IELTS test in Russia – October 2017 (Academic Module)

When N took the IELTS exam in Russia, the following questions appeared in the test paper:

Writing testIELTS test in Russia

Writing task 1 (a report)

We were given a bar chart showing gadgets used for playing video games by different age groups in the USA in 2012.

Writing task 2 (an essay)

Nowadays many big cities become overcrowded. Why is it happening, in your opinion? What measures could be taken to prevent it?

Speaking test

Interview

– What is your full name?
– Can I see your ID?
– Where are you from?
– Do you work or study?
– Do you live in an apartment or a house?
– Do you like your apartment? Why?
– Would you like to move to a house in the future? Why?

Cue Card

Describe a couple that is happily married. Please say

– how you know them
– how long they have been married
– what makes them a happy couple

Discussion

– Let’s talk about marriage.
– What are weddings like in your country?
– Do you support the big fancy wedding idea?
– What do you think about celebrities’ weddings that cost a fortune?
– What is the size of a typical family in your country?
– Why is it so?

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from IELTS-Blog http://www.ielts-blog.com/recent-ielts-exams/ielts-test-in-russia-october-2017-academic-module/

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An Affective Singularity

Today’s guest post, an affective singularity, comes from Nate Pritts, who shared why he writes poetry back in July (click here to read).

Nate Pritts is the Director and Founding Editor of H_NGM_N (2001), an independent publishing house that started as a mimeograph ‘zine, and the author of eight books of poetry, including Decoherence, which won the 42 Miles Press Poetry Award and is available for order now. He lives in the Finger Lakes region of NY State. Learn more at natepritts.com.

*****

Master Poetic Forms!

Learn how to write sestina, shadorma, haiku, monotetra, golden shovel, and more with The Writer’s Digest Guide to Poetic Forms, by Robert Lee Brewer.

This e-book covers more than 40 poetic forms and shares examples to illustrate how each form works. Discover a new universe of poetic possibilities and apply it to your poetry today!

Click to continue.

*****

An Affective Singularity

We live in a time of conspicuous destruction. Material creation, the biological sphere, spiritual reality – each of these realms are being dragged apart resulting in a fractured world marked by implacable fragmentation, forced estrangement, a fundamental decoherence.

Nate Pritts

And in the face of this relentless annihilation, language has been reduced to mere instrumentation – a function of living rather than a vibrant and intrinsic occasion through which we live. Online bursts in a closed loop, binary programming, blunt and categorical statements without any of the nuance, or the wonderful searching uncertainty, that marks the workings of consciousness. A Facebook status, a live tweet thread, hashtag #Checkedin wherever we go in order to reassure ourselves that our lives are alive on the screen – the screen that’s open in front of us, wide open in front of everyone. And our once infinite horizons, both the vast external and internal without limit, are now confined to a small rectangle of unnatural light.

The implications are dire. I believe there is a connection between our capacity to think, to feel, and our ability to articulate those processes and sensitivities. But it seems our intellect is no longer elastic enough to encompass more than echoes, can’t conceive of leaps and connections beyond repetition, can’t process the rich subtleties of emotion without relying on blunt emphasis or insistence. And so we are in danger of losing ourselves as well as the larger environment we are enmeshed with.

As language and writing suffer and erode, so to does our humanity. Which brings me to poetry. I have a sense of poetry in which the form itself – the tension of the lines, the discipline of committing to a process that takes time – can become a restorative spiritual activity. It’s an act of communication with earnest effort and diligent love inherent in its form. And there’s a way in which poetry helps me to communicate what needs to be communicated, but also encourages and scaffolds the thought process, the process of feeling. Poetry, then, is a spiritual process – a type of soul-talking. It can generate the self, and enkindle the soul, furnishing the architecture of identity through writing it and reading it. The poetry in my new book, Decoherence, seeks to bring a sense of humanist wisdom to the ceaseless flow of data – all as a way of getting us to recognize the sacred space we already inhabit.

