Saturday, June 27, 2015

Oh, Oh Canada!

Chateau Lake Louise Canada Day 2012
Yes, it's that time of year again when Canadians en mass have a barbeque, drink beer and discuss what makes them Canadian - yes, July 1st is Canada Day! 

Time to show some of my favourite representations of Canadian identity through the symbols of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Captain of the Starship Enterprise and, of course, beer and mountains

Join me for a walk down Canadian identity lane:

First the Canadian Please song (song & video produced by Julia Bentley & Andrew Gunadie) where they accuse you of wanting to be a Canadian... please!  

Canadians take credit for many things, the invention of basketball, insulin and Captain James T. Kirk. William Shatner gives a nod to his spoken word past with this rendition of O Canada. 

Here's Oh ... Canada by Classified (they take a poke at those lame awesome Heritage Moments, then they go all rap - Oh, Oh Canada!).  

And finally what anthropological analysis of Canadian identity would be complete without identifying ourselves in juxtaposition to a dominant society (read: what makes us Canadian is that we're different from Americans)! 

I Am Canadian! (yes, I am!)

Enjoy Canada Day everyone, eh!?

Sidewalk chalk art by neighbours Clare & Thomas!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Onion Ring distribution system and sweaters covered in cat hair: 7 great things about being a writer!

Alright, sometimes here at Three Dead Moths … I’m all, 'writing is hard, you have to stalk people and be persistent, your characters talk smack about you behind your back, and then you have to re-write.'

Well today, it’s all chai tea and blue skies. 

Sure you get very thirsty explaining over and over why you’re not selling as many books as that British woman who wrote about the boy wizard. You spend your whole life trying to convince your family and friends that you are not writing about them. But in what other profession can you talk to yourself and everyone thinks you’re a creative genius? In what other profession can you have the worst, unproductive day and still get to eat sushi and sour ju jubes, and drown your sorrows in a big glass of living the dream?! 

So with apologies to David Letterman … here goes:

Seven great things about being a writer …

7) Your wardrobe consists of sweatpants, sweaters covered in cat hair, fuzzy socks and you are still better dressed than half the writers you know. Underwear optional.

6) You can make fun of poets.

5) You can sit in the back yard all day, bask in the sun, watch the dandelions grow around you, re-apply sunscreen, drink fizzy water, read, and call it research.

4) You can watch your neighbours house get robbed, write an article about it and call it creative non-fiction.

3) You can threaten people with the following sentence: “if you don’t stop bugging me I’ll kill you in my next novel.”

2) When people introduce you they say, this is my: friend, sis, aunt, sasquatch, daughter, colleague, neighbour, stalker and she’s a writer!

And the number one reason why it’s great to be a writer.

1)   You can follow two guys, for blocks on Robson Ave. in Vancouver, who are talking about onion ring distribution systems to try to figure out what motivates them and listen to their dialogue, er, how they talk, and you won’t get arrested (not that I would ever do that – seriously though, onion ring distribution systems?! – they must be international spies).

Note: A major fast food restaurant that claims their onion rings are “made fresh daily” – they may well be made fresh daily but not where you are buying them – they are shipped from one end of the country and back.

Note: I really like poets, some of my best friends are poets, so no angry retaliatory haikus please ;-j.

So, that's it, happy reading, I'm off to crack this onion ring conspiracy wide open, and pick some cat hair off my sweater! 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Large sum of money and a yellow Harley t-shirt

So, there was a long voicemail message on my phone from the police. 

It was a recorded message that they sent out to everyone in the neighbourhood because there was a crime. 

Here’s a transcript of the message that was about a bank robbery in the ‘hood:

“The culprit is believed to have discarded money and clothes some where in the area and the police are asking you to look in your backyards for a large sum of money and clothes described as a yellow Harley tee-shirt, jeans, black hat with red and white logos on the front and back. If you find any money and or clothes matching this description or if you have any info regarding this incident please call the robbery unit....” 

