Friday, August 18, 2023


The Return

By Sharon Wynns

Ahh, serenity. It surrounded me as I hiked down the trail between two huge old beech trees when a sudden chill ran over my skin. I turned to look behind me. No one was there, but my body gave an involuntary shiver. I thought I had heard someone say my name, so softly I almost missed it. I shook my head. It must have been the wind. Turning back around, I stepped out from the shade of the beech trees. The path led through a sunlit meadow filled with lavender-blue asters. My eye was caught by a kaleidoscope of tiny yellow butterflies as they bobbed and danced from flower to flower. I stopped to enjoy the scene. Although it was fall, the sun still felt hot on my bare skin and the heated air rose up to envelop me.

Seeking this beauty, allowing it to calm and soothe my soul, had been my habit for two decades.

I was happy to be back on these trails—this being my first time since the accident. I had always felt welcome here and was surprised that I reacted to the sound of my name like that—perhaps because it had never happened before. A short huff of a laugh escaped me. I’ve always been told I have a not too subtle imagination. I passed back into the woods.

There it was again. I spun around, checking all about me. Nobody. This is getting a little spooky. It was another half mile back to the car. Fighting a sudden urge to break out into a run, I did pick up my pace, casting my eyes right and left. The trees were wide-spaced, and I had a clear view of the surrounding woods. It was brightly mottled with sunlight. The undergrowth was no higher than mid-calf, still lush but sparsely growing. I passed a sweetgum, Sharon. I passed another Beech tree. Sharon. My Goddess! It sounded like it was coming directly from the tree. I walked all around it, looked up into the large branches some ten feet above my head and saw no one—heard nothing more. This can’t be real.

“Whoever is doing this, come out. It’s not funny.”

No one responded. The woods were quiet. Another chill ran up my back. I could feel myself wanting to cry. Stay calm, I admonished myself. It’s just your imagination. I took another look around and then moved forward, one careful step at a time. I was approaching a group of trees that lined either side of the trail. I slowed even more. I passed the first tree, then two more. I kept going. Then a whole chorus of voices whispered my name. They didn’t stop until I ran past the last one in the group. Some ten feet away, I braked and turned around. “What! What do you want?” Whoa, crazy. Did I really think I’d get an answer? Silence.

Wrapping my arms around me, I once more turned in a slow circle. I had always considered myself to be open to the mystical, and yet... this was a bit out of my realm of experience. After my accident, I had spent a month in rehab. Maybe it was being around all those medical personnel. Their reality was definitely more based on the physical. Had I somehow become sealed off from the metaphysical? But... I was actually hearing these voices!

Taking a deep breath, I expelled it with a strong huff. I took a step forward, then another, until I was standing beside an old oak tree.

 “Sharon,” it said softly, its voice light... and kind, “Welcome back.”

Sharon is one of the original members of the Writers Guild at Bowers House. Her writings can range from whimsical to philosophical and are always entertaining and inspiring. Please leave a comment.

Her latest novel:

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

 The Melody of Words

Introducing Method Writing

           A few months ago, the Writers Guild had a session on story structure that used music to explain and illustrate the use of beats in structuring a story. At that session, we said the story is music: a melody with a cadence where a ballerina pirouettes on the scene and goes through a series of choreographed steps (BEATS) and at each step, presents a well-disciplined form that holds our attention throughout the song. I don’t know much about music, but I think that was a pretty good analogy. It certainly helped me better understand the beat structure of a story. So let’s exploit that idea as we begin our study method writing.  

In The Beginning

           A melody might begin with just a single note. The sound of a drop of water falling into a pool. Or maybe just a sound of two objects clinking together: an accident. Somehow, the sound in the artist’s ear resonates with a place in his memory and he feels something. He doesn’t know if it’s good or bad, but he’s curious, and searches for a mate to that single note. A natural pair is coaxed into being, perhaps by the feeling, curiosity, or even through trial and error: pecking the keys of a piano. The third note is added, then another, and another, and a melody begins to play in his head…

         The melody, even in its infancy, mirrors the unique personal traits of the artist who composed it, including his temperament, perspective, and emotions. Regardless of the art medium, the creative process yields a similar outcome. For example, in writing, the authentic voice of the writer is like the melody of a song. 

 Writing About It

           Authenticity is about being true to oneself and expressing one’s thoughts and feelings in a genuine and sincere way. This can be difficult, especially in a world that often values conformity and uniformity over individuality and creativity. Yet, it is precisely this individuality and creativity that gives writing its power and resonance. When a writer is able to tap into their authentic voice, they are able to connect with readers on a deep and meaningful level, transcending the boundaries of language, culture, and time.

 Completing the Song

            The simple melody is not a complete song. The artist selects and applies a key that determines the specific pitches, chords, and cadence to add intensity and depth, giving the song its unique tonal characteristics.

           The writer adds structure and style suitable for the genre shaping the prose with diction, verbals, adjectives, and any number of literary devices.

           There’s a remarkable similarity in the genius of creativity and despite different techniques for each craft, the work of each artisan, whether it is a symphony or a novel, always carries their authentic voice.

           Finding one’s authentic voice is not always easy. It requires a willingness to be vulnerable, to take risks, and to be open to criticism and feedback. But the rewards are great: not just for the writer, but for readers as well.

            In the end, the authentic voice of the writer is not just like the melody of a song; it is the illuminating spirit of prose and poem. It is the thing that makes writing come alive, that gives it meaning and purpose, and connects the writer to the reader in ways that are both profound and enduring.

           Method Writing is an approach to writing that emphasizes bringing realistic and emotional authenticity to the scenes portrayed in the prose. It requires writers to delve deep into the psyche of their characters, drawing upon personal experiences and emotions to bring forth truth and authenticity. Finding one’s authentic voice is the first step in the process.

 Nothing is impossible…  until you quit.