Mircea Eliade said that the sacred is “the experience of a reality and the source of the consciousness of existing in the world.” That seems a serviceable definition of what poetry can work toward. And it is related to Eliade’s sense of hierophany, a manifestation of the sacred, a trace of the supranatural. So we have both poetry as an activity we engage in and the poem as the hand of the divine. To me, this indicates that a reinvigorated sense of the sacred can help save the very soul of the world, and that we can get closer to this through the writing of poetry.

No matter how many data points are plotted or how deep the dive into layers and layers of information, our technoscience provides insights that remain intellectual, abstracted from reality and rely on a constriction of identity, forcing it to remain local.

But people are silence, continuously manifesting outside the lines of a spreadsheet, hungry for revelation. And the world is silence, too, but one that is evocative and charged, an invisible architecture we can recognize if we listen.

Perhaps inhabiting the sacred can facilitate an encounter between the penetrating mechanisms of science and the intuitive faculties of consciousness in a way that opens perception to a fuller picture of reality.

I write poetry as an attempt to draw closer to those energies resident in all things, to listen hard and to see clearly, as a way to recover some sense of the hidden workings of reality itself. It is an attempt to pay attention to the invisible, to the unintentional, and through that attention to become aware, to render those movements visible and to reclaim intention from the machine that seems so much to be driving us.

It is a means of harnessing and honing the very substance of reality itself, of demonstrating and performing consciousness at work. The activity of poetry is larger than its result. In fact, the poem is really just a by-product of a spiritual commitment to a way of life that can change the world.

And, in this way, poetry can take on a life of it own, in us and through us, can reach an affective singularity of wisdom and tenderness and love, can become again what it has always been – a means of survival, a path to understanding.

Not a credential but a creed.

*****

If you’d like to share a guest post on this blog, please send an e-mail to robert.brewer@fwmedia.com with your idea. It can be on the craft of writing poetry, the business of selling poems, or whatever other ideas you might have. If I like what you send, we’ll figure out how to get your guest post on the blog.

*****

Find more poetic posts here:

The post An Affective Singularity appeared first on WritersDigest.com.

from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/an-affective-singularity

Why We Write

The Prompt: This week’s writing prompt is a bit different than usual. Instead of telling us a fictional tale, we’d like to read about the why behind your wondrous words. Describe in the comments—in under 500 words (and in this case, brevity is best)—the reason why you love writing.

You can also share with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, but be sure include the hashtag #WhyWeWrite. Your response could appear in the February 2018 issue of Writer’s Digest.

And for those of you who prefer more traditional prompts, never fear: We’ll be back next week with a thought-provoking query in our usual vein.


Need some inspiration? These famous authors have offered reasons why they write:

Gustave Flaubert
“Writing is a dog’s life, but the only life worth living.”

Joan Didion
“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. …What is going on in these pictures in my mind?”

Don Delillo
“I write to find out how much I know. The act of writing for me is a concentrated form of thought. If I don’t enter that particular level of concentration, the chances are that certain ideas never reach any level of fruition.”

Lord Byron
“If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.”

Gloria Steinem
“Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald
“You don’t write because you want to say something; you write because you’ve got something to say.”

Jennifer Egan
“When I’m writing, especially if it’s going well, I’m living in two different dimensions: This life I’m living now, which I enjoy very much, and this completely other world I’m inhabiting that no one else knows about.”

Michael Lewis
“There’s no hole inside of me to fill or anything like that, but once I started doing it, I couldn’t imagine wanting to do anything else for a living. I noticed very quickly that writing was the only way for me to lose track of the time.”

George Orwell
“Sheer egoism. Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on the grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood.”

The post Why We Write appeared first on WritersDigest.com.

from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com http://www.writersdigest.com/prompts/why-we-write

IELTS test in Indonesia – October 2017 (Academic Module)

Our kind friend S took the IELTS test in Indonesia and remembered the following details about it:

Listening testIELTS test in Indonesia

Section 1. About a certain festival.

Section 2, 3. Don’t remember.

