Tag Archives: Bloody Words 2015

TED talks and TEDx: Ideas worth spreading

Ideas floating about, crisscrossing through the university atmosphere. I think a tag line for TED is “Ideas worth spreading” but I might have that from somewhere else. In any case, there is some rubbing and cross-pollination happening now at various college campuses, those hosting the TEDx local days. My son is one of the main organizers for the session at University of Waterloo, and I’m sending him good luck wishes all day. It’s a lot of work to put on this sort of conference, with live feeds and various sessions, food and parking and ticketing and registration and funding and all that. I’m always gobsmacked when people pull these things off well, and I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that the Waterloo one is going swimmingly, but I’m over here kind of bursting with pride.

In my family, TED talks are the creme de la creme. We all tune into the podcasts and I recommend them to everyone – you can take 10 minutes and learn about a totally new idea taught by a leader in the field. The speakers on the live feed  from Waterloo today are younger than they often are in the main TED talks – TEDx uses local stars with unusual ideas, seeking to inspire the student attendees.

I like to see the enthusiasm in the crowd – the young faces still enthused (if somewhat nebulously) about changing the world, about saving us from greenhouse gases, about finding their passion and following it.

If they can create environments where this idea trading goes on, I’m sure they’ll find a good place for all this enthusiasm.

Unfortunately, so many workplaces try to squash innovation and thinking and even valuable activity. Students being interviewed talked about breaking down silos and connecting people – it’s tough, doing that. I hope they can. I’ve tried, with greater or lesser success. The barriers can be intense, the turf-clutching dramatic.

Sometimes it seems like everyone is fighting to get a slightly larger desk while the reason for their job goes unattended.

Even at Waterloo, programs are split into silos, breaking down engineering into tiny specialty areas to entice students  – and then creating an integrative studies program for those like my son who see things holistically so try to stick the parts back together. It seems foolishness to rip things apart and then stick them together again, but perhaps there will be new alignments, new creations that come about through this.

I sure hope so. We want these sparks of inspiration to gather together and create a true fire. Otherwise, it’s another pricey flash in the pan.

Oh, and PS – I’m going to look into that live streaming stuff for Bloody Words 2015 – might make it more accessible for people across the Atlantic Provinces…maybe my son can help?

Anger and hostility are good/bad for writing…

Hey y’all.
Had a terrible week. Pretty bad all over. I hate everyone, even myself, and this Dairy Milk chocolate bar just isn’t doing the cheer-up trick, so I know I’m in deep.
It’s all in my head, though, and I’m feeling vaguely bi-polar – filled with excitement at the thought of Word on the Street tomorrow, racing about for final details for my Bloody Words Mystery Conference table and “the pitch” I’ll be giving for the book I’m writing with the irrepressible Sex Lady Karen K. I’ve got no reason to be angry or hostile or anything except happily typing away here and gazing out into the mood-enhancing fog.

Even my horoscope is telling me that all of my mistakes are my fault and I should just take ownership of them and charge on, focused on the prize.

But I can’t help myself up – all it takes from most anyone today is a sideways glance and I’ll snap…Just in a frumious Bandersnatch mood and so I should stay out of firing range, right?

But no. I keep trying to TALK to people, which is not a good idea.

On the good side, my last attempted conversation lit up an entire line of annoyances and now I am typing madly.
So maybe it will all turn to right.

In Chocolat, by Joanne Harris, she writes marvellously about the west wind, and how it makes her character restless, uneasy. Here in Dartmouth, it’s swampy, hot, gusty. I want nothing more than to walk the beach alone and throw rocks at the helpless ocean. I’ll promise that for myself tomorrow, after my toil.

Today I am getting ready, like a coiled steel spring. It’s truly frightening to behold…



Last weekend I was fortunate to attend the Canadian Mystery Writing Conference, Bloody Words. It’s the baby of Caro Soles, who started the merry mystery get together in 1999. Together with her Bloody Gang, she’s been putting together a prime conference ever since.

This year’s was no exception, despite heavy construction in the hotel and a shooting two blocks over that many of us didn’t know about until later, distracted as we were by the events of the conference itself. We had the chance to listen to Gayle Lynds, whose talk about the components of thrillers was worth the price of the conference, and Linwood Barclay, one of our Canadian shining and murderous stars. Other authors, agents, experts all took the mike so we could learn about all aspects of mystery writing from the cheeriest cozy to the most murderous terrorist acts.

Strangely, everyone was very nice. It’s a wonderfully supportive group of authors, encouraging and cheery, while behind the scenes they are seeing vampires and little old ladies, gritty detectives and sweet ingénues, all seeking clues to gruesome murders. It certainly is a place where everyone’s minds seem to operate on two levels…

Wildly fun, though, meeting up with old friends, meeting new authors I have yet to read. Our goodie bags were filled to the brim with books and treats, our conversations were filled with tips and support and suggestions.

I went to the conference feeling like a fraud. I left freshly motivated and

raring to go. And really, isn’t that what a good conference is all about?

I’d better figure it out. I’m the gal-on-the-ground for Bloody Words 2015 in Halifax. But I’m lucky – I have the Bloody Gang along with me.

I can’t wait! Sailing on….