Sunday, 30 October 2011

On solitary days, and schmoozing

Today I’m writing in the striped light of my living room. Sunshine comes to me filtered through the blinds. There is music, there’s a cat curled soft on the mattress in the bedroom, and the contract from ECW sits a few inches away from my computer. This morning, my landlord—who also happens to be my old philosophy teacher from high school, and a very dear friend—dropped by to put up my towel rack, and witnessed the contract for me. Tomorrow, it goes back in the mailbox, back to Toronto, and then the ball gets rolling.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Exciting times

Looks like I get to move into my little Hamilton sublet a week early, for free. Awesomeness! Turns out my landlord had mixed up the dates that the original tenant was going to be away, and sent me an email to clarify. Any chance, he said, that you could move in next week? Why yes! Yes I can! So on Monday I'll be moving abode to downtown Hamilton. Steps from the trendiest street in the city, and 30 seconds away from my new yoga studio. Walking distance to the hospital, which means walking distance to work, which means no more having to get up at 4:30am. I can't stress how much this thrills me.

I think I'll be treating myself to a week of writerly abandon in celebration of it all.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Twelve years ago ...

I wrote a story.

Twelve years later, that story is a novel. A novel that now, officially as of today, has a book deal. A novel that will be published in North America in the spring of 2013 with these lovely people.

Here is the story of how it all happened.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Day 131

Took the camera out tonight to get some autumn photos. I went out too late, and missed the last bit of sunshine, but spent a lovely few minutes clicking my way through some shots, remembering the rhythm of my camera, the composition of a photo, that crisp little sound. Click.

At the beginning of this year I told myself: take more pictures! And I don't know what happened. My poor camera has been languishing on the shelf for so long. But taking it out tonight was so wonderful, even though the shots themselves don't actually deserve much of a mention. That rhythm, that sliding into the photographer's shoes once more. You see the world so differently when you're trying to compose a shot.

Very much, I suppose, the way that you see the world differently when you're trying to write a story.
This is an old photo. Cheating! But such a lovely Scottish lane, no?

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Days 119 - 129 (and an eensy little bit about the new novel)

I'm a third of the way through this project, folks. Hard to believe. Hard to believe that it's actually continuing, that I'm actually still making room each day for those little expressions of happiness. Somedays they're not that big at all -- yesterday, for example, I rejoiced over the fact that my GST cheque came in the mail. And two days before that, I rejoiced over fluffy white towels -- new, mine, and oh-so-soft. (Today I'm tickled pink at the fact that the GST cheque, as it happened, paid for the white towels. How's that for a nice little pick-me-up?)

Here's the lesson, of course -- happiness does not have to be big at all.

Monday, 10 October 2011

WritBits 3

Okay, so it's not actually a grey, rainy day in my corner of the world, folks. It's a lovely day. BEAUTIFUL. But I feel in the mood for a WritBits post, and so, without further adieu ... here we go! Lots o' deadlines in this WB today. Nothing like a little pressure to get those creative juices flowing ... :)

1) Julia Cameron Live: Last week, as with most weeks, I mentioned Ms. Cameron in one of my WritBits posts. For WritBits 2, I mentioned her in conjunction with the 750words website, but for today, I'd just like to mention her in general. If you haven't heard me plug The Artist's Way already, count yourself blessed! I'm a huge devotee, though I'll admit right here that I'm also notorious for picking Cameron's coursebook up, getting halfway through it, and then getting sidetracked. I've probably started her artist's journey four different times since purchasing the book several years ago. Nonetheless, when I heard about Cameron's new website venture, Julia Cameron Live, I couldn't help but squeal. If you're ever in need of some writerly inspiration, you should definitely check this site out. You can connect with other writers, sign up for an interactive online version of Julia's courses, and learn more about the Artist's Way tools even before looking at the book.

