Linda Studley

Can't Put the Pen Down…

Archive for the category “Commentary”

On to the Hard Copy Editing…

Well last night I finished editing on screen. There’s only so much editing you can do on a computer screen when the end product is meant to be printed on paper. At some point you have to hit the ‘print’ key and see what it looks like. Well 180 pages is still quite a bit of printing, and I formatted so the the print out would be 6×9 inch trade paperback size, so I think I’ll take it to my friendly neighbourhood print shop and get them to print it out for me. I want to see the pages actual size and order so I can see how they relate to each other. Because of the competition from e-books, I think that bound books need to be aesthetically pleasing as well as cleanly formatted and well proofed and edited. The book itself should appeal to the eye.

I guess that’s going to bring me to the next conundrum – the cover! What goes on the cover?

The title of the book is   “Falling Awake”

Monday the print out, then the cover brainstorming…



Editing – Round One (ding ding…)

I managed to get through a first draft of the book over the last couple of days, whittling it down from 380 pages to 241 (including table of content, no front or back matter). I think that was probably the easy part of the editing – the ‘no-brainer’ cutting of poems that simply didn’t make the grade according to my gut. 

Now for the second run through.  My gut exhausted, I am now forced to use my brain (and anyone who has read the poems I’ve written about my brains knows that, on any given day, it’s entirely likely that there are squirrels in charge up there.) So what criteria should I use? My estimable partner, Bill, suggested that the poems that garnered positive response from readers should definitely stay in, and I agree. Thank you all for that feedback!

I’m going to leave in the ones that make me cry; the ones I still have trouble reading out loud. These seem to contain a fragment of soul and so should be given precedence.

There are vers libre, haiku, form poems (a couple of forms that I’m pretty sure I invented along the way). I don’t think form should be a deciding factor.

Unfortunately, cost of printing may end up becoming a factor, as the price obviously goes up with the page count. But I’m thinking perhaps I can turn this into a positive thing, a spur to be more ruthless, to pare the content down into a lean collection that will stand on its own merit.

Round two (boxing ring bell sound fx) of editing coming up…

Hope you all are enjoying holidays – or if you don’t observe any of the many holidays that seem to collide at this time of year – hope you are simply having a lovely day!


Linda (the poet at the bottom of the well)


First Steps for Editing (not a poem)

I’m only two poems away from the year’s worth of poetry and I’m not kidding myself that they are all worthy of a place in the final book. So now it’s time to start editing.

I saved all my poems in a single word document and I know that the formatting is going to be drudgery because I got into the habit of hitting ‘shift-enter’ to go to a new line so the spacing would be right on the wordpress blog. Unfortunately what that does is futz with the spacing in the word document. But that’s a fix for nearer the end – no sense in formatting a poem that ulimately won’t be in the book, right?

So the first step is to go through the document (all three hundred and Lord knows how many pages) and start cutting. I have no idea how long that will take, but I think I’ve figured out how to set the bar. A couple of times I’ve wandered back and taken a cursory look at some of the poems I’ve written over the last year and I find that on some I will read the poem and think “Hmm, that’s not half bad.” I’ll be keeping those. Most of the ones that elicit a groan will not make the final cut, guaranteed. The ones written as therapy will probably not find their way into the book either.

I want the poems in this book to be ones that can stand on their own – that have something unique to say.

I have considered calling the book “The Best of – A Poem a Day for a Year” but it felt like the emphasis was too much on the editing process (best of) and the sheer numbers (366 days in the leap year) which is not really what I want to highlight.  However, the influence of having to write something every morning can’t be completely overlooked – that imperative has helped me develop my writing skills.

I am leaning towards calling the book after one of the poems… “Falling Awake” because somehow it feels like that’s what I’ve been doing with this project – falling awake to the possibilities, the influences around me, the feelings and emotions within me. So maybe “Falling Awake  –  The Best of the ‘Poem a Day for a Year’ Project” would be appropriate.

As always I welcome any and all comments or suggestions (and if anyone knows a publisher who publishes poetry – let me know!)


The poet at the bottom of the well…

Now What? – Not a Poem…

Now What?

