One Week In November

Your submission has been accepted for the Emerging Writers Intensive program. A maple-syrup sweet opportunity. In springtime I had sent my application, paid a small fee, and filed the attempt under probably won’t happen. 

First-chapter novelists would be mentored by Madeleine Thien. Her most recent novel, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize, and won the Giller and Governor General’s prizes for fiction. I read it twice, and also enjoyed works by the other facilitators: Wayne Grady’s Emancipation Day, Saleema Nawaz’s Mother Superior, and Elizabeth Phillips’ The Afterlife of Birds. 

I learned a great deal in my week at the Banff Centre. Madeleine Thien encouraged us to be courageous, have confidence, and dare to see the novel’s big picture right from the beginning. Notes from the program’s other participants helped me shape and re-imagine my novel. I will always be grateful for this opportunity, and return to it for inspiration. 

Links to works by a few other writers who participated in the Emerging Writers Intensive program in November 2016:

http://www.saramarinelli.com/about/

https://www.kingstonwritersfest.ca/festival-author/armand-garnet-ruffo/

http://houseofanansi.com/products/barrelling-forward

Preface to Ursocrypha: The Book of Bear

Reading from Ursocrypha: The Book of Bear at WORD Vancouver, September 25, 2016

Preface to Ursocrypha: The Book of Bear, previously published as The Bears

At a time of great upheaval in my personal life, the Pacific Northwest coast of British Columbia was under direct and imminent environmental threat. I decided to do something I had always wanted to do: write a book. Impatient to hold a physical book that I had written, I hastily self-published The Bears in December, 2012.

Any musician will tell you not to practice in public. As a music teacher, I might have carried this advice across artistic disciplines. In spite of rushing to publish The Bears, the book gathered a small but enthusiastic audience.

Other writing projects followed. Two young adult adventure manuscripts, the Sarah Spellings stories, are available to read on Wattpad. I met other writers, attended a writer’s circle, and studied the bones of writing.

In the summer of 2016 I was invited to read from The Bears at WORD Vancouver, a festival of writing in all forms, promoting literacy and reading. I hadn’t picked up a copy of The Bears since it was published. I recognized the story, but it was as though a stranger had written it. I revised the manuscript. The title had always been problematic; everyone thought it was a children’s book. Friend and poet Suzanne M. Steele suggested Ursocrypha: The Book of Bear.

I send this story back out into the world, and hope it makes more friends.