2011 Ontario Writers’ Conference – What a day!

I was going to blog about the Ontario Writers’ Conference today. I was going to talk about how wonderful a day it was, how amazing it was to be surrounded by writers of all stages and ages…how energetic it was to be among so many talented creative people. There was a buzz in the air and I wanted to write about it.

But I’m an organizer. I was in charge of registration for the event. I don’t want to blow my own horn—even though my part was so small. I don’t want to be a representative of the Ontario Writers’ Conference standing up and shouting, “Weren’t we great!” One, I’m not a braggart. Two, I get a tingle of argh! when I see people patting themselves on the back. Three, the magic of the day was as much about the registrants and the presenters and the speakers and the mentors and the media and the booksellers and the venue staff and the vendors and the student volunteers and the honorary patron and the agents and sponsors and the donors and everyone else as it was about the organizers. As organizers, we had but one goal. Make the day as special as we can make it. And that’s what the nine of us did. We tried our best.

I won’t write about all the things that happened at the conference. As much as I am HUGELY biased by my love of the event and my fellow volunteer organizers, I don’t want to spout on about how fabulous the 2011 Ontario Writers’ Conference was.

Instead, I will supply links from people who were at the conference and chose to write about it. I thank all of them now, not only for coming and making the event the success that it was, but also for writing about it. Thank you all for your kind words of support. We really do try our best to make this an event of creative inspiration for all who attend!

MARY MCINTYRE

MARY MCINTYRE 2

MARY MCINTYRE 3

MATTHEW COOK

PATRICIA CAVIGLIA

ALLISON BAGGIO

I will add more, if there are more. (-:

I want to thank everybody who had anything to do with the conference this year. Whether you were a registrant, a volunteer, a Blue Pencil mentor, a bookseller, a workshop presenter, a skit writer, an actor, a lecturer, a speaker, a reader, a vendor, a sponsor, or anyone I’m forgetting in this post…THANK YOU. You helped to make the day a special one.

Rejection/Acceptance – Are You Being Served?

…and if so, which do you prefer—the hard or soft option?

I have a novel–HALF DEAD & FULLY BROKEN–in the hands of my agent, who has it sent out on submission at the moment. The waiting is the hardest part. When you’re waiting to hear back from agents/publishers—whether it’s for a novel, a poem, an article, an essay or a grocery list—what kind of response do you prefer? Are you one of those people who would rather have an immediate rejection, or are you willing to wait for months on end for a possibly-maybe? Another one of my novels has been with a publisher for about 6 months now. There are days that go by where I forget it even exists… and other days where I want to send an email to remind them of my existence (something one does not do). I suppose we are all like Bambi’s mother. “Don’t go into the meadow!” and then that inexplicable need to go into the meadow…

I’d rather not get shot by the hunter, but I still feel the need to know if the hunter can see me or not. “I’m over here! I’m over here!” –waving frantically, waiting to be shot. “Hello!”

How do you like to be served? Rejection is a medicine best served quickly, is it not?

Summer on Fire – Young Adult Novel

My Young Adult novel, SUMMER ON FIRE, will be available from Museitup Publishing in July, 2011.

Summer on Fire by Kevin Craig (Museitup Publishing, July 2011)

If you go to their bookstore, you can click on the NOTIFY ME button to be notified when it is available for purchase.

Here is a blurb on the story:

Summer on Fire Summer…fire, bodies, murder, enemies and lies. Is it too much for three friends to handle? The race is on…

Zach Carson is a loyal friend. But is loyalty enough to keep best friends together when one of them sets fire to the rural barn they use as the local hangout? Zach, Jeff Barsell and Arnie Wilson struggle to pick up the pieces when news spreads that a body was discovered in the burnt out shell of the neighbouring home. When the word murder is used by the local police, the stakes grow even higher. When the police start searching for their most likely suspect—none other than Jeff’s older brother, and nemesis, Marty Barsell—the boys decide to join forces and come up with a way to prove his innocence. But just how innocent is Marty Barsell? When Marty admits to being at the scene of the crime, the three friends enlist the help of Zach’s annoying sister, Sherry, as well as the sympathetic town eccentric, Ms. Halverton. But can they keep it together long enough to save Marty, and themselves, from imminent catastrophe? Summer on Fire is the story of friendships, and the lines we are asked to cross in order to keep them.

