Saturday, November 4, 2017

A Celebration!

Yesterday evening I received news that a literary and arts magazine will publish a poem of mine. This is such welcome news after a spate of rejections.  Today I will celebrate by sending some more out, working on a memoir, doing my Buddhist meditation practice for a few hours, and watering my plants. I might even start a new poem as I have seen the edge of it the last few days. It slips around the corner but I may be able to grab it by the coat-tails next time. I'll be gentle.  There may be a bit of it in this photo of my fella making a boil-up on the trail.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Oh I'll never go a nanowing again! Or will I?

Hello all peeps - it is the first of November which makes it a double fun day for us writers around here - it is, of course, another meeting of the Insecure Writers Support Group.  Sign up here if you are so inclined.

It is also the first day of NaNoWriMo which gets lots of us in a tizzy. Will we enter? Will we finish? Will we ever finish the last twelve novels we've started on hopeful November the firsts? Okay - time for some fun facts (or recollections which might be true but remain a bit fuzzy in my head).

I think I've done five NaNoWriMo's plus a couple of BuNoWriMos (similar but in June and much more intimate). 

I have one novel that is completely finished and being shopped to sell - Bright Angel. Not sure whether I started it in a NaNo or a BuNo and too lazy to check.  Two years ago today I started Crooked Knife in a NaNo and last year finished it in the same - only I didn't really. I have a novel's worth of writing but the ending isn't really done and I've been pushing against that now for another year. I've also got a not-finished mystery called Earth Bound that isn't finished and is actually quite a big schmozzle though I believe still salvageable. That means I have a love hate relationship with NaNo-ing. I love the challenge and I think all but once won (meaning I did my 50 thousand words) . I'd much rather write a new novel than struggle along beating some poor dead horse - but - arggh! This year I'm struggling again. I really don't have time. I work full-time and I've taken on a Buddhist practice that takes about 45 hours a month to do properly. 

I'd sort of like to do a memoir of my time in Labrador. This is our last year. Could I do it? Sure enough. I'd definitely finish my words if I promised to write them. The only NaNo I failed was because it had no word challenge attached. But it begs the question  - what do you win when you hit  Noveber 30th with your 50 thousand words? You win a hot mess, or a good start or maybe both. I know that if I say I'll do an edit I won't. I've tried. So I'm stymied. I'll think on it and I'll add to this tomorrow to tell you my decision. Because it isn't really November 1st here now - it is October 31st. Boo!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

October's meeting of the IWSG

It's another meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group - we meet to well, support each other in our crazy desires to be part of the writing life. If you're interested go to the link above and sign up or at least have a boo - lots of great blogs to visit!

October....mmmmh.....fall colours, Thanksgiving*, beautiful light, hunkering down for the long Northern winter.

So let's go around and see how we can support each other. I'll check in first. My name is Jan and I'm a writer. This last month has been strange because I've been getting lots of rejections. That's because I sent out a whack of queries in June and they are coming home to roost (or rot!). Logically I am aware that I'm getting so many because of how many I sent out but it is bumming me out. Also, I'm trying to finish Crooked Knife and it is soooooo hard! So I feel kind of whiny and like a little kid. What I'd like to hear from you - my support peeps - is that this feeling will pass and I should just carry on - that it was brave of me to send so many queries out and of course it is unpleasant to be rejected over and over again. And that Crooked Knife will be shit-hot when it is done and I need to not give up on it either. Yah, like that.


In other news, next week I will read two poems at a poetry reading of a new friend. I'm the one that suggested since she was visiting this remote northern paradise she should read. Now I'm organizing it and will read two of my Labrador inspired poems. Looking forward to it.

And here is a photo I took last week at about 6 AM after watching Venus rise and seeing Northern Lights. This is our gate onto the beach. Heaven.

