The Writer’s Walk

One of my favourite things about being a writer is what I like to call walking the writer’s walk. When you’re walking the walk you’re out there in the world of authors and readings and book launches and writing festivals—all kinds of literary functions.

Calling ourselves a writer, even feeling it deep in our bones is one thing, but there’s more to being a writer than talking the writer’s talk. Anyone can talk about being a writer so long as we can find someone willing to listen, but I believe we also have to walk the writer’s walk.

For a long time I didn’t walk the walk. For a long time I was oblivious to the outside world of writing. I lived in my own little writing world. I wrote my stories, I reveled in the contributor’s copies of my work I received, and kept on writing. Little did I know there was a literary world out there just waiting for me somewhere with other writers just like me, writers who were willing to be my friend, to share their experiences and offer advice. Being a solo act can be mighty lonely.

syr

Author, Syr Ruus reads from her novel, “Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart.”

Having participated in literary events, writing festivals, having attended book signings and launches for other authors has so totally enriched my writing life. Just the other Friday evening I attended an event at the Linc in Lunenburg. My good friend Syr Ruus was reading as well as poet Carolle Langille. These two ladies are absolutely marvelous. Seriously, check out their work if you haven’t already. There was also an open mic that evening and other writers and poets got up and read their work. I can’t begin to imagine the courage it must have taken to read before two such renown authors. (Certainly more courage than I would have had at that stage in my writing.) I say good on them!

In the weeks ahead I have some book launches to attend that I’m so totally looking forward to. Not only do I get to support some of the writers I know, and have met, but you just never know who you’re going to bump into at one of these events. Could be someone who’ll end up being a friend or even someone who has an interesting story to tell. Hey, you might even rub elbows with an editor you’ve been longing to meet or an author you’re just dying to speak to.

A writer’s walk is about immersing yourself in the literary world, attending events, supporting one another, getting to know your fellow writer. We’re a community, a community of like-minded people. Mind you, it’s impossible to attend every literary event, but you’d be surprised at the number of writers, and would be writers, who aren’t willing to engage themselves in the writing community at all. I say they’re missing out on a lot. In order to be a writer it’s important to walk that walk, to count your every footstep and claim that path as yours. Seriously, if you want others to support and lift you up as a writer, you should be willing to do that exact thing yourself.

Poet/writer, Carolle Langille.

Poet/writer, Carolle Langille.. 


Do you make an effort to “immerse yourself” in the writing community, to walk that writer’s walk? If not, what are you waiting for?

Catch up from my Little Corner of the Web

It’s been awhile. Maybe you noticed but maybe you didn’t.

As unbelievable as it seems, last winter’s snow still clings to those places where the sun hasn’t been able to reach. Snow in May. You don’t see that often. With temperatures up in the twenties (that’s Celsius for my American friends, wouldn’t want to send you into shock!) I believe the snow has seen better days. In fact, it may be all gone today. Good news since last winter seemed like the winter from Hell. Yes, I do like snow, in fact I went out snowshoeing many days and did my share of shovelling. But no one, I repeat no one, needs four feet of snow in their backyard. I don’t care who yah are.

So what’s new with me in no particular order? Editor Gary Doi is putting together another anthology for charity and I am one of the contributors. Not sure when the book will be out but I’ll let you know.

Now with the snow gone, I’ve fired off a photo from our cemetery here in St. Cyprian’s. In February I was contacted by someone from Connecticut, looking for a photo of their ancestor’s tombstone from way back in the early 1900’s. Marvelous how the Internet can bring people together. I dare say a request like this would never have been possible before.

I’m excited to be signed up to receive books in the mail from the library. Love this program, although I just learned that the bookmobile will be making monthly stops again. Yay! If there’s some way to get books in the hands of as many people as possible then I’m excited.


Miss Charlotte turned five in April
and is newly registered for school. She has her interview later this month and is very excited to start school in the fall.

Mr. Levi will be a big brother at the end of September not only that, he’s discovered all the wonderful places to play at Guppy and Nanny’s house. The big pile of gravel in our backyard being one of them. Although I think Dad’s having just as much fun playing with his old Tonka Toys as what Levi is.

Earlier in the month we went to the Pearle Theatre in Lunenburg to see Agatha Christi’s, The Mousetrap. Lunenburg is such a beautifully historic town. It’s just like stepping back in time. Perhaps I’ll snap some photos this summer and post them.

