Ian is the last in this series of interviews with Ink of Light Presenters.
He is the founder of the Ink of Light, Baha’i Writer’s Festival.
His enthusiasm for this event providing opportunities for both established and up and coming Baha’i writers in many genres is both brilliant and generous.Ian will be presenting on the Sunday May 19th and begins this interview by telling us about his topic.
What is your presentation at Ink of Light?
This year my presentation titled ‘Instruments of Philosophy’, looks at the harmony of science and religion through the works of two of the 19th century’s great minds; the polymath Sir David Brewster; inventor of the kaleidoscope. And the esteemed physicist James Clerk Maxwell.
What is your favourite book?
A favourite book was the Arthurian legends and the Grail Story by the late 12th century writer Robert de Boron. I even more so liked the movie version; Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which firmly cemented my sense of humour.
Who is your Hero?
When I was young my hero was TinTin. I enjoyed the cartoon books and the daring exploits and adventures of TinTin.
What is your main motivation?
I’ll have to think about that one. Does procrastinating count.
Share your favourite quote
A favourite quote is from Leonardo da Vinci. ‘Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets.’
I’m sharing a thought provoking discussion about how much is too much to give away of your writing on line and blogging as form of draft creation for books.
Thanks so much to Joyceline Leahy, of Tribal Mystic, for sharing my ideas and her own to spark discussion on this topic on her blog. Great to meet her online and to hear the story of HiMe telling her about me, after virtually meeting me in the ABC Open 500 words project.
I have been thinking a lot about this topic lately. How much to share? How much to keep?
Amazon has some strict rules about how much of a book can appear online prior to publication with them for writers to take into account. Many publishers and competitions see blogs, tweet and facebook as prior publication and you must not share anywhere on line if you wish to enter.
So when writing – What should you share to find your publishers, audience and connections? Why do you share? What is there that can be special about blogging as an art form and a legitimate form of publication? Go leave your comment on Joyceline Leahy’s blog.
So far my experience has been that:
1- Several of my online pieces have been republished by anthologies and books with no qualms by the anthology creators. They just say ‘appeared first on….’
2- I created an ebook to take you on a virtual trail through blogs, films and online materials and the ebook was like a guide to all that – a navigator. I published it through Australian Society of Authors, Books Unlimited.
3- I have formed a community of interest around my work and been able to meet through their blogs, authors writing about the homeless, Indigenous writing communities, natural environments in the America’s and Ireland.
4- I’ve been part of writing online collaborative worlds co created with other writers. Our creations still exist as online fixtures you can visit and explore. Building a trail of story was a process of us participating in the Pythian Games to develop our writing muscle. I found a love of writing fantasy during this online collaboration.
5- I have established a practice of daily writing and have a series of work I do completely offline separate from my blogged work.
6- I have found trustworthy and ethical offline critique groups and individuals to give me feedback of my work to help develop and polish it. Some of them have been initially met through online forums. They have known me through my online writing first. One is now being employed by me as an editor.
Will posting chapters and parts of your book on your blog take away from your publishing success?
I have been told often that I should save more of my blog posts to include in my memoir. Usually this advice comes from people who love and care for me. I really appreciate that concern. I know this concern was not expressed for the fear of copyright, although I should be concern about that too; I am told I am ‘giving away’ a section of writing that may be building up tension or crucial to the climax of a chapter or even the memoir itself.
We choose what we share on our blogs. I know I could be just giving away the important parts in my memoir without realising it, but as I write the story evolves. I also feel the need to challenge my self even more by improving that story after I have posted it. Often I feel…
My quest for stillness continues and part of the journey is to find a ritual that will help my daily creativity.
I am at a workshop in Sydney with an Indigenous Canadian, and she is talking to me about ritual and centering when one engages in any creative act, be it dancing, writing, poetry. She asks us to do physical things as part of this ritual. I need to take more deep breaths before and during my writing. I woke in the night last night, took deep breaths as if I was just about to run a long race.
I am centering myself before I write like a martial artist doing exercises to keep fit. To do this I am having a break from social media, which is becoming far too distracting. I need to be in that space less, but when there be ever caring and gracious and find the pools of light that settle and sing to me that they will be the power in my day.
It’s time to draw a line in the sand and I want my family to spend more time with each other and less on our computers and facebook. I love the sociability of the online but sometimes I don’t want to spend all day with hundreds of friends in a mind space, I want to be with my family and friends in physical space, or to surrender to the Divine and just pray. Yet what are these spaces when we look to the inner realities.
I am thinking about the book Sifting the Dust, and all the stories that Marjorie Rose shared there. I can’t even write about it just yet, as I am sifting through it like Marjorie sifted through the challenges of fear and the power of love.
Blogs help writers like me sift their – stories, identity, landscapes, memories, inner, dreams and outer realities and communities – for stories. Books like Marjorie’s encourage me to look for how each of us even though connected to a world of family and friends, and faith, must also make individual journeys to walk with the Divine.
I am recalling a lady called Agatha, with Corgi dogs, who used to drive one of my brothers and I when were children to camps and our family stayed at her beach house sometimes and had a basket full of simple old fashioned toys and the beach to walk along. When we walked along the beach we drew with sticks in the sand, and I remember drawing a large clock face.
I am opening letters that meant a lot when they arrived, including one from Agatha who wanted me to visit her and yet I was unable to go and see her and that makes me sad now to think I didn’t see her on her island home, although I heard lots of stories. They were of a kind woman who helped with baby sitting and educating children and was gracious to everyone on the island. I met her son once and wonder if he knows how kind his mother was to so many people like me. I wonder if those letters are still somewhere. I think of special letters that are like giving wings, and how sometimes I receive emails like that. Sometimes I might even print them and place them on the wall.
I am thinking of taking the I out of more of my sentences.
The other morning I told my husband about three stories and unpacked them. They had been dormant in my head waiting to have just the right amount of conflict, narrative drive and underlying mythology to make their way into being. They are ready to be written and I must answer that call. I had been thinking about them even whilst they weren’t making it onto the page,it was amazing to see when another big project was finished how my mind was freed to go on new creative journeys.
I am sorting and collating photographs for illustrations for books that are almost complete. I want a jump out at me photographs, or collages with layers to interpret like you do with short intense poems that can mean much more than could be said in volumes of words. I like textured abstracts that seem to me to speak of the things we can’t represent in images or easily in words.
Abstracts speak to me of spiritual realities. Abstracts allow me to take a deep breath and write of the power of spiritual insight.