Another helping of Porkpie

If you like writers, you’ll love Porkpie. Every couple of months, we serve up a handful of writers reading new works, all for a mere five dollars.

The next seating is Thursday, June 4th at 7pm at The Company House in Halifax. Tara Thorne and I co-produce and -present this sucker, and we are very excited about the line up for this one:

Sue Goyette (amazing poet and writer and teacher and all round good egg), Charles Crosby (author of extremely ribald and entertaining book, Backspin. One of my favourites of last year), Jackie Torrens, writer of astonishing depth and humour and pathos, plus, comedic actor extraordinaire, Jessica Marsh, stalwart of the old-school Blowhard reading series, plus massage therapist to the stars. Oh, and I’ll read, too. We were chasing a fifth, but he’s not going to work out for this time, so I’ll step into the breach.

For god’s sake, don’t miss it.

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Still here…

Good god, the busy-ness lately. And not with anything particularly riveting. In fact, I’m not sure that I could tell you what, exactly has been occupying my time lately. But I have that hunted dog feeling, that feeling of the world and all its demands nipping at my heels, relentless. Which is hilarious, because compared to a lot of people I know, I have few duties. Work, meals, groceries, the odd workout, the occasional conversation with my husband. So what has me on the run? Who knows? Monkey mind, maybe.

I mean, sure, I’m editing a book, and jurying a competition, and it’s the inaugural Atlantic Ink Festival…but beyond that, not much on the go.

I did just register for this. The Google Book Settlement thingy. It was surprising to discover they’d scanned not just Homing, but also Oral Fixation, an anthology I was published in more than ten years ago. Wow, they’ve been busy. Well, now they can get busy sending me a little cheque, and oh, I do love those.

What else? The Atlantic Ink Festival, that’s what. Tonight I went to Outside the Lines, which is a lovely little bookstore on Quinpool, for a reading and reception with Sara Tilley, whose book I am loving, Ian Colford, who cannot stop racking up nominations for prestigious awards, and Stephen Kimber, whose storytelling always at once soothes me and makes me envious. So, it was a great night.

Tomorrow, the Common heads to Morden, to Sarah Mian’s family cottage, for a weekend writers’ retreat. I am planning to get rather a lot done on Fallsy Downsies, and also to drink rather a lot of wine, and maybe stay up all night or most of it, singing Meatloaf songs. Because THAT’s how we roll.


Frogs abound

This week, I’ve been reading Amphibian, by Carla Gunn. It is kicking my ass. With its goodness. Her protagonist, Phin, is a kid who’s obsessed with climate change, and all the ways humans seem to be wrecking the world. The voice is so clear and fresh, and the writing is breaking my heart in a dozen ways. Also, there’s a beautiful green frog on the cover.

Which makes Frog Hollow Books an appropriate place to launch it, I guess. Which is just what Carla will do tomorrow night. I’m really excited, because it’s always great to get to hear a new writer read (new to me, and new in that this is her first novel). But also because I’ve been asked to open for her.

It’s been a long time since I read from Homing. So I’m super looking forward to seeing you there tomorrow night. Be sure to come up and say hey after.

Starts at 7 at Frog Hollow Books at Park Lane Mall…free admission, but bring a few bucks if you can, to buy Carla’s book!


Whoops, forgot one!

Perhaps it appeared I was avoiding this question from Lynn, since I plain old skipped over it yesterday:

How do you fit regular writing into your days, on top of full time work at CBC? Is your writing time carefully scheduled? Do you stick to scheduled writing times? Do you set yourself mini deadlines along the way?

Well, Lynn, first may I say, great question, and I sure did not mean to skip by it. The short answer is that I don’t fit regular writing into my days. My writing time is not at all scheduled, carefully or otherwise. I do not stick to scheduled writing times and I do not set myself mini deadlines along the way.

First, self-imposed deadlines just don’t work for me. I don’t take them seriously at all. I am not a very stern task-master, as it turns out. I am more than happy to let myself read magazines for three hours or stare out the window, because in some way, that too is vital for writing. So, no, no mini-deadlines.

When I was writing Homing, I was quite diligent, mainly because I had an external, hard deadline from my publisher. And so I worked on Homing probably four mornings out of five, and then for a few hours on Sunday. But I really can’t sustain that kind of pace. I’m a fast writer, but I can’t do extended periods of writing. I just don’t have it in me.

I write when I can’t avoid it, basically. When the time comes to write, I don’t have much trouble with it. I think so much about my story and its people that by the time I am in front of a page, it’s mostly there for me and I don’t have to struggle very much. I hardly ever cross things out, even. I just go in a straight line till I can’t see what my people are doing or hear what they’re saying, and then I stop.

And in terms of when I get around to doing that…well…a little bit it’s when I see or hear something that reminds me of my story and makes me want to write it down. The method I’m about to try out, suggested by Sue Goyette (it’s truly remarkable that I get anything done without checking with her first. She is a genius, especially where I’m concerned), is booking off three days every few months and just blitzing through some stuff. The Common has a retreat coming up in May, and I am projecting big things for myself at that time. But probably hardly anything between now and then.

In other news, don’t forget to drop by the Company House tomorrow night at 7pm for the inaugural edition of Porkpie. Five bucks gets you in, for readings from four really great local writers, and me!


Keep ’em coming

Wow, thanks for all your great questions! I’ll be making up the answers to them this weekend, so there’s still time to get yours in. Just drop a comment at the bottom of this post or the last one, and I’ll get you an answer.

Also, I should mention, tomorrow between noon and two, I’ll be the celebrity bookseller at my favourite bookshop, Frog Hollow. They’re in Park Lane on Spring Garden Road. Drop in to say hello, and I’ll recommend you a book! I’m hoping they’ll let me work the cash register, too! Oh, good times.


Go ahead, ask me anything

Well, my first event of this Atlantic Book Awards Week went off without a hitch. Great, funny, articulate writers, and a really attentive and interested crowd, in a fine venue. What more can you ask for?

It reminded me anew that my favourite part of just about any event is the Q&A session. God, I love those. I could do whole events that are JUST Q&As.

And then it occurred to me. I could just ask you if you have any Qs… and then I could give you the As! And wouldn’t that be fun for both of us? I know for sure it will be fun for me. So, fire away. Fill the comments with questions, and I’ll answer them all in a future post.

I’m sure all three of you are just bursting at the seams with questions for me.


See you tonight?

Just a quick note that Atlantic Book Awards Week is underway…lots of events this week. Tonight I’ll be at the Company House on Gottingen Street at 8pm. There’s a book panel featuring the nominees for the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award: Mark Blagrave, Catherine Banks and Ian Colford. We’ll be talking about the journey from manuscript to publication. Oh, what a long strange trip it can be. Plus, there will be readings, and books for sale, and writers willing to sign their name in your brand new copy of their award-winning or -nominated book. Also…it’s free to get in. What are you waiting for? Put your shoes on and go down there, already.