2) SLS Unified Contest -- now including CNF!: Have you heard of the Summer Literary Seminars? They're a series of -- you guessed it -- literary seminars and writing workshops that started on an annual basis back in St. Petersburg, Russia, around a decade or so ago. Over the next ten years, the program -- two weeks' worth of seminars and workshops in the deliciously indolent atmosphere of St. Petersburg -- became wildly popular, so much so that the series expanded to include two-week workshops in Montreal, Lithuania, and Kenya over the course of the year. As a further way of promoting the series, the SLS crew hosts the annual SLS Unified Contest in conjunction with a number of esteemed magazines, including, among others, The Walrus and the Black Warrior Review. The grand prize winner of each contest will have their piece published in these magazines,  plus tuition and airfare to the SLS program of their choice. Runners up receive fellowships and discounts on the programs of their choice. As of this year, the contest has expanded to include creative non fiction, which just tickles me pink in all kinds of ways. The entry fee ($15) isn't all that much, either, as far as entry fees go -- and you can enter as many essays, stories, and poems as you want! The deadline for the 2012 SLS Unified Contest is February 28, 2012. Plenty of time to brush up those stories/essays/poems and throw them in for your shot at a spot. (Heh. Good thing I'm not trying for the poetry category, isn't it?)

3) Canadian Writer's 2012 Contest Calendar: Speaking of contests: if sending your stories etc. away for a shot at Canadian fame and glory is what gets you going (and let's face it -- who doesn't want to be a household name amongst the people of the frozen north? Hollywood can have its tinselfolk -- I want SNOWSHOES to know I'm famous!), you might want to consider purchasing a copy of the 2012 Canadian Writer's Contest Calendar.  The calendar (and it's a book, not a calendar, as the website will tell you) is a compilation of many of the various literary contests held in Canada throughout the year. The calendar is organized by month, according to deadline date, and is an invaluable source of information for those of us who like a little friendly competition! You can order your calendar here. Calendars are scheduled to start shipping on November 10. They are wonderful. You should definitely buy one.

4) Last week I talked about the horror of grant applications. (Sarah Selecky also talked about it, albeit in a much nicer, classier kind of way.) And then a few writer friends and I commiserated via Twitter how much we hate/love grant applications. Talking about ourselves. Distilling our big, raw ideas into succinct little 15 word summaries. And then I found The arty bollocks generator. Folks: fear those grant applications no more! In the space of two clicks, the Arty Bollocks generator will create a professional, appropriately vague and important-sounding prècis of your work proposal. (The Arty Bollocks interpretation of your work might be slightly, er, different from what you yourself have envisioned, but that's entirely part of the charm.) It will even, should you so choose, tweet for you.  Grant applications have never been so easy. We like, over here at Waiting For An Echo. We like very much indeed.

5) Trans Artists Residency Database: Since last week's mention of duotrope's digest seemed to go over so well, I thought I'd post a link to another one of my favourite artsy databases. Trans Artists is a website run out of the Netherlands which lists a variety of artist residencies around the world. Residencies are organized by art discipline and each entry showcases a wealth of information about the residency on offer: application procedures, relevant websites, etc. Definitely worth checking out if you're feeling the need to do some writing in a space far away ...

6) Malahat Review Open Season Awards: Deadlone looming! Deadline looming! That supreme hallmark of CanLit, The Malahat Review, will be accepting fiction, poetry, and creative non fiction submissions to its 2012 Open Season Awards until November 1. (That's the postmark date, in case you were wondering.) The entry fee is $35, which covers a one-year subscription to the magazine. Get polishing!

7) Places for Writers: Contests are all well and good, yes. But let's not forget (as if it's even possible) that there are 365 days in which one can theoretically shove work out into the world. And so, in the spirit of passive-aggressive get-your-writing-out-into-the-stratosphere cheerfulness, I'd like to direct everyone to Places For Writers. This is a (mostly Canadian) website that, like duotrope, lists a plethora of magazines currently asking for submissions. Like the Contest Calendar, Places for Writers is helpful in that it organizes magazines by submission deadline (as opposed to alphabetical order, or pay scale, etc). Perfect if you want to light a little fire under your writing ambitions. Get your chutzpah going. (And yes, Steph, I'm talking to you. :)

And now it's time for me to actually get to those stories. Happy Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, everybody!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Day 118: Bridesmaids

Just a quick wee entry tonight before popping off to bed. Finally watched Bridesmaids tonight. Laughed so long and so hard, as did my mother. How wonderful: to sit and be warm, with a slumbering golden dog stretched out at your feet, eating popcorn, watching a good film.

Yesterday I cracked a towel in half, Annie. In half. Disgusting.