Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What up?

I haven't been here in awhile. First it was getting over April. That took all of May apparently (except for the first Wednesday). Then I went to Cuba for the first week in June and came home needing to recover from that. And now I'm wandering slowly back.

The thing is that it is very hard for me to relax. Very hard. The first day I went in the water in Cuba I told Ron that I planned to swim 21 times while we were there. Why did I do that? Why couldn't I just swim and go 'wow, that is so nice. think I'll do that some more, if I feel like it'? Because I'm mental and I think I have to be constantly improving myself with no time off at all. I get home from my work - which is very stressful mind - and immediately go and meditate, then draw for an hour, then do some writing. In between all of that I might make or help with dinner, I'll definitely do the dishes and I will probably skype or call a few people (my kids, my pals, a client...). Then a bath (where I read) and bed.

By the third day in Cuba I felt unwound. It was great. I didn't draw. I didn't meditate (well once or twice). I didn't write or journal or anything. I slept, swam, ate, and all over again.
 

Before I left I had planned to get at least some query packages for Bright Angel out to publishers and agents - but I didn't. I had this big block about it after working for a month on the query letter etc... This weekend I broke through that. There is a package out to one publisher and one agent. I'll send some more this coming weekend. The deal I made with myself is that I am allowed (!!!) to write on my newest wip - Crooked Knife - if I send out a package. So I jumped back into that, which was heavenly. Once I have five or six packages out I'll feel free to concentrate on CF but I'm still refining one page synopses and making sure my first fifty or so pages are pristine. I have a book that I created that helps me track my submissions. I know this is a long long game and I won't remember who I sent to unless I keep meticulous track and it has to be hard copy for me. Every single publisher or agent that I'm querying has a slightly different set of submission rules. Some insist on hard copy, some insist on email with no attachments or email with certain attachments. Some want just the letter thanks, some want big chunks of your ms. I am really trying to follow the rules but I must say it feels kind of like the Toronto airport - all of these young people in uniform rolling their eyes and scolding you for not being born knowing which line to stand in.

Ah well.

How are you all doing? I'm going to come and visit you now.

Monday, May 9, 2016

A to Zed -a reflection

I enjoy doing this else why would I?  I get out of it, like everything else, close to what I put in. I don't do it to gain new readers, which at the moment is not my aim. I take part for a few reasons - like going to a yearly party -I like to see how others are faring. I also like the challenge part of it - though truth told, I don't find it all that arduous.  Reminds me of when I did the Dublin Marathon and the organizers of our charitable group (Canadian Arthritis ) said it would be the most important thing we ever did - it would change our lives!! It would!! No it wouldn't.  Having babies, meeting Buddhist teachers, falling in love, finishing a play - all of these events and others would outweigh walking around a gorgeous flat city all day. Just saying. Perspective people. 80 thousand folks just lost their homes when Fort McMurray burned to the bedrock - now that's a challenge.

So - l liked seeing my pals, and I liked meeting the challenge.  What else did I like? My theme turned out great. Finding  35 women who inspired me ( l doubled up some) was great and explaining how they inspired me got me inspired all over again. And seeing what others came up with -what rocked their metaphorical boat - well, that inspired me too. And let's not forget that I was writing. Writing is great, especially when I've been deep in queryville.

So there you go!
I'll hook up to the linky as soon as l can.

Oh and here is a list of my women:

Louisa May Alcott 
Boadicea
Emily Carr 
Emily Dickinson and Annie Dillard
Elizabeth 1
Pamela Frankau and Elena Ferrente
Sue Goyette and Artemisia Gentileschi 
Zora Neale Hurston 
I (as in me)
Pauline Johnson 
Frida Kahlo
Ursula K. Le Guin
Lucy Maude Montgomery and Joni Mitchell 
Florence Nightingale 
Georgia O'Keefe and Mary Oliver
Pema Chodron and Nancy Porter-Steele 
Harriet Quimby 
R is for my best friend 
Sappho, Stevie Smith and Anne Sexton 
Sojourner Truth
Jane Urquhart 
Sarah Vaughan 
Rebecca West and Virginia Woolff 
Xue Tao
Yoko Ono
Andrea Zittel

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The IWSG is now in session


The first Wednesday of each month is the meeting of the IWSG. Do click on the link and visit other insecure types!

