Monthly Archives October 2008

Spellbound

“There is magic in storytelling.” - Isabel Allende I’ve just finished reading The Assassin’s Song, by MG Vassanji. Is it alchemy? Enchantment? Allurement? What is it about a particular combination of words that can bring a reader to tears? There I was, minding my own business reading this rich, dense, and arresting story, feeling quite attached to the characters, when suddenly a death occurred. So beautifully and perfectly was it drawn that
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Writing is Rewriting

“Half my life is an act of revision.” - John Irving As I near the anniversary of A Spider’s Tale, I can’t help but think of my mantra: Writing is rewriting. It took me seven years of rewriting A Spider’s Tale before it was ready to become a stage play. During those seven years it survived many revisions, including aNutcracker version I was quite partial to, but which didn’t serve our purposes.
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Second Round

“I’m sorry, Mr Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.”  - Rejection letter to Rudyard Kipling, 1889 Although math was never my strong point in school, I did sort of get the hang of ratios, which have their uses. For example, this morning at the gym I couldn’t help but notice the following: The ratio of Top-40 songs I do like to Top-40 songs I do not like to
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And speaking of being star-struck…

“Life is lived in short stories; we live in moments.” - Unknown On the basis of fourteen carefully and beautifully written short stories and one novel, the Canadian author Alistair MacLeod has distinguished himself as one of the finest and most respected of the contemporary English language writers. I have read his short story collections, and read them again, and then again, and with each reading my appreciation
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Star-struck

“Every artist was first an amateur.”  - Ralph Waldo Emerson My current favourite Internet story about the late, great Paul Newman has me thinking about being star-struck. Frankly, I’ve never minded being star-struck, and under similar circumstances I probably would have put the ice cream in my purse, too. The OED gives the following definition for the affliction I quite enjoy and have only experienced a handful of times in
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Culture Vulture

“Art is life seen through a temperament.” - Emile Zola For years I’ve been telling the Business Guy I need to quit my job and start getting some culture. My usual schedule of playing the viola full-time in a symphony orchestra, raising a family, and squeezing in time to write fiction just doesn’t lend itself to making time for sitting in the audience at someone else’s performance.
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Violin Lesson

“Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.” - Robert Heinlein In an earlier chapter of my life I was a violin teacher. I had forty young students, each of whom was positively edible. I adored them all. One of them was a cherubic five-year-old named Stephanie, whose name suited her perfectly, with her cornflower eyes,
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Ordinary People/Extraordinary Giving

“With ordinary talents and extraordinary perseverance all things are attainable.” - Thomas Baxton I recently attended a gala arts event. It was a fundraiser for a symphony orchestra; or to be more precise, the orchestra’s Education and Outreach program, which strives to enrich the lives of our city’s children through exposure to music. At least two hundred people dolled themselves up; there were suits and ties, dresses and heels,
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Paper Clips

“Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” - Gene Fowler I’ve just finished dusting the paper clips. Not individual clips, of course – that would be an exercise in procrastination, wouldn’t it? It started with a blank page; to be precise, the blank page where I left off writing yesterday. While I
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