Showing posts from February, 2011

How Much?

Do you believe in your writing? (No, this is not "believe in" like the Easter Bunny. This is "believe in" as in "believe in the value of.") No, really. Do you believe in your writing? How much, in actual dollars, do you believe? If it's hard to quantify, think about some other concrete item--say, grande mochas. Would you be willing to forego 2 grande mochas, or pay $10, to enter your story (poem, script) into a contest? Then go here, to the contest sponsored by the Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop, and do so. Disclosure: I'm on the Executive for NOWW. I am not involved in administering the contest, and I'm not entering it. As we used to say in the South, back when we wuz rockin' on the porch 'n' spittin' watermelon seeds, I don't have a dog in this fight. (Okay, we never said that, and nobody I knew in real life ever said that, but Southerners in movies do.) (However, I have been known to sit on porches, to sit in roc

It's the Little Things

When you work as an editor, you have to make compromises to live in the real world. (Well, you don't really have to, but if you don't, you go nuts. Or drink. Or both.) Sometimes, compromise involves letting go of little things. Here's an example: Menus. I don't edit menus. I would if I got paid for it, but when I'm out for an evening, I don't. I don't care that the menu lists "roast beef with au jus." In fact, I would say, "I couldn't care less." If you in a similar situation said, "I could care less," I might grit my teeth a little but would try not to show it. Unless you really meant "I guess I COULD care less but I'm not sure how," in which case I would know you're one of us!!! The point is that when I'm off duty, I'm off duty. Because I can't fix all the little things in the world, especially when I'm not asked to. But here, I'm supposed to be on duty. So you'd think I'd have

Save a Life: You Can. Yes, YOU.

I had the BEST gift this week. A writer I am acquainted with sent a note commenting on my short story in Ten Stories High . It's always nice to hear compliments, of course, but her comments were thoughtful as well as supportive. (Well, she is also a writer, and a good one.) She also said, and it's true, that we writers often wonder whether what we're doing is worth it--not to ourselves (writing is necessary for some of us), but to anyone else. Does the world need this story/novel/essay? With the explosive proliferation of content, is my writing really important to anyone else? It's that "dark of night" question: Have I saved anyone's life? The answer: Probably not. There are ways, though, to know FOR SURE that your life matters, if not your writing. Teaching is one obvious way. Teachers touch lives every day. Another, perhaps not-so-obvious way is to join the national bone marrow donor registry in your country. If you donate, you can save a life. Literally

Not That Kind of Sign Language

I was trolling Gimundo looking for something else when I saw a short film called Sign Language . Always a sucker for things relating to American Sign Language, I watched it and was rewarded even though it wasn't about that kind of sign language. It's cute, right? Maybe too cute? Yeah, maybe. But sometimes, cute and sweet is good. Plus, an advanced degree in urban semiotics? I'm hooked. But it also reminded me of the communities we're part of--even communities we may not know about. In this film, we don't know till the end of this little story whether the sign holders' community exists outside of Ben's mind. In another example, I still watch for Walking Man . And although I am on the periphery of the community that will miss Winnipeg-based writer Michael Van Rooy , I am still in that community. But of course most of us--which means most characters--are part of families and other communities, often by choice. On Facebook, I recently connected with my husband&#