Recently in the writerly life

Greetings, all!

Here we are, at my last pre-NaNoWriMo weekend post.

I’m going to recap some of the writerly events I’ve attended in recent weeks and mention a thing or two that will be happening in the nearish future.

First, we’ll be going back in time to September 28 and the Latitude 46 fall launch. One that evening, five authors were reading from their works.

LiisaKovala

Liisa Kovala is a friend from the Sudbury Writers’ Guild and she was launching Surviving Stutthoff, her memoir of her father’s experiences behind the death gate.

Also launching books that night were Sudbury’s Roger Nash, with his nineteenth poetry collection, Whazzat?, Rod Carley from North Bay, Hap Wilson from Rousseau, and Suzanne Charron with the second edition of Wolf Man Joe LaFlamme: Tamer Untamed.

The event was held at Ristorante Verdiccio, and it was a delightful evening.

Last weekend, October 21st, I attended the launch of Kim Fahner’s fourth poetry collection, Some Other Sky, which was held at St. Andrew’s Place in downtown Sudbury.

Kim not only reads, but she also sings, and she usually has The Wild Geese perform Celtic music before, during, and after.

Next weekend, November 2-4, I’ll be attending Wordstock Sudbury.

On Thursday, I’ll be at a poetry reading by Emily Ursuliak, Tanya Neumeyer, Kateri Lanthier, and Kim Fahner at One Sky, followed by the festival opening, and then a dramatic reading of Kim’s play Sparrows Over Slag.

On Saturday, I’ll be attending Merilyn Simonds’ masterclass on The First Page and then Nathan Adler’s masterclass on Writing Speculative Fiction.

Torvi

Phil and I will also be visiting our new puppy, Torvi 🙂 She’s still a few weeks from adoption age, so we’re bringing a blanket and toy out for the pups. When we do adopt, we’ll be able to aid the transition with the smell of momma Mocha and a familiar toy.

Tipsday and Thoughty Thursday will be posted this week, but after that, I’m getting to puppy prep and working on Playing with Fire. I’ll see you after the writerly masochism that is NaNoWriMo!

As ever, be kind, be well, and stay strong, my friends. The world needs your stories!

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Sundog snippet: (W)rites of spring returns to Sudbury

It’s been a while since I posted on a Sunday, and I had another literary event to report on, so I thought I’d share a Sundog snippet with you 🙂

The last time the (W)rites of spring visited Sudbury was in 1997 (!). I was a part of that event as a budding poet as was my friend Kim Fahner, who was getting her first chapbook, You must imagine the cold here, published through Your Scrivener Press.

Kim’s gone on to have two further collections published, braille on water, and The Narcoleptic Madonna, both through Penumbra Press and she’s currently working on the contents of her next collection. It wasn’t a surprise, therefore, that for this year’s National Poetry Month, she decided to bring the (W)rites of spring back to Sudbury.

On Friday evening, at Marymount Academy in Sudbury, Kim, along with Sudbury’s current poet laureate Tom Leduc, its past PL, Roger Nash, Susan McMaster, and Tanya Neumeyer did a round-robin reading of their poetry on the theme of food.

The MC was Marcus Schwabe of CBC Radio Sudbury and he kept the evening moving with some humour and commentary. Here is Kim and Tanya’s interview with Marcus from Thursday morning.

The League of Canadian Poets and The Canada Council sponsored the event.

The organization to which proceeds were being donated was the Young Writers’ Guild which meets every month at the Greater Sudbury Public Library.

It was a lovely evening and the breadth and depth of poetry was wonderful.

Sundog snippet

Sundog snippet: Writerly events and an update on the construction

Kim FahnerOn Thursday, I went to see my friend Kim Fahner read her poetry at the Open Studio Showcase. Along with Kim were all three of Sudbury’s Poet Laureates, past and present (Roger Nash, Daniel Aubin, and Tom Leduc). Richard Van Camp was MC and storyteller for the evening.

