Sooo…how have you been?!
Please tell me I wasn’t the only one who got a big ol’ smack in the face when I saw the date today.
September 1st? Whaaa??!!!
The last long weekend of the summer, sigh. That alone deserves a moment of silence. I’ll wait…
…Right! So, we have some things to catch up on, don’t we?
Did you go on any trips? Try any great summer recipes? How’s the writing going? Did you even have time for it with all the seasonal hustle and bustle, barbecuing and cottaging?
Me? Well, I knew I was going to lay low on the blog front this summer, and I have, not because I wanted to, really – I’ve missed it and all of you – but simply because something had to give, and this was an area I knew I could drift away from for a while and come back to when the time was right. Isn’t that what great about blogging? It’s there when you need it.
I’ve got some updates that I’m thrilled to share and haven’t really said out loud to many people, yet. So here goes…
Just before the summer started, I had the infamous “call.” (I’ve been considering writing about my experience, as well as what helped me prepare for it, so if you’re interested let me know and I’ll put a post together.) Let me just say that after years and years of querying agents, submitting, resubmitting, and of course, every writers old friend, REJECTION, it was a pretty amazing experience. A total roller coaster, but amazing. And the stars aligned. :-) I love my agent. We are a great fit. Working with her has been a wonderful experience and has already made me a better writer. I’m pumped about the edits we’ve been doing together. Hopefully we aren’t too far from sending my manuscript out on submission. (I’ll keep you posted.) Needless to say, I feel very fortunate. I’m glad that I didn’t give up. One of the nicest things has been opening my email and not having to deal with rejection letters from agents anymore. Not surprisingly, my self-esteem has been enjoying a healthy boost.
All that to say, the summer began with an intense period of revisions. I fell off the map, sank into the cave, went AWOL. Man, sometimes clichés are just the best. Anyway, weeks slipped by, and by the end of it, I was empty.
Then in July I took a vacation to British Columbia! It was my first time that far west, and I was blown away. The provincial motto is “Beautiful Bristish Columbia.” All I can say to that is, no kidding! We spent time in Vancouver, Tofino, and Victoria, with a little pit stop in Nanaimo to sample the legendary dessert bar of the same name. (Yum!) Each place was so special. In Vancouver, we enjoyed craft beer touring, biking along the sea wall, eating the most amazing sushi, walking along the beach….walking everywhere!
Tofino is a magical place. If ever I run away, that’s where I’ll be. Highlights? Sea kayaking. Surfing! (Waaay harder than it looks but so fun.) Soaking in the hot spring at Maquinna Provincial Marine Park. And a life-long dream for this tree-hugging ecologist – hiking in the temperate rainforest in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The biodiversity was incredible! I saw eagles, otters, a grey whale (!!!), and sea lions – and that was all in one afternoon. Not to mention the black bear we saw munching on grasses on the morning we left.
Victoria reminded me a lot of my beloved Ottawa. So lovely.
I picked up an incredible book from the must-visit, historic Munro Books. Have you read THE GOLDEN SPRUCE? Sometimes life is stranger than fiction. The book was haunting, especially after connecting with the coastal rainforests described in the book. I highly recommend it.
From B.C., it was on to Whitehorse. I hadn’t been up north in years, and had yet to visit the western arctic. Again, such a special place, with lots of cool cultural things happening. We hiked along the Yukon River, explored the S.S. Klondike (now a Parks Canada site, but back then a ship that was used during the Gold Rush), soaked in some more hot springs, and took a wrong turn that almost lead us up to Dawson City! The one-hour detour was totally worth it for the scenery alone. There is an amazing food scene in Whitehorse. We had a great visit at Yukon Brewing, the best americano I’ve ever had at Bean North Coffee Roasting Co., and such great sushi at Asahiya Japanese Restaurant that we had to visit a couple of times. I bought a book while here too, my favourite travel momento, from a neat little second-hand bookshop called Well-loved Books.
This is just the briefest of recaps, of course. I can’t wait to revisit each of theses places and get to know them better. But I’ll just say this, being away reminded me of the importance of getting away. I unplugged. I remembered my adventurous side. I relaxed. And creativity found me again, because I made space for it.
While away, I got some exciting writing news. My publisher, Inanna Publications, let me know that the pub date for my full-length novel SIDE-BY-SIDE has been pushed up. We’ll start working on cover design and edits in the new year. The book will launch in September 2018. That doesn’t feel far away to me at all . I guess I’m still getting used to the idea.
I’ve read some great books this summer. My book sister, Kendra, and I dove back into the Neapolitan novels, THE STORY OF A NEW NAME, by Elena Ferrante. I’m still processing this one. It’s definitely having an influence on the story that I’m writing now. What I loved most was reading a novel that takes its time, building plot, building character. There were so many threads but somehow they all masterfully came together by the end. And much like book one, the ending of book two left me gasping. Such a treat reading this and discussing it with my fellow bookworm, from whom I learn so much. (Hi Kendra!) *waves*
While filling the creative well in July, I read BIG MAGIC. A friend of mine that knew I was creatively exhausted after revising my manuscript pushed it into my hands a couple of days before I boarded the plane to B.C. I know that I’m arriving late to this book party, but wow, I enjoyed it. So much so, in fact, that I’m going to devote an entire post to it. My copy should be arriving in the mail any day now.
August is a heavy month for me, so its been a recent tradition of mine to read comedy memoirs then. I call it Comedy Memoir Month! It’s not really a thing, just for me. ;-) Past books have included BOSSYPANTS by Tina Fey, YES I CAN by Amy Poehler, and YOU’LL GROW OUT OF IT by Jessi Klein.
This year, I read THE GIRL WITH THE LOWER BACK TATTOO by Amy Schumer, MODERN ROMANCE by Aziz Ansari, and HOW TO BE A BAWSE by Lilly Singh. I loved the first book, although it was a lot more intense and sad than I had expected. Very candid and surprisingly touching. The second was like an anthropological study of how technology has changed modern relationships, a topic that is endlessly fascinating to me, not only because I’ve written a novella about it (unpublished), but because aren’t we all trying to figure out this technology thing when it comes to our relationships, not simply romantic ones? So, aspects of the book were intriguing and enlightening, while others were a bit dry. Still worth checking out, though, if you’re interested (i.e. baffled) by the subject. The last book was okay. I felt the age gap between myself and the author, which I don’t always feel when I read younger writers. It’s a great book for millennials younger than myself that are looking for some motivation to get their creative projects off the ground. What I can say about each of these books is that I expected more laughs and was a little disappointed. Ah well. That’s what cat videos are for, and lucky for me, I live in very close proximity to a purveyor of those.
Still there? If so, have a great long weekend! And don’t worry, there’s still lots of summer to go. Well, a solid three weeks of it, anyway. ;-)
A :-) xo
P.S. Anyone else utterly obsessed with the new Manchester Orchestra album? Wow. Great writing inspiration to be found there.