Throwback Thursday: Shoes

 

Shoes

Belonging
For a moment
In the brokenness
Amongst us
You with your
Numerical scale
Of my travels &
Me with my
Understanding
Of your lies.

The bits of me
Long hidden
Rising to the surface
As if gravity
And shame
No longer held
Them down.

My safety showed
Itself in fear.
Your fear showed
Itself in cruelty.
Like Newton’s cradle
We’d attract
And repel
Never still
Never at peace

I never told you
The secret of my shoes
And you never told me
That all your silences
Where like tiny deaths

But then again
We knew
These things
Anyway
Didn’t we?

Ottawa After the Tragedy

I’m probably one of the last writers in Ottawa to write about this, but the tragedies that happened on October 20th and 22nd are a hard thing to address.

The loss of Nathan Cirrillo and Patrice Vincent are devastating for their families and for our country. The violation of my city and the shooting of someone at the National War Memorial is something that has bothered me for the last week.

My city is hurting. My country is shocked. A shooter was in the halls of our pariament, the place one thinks of as the safest place in the country. A place that we have (or perhaps had) free access to the building and grounds. I mourn what may have been lost to us.

However, I refuse to call it terrorism. Technically it may fit the definition, but it was one mentally ill man with a gun, a car. That is not to take away the loss of these two men. At all. But we need to be honest about what we’re dealing with.

It’s possible I may walk over to the memorial today. We’ll see.

But RIP Nathan Cirillo and Patrice Vincent.

Tom Mitchell and the no good, very bad, writers

Well.

I came across this article on Medium today, and I have to say I am having mixed feelings about it. [Note: donotlink.com link]

Yes, there are a lot, A LOT of people out there calling themselves writers, novelists and authors. And yes, if you check the #amwriting hashtag on twitter it can be overwhelming. I’ve used it myself, certainly. So yes, a lot of people calling themselves these things and it seems to really anger and annoy the author – sorry am I allowed to call him that? – of this piece, Tom Mitchell. (Apparently Mitchell also has issues with coffee shop writers. Go figure.)

There’s a weird tone to this piece. Like he’s going for tongue-in-cheek, semi-ironic in a self-aware hipster kind of way, but he doesn’t quite get there. He just seems jealous and bitter. His main problem seems to be Nanowrimo participants – how dare they exist, let alone write! It’s clearly all dreck that should immediately be destroyed come December. While I won’t disagree that a lot of self-published work is awful, my ultimate reaction to that is “So what?”

As long as you believe in your talent, regardless of evidence, the whole world will soon surely follow. And if they don’t, it doesn’t matter, because it’s YOUR opinion that’s cardinal. And your mother really did like that story about the dog that dreamt it was a cat, written back when you were in school and you MUST have improved since then.

This is the kind of statement you can find in Mitchell’s piece, and I just fail to understand what the big deal is. It’s like the anti-gay marriage arguments….Gays will ruin the sanctity of marriage!! Self-published people and Nanowrimo will ruin the publishing industry!

No, in fact, they won’t. While there may be a limited number of agents and publishers out there, they don’t tend to buy crap, and if you’re good you still stand the same chance of being published. Bad writers selling kindle books won’t stop that. There aren’t a limited amount of stories or words out there in existence. A nanowrimo participant using certain words and sentences doesn’t stop you from using them too. Oh, some self-published author already wrote your idea? So? Write it better.

My fantasy is to build a world in which fantasy doesn’t exist. You know the fat middle-aged men with extravagant facial hair and weird dice and cards with pictures of unicorns on them? That’s fantasy. That’s you.

Tom is admittedly unpublished and it’s not hard to see why. He certainly lacks creativity. I mean, he relied on the fat, D&D playing, middle aged man trope to define fans of fantasy. Way to be original there, Tom. This middle aged, female, non-gamer is hurt. Wounded even. Whatever will I do?

Don’t call yourself a novelist unless you’re paid to write novels.

To be honest, I personally don’t hear a lot of people calling themselves novelists. Most of the people I know in “the field” call themselves writers or authors, both which bypass Mitchell’s payment rule rather nicely. While I used to refuse to call myself a writer (I was a “person who writes”. There was a clear distinction there for me) a few years back I decided to embrace the label. Frankly, because it’s true. I don’t make a living at it, but I have gotten paid ($25!). I quiver in anticipation of gaining Mr. Mitchell’s approval.

