Tuesday, November 29, 2005

My Brief Career As a Traffic Cop In Pink Mittens - And an Update on the NaNoWriMo Saga

I had to use a long title for this post, so that you would know what to expect. Or did I? Maybe I'm still in my rather wordy NaNoWriMo mode.

Yesterday afternoon, I took a break from writing and walked over to one of the stores on Victoria street. The store is not far from the major intersection of Victoria and Edna. Victoria street is a major road with a speed limit of 60 kilometers per hour and Edna is the exit from one of the expressways. Those two roads are always filled with traffic. When I came out of the store, I noticed that Victoria street was completely blocked-off just to the west of me. There were fire trucks and ambulances and it appeared there had been a major car accident. As I walked back toward Victoria and Edna, I saw that a woman was standing in the middle of the road and directing west bound traffic to turn left off Victoria and onto Edna. I thought that was admirable and would help prevent a pile up. She could only be in one place though and cars were still turning right from Edna onto Victoria and toward the accident, because they couldn't see the blocked road until after they turned the corner.

So... since I was wearing bright pink gloves, I stood slightly inside the Edna right turn lane and began to be a traffic cop - making large hand gestures - go left, go left. I was not in any danger, since I stood close enough to the curb to get out of the way of the fools who ignored my directions, and there were some.

Our stint as traffic cops continued for at least twenty minutes. Then a police car stopped near the woman who was still directing traffic from the centre of Victoria avenue and the officer told her to stop now that police were on the scene. This upstanding citizen then came over and told me we were off duty.

I was soaked by this time, since it had been raining for a while and so I thanked the woman and walked home. The late local news reported the accident and the fact that one driver died.

After that excitement, I thought I wouldn't be able to settle down and write. But, fortunately, my assumption was wrong.

I finished the last chapter of the first draft of my novel at about one o'clock this morning, a little less than two whole days before the deadline. Then I was so wired I couldn't fall asleep so I was awake until about three o'clock this morning.

And how have I celebrated this accomplishment? - well I stayed in my nightie until noon. I guess that's one way to mark the occasion. But I'm going out now, to find another way.

And maybe I'd better stop wearing those pink mitts.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Sic Transit Miniscule Gloria

This is just a short postscript to my last blog entry.

Early this morning I received an emal that informed me more copies of Ten Stories High will be printed.

So, guess how many more will be printed. The answer is 25. That is not a typo - the answer is 25. I guess that might tell me how small the first print run was. It also might tell me how much of an impact the anthology made. I'm not sure if I want to know the answer to either one of those "mights".

I think I'll go to Tim Hortons and console myself before I plunge back into my novel. At least I know what the next four chapters will be about. I don't know much, but it's good to know one small thing.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Sold Out!

A friend told me she'd ordered the Ten Stories High Anthology but hadn't received a reply to her email. And then, when I looked at the Niagara CAA website, I discovered that in one place the site indicated the anthology was out of print, meanwhile, on another page they said one could order it.

I sent an email to the Niagara Branch's president and received a prompt reply. The 2005 edition of Ten Stories High is sold out. It was more successful than they expected and they are "considering" printing more.

I have no idea of how many copies they started with, but the Anthology has only been out for about two months (less actually), so either they printed an incredibly small number of copies - or something is going on that I don't know about. Either way, I hope they print some more of them.

Hells bells! I only have one copy and was thinking of ordering another, just because, well, just because it might be good to have two.

I'm bullying my way through the NaNoWriMo month and have reached 29,999 words. Don't ask why I'm one word short of 30,000. I don't know. In fact this whole adventure has convinced me that at this point, the less I think about what's going on the more likely I am to get to the end.

I'm not quite sure what happens on the next page, but I'll think about that tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Canada and Me - Halfway to Somewhere

Last night, I managed to reach the halfway 25,528 word mark in my NaNoWriMo novel. I'm halfway to somewhere, I think, and I might even know where I'm going. It certainly is a struggle to write so many words every day. And when I took a day or two off, it was difficult to catch up. I'm telling myself only 15 more days of this concentrated effort. Of course it won't be true, because I'll need to do at least two major rewrites, but it's a useful delusion.

As for Canada and where it's going and the election to come. I wish the MP's would just have the non-confidence vote and get it over with. I don't know anyone who has any confidence left in the way things are at the moment. Then there's the Liberal "economic update" otherwise known as - have some goodies and be quiet will ya. I guess some of the middle class folk and most of the business community will sop it up. I don't think it does nearly enough for the people who are not part of the middle classes. And furthermore, she said, mounting her platform/soapbox, there's the possibility that first nations people will be left out in the cold again, and nowhere in the economic update is there an increase in foreign aid mentioned. We have the bloody surplus (or so the Liberals say) so why aren't we increasing our contributions. What kind of a country is this anyway, when we can't even get close to the .07% contribution? It's shameful, selfish, and short-sighted too.

