Wednesday, 3 December 2014

About my Scottish Memoirs: What is a Vignette?

I am writing my Scottish memoirs as a series of vignettes so it seems appropriate to share what that means with my loyal reader. :)

vine leaf from pixabay
vine leaf with thanks to Pixabay

What is a vignette?

The origin of the word vignette was 'something that could be written on a vine leaf', in other words a short descriptive scene or sketch. It is free-flowing, a stream-of-consciousness writing, that is prompted by a particular focus. It might be a character, an event in your life, a setting or an observation. Each vignette stands on its own, a little slice of life that is usually particularly vivid and is written from your point of view. One could describe a good blog as a vignette but it could be anything that resonates with you, anything that is begging for your attention and for you to capture in words.

How to write a vignette

Vignettes are best approached as free writing, that is, stream-of-consciousness writing where you give your mind free rein. This doesn't mean it is sloppy writing because after you have captured that first slice you still need to edit it, and edit it again until it is smooth and as perfect as you can make it.
To write your own vignette, first of all sit quietly at your computer and let a topic come to the surface of your mind. It might be a memory from childhood, say a day at the zoo, your first day at work or the birth of your first child. Make it something that is ringing bells, begging to get written. Let's take a day at the zoo to use as an example. Take time to remember the day - was it warm and sunny or damp, who was with you, what did it sound like, smell like, how did you feel? Bring up memories of the taste of candyfloss or the pleasure in feeding monkeys or the feel of fur as you petted animals in the petting corner. Once you have submerged yourself in all that day meant to you, write it down, type it out. Keep going until it is all on the screen. At this stage don't worry about spelling, grammar or format - that comes later.
When you have it all down, go back and edit it once, then leave it alone for a day or so and come back and edit it again.

Monday, 1 December 2014

A Scottish fun poem@ Is a doo a dove Dad by Jim Douglas


collared doves
twin doos photography by annmackiemiller

Is a doo a dove/ Is a cow a coo Dad

A sparrow jist a spyug
And is a wall a waw Dad

Is a dog a dug
She's gonnae warm ma ear Dad

 Instead o' skelp ma lug.

Ma teacher's awfy posh Dad
 She changes aw oor names
Wee Shuggie now is Hugh Dad

And Jimmy's ayeways James
Ah'm scunnered wi' it aw Dad

The way she shoogles words
Ah must be glaickit no 'tae ken

That feathered friends are burds.

Ye learnt me aw wrong Dad
Ye cawd a ball a baw
Your wife is now my Mother
You said it wis ma Maw
Ah'm no share hoo tae spell Dad

Ah'll niver pass ma test
Whit is this ah'm wearin' Dad’

A simmet or a vest?

Ah gave ma nose a dicht Dad
When it began tae dreep
She gave me sich a fricht Dad

Ah near fall aff ma seat
“Haven't you a handkerchief”

She roared as if in pain
No, ah jist yase ma sleeve, Miss 

And wiped ma nose again.

Ah cawd a mouse a moose Dad
Ah shid hiv held ma tongue
That's manure oan yir bits Dad

Nae longer is it dung
It's turnips and potatoes

No tatties noo and neeps
She said I've ripped my trousers

When ah'd only torn ma breeks.
There's twa words fir awthin' Dad
They're jumbled in ma heed
Hoo kin I be well bred Dad

When ah keep sayin' breed
Now is a crow a craw Dad

 Is a bull a bull

A'll try tae get it richt Dad
I will, I will, ah wul