WCDR Events, MNM Event, and Stuff of Goodness…My September Cornucopia Mash-Up Blog Post

So much going on of late! The fall is always a busy time when it comes to a writer’s life. A writer with an orbit in the Durham Region in Ontario, anyway.

The Writers’ Community of Durham Region just had its 20th Anniversary Gala last weekend. What a milestone. Together, we have been supporting each other for two decades. Some literary giants past, present, and future have been involved with this amazing organization. It is, perhaps, the best run community for writers in the world. I don’t say that in passing…it is a phenomenal resource for writers. And not just the acclaimed ones…the door is open for writers on all levels of the journey.

Hi-jinx may have ensued at the Gala. There’s a camaraderie in this organization like no other. When we get together we tell stories…on walls!

wallstory

And there was, apparently, a crime committed at the event. I received an email from an offshore account with a picture attached. It seems somebody is attempting to ransom some doohickey things. They want me to let the organization know that they want $100,000.00 in unmarked bills dropped off at a garbage can in downtown Oshawa in exchange for the return of their tree tchotchkes. But I refuse to help bargain with thieves. I’m so above that kind of nonsense. I do, however, wish to share exhibit A:

The nerve of some people! Seriously!

The nerve of some people! Seriously!

Speaking of the WCDR…five more things to add on that front.

Their Phoenix WCDR Short Story Contest is now open! Top Prize is $750. It’s open internationally. Closes to submissions on Oct 25th! Submission fee is $20. Click on the image below to go to the site to see the FULL SUBMISSION GUIDELINES (which you must always follow to a tee).

Click to discover PHOENIX WCDR Short Fiction Contest!

Click to discover PHOENIX WCDR Short Fiction Contest!

Also coming down the pike for the WCDR clan is the next WORDS OF THE SEASON! This is a regular member reading event that takes place in Pickering. This one will be the Culture Days edition.

Date: Friday, September 25th, 2015

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: The Bear (A Firkin Pub) located at 1294 Kingston Road, Pickering (Liverpool and Kingston Road).

Admission: Free! Food and drink are available for purchase.

MEMBER READERS are already lined-up, but this event is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC and there will be an OPEN MIC session after the scheduled readings. SO, bring some work…come join us. Read for the crowd!

Culture-Days-version-2-300x294The WCDR will also be present at this year’s TORONTO WOTS! That’s WORD ON THE STREET…the cross Canada celebration of words. Rain or Shine. Come out to our booth to meet some of the WCDR people (MYSELF INCLUDED). You can find out just how vibrant this amazing organization is. You can see for yourself why we members keep drinking the Kool-Aid!

The WOTS is at HARBOURFRONT CENTRE on Sunday September 27th (11am-6pm). Come on down and look for the WCDR booth!

ALSO coming down the tracks is the next WCDR ROUNDTABLE MEETING! This is our monthly breakfast meeting. About a hundred of us get together and break bread and listen to the guest speaker and socialize. It’s a great event…the glue of the organization, really. There are also mini-workshops after each meeting for the eager to learn writer.

The Roundtable Meeting happens on the second Saturday of every month. They are open to everyone…not just members. And you will be warmly greeted and welcomed to the fold. The next one is Saturday October 10th. It’s not on their website yet…but will be shortly. Keep your eye out for it…the venue is changed for the October meeting.

Okay…so, NOVEMBER…the 5th thing to mention about the WCDR:

bookapaloozaYep! It’s happening again!

BOOKAPALOOZA 2015 takes place SATURDAY NOVEMBER 21st at The Durham College, Centre For Food/Bistro 67 at 1604 Champlain Avenue, Whitby.

I will have a table at this event and I will be selling a few of my books: SUMMER ON FIRE, BURN BABY BURN BABY, and, HALF DEAD & FULLY BROKEN. This is a great event to showcase local talent…and to discover resources for writers and readers. YOU SHOULD COME!

WHEN:

Saturday, November 21, 2015
10:00 am to 4:00 pm

WHERE:

Centre for Food
Durham College
1610 Champlain Ave.
Whitby, ON

On to other events!

