Friday, May 29, 2009

Family News and the View from my Windows

On Wednesday my daughter and I visited my brother in Tilbury. His grown children were also home that day. It was good to reconnect after such a long time.

This morning, my brother informed me that he will have his very major surgery a week from today, if nothing changes between now and the scheduled date. I'm glad it will be soon because, the sooner it's done the better his chances may be. I hope for the best possible outcome.

In the midst of all this, I'm comforted by what I can see through my living room windows. Verdant green tree tops, blue sky today, and part of the bell tower on the lovely stone church just south of here on Queen Street.

It's time to go for a walk and think healing thoughts.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Brief Update

This may be the last blog entry for a while. Earlier this week, I learned that my brother is facing a health crisis and now that I have more details, I have plans to make. I hope to visit him very soon, once I find a way to get to his small town which is not on a bus or train route. It will be a short visit, a few hours, but I expect there will be more trips in the near future.

There's no writing news, and no writing taking place, for now. I hope to post better news soon.Until then, enjoy the spring and - carpe diem!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

When Writers Read

Our local library sponsors a writers' collective and this week, some members of the collective participated in a public reading of their work. The event was promoted in the library's magazine, In Touch, which is available free at all the libraries in the system and online. Most of the people who attended, including me, had some connection with the writers. However, at least some folk attended out of curiosity. You know the kind - what do those fiction writer critters look like in real life, and what do they produce? And, I bet I could do it better, if I had time.

I spoke with one such person after the reading, well, really, she accosted me. I guess she needed someone to hear her opinion and I was a slow moving target.

"Wasn't (name omitted) awful?" She asked.

"Some writers have trouble presenting their work," I replied.

That didn't satisfy her and she went to to say a few more uncomplimentary things. (I don't personally know the writer she was referring to, but felt I had to defend the writer, even though I partly agreed with the criticism.)

"Every one's taste is different," I said. Yeah, that was lame, but it did end the conversation, or else it ended because we were at the front door by then.

On the way home, I thought about the encounter a bit more. Not every writer is good at reading aloud in front of a group. It's not an easy thing to do. Some people have a flair for the dramatic and can make prose that wouldn't impress me a great deal if I was reading it on the page, sound more interesting that it truly is. It's good to have that talent because these days, published writers have to do more promotion than ever. The ability to put on a decent dog and pony show helps sales. It's hard for most writers though, or so I imagine. I do know it was difficult for me, and I've only done it once, so far. The audience I spoke to had paid to hear the writers spout off on different topics they claimed to know something about and read from their work. It was more than a little bit terrifying. Would they like my words or hate them? Would they throw things? Would they slink away and say nothing at all? Fortunately, terror helped me do a reasonable job. I'm sure that isn't the case for every writer and I have no idea whether I will be able to do it again, if the opportunity arises.

It's often hard to be one of them thar fiction writer critters. We're strange. We have egos that expand and shrink on a regular basis, maybe with the cycles of the moon, maybe not. We know everyone has a story but not everyone has a compulsion to tell stories. One is calling for me now. I'd better go and write it.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Lost Logic. Reset, Reset

When I visit my friend, The Bear, at his retirement residence we often listen to music on compact discs. He has a marvellous CD player with great sound. It's much like the Bose player, but was somewhat less expensive. It also has a remote control. After a year of use, the battery in the remote control died. When I replaced it and tried to use the CD player, it wouldn't work. I couldn't discover what was wrong with it although I read the owner's manual. Have I said I'm technically inept before? Well, I still am. We had to wait until The Viking could arrange to look at it because he couldn't diagnose the problem over the phone. It took all of 10 seconds to fix it. He unplugged it, plugged it in again and hey presto! - it worked. The device had lost its logic, but regained it after it was restarted. If only I could reset my logic so easily.

Mostly, I think of myself as a reasonably logical person, but there are times when I'm not. Almost always, those times are connected with critiques of my writing. I can and do, fail to hear the 'good stuff." in fact, very recently I received a critique from ye Canlit star and the list of "the good stuff'' had to be repeated before I could manage to hear it. But, I seldom have a problem hearing and magnifying any faults that are pointed out to me.

Maybe I'm like this because praise was only doled out in infrequent and minuscule amounts during my early childhood and when it was meted out, a caveat inevitably appeared in the same sentence. That rule was scrupulously followed in order to ward off something - bad Karma, evil spirits, an inflated ego, or so I assume.

It's evident I need a reset button. Luckily, I can imagine I have one. There, I've pressed it. Now it's time to go back to work.