Saturday, October 27, 2007


Keeping a journal, or perhaps several journals for different subjects, is one way to provide yourself with material to write essays, poems, and stories.

On the subject of nature writing, see Nature Writing. Scroll down to the "Table of Contents" and click on "naturewriting ideas". On the left side of your screen, click on "Thoreau's Model for Nature Writing" and you'll find an article with ideas about a nature writing journal. Back on the home page for the website Nature Writing you can scroll again to the "Table of Contents" and click on "nature journal" and find samples of journal entries by a number of writers of varying ages and interests. Interesting material there.

You can do a search on "journaling" and find all sorts of resources on the internet. Keeping journals is pretty easy to do for yourself, though. Just grab a notebook and start writing! You can have one journal for everything, or you can have several journals--such as one for writing, one for nature observations, one for spiritual thoughts, one for family history and information, etc. You don't have to write everyday. The main thing is to capture important ideas and information that you can refer back to.

Try it out!

Friday, October 19, 2007

A Bat on a Tree

This past Thursday we saw a small bat clinging to a tree next to our office building. It was upside down, true to form, but hugging the side of the tree about three feet up from the ground rather than hanging from a branch. It was somewhat curled up, but was only about three inches long in that position. Some bats are quite small while others are very large, so I don't know if it was a baby bat or a full-grown one. At least we didn't have a large mother bat swoop down on us! I don't know if one would even do that. Do you get the idea that I don't know much about bats?

Apparently, it was sleeping, although it's possible it was sick. Everyone who went out to have a look had enough sense not to touch it, except for one young lady who poked it (gently) with a stick. She said it moved slightly and clicked at her, so it was alive. Dark brown and furry, it stayed motionless all day (except when being poked), but was gone today. I hope it was just sleeping and flew away at dusk, healthy and happy.

I was disappointed to not get a look at its little face--that might have given me some way of later looking at pictures to try to identify it. Still, it was one of those interesting, quirky things that sometimes happen. I was surprised that it would hang itself up in the open like that rather than higher up in the tree where it would be hidden among the branches and leaves and less noticeable to predators, like the cats that hang around our building. But then, who knows what bats think about.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Literary and Rhetorical Terms

Over at The UVic Writer's Guide, you can find a page of literary and rhetorical terms that may prove useful to you in both your reading and your writing.

As far as reading goes, it's interesting to identify some of the characteristics of a book or essay or poem that you are reading. Is it ironic? Is it satire? This helps you get more out of your reading and understand better what you are reading.

When it comes to writing, knowing these terms and characteristics can help you conciously choose what elements to put into your writing to give it more depth and interest. Knowing these terms can also help you avoid putting unwanted things in your writing, such as bombast, cliches, or hyperbole. The list of terms can also help sort out metaphors, similes, conceits, and so forth.

Besides, it's just a fun page to explore!