LOCATION WRITING AT A BEACH

LOCATION WRITING AT A BEACH

Our Location Writing Group met on August 20, 2014 to do some creative writing at a beach on Okanagan Lake.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Frances, a new member of the group, created a beautiful lyrical poem which took a mystical look at the scene.

Lure of the Lake

While lime licked willows toe hold the water’s edge
And golden cheat grass carpet the hillside
Porcelain clouds hover over ponderosa pines.

I wonder, can they feel the lure of the lake
Are their eyes drawn into its sun dappled ripples
Their ears caressed by its soft soft lapping ?

Frances Warner

Gayle focused on  the many, many details she was seeing, arranging them so as to create an alphabetical look at what she was experiencing while writing at the beach.

AN ALPHABETICAL LOOK AT LOCATION WRITING ON THE SHORES OF OKANAGAN LAKE

Ambience and Atmosphere Aplenty!

Beach, Bay, Boats, Birdsong, Blue herons and Blue sky enhanced by

Creek, Canoe and Cumulous Clouds, all part of God’s Creation.

Duck and Drake Drift Dreamily by, now and then Dipping their heads into the water with their tails pointing skyward. Dog Dips, too, but into nearby creek. Docks Dappled along the shoreline remind us of watery Deeds to come as Day unfolds.

Efflux of East-born Vernon Creek Eddies its way into Okanagan Lake to our right. Elegant Egret Enjoys her Elevated view of Earth.

Footprints cover the sand at our Feet, as Feather Flutters to the ground. Forests Flitter along the mountains rising from the lake.

Green everywhere – from Grasses, Groves, Grounds, Golf course; contrasting with the Grey-blue water.

Houses Hug the shoreline. An occasional Hawk Hovers overhead.

Irrigation sprays along the slanted mountain fields as an Islet Isolated in the creek’s entrance to the lake between Vernon beach and Indian Reserve beach offers a private refuge for birds and dogs.

Jubilant Joy Joins us with dogs who Jump and cavort in the water, splashing from creek to islet to lake.

Kin Beach lies beyond the Indian Reserve beach, connected to the sprawling lawn and picnic tables of Kin Park. Waves Kiss the shore, blown by breezes and enhanced by the Keen trail of Kayak or the greater wake of motorboat.

Lake Lies resplendent, Luminously reflecting the sky.

Mountains and Marina stand silent, broken only by the flutter of Maple leaf flags, Motor

Noise and the distant Nod of Northern Nimbus clouds. We wonder if rain is on its way.

Okanagan Lake Oscillates before us. Ochre beach of Okanagan Indian Band’s Priest’s Valley Indian Reserve Number 6 beckons from across the creek, reminding us that this is their native soil and water, Owned by them for centuries past.

Poplars, Pine and Pontoons Partner to Police the

Quiet which Quickly returns between sounds of distant motors, screech of seagulls and Quack of ducks.

Reeds, The Rise, Riparian land and Indian Reserve stand as witness to the combination of nature, development, ecology and history.

Splashing Swimmers, Sassy Seagulls, and Spinning Spiders leaving webs gleaming in the Sun from nearby bushes. Sand, Shore and Stratus clouds. All point to the

Unity of nature and the Uniqueness of each of Us living beings.

Vernon, British Columbia spreads behind and above us on each side as we glimpse across the Vast expanse of

Waves to the Wilds along West Side Road and the Wakes of a Wide variety of boats – motorboats, speedboats, fishing boats, sailboats, canoe, kayak and pontoon.

X is not at the beginning, but at the end of SyilX, the local native people’s own word for themselves, owners of the beach and members of the Interior Salish ethnological and linguistic grouping and part of the Okanagan Nation Alliance.

Yacht Club in the left foreground gives a grandiose handle to the colony of sailboats clustered near Paddlewheel Park. As the day grows warmer our ears pick up the Yak-Yak, Yammer and Yatter of dog-walkers, beachcombers and swimmers, the Yipping of dogs and the occasional Yawn of sun-bathers gathering on the wider beach across the creek.

Zigzag of path twists and turns on the opposite mountain, giving access to a Zenith where those with a Zest for climbing may be able to enjoy a Zephyr, if they are lucky. No matter the weather, they are guaranteed a wind of some sort – gentle breeze, gusts or full-blown gale. The Okanagan is always stimulating, enlivening and invigorating.

