Friday, December 4, 2009

Writer's Blog

What does doing the dishes, doodling, and writing a blog have in common?

They are things to do when you're supposed to be writing. When I'm suffering with writer's block, I turn to housework, turn on the TV... 

My favourite time-wasters are Animal Crossing and Webkinz. (Having kids will get you hooked on the weirdest things.) Those cute cartoon characters are so glad to see me and so easy to please. (Well, some of the critters in Animal Crossing aren't easy to please but they are easy to ignore.)

Housework is less fun but it does give you that warm glow of having accomplished something. So what if you now have to work until midnight in order to meet a deadline, the laundry is caught up and and those odd sticky patches on the kitchen floor are gone.

However, the most effective way to procrastinate is to write a blog about writer's block.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The November Challenge

In the winter we're nostalgic about the summer. In the summer -- well most summers -- we complain about the heat. It's the same thing with activity. When there's nothing to do, we get bored. When we're busy... well, lets just say, I wouldn't mind the opportunity to feel bored right now.

It's November.

Remembrance Day month -- which is a bit more challenging this year since my son joined cadets.

The month we launch Canadian Voices Volume 1 -- which is so successful I have to start thinking about a submission for Canadian Voices Volume 2.

The month I take on the Arthur Ellis Awards Administrative Assistant job -- new to me so therefore a bit of a learning curve.

National Novel Writing Month.

I started participating in NaNoWriMo the year after my sister died. I had all this extra time (after taking care of my father, children, looking for work) and yet wasn't getting down to creative writing as often as I wanted. A neighbour told me about NaNoWriMo and I thought it would be a good exercise in getting my daily word count up. The challenge is to writer 50,000 words in 30 days. I finally made it last year. Not so sure about this year. Of course, that begs the question, why am I not writing my November novel now.

See y'all in December!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


...and when Canadian History and Culture is defined, it will be by a million people with voice...
 I love the above description of Canadian Voices Volume 1 (Bookland Press), an anthology of prose and poetry by emerging authors -- including yours truly. It not only sounds good but it's a great ideal for Canadian Culture. It's the new multiculturalism -- many voices; many stories.

My story in the book involves a different kind of voice, the kind you don't really 'hear'. In Joey and the Turtle, I talk about a turtle telling me that my sister was going to die. The 'voice' came to me through drawings. Doctors and nurses gave me the same message, but my sister had beaten the odds before. I needed to hear the message at an intuitive level.

I have a novel in the making about a woman who perceives ghosts -- but she can't hear them or talk to them directly. Their voices are transmitted through memories transmitted to her in dreams and hallucinations. Mystery and romance are also part of the story, which was inspired by a Canadian Geographic article about the Canadian Arctic and a personal fascination for men in uniform, but the ghost part comes from personal experience.

When I was seven or eight, my grandmother died. I knew she had died before my mother came to tell me because Grandma Bruce had visited my bedside. She didn't say anything but she conveyed a warning to be good and a farewell in her silent presence.

Years later, at a funeral for a friend, I felt him near me during the service. Allen knew he was dying and had planned the event down to the hors d'oeuvres . I knew he was there overseeing everything. I didn't have to see or hear him to know he was with us, but I almost could see and hear him, his presence was so strong.

Maybe I'll write about Allen for Canadian Voices Volume 2.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Behind the Name

My father built an indestructible bookcase in our basement playroom. It was tough enough for my sister and I to climb from toddler years to adulthood. As soon as I could read them, the titles of the hardcover novels fascinated me. Sometimes I would climb just to read the spines. My lifelong love of reading probably owes something to those sturdy shelves.

One of the titles that mystified me for years was Have Gat -- Will Travel (by Richard S. Prather -- though I didn't pay attention to authors back then.) What the heck was a gat? I had no idea, but if you could travel with it, it must be pretty exciting. Eventually I worked out that a gat was a weapon and years after found out it was short for gattling gun. In the meantime, my imagination wove stories around that title and those of other books nearby, like Is Paris Burning? Well, was it? And if it was why? And The Guns of Navarone... where was Navarone? What was it like?

I eventually read The Guns of Navarone and several other books by Alistair MacLean, but I could never bring myself to read Have Gat -- Will Travel. I was afraid the story wouldn't live up to my imaginings.

So, that's why, when I needed to come up with a title for this blog, I wrote: "Have Laptop -- Will Travel."

Cheers - The Word Slinger
Okay. Here I am. There I go. TTFN