wise words for the winter solstice
This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons...
Winter Dreams Leaves, September-soft crisping with November frost – winter dreams in white.
Octopus Wrangling, or How to Write a Novel
That moment when an idea for a novel is born is tremendously exciting. It’s like this tiny mote of dust floats into your mind, forms a seed, implants itself in your brain, splits, bursts open and then launches a wild growth spurt, sprouting characters and themes and plots and subplots and then more characters which have their own backgrounds and subplots and tangents and subtexts and suddenly...
This is a poem I wrote after I was given the privilege of participating in an inipi or sweat lodge. It was an incredible experience and difficult to put into words. Born in the nursery of the universe we are born on a pillow of stars, wrapped in the magic blankets of night. in the pure eternal black, we huddle close; deeper in the womb closer to the sun the heat of our bodies feels like...
The English Language, let me show you it.
Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing. ~ Robert Benchley One of the joys of living in a multicultural city is the vibrant diversity of cuisine, music, festivals, cultural traditions and shopping experiences to be enjoyed on a daily basis. One of the downsides is witnessing the steady erosion of my beloved English language. I guess it’s inevitable in a...
The First Cut Is The Deepest
Aha, I bet you thought I’d forgotten about Making It Real: Step Three! Well I haven’t, because here it is. If you’ve been following along, hopefully you let your draft sit for a while, and now you’re ready to edit. So take your draft out of the drawer/fridge/booze cupboard, get a nice new pointy red pen, and begin. Wait: say what? You didn’t print it out? Okay,...
Good Editor, Bad Editor
I wouldn’t want to be an editor. It’s one of those thankless jobs where you get all of the criticism and none of the praise. Even when you’ve done a stellar job, the kudos goes to the author alone. A lot of writers (note that I said writers, not authors) don’t see what the big deal is about hiring an editor and don’t feel the need for one. The thing is, an editor...
Not all Rejections are Equal
Just received another rejection. Funny how the word “unfortunately” leaps out from the page and smacks you square in the face. But not all rejections are equal; some qualify as what I call “the A1 Rejection”, and what better to illustrate my point than to include the actual text (pertinent details have been omitted to protect the agent’s identity): Anne, Thank you...
Cooking 101, or how to make your writing...
Welcome to Step Two of Making It Real. So you’ve finished something. Bravo! Now you have to let it cook. This advice is usually met with a baffled expression. “What do you mean, let it cook? My story is not a stew!” Well yes, yes it is. Your story is a stew of words and no doubt you think it’s absolutely perfect as written, you don’t need to change a thing. ...
Oh, I am so entering this.
My publisher just emailed me this: For immediate release, Sunday 5 September 2010 Melvyn Bragg, Daisy Waugh, Will Self and AS Byatt to judge the second Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award – the world’s most valuable short-story prize. Judges are announced for the world’s most valuable short story prize, which offers £30,000 for a single story. Novelist, screenwriter and broadcaster...
Wallpapering the spare room, or how to deal with...
By wallpaper, of course, I mean rejection form letters. This is my fourth since starting the query stage for my YA novel in February. Not a bad track record, I think, and I’m well aware that I’m still at the beginning of this process. The rejection letter cannot be read without a certain amount of angst. In the end though, it has to be accepted for what it is: an indication that...
slushpilehell: I have an idea for a book about a dog. Before I take the time to write it, can you tell me if dog books are still hot? I’m glad you didn’t waste your time. Dog books are out. Manatee books are in.
You are stardust, you are golden
This is an open letter to writers who have, through no fault of their own, not been writing for a while, or (worse) have given it up altogether. Maybe someone told you it was a waste of time. Maybe someone said that to harbour ambitions to be a writer was ”a bit of a joke”. You’ve possibly been on the receiving end of remarks such as “oh, that’s a nice thought but...
Yes, I write poetry. Don't shoot me.
I realize that poetry is, in the words of Jean Cocteau, “a religion without hope.” I know it doesn’t get published unless you’re Michael Ondaatje or Jewel. I understand that I will never earn a penny piece from my poetry … but still, I’m driven to write it. I’ve decided to post occasional poems here, just for the helluvit. Maybe someone somewhere will...
Making It Real: Step One
God forbid there should be another blog post entitled “So you want to be a writer?” but that’s probably the appropriate subtitle for this post. I’ve run out of fingers and toes to count how many people have said to me either ”I’ve always wanted to be a writer” or “So you’re a writer, yeah isn’t everyone, but what’s your real...
I guess I'm a real writer now ...
I’ve been writing forever. I mean, honestly. But it wasn’t until June of this year that I finally held an actual real live book in my hand and was able to say “I wrote this.” Well … one-tenth of it, anyway. Ten Journeys was published May 29, 2010 by Legend Press, an independent publisher based in London, England. My story, What If You Slept, is the 9th in the...