 Okay, for me this raises three questions:
  1. is guy walking around naked?
  2. are we so Canadian that we would return a large sum or money found in our backyard? and,
  3. isn’t the idea of a robbery to keep the money instead of ditching it in someone’s backyard?
I thought it was a hilarious message. If you write crime thrillers, feel free to use this as a jumping off point. 

As Sherlock Holmes would say: “Is there any point to which you wish to draw my attention.” 

Anyway, got to go check the back yard for a, um, large sum of money ....

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Writing and a 'little bit famous ...'

Since this blog is about where writing meets life ... or where life meets writing, I thought I'd share my new favourite quote about writing. 

It's by S.E. Hinton, author of, among many y/a books, The Outsiders. 

I first heard this quote when she was interviewed by Michael Enright of CBC, and found it in an interview with Don Swain from 1987 which may be the original quote.

Don asked S.E. how her life has changed since the success of The Outsiders. Here's the quote:

"People have a funny idea about what a little bit famous does for you ... a little bit famous in the writer's field doesn't come in and empty your dishwasher every morning ... doesn't do much for you really."

Tru dat, S.E., tru dat! To me, that means we need to focus on the writing and continuously improving our craft. Good resolution for the New Year. 

You can listen to the full 20 minute interview with S.E. Hinton through the link above.

And to celebrate a new year of writing and 2015 as the Year of the Sheep (or the goat depending on which site you look at), here's to goats and sheep and their contribution to writing (off the top of my head I'm thinking cheese). 

In addition to cheese, every writer needs a supportive dragon (or substitute the small domestic animal of your choice) perched on their keyboard.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

We wish you a Merry Blogmas!

From all of us here at Three Dead Moths ... (which is pretty much me and a crazed cat who used to live with the coyotes who is on my lap chewing on my knuckles as I type this - oh, how we suffer for our art!) best wishes for the holiday season. 

If you celebrate Christmas - hope it's a great time spent with friends and family, and I hope Santa Paws (or Santa Claws) brings you lots of time to read and write in the new year. 

If you don't celebrate Christmas, I hope you have a chance to take a break during this holiday time and spend time with friends and family. 
Santa Paws & Santa Claws resting for the big night

I'm grateful to my bloggowers, friends and family world wide who share in the love of reading and writing. 

Literacy is a gift we should not take for granted, and it is a gift we should share.  

I'm grateful to be immersed in a supportive community of children's writers and surrounded by positive people who encourage my dreams of taking over the world one manuscript at a time.   

My favourite Christmas flash mob will take us out today with thoughts of Hallelujah and New York Fries... let's order up a side of peace on earth for 2015 y'all! 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Signs you have a reading addiction

They say the art of letter writing is dead. Well, I've been writing letters to my least favourite season. 

Here are a couple of recent ones: 

Dear Winter: You suck. Just saying. 

Dear Winter: I'm just not that into you. In fact, I'm so over you. If you haven't packed up your flakes and left by the end of the day, they will be shovelled into a pile at the end of the walk. 

Okay, you get it - I'm hating winter right now. Except for the fact that you can use the weather as an excuse to curl up in a big soft chair, cup of tea in reach, with an animal companion on your lap and read ... read ... read! 

Hello, my name is Jan and I'm addicted to reading. If you're reading this blog you're probably addicted to reading as well.

I was talking about reading addictions with a similarly inflicted friend. She's been accused of having to read each and every night before being able to get to sleep. 

Excerpt from my email to her:
It’s a shame that your addiction to books is so sever that you need a shot of a couple of chapters each night before bed to help you sleep. Maybe you can adopt a more social acceptable way to fall asleep and take drugs or drink until you slip into a stupor! LOL
She is afraid that her reading addiction is hereditary. 

An excerpt from her email ... 

