Lily Iona MacKenzie's Blog for Writers & Readers

MY BLOG POSTS COMMENT ON SOME ASPECT OF WRITING & READING.

The Ripening
The Ripening:
A Canadian Girl Grows Up

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" Tillie’s grit and ability to face life’s challenges are inspiring, the seeds for later discovering her artist self. Tillie takes readers on a wild ride. Join her if you dare! "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
Curva Peligrosa
Curva Peligrosa

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

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FLING!
Fling!

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

"Fling! is both hilarious and touching. Every page is a surprise, and the characters! I especially loved Bubbles, one of the most endearing mothers in recent fiction. A scintillating read."

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
Freefall
Freefall :
A Divine Comedy

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" These fascinating characters will fill your imagination, defying expectations about aging, art, and what truly matters in life. "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
All This
All This

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" Indicative of the title, the poems in All This range from the conventional lyric/narrative that captures an intense moment of emotion, an epiphany glimpsed briefly out of the corner of the eye, to the more experimental. "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
No More Kings
No More Kings

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

Each finely crafted poem in this powerful collection comes alive on the page while she traces the days’ journeys with a painter’s eye, a musician’s ear, and the deft pen of a poet.

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
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Tag: wallace stevens

The Importance of Poetry Mentors

peony-2438192_1920Recently someone asked me which poet or poets influenced me the most in writing poetry and why. It would be great if I could just name one of two, but it’s impossible. Many different poets have been important to me at each stage of my development in that medium.

Thirteen

Recently I dreamed I was writing furiously on a piece entitled Thirteen Hills.  This happened around the time I also was exploring the idea of a thirteen-month year, which makes more sense to me than twelve months, using the lunar calendar.

When I awoke, I immediately thought of Wallace Stevens’ poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.”  Of course, birds have been on my mind because of my cats.  I don’t want to prevent them from hunting, but I also don’t like finding dead birds in my yard, feathers in the garage where the bird has struggled for its life.  In many ways I identify with those birds.

Blackbirds, while common (like humans?), have a mysterious quality.  It’s as if their commonness conceals a mystery, their shiny surfaces reflecting light, and absorbing it, like rainbow-colored pools of oil under the sun’s intense rays.

Thirteen suggests the idea of something being left over.  Twelve is too symmetrical.  Thirteen is not divisible by an even number; it is lop-sided.  The lunar calendar, with its thirteen months, always begins and ends at a different place.  Nothing about being human is symmetrical, so this way of dividing up the year makes sense.

Thirteen—an unlucky number for some.  For others an opening into the unknown.

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The sun is out today and a brisk wind from the sea keeps the air fresh and cool.  It all seems pretty ordinary, familiar.  Nothing unknown here.  Or so I’d like to think.

The wind.  So many kinds:  Doldrums (low pressure heated air expanding and rising).  I’m down in the doldrums.  Why do we say that when doldrums expand and rise?  Horse Latitudes (regions of descending air); Polar front (cyclonic activity at a max); Coriolius effect (winds deflected to right in north hemisphere and left in south); Trade winds (prevailing westerlies); Chinook; Gale; Hurricane.

And of course there are the winds of change.  They can strike like hurricanes, breaking up our houses/defenses and forcing us to accept the new.  Or they can gently shake our walls, rattling things until we pay attention and let them in.

Perhaps the first change needs to be in our attitude to thirteen.

When I look at pictures of myself at thirteen, I hardly recognize the girl I was:  I didn’t seem to fit the body that was going through such dramatic changes, all angles, it seemed, breasts still forming, everything in motion.  (Do we avoid thirteen because it gives that feeling of things in motion, a dizzying effect?)  I’m a bridesmaid at my sister’s wedding.  The other bridesmaids—older than I and my sister’s friends—fill out their dresses, all curves and full-bodied.  I don’t.  Mine hangs on me as if I’m a scarecrow.  And in a way I am, all arms and legs, not much torso yet.

Thirteen is such an in-between age.  Not a child any longer, but definitely not an adult.  Everything is in abeyance, waiting, though also in full motion, hurtling through life, body changing at lightning speed.

Thirteen represents what it’s like to be a writer.  We always seem to be awkwardly waiting, in abeyance.  We’re either waiting for a book to be published, or for a publisher to get back to us, or for a check from our agent (if we’re lucky enough to have gotten that far).  Or we’re waiting to be recognized as a major talent, or waiting for the an email that will tell us our work has been accepted.  It’s the nature of the enterprise to remain in limbo.

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