Section 4. About bitter fish taste.

Reading test

Passage 1. A company project to produce clear water on an island.

Passage 2, 3. Don’t remember.

Writing test

Writing task 1 (a report)

We were given a graph showing the export and import values of Australian trade with China, Japan and the US, from 1994 to 2000 in billions of Australian dollars.

Writing task 2 (an essay)

Some people say that the Internet is the most important invention. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement? Give your reasons and examples.

Speaking test

Interview

– What is your full name?
– Can I see your ID?
– Where are you from?
– Do you work or study?
– What do you do there?
– Do you have a plan to change your job in the future?
– Why?
– What do you do in the morning?
– What time of the day do you enjoy the most?

Cue Card

Describe something that you wanted to do, but haven’t done yet. Please say

– What is it?
– Is it difficult or easy to do?
– Why do you want do it?

Discussion

– Let’s talk about people’s goals and plans.
– Do you think many people have a goal in their life?
– Is having a goal important? Why?

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from IELTS-Blog http://www.ielts-blog.com/recent-ielts-exams/ielts-test-in-indonesia-october-2017-academic-module/

New Literary Agent Alert: Lexi Wangler of Massie & McQuilkin

Reminder: New literary agents (with this spotlight featuring Lexi Wangler of Massie & McQuilkin) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.

About Lexi: Lexi Wangler is a junior agent and foreign rights associate at Massie & McQuilkin. She holds a dual MFA in Fiction and Writing for Children from The New School. Coming to MMQ from PEN American Center and the Irene Skolnick Literary Agency, she graduated from Loyola University of New Orleans in 2013. Lexi assists Maria on all foreign rights for Massie & McQuilkin, and is looking for books that focus on complex, three-dimensional characters, especially women and non-binary people. She is passionate about representation across the race, class, gender and sexuality spectrum and uplifting voices that historically have had less of an opportunity to resonate. Subverting genre boundaries and strong, distinct voices are appealing to her, as are books that reflect truth back to the reader. Her MFA background is proof of her strong dedication to exemplary writing, and she prizes a clear narrative above all else.
She is Seeking: She is primarily looking for literary fiction, upmarket commercial fiction, crime fiction, cultural criticism, narrative nonfiction, essay collections, memoir and young adult fiction.
 
How to Submit: To query Lexi, please email your query letter and the first ten pages of your manuscript pasted in the body of the email to Lexi@mmqlit.com with the word “query” in the subject line. 

 


The biggest literary agent database anywhere
is the Guide to Literary Agents. Pick up the
most recent updated edition online at a discount.


Freese-HeadshotIf you’re an agent looking to update your information or an author interested in contributing to the GLA blog or the next edition of the book, contact Writer’s Digest Books Managing Editor Cris Freese at cris.freese@fwmedia.com.

 

 

The post New Literary Agent Alert: Lexi Wangler of Massie & McQuilkin appeared first on WritersDigest.com.

from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/new-agency-alerts/new-literary-agent-alert-lexi-wangler-massie-mcquilkin

Weekly Round-Up: A Very Good Place to Start

Every week our editors publish around 10 blog posts—but it can be hard to keep up amidst the busyness of everyday life. To make sure you never miss another post, we’ve created a new weekly round-up series. Each Saturday, find the previous week’s posts all in one place.


wr_iconMostly Harmless

To celebrate the anniversary of the day The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy first hit bookstores, check out Don’t Panic: 14 Underappreciated Douglas Adams Quotes for Writers, the Universe and Everyone.

Let’s Start From the Very Beginning

If you’re a future debut author, prepare for your introduction to the publishing world with the latest edition of Debut Authors Tell All.

When you read, you begin with ABC. When you tell a story, what do you begin with? Start with The ABCs of Story: Plots, Subplots, and Sub-Subplots.

What’s happens if you’ve made it past the beginning, but you want to get started writing in a new genre or for a different age group? Well, as it turns out, there might be more to learn. Check out Switching Genres: How One Author Transitioned from a Young Adult Audience to Adult for more.