I'm afraid my addiction is now affecting my child....A chapter a night of Dead Frog on the Porch since she met you.  We "shot" Chapter 10 tonight.....I'm afraid I'll start finding books in her backpack....telltale paper cuts on her hands....her teachers will send home notes about her trying to read in class....egad....and the dreaded day that I hear that she is reading at lunch or recess....LOL

Definite cause for concern. 

Here are other ways to tell that you are addicted to reading:

- you carry a book with you at all times lest there be a break in the action we call life;

- you will only buy a purse if it is big enough to fit a standard sized book (or your kindle);

- you crack open a vampire novel during a break at a business meeting;

- relatives ask you to join the party at family functions and you have to put your book away; 

- you break out into a panic/sweat when you discover, on the bus, that you don't have a book in your book bag and you actually have to look outside and observe life until you get to work;

- you go to NY for five days, bring three books and buy more there;

- Paris, London, NY, Tokyo, small town on the bald butt prairies - first thing you do is look for a book store. 

- you keep buying books even though your to-be-read shelf is heaving like mine;

Elvis perches on the next book I will read on my to-be-read shelf
- even your animal companions have started reading!

You know I can't read with out my glasses!
Cosmo - awesome kat companion to my friend Ruth and her son Graeme!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

It must be book launch season!

There are a few distinct seasons in Canada - Fall: ushered in by Thanksgiving with awesome amounts of turkey, stuffing and the near famous Skor Cheesecake my niece and I make! 
Well, that went fast! 

My demented halloween cat! 
That is followed quickly by halloween at which time I affix my demented halloween cat decoration to the side of my house and my small neighbours show up on my step and ask if I have any sidewalk chalk decorating needs that they can fulfill.  
Then the leaves begin to fall and as the nights grow longer and your facebook events tab is filled up with events you know it is the start of another season in Canada: book launch season! 

Here is a recent snap of my to be read shelf (don't show them the other shelf where you started a pile of books you've borrowed from your y/a author friends Jan and don't talk about the books you continue to take out of the library!) You'll see lots of titles written by my local writing peeps and many more. 
Heaving with words ... to be read! 

Which is why I instituted the rule that I can't buy more books unless they are written by my friends (or are for research purposes). Said rule has been broken countless times since -- baby steps.  

Well, I have no shortage of friends who write books so there is no fear of that shelf being clear for a long time! 

Here's a short list of my writing peeps launches coming up, in this, the Canadian season of book launches.   

First on the docket is Chris Turner's collection of literary non-fiction essays: How to Breathe Underwater. Wednesday October 8th, 6 pm - 9 pm, Shelf Life Books 1302-4th Street SW.  

Second on the docket is Lori Hahnel's launch of her new novel After You've Gone (Thistledown Press). It's Thursday October 9th from 7-9:30 at Memorial Park Library 12th Ave @ 2 st. SW Calgary. There will be musical guests and refreshments (that's writer code for wine!). 

Let's hear it for some pretty stellar cover designs!

And of course I can't forget my children's author/illustrator peeps!

The Young Alberta Book Society is having a Smorgasbook (substitute books for food and you get where they are going with this)!


A Buffet of Youth Literature

Join the young Alberta Book Society for a showcase of ten new children's and YA books by Albertan authors.

November 12, 2014
Book sales start at 6:30, the showcase presentation starts at 7pm. 

Whitemud Crossing Library Theatre, 4211-106 St. NW Edmonton
Attendance is free. Donations gratefully accepted at the door.

Marty Chan, Natasha Deen, Carolyn Fisher, Joan Galat, Georgia Graham, Larry Loyie, Lorna Schultz Nicholson, Diane Mae Robinson, Jim Sellers, and Karen Spafford-Fitz will be presenting their new works. Copies will be available for sale.

Solid line up of writers and illustrators of books in a wide range of genres and age groups. 

Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Christmas shopping made easy! 

Plus too many launches to list here - check the events page of your local independent book store for more launches! Coming to a book store near you!

And next time, leave a slice of cheese cake for me, eh! Jeez!