Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Why yes, it is another meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group!


Grab a coffee, a cup of tea or a gin & tonic depending on the time of day or your inclination, and sit down to read this post and others like it here, as we discuss the joys and challenges of our writing lives.

The optional question this month asks what our ultimate writing goals are and how have they changed over time? Hmmm...ultimate? The Cambridge dictionary says

most important, highest, last, or final: Your ultimate goal is to play the game as well as you can. Ultimate also means the best, most, or greatest of its kind: Some people believe that he is the ultimate painter of this century.

My ultimate writing goal is to keep writing and to enjoy the process. I would certainly appreciate outside affirmation in the form of publication, but truly, that is not my highest goal. I'm fairly certain that my monkey mind would just begin to long for the next and bigger coconut.

As we get ready to leave Labrador I've been focusing on smaller writing projects . I've polished a story that is part of my work in progress - a memoir. This story stands alone and I have a market in mind for it. I've also been writing a new series of poems in connection with a current painful issue within my church. It has been healing to work with my emotions and thinking by doing this.

Sometimes, I think that the goal of publication casts a shadow on the true reason that I write. It obscures the deep satisfaction I feel when I find the right word or phrase, or make a tale or poem that captures what I'm experiencing .  I get caught in longing for that big contract that will show those so and sos that I haven't been wasting my time. Oh, don't worry, I'll ring the bells loudly shall I get that contract - but I don't want to forget what I'm in the game for - to play the best I can.

How about you? Goals?

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Yowza - it's another meeting of the IWSG


What is this you may well ask. It is a piece I created in an art class I was taking. The upper symbol is an awen - a druidic symbol of inspiration. Below is a deer. Over top is a piece of flocked paper with a spiral pattern. I created it to remind myself to honour my own lineage of strength, grace, and truth.

I'm in a fragile creative holding place right now. Like the phase in labour called transition, it is important that I not push.  We are in our last months of being in Labrador. I will leave with several creative projects still in the womb as it were. They will have to see the light of day in Nova Scotia, but they will be Labradorian for all that. One is a mystery called Crooked Knife. One is a memoir about our time here called Ruby's House and one is a poetry collection which may be called Ballycatter.

When we are home I hope to be able to complete them BUT I'm scared. Why? Because  this place is so conducive to the solitary writing practice and home is wildly distracting.

So why have I not been writing these last few months here? Because I've been teaching grade two at the school on the reserve AND I absolutely need to in order to receive my own education on this place. I will be using it all in my memoir! Here I am with a few of my teachers.


As to this month's question which asks if it is harder for me to come up with story names or character names - it is the easiest writing job of all to name anything. I love naming my novels or poetry collections, I love naming my characters and I love inventing names for anything in my writing - coffee shops, laundromats, daycares - love it!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

May or May Not...

Well, here we are - firmly in the middle of spring. Ha! And at another meeting of the esteemed Insecure Writer's Support Group. If you are new here go to the link to the left of this sentence and sign up. Or just mosey around catching the vibe at other insecure writer's blogs. It's all good!

This month the optional question is 

"It's spring! Does this season inspire you to write more than others, or not?" 
Such an interesting question. I'm always curious as to what will encourage my writing or creating. I know that I write way more in November than any other time of the year but that is because of NaNoWriMo. Oh and in June if I follow the Burrower's month-long writing program. I like writing in both those months. Spring here isn't. We still have four or five feet of snow and the bay is frozen solid. If there are May flowers they are under a snowbank. Labradorians love this weather though. The bay is still frozen enough to take out the skidoo and head to the cabin and it is warm enough to not wear too much clothing (keep in mind this is relative). We don't have either a skidoo or a cabin feeling no need to leave the hurly-burly of North West River for peace and quiet. Yes, that is sarcasm. Sometimes I fall prey to it. I'll try and keep it in check.

This spring is a very busy one for me. I'm working nearly every day at the school and want to do that as we are heading home for good in July. We are selling this house and dividing up the things that belonged to my fella's mother between siblings and assorted relatives. I still am working on the memoir but I don't have a good chunk of time to do it in so find I'm not that enraptured right now with writing. I'm waiting to find out about the poetry contest I was short-listed for and generally rather antsy. I'd be good for short projects but nothing too sustained. When I'm working at the school I come home pretty depleted. I have a couple of other disciplines besides writing that I keep. I meditate for at least one session a day and that is no matter what else is happening. Yes, it has priority over my writing discipline. I also make art - draw, paint, and so on. That is a bit easier to fit in around a busy life. Writing, not so much.