Agents and Opportunities

Meet agent Claire Anderson-Wheeler of Regal Hoffman & Associates LLC. She is seeking nonfiction, and she is also open to middle-grade, young adult, and adult fiction.

Check out the latest edition of How I Got My Agent for some advice that’s both humorous and helpful.

Poetic Asides

For this week’s Wednesday Poetry Prompt, write a “connection” poem.

Check out Why I Write Poetry: Bruce W. Niedt and consider submitting an essay that shares why you write poetry.

The post Weekly Round-Up: A Very Good Place to Start appeared first on WritersDigest.com.

from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/weekly-round-good-place-start

The ABCs of Story: Plots, Subplots, and Sub-Subplots

The arrangement of a narrative is often singular in its focus: It details the peaks and valleys, dips and pivots, of a single story. But a single story needn’t be such a direct thrust. Imagine the metaphor of a roller coaster, but now weave in another roller coaster—perhaps even two rides that, sometimes, somehow become one, if you’re willing to bend your brain around that. In most cases, we refer to those as subplots—the main story is your A-Plot, and subsequent smaller plots are your B-Plot, your C-Plot, and so on and so forth. These plots may or may not be woven in together.

This is fine, and nobody would fault you for looking at narrative this way if you find it helpful.

But I’m going to go a different way.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chuck Wendig is the New York Times best-selling author of Star Wars: Aftermath, as well as the Miriam Black thrillers, the Atlanta Burns books, and the Heartland YA series, alongside other works across comics, games, film, and more. A finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and the cowriter of the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus, he is also known for his popular blog, terribleminds.com, and his books about writing. DAMN FINE STORY is his second writing reference book with Writer’s Digest.


Worry less about individual subplots, especially as an offshoot of that complicated word plot.

Instead, assume (hopefully quite correctly) that your story comprises a number of characters, all of whom have their own problems and desires and, in the pursuit of solutions and answers, create their own stories. Sometimes these stories form the thrust of the larger narrative, sometimes they form smaller journeys—like taking an exit off a main highway for a while to see the sights. These smaller narratives are what you would consider subplots, but don’t worry about labeling them. Mostly the goal is to let them again be character originated and character driven. Just because they don’t become the main thrust of the story doesn’t mean they’re not important—especially not to the characters on those journeys, right? We don’t need to call them subplots.

Instead, think of them as story threads.

A thread is woven into the tapestry. And further, a thread is best when it’s not left hanging—meaning, these “subplots” will eventually tie back into the whole, binding with the narrative overall. They aren’t disconnected. They don’t hang loose. Take these threads and tie them to other threads—to the fabric as a whole.

You can look at it this way: Every character has one main problem and then a series of smaller problems—as few as one or as many as you need. (Though again, heed the rule: Don’t let more snakes out of the bag than you can kill.) A main character or protagonist can take side deviations that address smaller problems. A problem has a solution, and in pursuit of that solution comes the potential for story. In Lost, all of the characters had side stories that spawned in part from their backstories—this gave them depth and complexity, and assured that not all of their problems stemmed purely from their present time on the mysterious island. Television shows, comics, and even novels tend to have more space than other media, and thus, greater opportunity to explore a character and her problems fully.

The larger problem is the rope; the smaller problems are threads. Buffy Summers’ desire to be a normal high school girl while having to fight vampires and having a vampire boyfriend—that’s the rope of the show. It’s the thing we use to grab hold of and pull ourselves through that narrative. But every episode yields new threads: Buffy’s relationship to her mother, to her teachers, to Giles the Watcher, and on and on. She has a lot of smaller problems that don’t dominate the show overall, but that dominate one episode or one season.

(Some video games offer a nice angle on this, too. A role-playing game like Skyrim or Mass Effect—or even any game similar to Metroid—lets you take your character on a variety of “side quests” or ancillary missions to complete different goals, which might include getting a better weapon or answering a question about your backstory or defeating some ancient, irritable goblin king.)

