Friday, June 27, 2008

Poetry Friday Original: The Artist

A recent visit to the roof of the high rise office building where I'm employed inspired this poem. I was escorting a photographer retaking a section for a 360 degree panoramic shot. The day was beautiful.

Jim D.


Six-hundred-seventy feet above the ground
Trump's hammers ring
In contrast to the whisper of a gentle breeze
The artist readys his tripod
His camera
And waits for that perfect moment
That perfect light
He stands ready
Near the edge
Head cloaked like photographers of an age gone by
Preparing to record Chicago's skyline at this instant in time
Still he waits
A bird flys within inches
As oblivious to him as he is to it
Then, he emerges from the cape
A touch of the shutter
The stark metal and glass
The backdrop rippling blue water
His canvas is full
He sits for a moment
And inhales the joy of his conquest.

Roundup is at: Biblio File

Monday, June 23, 2008

Words in the Woods

I wasn't fortunate enough to attend the SCBWI-ILLINOIS sponsered retreat "Words in the Woods" featuring agent Barry Goldblatt, Holly Black, and editor Namrata Tripathi (Disney-Hyperion). I can, however, share a link to Trina Sotira's blog reporting on it.

Jim Danielson

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Poetry Friday Kubla Khan

In honor of the conection of Xanadu to PJ Hoover's book The Emerald Tablet, I offer up Kubl Khan for POETRY FRIDAY. (I had the good fortune to read the ARC -- the novel is due out in October. )

On a total nonpoetic note, does anyone beside me remember the movie Xanadu? I think it starred Olivia Newton John. Just curious and I don't recommend it (in fact I may be the only person who ever saw it).


By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

A stately pleasure-dome decree:

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran

Through caverns measureless to man

Down to a sunless sea.

So twice five miles of fertile ground

With walls and towers were girdled round:

And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,

Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;

And here were forests ancient as the hills,

Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted

Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!

A savage place! as holy and enchanted

As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted

By woman wailing for her demon-lover!

And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,

As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,

A mighty fountain momently was forced:

Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst

Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,

Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail:

And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever

It flung up momently the sacred river.

Five miles meandering with a mazy motion

Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,

Then reached the caverns measureless to man,

And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:

And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far

Ancestral voices prophesying war!

The shadow of the dome of pleasure

Floated midway on the waves;

Where was heard the mingled measure

From the fountain and the caves.

It was a miracle of rare device,

A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!

A damsel with a dulcimer

In a vision once I saw:

It was an Abyssinian maid,

And on her dulcimer she played,

Singing of Mount Abora.

Could I revive within me

Her symphony and song,

To such a deep delight 'twould win me

That with music loud and long

I would build that dome in air,

That sunny dome! those caves of ice!

And all who heard should see them there,

And all should cry, Beware! Beware!

His flashing eyes, his floating hair!

Weave a circle round him thrice,

And close your eyes with holy dread,

For he on honey-dew hath fed

And drunk the milk of Paradise.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sunday Summary

It's been a busy week!

Let me start with my writing. I'm continuing work with adding blog entries to my MS. I took own advice and shortened the first entry a lot. It removes the feeling of info feeding and allows us to get to know the main character better. I think..... I will let it sit and then revisit it.

Item #2: S. E. Hinton at Printer's Row -- what I learned. S. E. Hinton is somewhat of an anomoly among YA writers. She wrote her first (and best known) novel while in high school. She now writes only for adults. She admits she does not read YA novels and has no interest in what is currently being writen in the YA market. In the opposite direction, she states the best prizes she receives are letters from young readers stating that her books convinced them to become readers.

So, the question is: Why did the Chicago Tribune award her this year's YA Book Prize. I think the answer is as simple as The Outsiders marked the beginning of the YA book genre as we know it. The Trib's award is designated to be for a work or body of works. Why not take a year to celebrate YA's beginning?

Now back to what I learned: I learned that as a writer we must always be true to our heart in what we write. Well, I kind of knew that, but let's say it was reinforced. S.E. Hinton was true to her writing in high school -- she got a D in creative writing while working on The Outsiders (assumedly because she was neglecting her class work). I salute the fact that she continues to write what her heart now dictates -- works for adults. I would be curious , however, what she'd think of the Stephanie Meyers books. Did I mention that S. E. Hinton has a vampire in one of her latest works?

Item #3: I picked up an autographed copy of Truck Stuck by Sallie Wolf to add to my collection for my future grandchildren. Did I mention that my twin sons both got engaged in the last month. (Grandkids still a few years away though).

Jim D

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Part of the revision process for my current WIP is breathing a little more "life" into the text.

Along those lines, I'm looking at the possibility of my main character becoming a blogger and including said text in my manuscript. The novel is writen in third person. Obviously, the blog would be in first.

Okay...confession time...I'm not the best read person writing MG fiction. (I'd love to read more, but it's a time balancing thing.)

So, my questions to the kidlitosphere: Do any of you know examples of third person MG novels which include daily blogs or diary entries of the main character? Also, is this just a bad idea that popped into my head on the commute to work this morning due to the early hour?

I did get some writing associated with the idea on paper, but I'd love to read examples in recent novels (if they exist).

Jim D