MUSEITUP PUBLISHING HOME PAGE

I am currently working with editors on SUMMER ON FIRE.

Also, my Young Adult novel HALF DEAD & FULLY BROKEN was originally written during the July, 2010 72-hour Muskoka Novel Marathon. It went on to win THE MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL AWARD.

The Speech – A 10-Minute Comedic Play.

This is a ten minute play I wrote for the 2011 Trafalgar 24 Play Creation Festival – a fundraiser put on by DRIFTWOOD THEATRE.

The Speech was written on Thursday March 10th – and performed 6 times in front of a rotating audience of approximately 300 people on Friday March 11th. It was performed at Trafalgar Castle, in Whitby, Ontario.

This play is copyright protected. It can be used royalty free, with prior written permission. please contact me @ kevintcraig@hotmail.com

TITLE: THE SPEECH

©2011

GENRE: COMEDY

ONE LINE SYNOPSIS: Karen has to give a speech, but isn’t quite ready to speak in public.

CHARACTER/ACTOR LIST:

MATTHEW

KAREN

DESCRIPTION: Matthew and Karen have made a deal. Matthew will write the speech for the Ladies’ Auxiliary, if Karen will present it. Matthew has fulfilled his part of the deal. Can Karen get over her fear of public speaking in time to carry out her end of the bargain?

SETTING

Stage – Just prior to the Ladies’ Auxiliary Meeting

KAREN [At the microphone/podium]: I’m scared.

MATTHEW [Behind curtain upstage right]: Do it!

KAREN: But I’m scared. I don’t wanna do it.

MATTHEW [Stomps out to the podium]: Do it! Come on. You’re not even in front of an audience yet. What are you afraid of?

KAREN: Bears. People with bad breath. Bank lines. Trampolines! Sunglasses. Fear itself. Yes. I’m afraid of fear. That’s what scares me the most. And Pancakes. The way they—

MATTHEW: I didn’t ask what scares you in general! I asked what you’re afraid of now. Being on stage? There’s nobody here. What does it matter! Just. Do. It.

KAREN [Covers microphone with hand]: Sshhhhhhh!

MATTHEW: Who are you shushing? The mic isn’t even on and nobody else is here! God, Karen. Get a grip. You have to do this tonight. We have to practice. Do you wanna freeze up here in front of all those people?

KAREN: Aha! I got it! You can be my audience. You’re not helping me up here. Actually, you’re making me think of bears. And bank lines. Would you…do you think you can go out there. You know. Be my audience? My muse.

MATTHEW: That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard of.

KAREN: Please, Matthew.

MATTHEW: Whatever. Okay. [Steps off the stage and takes two or three steps away] Okay. Do it.

KAREN: Not there. Be an audience, Matthew. Spread out.

MATTHEW: I’m one person. How do you suggest I do that?

KAREN: For starters, you can move away from the stage and sit around.

MATTHEW: You do realize I can only sit in one chair at a time, don’t you?

KAREN: You’re not helping me! Be a crowd.

MATTHEW: Again. I am one person.

KAREN: Please. Improvise.

MATTHEW [Walks to the back of the room]: Okay. I’ll be the lady who stepped out to use the toilet. I’ll stand here with my arms folded, angry that I have to wait for you to finish before I can return to my seat. How’s this?

KAREN: Performance anxiety.

MATTHEW: What?

KAREN: I can’t make a speech with that woman standing there shooting me daggers. You should see the look on her face!

MATTHEW: I can’t see it, but I can assure you I can feel it!

