Another one of those posts where I couldn’t really pick one specific topic. There’s a lot of those lately.

My favourite living poet is going to be Turning Leaves this fall. In my imagination, he is constantly turning leaves. His poetry is playful and heart-stabbing and funny and vein-ripping. I really don’t think there’s anyone out there quite like him. He has a way of making a satisfying turmoil of my emotions. I guess I like his stuff so much because I like rollercoasters. Ooh! Which makes me think of this:

I love that scene in Parenthood where the dazed grandmother goes off on a tangent and accidentally spills the most eloquent life advice. Me thinks she’s wiser–and more alert–than she lets on.

Where was I? Yes. BARRY DEMPSTER. If you ever get a chance to read his work, DO SO. And even better, if you ever get an opportunity to listen to Barry read his work…DO SO. His delivery is exquisite. Kind of takes your breath away.

And speaking of taking one’s breath away, the fall kind of does that. The changing leaves, the dying of the light, the promise of hibernation and new life. Some people see Autumn as the beginning of the end…but I always thought it was when things are most alive. You can virtually hear nature screaming in Autumn. It shrills on, begging you to remember the vibrancy of life. It is not dying…it is showing you that nothing dies. The burning trees–bright with oranges and reds and yellows–they’re not going quietly. Fall has always been a time of new beginnings for me.

A great way to celebrate a new beginning would be to throw oneself wholly into something one loves. Fall is a time to chase your passions. Which brings me back to Barry Dempster (Why do I always take the long way around things?). If you’re a writer wanting to develop your craft on a deeper level, you really should check out TURNING LEAVES Where else can you have a fireside discussion with one of Canada’s greatest poets? I’m guessing nowhere…but I didn’t really do the research. Being held at FIRESIDE INN at the FERN RESORT on beautiful Lake Couchiching in the Muskokas (just under 2 hours from Toronto), the Turning Leaves writing retreat is taking place October 28th – 30th. Not only does it have the amazing Ruth E. Walker & Gwynn Scheltema facilitating its writing workshops, but you also get the chance to pick the brain of the humble poet, Dempster. And his is a good brain to pick…he is a prominent figure in the Canadian Publishing industry. You just have to read his website bio in the link provided above to know that he has a wealth of information to share with retreat attendees. And his generosity is overwhelming. The folks at WRITESCAPE could not have picked a better person for this unique fireside chat opportunity. I would be extremely surprised if this retreat doesn’t sell out quickly.

Pssst. Now would be a GREAT time to TURN YOUR LEAVES

Okay. See. I really do jump around. I began this post with the intention of starting a poll. A poll on what? Absolutely not anything to do with leaves or fall or killer poets born with the gift of the golden voice.

The poll is for the title of my as yet unwritten Muskoka Novel Marathon novel. Every year before I begin the 72-hour novel writing marathon, I write the title of my novel at the top of the word document and I save the empty file. I always try to pick a title that is going to inject me with ideas when that infamous gate bell tolls. Here are the titles of my previous novels, and the ideas that came from them:

2007 – Sebastian’s Poet – I thought this: A boy who tries to navigate an adult world, surrounded by adults who can’t navigate a straight line. GO!

2008 – The Reasons – I thought this: Cool family name…dysfunctional family. Rape. Mental illness…and a boy who tries to navigate an adult world, surrounded by adults who can’t navigate a straight line. GO!

2010 – Half Dead & Fully Broken – I thought this: twins – one dies, the other lives. The broken one lives and struggles to survive half broken. His brother was the spine of the unit of two. GO!

So there you have it. For the 2011 marathon I have 3 titles vying for my creative attention. I have a favourite right now, but it’s not the same favourite I had yesterday. (-:

So there you have it. A poll. If you can take a second to let me know if any of these three titles speaks to you, that would be great. I’m just curious, really. If it helps, my novel will be a Young Adult.

And, just a reminder…you can still enter the contest to win 1 of 3 copies of my upcoming Young Adult novel – SUMMER ON FIRE. Click the book cover below to go to the post that has all the extremely easy entry details:

Summer on Fire by Kevin Craig