I thought Canada was going somewhere as a country. We seemed to be developing a pretty clear picture of how Canada should be and act; but right now its a bit like my novel - halfway to somewhere but who knows where. Or it could be that my novel is in much better shape than the country, because at least I know where I want it to go and eventually I'll find the way. I wish I could say the same for our country, but at the moment we're rudderless and it appears that no one with enough power cares to steer the boat in the direction I believe the average Canadian wants and needs.

I'd better get back to steering my novel.

Friday, November 11, 2005

At The Eleventh Hour

I was at the local Cenotaph this morning for the Remembrance Day service here. It still seems a bit strange not to be going to a service either at Toronto City Hall or at Sunnybrook's Warrior's Hall.

And while I see that there have been large crowds at Remembrance Day events in other parts of the country, that wasn't the case here. I don't know if K-W suffers from a bit of schizophrenia at times like this or not.

After the official ceremonies were over, I came home briefly, but on my way to meet a friend for lunch, I stopped by the Cenetaph for a quiet moment or two. I thought it would be a private time for reflection. But a reporter from Rogers TV was there and wanted to ask me a question or two about why Remembrance Day is important, so I answered, although I was a bit shakey since it was an emotional moment for me. Fortunately, few people watch the local cable TV channel.

This afternoon on the CBC Newsworld Your Call show, they were asking callers what is Canada's proudest military moment. I dialed the toll-free number, never dreaming I'd get through. I've never been successful on any other occasion. I answered the question by saying that when we became known as peacekeepers was our military's proudest moment, in my opinion. There were many many other proud military moments of course (I said) including when we decided not to take part in the Iraq war.

So, that's it, except for all the faces of all the Veteran's I worked with appearing before me as they always do on this day.

There's a long long road a winding into the land of my dreams, and I'll always remember how to play Tipperary for you.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Proud and Prejudiced

Lsst week, my daughter, Nancy, asked me for some advice on an article she was working on. She wanted to submit it to the K-W Record as a rebuttal to some pieces that have appeared opposing the use of any pesticides.

I gave her some minimal editorial advice. I'm happy to say that the article appears on the Op-Ed/Insight page of The Record today and it looks good, really good and I'm proud.

It seems that there are writers everywhere. When I went out in the rain (ugh) this morning to pick up my copy of the newspaper, I had a chat with the proprietor of the closest convenience store. As it turns out, he translates books from English to Arabic. Unfortunately, to date, he has not really been paid much for his efforts.

I guess it is time to think about working on today's installment for NaNoWriMo.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Giller Prize. Hockey Night in Canada

CTV is currently running ads promoting iteself as the "literary" channel. Seems they are going to telecast the Giller Prize event. However; they are going to run the program at two o'clock in the afternoon, not in prime time. Will any one watch? Are they cancelling a soap opera to broadcast this? I'm not sure, but I can just imagine how many viewers will tune in, or record the event for viewing later - very few. At least they show "Corner Gas."

Rick Mercer comes back on CBC on Tuesday and I hope he will be as caustic as ever. I've really missed parts of the regular CBC shedule, mostly the comedies.

Hockey Night in Canada is back and I've actually watched a couple of hockey games ( it's been years since I bothered) and I've enjoyed the way the game moves now. I still hate fights and change the channel when one starts, but there seem to be fewer fights, so who knows, I may watch more hockey. It's in the genes somewhere and it all started back when I listened to Foster Hewitt do his inimitable play by play on the radio. Yes, I am that old, and what's more I don't care who knows it.

I'm plugging along on my "novel." I'm using quotes for that word because I don't know if it will turn out to be a novel or only a very long short story or a short novella, or nothing in particular. The characters are in conflict (yay!) and I've written almost 12,000 words so far. There's a long way to go yet.

I'll think about that after I check my mail box.

Friday, November 04, 2005

The NaNoWriMo Adventure at Day Four

It's hard to believe that in three days I've written 6,731 words and some of those words might possibly be ones I'll keep. On day three I worked on proof reading a short story so I could send it out. Then having lost a day's NanoWriMo work I had to do two days worth today.

The paragraphs are long and sprawly and in spots there's an over-abundance of descriptive detail, so someday I'll be pruning them.

The biggest challenge right now is to decide where the plot is going and whether there is enough plot.

I went to the "Evening with Stephen Lewis" and found that he is still a great speaker. Of course I'm biased but the applause and the standing 'O' he received supports my opinion. Yes, I know that people are more inclined to give standing ovations these days (old codger makes a brief grumpy appearance) but his was certainly more than deserved. His comments about the American government were careful but quite pointed and funny too. And he didn't leave out the role right-wing ideology plays in the inadequate distribution of AIDS assistance ($) in Africa. He was most passionate when he talked about the terrible price the women and children of Africa are paying now. But he also talked about some of the hopefull things that are gradually happening and encouraged the people in the audience to get involved in some way.

I suppose I should go and plot my plot, or consult my characters in my dreams.