Sunday 25 November 2012

Learning to Draw: Seeing the Teacher

I saw her out of class--the only way I could see her, since I never took the class. She was drinking wine at her opening: canvases (about 2'x3') on which lots of oil had been pushed and rubbed until the figures seemed half-buried or revealed. Roughly the coulour of an alley two days after a heavy snow.
I didn't introduce myself. Upstairs at Mysteria was crowded and my coat was long. I had a tea date with my daughters and couldn't hang around.
I suppose I'd tell her the whole tale so far, including my idea for a show of bad drawings, curated by the right person.
I should think no further of the teacher. I really liked her paintings, though.

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Finish Line

Unlike the sprinter who, to maximize his/her speed, runs through the finish line, some of my students have settled for to it. So far I've scolded and teased, tomorrow a hard cop / soft cop scenario.
At the same time, of course, every day offers (thank goodness I didn't say throws) up its delights, like the student who said she hoped we'd do the balloon thing (an idea to write a single word in marker on a balloon, blow up the balloons and bat them to each other--15 of us around a table--saying whatever word we batted). (Would it work better to write the words before or after balloon inflation?)
My daughter Lucy did some improv with one class, to bring body and physical movement into understanding a character. That sounded like fun, though I wasn't in the room.
And lots of student writing to read.

Wednesday 14 November 2012


Gather a group of poets and sell ourselves to private homes for a half-hour or more (various plans available). Somebody calls us. We go over, have a drink, visit for a while. Offer a poem or two. We'll have dry spells for sure when nobody calls. Why would they?
Still, one more call.
A friend says sure, bring the poets over and we go.
All it has to do is work

Saturday 10 November 2012


: said a Canadian male skiier, according to a story in the Globe & Mail ten days or so ago. The World Championen's women downhiller, an American, had said she wanted to race men. Chicked was what the men didn't want to be, said the story.
While saluting one of the sturdier noun-to-verb moments, I wondered how my students feel about the word chick, which I don't use myself (although since we talked about it, I use it more, but never mind). Here's a typical moment from the talk:

Four women along the front row to my left:
I don't mind. We call each other "chicks".

Two women to my right:
[looking as if they'd just set tongue to prune]
Oh. [shaking head] That's just not right.

The four:
Oh yeah. What else would you call us?
The two:
I don't know [can't think of anything].

On it went. The two women on the right, the youngest and oldest in the room, were sure, the others sure in their own way. It seemed close to home, the way we use this word.

PS: They didn't care for women, certainly not girls. My I call everybody "guys" didn't take. (I'd lost all my cred with gals.)

Thursday 8 November 2012

Yes, well, a day or two after that previous blog entry, I got word that another manuscript was rejected by another publisher. I'd told one of my classes about the Yes to the Hillsdale book, couldn't help it. (Bless their hearts they applauded.) So far I haven't mentioned the No. I notice I've delayed mentioning it here also. I always say oh well, they're idiots, I'll just stir the ms a bit and send it off somewhere else but I feel as if I've used up all the somewhere elses with this work. I guess it will just sit now. I've got a third manuscript out there . . .

Thursday 1 November 2012

Hillsdale Book

I'm thrilled to lick the envelope shut and mail it, the envelope with an "Author Contract" inside, a contract agreeing that NeWest Press will publish my Hillsdale Book.
Just last weekend in Saskatoon I was moaning about never getting another book out. I don't know what the hell I'll do if they don't take it I think I said.
I began gathering this book over four years ago. It's got everything I have as a writer (I think--I haven't read it since submitting it from Banff in May).
I did remember to sign the contract before mailing it back.