Saturday, December 6, 2014

December thoughts about writing

My last post started off about the drama of getting my Creative Writing 203 assignment posted in the right place for grading. But there was so much else going on, that I didn't write much about the course.
The course is over now, and I've already signed up for the next one Creative Writing 303, also about writing for children and teens.
The first half of 203 was about writing a short story, but I really couldn't get into it--I kept writing the start of a novel.  Maybe some time I'll actually write the whole thing--as I found it interesting.  The next course is about writing a novel, so maybe I'll just carry on with what I started--a middle grade ghost story.
The second half of 203 was about picture books.  I enjoyed that more than I expected.  We had to write a whole picture book, and I did. I fell in love with my characters, so I just might continue and write some more. My goal is to write a dozen about Kitten Kaboodle and her family and friends.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

writing course

In September, I enrolled in Creative Writing 203, writing for children.  Assignment #1 was to write a couple of scenes and link them with appropriate transitions.  Assignment #2 was to use these scenes (or one of them, or an adaptation thereof) in a short story.  We had to post it online.
This happened to coincide with an obligation I had in my Franciscan life--I had to attend Chapter meetings in Boston. Difficulties with airlines, and so on, resulted in a nightmare of a journey.  Originally, I was to fly from Vancouver to San Francisco and from there to Boston. I'd fly red-eye, and arrive in Boston about 7:30 a.m.
When I got there, I'd take a bus to a certain location where I'd be met and taken to the site of the meetings.  Of course, Murphy's Law took over.  My San Francisco flight was delayed, so I emailed my Boston contact and announced I'd be arriving at noon instead of 7:30. This was because I had to go by way of Chicago!  He emailed back that another Franciscan would be arriving from California at that time and would be renting a car--he'd take me to the site. Long story short: The Californian didn't get the memo, and I had to wait until 4pm for the next pick-up!
So what does this have to do with writing?
The assignment was due to be online by Friday night, and I'd still be in Boston then.  So--I wrote the short story while "passing the time" in Vancouver airport, San Francisco airport, Chicago airport (midnight), and then noon to 4pm in the Boston airport.
Once in Boston, I tried to sleep before supper, but couldn't. Finally, I got to bed about 9pm, I think, and woke up suddenly at midnight.  That was when I finished off the short story and posted it online.  From then on I did not have to think about the course while dealing with the Franciscan Chapter business.
BUT--when I got back to class the following week (still jet-lagged) I learned that I had posted the story in the WRONG PLACE!  (I wasn't the only student to have made the mistake.)  A teaching assistant sorted it out, and all was well that ended well.
Oh yes, the course also had a major QUIZ in the only class I missed while away.  Good news: I was allowed to write the quiz before the next class.
RESOLUTION: I'm NEVER going to take a red-eye flight again.  That week I had two of them.  The flight home was Boston to Toronto, then to Vancouver.  Jet-lag lasted at least 2 weeks.

missed October altogether! November catch-up

July, August, September & October this year have been filled with my husband's health issues.  He's had CT-scans, MRIs, x-rays, PET scans, a pulmonary function test, wore a holter monitor for 24 hours, had a bronchoscopy, and heaven only knows what other tests.  When he walks into the blood lab for yet another blood test, the nurses there call him by name.  I've lost track of the number of doctors he's seen in the past four months.  Pneumonia, TIA, carcinoid tumour in his lung which must be removed asap, and pain in his feet so terrible he can't even walk around the house from one room to the next.  Surgery set for November 17th, but he has other work to be done (on his feet) before then.  All this keeps us both very busy.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Chicken Soup

I really should take a selfie and post it here today.  But, I won't, not yet.  Maybe later.  It's my birthday, and I got a very special "gift": A big box of books--ten copies of Chicken Soup for the Soul, Touched by an Angel.  Yup, my story is in it.  Now I have to take that selfie, and I have to find the link to the page that will show you the book cover.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Chicken Soup for the Soul--Touched by an Angel goes to print

It's confirmed.  My story (the title has been changed from "Angels on the M4" to "Pilgrim's Proof") is in the October book.  It's always very exciting to have something accepted for publication, especially when the publisher is so highly regarded, but this is the best ever for me--so far, I do have high hopes!
What amazes me most about the communication I've received from the publisher is the list of suggestions for promoting the book and my story: book signings in book stores is the biggest on the list that I could hope for; maybe a write-up in a local paper.  But the suggestion of TV interviews is a bit beyond me, I'm afraid.  However, one never knows.  It all makes me feel like a celebrity. :))
It does encourage me to get on with my novel-writing.  I'm enjoying that, too, more than ever.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

yesterday's email

In my email yesterday I received the kind of letter every writer hopes for: a message from Chicken Soup for the Soul saying that my article, "Angels on the M4" had made it to the last step before actual acceptance.  I just had to fill in a form and submit it.  I did that.  I also have to print the form out and sign it--so I've got that done except for sending it off.  I think they want it faxed and my fax machine is dead, unfortunately (is was a dinosaur).  So, here I am typing with my fingers crossed!