A couple of people signed up for the open mic and added some much needed estrogen to the line up 🙂

The theme of the evening was Identity.

Today, I took a trip out to our Chapter’s to visit with Mat Del Papa and Lisa Coleman-Brown, who were selling and signing copies of Creepy Capreol. While there, I met with fellow Sudbury Writers’ Guild members Renny De Groot, Scott Overton, and Irene Golas.

Mat and Lisa

I an odd turn of events, a gentleman asked the table to watch his collie, fittingly named Lassie, while he dodged over to Kelsey’s for lunch.

. . .

In destruction construction news, the blasting is over, the rubble is cleared, and they’ve torn up all the old paving on our driveway.

SatOct18b

I think they need to move the storm drain and reconstruct the curb before they get the retaining wall started. The hold up with the driveway appears to be the mass of clay around the water shut off valves, which must, of course, be excavated and replaced with proper fill (otherwise, they’ll just have to redo things next year when the frost heaves all that clay again).

Nu is doing well. Phil and I are getting used to the VetPen, but I won’t have further news until Nu has her next glucose curve on the 30th.

And that’s all the news that’s fit to print, people.

See you all on Tipsday!

Sundog snippet

Caturday quickies: The Conspiracy of Three reading series in North Bay

I went on a bit of a road trip on Tuesday evening with Kim Fahner and her friend Brenda—a poetic road trip!  Kim and our mutual friend Roger Nash had been invited to the Conspiracy of Three reading series in North Bay.

A word about the Conspiracy

Kim and I have both read at the Conspiracy before…like nearly twenty years ago (!) and on Tuesday, I learned that the series is close to twenty-five years old.  The reading series that preceded it (and out of which it emerged) ran for an even longer time.  So the Conspiracy has a long tradition in North Bay.

To the reading

The reading was hosted in the new location of the White Water Gallery and by Doyali Islam, who I met last year at the 100,000 poets for change event.

Also in attendance were Tim Robertson and his wife, Karin, Kevin Smith, and Natalie Wilson.

There was a brief discussion about upcoming events and the group’s concerns about Gulliver’s, a local book store that they’re trying to form a co-op for.  Otherwise, this independent book store might just disappear.

Kim and Roger were the featured readers.

KimSmilesTooKim was great, as usual, and managed to dig out a North Bay poem for the crowd.

Roger read from his recently published book of shYesRogerSmilesort stories, The Cobra and the Camera, and a few of his poems.

Afterward, the final set was for open mic participants.

I’m terrible with names, but aside from the curator of the gallery, there was a man who worked as a plumber whose poetic observations were witty and hilarious.  A young poet, Mary, I believe, was also quite good, but in the way of someone new to the reading experience, she needed to project her voice just a bit more.

It was a lovely night and the worst of the shadflies were over.  It started raining just as we arrived and stopped by the time we left.  While this mostly served to bring out the fishy smell of the shadflies, it was lovely and cool for the ride back to Sudbury.

Wordstock Sudbury

Today, I was pleased and privileged to be a part of Wordstock Sudbury, the first of what is hoped to be a biannual literary event.  At the Sudbury Theatre Centre (STC), Wordstock took over the main stage, lounge, and lobby areas for readings, workshops, and the essential selling of books.

If you would like to have a look at the full schedule, it is available on the site linked above.

I attended primarily to support my friend, poet Kim Fahner, and my fellow members of the Sudbury Writers’ Guild (SWG).  I also read the recently revamped opening of my novel.

Kim read with former Sudbury Poet Laureate Roger Nash, and Charlie Smith from Massey, all of them published by Your Scrivener Press (YSP).  The theme of their reading was Home and Away.  Though all three have very distinctive voices, the reading went well and had a seamless feel.  It’s always a pleasure to see such consummate professionals perform their works.

KimFahnerOf course, Kim was fabulous 🙂  She has a way of addressing the audience, slightly self-deprecating yet hilarious, that establishes a relationship.  We feel instantly at home with her, and completely comfortable as she shares pieces of her life in verse.