KAREN: Maybe if you were the guy who, you know, had a bit of a crush on me and just sat there thinking you want to ask me out on a date when I’m finished speaking. You know that guy. Okay. Go. Move over there. And make a face like you can’t wait to take me out for linguini. And wine.

MATTHEW: There aren’t going to be any men in the audience. I think I’ll go back behind the curtain now.

KAREN [Stands straight at the podium]: Good evening, ladies. Thank you for having me here today…

MATTHEW: Thank you!

KAREN: Ooh. That felt good. You know, I always wanted to be an actress! Romeo, Romeo…where forearms bow, Romeo!

MATTHEW [Walking back to the stage]: Wherefore art thou!

KAREN: I’m right here, silly.

MATTHEW: No. The line. It’s Wherefore art thou.

KAREN: You’re so cute when you’re wrong.

MATTHEW: I’m right. I studied Shakespeare in college.

KAREN: And I studied with Johnson. What does that have to do with the price of apricots in New England?

MATTHEW: No. I didn’t study with Shakespeare. I studied Shakespeare. The playwright. William. Shakespeare.

KAREN: How lovely. How is this helping me? You’re not a terribly good audience, Matthew. So far, you played an angry woman with toilet paper clinging to her dress and a not very convincing suitor who didn’t even get to the part where he pines for me and wants to ask me out on a date.

MATTHEW: I’ll be behind the curtain. Can you just do it. [Stomps onto the stage and returns behind the curtain.] Please!

KAREN: You know I’m not good at public speaking. I feel so alone up here.

MATTHEW: You are alone.

KAREN: Thanks. That really helps. The stage just got ten times bigger now. I’m just going to hyperventilate, if you don’t mind.

MATTHEW: The plan, Karen, was that I would write the speech and you would give it. I did my part. It’s your turn.

KAREN: But I’m afraid of bears!

MATTHEW: I’ll make sure we have a bouncer at the door. He’ll be given specific instructions to turn away all bears. On sight.

KAREN: I’m sensing sarcasm.

MATTHEW: No. Really. I’ll print out a mug shot of a bear so there won’t be any room for error.

KAREN: You know what I love about you?

MATTHEW: No. But I’m probably gonna find out.

KAREN: That you could be so mean as to use my fears against me! Next you’ll be hauling out a trampoline. You know what those things do to me.

MATTHEW: I don’t know about that, I kind of get a kick out of them.

KAREN: All that bouncing. Terrifying! Why they ever invented something that can shoot a human being up into the air like that, I’ll never know.

MATTHEW: I heard the inventor was someone in a bank line-up who was bored waiting for their turn with the teller. Rumour has it he was wearing sunglasses at the time. And eating a pancake.

KAREN: How could you!

MATTHEW: The speech, Karen. The speech. If there was an audience out there right now, heads would be lolling. They would all be dying of boredom.

KAREN: That’s just crazy. I’m captivating.

MATTHEW [Comes out to the podium]: Would it make you happy if we just, I don’t know, did some adlibbing? Had some fun at the mic.

KAREN: Romeo, Romeo…

MATTHEW: No. No. Don’t butcher that one again. How about I’m your long lost brother and you’re the millionaire heiress of the man who invented the sticky note.

KAREN: Impossible.

MATTHEW: No it isn’t. We’re just adlibbing. Anything goes.

KAREN: No. A woman invented the sticky note.

MATTHEW: Oh God. I’m going to die.

KAREN: You can’t die now, brother! You’ve only just come home!

MATTHEW: No. I’m not the brother yet. I mean I’m going to die of frustration. You’re killing me, Karen.

KAREN: But I’m not Karen. Who is this Karen you speak of? I am Juanita Francisca Albertson the third.

MATTHEW: We’re never gonna get this speech out, are we?