As of Dec 24th I will have hit the elusive 366th poem in 366 days! Something to be proud of numerically at least. But I hope that within that deluge of literary litter there may lurk enough “good” poems to equal a reasonable book of poetry. I won’t be writing a poem on Christmas morning – not on purpose anyway – and I’ll probably take a little down time after that (possibly a day or two).

What then?

Editing. May not sound really exciting, but I’m going to share my experiences with the editing process. (You know I’ll post new poems too – I’m too compulsive to completely let go of the writing process while I’m editing). My objective in writing a poem a day for a year was to short circuit the inner critic and I think, on the whole, I’ve accomplished that. I’ve managed to crank something out EVERY day even if it wasn’t exceptionally inspired. Those of you who have been subjected to haiku written five minutes before I had to leave for work will attest to my tenacity and willingness to share my mediocrity as well as my strokes of (clears throat and blushes modestly) genius. Well the objective now is to accept and, dare I say it, enjoy the process of editing. I believe that editing can be as creative and rewarding a process as writing and I’m going to explore it (but I sure hope it doesn’t take a whole year!).

And Then What?

From there I’ll be exploring options for publishing. Amazingly, there are no publishing houses beating on my door insisting on publishing my humble book of poetry. Ah well, I guess I’ll just have to do it myself. And there’s another journey. I imagine that I’ll be writing about the research I’ll end up doing to get the book printed and distributed. A subject that could be quite dry unless I keep my rather odd sense of humour about it all – which I certainly intend to do.
So here we go, the final week of the “Poem a Day for a Year” series of self inflicted foolishness.
I will write you more poems.
I promise.
And songs too and maybe even paint you some pictures.

Love to you all


Han Shan Project – Poetry in the Trees

031poI recently sent a poem in to the Han Shan Project – to save McLellan Park Forest from development. it, along with nearly 200 others, some from some fairly famous poets, like Lorna Crozier, is now hanging in the trees ( see news article in Globe and Mail , and the Vancouver Sun)
If you have a poem for the Han Shan Project – contact Susan McCaslin – it may not be too late to have your poem (preferrably one to do with nature/trees) hanging in the Han Shan Project.

The Poem I sent to the project was one I wrote several years ago, a very modified sestina called “I Go To the Woods”


I Go to the Woods

I go to the woods
For the hush
Of golden
Leaves falling, the lilt
Of birdsongs, the scent
Of darkness.

There is a darkness
Of leaf mold in the woods.
The rich, earthy scent
Deadens footfalls to a hush
And the lilting
Breeze stirs the leaves of gold.

As the sunset lingers golden
One moment before the dark
Descends, the creek’s lilting
Voice trickles through the woods,
Until evening’s hush
Cloaks all. Sight, sound, scent.

Dawn’s gentle breath is sent
In streamers of gold
To nudge the hushed
And darkened
With tiny twitters lilting.

Considering the Possibilities – (not a poem)

As the fulfillment of the self imposed quota of poems looms closer, I consider the possibilities. 366 poems. Obviously not all of them are/or will be worthy of publishing – some were just me, grasping at something that rhymed with straw, but all of them helped me to reach the original objective. To write without filters, to ignore the inner critic.
I believe that this year of verse will be a personal acheivement that I will use to propel myself into more and different artistic challenges. It is not simply an achievement because of the 366 poems it spawned, but because I actually managed to summon up the dicipline to write and post something every day for 366 days running. Aside from the usual inescapables (like eating and sleeping) I can’t really think of anything I’ve done every single day in the last year. If I can do this then I can attempt other goals too, and I can reach them. And the reason I posted this and all the poems to my writing blog was because I wanted company when I reached the goal – I wanted other people to say “Hey, I can do that too!” as they set their own personal goals. I still have 29 days to go and I can’t tell you how much your kind words and comments have meant to me along the way. They were often the drop of water in the desert that kept me going.
So – possibilities – I want to publish the book and somehow I will make that happen. It will most likely not contain all of the 366 poems. Rather, it will be a ‘best of’ book. But the poems will live on here at the blog. I may also select about 10 of the poems that seem to lend themselves to being songs, and arrange and record them (I could put the CD into the book!).
I have toyed with the idea of doing a year of  ‘a poem a week’ accompanied by artwork. That, perhaps, will get me back to the drawing board – literally! 
But whatever I do and whichever artistic turn I take – thank you for joining me on the journey. This journey may be coming to a close but I guarantee there’ll be more!
Stay tuned for the final 29.