After a brief break, Sudbury Arts Council (SAC) president, Vicky Gilhula took the stage and presented the youth writing contest winners with their prizes.  One young man (forgive me, but I forget his name) came prepared to read and his story, based on his grandfather’s life in Sudbury and his career in the mining industry, was spectacular.  Amazing: a thirteen year old young man had the confidence and presence to bring us to tears.

He was that good.

Next, the SWG took over the auditorium, beginning with Rosanna Batigelli, who read a RosannaBatigellicouple of chapters from her historical novel, La Brigantessa.  The novel’s protagonist takes to a life of a brigand when she is assaulted and forced to leave her home by a tyrannical general.  Rosanna is in the process of revising her novel for publication.

EmilyDeangelisEmily Deangelis read from her middle grade/young adult novel about a young girl who loses her father in a car accident and subsequently experiences supernatural visitations when she is left with her great-aunt in Manitoulin Island’s Meldrum Bay.

Irene Golas read a selection of her poetry and flash fiction.IreneGolas

Tom Leduc read a number of his poems centering on his experience of Sudbury and its mining industry.

MargoLittleMargo Little from Manitoulin Island read some of her works published through projects of the Manitoulin Writers’ Circle including one on the War of 1812 and how the soldiers of the time became enamoured of their muskets, called Brown Betties.

Janice Leuschen, a member of both the SWG and of the JaniceLeuschenProfessional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) read one of her stories, and Heather Campbell, also a member of PWAC, finished off the session with a discussion of creative non-fiction.

I read just after Margo and just before Janice.  I don’t have any pictures and I’ll reach out to my fellow guildies to share any pictures they may have of me at the event.  It would be a lovely remembrance of the day.  Sincere thanks in advance 🙂

As I mentioned, I read the revised opening of Initiate of Stone; it was my first public presentation and I received some excellent feedback from Kim and Emily.  The technical director of the STC also found me in the lobby and complimented me on my reading.

I have often been told that I have a great voice.  It’s one of the things that helps me both as a corporate trainer and as a writer, a learned skill from my days as a poet, honed by years of practise.  I tend to a literary style, even though I write genre, and the voice creates an appropriately dreamy backdrop for my words.

After the SWG session was over, playwright Matthew Heiti took the stage to host a series of readings from plays in which one friend, Paulette Dahl, was reading from a play by another, mutual friend, Louise Visneskie.

The English Arts Society of Laurentian University also hosted a reading, Heather Campbell hosted a workshop on the creative process, and Roger Nash and Daniel Aubin, Sudbury’s current Poet Laureate read their poetry.

And all of that wasn’t counting the Friday night cabaret, the children’s and young adult programming on the patio, or any of the other workshops and events that I couldn’t attend.

Though attendance was modest, I think that it was a good start.  The hope of the organizers is to grow Wordstock into a full literary festival at a larger venue, or at several venues throughout the city.  I wish them the best and applaud them for this year’s event.

I had a blast 🙂

Our Lakes Shall Set Us Free – November 6, 2012

A chilly night for a poetry anthology launch, but as several of my Sudbury Writers’ Guild friends were featured in its pages, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to blog the event 🙂

A very well-attended event, as it turned out.  Parking was at a premium at the Living with Lakes Centre of Laurentian University.  With the poetry of 26 of the Northeast’s best and brightest featured, 15 of them reading that night, and with family and friends in tow, the lobby was filled to capacity.

Editor of the anthology, Roger Nash, started off the evening in lieu of publisher Laurence Steven, who was unfortunately ill.  Roger spoke of the anthology’s inception, the contest that generated its content, and how he was able to encourage Margaret Atwood (not having read her Web site and not knowing that she didn’t do such things) to write an introduction for the collection.

The Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences spoke to the interdisciplinary evolution of Laurentian’s programs: students in the sciences may minor in social sciences or humanities, and vice versa.  The Director of the Living with Lakes Centre then offered a few words about his support for the anthology and how the centre is invested in the local arts community.

