Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Together Again

It is the weekly meeting of the IWSG (the insecure writers' support group) and here I am - still writing, still insecure, still hopeful, still needy! If you are any of these things do go to the link above and join up - it is a lovely group!

Today, the optional question is "what five things might we find in your writing spot?" or something close to that. 

1. My computer - for I do not write with a quill pen on paper that scrolls. When I was in grade nine I took typing as I planned on being a writer. I got 50 as my mark. Why? Because I would only learn to type, not to set margins and acquire proper formatting for business letters. I planned on only writing with the thing. I loved it. I love a keyboard. I love how my fingers can fly nearly as fast as my mind. I loved the first electric typewriter I ever used and then I remember an exquisite joy when I first laid my fingers on the keyboard of a Selectric Typewriter (born in 1961 - ten years younger than myself). Oh my gawd that was heaven with its lovely quickly revolving ball of type. It is no surprise that the masthead of this blog is a typewriter - from a photo I took of a machine in the ancestral home of Elizabeth Bishop (fabulous poet) in Great Village, NS.

2. A white mug with CHAP printed on its side - full of pens and pencils and scissors and nailfiles and bits and pieces. It was given to me by my gestalt teacher, Rod McLean, who had been a chaplin in the forces. I adored that crazy, difficult and brilliant Cape Bretoner and it wouldn't be my desk without that mug.

3. A binder for the novel I'm trying to sell. In the binder are sheets on which I record where and when I send the manuscript and the responses I get. I know it might be better to have something on the computer but I like it in hard copy. I do forget even so and send it to some agency that I sent it to four years ago but hey - no one seems to notice. I also have a set of stapled sheets for the poetry I send out.

4. A constant flow of papers that I need to deal with. For instance, I have a letter that was typed out by a fella to my mother in hopes of getting a date with her. The paper has the heading of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company and is actually a file or claim form (form 102) and was sent to her on April 12th, 1938. She would've been 21 years old. I have it out because, since we came back from Labrador, I've been sorting treasures and junk. This is a treasure, as is my letter from writer Pamela Frankau which I've already discussed in this blog. 

5. A bookcase full of writing books. No matter where I write there are books that I need handy - Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, Brewar's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable, Francine Prose's The Artful Edit and about fifty more. It includes inspirational writing and references that always come in handy, even in the age of google. Google is sort of like fast food - it will perhaps suffice to fill me up but I would like a more nutritious meal. I have Cirlot's dictionary of symbols and the Concise Medical Dictionary  and so on. 


I have a room of my own to write in, but that is not always the case. It is also my shrine room, so also has my dharma books and my shrine plus paraphernalia. The walls are orange and there is a shelf that is part of the wall that goes around two sides of the room that holds paintings and sculptures and dolls and vases holding feathers and so on... I love having my own room. Oh, and I do not draw or paint here but do that upstairs in the dining room.

How about you? Where do you create? What do you need at hand? 






Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Yes, it is that time again! So grab your coffee and let's sit around the woodstove and swap stories about the good ole writing life. Another meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group is called to disorder!

The optional question for today is "How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?"

I started writing seriously in grade two when my teacher at Osgoode Elementary praised me for an essay I wrote about a trip our family took to Magnetic Hill in New Brunswick. I thought 'whoa Nelly, here's my schtick!'

Truthfully I do not get the question. I think creativity is our natural life force manifesting. It is not developed so much as discovered and then explored. Some of us find the land of creativity exciting and some are terrified by its raw terrain. Some of us range freely over the territory, exploring every nook and cranny - ever waterfall and river of how to express ourselves and what we perceive.  Some of us only venture a little ways into the wild finding a bit of creativity that is fulfilling if not so adventurous.  Some of go deep and some go broad. Some of us explorers lose our way and discover new lands, some lose our minds on the trip. Some of us find ourselves. Writing is still my favorite path, but I have wandered far in the fields of visual art, textile art, theatre, clowning, cooking, and the arts of persuasion.

But I'm only in my sixties so I know there's more places to go!

