Wednesday, June 7, 2017

IWSG - quit? Hell no!

Here we are again - a loyal band of word warriors - or is that worriers? The question, very tentatively suggested is have you ever considered quitting the writing game. My answer is unequivocally no. It has quit me on occasion but I have never considered quitting it.  But I'm only 65 and I started late - I was seven or eight. So who knows?

Sure, I haven't hit pay dirt with this writing racket but I never found true love until I was fifty (our loveversary is on St. Jean Baptiste Day thus month). I'm a late bloomer.

I will take a moment to remind myself and my readers (hi Margot!) that I've had several plays hit the stage; I've had poetry both published and awarded; I ran a successful and wildly fun mystery entertainment biz for over 25 years with my two best friends, and I won an essay contest (national) when I was in grade 7!

Seriously - I can't imagine stopping writing. I have a friend who did. She, like me, had a good profession, but loved to write. She wrote and had published a great book of short stories. Then she poured her heart into a novel that had a story that was similar in its idea to one that got published to great acclaim just as she was finishing hers. She burnt it and quit writing.  It was one of those things that still gets discussed in hushed and amazed tones by writers back home.  Another possible reason for this calamity may have been that her closest friend was published and published and published.  That can get old if you let it.

I did have an epiphany this month I'd like to share. I got a rejection from a publisher last week. What was abnormal about this was my reaction - I felt completely okay. When I was talking to another writer pal I mentioned this and realized that my equanimity was due to feeling very happy with both my manuscript and my query package. When I got the rejection I merely shrugged and thought 'that's the way the cookie crumbles'.

I'm not writing much these days though. I'm two months out with my bionic hip and sitting at my desk is still too tough for any length of time. I do plan on getting 15 packages out in the month of June. Some will be for Bright Angel and some will be for some poems, a couple of short stories and a few essays. Also, a friend and I are writing a mystery to be performed at a local museum. Lots of fun!

And I continue to hand sew a series of dolls with elaborate back-stories .




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.