Lastly, I want to mention that award winning author Christi Corbett is scheduled to be a guest on my blog on the 14th of May. I hope you’ll drop in and say hi..

What’s new in your little corner?

A Recipe For Fun

1.Take three friends

2.Throw in a little red ribbon and a few jingle of bells

3.A trip by car

4. A cup of Tim Horton’s coffee

4.A heaping serving of restoration

5.A ginormous portion of laughter, not to mention plain old silliness

6.Add one author

7. A copy of Bitter, Sweet

8.Good food & good conversation.

Add ingredients one at a time, place inside the most gorgeous Nova Scotia day you can find. Stir.

Here’s what you end up with.

The coffee at the Tim Horton’s might not have been the best (for the love of all that is holy with coffee, get the order right. One black, two cream, no sugar, One cream with sweetener… Gah!) but the rest of the day turned out to be great fun.The ladies in the photo have been friends for many years, but the three of them had not spent time together since the seventies. Talk about a giddy bunch. I suppose that’s to be expected. Once you make it past 50 it takes less and less to amuse you. Having turned 50 last year, my friends can vouch for the fact that I’ll laugh about pretty much anything. But there are worse things, I’ve been told.

After a quick cup of coffee we went off to St. John’s Anglican Church in Lunenburg. It’s hard to believe that this church survived a fire ten years ago. Luckily, there was enough of the building remaining and the determination to rebuild this beautiful centuries old church and bring it back to life. A lot of hard work went into restoring this fine building that was originally built in the mid 1700’s. To attend a service is to truly experience this church to the fullest. I felt as though I was in the midst of a fairy tale as I gazed at my surroundings. After the service which lasted nearly two hours, I might add, we headed off toward Mahone Bay for lunch.

Driving through the town of Mahone Bay is always an experience in itself. Seems as though there is always some festival going on—great for the tourists, you know. Remember back in October when I  wrote a post about the Scarecrows and posted a few photos? If you’ve already forgotten you can check out the post here. Not to disappoint, Sunday was the Father Christmas Festival. Yup,  good old St. Nicholas was everywhere. I have a few photos that I took as we passed through that I’ll publish in a later post. I only wish I had been able to get a few more shots in, but lunch was awaiting us, and well…Lunch was awaiting.

Have you ever had the feeling that you draw attention where ever you go? I just have to say that if four woman with jingle bells tied fast to their wrist with red ribbon..well…can you imagine? Mind you this isn’t something that I would normally do on my own, but…what can I say? I’m a follower, not a leader. Nor did I want to be left standing by a a pile of rocks overlooking the bay. I just wanted to fit in gall dang it all! Which I think I did pretty well. Besides, they struck me as a bunch who wouldn’t hesitate to leave me stranded by the roadside with nothing but the sounds of jingle bells and laughter in their wake. Too late then to remember I’d forgotten the cell phone. Before the day was out I had convinced Doe to take a signed copy of my book home with her to Ontario, making her vow that she would promote this book like it was her very own. (Enough begging and pleading and even the toughest nut will crack.) She finally gave in when I promised to throw in a bookmark. I felt fortunate not to have had to resort to arm twisting, nor was throwing a temper tantrum necessary.. She’s such a good sport. A real dear (or is that deer?) Sorry Doe, I could not resist.

All jokes aside. Thank you Gail, Carol and Doe for a truly memorable day. Here’s to friendships, old and new. And here’s to creating your own recipe for fun.

What are some special ingredients that you would add to your recipe for fun?

Sunset and Champagne

Margaret Atwood is coming to the Best Western in Bridgewater on the 23rd. I had a conversation with my daughter a few weeks ago where I remember saying that, although I’d like to go, I didn’t think I’d pay $100 dollars for a ticket. Now that also includes a signed book, “The Year of the Flood,” and the money is going to support the South Shore Library—a good cause and yet I could think of many more things to do with that money.

So today, my middle daughter a.k.a Grub (don’t ask because no one in the family even remembers where the name came from) surprised B and I with two tickets to see Margaret Atwood. The tickets say, “Sunset and Champagne with Margaret Atwood.” Sweet! My three wonderful kids chipped in for the tickets—a birthday present for B and I; maybe Christmas too. It also came with a poem that I won’t post on account of the fact that when Margaret Atwood reads this post she might be insulted. (Okay, so that’s a joke.)