Tomorrow I head to HUNTSVILLE, ONTARIO for the MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON WRAP PARTY!!! I talk about the marathon non-stop to whoever will listen, but just to sum up…it’s a yearly novel writing marathon where 40 writers get together in one room and each attempt to write a novel. AND…more importantly…it’s a fundraiser for literacy programs in Simcoe County/Muskoka region. We have raised over $135,000.00 so far for literacy. No small feat! It takes place every JULY. The wrap-party takes place every SEPTEMBER. The writers get back together, celebrate each other…hand out awards, do readings, make merriment! It takes place tomorrow…and I can’t wait! (-:

That’s it. Not so much, really. (-: Oh…also…I’m writing. My agent, STACEY DONAGHY of the DONAGHY LITERARY GROUP currently has my 2015 Muskoka Novel Marathon novel on submission. It’s called PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE and it’s an LGBTQ YA novel. I will be reading from this novel at tomorrow’s MNM event, and at the WORDS OF THE SEASON event. I’m excited about this one…so much fun to write. We’ll see if it finds a home. (-:

I’ll leave you with a song, but first—

I always say that writing is absolutely a solitary and lonely endeavor. It is, well and truly. It is something one must do alone. BUT…if you choose a writing community lifestyle, as opposed to solitary existence as a writer, you will enrich your life ten-fold. If you’re not close enough to the WCDR community (AND TORONTO IS CLOSE ENOUGH…JUST SO YOU KNOW!), find a writing community in your area. It will change your life. Community is everything!

I leave you with my favourite writerly song:

CULTURE DAYS — WCDR Words of the Season! September Event for Writers and Those Who Love Them…

Culture-Days-version-2

Further to the WCDR lovefest, I will be reading from my latest novel at the next WORDS OF THE SEASON. I will be test-driving Pride Must Be a Place, my new LGBTQ young adult novel.

This regular event takes place at the Bear and Firkin pub in Pickering, Ontario…just east of Toronto.

WORDS OF THE SEASON IN POETRY, PROSE AND SONG

Date: Friday, September 25th, 2015

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: The Bear (A Firkin Pub) located at 1294 Kingston Road, Pickering (Liverpool and Kingston Road).

Admission: Free! Food and drink are available for purchase.

My friend Kate Arms will be emceeing the event for the first time. Really looking forward to Kate’s voice at the helm.

All the slots for readers are booked, but this is the first WOTS event where there will be an open-mic for poets. So, if you’re a GTA poet with a desire to read to the assembled masses…this would be an excellent event to show up to. You do not need to be a WCDR member to participate, either as an open mic participant or simply as an audience member. Hope to see you there!

Sun’ll Come – A Short Story Originally Published in the WCDR Whispered Words Anthology

Thought I’d share another piece of found writing today. I wrote this piece in about 15 minutes. It was the deadline for the WCDR Whispered Words Short Story Contest…and I wanted to get something in. Mostly, I was thinking I’d support the organization that has done so much for my writing career. I really didn’t think anything would come of the entry. I had procrastinated to the finish line, and time was ticking away. WRITE-SUBMIT-READ. That was the genesis of this piece. To my surprise, it made the anthology! This was published in 2011.

The subject matter is a little delicate. It’s a story about sexual abuse…but it’s not very blatant about the subject matter. It’s written in dialect, and from the first-person POV of an 8-year-old boy.

Before we go to the story, if you’re in the Durham Region area–or the GTA, for that matter–it would be worth your time to look into the WCDR!

Whispered-Words-Cover-72-dpi

Here it is:

Sun’ll Come

Momma said Angie had to go be with Gramps on accounta Gramps’s glaucoma. But I know in my heart that’s not what the truth of it is. Angie didn’t like Gramps enough to follow him around for all eternity just so he won’t bumpity bump into tables and trip over curbsides. Angie didn’t like Gramps none at all. She just died ‘cause she died. That’s all there is to it.

Besides, if her eyes was so good and twenty-twenty and all that, she wouldna walked offa that rock and into the falls way she did. Angie been spending her whole waking life trippin’ and fallin’ over things. If that Jesus fella thought he’d better get a body up there to help ole Gramps walk around inside all that Heaven, you’d think he’d pick a somebody who didn’t always hurt theyselves just walkin’.

Angie mighta even done it to get away from all the badness, too. I know I been thinkin’ ‘bout that Heaven place and wonderin’ if it be the place for me and all that too. I just don’t know if I’d have the courage Angie had to walk off the world and into all that water, way she done.

Angie always protectin’ me against Daddy, saying, “boys don’t need no trouble way you got trouble. Don’t forget, Toby, it’s a secret you keep to save yo’self. Ain’t got nothin’ to do with helpin’ Daddy. We don’t evah needs to be helping out Daddy.”

