Jul 28, 2015

Imaginarium 4

It was really hard to wait to announce this one! I found out shortly before I left for the UK and was still waiting for the go-ahead when I got back. But it's official now! Two of my poems (Witch I and Witch II) will be reprinted in Imaginarium 4: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing. These poems were originally published in Room Magazine's Geek Girls issue (which is a GREAT issue, I think there are a few back issues left if you want to pick one up). There are TONS of amazing writers in Imaginarium 4. Margaret Atwood will be writing the introduction, Nalo Hopkinson has a story inside, as does Cory Doctorow. I'm a big fan of Helen Marshall's work--I recently picked up her book of poetry, The Sex Lives of Monsters, which was fascinating. You can check out the Table of Contents on their website.

As I said, I recently returned from the UK so I'm slowly slipping back into life in Canada. I've been dreaming about various aspects of our trip ever since I got back. I've been so tired that my dreams don't have narrative. When I wake up, I remember landscapes: the vibrant green of Scotland, the fog rolling over the mountains in the Isle of Skye, the lavender garden in Stratford-upon-Avon, the fist-sized roses of England. My heart aches when it rains. I wish I could go back.

Work is slow but steady through the summer and we just went on a little weekend trip to Watrous and Manitou with my family where we enjoyed the beach and a campfire and their drive-in theatre. We've got a real camping trip planned for early September (only for a couple days though, because that's about how long my patience with camping lasts). I'll write more about my trip later. My tiny purple notebook went everywhere with me, so I've got little notes to lead the way back into memory.

Jun 26, 2015

Rose Red Review

I'm very pleased to share two of my poems with you that have recently been published over at Rose Red Review. You can read "The Good People" and "House of Mystery" in their Summer issue!

I'm leaving for the UK next week. My husband and I will be travelling to London, where we'll meet a few friends and visit a few cemeteries. We'll go on a day trip to Stratford-upon-Avon (because Shakespeare) and then we'll take the train up to Edinburgh. Then we're off on a 3-day tour of Scotland (Inverness, Loch Ness, and the Isle of Skye). We'll be back in Edinburgh for a day or so and then flying over to Dublin where we'll finish off our trip with some Guinness and a literary pub crawl before we fly back home.

I'm out of my mind with excitement and anxiety. This is my first trip to the UK and I've been dreaming about it ever since I could read. Anyone who knows me has often heard the story of how I thought I would go to England on my student exchange in third year university but I ended up getting my second choice and going to Australia instead (which was still amazing). Christian and I both have Irish heritage and I am, of course, English as well, way back before my ancestors started a farm in Saskatchewan about a hundred years ago. I feel like part of me will recognize the land, even though it will all be new.

Mar 10, 2015

Saskatchewan Book Awards

If you've been wondering where I've been lately: I'm the Director of the Saskatchewan Book Awards right now. And the Awards Ceremony is next month (cue terrified face).

So, if you're in Saskatchewan, come on out! You can buy tickets on the website at bookawards.sk.ca.

Don't worry, I'm still writing too. I've taken a bit of a break now that I'm done my Master's degree (oh ya, I passed my Master's defense...not sure if I mentioned that here or not) but I'm still writing poems when I can find a spare moment and sending them out for rejection (there's been a lot of that lately). But hey, I've got a whole manuscript of fairy tale poems. And I feel good about that. It's enough. For now.

Nov 4, 2014

Blog Hop

So, there's this thing called a blog hop and Cassidy McFadzean tagged me in it and now I'm tagging my lovely supervisor, Kathleen Wall and Christian Bates-Hardy, who has been thinking about blogging again and hasn't done it yet, so now he has to, because them's the rules. You have one month to answer these questions, or bad things will happen because this is basically a chain letter, let's be honest. 
1. What am I working on?
Finding a job, mainly. I'm a pretty fantastic proofreader (any takers? ha!). I'm also preparing to defend my thesis. I've been thinking about a new project now that I'm "done" my thesis but I'm not sure how separate it is yet. I'm certainly not sick of fairy tales and I'd like to publish my collection once I hear what my external examiner has to say but I might also want to add a few poems to it. We'll see. 
 2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Hmmm, that's a big question. I try to walk the line between pretentious and cheesy. I want people to be able to understand and interpret my poems in the same way that they might interpret a favourite song. I try to leave the door open for readers to peek in and see themselves staring back. 
3. Why do I write what I do?

Well, this is kind of two different questions, so I'll answer them in two parts.
Why do I write poetry?

When I was about 7 or 8, I wrote a poem about Remembrance Day and it was published in the school newsletter. I suppose I was hooked then. I wrote your typical bad, emo poetry as a teenager but my mom and a couple influential teachers believed in me and sent me to a writers' retreat. I learned about literary magazines and how to write a cover letter and where to send my work and not to give up. So I kept writing and I eventually got published in one of those literary magazines and then another and so on, and here I am: about to embark on my first manuscript submission.

Why do I write fairy tales?

Specifically, I write about fairy tales because I read the real "Little Mermaid" when I was very young. We were staying with my grandparents, who let us sleep in their library room (at least, I remember it as a library room with shelves lining the walls; perhaps it was only one shelf and my child-memory expanded it). I discovered a small, illustrated copy of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid" and pored through it eagerly, as I was already acquainted with the Disney movie, but I was appalled to discover that the mermaid died at the end (ok, so not really dead, considering the whole turning into a spirit of the air thing but my child-self knew that dead air was still dead) and I ran to my mother to show her the book and ask her if it was true...was it true that the little mermaid really died? Now, I don't remember exactly what she said but what has stuck with me through the years is the memory of one of the illustrations in the book. In it, the mermaid stands over the prince and his new bride in their marriage bed and she's holding a dagger, struggling with her decision. The thing is, I don't even know if that picture really exists. I've never found it and I suppose it haunts me still. 
4. How does my writing process work?
Well, like most writers, I have a notebook, or several, and I carry them around with me (which is why you will often see me with a large bag), so that when I have an idea, or a spare moment, I write. I've discovered that my writing process will change (has to change) based on how my life is organized. When I was a student, I wrote whenever I wasn't in class or working my two or three part-time jobs. I often pulled over on the highway to jot down poems I composed in my head on the drive to and from my family's farm. Once I started working full-time, got married, and moved (having someone else in my personal space was a transformative experience for me), my writing process changed. I had to schedule it. I wrote my thesis during my lunch hours and on Sunday afternoons. I desperately missed the peaceful time I spent driving the straight, flat Saskatchewan highway to and from my childhood home and I'm still working on my ability to think about poetry while staring at Ring Road traffic and the Co-op Refinery instead of oceanic farmland and expansive skies. Thankfully, I'm used to a certain level of noise while I'm writing, so the drone of the university cafeteria worked well enough for that time in my life. And now I find that my life has changed again and my writing process must follow. 

Sep 25, 2014

Room Magazine

I'm geeking out over Room Magazine's Geek Girls issue (now out!) for many reasons, not least of all the fact that I have three poems in this issue. It's the first time I've had this many poems in one literary magazine and I'm extraordinarily proud to be in the company of Emily Carroll (deliciously creepy artist and storyteller; check out her graphic novel Through the Woods), Sandra Chevrier (whose art is on the cover--click to get a closer look!), Laurie D. Graham (whose poetry book, Rove, was published here in my hometown) and many other lovely and worthy artists. If you would like to buy a copy, Room has an extensive distribution list (which includes Chapters). Or you can buy directly from their website for only $12!