Tuesday, November 29, 2016

I did it!

Hello peeps - through my tears, my rage, my deep deep sorrow at what is going on in the world - I finished my NaNoWriMo challenge. I wrote thirty thousand words on last years ms - Crooked Knife - bringing that up to 83 thousand words - a manuscript I can edit - though - I have to admit - it is not finished. I'm still unsure how to do the ending so I can't say that I have a finished shitty first draft - but it is in there somewhere! I'll put it away for a bit and then start carving away some, adding some and making it so. I also wrote about twenty thousand on my new project - Caribou Dreaming - which I'm hoping to morph into a graphic novel.

I know these challenges aren't for everyone but they work for me, so I'll keep doing them. I was happy this year, as I figured out a way to use that word count button to my benefit - even though I didn't have a new piece that I was focusing on.  Caribou Dreaming was a carrot to get me to finish Crooked Knife. Point is - it worked for me.

Because Crooked Knife is set on the reservation where I work - I could put all sorts of my feelings about Muskrat Falls and the terrible project that Newfoundland Hydro has going there - I could make it part of the mystery - and yep get out all my rage at what big industry is doing to our world. I could address indigenous issues and as my protagonist is a cop who is not indigenous but works on the reservation - I could feel fairly free to discuss her dilemma's and awakening to what is really going on. I could politicize myself without it being at all preachy - I hope - there is lots of humour and fun in the book and it is a mystery.

And that brings me to another point - I do want my writing to enlighten and inform people. That is why I write - it is why I live actually. I love reading and watching and enjoying art that is not political - but there has to be some human in there somewhere who wakes me up - or I'm not interested. I went to see The Once the other night. They are an amazing trio from Newfoundland and I can't describe their music but it is genuine - fun and full of love. The first song they did was one of Cohen's - Coming Back to You  - and I was positively awash with tears and in the front row. They did it acapella  - the words seemed to hang in space like jewels. The point is that their music helped heal my sore old heart and it amused me and inspired me and in one of their songs - The Nameless Murderess - I was positively elated at the innovative and wild sound they got.

What is art for? What is beauty and inspiration and innovation for? I really don't have an answer - I just know I need it. I hope with Crooked Knife that the readers will put it down and say something like 'Holy Hell - I had no idea that was going on in our world!'.

How about you all -what do you create for? And here is a digital finger painting of mine called 'Come Home'.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Dark Days

It is November 11th - Remembrance Day in Canada. I'm at work on my break and thinking of everything that has happened this week.

  • The flooding was begun at Muskrat Falls and it is clear we were lied to again by NALCOR and our government as it is higher than it was supposed to be. We were offered a compromise and we took it in good faith and they have reneged on that promise.

  • A sociopath has taken control of America with at least some of them blessing the change. This is truly frightening. 

  • I went to see a orthopedic surgeon about having a hip replacement and he completely dismissed what I was saying and what other orthopedic surgeons had said and declared that I don't need one yet and maybe not at all. Instead, against my wishes, when I was confused and vulnerable he gave me a steroid shot. My face is now a vivid red - two days later - I am uncomfortable and of course still have a sore hip.

  • Leonard Cohen has died.

The night of the election, restless and worried, I kept reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I've read it a gazillion times and I usually read it when I need cheering during the writing process. She is so sane and generous and funny - all of my favorite attributes. Even through all of this I have kept writing on my two projects for NaNoWriMo. I've written in my disappointment, my anger, my grief. It has all come out and it enhances the work I'm doing. As a Buddhist I understand the suggestion that we take it all to the cushion - an offering of our wounded messed-up stuff. It is the offering the Dralas (protective spirits - sort of)  like to receive because it is given whole-heartedly. I believe our art is the same.

 I will dance me to the end of time.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

NaNo Update

Yes - I know it is only day three but I have to encourage myself with everything I can. I've written over seven thousand words and just about half on my old ms Crooked Knife and half on the new one Caribou Dreaming. When I get to 20 thousand on CK I'll stop that one and write the rest on the new novel. That'll give me 70 thousand on CK and that should be enough for a first draft. Yep - I tend to add as I revise though I chop a lot too! Not sure about this process - it is sort of weird but it works to keep me motivated so I think I'll keep on. I've tried revising before on NaNoWriMo and I just can't do it without a word count being part of it. And it isn't exactly a word count I need on CK - I really am short a whole novel. It is very fun to be back in the game of writing on the mystery. I haven't tried in ages - since probably January or February. For one thing - I was very focused on actually finishing Bright Angel which also began on a month long writing marathon - though I believe it was the Burrowers version BuNoWriMo. I finished all the bits - the last revision, the sell package - including the dreaded synopsis and did my homework on where to send it. I sent it out in June and I have heard back from two of the six that I sent to. One publisher said that they liked it very much but didn't quite fit their lineup and the other asked for a full manuscript and I haven't heard back since. That's a good thing, no? They are arguing it at least. So four more to hear from but I feel like I've got a finished and polished package so that is good.

Crooked Knife is a mystery set in the community where I live. Actually it is here and across the bridge in Sheshatshiu - the Innu reserve here in Labrador. It is very political and maybe way too close to the truth but I'll get it down the way I feel it now and then deal with that in the revisions. It was easy to start because I had so many opinions on the way things are here - and I know this location will be exotic to most folks as it is a northern community with not only First Nation's folks but Inuit and an established base of what is called hereabouts 'Settlers'. Now, after the last month's embroilment in a very big environmental activism fight I think I know exactly how to write this. So yay! My new novel is a YA also set here. It isn't a mystery - or at least not yet - as a devoted PANTSER I never really know. But I'm three and a half thousand words in and it is mostly a teenage angsty sort of story - again with the exoticism of this place and the hook that this teenager is having an identity crisis that also involves three different races.

Here is a photo of Sheshatshiu from the bridge.

How is YOUR November going?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Who me?

Wow! Here we go again. Another meeting of the insecure writer's support group!Group I'm glad I posted at least once in between first Wednesdays. And yep, I still struggle with insecurity about writing and just about anything else. I will tell you what I'm good at though - I'm good at faking it.  Right now I need to fake it because that is the only way I can sustain myself until I get the internal weather I'm hoping for. For I am the sky not the weather. I know I'm okay with all my wounds and scars. My basic goodness is intact like the sun, but it is being clouded by doubt and pain right now.  So I put on positivity like a rain coat and get out there. 
I'm happy to be doing NaNoWriMo again this year -it really helps. Because I need the word count thing I am using it to count 20 thousand words on last years novel, which will give me a proper, if messy, first draft. The other 30 thousand will be on a new YA called Caribou Dreaming . 
How are you all doing?

Monday, October 31, 2016

Tomorrow is NaNoWriMo time!

I'm a complete mess -waiting for a new hip - stoned on pain killers -exhausted from a huge environmental and indigenous rights battle -disheartened with the force and cruelty of global corporations  (Muskrat Falls hydro project, Standing Rock, the ridiculous joke of the American election, women's disempowerment again!) so being a chirpy little energy writing bunny seems like the opposite of what I should be doing. Which would be ...sleeping? so, of course I'm jumping into the fray. I started a mystery last year and it is set in Labrador and involves a ton of the politics, the insanity of life on a reserve -especially for teens and the politics of the Muskrat Falls project .  I'm fired up -why not  use it. My goal is 20 thousand more words which  is 666.66 words a day.  So see you in the trenches. also I'll be gone for six days in November so will have to do those word ahead.

Here's me dressed up for one trick or treater. one.