KAREN: What speech do you mean, sweet brother. [Goes in to hug MATTHEW.] Oh, but I have missed you all these long years, dear brother. Poppa is two years dead now and poor Momma is in a home for the mentally ill. You’ve missed so much. Where to begin!

MATTHEW: Okay. Stop now. I think you’re ready. Let’s get back to the speech.

KAREN: But Claudio, you must be so upset. Just now hearing of Poppa’s passing. I can’t imagine how you must feel.

MATTHEW: Does murderous ring a bell? Stop now!

KAREN: How am I ever gonna get over my fear of being on a stage if I can’t step into character. And. Act!

MATTHEW: You’re giving a speech to the Ladies’ Auxiliary about the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases in the North American bird population.

KAREN: You take the glamour out of everything!

MATTHEW: There is no glamour in diseases, Karen. If you wanted glamour you should have been a beautician. Or an actress.

KAREN: Does Avon count? My mother sells Avon.

MATTHEW: Does it make you feel glamourous?

KAREN: Not especially. Although, the bug spray is rather fragrant.

MATTHEW: Avon makes bug spray?

KAREN: Focus, Matthew. You’re getting away from the speech.

MATTHEW: Oh. I’m sorry. Here I am holding everything back. The guests are due to arrive any minute now and I’ve been talking about bug spray this whole time.

KAREN: Yes, dear. You do have a way of procrastinating.

MATTHEW: Do the speech. Now. Speak into the mic. Enunciate. Raise your voice.

KAREN: Don’t get pushy. [Walks off the stage and goes to the back of the room and faces the stage with her arms spread wide.]

MATTHEW: What are you doing now?

KAREN: I’m visualizing. All politicians do it.

MATTHEW: Get up here.

KAREN: I’m imagining my speech.

MATTHEW: They’re coming soon, Karen. You have to do a run through or you’re gonna bomb in front of all those people.

KAREN: Calm down, Matthew. I’m sure that as long as you keep out the bears, the speech will go off without a hitch.

MATTHEW: Do me a favour and show me that you can do it.

KAREN: Okay, okay. Alright already. Keep your pants on.

[They change places. KAREN goes to the podium and MATTHEW goes to the back of the room]

MATTHEW: On three. One. Two. Three.

[KAREN doesn’t say anything. MATTHEW prompts her with his hands.]

KAREN: Sorry. I thought you were gonna say GO.

MATTHEW [Through gritted teeth]: One. Two. Three.

[KAREN doesn’t say anything. MATTHEW stomps his feet.]

KAREN: Sorry, sorry. So you’re not gonna say go?

MATTHEW [Fast]: One two three GO!

KAREN: That was too fast. I wasn’t ready.

[MATTHEW stomps toward the stage – looking murderous.]

KAREN [Clearly, into the mic.]: Good evening, ladies. Thank you so much for having me here this evening.

END PLAY

Published
Categorized as Playwright

Trafalgar – Another 24!

In two days I will walk into Trafalgar Castle in Whitby, Ontario and get locked in for 8 hours. Doesn’t sound appealing? Of course it is! It’s actually a big time honour and privilege.

This will be my third consecutive year of being locked into the fantastic 19th century castle that is strategically hidden in the heart of downtown Whitby. It will be my third year as one of the PLAYWRIGHTS for Driftwood Theatre’s annual TRAFALGAR24 Play Creation Festival!

At 10pm on Thursday night me and five other playwrights will be locked into the castle, given some sort of prompt, pictures of our actors and the room in which we are to create our plays. We will be given 8 hours to write our play. At 6am Friday…the doors will be unlocked. The playwrights will be freed and the actors and directors will then be locked in for 8 hours. Sounds like fun, eh. It is! Trust me.

On Friday night, there will be a fantastic gala event…6 plays, wine and a bounty of amazing desserts. There will also be a silent auction and an amazing amount of laughter, pathos, drama, and more. All for an exceptional cause—DRIFTWOOD THEATRE.