Gayle Moore-Morrans

Reblogging “Location writing has locals putting fruits of labour to paper”

This article appeared in our local newspaper, The Morning Star in Vernon, BC, on Wednesday, August 27, 2014, highlighting Gayle’s Location Writing group.

001-Location Writing Participants     Gayle writing - colour

Location writing has locals putting fruits of labour to paper

 

LOCATION WRITING IN A COUNTRY RESTAURANT GARDEN

001-LW-Friesen's - Writer's Group

LOCATION WRITING AT FRIESEN’S COUNTRY TYME GARDEN RESTAURANT, COLDSTREAM, BC

 Here we are again in another lovely venue. Just Patricia, Miss P and Gayle sitting and writing in a cozy, shady corner of the back garden.

Sounds? The whirl, whirl, whirl of an irrigator watering a nearby field; a dog barking in the distance; the occasional lowing of cattle in the adjacent field; the clatter of dishes from the Country Tyme kitchen; the steady, low chatter interrupted by louder laughter from restaurant guests sitting around tables scattered throughout the restaurant garden; the dampened whiz of cars driving past on Kalamalka Road.

Smells? Luckily, no cow manure; just the overwhelming aroma of ham, bacon and maple syrup. Though it is already 10:30 a.m., late risers are still having breakfast and brunch seekers are arriving. It is tempting not to think ahead to what promises to be a delicious lunch for us at noon, instead of concentrating on writing.

Feelings? Caressed by soft breezes, surrounded by beautiful flowers and protected by shady trees, I am lulled into a sense of peace, an assurance of God’s presence and inspiration to work on a pressing editing project.

Moving from my lawn chair, I decide to take up a wooden garden swing close by and begin editing a prayer walk for October’s Southern Interior Lutheran Women’s Fall Event that our ELW at Peace Lutheran will be hosting. I may be retired from my former position as Program Director and Editor for Evangelical Lutheran Women, but I’ve remained in the program editing track on a volunteer basis locally. It’s nice to be back in the groove in such an inviting setting.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Fishing Stories and Reminiscences of My Stepfather

Fishing Stories and Reminiscences of My Stepfather

Here are excerpts from my memoir to go with James Collett’s excellent photo of a boat abandoned in Campbeltown Loch. To set the scene, I am 13 and am getting used to having a stepfather. An Irishman from Larne, Bill Moorhead had just married my mother, Chrissie Morrans. You might say that an abandoned boat in Campbeltown Loch helped to knit our relationship.

Fishing boat Argent, aground at The Red Rocks, Campbeltown Loch, Kintyre, Scotland.

Quoted from “From Poverty to Poverty: A Scotsman Encounters Canada” by Ian Moore-Morrans, copyright © 2012. Friesen Press.

