Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Interview with Thunder Bay Public Library

Over at "Off the Shelf," the blog for the Thunder Bay Public Library, you can read an interview with me. In it, I talk about working with scientists and engineers, publishing in literary journals, and the big umbrella that is "creative nonfiction."

Shauna Kosoris asked great questions, and I had a lot of fun answering them. Thank you so much for the opportunity!

In one of my answers, I mentioned revising one particular essay many times--I'm pleased that this essay, "Entanglement," has been accepted by Atticus Review. Stay tuned for its publication date.

While you're at "Off the Shelf," check out some of the other content--book reviews, recommendations, and interviews.
Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Vote

Elections are underway on both sides of the border--primaries in the US, and tomorrow, the Ontario Provincial election in Canada.

This was my first time to vote in an election in Canada. I voted early. I didn't have to wait at all. It was easy and fabulous. (Fingers crossed the result will be, too.)

Vote.


EDITED TO ADD: Seriously, Ontario? Sigh.
Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Now Available: TNQ #146

Issue #146 of The New Quarterly is now available in print in bookstores and by order from their website. 

Because "Atomic Tangerine" appears in that issue, my "writing space" post also appears on their blog this month. You can see it--an example of judicious photo cropping--at this link.

They make selections of their current issue available for free to non-subscribers for brief periods online; you can read all the back issues by subscribing to their newsletter.

Thanks, TNQ, for taking such great care of my piece and ensuring that people are able to read it.
Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Also Never Wrong

I often make mistakes, and try to own them, which means I also look for courses of action that are "never wrong." I wrote about this recently.

To that list, I will add something else: going for a walk. Especially when you can retrieve beautiful objects like those below. Or even when you simply enjoy beautiful moments and create beautiful memories.


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

To Those on the 5th Floor of the LU Library Last Wednesday Afternoon

Dear Everyone:

I am so sorry that our group of people talking disturbed you. Some of us didn’t know we were in a designated quiet space, and some of us knew but didn’t remember and were thoughtless.


None of which matters. All of us were rude and disrespectful. I’m so sorry for that.


I have no excuse. I wish I could un-do it, or make it up to you.


I wish I could restore to you the hours that you had hoped would be productive. I’m sure you didn’t get everything done that you’d planned to because we were noisy.

More than that, I wish I could give you back your inner peace—the positive resolve with which I imagine you approached your study session in the library.

I try to picture your day up to that point. You kissed your kids and slipped out into the morning, skipping breakfast. You wanted to be early to your work shift so you could leave on time and spend your afternoon with your project.

While you cleaned or filed or taught or washed dishes or researched or treated patients or served people, you ignored your fatigue and coaxed part of your brain to consider your project. To make connections. To create the exact phrase that expresses what you mean. Something specific and unique to your experience but building on or arguing with ideas and traditions from the past.

When your work shift was over, did you battle more than weariness to get to this study session? Did you combat imposter syndrome to even go onto campus?

On your way up the hill and through the library doors, did you have to remind yourself to breathe? Yes, you belong there. Yes, I belong here.

When you sat in that quiet space and opened your laptop, how did it feel to be surrounded by shelf after shelf full of volumes of established wisdom, which you’re challenging and subverting?

I don’t know you—or you or you, all the people sitting at all the tables. I know that each of you has a different story.

Most of all, I know that it cost you a lot of emotional energy to complain to the librarian when we weren’t respecting the quiet space.

It’s so wearing to have to claim space in the world all the damn time. Especially when you had picked a space that’s officially set aside for quiet work. And because our group behaved rudely, you had to claim that space again.

For what it’s worth, I’m so grateful you said something. You shouldn’t have had to.

I can’t give you back what I, though my lack of respect, took from you that afternoon. I will do my best to learn from the experience so I don’t make this same mistake in the future.

And now I will stop claiming your energy and attention—yet again—and re-apply myself to learning.

Sincerely,
Marion

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Things That Are Never Wrong

1. Buying more underpants.
2. Buying more socks.
3. Throwing in a load of laundry (water levels permitting).

Hmm, is there a relationship between those three?

4. Slowing down to look, REALLY LOOK, at something. Maybe taking a photo.
5. Being open to *hearing* input while staying thoughtful about *implementing* it.
6. Saying "What do you think?" and "That must have been difficult" or "How interesting."

I'm pretty good at #4 but need work on #6. And #5 is always a work in progress.

7. Keeping an extra loaf of bread in the freezer. Bonus points if it's raisin bread!
8. Making scones. Because scones are never wrong.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Good News!

I recently received word that my essay, "Let d Be the Distance Between Us," will appear in the June issue of The Grief Diaries. I very much appreciated their interest in providing feedback on an earlier version, and my piece is stronger for it.

Also, I'm eagerly anticipating the chance to get together with other Creative Nonfiction folks in Toronto at this weekend's annual conference of the Creative Nonfiction Collective. The Friday master classes are sold out and conference registration itself has closed, but there are still several events for which you can just buy a ticket and hear an awesome speaker or several. This year's conference program is here.

These "new beginning" events mean a  lot to me. This time of year is difficult. My mother's birthday is tomorrow--she would have been 101 this year--and her death anniversary is early next week. Of course, Mother's Day is also looming. Although I think of my mother every day, even 18 years after her death, these anniversaries are extra poignant. I enjoy the chance to be with others, both in person and in online publications, who are making sense of their lives through art.

Tra-la, it's May!