Wednesday, May 30, 2012

PAM B. MORRIS: A Tip o' the Hat to Editors!

PAM B. MORRIS: A Tip o' the Hat to Editors!: A willful writer named Pam, Loved jiggin' the head-hoppin' jam, Omniscient third person Her constant assertion, And Oxford C...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

What is Symbolism?

...and how can it be used to strengthen a novel’s mood?

I could spend several paragraphs singing the praises of M.H. Abrams and his famed Glossary of Literary Terms, but I won’t. Simply put, a symbol is a word or object that represents the idea of something else.

For all the years I spent teaching English, I found that using poetry to illustrate a point or element within literature is most effective.

To illustrate the use of symbolism, I’d like to focus on “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe. I have been thinking of this fabulous writer of suspense and horror lately because of the new movie, The Raven. I have not yet seen it--too busy writing!

The stanza I think of most when I envision how powerful symbolism can be is after the persona of the poem is awakened, opens the door, and lets in a bird.

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
Poe, E. A. (2012). Retrieved from

There are two specific elements of symbolism that are particularly powerful within this stanza.
  • The bird, The Raven is black which in itself symbolizes or represents evil, the underworld, death, mystery and secrecy.
  • The “bust of Pallas” upon which the bird perches. Pallas is truly Pallas Athena the Goddess of Wisdom in Greek mythology. This bust represents or symbolizes truth and knowledge.
The bird Poe chose to use instills a sense of dread and death in the reader. The location Poe placed the bird within the poem--on the bust of a statue that represents wisdom--solidifies to the reader that whatever the dark, evil bird says will be true because it has a knowledge others do not.

In the span of six short lines Poe uses many literary devices: rhythm, rhyme, repetition, alliteration, allusion, but it is the power of his symbolism that creates a mood of dreary, hopelessness.

To fellow writers: so when we return to our writing, and we’re trying to convey a certain sense of mood for our readers, perhaps we can take a page or rather a line from Poe’s poetry.

To fellow readers: when we again open the pages of our favorite novel or even click open the new book on our e-readers, we can look for the subtle, yet powerful ways the writer conveys a mood for us to appreciate and thrill in.

We, The Chanting of Muses, are always interested in what you’ve found as readers and writers that has been powerful to you. Please share your findings on symbolism.

Rionna Morgan holds a bachelors in English Literature as well as a masters. She spent a decade teaching English and theatre in the public schools of Colorado, Oregon and Montana. She also briefly taught English at the university level. Rionna writes romantic suspense and her book, The Wanting Heart, is set to be released July 9, 2012.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Fool!" said my muse to me...

"Fool!" said my muse to me. "Look in thy heart and write." (Sir Philip Sidney, Astrophel and Stella)

Oh, that it were so easy. You may be fascinate to know (or not!) that in the Latin, the word "mus" means mouse or rat. The word "musa" means a muse or a goddess of music. I hear music a lot. But more often I hear whispers. Words. Musings of the muses (or perhaps the mus...). Conversations. Characters yammering. I love the total distraction, the escape into sublime, often singing voices.

Not crazy, I'm just a writer. And I must remind myself of that daily. More especially now that Smitten Image, my paranormal romance is coming out with Crimson Romance in July.

Like so many introverts and artists, I need constant reinforement that yes, I am a writer. (And Rionna, bless her gigantic heart is great for that.) Because currently I'm a social butterfly flitting about the Big Tangly Web In The Sky. And I can't seem to quit aggravating over it. I am NOT a butterfly, I'm a moth. Bright shiny lights attract me, distract me. Getting accepted with a publisher is the biggest and brightest of glowing objects I've had in sight for awhile.

But the voices are growing more quiet. I've ignored the Chanting of Muses, being too manic doing the Network Rumba. See, moths don't dance. They flit...

My muse is shouting now. "Fool," she yells over and over, "get out of your head and write!"

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

To Midnight Writers

In the darkened hours before
the pink fingers of dawn

In the minutes that torture
us with their tauntings.

In the seconds that hold
the secrets of an eternity.

We join.

We hold our pens,
feeling their power.

And we pause.

Fill our lungs with the quiet
scent of peace and terror
that drifts through our imaginations
at this most hallowed hour.

We sip our tea and relish the
favored flavor as it fills our mouths
with the sweetest of comfort.

We hear the gentle brushing
of the breeze beyond
the window pane.

The moon strolls over the quiet land.
The earth slows it spinning.
The stars wink down and hold a pensive breath.

The candle burning its smoky wick encourages.

The paper begs in turn for our pens to touch its surface.

The violet wreathed companions of Apollo
whisper their commands.

And finally, we write.

Those torturous minutes
become our sanctuary where
secrets unfold.

The rotation of the earth is righted.
The stars breath easy and the moon
begins to fade as we find ourselves
living in the worlds we have created.

*       *       *

To the Midnight Writers,
May our oil burn bright,
May our holy hour last forever,
May we find in our souls the wish our
hearts dream for us.

To the Midnight Writers who have been,
To the Midnight Writers who are,
And to Midnight Writers who will be...

I am with you, my pen in hand...

Blessed Be,
Rionna Morgan

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Thank you for Stopping By!

Welcome!  We hope you relax and stay awhile.  Pam B. Morris and Rionna Morgan have written together for nearly a decade.  They have read each other's words and encouraged each other's dreams.  They are wonderful ladies.