Write this way. No...I mean right this way. Or do I? I'm so deep in query do-dah that I second-guess every last word I write. I thought it would be different this time but it isn't. It is much like making sourdough bread for the first time. I read and watch everything I can on the subject. I decide that one person has all the answers and follow them slavishly until the devil suggests a short-cut - then I'm on it. If the starter doesn't bubble or the prose sing I'm back reading, watching, changing up my plan. Luckily, this time around, I have a mentor who has been very successful with his own queries and is happy to guide me, thick though I am, through the process.

I got caught on the single page formulaic query letter when I tried to actually synopsize the novel. Okay, okay, I know that isn't a word but it should be. Someone has to make up new words and Shakespeare is dead. Anywhoozie, I'm off that track and keeping the synopsis for those who want that. It is a Byzantine path to publication, with more form and convention than dancing the gavotte (you crossword fanatics will know this one).  You have to entice the agent or publisher without being coy and using the voice your novel is in. It has to be third person, present tense, and don't forget to drop in, ever so casually, that you met them at a workshop twelve years ago, and you were so impressed. Oh, best not - they'll think "12 years ago! What a slow writer! Don't want them in my stable." One misstep and your query letter (and the first fifteen pages of your ms) are in the round file.

So...you're thinking...she's not nearly so chipper as she was last month. Ha! How the chipper are chopped. But, like Dory, I will just keep swimming. Or writing. Or revising. Or submitting.Image result for Dory images

Later, my friends.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Z is for Andrea Zittel


Image result for a z andrea zittel 


e.

My theme this year is the ABCEDARIA of Women who have inspired me.

And finally Z is for Andrea Zittel - an environmental artist whose blog is called A-Z!

Confession - Andrea Zittel started inspiring me when I read about her this morning (two days before you are reading this post). There just aren't enough Z's but I can honestly and vehemently say - wowza! She is so bloody inspiring.  I found her on a list of alternative artists (or something like that). I didn't want to put another poet from the 3rd century. Not that there is anything wrong with them but... Andrea Zittel is crazy good. She makes installation art. Here is a description of her work:

Image result for a z andrea zittelZittel’s sculptures and installations transform everything necessary for life—such as eating, sleeping, bathing, and socializing—into artful experiments in living. Blurring the lines between life and art, Zittel’s projects extend to her own home and wardrobe. Wearing a single outfit every day for an entire season, and constantly remodeling her home to suit changing demands and interests, Zittel continually reinvents her relationship to her domestic and social environment. Influenced by Modernist design and architecture from the early twentieth century, the artist’s one-woman mock organization, A–Z Administrative Services, develops furniture, homes, and vehicles for contemporary consumers with a similar simplicity and attention to order. Seeking to attain a sense of freedom through structure, Zittel is more interested in revealing the human need for order than in prescribing a single unifying design principle or style. “People say my work is all about control, but it’s not, really,” she remarks....
Image result for a z andrea zittel

There is no clear way for me to describe what she does but I am intrigued to find out more. She creates these absolutely fascinating little structures to live out on the land in - or furniture that looks like boulders - or chamber pots. 

Her company A-ZWest has this as a descriptor: A-Z West, an institute of investigative living:  The A-Z enterprise encompasses all aspects of day to day living. Home furniture, clothing, food all become the sites of investigation in an ongoing endeavor to better understand human nature and the social construction of needs.





Friday, April 29, 2016

Y is for Yoko Ono





My theme this year is the ABCEDARIA of Women who have inspired me

Y is for Yoko Ono

Image result for yoko ono

I know, I know - several forms of cheating going on here. Her last name is Ono not Yoko and that was my rule - only bent for Queens to date (or one named types like Boadicea) but...

This is hard and I have been inspired by Yoko on many levels. She is fiercely herself (one of my most important factors for inspiration) even though many disliked her for that. She put up with the lunatics who insisted she broke up the Beatles. Crazy and such an old story for any woman involved with any man. We were all cool til the bitch came along and ruined everything.  Yah, tell it to the marines. 

I loved how John Lennon loved her. I loved that they had a crazy tumultuous relationship. I love that she is an artist in her own right and not just the keeper of the flame (though I think she does that brilliantly). Would I want to have her come over and hang with the babes? No. Not a chance. But I don't need that to be part of the inspiration package. I like Yono's fierce independence.