writing

Star Island - lessons in retreating

The day before I leave for Star Island my kids’ dad tells me a hurricane is on its way up from Haiti and will hit the coast off New Hampshire in the next day or two. I’m not sure what he expects me to do with the information so I do what I usually do and panic.

More thoughts on too little time or Tic, tic, tic…

I’m having a hard time with time these days, or just a hard time period, with no time to sort it out.

I’ve felt out of sorts since the school year ended and the kids went off to their various camps - a whole new set of drop off and pick up locations, start times, end times, supplies and belongings to misplace or lose, likes and dislikes to air.

Chasing the dream

I’ve been talking about writing since I was in my late teens. But I was one of those people who needed trauma or remarkable events as inspiration. Break-ups, crazy journeys, extraordinary people catapulted me into producing any number of pages, after which I’d sputter, slow, and come to a halt. Like millions of others I have folders of poems, the odd short story, and chunks of novels written over the course of 30 years. I rarely spoke about my desire to write for fear of being one of those people that goes on and on about wanting to be a writer and does nothing about it.

Whose voice is this anyway?

At a Toronto International Film Festival screening years ago when they weren’t yet calling it TIFF and were still using musty, rundown rep theatres with faint glimmers of past elegance - I showed up to a screening and grabbed my favourite spot on the left aisle about ten from the front, guaranteed to ensure a view regardless of height, hair or hat. Few people took this seat by choice, unless nothing else was left. But I always went straight to it.

It doesn’t have to be perfect it just has to be great

Talked in my last blog piece about Huffpo’s Complete Guide to Blogging rule perfection is the enemy of done. I love that line. Wish I’d coined it myself. I secretly think I should have been in communications or advertising. I’ve come up with some great slogans and one-liners over the years.

Feeding the Beast

Was reading the Huffington Post's Complete Guide to Blogging. Some might argue it’s dated -3 yrs in the online world is a lifetime - but it tells great stories, offers fine tips - some obvious but worth revisiting, and speaks with humour and intelligence to what I consider the relatively unchanging business of getting started.

Here I am: Reject me.

Note: This is about literary rejection. I’ll save the other form for the memoir.

Last fall I applied for 16 Ontario Arts Council (OAC) Writer’s Reserve Grants. They require submissions directly to publishers that act as third party recommenders. I could have applied for 35. I decided to be selective and save on stamps and large envelopes.

“Read through the list carefully and pick the ones that sound like a fit,” my friend Rachel Zolf, an award-winning poet, told me. “Don’t worry about getting rejected. It’s part of the deal. I’ve been rejected tons of times.”

Eat, love, write – then pray

While writing about writing is still writing I thought I’d describe what else I’m writing. It's a memoir made up of short stories that aim to capture the humour, heartache and universality of changing directions, missing clear signs and making and repeating silly choices. It tracks the adventures and misadventures of my heart, on road and off-road. I know it sounds a bit self-helpish but that’s NOT the intention.

Space – the final frontier

Now that I’m no longer at work where I had my own cubicle I’ve struggled to sort out the geography part of my writing. I live in a tall, thin Victorian house, over a hundred years old with my girlfriend and my two kids. While there are a fair number of rooms, all of them are spoken for.

The truth about technology and me.

I proudly call myself a luddite, laughingly label myself a techno-wiener but really I’m embarrassed by my lack of technical savvy. It’s grounded in a set of fears that run long and deep, a complete lack of interest, and a sense of anxiety and exhaustion that comes over me whenever I am pointed to a set of technical instructions.

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