Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
This is a photo of my home office. I took it yesterday. The image quality is poor because the photo was taken through a thick pane of glass with my camera lens squeezed in between two dusty wooden shutters. You see, my office is bloody freezing right now because it isn’t really an office per se, so much as a balcony that was turned into an office. The room is completely unusable in the winter because it gets unbelievably $#%king cold.
Now, see that white thing sitting in the middle of the desk? The thing south west of the Nacho Libre bobble head? That’s the latest version of my manuscript. The poor thing is locked up in my freezing office until the New Year. It’s really the ideal place for it – I’m never tempted to open the sliding glass doors to visit with it, which means that sometimes, for days at a time, I forget that it even exists.
In the spring, fall and summer, this office is a city writer's dream. So many dogs to stare out at, so much sun to shine down on the palest of literary shut-ins. The office has been good to me. We've shared some great times (figuring out my ending, researching my dream publishers, writing the first and third draft) and some hard times (reading countless rejections, writing the second draft, losing staring contests with the neighbourhood squirrels). In the most fertile times of my creativity, here's what the room looked like (click here for a close-up):
A far cry from the barren landscape of today, no? Anyhoo, I’ll crack open the office doors on January 1, 2011, and begin the final revision, the one that will tell me if all the time and trouble amounted to something that I can finally be proud of. But, until then, my book is safely and blissfully out of sight, out of mind. So thank you, Poorly Insulated Renovation, you have served me well. And to you, dear Manuscript? I'll see you next year.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
"Requirements: All entries must be original and unpublished works. All works that have appeared in print or on the Internet, including self-published works, are considered previously published and are therefore not eligible for the competition."
Friday, September 24, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
I used to love Vanity Fair. I loved it for its richer-than-you, closeted-gayer-than-you, more bulimic-than-you attitude. But right now, I hate VF because the editors at this esteemed WASPY rag, have fallen under the Franco spell.
Monday, August 23, 2010
I know this sounds made up—kind of like the loser in your math class who kept insisting he had a girlfriend in Oregon and oh yeah she's a model, check out this photo that, yes, was ripped out of a magazine, because he lost the original okaaay—but my friend Tobias who loves pizzalicious-flavoured Pringles and lives in Sweden asked to read my book the other day. I know. And it was totally out of the blue. Tobias, if you read this blog, please fill me in.
I wasn’t sure how to respond at first but it made me think about how things have both stalled and progressed since I wrote that godforsaken manuscript. While the book has been turned into a TV show (in my mind only) and while I’ve got another writing project on the go (I have 20 pages so far and I already want to quit), the book still burns a hole in my hard-drive. I have not forgotten about it. I couldn’t even if I tried.
But here’s the thing. I can tell myself it’s bad luck or bad timing or Can lit sucks for only so long. Once you’ve gotten as many rejections as I have and even your publishing contacts get you nowhere, it’s time to realize that maybe, just maybe, your book stinks. And I think it does. I re-read a bit of it the other day and I made this noise: eeeeewwwww.
It made me a bit sick to think that this was what I’d been putting out there. It made me think that a year from now a re-write would be necessary if for no other reason but the easing of my own creative conscience.
Again, as always, my mind veers back to this terrible but familiar question: when is giving up a good idea? Anyone?
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
"By the way, that sounded like Solitaire, but it’s not." That's what she said. No really. That's what my friend said to me the other night as we sat down, laptops in laps, to work on our respective writing projects. We're the most frequent attendees of Write Club, a place where a few writer friends and I get together, eat take-out, gossip and then actually get some writing done for an hour or two. It's not one of those groups where the members hem and haw their way through those little writing exercises that let my kind procrastinate even more than we're already prone to. No sir! Real, honest to goodness writing actually takes place in my club.
Write Club has been, perhaps, the most important new element in my writing life these past few years, and I'm grateful I have friends who take it seriously. The Club holds me accountable -- it makes me feel like an asshole if I haven't been writing on my own time, and it makes me feel like an asshole especial if I don't use my WC time for writing.
Which is where that above quote comes in. It's true, for all I know, my friend could have been playing Solitaire. Typing away in an isolated little corner by the speaker in my living room, Japanese food containers strewn around us -- both of us could have been up to anything at all but writing, I suppose. But we almost always write. Because we almost always love it.
Anyhow, before I started wrestling with some TV writing, here's what I managed to create for my poor, nearly forgotten second novel at this WC meeting:
My downstairs neighbour has a poodle. It's white and bigger than I always expect because I always think small when I think poodle. It doesn't really ever bark or chase cars or anything. It's got much more self control than I do. It's quite skinny as well which substantiates my theory about self control. I didn't think dogs could do that sort of thing, stop themselves when they've had enough, or even know what enough was. Sometimes even I forget so I try to spend as much time with the poodle as I can. This is easy because my upstairs neighbour lets him out the front door and leaves him in the yard for hours sometimes, even in the winter. It sounds cruel but it's not. If you saw my downstairs neighbour you would understand. She's not built for waiting so who's fault is that? It's not the poodle's so I frequently let him through my patio door for leftovers. Some dry toast or spaghetti or the smallest bit of butter because he just wants a taste.
So if you haven't your own Write Club, I highly recommend forming one. Not because I think this bit of writing is so great, but because it likely wouldn't exist at all without it.