“The Poet not Quite at the Bottom of the Well Anymore”

Don’t Shoot Me I’m Just the Independent Musician…

I am a songwriter,
I write music and lyrics.
I am a performer,
I play guitar and I sing.

I am an independent recording artist.
I have put my money, quite literally,
where my mouth is;
paying for recording, manufacturing,
and promoting my CDs of original music.

But apparently that is not enough.
Now I must give that music away for free
(although the internet site that sells it to you
will still keep their share).

Why does society crave entertainment and
yet distain and disrespect the entertainer?
Don’t shoot me, I’m just the independent musician.

Sorry if this doesn’t seem like poetry but it’s where my head was at this morning. The Supreme Court of Canada, in its infinite wisdom, has declared that creators of music should not be compensated for digital downloads of their music. I am stunned by the magnitude of this ill advised legislation. It is a petty, miserly kick in the guts for every indie musician and the cherry on top is that it is highly unlikely that the music buying public will save a cent on their downloads – it’ll just go into the middleman pocket. If you want to read more about this here is the link to the news story that started my day out with a slap in the face.
If you believe that artists should be fairly compensated for their creations, please share this blog posting anyway you can, twitter, facebook, or print it out and send it to your Aunt Mary… People need to know how they’re being manipulated – and how the only ones who are going to be punished are the artists, sigh…


a test post

The 19th was my birhday and my sweetie gave me an epad. Since I’ll need to post my June 27th poem from a hotel room in Vancouver, I thought I’d try a dry run with the new contraption! Wow, is it ever slow to type on. I think it might be a bit of a challenge to type with a touchpad when you have callouses on your fingertips (guitar player, lol).

Have a great weekend everyone!



Not a Poem – Milestones – Halfway there on Sunday!

As I sneak up on the halfway point of my “Poem a Day for a Year” project I can see several things I’ve gained from the exercise that I didn’t foresee. Some of the readers have enjoyed my poems on a deep personal level. I’ve had one turned into a performance piece (with drums!). I’ve met and chatted with people from around the world and found that we are truly more alike than we are different, at least in the important things. I’ve discovered that I can commit to a regime if it’s important to me (so apparently all those diets and exercise programs just weren’t important enough! lol). I’ve discovered lots of other poets out there, trying, like I am, to make sense of the world through their poetry. And more personally, I have found that the ability to chanel thoughts and dreams and desires into poetry on a regular basis has given me deeper insights into my own path in life.  I have found vindication for my assertion that “the poem is already written, I just have to remember it” as some of the mornings that seemed so rushed and creatively dry turned into some of my (in my humble opinion) best work as soon as I stopped trying so hard.
On Sunday, June 24th, I will reach the halfway point in the year of poetry. I hope you will stop by and comment on one or more of the 183 poems and say hi! Kind of like a party or an open house… I think it would be very cool to try and set a record number of visits for that day! And thank you all for visiting and participating in  “A Poem a Day for a Year”.


Linda Studley aka ‘The Poet at the Bottom of the Well”

Commentary on Spam – Seriously?

I moderate comments to my blog and even though the filter informs me it’s deterred over a thousand spam messages, I still have a few to look at each day in the spam file. I have just one question…who in their right mind would allow a spam message, like the one I’ve included below, onto their page?

“Greatest fighter toasts ought to entertain on your couples.”

Thank you, my couples do not need anyone to entertain on them, certainly not fighters, great or otherwise.

I have pondered this for a long time and I can only conclude that these spam comments are the detritus generated by the proverbial ‘infinite number of monkeys sitting at an infinite number of typewriters’ before they managed to type out the complete works of Shakespeare.

Greatest fighter toasts? Seriously?


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