Okay, so the nagging comments about my lack of blogging updates are starting to get ugly so I am giving in. This first post back after a while away is always easier to put off since it seems a looming, large task just to catch up. I could flippantly say "I was busy" and that would be true--out of town, working on a huge freelance project, enjoying the dwindling days of summer with family--but I won't just say that. I'll catch you up on a few things instead (but reserve the right to save some stuff for later on). Just random thoughts as they come out of my brain. So, let's begin:
The Winterset in Summer Literary Festival was a blast. I enjoyed the panels and managed to get through my own without a nervous breakdown. I was terribly nervous up until our panel but got a crazy sense of calm right before going on stage. I think this was, in part, due to Christine's relaxation exercises and visualization exercises and to the announcement, while we were being introduced, of the New Voices fund and the generous cheque which would be coming the way of each of the writers on the New Voices panel (me, Michelle Butler Hallett
and Shannon Patrick Sullivan
). Being told you will get an unexpected cheque right before going on stage is a great antidote to stage-fright and I highly recommended it. Once I got onstage I was okay. Everyone said that I didn't seem nervous. I must have done alright because [WARNING: shameless self-promotion alert] Ashley Vardy said in the Gander Beacon that I "kept listeners in stitches" as I "told the hilarious yet heartbreakingly realistic story of a young Newfoundland girl living in Toronto in This Much is True". She went on to call the three of us on the New Voices panel "festival favourites" [End of alert]. So Ashley Vardy, if you ever read this blog, thank you so much for your kind words. Other highlights for me included meeting Michael Enright; the fabulous and tension-filled Winterset Panel; the BBQ at Jennifer's cabin; Helen Fogwill Porter's launch of her book Finishing School
which was combined with a tribute the to Newfoundland Writers' Guild; and the writers and publisher breakfast where I sat and ate and chatted with my fellow panelists Michelle and Shannon along with Russell Wangersky and Joan Clark.
The boy stayed with Mom and Dad for the Winterset weekend and after it was all over my friend Kathy and I went to Gander to pick up him up. It was his first time going to his grandparents on his own and he had a great time while I didn't have to give a second thought about how he was and hubby got the new roof on our house (along with Jason, Mike and Steve).
The boy started preschool yesterday. I've been a stay-at-home-Mom since he was born so I think he needs to practice being without me in a structured environment for a bit and two mornings a week should fit the bill. It will be good for me too to have time without him although you couldn't have persuaded me of that yesterday morning when I was having a bit of an emotional breakdown in the car after dropping him off. The boy loved it at preschool but the delighted look on his face when he saw me when I picked him up told me he's still very much my little boy. Wait until Kindergarten next year, I'll be basket case.
Two wonderful people received writing awards recently and I want to shout out a big congratulations to them. Scott Bartlett, a brilliant new writer and a sweet guy, won the The H.R. (Bill) Percy Prize for unpublished novel
. Congratulations Scott. You deserve it. And my dear friend and Strident Women creator Trudy Morgan-Cole
won third prize in The Antigonish Review’s Sheldon Currie Fiction Contest
. Way to go, Trudy! (And happy birthday today!)
I saw the Simpsons Movie last week. It was hilarious and had me laughing from the very beginning to the very end (and I stayed for every one of those credits to make sure I didn't miss a thing). I will definitely be buying the movie when it comes out in DVD. I can't get Spiderpig out of my head! Why oh why isn't it a single on the radio?
I watched a couple of things on TV Sunday night that I want to mention. One was the new Shaye reality show which I really enjoyed. It all looks so glamorous when you see Kim Stockwood, Damhnait Doyle and Tara MacLean on stage but it really looks like a lot of hard work behind the scenes. They're regular people slogging away at it all. They just sound and look fantastic while they're doing it. On the other hand, the other thing from Sunday night was not so enjoyable. I couldn't help it. I was curious. So I turned on the first part of the MTV VMA Awards to see Britney Spears "perform". I use quotes because I think to say someone performed would mean that she would have had to dance or sing and she really did neither. She lip-synced (at least until she gave up and even stopped pretending she was singing) and sauntered around the stage looking uncomfortable. More like the first rehearsal of Dancing with the Stars than anything you'd expect at a music video awards show. You could almost hear her thinking "okay, twirl now then grind, now move your feet this way, shoot, I forgot to move my lips again." I'm sorry for being hard on her. She obviously has huge issues and I hope she gets help. She really needs some people around her who will tell her when something is not a good idea. And Sunday night at the VMAs was not a good idea.
So, that's a little taste of what I've been up to and some thoughts I've had on stuff. Tune back in. More to come.