Tag Archives: Sandi Somers

What is the Ladder of Abstraction Part 2 by Sandi Somers

In Part 1 of “What Is the Ladder of Abstraction?”, I covered the basic concepts. Our speaking and writing can be compared to different rungs on a ladder. As your words climb up ladder, you increase the abstract language—concepts, ideas, and meaning. As you climb down to the bottom rungs, your language becomes more concrete—as… Read more »

Blog , , , , , , , , , Permalink

What is the Ladder of Abstraction? Part 1 by Sandi Somers

When I was teaching, someone pinned on the bulletin board in our staff room this quote by Donald Rumsfeld when he was the US Secretary of Defense. There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t… Read more »

Blog , , , , Permalink

Lessons from the Writing Path of Alexandr Solzhenitsyn by Sandi Somers

Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008), a Russian novelist and an outspoken critic of communism, has been one of my “shadow mentors.” I was introduced to his work when, years ago, my dad bought his book, The Gulag Archipelago, and I became fascinated with his life and works. As a young man, Solzhenitsyn dreamed of writing the grand… Read more »

Blog , , , , , Permalink

The Mind’s Eye: Part 5 of Writing with Sensory Details – Sandi Somers

I had read the book Pride and Prejudice, noting that the author, Jane Austen, didn’t give many visual cues as to clothing, body language or even where the scene was located. Instead, she focused more on  dialogue. The movie, in contrast, contained a lot of visual cues, showing the Bennet family home, the family at… Read more »

Senses, Writing Tips , , , , , , , Permalink

Sound Bytes: Part 4 of Writing with Sensory Details – Sandi Somers

Beethoven discovered he was losing his hearing as early as age 25. For a musician, nothing could be more disastrous.  In his depression he wrote, “Alas! How could I possibly refer to the impairing of a sense which in me should have been more perfectly developed than in other people, a sense which at one… Read more »

Senses, Writing Tips , , , , , , , , Permalink

Touch, The Intimate Sense: Part 3 of Writing with Sensory Details – Sandi Somers

Blind and deaf, Helen Keller developed a very refined sense of touch, even able to know that a person was approaching as she felt vibrations on the floor. She learned to “see” people and discern their character through touching different parts of the face. Helen learned to understand speech through feeling the vibrations on a… Read more »

Senses, Uncategorized , , , , , Permalink

Taste Tells: Part 2 of Writing with Sensory Details — Sandi Somers

“The Taste Test” was part of my English as a Second Language unit on food. I brought to class samples of celery, potato chips, chocolates, cinnamon hearts, peanut butter on a cracker, pickles, cubes of Jello and popcorn. Students described each food: its shape, texture, colour, how it sounded while chewing, its hardness or softness,… Read more »

Writing Tips , , , , Permalink

Adding Texture to your Writing — Sandi Somers

It has been said you write your first draft for yourself, and the second for your readers. This was vividly brought home to me as I was writing about Calgary’s recent flood for an online course. My first essay focused on my experiences during the critical first day as I visited sites, watched raging floodwaters,… Read more »

Writing Tips , , , Permalink