yesterday's facebook message

Archbishop Desmond Tutu's name came up on my facebook page for some reason, and I decided to click on it and send him a message.  (Isn't the internet amazing?)
I said that when I had learned that he was a member of the Third Order of the Society of St. Francis, I was especially delighted as my husband and I had been professed as Tertiaries in 2009.
He sent me a private message, saying "How wonderful" and then asked how my family was.  Of course, I had to reply to his question!  Imagine, me, chatting with Desmond Tutu!

yesterday's mail

A few months ago, The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall were visiting Canada, and I saw on TV a performance given for their entertainment which I found offensive.  And, given the sour faces on the royal couple, I think they were offended.  (A female impersonator impersonating the queen--maybe funny in some circles, but not my taste and not to be shown for the queen's son. IMHO.)  Anyway, I sent the prince a letter apologizing for the inappropriate performance, stating that although it was probably not intended as an insult to the queen, nevertheless I thought it in poor taste.  I also mentioned that I'd briefly met the duchess in Vancouver on a chilly November day and hoped they'd return sometime when the weather would be more welcoming.
So: yesterday, I received a very nice letter from the Prince of Wales.

Monday, July 14, 2014

A special day in July

Today is our 58th wedding anniversary.  Not doing anything special to celebrate, I suppose.  But that will be different 2 years from now, our diamond anniversary.  Hoping for a letter from the queen that year. :)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

See my play: The Wolf and the Saint, the Life of St. Francis of Assisi as told by the Wolf of Gubbio

I've posted all the scenes now, so the whole play is now online for anyone to use.  The conditions are: Please let me know when you've produced it, tell me where & if possible provide pictures.  If you charge admission, please donate at least 10% of the gate to a Christian church, or a charity such as World Vision, PWRDF, SPCA, or something similar.
See the blog: The Wolf and St. Francis .

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

second June blog post??

Another activity that's kept me out of mischief lately is tutoring ESL.  My student has been coming more frequently lately.  I hope that in September I'll have more students.  I enjoy teaching ESL.  It's wonderful to make a positive difference in someone's life.  The only trouble is that it's like gardening: you can only plant the seeds and try to offer nurturing care, and hope that the seeds take root and grow.  I can only help the student with his/her English, teach what is needed and help whenever possible, and just hope the person learns and grows with it.
I like teaching ESL better than gardening, though!  :)

June is more than half over

Time to catch up once again.
It's a busy month, as always.  I do have the garden growing--some of it.  My lettuce is doing fine, and the next row is radishes, and they seem to be okay.  The other rows of carrots, beets, spinach all got eaten by birds, I think.  Maybe they'll be scattered all over the garden bed, if they come up at all.

Writing has been better than usual.  I'm about half-way through the first draft of my murder mystery, and I've rewritten one of my short stories.  It's ready to go.  Just have to buy a postcard to put in with the manuscript when I go to the post office to mail it off.  Yesterday, I took a day trip down to Bellingham, Washington, for the express purpose of buying postage stamps for the "SASE" that needs to be enclosed with manuscripts.  I had to laugh at the look on the faces of the customs officers at both the US border going and the Canadian border on my return when I told them why I had to go to the USA.  "Buy stamps?!!!"

It was a nice way to spend the day, though. I went by Greyhound, slept most of the journey there and back, and just walked around Fairhaven, a very pleasant district in Bellingham.  Next time, though, I think I'll take the bus to the centre of town to go to the library there.  I'd planned to go to the Fairhaven library, but the hours are 2pm to 6pm, and my bus home was at 6:15.  As it turned out, I just walked around for 4 hours, bought my stamps, had lunch, and then took an earlier bus home.  I arrived home about the time I would have been leaving.

So now my short story, "Waves", is ready to be popped into the mailbox, as soon as I have a postcard to address and stamp and enclose with the ms.

Now I'm working on my play, The Wolf and the Saint, the Life of St. Francis of Assisi as told by The Wolf of Gubbio.  I'm publishing it in my blog dedicated to that play.  I hope people will print it out and perform it, with the conditions that they let me know how it went (Preferably with pictures), and donate 10% of any proceeds to a Christian church or charity such as World Vision or PWRDF, or the SPCA.

Friday, May 9, 2014

missed April!

