September 28, 2011

Poetic or Pedantic? Part Two: Indirect Focus

Posted in Poetry tagged , at 1:14 pm by Rebecca Hein

In writing we struggle, as in music, to transcend notes and words, and rise to the spirit and energy behind what we’re doing. As noted in Part One, after weeks of cloud-watching, my mind translated “cloud” and “sky” into beautifully-painted hues and shadows.

Particular objects in the sky disappeared, and with them my literal thinking. Enchanted, I saw that the spirit behind the object, whether morning clouds, musical notes, or words, will create a greater sense of wonder than a direct focus on these things.

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September 21, 2011

Poetic or Pedantic? Part One: Disappearing Objects

Posted in Poetry tagged , at 2:49 pm by Rebecca Hein

This summer I took a short walk almost every morning, pausing frequently to look at the sky. I’d stare at a section of the horizon displaying a particularly arresting pattern of clouds, and become totally absorbed.

Shape and color gave way to texture and subtle hues, and before I realized it I was seeing poetry, not sky and clouds. I saw the play of light on blue, white, and gray surfaces in such depth and variety that I was mesmerized.

This is the best frame of mind in which to write, and all summer long my words have arranged themselves better than ever before.

September 14, 2011

Sentence Construction

Posted in Harmony tagged at 11:15 am by Rebecca Hein

In music, especially in the most beautiful folk tunes, a melody moves from one important note to another, with “passing tones” to get you between them. The main notes are always part of the underlying harmonic structure, and you can feel the music moving from one chord to another. Typically in a simple, beautiful tune there are few passing notes. Just enough to get you to the next important note.

In the best sentences, the important words in that sentence are like the main notes in a melody: they have more weight than the other words, and signal important moments. The words used to get from one important word to another are the “passing words.”

Where writers get tangled up is in the passing words—they use too many, which in turn slows the sentence down, and makes a cumbersome transition from one important word to another. But if you can get your “passing words” few and fleet—taking up as little space as possible in the sentence, then the words flow like a simple, beautiful melody, the sentence is in good proportion, and the reader knows what’s most significant in the narrative.

September 8, 2011

Writing Class: How to make your writing so beautiful that it sings like music

Posted in Flow, Harmony, Peak Experiences, Practice Writing, Writing Classes tagged , , , , at 8:40 am by Rebecca Hein

Announcing an all-day writing class to be held on Saturday September 24, 2011

Subject: How to make your writing so beautiful that it sings like music.

The most beautiful music is simple yet so haunting that we can’t forget it and more, must listen to it again and again. Our writing takes on this character when we apply musical principles such as practice, harmony, rhythm, and most of all total absorption in what we’re doing. Join this class and learn the crossover between the spirit of music and the force of your ideas. No musical background needed.

Format: Telephone Conference Call

Schedule: Noon-2:30 pm (critiques) and 4:00-6:30 pm (discussion) Eastern Time

Instructor: Rebecca Hein, cellist and writer

Cost: $50.00

Deadline for enrollment: Wednesday September 14, 2011. To enroll, pay $50 via PayPal to woodturnedart@vcn.com on or before September 14 or send a check to Hein Family Enterprises, Inc. 10205 W. Hwy. 220, Casper, WY 82604. Postmark September 14.

Enrollment is limited to the first eight people who sign up.

For more details contact Rebecca Hein rhein@vcn.com; 1-888-921-9595 or
(307) 472-3120

September 7, 2011

Writer’s Block, Part Five: The Time is Not Yet Right

Posted in Writer's Block tagged at 7:48 am by Rebecca Hein

Years ago I struggled to write a book that refused to behave. No matter how many chapters I wrote, sooner or later I got stuck and couldn’t see how to get going again.

The problem was not in my initial inspiration for the book. Neither was the flow of words an obstacle. Rather, it was the direction of those words. Eventually I always had to stop because I didn’t see which way to take my narrative next.

Finally giving up, I abandoned the project and years later saw the problem: my vision for the book was only half-formed. I couldn’t have written the book without the knowledge and experience I gained in the years after I gave up on it. Looking back, I realized that in the absence of those experiences, the story was incomplete and therefore couldn’t yet be told.