Friday, January 29, 2010

Seven Things You Didn't Know About Me

Fellow writer and blogger, Angela Addams (The Temptress, Cobblestone Press, 2009) nominated me to write on this topic.

I had to think a while since I don't want to reveal anything that would lead you to believe I'm extremely weird. I will admit that I'm odd, but most likely you are too.

The list:

1) I attended a one-room red insul-brick school for my first two years of' 'edumacation' and even when I sat in the front row, I couldn't see a darn thing. In spite of that, I learned to read and kept on reading - see point 2

2) My childhood bedroom was in the basement of my grandparents' house. The cement floor was very cold in the winter and very wet when it flooded every spring. I had an antique console radio in my room. It was large and had tubes inside that glowed in the dark. I was seldom allowed to listen to it late at night so a flashlight and a book became my companions. I don't need to use a flashlight anymore, but I still read in bed.

3) I've had very long hair and very short hair (my current style is pixie-like), curly hair and straight hair, but I've never dyed, tinted or streaked my hair. I am not opposed to doing any of those things. Someday, I might colour my hair. In the meantime I enjoy seeing the colours and styles other members of my family choose to adorn their heads.

4) When I lived in Toronto, I rented out the second bedroom in my apartment in order to almost make ends meet. I did this for quite a few years and my roomies came from exotic places like Jamaica, Somalia, Pakistan, Japan, and Hamilton Ontario. I learned a lot about what you need to tell them.. For example, don't poke at the coils inside the freezer compartment of the ancient refrigerator with a knife - the fridge doesn't like that and it will die. Please, oh please, don't mop the hardwood tiles with water. And finally, don't let your boyfriend in if he has a weapon.

5) I have no piercings anywhere on my body. I do have scars - a very long appendix scar since the surgeons were in a great rush to get inside me and a long scar on my knee.

6) I love baby beef liver and hate cooked cauliflower.

7) Most of my furnishings were given to me or inherited. In fact, if I kept only what I've purchased with my own money I'd have: a piano, a very old stereo, three sets of book shelves and a kitchen table and chairs. Thank goodness I frittered away my fortune in other ways.

Deep dark secret disclosures: I like hearing bad puns, eating real ice cream, rereading Little Women, and watching Johnny Depp in any movie, (even the Pirate movies).

Saturday, January 23, 2010

In This World

In this world, a reality starlet had ten well-tended plastic surgeries.

In this world, Haitian children's limbs were cut off with no anesthesia.

In this world, Survivors thrived as a 'reality' television show.

In this world, how many Haitians died no one can know.

Are we one world, as so many now attest?

When the music stops and the stars move on to other causes, other shows

The lost and broken ones move off the screen but they exist

In this world.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Couple of Books I Recommend

First, a thank-you to the people who responded to my previous post about editors. I'm only annoyed and disappointed when an editor says something vague like - it's not our style. And yes, I do get over my anger. I'm a Cancer sign so that takes time because Cancer people are stubborn, though I prefer to think of us as tenacious.

I hope my brother is tenacious too, he is back in the hospital and we don't know much yet. Writing is hard to do when one's fingers are permanently crossed. Therefore, I decided to mention a couple of books I recommend.

Delivery by Betty Jane Hegerat (Oolichan Books 2009) is an absorbing and sometimes heart-wrenching novel about a young woman who has to decide whether to give away her baby. The baby's grandmother gets involved and then ... no, I can't reveal what happens. Read it. It's excellent.

During my volunteer shelf-reading stint at the library on Wednesday, I discovered Outwitting Writer's Block and Other Problems of the Pen by Jenna Glatzer. It has already given me quite a few laughs and given my current frame of mind, that's no easy task. The book is light-hearted - a rare thing since it's about a serious, or semi-serious subject. It won't ever be classed as "literature", but it's fun to read. Here's a sample quote:

"You decide Real Writers would never stare at a blank page for three days. .... You are defective ....Don't think I'm going to correct you. ...If I weren't so defective in the first place I'd probably never be a writer ... But the world needs us weirdos. If we didn't write about the glorious lives of bag ladies, mountain climbers, misfits, barflies, and homecoming queens, who would? So, go right ahead and be defective and write anyway."

I haven't finished the book yet, but I found more to giggle about this morning, and more motivation too.


Monday, January 04, 2010

The Editor as Black Hat and Sometimes, White Hat.

In very old western movies, the bad guys were easy to identify and were known as black hats. Sometimes, editors must be bad guys. I wore my black hat on Boxing Day weekend when I took on the role of gunslinger/editor and shot down long confusing sentences. They were not my sentences but it was not an easy task. I feared I would be ambushed by the obscure jargon which lurked amidst the already complex language thickets of a long report. I was also afraid that my client wouldn't accept all of the many changes I had made. Fortunately she accepted almost all of them and I became the good guy, white hat, this time.

It is far easier to edit other people's writing, especially non-fiction writing than it is to edit my own fiction. Some of the fiction rejections I received recently have offered comments. My first reaction to any negative comment received in a rejection letter is always anger. Yes, I know, that's not the way to respond. I'm working on it, and I'll continue to work on my stories too.

It's a new year and there is hope.