This year, there is one slight difference. On previous years there were 10 plays and each audience member got to pick 6 plays to view. This year, there are only 6 plays…and the audience, along with a jury, sees all six and votes on their favourite. One play will be selected for further development.

I’m happy to have been chosen to be one of the 6 playwrights for this event. I already won.

 

Here’s to another great year in the castle!

LINK:

http://www.driftwoodtheatre.com/Trafalgar.htm

If I had a hammer…

I don’t know why I wrote that title. I have a hammer. I have three hammers. If I had a hammer, I guess I would hit a few things…maybe even crush them to rubble. But not to release hostility…just to see them crumble.

It’s a new year and I don’t know what direction my writing is going to take me in during this year of our lawd, 2011. What it has shown to be so far is a year of holding patterns. Or, at least a month of holding patterns. Here are the things I am waiting on:

1. I recently received an invitation to participate in the 2011 Trafalgar 24 Play Creation Festival. The invitation is not a guarantee that I will be one of the event’s 6 chosen playwrights…it’s just a formal invitation for me to submit my intent. I have replied to the invitation by pleading to be considered for the role. During previous festivals, there were actually 10 playwrights, so with 4 less spots to fill…the competition has really heated up. So…I sit. I wait. I pray. By the 25th of January, I will know if I get to participate again this year. This playwriting gig has quickly become my favourite writing project. If I receive an acceptance to participate this year, it will be my 3rd play. I learned a lot writing for this festival (in 2009 and in 2010)…it was where I honed my passion for playwriting. Where I saw my first play come to life in the very unique setting of an 18th century castle basement. Here’s hoping!

2. Just before the New Year, I mailed off two copies of the contract I received from ‘my’ literary agent. I am now in a holding pattern awaiting the signed returned contract from the agent. At that point, I will finally be able to say that I have agent representation. It’s been a couple of weeks now, but I have to take into account the holiday season as well. Soon. Soon it will come. Holding patterns suck.

3. Half Dead & Fully Broken. That’s the title of the YOUNG ADULT NOVEL I wrote during the 2010 Muskoka Novel Marathon this past July. The novel went on to receive the Best Young Adult Novel Award for the marathon. It is now in the hands of my DREAM publisher. They have had it for almost two months now…so I should be hearing back from them very soon. Will they like it??? I don’t know. I’m dying to find out. It’s one of the few novels that I wrote that I feel okay about…so it will be interesting to get feedback from said publisher (who shall at this point remain nameless). This is yet another holding pattern.

4. My YOUNG ADULT NOVEL Summer on Fire is due to be released by Museitup Publishing out of Montreal this coming July. July is a long time away! This is truly a well oiled holding pattern. I signed the contract in July 2010. Edits. Cover. Etc. And much worrying. Will people like it? Who knows. I can’t wait for its release…but it also has me pulling my hair out with worry. Please like me, said the writer. Once it’s out…that’ll be it. No turning back.

5. The 2011 Ontario Writers’ Conference is almost here. It will take place in Ajax on APRIL 30th. Myself and eight very good friends have organized this event…with much excitement. Now that the registrations are being taken, the excitement builds. The workshop presenters are booked, the keynote speakers are booked, the agents and mentors and panelists…they’re all booked. It’s just a matter of fine-tuning the festival and watching as the date draws nearer on the calendar. CAN’T. WAIT. Oh…and WAYSON is booked. Yes…you too can enter the Church of Wayson on April 30th…all you need to do is register for the conference.

6. There is no six. Six is me. I have myself in a holding pattern while I await these things. I’m dying to participate in the Trafalgar24 event as an agented soon to be published novelist. I’m so strung out by everything that I have not been writing. Yes. I’m taking a break. Maybe getting these issues resolved will help me to move forward and start my 2011 writing life. No. I don’t have writer’s block. I don’t believe in writer’s block. I’m just chillaxing.

Lamu Town

(Originally appeared as PART THREE in a THREE PART SERIES in the WORDWEAVER.)

