Rob Ford, parenting, enabling, and bad guys who write their own characters.

18 11 2013

Goshens I am sick of the Rob Ford debacle. I wish someone would have advised him that he should have stepped down the minute he mentioned drinking and driving (he’s just said he told other councillors caught for DUI that it was okay and helped them “move on”). Breaking the law as an elected official is a bit like abuse by priests. Yes, it’s terrible whoever does it, but it is more terrible when people in a position of trust do it.
It’s just f#%^king wrong, as Mr. Ford might say, in front of kids.
It’s particularly wrong when those people enable others in positions of trust to commit the same crimes.
It’s all completely disgusting and in the middle of it all, there’s Mr. Ford’s mum saying that Robbie’s only trouble is his weight problem. And his brother saying he should have done his drinking in the basement. The guy has an addiction problem. Someone should get him to get help. I can’t believe the complete denial of the problem – it speaks to the covering up of addiction problems generally. Why can’t we admit there is an alcohol problem, that abuse of alcohol causes innumerable evils in the world, and that people addicted to it need help?

When writing bad guys in fiction, it’s important to make them nuanced, with good parts and bad. But sometimes when I write these characters, they take over the narrative, and do more bad things, badder things, more heinous crimes than what I originally planned. It’s like the character takes control of my pen or keyboard and commands me to make them more evil. Occasionally, they get out of hand and I have to go back and rewrite them, give them a better balance, erase a few missteps.

If only Mr. Ford could do the same thing.

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Feeling my way

17 11 2013

I foolishly rented a 14th story apartment for the view. Often it’s glorious – the harbour opens invitingly out of my bedroom window, and lake MicMac winks at me from my den and living room windows. I often while away non-writing hours watching the rowing shells draw circles and figure eights around the islands in the middle of the lake, take a fantasy ride along with them, curse with them the motorboat people doing doughnuts in the middle of the lake.
But for the past two days, the fog has been so thick I can’t even see the trees reaching their arms up to me. Birds flying by appear suddenly, like fish in a curved aquarium. The cat startles, unsure of how these pigeons are appearing. My apartment is shrouded in grey light and I am compelled to descend and walk on the earth to prove to myself it still exists, solid and still autumnal.
I haven’t had a winter in my aerie yet, and I wonder how winter storms will feel here. The last time I was this high in winter, I was living in Ottawa in my first year of nursing, sharing an apartment with my dear nursing buddy and two cats. We’d gone house hunting together and, both not wanting to offend the other, had agreed on higher and higher apartments as they were offered. We each thought the other wanted to live higher up…
And so we spent many evenings carrying two protesting cats down 20 stories after the fire alarm went off. The place where we lived had a resident who would set off the alarm to get the cigarette butts people would leave behind while the alarm got shut off. We’d all be outside for half a cigarette or so, and she could gather up the leftovers as we rushed back in from the cold.
We didn’t smoke, thank gods, since we often had to climb back up the 20 stories or else wait hours with struggling cats in the lobby.
There’s something oddly disconnecting living shrouded in fog. Down lower, you have the shadows of buildings, trees, cars, people. Up this high, you can go for hours with nothing visible out of the window. It’s isolating, sound is muffled, you have no idea of the time, until the grey goes darker…
In the midst of the fog, I’m drifting through a nanowrimo novel. I’m following my character around, watching with bemusement as he talks to people, does different things, makes love, creates mayhem. The path forward is as foggy as the view out of my window, but I’m liking the experience of drift. It’s fun being surprised by what he does, what other characters do in response.
So I’ll take the fog for a while longer.





Killing off your characters, from LitCh@t

14 08 2013

http://litchat.com/2013/08/14/character-assassination-killing-off-fictional-characters/

Good list of resources about murdering characters, the whys and hows and whens.

For the absolute skinny on HOW, you must read D.P.Lyle’s blog or read one of his excellent books, available here.

Have fun offing your (fictional) characters!





Connecting with your inner wild thing

29 07 2013

WildThingEver since I got this darn disease, I’ve been surrounded by people who want me to be careful, take it easy, look after myself, rest. I appreciate their looking out for me, and my friends have graciously supported me and saved me from errors, but it’s the general run of noise from strangers that makes me want to gnash my teeth.

You parents know what I’m talking about. One hint of a baby lump and immediately everyone on the planet knows how better to manage your life, your pregnancy, your parenting, heck, even your breathing.

