February 21, 2008

make a little birdhouse in your soul...

Collage work really helps to stretch my creative muscles when I'm working with new ideas in my writing. This first piece - Miss Understood, became my contribution to the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts "Secret postcard" fund raiser this past autumn. It has since found a new home, but I saved an image of it to remind me of how stifling and oppressive expectations can be.

It takes inspiration from many sources... the lives of women during the Victorian Era, turn-of-the-century sideshow posters, and my own personal battle with trying to balance my writing life with the rest of my life.
(motherhood, community, realationships, etc.)

I recently wrote to a friend: "So many days I ask myself which is worse, the guilt I feel for taking the time to write, or the thought of not writing?"

Her recent post on "me-time" made me examine the nature of guilt, expectation and self-preservation all over again.
What do you do for yourself?
Do you feel guilty about it?

This is a more recent collage - make a little birdhouse in your soul
I've been going back and making a collage for each chapter in The Virgin Cure, just to gain a better understanding of who my characters are and the things they are dealing with in their lives. This piece is inspired by the protagonist - a young woman who is fast coming to the realization that she is the only one who can look out for herself. Again, the expectations of society and her relationships loom large. What does she want the most in her life? Is it even possible to achive? Hopefully she will survive the journey...

And for those of you who are hovering around the 40-year mark... No, you're not imagining things, I named the collage after a TMBG (They Might Be Giants) song. The entire time I was working on this little page in my notebook, the song kept running through my head - only this time the phrase "who watches over you" was a question rather than a statement.

And if you want to have a fun, chair-dancing flashback - here's the video!

And if you're hooked on Pushing Daisies (like me) here's a clip where the song was featured on the show.

February 05, 2008

Thank-You, OLA!

Just back from a short trip to Toronto where I picked up this gorgeous Evergreen Award from the Ontario Library Association (in the middle of a howling snowstorm, I might add...)

We maritime mommies shrug off such weather with a hair-toss and a giggle, (especially when we've got lots of tomato soup in the pantry and no place to be) - so I didn't think much about the forecast before I left home. Imagine my surprise when I turned on the TV after my arrival and found the meteorologists of the T-dot absolutely manic over said weather event. Overall, I think Torontonians battled it well. It's not easy to get around (by car, bus, bike or foot) when tons of slushy snow has no place to go!

I was storm-stayed with a bunch of librarians, so I was more than happy to stay put and exchange tales of books, research and life.

Carl Honore (In Praise of Slow) gave an inspiring and fun key-note speech, (including his hilarious story about a Blackberry obsessed woman checking her messages during sex.) Seriously. You can listen to him in this YouTube Video...
It was great to hear him in person and listen to his ideas about the slow movement.
When I moved to Nova Scotia eight years ago, I didn't realize that I was part of a "movement," I just knew that I wanted to unplug from the breakneck pace of my life in Chicago and start over. I wanted to see what would happen if I allowed myself to slow down and actually do the things I said I'd do "someday." (So far, so good.)

Carl has a new book coming out in April, Under Pressure. This time he's tackling the topic of parenting and how as a society we are raising a generation of exhausted, over-scheduled kids. I didn't get a chance to ask him, but I wonder if he's heard of unschooling?

My part in the OLA Super Conference included an afternoon presentation - a behind-the-scenes look at my writing process. I shared stories of my research for The Birth House and both my play, Jerome-the Historical Spectacle, and my upcoming novel, The Virgin Cure. I even *gulp* read a bit from The Virgin Cure. (I don't usually read from works in progress, so I was pretty nervous toward the end!) Afterwards, I got to sit and meet many of the people who had been in the audience. We laughed, we cried, and I was so grateful to have been given the opportunity to be there.

Thank-you to everyone I met, to the OLA, to Barb Love, and to my wonderful escort -Sharron Smith, OLA Librarian of the Year! (and now, back to writing...)

Have you thanked a librarian lately???
Librarians the world over work tirelessly to get books into the hands of readers, to open new ideas and worlds to their patrons, and to bring information to those who seek after it. I would not be able to tell the stories I long to tell without their dedication and assistance. Thank-You!!!!

Dewey Divas and the Dudes
For more OLA coverage and all things biblio-rhapsodic, check out my pals at the Dewey Divas and the Dudes Blog!