Then the poets in attendance were invited to come up and read.

Tom Leduc, the contest winner, read his poem “My Northern Lake.”

Mandy Steele, the youngest poet in the anthology, asked her father to read her poem, “White Water.”

Kim Fahner read “Tai Chi on Ramsey,” a poem inspired by fellow writer Rick DeMeulles.

Irene Golas, fellow SWG member, read not only her haiku sequence, “Weekend at a Northern Lake,” but also returned later in the evening to read the tanka sequence of her Breccia collaborator, Ignatius Fay.

Dillon Daveikis recited her poem, “A Lake’s Journey,” from memory.

Rebecca Salazar read “First Alchemy”; Danielle Pitman, “The Dive”; and Dr. Dieter Buse read his poem, “To Children Under Ninety in a City of Lakes.”

Connie Suite read her poem, “Born to Fish” and 90-year old Greg O’Connor asked his daughter to read his poem, “Gone Fishing.”

Christine Poropat read “Pure Dreams” and Rosemarie Mirfield read “World Under.”

The evening came to a close on two more SWG members, Betty Guenette, reading “Poor Minnow,” and Margot Little reading “Shell-Shocked.”

It was a wonderful night of great poetry in a variety of forms.  The anthology is divided into themed grouping of poems: Our Lakes Shall Set Us Free, Voyaging, Taking the Plunge, Gone Fishin’, The Seasons, and Urban Jungle Lakes.

The first printing of the anthology, priced at a reasonable $12, is already almost sold out.

Get yours while they last 🙂

NEOVerse

One of the contests I entered while I was struggling through grad school was for the League of Canadian Poets.  Through that competition, one of my poems was selected for publication in the 1997 (W)rites of Spring.

I read at their gala (with Valerie Senyk, Roger Nash, Sonja Dunn, Katerina Fretwell, and others) and subsequently submitted my poetry to Dr. Laurence Steven, who was now the proud owner of Your Scrivener Press.  He accepted my work and along with the work of two other northeastern Ontario poets, Monique Chenier and Natalie Wilson, he published NeoVerse (1999).

It stood for northeastern Ontario verse, but in a way, it was the beginning of a whole new life for me creatively.

I traveled all over the north giving readings that year: North Bay, Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie, and Parry Sound.  Due in part to my reading activity, I was invited to participate in an event in Caledon called Word Harvest, where several other poets were performing.

Thanks to the publication of my poetry in chapbook form, I was able to become an associate member of the League of Canadian Poets.

Also around that time, I was writing articles for the Sudbury Arts Council (SAC) in the Sudbury Star, after having served on the newspaper’s readers board for a term; I wrote interviews for the Laurentian University Alumni Magazine, and articles for Georgian Bay Today.  GBT didn’t last long.  The way I was to be paid was to sell advertising to local retailers.  I was not then, nor am I now, a salesperson, by any stretch of the imagination.

I put together a few workshops for elementary and high schools, and even one for the Manitoulin Writers’ retreat.

I was also putting together Web pages for the Huntington University Library and for the Art Gallery of Sudbury.  This was the old-fashioned (ha!), type-your-tags-out-in-Wordpad, HTML Web pages.  Eventually I adopted Microsoft FrontPage.

I started to write reviews for the Canadian Book Review Annual, took another short-term contract at the Cambrian College Library, and then two of my Laurentian professors contacted me with an offer of employment.  It would only be a part-time contract, but I could be the executive assistant for an organization called ACCUTE, the association of Canadian college and university teachers of English.

There, I developed another Web site, published the quarterly newsletter, and helped to coordinate their annual conference.

My first year with ACCUTE I did the crazy and auditioned for Theatre Cambrian’s production of Hair.  It was hard work.  Dancing, singing, and acting.  It was also one of the most fun, most amazing experiences of my life.

How about you?  Was there a time in your life when you became creatively fecund? What happened?  If you’re blogging about it, link through in your comments.  I’d love to see what you’ve been up to 🙂

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