Monthly Archives September 2008

Big, Quiet Moment

“Writers should be read but neither seen nor heard.” - Daphne Du Maurier Well, I did it. I was going crosseyed from editing my short stories, and the submission deadline on a manuscript competition loomed, so I printed all twelve stories (after checking five times that the page numbers lined up properly, having recently sent a four-chapter children’s submission whose pages were off by oneafter Chapter Two – ARGH!!).
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Multiple Players

“The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.” -Tom Clancy Ours is a single-TV household. I keep the tube in the basement to make the effort of looking at it as unappealing as possible. Within a tangle of wires next to the TV, the X-Box sits surrounded by dust bunnies and the usual teenager-generated detritus: abandoned pop cans, gum wrappers, bits of popcorn the
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More on Margaret

“Either the bloody thing will get published or it won’t.”  - Margaret Laurence (re. The Diviners) I’ve had a number of responses to last Thursday’s blog, deeply felt emails about Margaret Laurence’s work. One was from a writer who felt Laurence’s presence during the writing of her own novel, with the reminder to be true to her own voice throughout. Another came from an artist who recalled reading The
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Chapter One

“It is as though we are building something around a centre, but that centre can be anywhere.” - Louise Erdrich Last week being the beginning of the Symphony Season and the start of my year-long writing sabbatical, between rehearsals some of my musician pals came over for soup. They needed fortifying. During the summer hiatus we musicians keep up our chops by any means we can, but
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Field Trip

“What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.” - Samuel Johnson I’ve been tackling the story whose guts I recently decided I hate. It took some time and a lot of nerve, but last week I completely pulled it apart and started over, adding more new elements than keeping old ones. It was a bloodbath, a ruthless pruning session that left me panting and sweating
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It’s Margaret Laurence’s Fault

“When I say ‘work’ I only mean writing. Everything else is just odd jobs.” - Margaret Laurence There is a small table next to my reading chair upon which sits a stack of books, maybe eight or nine of them. It’s a perilous looking arrangement, and any minute now, I’m sure the dog will send it crashing to the floor. Of the eight or nine books waiting to be read,
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Submission

“I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.” - James Michener This week I’m preparing a submission for a manuscript competition. It’s a first for me, and it’s a big deal. For some time now I’ve been submitting stories one at a time to literary journals, steadily collecting rejection letters, and a few acceptances. Over the past four years I’ve been writing my story
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Sabbatical

“You can’t wait for inspiration . You have to go after it with a club.” - Jack London The launch of my website coincides with the beginning of a long-held dream of mine, which is to take a year and write full-time. It’s not that I have any complaints about my day-job, or should I say night-job, as a musician in a symphony orchestra. For thirty-five years
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The Reluctant Blogger

“I love being a writer. What I can’t stand is the paperwork.” - Peter De Vries “You need a website.” “No, I don’t. “Yes, you do.” “No, I don’t. “Yes, you do. You need a website and you need a blog.” Thus began the supper conversation between me and my husband, the Business Guy. We’d had this chat before. I’d resisted. He’d persisted. I’d resisted again. Now
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