On other news it is the 7th day of NaNoWriMo and I'm in the game. I'm being a rebel (highly encouraged in nano land) by spending half my word count on a new YA and half on the submission process for Bright Angel and my chapbook Red Rover.  I count an hour of submitting as a thousand words.

Here is a painting from my Tara series.


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Writing day ....

Gwen is here and we're writing. I'm warming up by doing a couple of blog posts. One is one my new blog - Sojourner in Nova Scotia - I wanted to change one of my old ones to the new one but couldn't do it as this one - Jan Morrison, this crazy writing life  and Living the Complicated Simple Life are both managed by an account I no longer have so I cannot change any of the design - I am only a contributor and the REAL Jan Morrison won't let me in. Ha!

Today I'm going into my memoir project. I may try and mine some of it for articles to flog. I'm not sure. I like some of the writing I did around my work on the reserve school and there may be places to put that. I may just continue to refine the manuscript - it is a hot and holy mess of words right now - nearly 100,000 and truly lots of it is just moaning and carrying on in an unnecessary fashion. So lots to do - need to, as my Daddio would say, 'pitter patter fly atter'.

Settling back into life in Nova Scotia is taking me much longer than I anticipated. I guess my emotional muscles are like my body ones - not so flexible anymore. I am also wishing that I had a somewhat regular job (three days a week would be swell) but not sure how to go about that just yet.

All in good time my wise inner voice says. Like I have lots of time says my wise-ass inner voice!

Here's a photo taken recently ... we went down to Milton to visit with my fella's ex and her husband for Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Back to the future ...

I haven't spent much time in the blogosphere of late. Like most folks I know I was consumed by the great big fish called facebook. I'm going off of it - yes, again - but I think this time it will be for good. Some people can resist its mix of hope and fear, but alas, not I. So I will probably set up my ordinary blog for all friends and family who are interested, on Living the Complicated Simple Life. I will keep this one for my writing life but hopefully be more present than I have been. I missed the last installment of the IWSG but hope they'll let me back on in November.

I'm back having writing days with my pal Gwen - so might make Wednesdays my post day. We'll see. Boy, do I sound cagey! I'm not trying to - just being honest. I'm really being slow at figuring out how my life works altogether here in Nova Scotia.

Here's a photo of why I DO love home.  One is a photo and one is the painting I drew from it. This is the property in Prospect where Ron and I will begin to build next year...

Wednesday, September 5, 2018


It is September and my mother would be 102 today, were she with us! There she is in her Easter bonnet. What a babe!

And it is another meeting of the Insecure Writers Support Group!  I missed last month's meeting. Too much happening. This summer my fella, pooch and I moved two thousand kilometres with a truck, a station wagon and a trailer packed to the gills. My eldest kindly came to Labrador and helped with the moving and driving. We got to our home here in Nova Scotia and began the unbelievably arduous task of settling back into a home we haven't lived in for five years. We were only here three weeks when we went off, driving, to Ontario, to see relatives and friends, and so the fella could help my youngest with some home renovation. Now we're home for good or bad.

Now I'm down to the process of deep decluttering.  I've been sorting boxes of papers that I haven't looked at for decades. I'm determined to pare down to only the essentials. What a job it is! 

All of this is to say that , no, I have not been writing or submitting.  But I found a treasure in my sorting that I thought I'd lost. It is a letter from the wonderful writer Pamela Frankau, that she wrote in response to a letter I sent her in 1964 when I was thirteen or fourteen. It is a four page hand written letter of encouragement to a young wannabe writer. I'm now a decade older than she was when she wrote it.

I will scan it when I'm set up and share it with you. If you haven't read Frankau she is a treasure! A Wreath for the Enemy remains one of my favorite books.

On other news my dear writing pal Gwen is coming today to write! We are reinstating our long running writing group of two. We write, yack, share and eat. How I've missed her! This photo is from a visit she made to see me in Labrador.


That's it, my lovelies! Hope you are writing or getting ready to or okay with not!