Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Insecure? Hell yes.


It is time for another meeting of the IWSG. We meet the first Wednesday of every month to share, console, celebrate and commiserate the successes, fabulous failures, and struggles on this writing path. 

Today the question on the table is 'What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?" Now that's a great question - I'm flipping through my memory banks.   For almost 30 years, two friends and myself ran a murder mystery company. We researched many ways to kill someone, as well as all sorts of clubs or interests that would draw a group to a resort. What we discovered was that no matter how bizarre of a notion we dreamed up, we would find real life examples of it. This was pre-google too. Cross-country skiers for Christ - yep. Sonic healing - check.  
One of my faves though was based on our most frequented resort Oak Island Inn. The mysteries surrounding the suposed treasure buried there are far beyond anything we could fabulate but we did an excellent job with a plot that involved a female viagra factory that used the island's mysterious past to cover up their bizarre doings. I do believe the story behind Wonder Woman was also part of the plot and the secret bunker that had been co-designed by President Roosevelt  and our Canadian leader, Prime Minister King. I'm quite fuzzy on that one though. 

I love doing research for novels. I like inventing businesses,  and conspiracies and then researching to see if it might be possible. Right now I'm using my rage at our provincial government and corporate greed to write a murder mystery set on the reserve where I work. Because of the nature of the location in Labrador it will not be possible to disguise the place or the doings that frame the story, so I best do my research well.  I always remember that the facts in novels are servants to the fiction, and not the other way round.

Right now researching would be a good way to use my time. I'm home recovering from a total hip replacement and cannot sit at my computer.  I can use my tablet for short pieces like this and I could certainly research some info I need on the Lower Churchill Project. 

LATE BREAKING NEWS : Last evening my fella said to me that he'd  build me a little bed table and I could use his laptop to write on in the day. He'll work on it today in his spare time at work. He teaches home building at the community college.  We probably won't set it up with my files until the weekend but YAY! I have about three or more weeks of recovery before going back to work do this would be a true Buddhasend.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Afloat on my little bed boat

This is, uh day eleven of my recovery from a total hip replacement.  I'm now a cyborg like Seven of Nine or was it Nine of Seven - no - the first. Only I'm not unbelievably beautiful and smart. I do have a hip artisanially created from ceramic, stainless steel and titanium.  And I got rid of the crocodile that has been crunching my bones for the last few years. That was, after all, the point of seeing three orthopedic surgeons, taking four flight to Corner Brook and St. Anthony  (on the island), and then having major surgery.

Now I'm ensconced in bed, surrounded by phones and android, tissues, novels, sketchbooks (3 of them!), a reacher for picking up the fallen, and other flotsam and jetsum. As of Sunday I could get in and out of bed without Ron needing to move my foot. First I would lasso it then drag it to the bed edge. Now it moves , though stupidly, with my desire.

Me: Foot! Move, l need to pee!

Foot: La la la! I can't hear you.

Me: Now come on foot! It isn't my fault - they had to cut up the thigh to fix my hip.

Foot: Right. Well next time maybe you'll have the decency to inform me of your plans.

Me : Sorry. Could you just move yourself a tad? No?

And so on. It is still grumbling like a righteous 14 year old but moving all the same.

Today I have a couple of goals.
1. Get changed.
2. Write blog post. (done!)
3. Draw at least two hatching drawings.
4. Contact EI to get benefits rolling.
5. Stroll about some on my walker.
6. Write something...?

Okay - the point of this post arises. I can't really write real stuff on this android. Short posts, responses on threads - that's about it.  Cannot sit on computer chair. So...is it reasonable to think I'll be able to use this rather than large amount of time to work on my novel?

What do you think? Any suggestions?


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

IWSG is in session

Whoah there Nellie!
I'm writing this on March 31st. On the fifth - when you're reading this - I'll be zinging through the air flying from Goose Bay to St. Anthony to have hip surgery.  I'll be having it on the 7th. Who says writing isn't time travel! Of course it is.

If you haven't signed up for the IWSG - here's the link to those who have. Go visit a bunch of wonderful bloggers.This month's question was about how the A to Zed  helped with marketing. I'm not marketing yet but at any rate I'm not doing the  A to Zed  this year for the first time in forever. That made me feel a little bit sick to say. Am I really not? Already my mind is figuring out how I can do it and still stay sane. My operation is on the seventh and no idea how I'm going to feel for the first couple of weeks so no - I can't do it.

Disappointment is what I'd like to discuss in today's post. Disappointment and how it affects one's discipline.  Two weeks ago my novel was rejected by a publisher who requested a full last year. They obviously liked the package enough to request the full but they were committed to publishing a novel with a similar premise so had to turn me down.  It is only the second rejection and so it would be crazy for me to get too blue ... but it has been an extremely tough time and I was hoping for a win. When you are in a shitload of pain (rotten hip), and work is hard, and isolation from family and friends ongoing - well, a person (me) gets sooky.  Lately my discipline has been shit too. I'm not writing regularly. I'm not sending out packages to replace the rejected ones. I'm not even doing my Buddhist meditation practice regularly.  Truth is that I'm working (or was up until the 20th of March) coming home and flopping. This last week when I found out my surgery was postponed a week l went into a fit of making dolls. This is normal for me every two years or so. I'm drawing pretty regularly too.  So there's that.

