Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Ask!

Here's a neat event: it's Ask an Author!

Similar to the Human Library, this event lets you sign up to ask writers about whatever you want to ask about.


It's an honour to appear with these writers--I'd like to sign up for 20-minute chats myself! So mark your calendars for February 24, in the afternoon. You can sign up in advance, but half of the slots will be held for people who appear at the door.

Thanks very much to NOWW and the Thunder Bay Public Library for organizing this event and for supporting writers in general.
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

That Was a Thing That Was

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was going to read at an event sponsored by NOWW, the Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop.

And I did!

I always enjoy reading, once I'm there and standing up. (It really does help to practice ahead of time, so that I know what's coming when I turn the page.)

I also enjoy reading at events that occur anywhere from one to three months from now, when the event itself is in some comfortably far-off future, at which time I might finally be that confident person I dream of becoming. (And have the definitive confident-writer purse. For some reason, owning the perfect tote/purse/bag is elusive. Maybe I have a Mary Poppins complex.)

However. I don't always enjoy reading "tonight" or even "day after tomorrow."

As usual, the experience was really fun. I so appreciated the attention and respect of the people who showed up. And it was great to hear others share their work as well.

The event was note-worthy for me because I read for the first time from my first completed novel. "Completed" being a relative term, of course. I have a feeling that its major revisions are done. (I could be wrong, but it feels solid.)

In any case, introducing my novel to other people was nerve-wracking, but I'm glad I did it, and I appreciate all the encouragement and support.

So now, back to work--writing, revising, and even a little dreaming.
Wednesday, January 17, 2018

So Pleased

I had wonderful news recently: my essay, "Hours of Daylight," won third prize in the creative nonfiction division of the 2017 Prairie Fire writing contest. It will appear in their summer issue, along with all the other fabulous contest winners.

The judge was Betsy Warland, and I'm thrilled that she even read my work, to say nothing of choosing it as worthy of recognition. (A quiet squee: squee!)

Excerpts from winning entries in all three categories are available here. It's such an honour to appear in the company of these writers! I'm looking forward to reading this issue.
Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Aloud, in Front of Others

A week from tomorrow, I'm participating in a really fun event: a reading, sponsored by the Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop. (Details: 7 PM at the Mary J. L. Black Library.)

The theme is "Janus," naturally, it being January. And what better theme for someone who's spent the past year's granted time writing and revising creative nonfiction? (Sad to say, what better theme also for someone who also spent a significant part of this past year SERIOUSLY revising a novel manuscript that has, shall we say, aged. Which isn't a question.)

I haven't quite decided what I'll read yet, but I will soon, and then I'll start practicing. Because no matter how many times I read a piece aloud before I submit it somewhere (and that's a lot of times), reading in front of other people is a VERY different experience. And a fabulous one.

Audiences are so helpful to writers who are working to better understand how people read them. (And isn't that all of us?) Because my husband and I live in the country and getting to town of an evening can be difficult in winter, I don't get to every single event where it's possible to hear people reading or performing their work. But I love it when we're there.

The audience doesn't get to just sit there--you're part of the event, even if the event is formal (no finger-snapping, as at some spoken-word events). Your attention is a gift you give the person reading.

You're receiving gifts, too, of course. First, I get to hear someone tell me a story. And second, I have to find that listening space in myself to hear the story. It's a brief time period when I stop the natter in my head and allow someone else's words to penetrate. Being there, in that moment, with that reader, is hugely rewarding.

It's a nice time of community. I'm really grateful for the opportunity to read.
Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Keepers

A couple of years ago, I wrote about my best life-simplifier, indulgence, and challenge. Every time I use those iced-tea spoons, I am grateful I got them.

Last/this year, my best life-simplifier is combined with my best indulgence: I got an egg cooker.

Years ago, I received one from a cousin but somehow lost track of it in a move. So I bought a new one, and I even paid $5 extra to get it in teal. (Indulgence.) The colo(u)r makes me smile.

I've used it often. I eat eggs for breakfast almost every day, and having them cooked and waiting in the fridge makes mornings (not my best time) so much easier.

Two years ago, I mentioned saying NO to most things, so that I could say YES to others. I still try to do that.

Specifically in the writing world, I have said YES to things that scare me, and as a result, submitting work to publications is now easier.

This year, I'm in the position of submitting entire manuscripts for the consideration of strangers--a new level of scary--but I anticipate that THAT process will get easier, too.

I am also renewing my desire to say NO to news alerts. A resolution to express gratitude, every day, for my life helps keep my adrenaline even. (Well, more even.) My reasoning: in an apocalypse, I want to be aware of the gift of having lived in this beautiful, imperfect world.

The habit of staying out of social media except at prescribed times is, shall we say, still under development.

As for the third thing I mentioned 2+ years ago--ordering extra socks and underwear--it's about time to do that again. The cold snap came early this winter, and our well usually freezes up at some point in the early months of any year. Might as well be prepared.

These simplifiers, indulgences, and challenges will help me face those parts of 2018 I can't predict or anticipate. Or so I hope.