Writer Showcase: Linda Green Abraham
Why do you write?
Ideas and snippets of thought persistently flood my mind and I must write them down before they are lost. One of the saddest things in this world, I believe, is for a good story or poem to fly away into the ether, never to be seen or heard. I find writing to be rewarding and therapeutic, and I love being part of a writing collective that supports and encourages me to strive to perfect my skill. Sometimes, I sit and look at a blank screen, knowing a deadline is looming and despairing that I have no more ideas to share, but before long the page is full of words that seem to come from another place, and I once again feel the drive to write, rewrite and share my work.
What are your preferred genres?
I like to try different styles and genres. I have written a stage play, a screenplay, a novelette, short fiction and non-fiction, and various styles of poetry. I’m always looking for something new, challenging myself to create in a fresh and unique way. I once wrote a poem that used every letter of the alphabet, in order, to tell a story inspired by Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess”.
What started you writing?
I was the youngest of three children, separated from my closest sibling by five years; I learned to entertain myself. I told myself stories and acted out the parts, sometimes being the sweet and good-hearted protagonist, sometimes delving into the dark character of the evil villain. Some of my earliest memories are of sitting astride the footboard of my bed and chasing—or being chased by—dastardly people and creatures that my mind invented for the sole purpose of self- entertainment. In school, I embraced English and Literature classes that gave me the opportunity to put my fantasies to paper.
What was the first piece of writing that you were really proud of?
I wrote a children’s play several years ago, about travelling through a barrel-type butter churn to a magical world, and, with the help of a chocolate cat, save a friend from a wizard who wanted to imprison and enslave children for his evil purposes. The play was workshopped by a local theatre group and submitted to a children’s theatre, but never performed. It stays, tucked away in a box, along with other pieces that may or may not ever see the light of day.
When did you realise that writing was going to be an integral part of your life?
I wrote poems and short stories in school, but, lacking self-confidence, showed them to very few people. In Grade 12, I was very fortunate to have Elsie Park Gowan, a well-known writer, for English class. One day, she was walking the aisles in study period and saw a poem I had just completed: “The blindness of my sight appalls me…”. She stopped to read it, then smiled at me and said, “This is very good”. Gratefully, I took her words to heart and was encouraged to continue writing, developing my style and building my skill. Meeting Mrs. Gowan years later, I told her I had continued to write because of her. She was delighted, and said, “Don’t ever stop.”
Why did you choose this particular piece to post on showcase?
I write to reflect my innermost feelings, to elicit a real emotional response, or to pause and consider our world. Often, though, I just like to have fun and look for ways to play with my words. “M” is just such a piece. One day, needing a challenging distraction, I randomly selected a letter of the alphabet and wrote a poem using that letter only. Try it! It can be both fun and frustrating, but it definitely gets the mind working. Try not to use the same word twice.
What is one thing that is unusual in terms of your individual style?
I write to an audience of friends, real and fictional, and imagine them listening and smiling as I share my work. I invite them to join me on my expeditions, consider how they would receive my words, and undertake to entertain them on their tour of my mind. I often play “what-if”, and try to visualize strong images, borrowing ideas, scenes, shapes and colours from reality as well as vivid dreams. If an interesting sentence or phrase captures my imagination, I jot it down for later rumination. Although I enjoy sharing my writing and value feedback from my cohorts, when I am done with a piece I often put it away, like a new wine that needs to age. From time to time, I open a folder and review a piece, evaluate its merit, then update and rewrite if it fits a current need. I have drawers full of work in various stages of completion, but that doesn’t really bother me—most times, it’s enough to have the work out of my mind and committed to paper, and when a story is ready to surface, I’m prepared to help it find its place.
What are your long term goals as a writer?
To keep writing, to challenge myself to try different things, and perhaps to publish a book of my works.
A poem from Linda Green Abraham:
Midnight, myriad moments
Marking morning’s magnitude
Manifesting miscellaneous misery
Maple meadows melt mid
Muddy, muted meanders
Merging mossy margins
Marshy miasma muted
Magpie mantra muffled, mollified
Meekly mild, moderately melodious
Magenta mushroom mounds–