We’d been to the Pearl Theatre in Lunenburg a few years back to see her, which had ended up being one of those family stories when the photos I had taken of Margaret and I got deleted from my camera. Poof! Gone! No proof that I was actually there. No one took the blame. I ‘ve had my suspicions but….. The truth is, had I learned how to remove photos from my camera it never would have happened.

So on August 23, B and I will be chatting it up with Margaret Atwood. Hopefully, I’ll have photos to share.

So thanks, Mel, Grub, Skippy! You really are the Best kids!

Meanwhile @ the Lunenburg Library

I had a great time reading at Library in Lunenburg today. I was excited to see an announcement about my reading on the library door when I arrived.

Doesn’t take much to make me happy.

Okay, so Margaret Atwood didn’t show up. I know, I know, maybe I should have tweeted her earlier in week, reminder her that I came to the Pearl Theatre when she was in Lunenburg, and was one of the few people who actually had a copy of “The Tent” that evening since there was a mix-up with the publisher and the books hadn’t arrived. She’s a busy lady; I figured I’d have to jog her memory. I’m pretty sure she’d have been there if only she had known. After all, I’m one of her “T-Pals.” Don’t I deserve some perks?

Maybe as she reads this post, she’ll drop a comment. I can always hope, right?

In a relaxed atmosphere, I read from my book. After the reading, we chatted about the book and I answered questions. See Margaret, you missed your chance. I would have answered any question you asked.

But look who did showed up. It was Syr Ruus, author of Love Songs Of Immanuel Taggart. Have I mentioned I love that book?

Okay, so my husband bribed her with a free bookmark if she’d hold up a copy of my book for a photo. Amazing what people will do for a bookmark. Isn’t it?  It’s a good thing Syr is so good-natured.

So that was my afternoon. Lunenburg is one of Nova Scotia’s most historical and, might I add, beautiful seaside towns.

I’m already planning my next trip.

I’ll catch you next time, Margaret.

Word on the Street

I found out today that I will be reading an excerpt from “Bitter, Sweet” at the Word on the Street in Halifax on September 27th. I don’t mind admitting that it sort of threw me for a loop when I received the email. Sure, I had blindly replied “yes” when asked if I wanted to “participate” in the festival, naively thinking that I’d be there to promote my book, perhaps nod and smile at passersby— after all my book’s not out yet. What the heck am I going to read from? I guess I should have figured out that “participate” actually meant read but I’m not always so good at reading between the lines.

Of course my mind ran like wild fire for about a half hour after reading the email. I even phoned my sister to ask if there was possibly something wrong with me for not knowing exactly what was expected of me. There must have been something I missed in the email. “You will be reading at 1:30 at the kids and young adult stage.” Good news! According to my sister, the email was in fact vague. Nothing wrong with me—at least according to her. Perhaps a mistake had been made, I thought. She checked the schedule on line. Sure enough there I was,  Laura Best/ “Bitter, Sweet”

So I quickly emailed another author whose book is also coming out this fall with Nimbus to see if she is reading and guess what? She’s also reading from her yet to be published book.  Luckily, she was able to put things into perspective for me. She’s as much in the dark about this as I am but figures that we will be told later what to expect. I immediately felt as though I had found a kindred spirit, even began to dream that  there were others just like us out there somewhere—dazed and confused and wishing for a little more clarity. We first time authors are understandably naive. Didn’t help that neither of us had even attended the festival before.

I’ve read my work on several occasions in public but I like to have plenty of preparation. I want to know exactly how each word needs to be said, when and where to put emphasis. A lot of people assume that when you’re standing in front of a crowd that you’re nervous because you feel self-conscious about your looks or how you’re dressed. That’s never been my issue. For me it’s being able to read smoothly and clearly, to read in a way that will interest others, to make eye contact with the audience and not lose my place. I find it a bit nerve-wracking if I’m being honest. I suppose most people do. But this is all part of the territory.

A few years ago my husband and I went to Lunenburg to a Margaret Atwood reading when “The Tent” first came out.. On the way home he said, “That will be you some day reading in front of a crowd.” I really appreciated his support but didn’t dream that “some day” would come so quickly. Wish me luck on the 27th and hopefully by the time I get to the festival I’ll know exactly what I’m doing.

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