  Life was still not rosy for Mother even with her “new found respectability” as Bill turned out to be quite lazy. He would work for a little while, then complain that his heart was bad, quit the job that he had, and then lie around doing nothing for months. Then when he did work, he very often got drunk and gave her a lot of verbal abuse. He never did give my brother or me any trouble, though. I guess he knew better. He was pretty smart when he wanted to be. Quite often, he would reminisce about old times in Larne when he and others would make illicit whisky (“poteen” or homebrew). “Poteen boys” he called them. Then he would show me a photograph of a small motor boat that he said he had built himself during his younger days in Larne. I was so fed up hearing all that he did, that I eventually let it go in one ear and out the other. It seemed to me that all Irishmen bragged a lot about nothing! I don’t mean to suggest that we were enemies, though; mainly just the opposite.
~*~
    Bill taught me quite a few things, among them how to make netting needles that the local fishermen would buy to mend their nets and how to make the best catapult in town, one that was different from any I’ve ever seen, even today. (A catapult in Britain is called a slingshot in North America.) For all Bill’s faults, we got along very well. He certainly wasn’t dumb. He taught me things that I never would have learned if he hadn’t been around. I don’t know what my brother thought of him, for he never ever mentioned Bill to me either positively or negatively. (Actually, my brother never mentioned anything to me, period!) I think, perhaps Bill and Archie thought similarly of each other; and I don’t think it was complimentary either way.
    Regarding the catapult, Bill explained details like making a small hole in the centre of the leather pouch that holds the stone to reduce drag by letting air through while the stone was shooting forward. He taught me to reduce the “Y,” leaving just a stub on the bottom leg and cradling the other two legs with the thumb and forefinger. The securing system of joining the rubber to the leather was very elaborate, quite unusual with all the loops of leather that he used. It was actually quite easy to hit a tin can about ten meters (30 feet) away—impossible with the ones my friends and I had made previously. Best of all, Bill emphasized one very good rule: never shoot at any living thing!
~*~
    One day while I was playing with my friends I heard, “Ian, will you come with me, please? I need your help.” Bill had never said this before, so I didn’t know what to expect. It turned out that he had found a small row boat washed up on the shore just outside town. The stern was all smashed away, and I mean totally gone. I think it would have been classified as “flotsam.” It was perfectly legal for Bill to take it. Wreckage found on the shore was considered “finders keepers.”
    “Help me to carry it to O’Hara’s yard and I’ll fix it up; then we can go fishing.”
    “Sure, Bill,” I replied although my thoughts were, ‘How the heck can ye fix this when the whole back end is missing?’
    But, boy, did he ever fix it! You would never have known that it had been damaged, except for a little different shade where the new wood appeared. The boat was classified as “clinker-built” (overlapping boards). I never did watch him work on it and I’ve often regretted it. I thought he was just doing his usual bragging. I couldn’t believe it was the same little boat when he asked me to help him take it to the water. He had also managed, (how, I don’t know) to have two oars and two row locks (oar locks) and “hand-lines” so that we could use the boat right away, plus a rope to tie it up when we weren’t using it.
    Use it we did! We were never short of fish after that. It was only Bill and I who went fishing; my brother always said “no”, although he would certainly eat his share. We would go out in the evening, usually around seven or eight p.m., spend an hour or two at the most, and return home with cod, mackerel, or flounder. There was plenty of fish. In less than an hour, we usually had enough fish to last us a couple of days, plus some for Bill to sell.
~*~
Just after the onset of the war, the Admiralty had commandeered an enormous “yacht” (not a sailing boat) that belonged to Lord and Lady Docker. It was renamed the “HMS Shamara” and had its own permanent berth at the old quay. This ship would go out every night around eight p.m. and return early the next morning. Nobody knew what she did. Whenever we were going fishing, either Bill or I would check whether she was still tied up, or if she had left the pier. When she was tied up, we fished close to the shore, just west of the small warning beacon, to get us well away from her wash as she passed on her way out. When she was out we fished nearer to the middle of the opening as there were more fish there. (The opening was only about a thousand feet or 330 m. wide.)
One night, however, neither of us had remembered to check. We were right in the middle of the opening to Campbeltown Loch, between the island and the north shore, getting ready to put our fishing lines in the water when Bill asked me if the Shamara was out. I told Bill that I wasn’t sure, but that I thought she was out. Big mistake! It was almost dark and we had our lines in the water when suddenly we heard the “swoosh…swoosh” of Shamara’s bows breaking the water. In the late twilight, just before darkness fell, we could just make out the massive bow of this big ship heading straight for us. I grabbed the oars and rowed like mad, hoping I was rowing in the right direction. Bill started to shout, “Ahoy, Shamara; ahoy, Shamara” at the top of his lungs. I can still see the dark outline of the ship coming straight for us. She was showing no lights whatsoever (and this was peacetime—after the war!). I continued to row like mad, and all the time Bill was shouting his head off. (Bear in mind that this ship was just slightly smaller than a frigate!)
    Bill shouted to me, “Get low in the boat, Ian, as low as you can and hold on to the sides.” He did the same. She missed us by no more than 40 or 50 feet (ca. 16 m.)! We bobbed up and down like a cork, oars in, as we clung for dear life to the edges of the little row boat. (There weren’t any rules about life jackets at that time, and we wouldn’t have been able to afford them anyway!) Bill knew to keep the centre of gravity as low as possible to help prevent capsizing; that was why he told me to get as low in the boat as possible. After that incident we made double sure that we checked if that ship was at her berth before we left to go fishing!
~*~
    We’ve all heard “big fish stories” at one time or another. Well, here’s another to add to the list. It was always Bill’s policy to ask my mother if she wanted to go fishing with us and she always said, “No thanks; you two go and catch fish and that will please me just fine.” At least, she almost always did. One evening when Bill asked her, she just about floored both of us by saying, “Aye, okay, Ah’ll go oot wi’ ye.”
    We were at our usual spot between the island and the mainland (yes, the Shamara was already out!), our lines were in the water and Bill had shown Mother what she was supposed to do.
    “Go down until the sinker touches bottom, Chrissie; then lift it just off, and then touch it down again ever so lightly so that the hooks are a few inches above the sand. That is where the cod are.” (Cod are “bottom-feeders.”).
    Both Bill and I had landed a few fish and Bill was teasing Mother about coming fishing with us, asking when she was going to catch one. Suddenly she cried, “Ah think Ah’ve got one; will ye help me?”
    “When yer pulling like that, Chrissie,” Bill laughed, “and nothing is happening, it means that yer caught on the bottom.” (Remember too, that she was a really little lady!)
    “Well, if Ah’m caught on the bottom, maybe you’ll fix it for me.”
    “Okay, I’ll loosen it for ye and I’ll show ye what t’ do so that you’ll know how to do it in future …. Hey Ian, I think she’s really got somethin’ here, look at the line, it’s going all over the place now …. Hey, wow! It must be a dandy …. C’mon over here and give me a hand.”
    Well, I did go to help, and it took both of us to pull in this great big cod! (Keep in mind, we didn’t have rods; we used hand-lines and had to haul the dark, rough twine in with our bare hands.) We didn’t have a means of measuring the fish; in fact, no one ever thought of doing that in those days. The only indication we had was that the commercial “fish box” we always put our catch in was about 26 inches (65 cm.) long. (Every fish we had caught before always had fit inside the box.) As “Chrissie’s fish” was a full head and tail over the ends, it probably measured about 33 inches (84 cm.) or more long. That was some fish!
    Of course, this episode totally spoiled our “fish stories” from then on. Any time we were going over the evening’s catch, we would hear a little voice in the background saying something like, “Do ye remember the fish that Ah caught, you two?” That was the one and only time that she ever came fishing with us! (Yes, Chrissie, God bless your heart; you’re dead and gone now but I well remember the fish you caught!)
(end of quote)