Having said all that - the other reason that this spring is not so encouraging on the writing front is that although I like revising better than writing the initial draft - it is harder. November through to February I  let it all out with no design at all. Now I could work for a couple of hours and not be very far ahead. I'm struggling with my structure and that means a lot of false starts. An hour or half an hour won't get me where I want to get. I need to really spend about three or four hours a day for about three weeks. So it might have to wait until I'm home and unemployed again.

Who knows though - things can change around here in a heart beat. And I am chronicling my time at the school on my Sojourner in Labrador blog a little more faithfully - so there will be that to draw from too.

How about you all? Do the seasons motivate you or what gets your bum in the chair?





Wednesday, April 4, 2018

April Showers??

is in session!



Good morning/afternoon/ evening/night to all deeply/mildly/not at all insecure writers. I'm not feeling insecure about my writing at this particular moment. I'm feeling insecure about getting published sure, but not my writing. I'm working on two writing projects at this time. I'm ordering up, polishing up, and in some areas conjuring up poems for a chapbook contest. I've made it to the shortlist of the Quattro Books Best New Poets in Canada prize.  I sent five poems to get this far and now need to send the collection (about 28 - 42 pages). That has meant choosing about 16 or so poems and laying copies of them on my floor and walking about mumbling and twitching.  I talk to them and the truth is that they are like the kindergarten kids I've been hanging out with lately. Most want to be first in line, or they don't want to go at all. I think I have the order figured, but maybe not. Being as it is my first chapbook, it isn't thematic, however I do want them to talk to each other. Some of them need space, and some don't mind being in a busy spot. All of them need their punctuation groomed, and some of them need to lose some weight.  Some might have to sit this one out, and I may have some new ones that feel ready to leap in. 

So there's that .

The other project is the 100,000 words I wrote from November through February. It sat vegging for all of March and now I'm attending to it. It was supposed to be a memoir of the time here in Labrador but it is one over-grown garden. I'm only at the reading it through stage, but I went to bed last night full of ponder . 

As to the optional question - we don't have April showers here in Labrador. There's still 5 feet of snow on the ground. It's a grand time to write. The school where I've been subbing is on spring break. Metaphorically though, I make deadlines for my writing in the absence of real ones, and tell others. That gets me to it!


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Humble not insecure!

Another meeting of the IWSG - sign up here.

Or as that obsequious character, Uriah Heep, in Dickens' book David Copperfield would say " I'm  umble, I am."

I don't feel too insecure right now, but that feeling is not based on anything external.  I'm not writing much these days - not since the Tibetan New Year on February 16th. I have 97 thousand words on the memoir and I'm letting it steep. Or cool off, or whatever fat sketchy manuscripts are supposed to do.

The closest thing to a writerly  project I have on the go is that I'm designing a chapbook of my poetry.  I'm doing it as an assignment I've given myself on the Sketchbook Skool Kourse I'm taking called Illustration Nation.  It is the 14th SBS kourse I've signed up for.  I entered a chapbook contest this month and then decided I'd publish it myself if I can't find someone to publish me.  Self-publishing a chapbook is a perfectly old and honoured tradition and being able to design all the elements from the cover to the end papers, illustrations, typography and dingbats seems deeply fun to me right now.

The other reason I'm writing less is two-time. I've had a persistent dry cough for going on three weeks and I'm substituting at the Innu school on the reserve near here. It is wildly fun BUT exhausting. Next week I'll be the gym teacher all week. May I tell those of you who don't know me - I'm not the phys ed type, but I did it three days last week and had a ball. At the end of the day all I can manage is to moan on the couch.

So writing? Not so much.

As to this month's question "How do you celebrate a writing achievement?"  Hmmm...If I were at home in Nova Scotia I'd go out with the fella to a great place to eat. Here? Uh...leap about shouting huzzah? I did feel good that I had poetry published in the Newfoundland Quarterly in December, but I guess I'm old enough or finally smart enough to not make too big of a deal over success or failure. The satisfaction seems to be in the work alone, and that's got to be enough.

Can't wait to see what you all get up to!