As our plane landed at the Manda Island airstrip, I was crazy with anticipation. Out the window, I had glimpses of the Indian Ocean and the tiny Arabic/Swahili island of Lamu!

Our first dhow (a traditional Arab sailing vessel) ride took us to Lamu Island. I didn’t know then that I would spend much of the upcoming week aboard these beautiful boats. We climbed from the dhow onto cement stairs that ascended right up out of the water. Lamu Town!

We arrived on a very special day: Islamic New Year, 1430—a day of festivities: donkey races, dhow races, dancing in the streets and vibrant reverent prayer. I was enamoured with everything I saw. Fellow traveller Venus Thrash was
offered a donkey ride upon our arrival. We followed her through the narrow streets of Lamu Town as she was escorted, like visiting royalty, to Lamu Fort and the town square. We were swept up and fully embraced in their celebration!

I woke the next morning at 4 a.m. to the gorgeous sound of Muslim prayer. It was so beautiful, I didn’t care about the early hour. I had too much to take in to waste time sleeping. The weekend was free time and only half of our group had arrived in Lamu. Eight of us had arranged for a special day trip with one of the dhow captains.

The dhow crew took us to Manda Beach, where we swam in the ocean while they made us a meal of fresh fish, coconut rice and tantalizing curry. After the meal, which was served under the shade of an acacia tree on beach sand-raked smooth by the crew, we lazed around while the crew cleaned up. Later, we piled into the dhow and made our way through an intricate mangrove forest waterway. As the path narrowed, we had to step out into the black waters and walk among the ancient mangroves to the entrance of the 15th-century Swahili trading town of Takwa. We walked the ruins with mouths agape. Crumbling walls of an ancient mosque, dinosaur baobab trees, wells, homes, a withering school and the burial site of a revered Imam…it all fascinated us. The air of Takwa was alive, abuzz—either with the voices of long dead ghosts or a mass of unseen insects. We didn’t know which. We only knew the peace of being there…the sacredness of the island.

Unfortunately, we only had half an hour in Takwa. Any longer and the waterway leading to the island would vanish. We’d be forced to spend the night within the island’s sacred hum. As much as we loved the ruins, we didn’t have to be told twice when it was time to leave.

One last surprise for the day… we emerged from the mangrove forest at the precise moment the sun touched the horizon and melted into the Indian Ocean. Perfect timing! We watched the sun melt into the ocean as we ate freshly cut fruit served to us by the crew.

That was just the first full day on Lamu. Every day was the same: perfection. We had our writing classes on the rooftop terrace of a hotel in the centre of town—a terrace with a 360 degree view of Lamu Town and the ocean surrounding it. We had sun, donkeys, dhows, sharks, weddings, Masai dancers, poetry readings on the beach, Imams, absolute joy in the face of abject poverty, a dancing/singing festive Kiswahili Christmas Eve mass in a tiny Catholic church, Rastafarians, children playing soccer, hennaed hands and so much more.

What a perfect place to end our Kenyan trip. I will never forget the people of Lamu. Their joy has changed me. Their remarkable radiance is something we could all aspire to. And writing. Ah, yes. I was there for the love of writing. My passion for words has never been stronger. The beauty of the world classroom…what a perfect place to dance with one’s muse!

I got SPARKED!

This past week or so, I’ve taken part in the SPARK art from writing: writing from art project. Spark is a collaboration art/writing project. On day one, I sent a poem to my artist partner, Bonnie Lebesch, and she sent me a piece of artwork. We had 10 days to create response pieces from the work we shared with one another. Here’s a link to the poem inspiration piece I sent Bonnie and her response artwork: AND WE’LL DANCE Here’s a link to the artwork inspiration piece Bonnie sent me and my response poem: A UNIVERSE BORN

For writers and artists out there, please note that SPARK is an ongoing project. SPARK Rounds take place in February, May, August, and October. If you’d like to join in on the SPARK fun, you can contact the SPARK people here: GET SPARKED

