Showing posts from 2024

Retreat and Return

As someone who lives in a rural home with another writer, with a great deal of choice over my workday, one might wonder why I would attend a writing retreat. What would I possibly need that I can't get at home? Why would I pay someone a fee to go somewhere else to do what I can already do? For many years, for those reasons, I didn't go. A local informal gathering of writers has been meeting for long, intensive self-directed weekends for years. I never understood the appeal. Yet now, I'm just back from a writing retreat.   The drive out. The view over Lake Marie Louise, toward my home, which lies beyond more land and a bay of Lake Superior. Why did I go? What happened to change my mind? Well, life, mostly.  I first went in 2020. My first book, REVERBERATIONS: A DAUGHTER'S MEDITATIONS ON ALZHEIMER'S, had just come out.  The experience of focusing intently on that one manuscript--short essays--had been extremely productive for me. I'd benefitted greatly from exchan


Last October 14, the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal ran the following review by their longtime arts critic, Michael Sobota. Here's one of my favourite lines: "There are, indeed, a lot of dead people in Making Up The Gods." It makes me laugh every time. And he's absolutely right! They are, as he also notes, VERY important to the choices living people make. Levity aside, I'm very grateful for Michael's review. It's always nice to hear from someone who understands what you were trying to do! And Michael approaches all of his reviews with great generosity of spirit, which adds positivity to the local writing community. Thank you, Michael, for all you do!  ____________________ Marion Agnew's first novel, Making Up The Gods, is a quintessentially Northwestern Ontario story.  It is an exhibition, a celebration even of where we live. We follow three very different but readily recognizable characters for a few weeks in early spring.  Simone is an elderly widow

OLA Superconference Thursday, January 25!

Just a quick reminder: I'll be at the OLA Superconference on Thursday, tomorrow! I'll sign copies of MAKING UP THE GODS at the Ontario Book Publishers Organization Pavilion at 1 PM.  The conference is in the Metro Toronto Conference Centre. It would be fun to see you there!

Books and More in '24

Possibly not so much "and more," but definitely books! For a long time I participated in #SundaySentence on a social media platform where I am no longer active.  #SundaySentence was supposed to be one sentence, written by someone else, that you'd read in the previous week and found interesting or arresting or otherwise worth passing along. Sometimes I fudged the dates, but the sentences I posted were all from recent reading. I cross-posted those sentences to Instagram, where I am much more active and enjoy connecting with folks about books and writing. I also compiled them here from time to time.  Recently I recognized that I don't like actually recommending books to people. Too much responsibility. And choosing to post about a book may indicate to someone "she really likes this" as opposed to "she read it and found some elements interesting."  So I began trying to better match books to readers. The results look something like this:   I enjoyed wor

Happy 2024!

It's January. In Northwestern Ontario, it's not only the cultural time of new beginnings and slightly more sunshine. It usually marks the time of year when the bay in front of my home freezes completely (although Lake Superior proper hardly ever does).  This year, we're a little behind, weather-wise, but we have--at last!--some snow. Ice trying hard to grow, some snow, and more light! Many thanks to readers everywhere, from Kansas to Ohio to North Carolina, from Arizona to Washington State, and all across Canada, who have been in touch over the autumn to let me know their copies of MAKING UP THE GODS arrived! My debut novel has also made a couple of trips--with readers! One to Cancun and another to Cuba.   Also, I'm so grateful to know that the book has touched readers. Several gave copies to friends and family for the holidays, and they're forwarding comments as people read. It's lovely to know. As life picks up after the winter holiday season, I'll be doin