I was trying to post an entry at least once a month, but I missed April altogether.  Always a lot of busy-ness, Volunteering on Monday mornings making sandwiches at the cathedral, volunteering Tuesdays at the elementary school, and so on.  My university course on creative writing finished during the first week, and now I miss it.  I looked for my grades online, but couldn't find them.  I guess I'll have to try again, not that it really matters.  I took the course for the up-to-date information on what's happening in the writing world, and to have some assignments with deadlines and feedback.  I got what I wanted, and now I'm hoping to find something equally satisfying for next year.
One highlight of the month was the SunRun.  I signed up for the cathedral team--they needed one more person to make the minimum number (10) for a team.  I was #10.  I think one more person signed up after me.  My daughter also signed up--as an individual, I think.  But she had training, building strength and stamina by running a bit, then walking a bit, gradually increasing the running time and decreasing the walking time until she was straight running.  So on the day of the run, she and I were texting before the start.  She ran what she calls a shuffle-run, and I just walked.  Her time was a bit more than 20 minutes better than mine, so I guess I did not too badly.  It was only 10 km, and I did it in 2 hours and 20 minutes, I think.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Lent 2014

Lent 2014 has not had a very good start, I think.  Although we did get to Ash Wednesday service at the cathedral--very grand this year--big congregations, and the Dean and Archdeacon were the presiders.  But I've decided not to give anything up this year, but to take something on, instead.  Last year I went vegetarian for the 40 days, and got bored silly with the Jenny Craig selections that had no meat.  Pasta & cheese dishes ad nauseum.  So, this year, I want to work on that psalm project I've started but have been avoiding for the past couple of years.  Wouldn't it be nice to complete that?  Not much done so far.  I might do better with it if I went back to the blogsite I started some time ago, and used that rather than fill all the various notebooks I've started.  So why do I say Lent has not had a good start?  Because I have done precious little about the psalms.

Missed February! Already we're in the second week of March!

Oh dear!  Where does the time go?  February is already a blur.  The weather has been most unVancouver-like.  Snow!  Repeated snow days.  Snow lasting for days on end.  At last the rain has returned, and the temperature is almost spring-like.  Almost.  Not yet. 

So what have I done with my month-and-a-half of nonBlogging?

 Monday mornings are filled with  sandwich-making followed by noontime Mass at the cathedral.  Then in the evenings, it's Welsh class.  I've started a Welsh study group. Initially it was to be once a month, but then it was confusing as to which Monday night it would be.  So, I've increased it to "the Monday after Welsh class"--but February Mondays were filled with other events at the Welsh Hall, so we haven't had a study group since the first one.  Best laid plans....  So, next Monday evening should be our second study session.

Tuesday & Thursday mornings are spent volunteering at the elementary school and afternoons at UBC studying creative writing.  An hour and a half at school, an hour and a half on the bus, an hour and a half in the university classroom.  I get home about 3:30 or so, and am exhausted.

Wednesdays and Fridays are more or less free, as is Saturday most of the time.  (Friday evenings it's
back to the Welsh Hall for choir practice.)

March is shaping up to be much the same so far.  See next entry, I guess.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

January 2014 some more

The creative writing course is keeping me quite busy.  It is offered on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 12:30 to 2pm.  As those mornings are already occupied by my volunteering in an elementary school, located near the PNE, I have to rush out of the school at recess (10:30am) and hurry to the bus stop on Hastings Street.  The #14 UBC bus is reasonably frequent, so if I miss one, the second is not too far behind it.  It takes an hour and twenty minutes to get to the bus loop, end of the line, at the university, but I still have about a 10 minute walk to get to the Geography building where the lessons are held.  If I'm lucky, I can stop for a quick coffee before class, and maybe eat my lunch.  If I've missed a bus, however, I have to skip that and just rush to class.  Being on the Jenny Craig program is very helpful.  I carry a Jenny bar and a Jenny snack and a Jenny salad kit (all prepared in neat containers, complete with a fork), and a bottle of water.  It's a busy schedule on paper, but not as exhausting as you might think.  Eighty minutes sitting on a bus is very restful--sometimes I get ten or fifteen minutes catnap.  I'm only sorry that my time at the elementary school is so short--just an hour and a half--equal to the bus trip.  I try to make myself useful there, though.
All in all, with the variety of activity, the healthy diet and extra walking, and the resting (catnaps), it's a good way to spend the day, and I get to do it twice a week.

January 2014 before it's over

Today I learned something about writing these posts:  can't use the tab key!  I did that and lost what I'd started to write.  I wonder if it will turn up again somewhere.  If it does, I have to edit it!
I started to say that one of the most important things happening in my life this month is the beginning of a course at UBC: Creative Writing 200.  Yesterday, we had a lesson on writing poetry.  I love poetry, but rarely attempt to write it.  Yesterday, we were given a short exercise to write a poem (essentially just a list of things) as suggested by one of the examples the instructor offered.  This is what I wrote:
"Please Take These Things Back"
Gloomy, drizzly, teary days;
Hot, humid, nights with sweaty sheets;
Tasteless food;
Need to tell loved ones bad news
Need to ask for help
Dependence on everyone and everything
Hospital noises
~~~~~~I offer this in memory of Ken, who inspired it.