I’m sure she’s up there in the Heaven place thinking she left me down here t’meself with all this trouble, and now times two without her to share it. But she just couldna tooken it no more. She didn’t fall down those waters for the fun of it, nor did she trip. And fo the love of Jesus Please-us, she ain’t never done a thing for Gramps but complain about the smells of his feet when he kept them too close to the fire and they got all the stink all cooked up to fill the house. No. She just hadda ‘nough of Daddy. One can take only so much ‘fore they crack like glass. You whisper all yo life and soon enough it comes to a scream and you ain’t never able to stop it then. Only thing left is ta flung youself from the falls and hope the landin’ take ya to Jesus.

Angie gone now almost a year or so. I remember when she whispered in my ear at night, “Toby, everything’s gonna be ok. Sun’ll come, Tobs. Sun’ll come. Always comes the next day and takes the night away.” I remember the tickle on my lobe ‘cause her mouth was too close and the wetness of her words ticklin’ down deep and cold. I sure did like that. It calmed me down sompin’ awful.

Now I’m eight I can take after my own self, but I sometimes ask Momma maybe Gramps done need another hand to walk him through all that Heaven. She just say, “Don’t leave me, Toby. Don’t leave yo Momma with that man. That’s not fair or right. We in this ta-gether.” I don’t know why I has to be in it with her. I didn’t choose him. I didn’t make the marriage agreement with all the death-do-parts and no-mans-put-us-unders.

I ain’t never signed on to do the things with Daddy that he always be asking me to do. Tellin’ me to do. And that whisky breath near enough to make me drunk and stupid just like him. I know Angie be up there in Heaven some nights shoutin’ down, “Sun’ll come, Tobs. Sun’ll come. You just wait and see.” But it ain’t never come no more. Not with her not here to help fight him off when he get like that. He has more hands than a octopus. He just take what he want from ole Toby now. I been sleepin’ in the closet, but he know where I’m hidin’ mostly. He know where to find ole Toby when the Devil got him all liqueured up and ready to play with fire. Hands movin’ so fast, cain’t hardly keep them offa me.

I just have ta remember to whisper this stuff to no one and wait for maybe Angie’s words to brush past my ear like a tickle and tell me everything be okay in the mornin’.

Momma says Daddy’s gettin’ all better lately. Been smiling and even one time with whistling when he comin’ in from work at the mill. But she just foolin’ herself way she always done. He ain’t nothin’ but evil. Nothin’ good comes from a man who done that to his own kids. That’s what Gram once said ‘bout ole Gramps ‘fore he up and died off like bad wood gone to rot. Yeah, Angie gonna follow that man to help him from fallin’ up in Heaven. I believe that like I believe the day’ll come when Daddy get’s all better. Ain’t never gonna happen.

I know what. If I ever decide not to fall down those waters, I ain’t never gonna do that to my kids. Ain’t wantin’ my boy to get told in whispers that the sun’ll come up in the mornin’ and take all that darkness away. ‘Cause that’s a lie and nothin’ but. The sun comes up. It does. But it ain’t never took the darkness back. That’s there always.

Even Angie knowed that all those things she said to make my days go better were nothin’ but whispered words. Whispered words that tickled my ear and made me just for a second giggle and forget. I think that why she done it all the time. Makin’ me tickle was her way to take away the madness and make it all more better. But it ain’t better now. Not with Angie gone ass over the teakettle over them falls. I ain’t even got her whispered words on my earlobe no more. I only got myself. Then, that all I need. Sun’ll come, Tob.

 

 

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Hey TORONTO, You Should See What’s Happening in Durham Region’s Thriving Writing Community!

In June, 2011, I wrote a blog post about just how dynamic Durham Region, Ontario is, when it comes to writing. It’s really quite unbelievable, the amount of things going on! And we are just east of Toronto…close enough to make the trip, and SO worth it!

I wanted to revisit that, as there are about to be quite a few events of interest to writers AND readers alike. As well as the theatre crowd!

Click here if you want to read my past post about THE WRITING LIFE EAST OF TORONTO

The first thing I wanted to mention today is something I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of for the past 3 years, and something I will be a part of again in about a week’s time.

Trafalgar Castle, Whitby, Ontario

For those who did NOT know, there is an AMAZING castle in Whitby, Ontario, just east of downtown and just off Hwy #2. During the rest of the year, it is an all-girls school. BUT during one wonderful weekend every March it becomes the haunted castle in which TRAFALGAR 24 takes place. This year, that weekend is MARCH 8-9. Trafalgar is a play-creation festival. On Thursday night at 10pm, 7 playwrights will enter the castle. When they are released at 6am Friday morning, they will be leaving 6 brand new plays behind (one of the plays will be written by two playwrights, the other 5 plays will be written by individual playwrights).

