Showing posts from August, 2010

Sleeping Giant Writers Festival

This is where I'm going to be this weekend! •Miriam Toews - Advanced Fiction: What is a Novel? •Jeanette Lynes - Historical Fiction, Energize your Poems •Richard Scrimger - Writing for Children: lies, laughter and standing on chairs •David Carpenter - Personal Essay, Short Story •Douglas Gibson - Learn About Publishing •Terry Fallis - Shameless Self-Promotion Plus readings!! That are free and open to the public!! And the Northern Woman's Bookstore will have a table, from which you can buy nifty stuff! And socializing, which I know is kind of saying "and torture" to many writers, but hey, you might meet someone who'd be a critique buddy. Or at least meet you for coffee. Sleeping Giant Writers Festival : the largest literary festival in northern Ontario. With award-winning Canadian writers, interactive sessions, and tons of learning at your fingertips. Don't miss it.

What's That You Say? Oh Wait, You Can't

People have wondered why I don't allow comments here or on my border-and-boundary-themed blog, Half-Canadian . Maybe they haven't wondered so much as perhaps mentioned , forcefully or pointedly . While I could say, "Yes, that's right! I don't!" I could also just explain. I grew up with two intelligent, busy parents and four older and quite intelligent siblings. I spent a lot of time being cajoled, corrected, and humo(u)red. I was often told I was wrong, which is not suprising, because often, I was wrong. But sometimes I was just younger and had a different perspective. This corner of cyberspace (does anyone call it that anymore? anyone?) is my place. Here, I get to make all the pronouncements I want. But I do try to use my powers only for good. International chocolate ice cream day, anyone? I view this website, with its posts about creativity and writing, and my blog (about borders and boundaries and other observations about living out of one's culture) a

Brussels Sprouts vs. Lima Beans

Although I am fast friends with most foods, two have always been at the bottom of my list: brussels sprouts and lima beans. (We're talking common foods here, not chocolate-covered ants.) (I make an exception for brussels sprouts sauteed with bacon in a cream sauce, which my sister-in-law and sister have made for me, because I was actually eating the bacon and cream sauce. The wee cabbages were incidental. I might even eat bacon-and-cream-sauce-covered ants.) (Probably not, though.) However. I married a man who is enthusiastic about brussels sprouts. (One of the charming things you learn after the fact.) He is a man of odd enthusiasms, and I indulge him in them when I can. Nowadays, I don't love brussels sprouts but I have learned to like them. Sincerely. I still don't like lima beans. Sorry, lima beans. It's not you, it's me. (It's really you.) If given a choice between lima beans and brussels sprouts, I'd go with the wee cabbagey things. And I'd be pret


It's an ordinary summer day. The lawnmower and washing machine are humming away. It's Saturday, and thus a "free" day, so I baked scones for breakfast, to my husband's delight. Both kinds of work--the "business of living" and writing--await my attention. Just plain old ordinary. Sixty-five years ago yesterday and Monday, other ordinary people were going about their ordinary lives. Until suddenly...they weren't. People in Hiroshima and Nagasaki died, their ordinary stories abruptly ended. But the rest of us, those who weren't killed or had not yet been born, were also affected: nuclear weapons changed the lives of everyone, everywhere. In the early 1940s, my mother, Jeanne LeCaine Agnew, worked for the National Research Council in Montreal, in the Canadian branch of the atomic research effort. About those days, she wrote Like everyone else who was involved in this project, I think often of the way our work has been used, and ask myself whether I w


As a general rule, I have access to 2.5 TV channels. And as a general rule, I don't mind my relative "cultural" "isolation." However, on vacation, flipping mindlessly among 50-something channels is a fun novelty. And recently I saw an episode of " Hoarders ." That makes three or four total I've seen so far. Frightening. Not because it's foreign; because it's NOT foreign. I recognize a couple of aspects of hoarding behaviour. First, I know today's routine objects are tomorrow's marvelous artifacts. My father was a historian who had done archival research. He knew the thrill of holding a piece of paper signed by someone famous. Professionally, he also understood that much of history is accidental. It's not the sheaf of Confederate money that's valuable; it's the stamp on the envelope the money was stored in. That kind of thing. Needless to say, we had a lot of junk to go through and dispose of when my parents died , some o