* - for the last time, Amuricans - Canucks have it earlier because our Harvest is earlier. Deal with it. And Thursdays have zero to do with our Thanksgiving. Neither does football. Turkeys, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce (only it will be redberry here) and all that sure, but football? No.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

What Me Worry - September meeting of the IWSG

It's another meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group - we meet to well, support each other in our crazy desires to be part of the writing life. If you're interested go to the link above and sign up or at least have a boo - lots of great blogs to visit!

I love September - clean notebooks, unsullied track record with teachers. Sure it's been forty some years since I was in High School but the feeling prevails. I have lots of energy this September - this new hip I received five months ago has given me a terrific boost in every part of my life. This will be our last year living in Labrador and so I really want to make sure that I take part in everything that makes this place so special. For my writing it means two projects (at least) - one is the mystery I started a couple of years ago that is set here. I need to finish my first draft (got caught in the ending and need to muddle my way through) and the other is to finish a poetry project. Both of those are very tied to this land, these people, and so I need to pay attention!

So - I will set some goals - I now have every second Monday off so I have a bit more time free.

Crooked Knife - finish first draft by October 15th, final revision by January 15. Query package by February 15th!

Labrador Poems  - go over current collection and see how to edit and what is missing. Query package by January 30th.

Bright Angel - continue to send out query packages. Look at first chapter to see if it needs revising again!

Okay - that's it for me. I'm also manifesting which is an interesting process. I'll talk more about that later...

Now, back to work I go. It is a crisp September morning and I'm walking with our clients...

Friday, August 11, 2017

slow turning

"Slow Turning"

When I was a boy,
I thought it just came to ya'
But I never could tell what's mine
So it didn't matter anyway

My only pride and joy
Was this racket down here
Bangin' on an old guitar
And singin' what I had to say

I always thought our house was haunted
But nobody said boo to me
I never did get what I wanted
Now I get what I need

It's been a slow turnin'
From the inside out
A slow turnin'
But you come about

Slow learnin'
But you learn to sway
A slow turnin' baby
Not fade away

Now I'm in my car
I got the radio on
I'm yellin' at the kids in the back seat
'Cause they're bangin' like Charlie Watts

You think you've come so far
In this one horse town
Then she's laughin' that crazy laugh
'Cause you haven't left the parkin' lot

Time is short and here's the damn thing about it
You're gonna die, gonna die for sure
And you can learn to life with love or without it
But there ain't no cure

There's just a...


Do you know this song? Sometimes it slides into my mind..."time is short and here's the damn thing about it/You're gonna die, gonna die for sure"

I just found out that an old pal of mine died last month. Her husband didn't know where I was and because I'm off facebook and moved to Labrador - well he tried. I hadn't seen Cinda for a couple of years - our lives took different directions but I have to say her death really struck me. 

She died a mean long death too. I talked to her husband last night. They were married for nearly 51 years - some of that good, some not so good, but they stuck. Last I saw Cinda she was suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Her hands were very bad and she was having a hard time continuing to live the way she was used to. Things got worse. She developed problems with her breathing - a complication of the RA - and had to be hospitalized a number of times. She would pass out and fractured many bones in her falls. Her eyesight was going and she didn't want any surgeries so even reading or watching television became too hard. She lost way too much weight and couldn't regain any strength. Her husband helped with everything and her children who lived nearby helped too. 

Through it all she was still Cinda. She still could cackle like a loon, and demand respect with a glance, and compel those around her to reckon with her force.

She told me a story of her first teaching job that is incredible and touching. I'm going to write it up, check the details with her husband and send it in to the Globe & Mail's Lives Lived column. It is the story of a young woman teaching the toughest class in the toughest school. It is about not giving up on anyone. Though she'd be the first to deny this - Cinda was a true Bodhisattva  - and I'd like to tell this powerful story.

People's lives mean something. Their stories shouldn't fade away like their bodies do. They should keep on being told as inspiration and hope for those coming behind.

Stay tuned.

Here's a painting I made that I know she would have appreciated -

Tina looked at the dirty dishes in the sink, the dust tumbleweeds rolling through
the house, and the bills piling up on the kitchen table. Sighing, she rolled up
her sleeves.   Then she came to her senses.