Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Humble not insecure!

Another meeting of the IWSG - sign up here.

Or as that obsequious character, Uriah Heep, in Dickens' book David Copperfield would say " I'm  umble, I am."

I don't feel too insecure right now, but that feeling is not based on anything external.  I'm not writing much these days - not since the Tibetan New Year on February 16th. I have 97 thousand words on the memoir and I'm letting it steep. Or cool off, or whatever fat sketchy manuscripts are supposed to do.

The closest thing to a writerly  project I have on the go is that I'm designing a chapbook of my poetry.  I'm doing it as an assignment I've given myself on the Sketchbook Skool Kourse I'm taking called Illustration Nation.  It is the 14th SBS kourse I've signed up for.  I entered a chapbook contest this month and then decided I'd publish it myself if I can't find someone to publish me.  Self-publishing a chapbook is a perfectly old and honoured tradition and being able to design all the elements from the cover to the end papers, illustrations, typography and dingbats seems deeply fun to me right now.

The other reason I'm writing less is two-time. I've had a persistent dry cough for going on three weeks and I'm substituting at the Innu school on the reserve near here. It is wildly fun BUT exhausting. Next week I'll be the gym teacher all week. May I tell those of you who don't know me - I'm not the phys ed type, but I did it three days last week and had a ball. At the end of the day all I can manage is to moan on the couch.

So writing? Not so much.

As to this month's question "How do you celebrate a writing achievement?"  Hmmm...If I were at home in Nova Scotia I'd go out with the fella to a great place to eat. Here? Uh...leap about shouting huzzah? I did feel good that I had poetry published in the Newfoundland Quarterly in December, but I guess I'm old enough or finally smart enough to not make too big of a deal over success or failure. The satisfaction seems to be in the work alone, and that's got to be enough.

Can't wait to see what you all get up to!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

It's another meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group so grab your cuppa of what heals ya and read on. Go to this to catch up with the rest of the gang.

The question for today's post is "What do you love about the genre you write in most often?" 

If only. I do not have a genre I write in most often. I've got a YA/literary novel out looking for a home - it doesn't even know what genre it is. I've got three mysteries at various stages of done or abandoned.  I have a couple more...uh...literary or commercial novels hanging about, and I just entered a chap book competition.  My work in progress is a memoir but it might turn into several memoirs. Oh, and I've written five plays that have made it onto the stage. 

The one I'm writing is the one I love most. Right now that is memoir, but also poetry as I'm doing that too. I could tell you that no, it is definitely memoir. The rest was just a run up, and like my late blooming love (the fella and I were both fifty when we met), this is true love! Unlike my love life, however, I am pretty sure that I'm just in first throes. 

I can tell you what I'd prefer to be published as. A novelist. Not a mystery writer or a YA or a memoirist, a playwright or a poet - nope, a novelist. Like Dickens (who wrote plays) or Ondaatje (poetry and plays) or Atwood (poetry, children's books). Or like Drabble, who wrote novels.

So...My answer to the question is - What I love most about the genre I write in is its lovely mutability, its inability to hold a form, its floaty, slippery, unpinable-downity. I think I might need to name the genre that I write most often in. I shall call it Big Sky & Endless Ocean. Cannot wait to see that on the bookshelf of my favorite independent bookstore!

How about you all? Do you have a laser-like focus on a genre that works for you?

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

IWSG - first meeting of 2018

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!

It is another meeting of the Insecure Writers Support Group and I'm excited! I love the new year with its lovely blank pages awaiting. I plan on sullying many of them - or smudging them, or decorating them, or utterly ruining them. The main thing is that I will use each day. I will be awake and on the ball.

Here is this meeting's question - January 3 question - What steps have you taken or plan to take to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?

This is a bit of a slippery question. So many steps and plans and schedules between me and writing. Hmm... I will write every day. I am writing every day and I will continue to do so. I usually do a thousand words a day on my current project (Ruby's House - a memoir of our time here in Labrador). I have also committed to sending out 11 poems this month and will see how that goes. I tend to send poems out in mad batches and then wait. I did get one published in December so feel chuffed! I have had two batches rejected and one batch I haven't heard back from yet (sent all in June).

I would like to revisit my plans with Bright Angel.  It is currently out to 7 agents or publishers but some of those have had it for quite awhile with no peep. I had a strong nibble last year (request for full) but it didn't pan out. I am considering rewriting the first chapter or making a prologue as it gives a false example of the book as a whole - yet it is the right first chapter. As I say, I'm considering these things. Part of the problem is that I don't like to consider it a YA but some people do because the main protagonist is a youth. This annoys me - what if Catcher in the Rye was considered a YA? Maybe it is, but when it came out there was no such genre.

I have a mystery that I worked on for the past couple of years ( Crooked Knife ) but I am not happy with the ending. Okay - we're all kind here - there is no ending. I can't do it and it is kind of crucial for a mystery. I really really like the book though - the voice, the mystery, the passion and so on. So it deserves some of my time or I need some help with it.

So - with that I bid you adieu as I have some writing to do today and perhaps a bit of research on a new place to send some poems.

I hope you are full of enthusiasm for this new writing year and I will swing by to see some of you...

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

What would I change? Nothing.

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!

It is time for another meeting of the IWSG - a chance for all of us to unload the burdens of our writerly hearts about our writerly arts. The question - As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

And I would answer - quite honestly - nothing. Why wouldn't I relish the opportunity to go back in time and polish up my behavior a bit? I know that all of it is worthwhile. If I changed anything I would learn less. I learn from bumping up against the world, not from sitting fat and sassy in the center of the tree, holding onto the solid trunk, but from dancing out on the skinny branches, falling through the sky, landing so that the air in my lungs explodes out of me leaving me panting on the ground to stand up, climb up and try again. 

This year I learned a ton - I failed muchly and biggly.  I failed at understanding the Indigenous culture here in Labrador - I learned so much. I failed at trying to impart wisdom hugely and catastrophically at times - I learned so much. I failed at finishing the mystery I've been working on for two years - and I learned it isn't ready to be written - yet! I started a memoir about my time here in Labrador and I did get my words done for NaNoWriMo but more importantly I won a hard and good appreciation for the memoir form. I have been deeply energized by that. I got a new hip this year - in April - and I learned with great difficulty that my body is precious and being able to move is a gift that I will not take for granted. I struggled with politics both here and in the world. I do not like what is coming out - the poison - but I am so grateful it is surfacing and being dealt with and not rotting the world from within. I learned that no matter what - I don't know what I don't know and I must keep humbling myself in the eyes of the teachers - I will bend down low. I know that next year I will know things I can't believe I hadn't learned before but there it is - 65 and I am such a foolish student. But I do know that - so good on me!

Now - back to working on my memoir. What fun this is and terrible too - full of memories that I would not touch up for all the world. 

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.