At 6am, the directors and actors will enter the castle. They’ll have 8 hours to rehearse the new plays. Once they are finished, the castle will be prepared for the evening gala. This gala includes an audience of some 350 people (split up into 6 smaller audiences who will travel together throughout the castle to view each of the 6 plays), a silent auction filled with WONDERFUL items AND a mile-long dessert table that would make any bakeshop close in shame.

Trafalgar isn’t ONLY a wonderful yearly event that takes place in the thriving creative community of DURHAM REGION, it is also a fund-raising event that allows DRIFTWOOD THEATRE to bring its own unique brand of community to locations throughout Ontario during the summer months. Driftwood has THE BARD’S BUS. Every spring, the theatre group boards the bus and takes SHAKESPEARE to the people! Trafalgar 24 is one of the ways they can do this. Driftwood is a pay-what-you-can travelling theatre group. Watch for them in your Ontario community this coming summer. Make sure you catch their show when it hits your town. You will NOT regret it!

Jeremy Smith is the man behind DRIFTWOOD THEATRE. This morning, he appeared on local radio station CKDO to talk about the Trafalgar 24 event. You can listen in here:

JEREMY SMITH OF DRIFTWOOD THEATRE TALKING TO TERRY JOHNSTON ON CKDO – FRIDAY MARCH 2, 2012

To learn more about Trafalgar 24, including ticket information, visit the Trafalgar 24 page of the DRIFTWOOD THEATRE website here: T24

Event #2 – This is an ongoing event and all are welcome. The WCDR (Writers’ Community of Durham Region) has a monthly breakfast meeting for writers. This event takes place at AJAX CONVENTION CENTRE, which is located just off the 401…and minutes east of Toronto. You can watch a video that showcases these breakfast meetings on Youtube:

WCDR breakfast meeting have guest speakers who are from the spectrum of the writing world. Every meeting is a must see for writers at any stage of their writing path. They meet on the 2nd Saturday of the month. EXCEPT for this month! The March WCDR Meeting will be held on Saturday, March 17th. If you live WEST of Durham Region…it is WORTH the drive to Durham Region to take in this event!

For full information, visit the breakfast page of the WCDR website.

Event #3, #4 & #5 – These three events all have to do with the Ontario Writers’ Conference. I am a board member of the OWC. This year I am looking after conference registrations. We have an incredible line up for the 2012 Ontario Writers’ Conference, but we also have events happening ‘around’ the conference date.

The 1st OWC event, I’ve already featured today on my blog. I’ll just quickly cover it here. GET YOUR GAME FACE ON – Agent Pitch Workshop – This workshop is sponsored by the OWC and will take place Tuesday April 3rd at Trent University, Oshawa Campus. This is open to EVERYONE…not just conference attendees. Full details on the GET YOUR GAME FACE ON page of the Ontario Writers’ Conference

The 2nd OWC event is the FESTIVAL OF AUTHORS! We are taking this to a different location this year. This popular event will now take place on the evening prior to the Ontario Writers’ Conference. This years authors include; MARINA NEMAT, EVA STACHNIAK & BRAD SMITH. Friday May 4th, from 7PM -10PM at Al Dente Restaurant, 1305 Pickering Parkway, Pickering, Ontario. ALL CONFERENCE ATTENDEES CAN ATTEND THE FESTIVAL FREE OF CHARGE. If you are not coming to the Saturday conference, you can still attend the festival, but you MUST register ahead! You can pay the $20 fee at the OWC Paypal page. Click here for full FESTIVAL INFORMATION.

The 3rd OWC event is the conference itself. This takes place on Saturday May 5th at the beautiful DEER CREEK GOLF AND BANQUET FACILITY in Ajax, Ontario. You can check out ALL speakers and workshop presenters here. Workshop descriptions are here.

For REGISTRATION information, click HERE.

There is an EXCELLENT assortment of Ontario Writers’ Conference videos to be found at the OWC Youtube page here. For your immediate viewing pleasure, here’s a look at last year’s guest speaker Andrew Pyper:

So, if you live in Toronto…know that you are missing out on an AMAZING thriving artistic community just outside your doors. Don’t be afraid to make the trip east. We’re JUST OUTSIDE Scarborough.

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