Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Ahh, September

September, a time of new beginnings. Back to school. Vacation's over. New shoes, new winter coat, new pens/pencils/notebooks. New routines. Starting again.

September, a time of letting go. Summer's heat wisps away, a little at a time. You hardly notice. Then the furnace kicks on. You look up and around and see things like this and this.




September holds nothing back. It teases you with a little summer yet hints at winter. "Look up, look around, look at me," it urges. And so we do.

It's a transition time--as I have said a few times, from "yang time" to "yin time," from publishing and submitting and revising and writing about writing to a more inward-focused time, when (if you're lucky) you can do the actual writing itself. What's coming is time for research, and dreaming, and the delightful frustration of new drafts.

Ahh. Welcome, September.
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Solving Problems

I forgot about a load of laundry--left it in the washing machine (ostensibly clean) overnight. Mid-morning, when I remembered it, the load stank in that sour way of wet things in an enclosed space.

A problem to solve. Which I have. So far. (When I wear the t-shirts that were part of that load, I'll have a better idea of how effective my solution was.)

In other news, one of my characters threatens to disappear into the ether of digital manuscript pages. He needs to be a little more charismatic. Even if only to himself.

A problem to solve. Not something to despair over, no matter how real this person is (to me) and how thoroughly he lacks charisma.

Taking a break for much of August, as much as I was able to, has turned out to be a good choice, especially after ten days in Saskatchewan working in-depth on this novel.

Perspective, I believe it's called.

I may wander away from social media even more as summer wanes and autumn arrives, the better to keep solving problems that inevitably arise.
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

On Liking Things

I don't like my pen. It blotches. The ink gets all over my fingers, even after I've given it time to dry. It's a pain in the neck to use. I don't like my pen.

I really wanted to like this pen. It came in a cool package with pens of various colours. I like using coloured pens--green, red, or this purple--during the day. I had high hopes for this pen. I wondered if my hopes for this pen were too high. Was I seduced by hype around this pen? I tried to like it, really I did.


See? SEE? It blotches. I'm even using a pen-wiper. Yes, using a pen-wiper makes me feel a little like Jo March, but that's not enough to offset the problematic aspects of requiring a separate place to wipe your pen's nib periodically.

But I don't have to justify not liking the pen. I don't like it. I don't have to like it. I (gasp) don't even have to use it up. (Those whose parents also never got over their Depression-era childhoods will understand the radical nature of this statement.) So I might channel my inner rebel-child and not keep using it

I appreciate that someone made this pen. I am grateful to live in a world that includes ballpoint pens, and people who make them, and an economy in which I am able to buy ballpoint pens and paper, and a life in which I get to use pens and paper regularly.

And yet. I don't like this pen. I don't have to force myself to try to like it. I don't have to find value in it. I can just sit here not liking this pen. And that's OK. We don't have to like the same things. I will buy a different kind of pen next time. You can continue to love this brand of pen, if you wish.

Note: "Not liking" can also apply to other things, like books, essays, short stories, poems, or artwork.
Monday, August 13, 2018

Author-aganza! At Thunder Bay Chapters August 18

This Saturday! From noon until 4!

I'll be at Chapters in Thunder Bay, along with a bunch of other Thunder Bay/area authors (including Roy Blomstrom, author of SILENCES: A NOVEL OF THE 1918 FINNISH CIVIL WAR) (and also my husband) representing our books through Shuniah House Books.




If you're in the area, come in to meet folks, buy books or have them signed, and/or enjoy a beverage in the air-conditioned comfort.

The most up-to-date list of other participating authors: Sandi Boucher, Sam Convey, H. Leighton Dickson, Roma Fisher, Makenzi Fisk (publisher of, among other books, Canadian Shorts, which includes a short story of mine), Deanna Ford, Eva Kakepetum, Rob Kozak, Michelle Krys, Kyle Lees, Terrence McParland, Merk, John Pringle, Shannon Robertson, Evan Sills, and the Friends of the (Thunder Bay) Library.

Hope to see you there!
Wednesday, July 25, 2018

In and Out of the Office

It's summer, which is a lovely season here on the Lake Superior north shore. I'd like to spend more time out there enjoying it, and less time at my desk. Also, it's prime visiting time here, which is also fun.

Therefore, I'll be not 100% "out of the office," but not exactly in the office, until September. I may pop in here with news or items of interest. I'll be off Twitter (mostly) (I hope) but I'll be around on Instagram @marionagnew and I'll pick up email.

Wherever you are, whenever it is you're reading this, I hope you're able to enjoy being where you are.
Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Now Out!

The most recent issue of Prairie Fire arrived!



It includes my essay, "Hours of Daylight," another from the collection about my mother and her illness and our family. I'm so pleased that Betsy Warland recognized it and I'm honoured that it appears in this company. 

Managing journals and contests is a lot of work, and I appreciate the effort that groups across Canada put in to make our work available to readers. Thanks so much, Prairie Fire!


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Recent Reading

I've read a bunch of really great books lately, including this one.


I especially like this quote, page 215: "In the long run, the revision process feels better if you approach it with curiosity. Each editorial mark can't register as a 'mistake' that threatens the spider ego. Remind yourself that revising proves you care for the reader and the nature of your ambition."

Curiosity. Check! Back to work.