Wednesday, April 27, 2005

To Review or not To Review?

On Monday, I received the 'book' I mentioned in a previous post. All the way from L.A. and sent by some type of international express mail at a cost to the authors of $7.00 American. They should, perhaps, have saved their money.

I'm in a quandry because I hesitate to even call the pages between covers a book. I've stopped reading at page 81 because I have a metaphorical hangover. The number of boozy lunches in the first 80 pages gave it to me. There's lots of evidence that Trafford (that's the edition I received) does zero editing. And by golly Molly, it sure could have used more than a little. It will be an uphill sans shoes slog to finish reading the pages. And then what am I to do - give it a bad review? Decide not to review it? Send it back with a note? Send them an e-mail indicating I can't review it?

It all makes me think about what it must be like for them, or for any other author who hopes to be reviewed.

It was so cold on the weekend that I almost turned on the heat, almost. But I managed to survive without it. NOw, we have rain instead of snow so perhaps I will not have to enrich Ontario Hydro.

I have two stories started and am not sure yet how to progress with either of them. That may mean I'm foot dragging again, or maybe I'm just figuring out where they will go. I think I'll opt for being in the contemplative phase.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Add, Take away, Prune, Revise, Ad Nauseum

Sometimes, my characters are just too, too demanding. May, who inhabits the short story, "May's Turn" was dissatisfied with the beginning of her story. She made that clear. Every time I re-read the story, there she was, whispering in my ear. Not quite, not yet, you haven't captured me yet.

I kept thinking about her. I'd already rewritten the story, (more than once) and received good comments on it. But I knew what she meant - it wasn't quite her story. Today, she seized me by the arm and led me back to the story. I spent all day on it. Somewhere along the way, I ate some crackers.That's all I remembered to eat. In the end, a new beginning, plus some other changes occurred to me.

Probably this story will amount to 6 or 7 printed pages (2920 words or so). How in the world can I consider writing something longer when it takes months to get back into a short story and find what's needed to make it work? At least, I think it works. I'm going to send it out while May still seems to be satisfied.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Reading too many books about Writing

Over the last two weeks, I think I've read four books on writing. How to write, what to write, how to be motivated. What to do, what not to do, and what not. Maybe I've read too many in too short a time; because now, I'm starting to think too much about what may be wrong with every sentence before I type it. I'm sure I'll recover and it's likely I'll forget some of the advice.

Late last week, I received an e-mail from two women who have written a book together. They appeared to be asking for a book review, but I was not sure. I replied asking for clarification and now they are sending me a free review copy. Apparently, they found my name through the seniorwomen website. Since the book has been published by Trafford, it could be a stinker. But, both women said they were unhappy with Trafford and have published another edition.

I did a little free witing this week for a woman (the cousin of a close friend) who wants to bring more music into the Ottawa pubic school system. The project is a great idea and I hope she can attract the funding she needs.

On another front, the weather front, we are hoping for rain. It has been a dry spring so far. That's not good for my favourite lawn care company. Now that fertilizer, etc, has been applied, rain is needed. I check the weather forecast frquently and remember my grandmother doing the same thing. We would sit at the kitchen table and listen to the noon farm news, complete with a detailed weather forecast on the CBC. We didn't live in the country but many of our relatives were farmers and grandma was always thinking of them.

Unfortunately, I don't know how many still farm and have not been able to visit that part of Ontario since last summer when we paid a brief visit to my mothers grave. Sometimes not being able to drive is more than a nuisance.

Some positive things are happening. The outside windows of my apartment building are being cleaned today. That's a luxury. I lived in a crappy apartment builidng in Toronto for about 15 years and the outside windows were never cleaned during that time.

The other good news is - I've managed to shrink my waist, just a wee bit. But, I'll take any shrinkage as a good sign. I don't own a scale, nor do I intend to buy one. They're depressing and I don't have a place to put one. Of course that does not stop me from acquiring stuff that is not depressing but requires space.

It's time to check the mailbox.


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Strange Meetings

The last few days have been a bit peculiar.

The weather has been unkind, and that's the polite way of mentioning there was snow. wind and rain all weekend. My plan to visit the garden show where my daughter's company was exhibiting had to be ditched. And, I'm not sure when I will see her since she is almost camping out at the office. The spring madness of the lawn-care business is taking over.

But, I was going to talk about strange meetings and there is a connection to my daughter. At least in the second strange meeting. There is a local woman who is a frequent and vehement speaker at every event concerning the use of pesticides in the area. Lawn care companies here follow guidelines for minimum use of pesticides. And some, like my daughter's company, are pleased to offer totally organic lawn care. But, they (the lawn care companies) are all bad-guys according to this woman. She does not seem to recognize that home owners who try to be do-it-yourselfers use way more pesticides than reputable lawn care professionals. Rant, rant rant.

I met this person last night at an editing circle. She, of course is not aware of my connection to the evil lawn-care empire. Let me admit this right now. I hoped that her writing would not impress me, because I cannot stand her. That was not the case - her writing is very good. I suppose the only thing I learned from the encounter was not to let my personal dislike stand in the way of appreciating good writing.

The other strange meeting took place in the land of dreams. Saturday night, after learning of Pope John Paul II's death, I had this dream. John Paul meets Mary. (yes, that Mary, the mother of Jesus) and they are in a small anteroom. for a moment, John Paul doesn't realize who she is. She's not wearing anything 'period,' but she is wearing blue, her symbolic colour. He of course falls prostrate at her feet. Heck, I would too, if it happened to me. Mary tells him to get up and he is quite able to, since his body has been restored to health. Then, she asks him to sit in the one chair that is available. It's a cushy chair and he would rather she sat there. But the look in her eye indicates he should keep his mouth shut. He does.

Mary tells him that everyone is proud of the great things he has done. John Paul is humble and does not say much. But then, Mary tells him that she is disappointed, not so disappointed that he will suffer, but disappointed just the same. She explains that she and God had hoped John Paul would begin to see that women should have all the same roles and rights as men in the Catholic church. She says she sent many messages to him through the women of the church, buthe did not understand how important the messages were. Then Mary tells him God has infinite patience.