To see ALL the SPARK10 pieces, you can go here: SEE THE WORK

Published
Categorized as Poetry

Honest Scrap Award? Who, me? Let’s be Honest…

This week I was honoured to find out that a newly discovered mentor had chosen me as one of three recipients of her pay-it-forward Honest Scrap Award! Noelle Bickle is a writer, and writing instructor, I met through Facebook and the WCDR. She facilitated a WCDR After-Breakfast Mini-Workshop in October that I attended— 30-Seconds of Shameless Self-Promotion. I thought it was fabulous. I left it with a 30 second ‘commercial’ for my most recent novel. This was no easy task for me! I’ve always been horrified by the prospects of distilling my manuscripts down to easy ‘it’s about’ infomercials. I’d stammer and hem and haw and finally come up with, ‘you know…stuff.’ Noelle’s workshop helped me get a grasp on this impossible task. I found her exuberant energy extremely infectious. Great workshop! To find out that Noelle flagged me as an inspiration was beyond a compliment! Thanks, Noelle! I wish I could send the Honest Scrap Award back to you…but I don’t think that’s the way it’s supposed to work. (-:

With the award comes the requirement to reveal “10 Honest Things” about me. So…here they are:

  1. I am an extremely LAZY writer. It’s true. I feel embarrassed every time people go on about how busy I am and how many things I have going on at once. Because I really don’t. It’s all smoke and mirrors. I start submitting once THE END is written at the end of the first draft. I throw poems together without even thinking about what I’m writing. If I ever spent more than 5 minutes on a poem, I can’t remember doing so. I’m a hack. I toss everything together without putting any thought into it…and then I resent every second I spend editing. I hate editing. So much so, that I often don’t do it.
  2. I LOVE movies. I love going to the theatre to see them…and I almost love the previews and the dimming lights and the time leading up to the feature movie more than actually watching the movie. I’m a theatre going junkie. I still remember growing up in Toronto and being dropped off in front of the theatre on Saturdays with my brother and friends. The curtains, the smells, the punches in the arm, the popcorn tossing, the Canadian National Anthem (Yes…I’m that old). I love it. I always like a bad movie when I see it at a theatre.
  3. I’m madly in love with the WRITERS’ COMMUNITY OF DURHAM REGION and there is almost nothing I wouldn’t do for them. From the day I became a member, I have felt indebted to them. Just holding the membership makes me feel like an honest to God writer. I’ve been with them now since 2002-03. My first publications came as a direct result of attending their fabulous monthly breakfast meetings. I’ve met so many fabulous people through this community. It’s hard to believe it took me years to work up the courage to join and then months to work up the courage to attend a breakfast meeting. I had this never-ending mantra in my head I-AM-NOT-A-WRITER. I felt like they would see right through the façade. I was afraid that the second I walked through the doors at the first meeting the jig would be up! But they welcomed me with open arms. Amazing group.
  4. I married my best friend. She always makes me laugh even though she always says I’m laughing at her. “You’re mocking me, aren’t you?” NO. You really are that funny! Amazing too. 21 years this past July 11th!
  5. I LOVE MUSIC. I’m partial to all 80s punk, new wave, etc, etc. But I also love new music and 70s rock and punk and DISCO. Yes, even disco. I hate country. Hate is too weak a term, actually. I’ve been really getting into K’Naan. I got turned on to him when I was in Kenya last December. Originally, this had nothing to do with his music. I still didn’t know it last December. I have a tendency to miss new music because I listen to CDs. While in Kenya, whenever a Kenyan would discover a member of our group was American, they would raise a fist and say, “OBAMA!” There is MEGA Obama love there. And whenever they would discover that a member of our group was Canadian, they would raise a fist with just as much respect and awe and say, “K’NAAN!” Clearly I had to find out who this K’Naan guy was! Turns out I LOVE his music. I often write to it lately. You should seriously check out his FATIMA. Amazing song! Favourite bands/Artists: T-Rex, The Cure, The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, The Beatles, Jeff Buckley, The B52s, Haysi Fantayzee,Tragically Hip (Gordon Downie is an absolutely killer poet!), Bauhaus, The Smiths, The Sex Pistols, David Bowie, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Leonard Cohen, Michael Jackson, AC/DC, TheThe, Bjork, Yaz(oo), The Cult, Bob Marley, Paul Simon, Psychedelic Furs, Depeche Mode…this is ridiculous. I could go on forever!
  6. I have 5 favourite spots in the world. 1)Where I am 2)New Brunswick 3)Kenya 4)Cozumel 5)Huntsville. I’d love to split my year between these 5 places…2.4 months at each… of course, I will have to win that lottery first. I’m all set to camp out in #1 and wait.
  7. My favourite writing gig is TRAFALGAR24 Play Creation Festival. I love seeing my words come to life on stage less than 24 hours after I penned them. It is an experience that is unfathomable until it happens…and, frankly, just as unfathomable after it happens. The actors blow me away! They get the script down to an exact tee. So talented! I can’t believe they let me do this. I love it so much it hurts!
  8. One of my favourite memories is being at a Leonard Cohen concert with my daughter. We are such Cohen fan-geeks. You haven’t lived until you share a concert experience with your grown child. (-:
  9. I didn’t think it was possible to have more fun with my son than we have on our Friday Afternoon Golf outings. Then we drove a dune-buggy through the jungles of Cozumel together, and swam in underwater caves in the heart of those jungles. Floating in the darkness and watching the thousands of bats above our heads come to life is an experience I will never forget. It’s great to see your child enjoy life…even if he is a teenage dirtbag. (-;
  10. I LOVE helping other writers. Being given the gift of the love of writing is like no other thing. It makes you want to share that gift and spread that feeling. I’m not saying I have a writing gift…my gift is the love of actually writing. I know that I don’t have to be a good writer to love writing. It’s about the connection that writing gives me. Being able to help other writers connect with the love of writing is a gift unto itself. That’s why I’m so passionate about getting involved in the WCDR and about the ONTARIO WRITERS’ CONFERENCE. I love the writing community. I don’t see jealousy or pettiness in the writing community. Writers always seem able to put these things aside…to just enjoy each other’s successes and feel compassion and empathy in the face of each other’s failures. When I began to take writing seriously, I felt like I found my home. It’s almost too good to be real. Someone pinch me!