Also worth noting is that these story threads can interact much as the characters themselves do. So-called subplots can either intersect at a perpendicular angle, meaning they slam into the main story and affect it in a head-on-collision kind of way. Or they run parallel, meaning they may never tie in to the main story so as to actively affect it, but they still grow and change the character in interesting ways that passively affects the main story—or, at least, reflects upon it. And, just as with characters, these individual story threads can be neither perpendicular nor parallel, meaning they will eventually intersect, though not at a hard right angle—it will be more like two cars traveling on the highway changing lanes, gently passing and crossing one another. Some effect will occur, but until both cars need to take the same exit off of the highway, it’s just trading paint.

Example? Well, in The Princess Bride, you know Inigo Montoya’s saying, right? You can say it with me now. Say it aloud, here we go:

“HELLO, MY NAME IS INIGO MONTOYA, YOU STOLE MY SCOOBY DOO LUNCHBOX, PREPARE … FOR SPANKINGS.”

*is handed a note*

I am informed by my pop culture lawyers that this is actually incorrect.

Apologies to all, and especially to William Goldman and Mandy Patinkin. Let’s try this again:

“HELLO, MY NAME IS INIGO MONTOYA. YOU KILLED MY FATHER. PREPARE … TO DIE.”

That line is integral to his story and, ultimately, sums up his quest. The background is that his father made a special sword for a very bad man, the six-fingered Count Rugen, and then Rugen killed the father and scarred the son. So Inigo devotes his entire life to mastering the blade in order to exact his revenge. It’s not the main thrust of The Princess Bride (though I’d maybe argue that Rugen’s comeuppance is the most satisfying moment in the whole movie), but as a story thread, it works perfectly. It’s neither perpendicular nor parallel—it slowly but surely moves toward the main plot, finally intersecting when he needs to rescue Westley from death to exact his revenge (and, of course, Westley needs Inigo to resurrect him in order to reclaim his love, Buttercup). Those two stories feed one another, clearly weaving together by the end—but the story threads aren’t antithetical or antagonistic, either. They dovetail and become one. Inigo’s story is essential to the story just the same.

And therein lies another lesson.

The decision to include a story thread—a “subplot”—is really about answering, “Is this essential? Does it add to the narrative? Does it shape the overall story and deepen our experience? Does it help to change or reveal one or several of the characters?” If yes, go for it.

If no … then maybe you’ve a darling that demands to be killed.

The post The ABCs of Story: Plots, Subplots, and Sub-Subplots appeared first on WritersDigest.com.

from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/excerpts/abcs-story-plots-subplots

IELTS test in India – September 2017 (General Training)

Our kind friend N took the IELTS test in India and remembered the following details:

Listening testIELTS test in India

Section 1. A conversation with post office staff about sending a parcel.

Section 2. A discussion between a professor and students about their training.

Section 3. Don’t remember.

Section 4. A lecture about children and social environment.

Reading test

Passage 1. About bus stops and road signs related to that.
Questions: filling in blanks, match headings to paragraphs.

Passage 2. About employee absence form.

Passage 3. Some cartography related information, from ancient to modern maps.

Writing test

Writing task 1 (a letter)

You are leaving a job and coming back to your hometown. Write a letter to your friend and say

– What is the reason for your leaving?
– What do you plan to do?
– Where and when will you meet your friend to discuss it?

Writing Task 2 (an essay)

Education system is introducing more academic subjects instead of exercises and sports. How will it impact the children? What can be done about it?

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from IELTS-Blog http://www.ielts-blog.com/recent-ielts-exams/ielts-test-in-india-september-2017-general-training/

Don’t Panic: 14 Underappreciated Douglas Adams Quotes for Writers, the Universe and Everyone

Here author Douglas Adams poses holding a copy of the book which has “Don’t Panic” written on the front cover. 29th November 1978. (Photo by Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)

“Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.”

