over the place. I’m simply expressing my point of view, stating that I personally don’t like to read negative writing, and I won’t waste my time doing so.

How do you feel about reading negative writing? Does it put you in a bad mood, or do you choose to ignore it and move on? Do you try to understand and empathize with the writer, or are you more inclined to leave him be, wishing him all the best, and hoping he isn’t too bad off?

Thank you for visiting and commenting on Writing Tips today. I really appreciate you stopping in for a visit.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit courtesy of Jeremy, A - Z Co-Host

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Book Review: Middle Damned by Shane Stilson

by M. J. Joachim

Without hesitation, let me begin by saying, “I want to see this book made into a movie.” It was that good, showcasing special effects that lit up my mind, captured my imagination and increased my adrenalin, making my blood race in anticipation and excitement at times. Sci-fi, action/adventure, fantasy and whatever other genre this book might get categorized, it doesn’t matter. When such a page turner comes along, you’re caught up in the moment, and don’t want to put it down.

Transitions were a huge part of Middle Damned, moving from one spiritual plane to the next, contemplating past memories and tempting fates unknown. Stilson writes fluidly, drawing readers in from the very first paragraph, while weaving what seems to be almost two stories into one, the past with the present and future, making his written transitions read so easily.

Characters were stunning - oh, how I’d like to meet some of these creatures. Others, I’d just as soon pass. The balanced mix between aliens, demons, critters and people, as well as their interactions is quite simply remarkable. Stilson’s detailed descriptions of their appearance and actions make them come alive in the story. It was fascinating.

Middle Damned primarily takes place in the spiritual realm, or is it someone’s mind. I will never think about death, dying, comatose states, the unconscious mind and dreams the same way again. The images of hell and purgatory have definitely been defined in my mind, after reading this story. No spoiler alerts. You’ll simply have to pick up a copy and read it for yourself. It’s good and you won’t be disappointed.

Thanks for stopping by and chatting on Writing Tips today. Your visits always make me smile.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit courtesy of Jeremy, A - Z Co-Host

Monday, April 14, 2014

Book Review Request: Living Nude Statues by George Arthur Laureau

by M. J. Joachim

Receiving a small PDF sample of the book, and never one to turn down an offer to review (even if it does take me quite a while to get through all the books on my list), provided the books are sent to me free of charge via the Internet, I invited Lareau to send me a mobi or PDF copy of his latest work, Living Nude Statues. The file he sent via dropbox was huge. My computer gave me a few bells and whistles, warning me with a couple of red flags about it. I proceeded to do some computer scans and “poof,” it disappeared, without any trouble to my computer whatsoever.

None-the-less, I wanted to offer a few comments regarding this new book of Laureau’s. It’s a coffee table book, one you’d probably put up if the minister or any prudish family members or neighbors might be visiting, and definitely one you wouldn’t have out, if there are young kids living in your home. The couple of photos I saw from his initial inquiry were unique and artsy enough, if you like that sort of thing.

Laureau is a photographer (an older man), specializing in nudity. Young women model for him. In Living Nude Statues, he poses them in the buff, then body paints them and poses them in different settings - on a vintage car, in front of an old brick building or window with curtains blowing wispily around them.

In reading some of the comments on a few of his web profiles, I sense he’s into erotica, perhaps even the porn industry a bit. Young girls hoping for a break schmooze him in the comments, seemingly desperate to catch a small break in their quest for some elusive modeling career, one they’ll sacrifice a lot for, in hopes of being discovered.

Still, there’s no discounting that the few photos I saw were pretty good, as far as photos are concerned. I have no desire to own the book, didn’t try to download it again after the mishap with my computer the first time, and am really not into glamorizing young nude women trying to make their way in the world.

He calls them “bodyscapes.” And clearly, he enjoys the photographic process of making his pictures turn out just the way he wants them. I say to each their own, and I sure wouldn’t send my daughter to him for a photo shoot. There are plenty of ways for young girls to enter the modeling field, without stripping off their clothes for him and his pinhole camera.

Thanks for visiting and commenting on Writing Tips today.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit courtesy of Jeremy, A - Z Co-Host