November 20, 2006

Iron Jawed Angels

Iron Jawed Angels is one of my all-time favourite films. It's a beautiful movie - a wonderful tribute to the suffragist movement in the US and to the power humans have to create change. I found myself thinking about those mighty suffragists quite a bit this past week when I went to Halifax to stand in support of the new Nova Scotian Midwifery Act.

I took my eldest son (he's now 13) and we stood with an incredible group - grandmothers, mothers, fathers, midwives, doulas, women's health advocates - all people who have been working to bring midwifery into the Nova Scotian health care system (for some, the fight has lasted decades.)

"Adding midwives to our teams of health-care professional allows us to better meet the needs of moms and families across Nova Scotia." - Nova Scotia Minister of Health, Chris d'Entremont
Thanks so much to those of you who sent best wishes after my post on November 15. Since then, the bill has had its second reading. Comments from that reading included, "members of all parties were supportive and made many positive comments, including that physiologic birth needs to return to communities and midwives were the ones to do it." Hurray! You know how I love the idea of the community of birth!

The Midwifery Act went to the Law Amendments Committee this afternoon for a round of presentations. I'll keep you posted as to what happens next!

Here's a photo from November 15th at Province House.
Nova Scotia's own Iron Jawed Angels.

And for history's sake...
I saw this on someone's MySpace page the other day and knew I needed to post it as well.
Emma Goldman's mug shots from September, 1901.

"I Want Freedom, the Right to Self-Expression,
Everybody's Right to Beautiful Radiant Things"


As many of you know, November is National Novel Writing Month. My dear friend, M. has participated in NaNoWriMo madness for the last few years and she's had nothing but great things to say about it. Personally, I find the space of a month much less daunting than that 3-day bloodfest of a novel writing challenge I mentioned earlier this year!

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down. - from the NaNoWriMo website.

Sounds good to me.
So, this year I figured, "what the heck, I'll give it a whirl."
I've been off and on the road since last February and I thought NaNoWriMo would give me the excuse I needed to kick-start some hot and heavy work on my next novel.

I know it's late in the month, but if you've ever had dreams of penning a novel you might want to check out the site. There's an amazing community there - writers are dicussing everything from plot twists to which snack foods can help get you through a writing marathon - and you can even sign up to have little notes of encouragement sent to your email box along the way. Pretty nifty, I'd say.

While I won't have the novel finished by November 30 (and I may not even meet the 50,000 word goal), at least I've been scribbling away at it! (Gotta get cracking. I don't want my publisher to send some Queen Latifah-like hard ass to smack me into meeting the deadline for my next novel. Pssst. If you haven't seen the movie, Stranger Than Fiction, you should!)

Although I won't have a polished draft by the end of November, here's what I will have (thanks to NaNoWriMo, a lot of discipline, and many cups of tea.)

1. I'll have a better understanding of my characters - who they are, the choices they may or may not make, where they come from, their pet peeves, their ambitions, etc.

2. I'll have fleshed out many of the scenes that have been haunting my imagination. So many times I 'see' something in my head, but then I become afraid to write them down for fear they won't work on paper. I've been taking the plunge and loving it!

3. I'll have a much better feel for how the different characters interact with one another. I've taken this time to do something that Joan Clark calls "circling"...putting characters into different situations and then asking "what if?"
All good things. All things I need to be doing to feed the writer's lust in me. After all, I'm mapping the road that leads to a new, intense and risky next book.

There's a fine, fine line between love and a waste of time. -
Kate Monster in Avenue Q

November 15, 2006

a BIG day for midwifery in Nova Scotia!

I've just gotten word that today will be a BIG day for midwifery in Nova Scotia!

For many years, midwives in this province have been practicing in an a-legal situation. They have had no support from the provincial government and women who wish to have midwife assisted births have had to pay for it out of their own pockets.

Today, Wednesday November 15, legislation in support of midwifery will be presented by the Minister of Health in the Legislative Chamber of the House in Halifax.
Although this is just the start of the life of a bill that will hopefully become law, it has been a long time in the making. I will be proud to stand with women from both the MCNS (Midwifery Coalition of Nova Scotia) and the ACEWH (Atlantic Centre for Excellence in Women's Health) in support of this legislation. Some of the members of the Coalition have been working towards this day for over 30 years! Their babies have long since grown up and left the house, but they have never given up the fight!

If you're in the Halifax area, please come join us.
The official briefing takes place at 1:30pm in the Red Room at Province House and then we will go on to the Legislative Chamber to watch the Minister introduce the legislation.

If you can't attend, but would like to lend your voice and support for midwifery in Nova Scotia from wherever you are, please let the Minister of Health of Nova Scotia, Chris d'Entremont, know how you feel. How to Contact the Minister of Health
(If you're in Nova Scotia, you should also contact your MLA as well. How to contact your MLA.)

Hope to see you at the House!!!