Writing is a solitary pursuit--the imagination guiding the hand moving the pen. I'm pretty old-school, valuing the work of good editors and the revisions process before letting my words go public. But life is short, right? And sometimes, just sometimes, we need to spout off.

About me...

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A writer, mother, teacher, friend, I love books, blizzards and beaches, music from Hildegard von Bingen to the Beatles to Bonnie Raitt to The Brood; I love medieval churches, red wine, creme caramel, and roasted beets, and walking the woods and coastlines of home. 

Friday, May 28, 2010

Writing through the noise

Best time last night at Company House listening to ensembles from NSCC performing. Scribbling furiously on notepad between sets. Something about the energy of a bar buzzing with musicians, about writing through ruckus that precedes music. A dark, happy jumble. Writing without knowing who and what may jump up and grab the mic. Coming away surprised, joyful and trusting that random solo parts will (someday) solder/soldier together, making chrome.
Jazz, world, poppy pop, latin & metal: melded together, rocking the House.
Patience, patience. Meanwhile, solitary words like ridiculous liner notes, for now. More patience. Daily, nightly scribbling wherever you may find yourself.
Opiate of discovery when all the parts hum, shred, soar.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

All Things New

Having a plan is the only way to write--that is, faking it until the plan plan emerges, and until it does, slotting in desk time the way you slot in breakfast and tooth-brushing. Focus. The divine discipline. LIke the virtues: even (especially?) if you lack them, pretending/behaving as though you do possess them does magically bring them in reach. Make them practice-able.
Italians make wine. Painters paint. Dogs bark. Writers write. Even when pushing the pen in circles.
Every day a new start. Winding down, winding up. Ready to pitch the winning ball, or a foul: the same thing at this new-love stage. The practice that weaves the web, and the tinkering later that makes it spider-safe and strong enough to capture readers.
The writer's willing suspension of disbelief.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Whining and Dining

"Italian cooking is the art of giving expression to the undisguised flavours of its ingredients," says cookbook guru Marcella Hazan. Certainly true of the pizza and tiramisu I feasted on during my short sojourn in Italy. And equally true of writing and living, I would say. It's all about authenticity.
Yet, more and more, given metafiction's posturing, authenticity is made out to be fiction's embarrassing relative. A hayseed halitosis-addled hick who flashes its author's worst Kodak moments at anyone keen enough to notice. (Wait in the car, you want to say. Or take a fast walk off a short pier before you totally wreck my reputation. I mean, it is just so uncool to be straightforward. To be fresh as a tomato. Or a mushroom.)
The trouble is, the hick, the second cousin twice removed, is a doppleganger. Worse, a mirror image. A tomato with a big fat grin: yours. Mine. Leaking its juices everywhere, staining pages with it. A gorgonzola of a tale, in fact, shouting to be plated.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Pitti Party

So long to the Pitti Palace and all the other marble temples we toured in Italy. I'm still dreaming about statues and columns--life as a baroque fever dream. Happy to be here in the land of stripped-down green where things admittedly grow at a much slower pace and the sun has a chilly northern slant. Even if our Mexican-grown tomatoes are bitter and genetically modified, and the cheese is woefully bland. There's a straightforwardness to our aesthetic which could translate well into stories. My favourite children's one, for e.g., by Richard Scarry (sp?)
"I am a bunny. My name is Nicholas. I live in a hollow tree."
Wouldn't you love to write a novel in similar style?
No need for literary trompe-l'oeil
The fact is, I'm baroqued out.
Enough, for now, to dig in the dirt and watch earthworms squiggle their pink escape. A marvel of undercover agency, busywork while things take root.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Buon Giorno

Just back from a two-week hiatus in Italy...if you can call dodging the volcanic cloud, the vagaries of the Italian transit system and the tangled jungle of a place that is Roma a hiatus...From what, you wonder. Ah, from the quiet, stripped down bliss of house and yard and ideas clamouring to be written down. I'm no gypsy, but a creature of habit. Journalling my way through a flood (literally) and various strandings in order to keep calm (or at least functional) and busy while lingering over lattes and cappuccinos. Hard life, eh? Roma especially a riot of traffic and sky-high weeds and ancient rubble everywhere. All Fellini had to do was remove his lens cap. A wild and crazy joy of a city, the contrast between here and there quite laughable. All good. Part of the bliss of travel is or should be the homecoming and looking forward to the return to reality.
Expect the unexpected, Be prepared to abandon all agendas to embrace the present, whether it is a Niagara Falls of scooters, acqueduct-drawn water, or the supremo, humbling silenze of a thousand well-laid plans thwarted. This is among the many wonderful lessons Italy taught me, in a whirlwind, life-changing fortnight. Grazie.