Here are the two dolls I made -  Izzy is the fuzzy one and Dot the dotty one.



Oh - adding this now as I await my ride to the airport.  Since I wrote this I've recovered a bit of joi de vie. I've sent out two packages to publishers and feel, once again, that I have a good chance of getting Bright Angel published. I also made a third doll. 
Her name is Germaine and she recently married and moved to a suburb of Etobicoke - both things she now regrets. She smokes and plans her escape. 

All of these dolls have a small accordion file book, where some of the important details of their lives are recorded.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Another meeting of the IWSG already?


Yes it is! Wow - February flew! If you don't know what this group does go here and join up! We meet on the first Wednesday of every month and that is today.

Here is the merely suggested question for this month:

March 1 Question: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

Why yes, I have! I'm not sure what you would call a really old story - and I'm sure you mean one of my own really old stories but how old do you think I am? Okay. I am really old. For a dog. For a human I'm middling old. But I seriously digress.

I pulled out a short story that I knew had more in it because the readers of a contest told me (like they always do) that my short stories are more like novel intros. So I took that story and turned it into a novel. The story was about a mother who only incidentally to the plot had two children. I turned it into a novel which is mainly about the youngest daughter and the mother's step-aunt. I think the reason that I did this, because normally I'd rather just have a brand-new idea for a novel, is that the name of the youngest daughter was Pinky and she just insisted on being heard. Now that story is  (many many ) years later completely utterly finished and in the hands of a few publishers ! Ta da! So I think it worked out. I have a few (okay - four) novels that could use a good going over. I'm not sure I'm up to it as I'm now on to another novel but, we'll see. I think each story teaches me something whether it sees the light of day or not.

Another way that I looked at this question was to consider whether I've ever used an ancient story as the inspiration for something I'm working on. I can't remember any that have worked out but I am inspired by revisiting ancient fairytales, myths and so on. I'm totally impressed with what writers have done with the Archie comics in the television show 'Riverdale'. How they turned this lighthearted account of teen life in the fifties into a gothic story in a contemporary world is truly fascinating. Jughead remains my fave character!

This last month I didn't really work on my new novel though. I worked on two essays for a big non-fiction contest here in Canada. It was really great stretching my muscles in a relatively new way and as the word limit was 1800 quite a shorter way too. I'm very interested in the essay format and tried something poetic with one of my submissions. Hope I do well, but if I don't I still have two essays that I'm proud of. I've been reading lots of essay books. Here are some I'm currently reading  -View From the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman; The Wave in the Mind by Ursula K. Le Guin; and Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit. 

And that brings me to my final thought for this month's meeting - reading good writers talking about their writing or the state of the world or feminism or anything in that line - well, it keeps the negativity at bay. So, writing companions, when I get down on my own output, I increase my input!

How do the rest of you manage, especially during these long pre-spring days? Truthfully, we don't have spring here - it will be frozen over until June. But I have spring fever still and a desire to get everything in order. I'm having my new hip surgery at the end of this month so I really want things tickety boo. I also took myself off social media (yes - that one which is not a dear face or a good book) which is giving me oodles more time. Which I spend writing, cleaning, drawing, cleaning, organizing and cleaning. Ha!

Here is a drawing I made of my dear home under a huge rainbow. 




Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Insecure Writer's Support Group Meeting is in session.




 IWSG

IWSG - please go to this link to read other posts by writers or to join the group!

Good morning everyone!  How are you?  Here is a photo of the Point Amour lighthouse, the tallest in Atlantic Canada.  It is on the south coast of Labrador and the fella and I saw it a couple of years ago when we took that route home.


And why a pic of a lighthouse? Well, a lighthouse is one of emblems of the IWSG.  You might be sailing along very nicely, thank you, enjoying a calm sea and making great time on your voyage to publication, or to finish your third draft. Fine. But what if you find yourself in troubled waters? (Hey, I lived in Chester, NS - I can do the sailing metaphor for reams of virtual paper.)  

Perhaps you are headed directly into uncharted waters. You might crash on the rocks that surround Bay d'Espoir (really - Bay Despair - on the northern coast of Newfoundland). But wait! You see the light glimmering through the fog and waves. You hear the deep baritone of its foghorn. The lighthouse helps guide you through treacherous waters.

How does the group act as a lighthouse?

Well, it is made up of many people who have different abilities on the writing front. Some of them are published authors, some are just starting out and many are in-between.  ALL OF THEM are willing to extend a hand, point a way out of whatever fix you've found yourself in,and mostly to just listen, nod, and tell you to keep sailing. 

I'm feeling very hopeful right now. No - not about the state of the world, but writing for me even helps that - but about my writing practice. I'm taking two days off this week so I can spend four days working on my current project. In the weird way that I work I guess I'm on both a second or third draft and figuring out the ending. Yes! I have to go back and back and keep approaching the ending until it becomes clear to me. This is a mystery so that is kind of important! I have all the components - now I must put them down in a narrative that holds the conclusion. Fun!  I know if I get stuck and down on myself that I have a community that has my back and that is gold!

So - I wish everyone sunny skies and calm waters - but if you hit a squall let me know. I'll be there - shining my little light.