Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My journey--take two

If you've been reading this blog in the last weeks, you might remember a post called Blog Revival, in which I wrote about my reason for coming back to blogging and my new "purpose". I wanted to share my journey to publication.

Then I became a bit vague about all of this, as things started to happen in the way that I didn't expect. I'm not sure I'm ready to blog about this in detail (and if I ever should), but I will say this: all of a sudden it looked very discouraging and almost scary. Things weren't going as well with the publisher I was working with, despite of the several months of basically going ahead with the novel, having a schedule, meetings, discussions, and so on. I spent weeks in a daze--I had to make a decision, and I couldn't force myself to do this. When I imagined myself tossing a coin, neither of the results made me happy. It was torture.

A moment of clarity came unexpectedly, with an email from my mentor. I've never felt such immediate relief, and it was as though the fog I was in was lifted, as if by magic. I decided to walk away from signing the contract with that publisher. (If you are a Canadian writer and already read the deleted blog post where I named this press, and have questions, feel free to email me. You can do so by posting a comment on this blog--they are not displayed without my approval, and if you would like for the comment to remain private, just say so in the comment. Actually, anyone who has doubts about their contracts, feel free to email me. There were wonderfully generous writers who talked to me during this time, and helped me with their advice and encouragement. I promised myself that I will pass the torch. )

The moment I emailed the publisher with my decision things started to happen with an astonishing speed. Good things. Really great things. For now I will only say that my novel is not going to be published in April of 2011. There's no guarantee that it will be published at all, but as an author, I'm in a better position than before.

I will share more about this when the news become official.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ekleksographia's flash fiction issue is out!

The magazine looks absolutely lovely and the flash fiction issue edited by Mary Miller has all my favorite flashers--Kuzhali Manickavel, Jeff Landon, Claudia Smith, Davin Malasarn, Kim Chinquee and a bunch of others! Check it out!

My flash Lace is there too. I'm so pleased to be in such a great company. Go read LACE and others and let me know what you think, which one is your favorite and anything else you want to say.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Why can't I dream about my characters? Maybe because I want to too much? Every night, before falling asleep, I visit these two people, who for now are called Vera and Simon (or maybe Roman) in the cottage that they are renting. They are the protagonists of my WIP, The Sabbatical. I love transporting myself there and witnessing their lives. I also try experimenting with my consciousness--falling asleep while thinking about them, imagining them--in hopes of a dream.

And then I dream about my teeth falling out! A quick google suggests about a dozen of interpretations--from  teeth in bad shape, to fear of biting into things, to manifestations of insecurities. Maybe it is a dream about Vera and Simon / Roman, and not about me? I like this idea. Maybe this is how I dream about them--by dreaming their dreams. Wouldn't THAT be the most amazing thing?

But honestly, I somehow doubt that.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Keep calm and have some cheese

I think I should be on twitter with this short message, but I'm here instead. Out of habit. All I really want to say is this:

Especially the carry on part. Or, on second thought, the keep calm part too. I also want to say a bunch of other things, or I wouldn't be so cryptic, but my very strict internal censor won't allow it yet.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chosen Soldier

Our care package went to Afghanistan this week!!! We included most items from the lists provided, as well as origami cranes made by my daughter. Thank you to those friends who made a financial contribution which allowed us to send this HUGE package (my camera battery was dying, so I didn't take more pictures and you can't really see the size of the box).

If you would like to send a care package to a Canadian soldier, this volunteer programme will coordinate things for you. Packages may be shipped free of charge from some Military Depots or Recruitment Centres in your area.

You can also write to Canadian soldiers.

Sending post cards:

If you do not know the name, rank and section of the person you are sending to, please use the following address:

Any Canadian Soldier
PO Box 5058 Stn Forces
Belleville ON K8N 5W6

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What's the point?

When you start reading a novel, do you ask yourself this question? What's the point of this novel? And if you do, does it bother you, if there seemingly is no point?

When someone asks me about the point of a novel I'm reading, I get annoyed. This is not a question about plot or subject matter, or themes. It is a question about purpose. Does one need to easily articulate this point, or this illusive point can be something like a feeling? An impression? Something that words can't necessarily describe? Does there have to be a purpose, other than just being?

Today I stated reading The Understory by Pamela Erens. I read only the first two chapters, and I'm immersed in images; in the protagonist's perception of life. These chapters made me think about what it means to be mentally handicapped, and how we are all too close to... I don't know...is insanity too strong a word? Mental state is a fragile thing. Always a balance. And I'm intrigued to find more, to learn more about this character. I wish him well in this crazy world into which he is struggling to fit, like all of us struggle to fit, in different ways.

And then I get asked this question.
What's the point of the novel you are reading? And it is not that I can't explain (I just did in the paragraph above), but I feel helpless, frustrated and sad, that something beautiful has to be reduced to a "point", and that many value art exactly this way--by its purpose.

Why it is not enough that the novel makes me think, and feel, and wonder? That it allows me to walk down a China Town street and smell the air? If a novel is to "elevate" or "educate", does it have to be in a certain, easily digestible manner? If a novel is to make one a better person, does this mean the novel's protagonists have to be already those "better" people that we aspire to be?

Ah, I'm ranting. I resent the idea that everything has to have an easily digestible, or like some prefer an already digested, purpose.

Thoughts on this? Am I alone in my thinking? I can't be, right?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Are these the most confusing song lyrics ever?

A Soviet born Regina Spektor, in her Apres Moi song, sings a couple of lines from the Boris Pasternak's poem Black Spring (I wrote about it yesterday). I liked the song, but kept hearing "I'm from Wisconsin" in the first stanza, and I knew she wasn't, so I googled for the lyrics. They are infiinitely better than the lyrics of the song the kids like to listen to in the car.We got that CD on a yard sale and I keep forgetting to remove it from the van. There's a song on it, with one single line, repeated over and over again. And even though I'm pretty certain the singer sings something like I gotta feel, all we hear is I gotta pee. Not a good song on long drives, let me tell you. And how can one sing a song with a single line repeated for 3 minutes?

Compared to the peeing song, Apres Mois seems to be deep, dramatic, and almost spiritual. After all, there are lines from a Pasternak's poem in it. Yet I can't figure out why the lines are there, and what the song is about, after all. If anyone can explain this to me, I'd be most happy, because I do like the song.

The lyrics, with my comments, below:
I must go on standing
You can't break that which isn't yours
I must go on standing
I'm not my own, it's not my choice

(She must go on standing, but it is not her choice???)

Be afraid of the lame, they'll inherit your legs
Be afraid of the old, they'll inherit your souls
Be afraid of the cold, they'll inherit your blood
Apr├Ęs moi, le deluge, after me comes the flood

(So this is something to inspire me to live my life this way, or am I missing the point?)

Fevrale dostat chernil i plakat
Pisat O Fevrale navsnryd
Poka grohochushaya slyakot
Vesnoyu charnoyu gorit

(I can't figure out how this stanza fits at all, other than youtube commenters declared it sexy, because it is Russian. In Russian this means: Black spring! Pick up your pen, and weeping, Of February, in sobs and ink,
Write poems, while the slush in thunder, Is burning in the black of spring. Can someone explain this to me?)

Meanwhile, I listened to this song about one hundered times by now, and it is seriously growing on me. She is not from Wisconsin, nope, she isn't.