Archive for the ‘story telling’ Category

Nuggets of Wisdom from Writers

July 12, 2009


I have always been admiring of and intrigued by people who are able to express their wisdom and insight in a clear and pithy manner. Here are a few gems on writing.

“The total life of the writer
is the source of his work,
all of these go into his writing
in varying quantities:

the sense, as of taste and touch,
the rate of metabolism, blood pressure,
the digestion, body temperature,
the memory of things past,
perhaps going back to the childhood
not only of the writer but of the race itself.

The success of his work
depends on the liveliness
and alertness of his brain,
previous reading of books,
shrewdness of insight into human character,
his ear for the sound of language.

The writer, therefore,
must have a more than ordinary
capacity for life
and the power to retain what he experiences.”

Paul Engle

“I write for the same reason I breathe- because if I didn’t, I would die.” Isaac Asimov

“You write in order to change the world, knowing perfectly well that you probably can’t, but also knowing that literature is indispensable to the world… The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way … people look at reality, then you can change it.” James Arthur Baldwin

“When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters – one represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.” Saul David Alinsky

A book must be an ice-axe to break the seas frozen inside our soul.” Franz Kafka

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” Jack London

“You must write for children the same way you write for adults, only better” Maxim Gorky

Tales my Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me


Shush! Writer at Work

July 8, 2009

I’ve finally decided on a plan of action for fitting writing my next book into the rest of my life. Mornings are good for me. If I wake up early enough I get to enjoy the down chorus. Then breakfast, exercise and bathing come nexr. I’m full of energy until late afternoon when things rapidly go downhill.

The best plan seems to be for me to try and do my writing first thing after breakfast. This is not set in stone as sometimes something else will have to take priority. I’ve no intention of stressing myself out by trying to maintain a rigid regime.

The characters and the plot of this book for 12 year olds are growing and taking shape. Although I enjoy writing I am nevertheless disquieted by this book which will of necessity portray violence.

The thought passed through my mind in an idle moment that children’s stories give authors an opportunity to invent words. I thought of “smish” a word combining the idea of “smear” and “smash” and “schroon” for screaming and groaning at the same time.
If you have any words that you would like to bring into existence do please let me post them. Thank you.

Tales my Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me by Dzagbe Cudjoe

The Frustrations of a Would Be Writer

July 3, 2009

Today the temperature was more than 30 degrees Celsius. I know for many of you this probably represents springtime conditions. But for me it is just too, too hot. Nevertheless I have actually achieved quite a lot. This has necessitated numerous lie down on the sofa with the air conditioning on. I’m trying to do my bit for the environment and I felt bad about turning it on. I have also dutifully increased my intake of water.

The reason why the day has not been entirely satisfactory for me lies with the choices I had to make earlier in the day. I am a great believer in prioritizing tasks so clearly making a loving input into my neglected website Dance to Health was the first thing on the list.

In my heart though I longed to begin work on my second book. I wanted to start designing the plan of the town where the story is set. This plan kept coming into my mind and needed to be firmly banished. One of the signs of the passage of time where I am concerned is that I am no longer so good at multitasking. I need to fully concentrate on one thing at a time so I do not like switching from one projet to another.

When I wrote Tales my Ghanaian Grandmother Told MeI had the exceptionally good fortune of being able to concentrate solely on that project. Now like most people I have to find a specific time to write. Getting up an hour or so earlier is not appealing but may be the way forward as going to bed later is out of the question. I’m going to have to find a solution. I have ideas for the book which I am dying to put to paper but the problem is one of organization.

But that’s life and these things are sent to try us. When I’ve found a solution I’ll let you know!

A Free Children’s Story

June 29, 2009


Click here to print this page

Special Online Story

written & narrated by Sharri McGarry

“I saw a rat last night in the garden,” Mum said. “A big brown rat!”

Dad looked up from fastening his briefcase. “Did you?”

“We’ll have to get rid of it.” Mum said pointedly.

“Well,” Dad clucked, as he picked up the briefcase and walked from the room. “If you see it again, we’ll get the poison out. Now, I’ve got to go. See you later!”