SHARING “HOW TO LURE YOUR MUSE WITH MUSIC AND OTHER QUIRKS”

An interesting post from Xlibris publishers writer’s workshop is quoted below. This really resonated with me as I use references to music, especially the Scottish folk music I’ve been singing for years, in my autobiography “From Poverty to Poverty: A Scotsman Encounters Canada.” I’ve also liked to whistle my favourite tunes while writing, or doing any other kind of work for that matter.

In the recent interview Gayle and I prepared for The Authors Show, the following question and answer were included:
” Q. You claim that musicianship is integral to your life. How is that reflected in your book?
A. When my wife/editor first read my story, she was struck by how much music was woven into the narrative. She encouraged me to expand on those instances, leading me to quote from songs or to fill out descriptions of the song connections with my own story. For instance, when I am describing my hometown Campbeltown, I mentioned the folk-song made most popular in the ‘60s by Scottish folk-singer Andy Stewart: ‘Campbeltown Loch, I Wish Ye Were Whisky.’ We were unsuccessful in getting permission to quote the whole song in my narrative. So the next best thing was to show how it impacted my life and then paraphrase the verses.
I eventually wrote the following: ‘As we were growing up, three or four of us boys would go arm in arm down the street singing the first few words—‘Campbeltown Loch, I wish ye were whisky’—that’s all we knew at the time. I like to think that Andy (Stewart) heard those few words sometime in Campbeltown and created a song around them. ‘Oh, Campbeltown Loch, I wish ye were whisky, Campbeltown Loch, och aye! Campbeltown Loch I wish ye were whisky, I would drink ye dry!’
‘The verses cleverly have the singer imagining how nice it would be if the loch were full up to the brim with whisky and he could anchor a yacht in the whisky-filled bay to go in for a nip and a dip ‘by night and by day.’ Clan gatherings would feature wading into the loch with toasts of ‘slainte bva’ (meaning ‘good health’). The only problem would be the police showing up in a boat and shouting, ‘Time, Gentlemen, please!’
‘I find this a fitting tongue-in-cheek ode to a town that once boasted of 30 distilleries and still produces at least two very fine brands of single malt whisky – Springbank and Glen Scotia.’”

Xlibris Presents How to Lure Your Muse with Music and Other Quirks

We’d be interested in hearing what other writers use to stimulate their creativity and to set an appropriate mood for writing. Why or how does music, the position you assume to write (standing/lying/sitting/reclining), your manner of clothing, the time of day, alcohol use, or other quirk or muse impact your writing? We’d love to hear from you.

Gayle mentions that in her magazine and program editing days, she always used a background of classical music to set an atmosphere appropriate to what she was editing. She recalls specifically editing a four-session Bible study on the Book of Revelation. Her background music? Wagner’s Ring Cycle.