In the end I do get some of Mitchell’s frustrations. There’s nothing that annoys me more, for example, than the idea that the more obscure something is the more artistic it must be (fuck you, James Joyce). I hate stuff like that with such a passion there doesn’t yet exist a word to describe how much. But here’s the kicker:

I don’t have to read it.
I don’t have to pay for it.
And it won’t impact my writing in any way.

But that’s enough of tom, I suspect he’s achieved his goal of causing a stir and gaining hits and viewers. Kudos to that, you online article writing person!

Written on the Body

Everyone wants to feel strong. We watch movies, obsessed with action heroes and those with super powers. And we’re all familiar with the working out/training montage.

I’m no different, of course.  I love the feeling of strength.  The one thing that *is* different about me is that I have Cerebral Palsy, a disability that has an incredibly large range of impacts.  To a degree, I am only very mildly affected by it.  But I’m not unaffected.

`Walking becomes increasingly difficult as I get older and my body is getting stiffer by the year.  And yet, I don’t feel weak most of the time.  I joined the YMCA recently and I have to say, working out with the weight machines is the best feeling. Yes, I do cardio as well, but thats always more of a struggle.

Weights make me feel AWESOME.  They make me realize how amazing the human body is, even when it’s not functioning at 100% like mine.  Even at 80% the body as a machine is a work of art and I feel like one when I’m strength training.

It makes me happy.  And that’s been all too rare in the not so distant past.

(Editorial note: In looking for a picture for this post I searched free photos for “body”.  The results were pretty depressing, Almost all the female photos were a disembodied waist, often with a tape measure.  The pictures that show strength? Almost all men.  Sigh.)

Rise

Gather up the pieces
To sew together
With a bad metaphor
About phoenixes

You’re not quite there
But you have at least
Found your feet
If not your heart

Swallow the pills
That taste like ash
And feathers
And burn your throat

Wash it all down
Like a baptism
Of water,
Of fire

Or of the sunshine
Your newly opened eyes
Have just begun
To see

Can Con 2014

I feel like I’ve written a thousand posts about can con 2014, but this one is actually a look back at the event, and what I thought about my first time attending.

In one sentence: I had a really good time.

Friday

The biggest challenge on the friday was me actually getting myself to the con.  I suffer from some serious anxiety, so bad it kept me away entirely last year, so the strategy was to stay downtown right after work and not go home because I knew if I went home I would stay there.

The first event didn’t officially start until  19:00 so I had an hour and a half to kill.  It wasn’t hard.  Things were quite disorganized at first but eventually they settled. Unfortunately the original panel I wanted to see — Be It Resolved: “Stop Writing Novels – Write Short Fiction” – The Live Debate! — didn’t get to happen so I went to see readings from Hieroglyph which was excellent.  May have to buy that one.

After that I went to a panel on “How to Get Traditionally Published” which was excellent. I was planning on staying for the Ottawa writes podcast but I was just so tired and socialized out.  So I went home.

Saturday

Saturday morning I had my book club so unfortunately I didn’t get to the conference until 14:30. I then went to “Facepalms of world building”.  The moderator wasn’t there so the conversation didn’t follow a certain set of questions but it was wildly interesting.  Learning about how little details like climate can really pull someone out of the story is the kind of thing you want to avoid.  And I need to have less dialogue.

Following that was Advice on the Craft which was by far my favourite. First, Charles DeLint was there! I am a huge fangirl.  And the one piece of advice that I really liked was “Never stop at a natural pause”. Stop mid-sentence if you have to. That will get you right back into it the next day.  Plus I got to hear about Kagagi, an animated series based on a graphic novel about an aboriginal super hero.  So exciting! That is already in my PVR.

Sunday

Sunday there wasn’t anything that pulled me in so I offered to table sit for S.M. Carriere, friend and fellow author, while she did a reading and a live taping of Nights at the Round Table. That was fun to see the dealer side of things.  Clearly I am way too shy because you really need to talk and greet and listen.  It’s tiring! But there were some sales so that was cool.

I didn’t buy anything, which surprised me.  I am a huge book lover.  But I was super broke and the dealer room was small and I just felt it hard to shop in front of authors themselves.  But overall it was very inspiring!