Showing posts from May, 2010

Writing First, Then Community

For all that I am someone who doesn't allow comments on her website and blog, I am a big believer in writing communities and I spend time participating in them. And--I am pleased to be able to say--I also spend a lot of time writing, if in "writing" you count revising and submitting. I do define this carefully. Freewriting and mind-mapping to figure out what the hell I really am trying to say in this essay: counts. Mowing the lawn while stewing over why the essay doesn't work: doesn't count. Writing a cover letter and formatting a short story for a particular market: counts. Surfing around online, occasionally hitting websites I could conceivably submit to: doesn't count. Not that the stewing while lawn-mowing or vacuuming or scone-baking (or even the surfing around) isn't useful. Sometimes it is. Sometimes I think "why don't I just say what I want to say?" But it doesn't really count as writing until I sit down and try it. And finding on

Creative Non-Fiction Second Place

The winners of the CBC Literary Awards go up at enRoute , Air Canada's magazine, every month. Here's a tour de force that won second place this year: "Quick-quick. Slow. Slow." Enjoy!

More than 1000

You have heard that whole "picture is worth a thousand words" thing. I love words, so sometimes I choose to disagree. But sometimes, the contest is not even close. "Celebrating the Creators - Aboriginal Artists of Northwestern Ontario" is an exhibit currently open at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery (April 3 to May 23). This video is in the exhibit. Yes, it has words. Carefully chosen ones, though. And it's the images and music that take centre stage. The blog about the video is here . Nick Sherman, one of the video subjects, wrote and performs the song. What an ambitious, beautiful project. Kudos to The Art Gallery for the exhibit, too.

Saying "No"

Nobody likes to hear "no." Yes, it's part of life. And yes, weathering rejection is part of being a writer, and yes, enduring the "no" is not unique to writers. And actually, there is something worse than hearing "no": hearing...[cue cricket noises] nothing . We all know the "reasons" why we hear nothing. The cost of doing business climbs. So publications, contests, and potential employers or customers view saying "no" as something they can cut out. It saves postage (although hello? email is free) and time (um, responses can be automated). Plus, saying "yes" is fun. Saying "no" is difficult. Yes. Life is difficult. In my writing world, "don't call us; we'll call you" is tolerable only when the publication (contest, employer, client) is upfront about it. And I still don't like it. In any other circumstance, grow up. Behave like a professional person and say, "No." Or even, "No,