– from Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (1987)

To all you hoopy froods out there: Today is the anniversary of the day The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy hit bookstores 1979—and to sweeten this glorious day, it was just announced that the Hitchhiker series is in line for a radio reboot that will hark back its origin as a radio special.

While Douglas Adams’ satirical space jaunt never grows old, everyone’s heard about towels and unfortunate flower pots and dozens of other quotes from the Guide a dozen times over. But there’s so much more he wrote and said that’s worth absorbing, which is why we’re celebrating this auspicious day with a few wisdoms you might not remember—or that you may not have read at all. (And most of them are particularly poignant for writers too.)

So grab your towel, put down your Vogon poetry and dive into these impeccable Douglas Adams quotes about media, information, life, technology and more.

14 Underappreciated Douglas Adams Quotes for Writers (and Everyone)

1. For when you’re feeling unimaginative:

“Anything can be real. Every imaginable thing is happening somewhere along the dimensional axis. These things happen a billion times over with exactly the same outcome and no one learns anything. Whatever a person can think, imagine, wish for, or believe has already come to pass. Dreams come true all the time, just not for the dreamers.”

— from And Another Thing … (2009)

2. For when your plot takes you somewhere you weren’t expecting:

“… my methods of navigation have their advantage. I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”

— from The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, Ch. 13 (1988)

3. For when you’re pondering the mystery of life:

“For us, there is no longer a fundamental mystery about Life. It is all the process of extraordinary eruptions of information, and it is information which gives us this fantastically rich, complex world in which we live; but at the same time that we’ve discovered that we are destroying it at a rate that has no precedent in history, unless you go back to the point when we are hit by an asteroid!

— from “Parrots, the Universe and Everything” a talk at the University of California, Santa Barbara—Adams’ final public appearance before his death in May 2001

4. For when you’re in need of a different perspective:

“He was constantly reminded of how startlingly different a place the world was when viewed from a point only three feet to the left.”

— from The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time (2002), Random House

5. For when you’re having trouble working out that troublesome inconsistency in your narrative:

“Solutions nearly always come from the direction you least expect, which means there’s no point trying to look in that direction because it won’t be coming from there.”

— from The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time (2002), Random House

6. For when you need a fun fact … or two:

“I’d take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day. My favorite piece of information is that Branwell Brontë, brother of Emily and Charlotte, died standing up leaning against a mantelpiece, in order to prove it could be done. This is not quite true, in fact. My absolute favorite piece of information is the fact that young sloths are so inept that they frequently grab their own arms and legs instead of tree limbs, and fall out of trees.”

— from The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time (2002), Random House



7. For when you’re on the hunt for ideas:

“So where do the ideas actually come from? Mostly from getting annoyed about things. Not big issues so much … as the little irritations that drive you wild out of all proportion.”

— from the introduction to The Frood: The Authorised and Very Official History of Douglas Adams & The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

8. For when you’re worried about the future of printed books and media:

“It’s important to remember that the relationship between different media tends to be complementary. When new media arrive they don’t necessarily replace or eradicate previous types. Though we should perhaps observe a half second silence for the eight-track. — There that’s done. What usually happens is that older media have to shuffle about a bit to make space for the new one and its particular advantages. Radio did not kill books and television did not kill radio or movies — what television did kill was cinema newsreel. TV does it much better because it can deliver it instantly. Who wants last week’s news?”

— from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Future (2001), a BBC Radio 4 program on how new media and technology will change our lives

9. For when you’re working on a deadline:

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”

— from The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time (2002), Random House

10. For those looking to avoid clichés in their writing:

“One of the things Ford Prefect had always found hardest to understand about humans was their habit of continually stating and repeating the very very obvious, as in It’s a nice day, or You’re very tall, or Oh dear you seem to have fallen down a thirty-foot well, are you alright? At first Ford had formed a theory to account for this strange behaviour. If human beings don’t keep exercising their lips, he thought, their mouths probably seize up. After a few months’ consideration and observation he abandoned this theory in favour of a new one. If they don’t keep on exercising their lips, he thought, their brains start working. After a while he abandoned this one as well as being obstructively cynical.”

