Good Fences

A good barrier is neighbourly-

Keeps the bears out and the dogs in.

But the other world, the less polite world,

Doesn’t like fences.

Windstorms take out even the metal,

But, more often, it’s a long, slow clawing back

Of ground that isn’t ours to claim.

A rotting fence post slowly twined

With alder-

Pulled down into the inexorable snow.

IMG_0334The best fences become part of that which destroys them

The physical barriers aren’t always the most permanent barriers.

For more barriers, physical and otherwise, The Guests of Honor, is available here. Its sequel, With Honor Intact, can be found here.


Don’t Fence Me In

When I was fourteen, I had copies of Roger Zelazny’s “A Night in the Lonesome October”, T.S. Eliot’s Collected Poems, “The Lorax”, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, and the collected works of Jane Austen sitting on my nightstand.

This may or may not have influenced my writing.

I found, even as a teenager, that what I was drawn to in stories wasn’t really about the category that they fell into.

What pulled me into a book and kept me reading was a combination of characterization, striking imagery, and a story that grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let go.

I could sacrifice pieces of some of these things, but I had to have that electrical spark run down the back of my neck at some point in the book.

I can speak of characterization, imagery, and plot, but that spark is an intangible that every writer seeks to grasp and few achieve.

Which is why I want to make a case for cross-pollination.

I value genre, but I value the enhancements from understanding multiple genres more.

T.S. Eliot has powerful lessons about imagery and rhythm.

Zelazny knows how to make a plot sit up and sing.

Adams writes humour that holds an image and forces us to think about how close to the bone he is cutting.

Dr. Seuss shows the heart of a tale, the power of stripping back imagery to use only the words that pack the punch.

Jane Austen holds an unflattering light up to her society and world, even as she layers very human interaction over top of deceptively light plots.

I am a writer.

But first I am a reader.

Do not ask me to pick a narrow corner, to confine my lessons to a single stream.

If I cannot be a giant myself, I will hop from shoulder to shoulder, acknowledging the giants before me.

IMG_0022A lovely fence, an unwanted barrier

If you want to see some of my unfenced explorations, I have also written a fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor. It is available here.