“Is a rat…DANGEROUS?” said little Jimmy in a wobbly voice.

His brother, Ben, turned to him. “Oh YES!” he said fiercely. “Rats have got long, sharp front teeth and if they catch you, they will BITE you!”

“Nonsense, Ben!” said Mum sharply. “Rats will run away from you!”

Ben shook his head at little Jimmy and screwed up his face into a vicious expression. He smoothed his face as Mum turned from the sink. She set down two glasses and two chocolate biscuits on the table.

“Here’s your elevenses, boys,” she said as she hurried out. “I just have to say goodbye to Dad.”

Ben grabbed his biscuit. “Watch this!” he said, and stuffed the whole biscuit into his mouth.

“Coo!” said little Jimmy admiringly. He reached for his own biscuit.

“LOOK OUT!” screamed Ben. “There’s the RAT!”

Little Jimmy shrieked and leapt on to a chair.
Ben grinned wickedly, picked up little Jimmy’s biscuit ….
And calmly popped it into his mouth.
“Got you!” he said.

The swimming pool was hot and steamy. Ben grabbed his goggles and headed for the slide.

“I want to go on the slide!” little Jimmy yelled.

“Are you sure, dear?” Mum asked. “You’ve never BEEN before!”

“I WANT to go on the slide,” little Jimmy insisted. “with Ben!”

“Ben!” Mum called him. “Please take little Jimmy up the slide.”

“Aw Mum!” Ben moaned. “Do I HAVE to?”

“Yes!” Mum insisted. “Be a good brother and take your little brother up the slide.”

Little Jimmy followed happily as Ben slouched off towards the steps.

“Is the slide FUN, Ben?” asked little Jimmy, nervously climbing the steps.

Ben stopped and considered him. “Fun?” he asked slowly. “Fun? No! Not fun! Did you know that this is a RAT slide?”

Little Jimmy looked around nervously. “A …..RAT….slide?” he echoed.

“A RAT slide,” said Ben firmly. “You have to slide down ….the rat’s tail!” Ben continued. “Round and round and down and down his long black tail….until…. PLOP! You fall straight into his…..STOMACH! Into his stomach filled with bubbling, gurgling ACID! PLOP! Glug..glug..glug….”

Little Jimmy’s eyes filled with horrow. “D..d..down his t..tail?” he quavered.

“Down his long black tail!” Ben insisted.

“And into his…gulp…stomach?” little Jimmy wavered.

“PLOP! Into his nasty, acid-filled stomach” said Ben firmly.

“O..o…o..h!” little Jimmy shuddered. “I.. want…MUMMY!” and he set off back down the steps at top speed.

Ben chuckled and continued up the steps…by himself.

“That was very naughty of you Ben,” Mum scolded. “Scaring your little brother like that!”

She opened the front door wearily. “He was so nervous, I had to take him up the slide myself, just to show him that it was quite safe.”

“It was FUN!” little Jimmy beamed happily.

“He loved it so much that I had to go up and down twenty times with him.” Mum sighed. “I am exhausted!”

Ben grinned unrepentantly.

“I am hungry!” he announced.

“Yes – so are we all!” Mum agreed. “You can have a biscuit while I put dinner on.”

She put two chocolate biscuits on the table and went out to the freezer.

“Aaagh!” screamed little Jimmy, pointing behind Ben. “It’s a RAT!”

Ben caught a movement out of the corner of his eye. Something sleek and black passed behind him. He spun around in horror, ready to shriek in terror. And there was the cat. The cat stared back at him, raising its fur in alarm.

Ben groaned. “Aw Jimmy! You BABY!” He turned towards his brother. “It’s not a rat! Its only the…”

He stopped and stared in amazement as his little brother calmly stuffed the last biscuit into his overfull mouth.
“GOT YOU!” said little Jimmy.
Tales my Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me by Dzagbe Cudjoe


Dzagbe Cudjoe reading a story to children at a Primary School in Hilton, South Africa

March 31, 2009

The Author Reading a story from her book