But inside me, there’s a wild thing trying to get out. Occasionally I do silly things, like put in offers on cottages I well know I would be unable to maintain or afford. Other times I throw myself at projects and such and it all works out okay, even though it doesn’t look like a good thing at the start. I can never predict how things will go.

But if I stop throwing myself at these things (and throwing IS the operative word), I start to lose what makes me, me. A certain insouciance, a devil-may-care attitude, a cheerfulness, a bizarre sense of optimism.

I think a lot of writers share this mind-set – else how could we sit down day after day in a world filled with arguably excellent books and try to put our words together in some sort of way that says something different from what has already been said, a thousand times before? It’s a madness. It takes wilful blindness to the foolishness of our quest.

It takes our wild thing to come out and play.

And who’s to say we won’t write something brilliant and utterly inescapably an addition to the literary canon? Or maybe write an adventure that takes someone out of their nine-to-five lives for a moment and lifts their souls. Or thrills them and sets them off in a new direction? Or frightens the bejesus out of them?

Well, all those nay-sayers will say those things. They’ll tell us to do something else, rest, give up. “Why do you need to write?” they ask.

And that’s when we set our wild things on ’em…

images-2

 





Taking flight…

28 07 2013

I’ve been working on a little story for a while now. It originally was a story from the fantastical 3DayNovel contest – dashed off in a pile of sweat and handwriting over three days, painstakingly typed into my computer over the next day or two. I was thrilled that it survived the competition, made it to the top twelve!

I was so proud of it.

So then I thought, gee, maybe I should send it somewhere else, see how it can cope out there in the big bad world. So I’ve been working on it, toiling now and again, thinking about it. It’s not an easy story to place, being a bit odd and perhaps a bit offensive to some, though I tried to write it with love and affection throughout.

I had wonderful friends who read it, helped me catch errors, helped me make it clearer, less of a three-day panic attack (though I HIGHLY recommend that contest!). Thank you and kisses to HJ, PH, JP. It’s a shinier thing thanks to you.

Now it’s all grown up, ready to leave the nest, ready to face the cruel world. In fact, it HAS to leave the nest. I’m entering it in a contest and the deadline is so close I can smell its breath.

Of course, it’s heavily laden with my hopes and dreams and such things. Which tells me immediately that I’d better get some more submissions out there so the poor wee thing can fly without having to drag my entire psyche with it.

So fly, little story. A part of my heart goes with you. It’s time for you to connect with others now.

And now, back to work…

animal-beautiful-bird-fly-flying-Favim.com-412310





Connecting to the real writer’s life

27 07 2013

take-chances

Ach. I am fed up with myself.

I’ve been a self-described writer for several years now and my publication list is just terrible.

It all started out pretty marvy, with lots of articles published about my silly life, a story published here and there, some entries in various professional publications.

Then I got lost in work, lost the miracle of writing, struggling to prove myself in a serious grown-up venue. MS stopped that for me, and in my heart of hearts, I was a wee bit grateful. I could devote my life to writing now – yay! Infinite writing time (except for the mandatory naps and the various disease challenges) – what’s not to like?

Painting-cartoon-Your-Not-Applying-Yourself-resized-600

Well, five years later, I don’t have anywhere near enough to show for it. I’ve entered contests, had some success, but am NOT applying myself, as my mother would say.

I feel like a “writer wanna be” and I hate it. So I’m setting myself some goals.

It’s time to trust in what I can do, take it on, send stuff out, put on my big writer panties and get out there. Because regrets suck.

I’m taking a page out of Edith Piaf’s songbook…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3Kvu6Kgp88





Connecting to your inner gruntle

20 07 2013

resized_disgruntledGrrrr.

I am feeling distinctly disgruntled and I seriously need some gruntling.

You know that feeling where you start to have hope, just a wee bit, that something in your life might develop into something interesting…

and then it doesn’t?

Or you start looking out for new opportunities and fun…

And can’t find them? Or they seem askew somehow?

Or you do all you can to be charming and lovely and kind and caring and supportive…

and it’s taken as due, no special thanks required? (Not referring to you, TC, if you are reading this)

Well, that leads to disgruntlement, in my experience.  Displeased, peevish, sulky.

So I need gruntlement when that happens – a good laugh with friends, support from my gal pals, a good book, a better writing session, a hangout with creativity in some way.

Usually, that’s all it takes for me to become gruntled again. Tomorrow I’m off exploring an island I’ve never seen before.

I sense gruntlement ahead. Picnic-logo-FINAL








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