— from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

11. For when you’re questioning reality:

“‘How can I tell,’ said the man, ‘that the past isn’t a fiction designed to account for the discrepancy between my immediate physical sensations and my state of mind?’”

— from The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (1980)

12. For those times when you realize you’ve evolved as a writer:

“They were not the same eyes with which he had last looked out at this particular scene, and the brain which interpreted the images the eyes resolved was not the same brain. There had been no surgery involved, just the continual wrenching of experience.”

— from So Long and Thanks for All the Fish (1984)

13. For when you’re feeling out of touch with new technology:

“I’ve come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.”

— from The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time (2002), Random House

14. For when you’re crafting a story with an unsual timeline:

“Anything that happens, happens.
Anything that, in happening, causes something else to happen, causes something else to happen.
Anything that, in happening, causes itself to happen again, happens again.
It doesn’t necessarily do it in chronological order, though.”

— from Mostly Harmless (1992)


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Why I Write Poetry: Bruce W. Niedt

A few months ago, I posted about “Why I Write Poetry” and encouraged others to share their thoughts, stories, and experiences for future guest posts. I’ve already received so many, and I hope they keep coming in (details on how to contribute below). Thank you!

Today’s “Why I Write Poetry” post comes from Bruce W. Niedt, who begins, “There’s nothing extraordinary about me.”

Bruce W. Niedt is a retired civil servant and New Jersey native who is now enjoying the joys of grand-parenthood. His poetry has appeared in numerous publications, including Rattle, Writer’s Digest, Tiferet, Spitball, The Lyric, and US 1 Worksheets. He has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize. His latest chapbook is Hits and Sacrifices (Finishing LIne Press).

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Why I Write Poetry: Bruce W. Niedt

Bruce W. Niedt

There’s nothing extraordinary about me. I don’t write to work through some childhood trauma or a disastrous marriage; I don’t have an exotic background or heritage. I grew up as a white, middle-class male in suburban New Jersey. The only thing I can honestly say that drives me is a love of words and language, and a burning desire to express myself that began at a very young age.

I was lucky to have mentors along the way to spur and encourage my creativity, like my sophomore English teacher in high school, who shared my love of Jefferson Airplane and introduced me to the works of Dylan Thomas. I enjoyed writing prose and poetry throughout high school and college, and was active in the academic literary magazines, but once I settled down to building a family and a government service career in the 1970’s, my creative input dwindled dramatically, other than an occasional poem or short story.

Then in 1999, an epiphany came from the most unexpected source: an arrangement of three red tomatoes on my white kitchen counter top. I remembered how one could draw inspiration from the most mundane objects – a hallmark of one of my favorite poets, William Carlos Williams. Suddenly the floodgates opened and I began to write poetry at a feverish pace, as though to make up for those decades of lost time. Within a year I had my first real publication credit, and within two years I self-published my first chapbook. Since then I have had over a hundred poems published in various journals, plus five more chapbooks and a number of poetry awards.

So why do I write poetry? To try to make sense of my world. To share insights, impressions, and opinions with anyone who will read and listen. To maintain my sanity and relieve stress. To have the satisfaction of having built something, hopefully of value, with language, whether it’s a half-decent sonnet or a well-turned metaphor. To try to say something a little differently than it may have been said before. To share joy, sorrow, anger, beauty, and a laugh or two with friends or total strangers. To be part of a larger community of others around the world with a love and a passion for, as Bill Moyers has put it, “fooling with words.” To leave some kind of legacy, no matter how small, so someone somewhere might appreciate my words after I’m gone.

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If you’d like to share why you write poetry, please send an e-mail to robert.brewer@fwmedia.com with a 300-500 word personal essay that shares why you write poetry. It can be serious, happy, sad, silly–whatever poetry means for you. And be sure to include your preferred bio (50-100 words) and head shot. If I like what you send, I’ll include it as a future guest post on the blog.

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Find more poetic posts here:

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