Being granted The Honest Scrap Award also requires that I recognize 3 fellow bloggers that I deem worthy of the award. This was an easy decision for me to make. One of these people, I know in the real world…she’s a lovely unassuming gentle soul who is also a wonderful writer. She’s also always generous to her fellow writers. The second, a writer I connected with around the internet…and whose novel, BREAK, I later fell in love with. Her blog is always filled with wonderful advice for fellow writers. And the third is a fellow MuseItUp Publishing author…whose blog always has great author interviews.

So, in the order of mention used above, here are my 3 choices. Go give their blogs a visit:

ERIN THOMAS

HANNAH MOSKOWITZ

PENNY LOCKWOOD EHRENKRANZ

To the three of you…I bestow the HONEST SCRAP AWARD onto you for your enthusiasm, professionalism and clear desire to help your fellow writers! Thanks. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to post 10 Honest Things about yourselves on your blog and follow that with awarding the award onto others.

The Honest Scrap Award:
This award is about bloggers who post from their heart, who often times put their heart on display as they write from the depths of their soul. This means so much to me as that is the root reason of why and what I write about. I believe writing is your heart without a mask. My writing, whether it be a blog post, a poem, a piece of prose or a WIP is the truest part of my soul. To me writing is about honesty and truth-seeking. There is the saying that the pen is more powerful than the sword. I believe that writing is a way to challenge people and to speak often times for those who cannot speak.

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