Josephine's Dream Reading

Josephine's Dream Reading
Trying to look like Josephine Baker - and failing miserably!

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls
Conquering the Beast

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Stephen King?!

Well, yes. Imagine that. My writer/editor friend Cynthia Heinrichs suggested I might like Stephen King's book about writing: On Writing: a memoir of the craft it's called. Catchy title, you say. But he gets right to the point. I just started reading it because Cynthia's brilliant novel  Under the Mound is too heavy for me to carry on the bus if I want to shop and read. I actually laughed out loud! People on the bus ignored me, thank goodness. I'm only up to chapter one (there are three prefaces) but at this point I can say he's got my attention. His childhood memories are oddly like my own. And he's obviously making a point that your impressions and experiences colour your writing. In other words Pay Attention. Haven't I always said that?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Thank You CCBC!

Can Hens Give Milk? has made the CCBC list of Best Books for Kids and Teens for Spring 2012. Thank you to the Canadian Children's Book Centre for this honour, Joe Weissmann for illustrating my story, and Orca Books for publishing it in 2011.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Art Inspires - and so does a walk in the park.

Yesterday I saw the Matisse (and others) exhibit at the VAG. It's from the Cone Sisters' collection in Baltimore. There were paintings and small bronzes, a few sketches and drawings and a lot of inspiration. Colour, texture, fun, joy, characters, nature. All these elements ought to be found in writing too. Can you feel the material, smell those flowers, taste that fruit? How does the cool water feel on your ankles as you step into that clear, yet dark pool ... ? Oh, wait a minute it's not a pool, it's a painting of a pool. But see how it shimmers? When you read a story do you feel that you are part of it? Can you smell the dinner cooking or feel the water as you wade into the sea? Are you walking or sitting or talking with the characters? When you write a story do you think others will feel as if they have stepped into the pages, into the story? If not, what's missing? What could you change or add that would make the story come alive?
I walked in the Van Dusen Gardens today. The lily ponds were like something Monet would paint. The gardens are crowded with wild flowers and 'tame' flowers, all colours mixed together, vibrant and fragrant. Fragile dragon flies, gossamer winged, flitted everywhere, but especially around the lily pads. Their slender red, blue and green bodies briefly hovered over open blooms then, sped away.
The splash of the fountain, the call of a bird, voices just around the corner chatting excitedly in a language I don't understand. Ah yes, it's tourist season.
I tuck it all away. It might come in useful one day. And if not, I still had two wonderful, summer days.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Writing, writing, always writing. Or reading.

I'm writing two sequels to a book that isn't actually out there yet. I love the characters so much that I want them to continue doing funny things and having adventures. But don't worry, I'm still working slowly on my graphic novel - and a couple of other things too.

I've been reading a grown up book - for a change - and loving it. It's the sequel (those sequels again!) to Blood Rain by Michael Dibdin. This is called And Then You Die. You know how I love murder mysteries. The sequel is an easier read, and it has more humour. The reader knows a lot of things that the main character doesn't know. He has trouble understanding English idioms (he only speaks Italian), but we don't, so we get the jokes. I'm really enjoying the book. And every book you read is somehow important for your writing. You'd be surprised at where you'll find a bit of inspiration. I even find it in movies and plays and snippets of conversation overheard on the bus.
Keep those eyes and ears open, fellow writers.