A Few of My Favourite Things

The first snowfall came a couple of weeks ago and with it, enough ice and wind to bring Nova Scotia Power to its knees. As busy as keeping the fire in the woodstove going, and scooping up buckets of snow to melt for flushing the toilet kept me, there was a blissful quiet that fell over my home, my little corner of the world. The constant jabber of the TV and radio fell away and the hum of appliances was silenced. I carried out my mother’s tradition of taking a solitary ‘first-snow-walk’, the moon on my shoulder, and felt more connected to this place than ever before.

For three days we cooked with Baba’s iron pots on the stove, played board games by candlelight, and checked in with neighbours and friends to exchange ideas, stories and supplies. On the third night, we took a drive. As we passed house after house lit only by candlelight, the vision I’d had of a power-less, 1920’s North Mountain as I was writing The Birth House, was now laid out before me. We stopped at the ‘Look-Off’, a place that affords a magnificent view of the Valley and the Minas Basin. Down below, electricity had been restored here and there…some towns twinkling and bright, others flat and dark. Within an hour of our returning to the house, the lights came on, the house was again thrumming and I settled into the tub for a hot bath. In that moment, the past three days felt like a long, somewhat greasy, drawn-out dream.

Fortune Cookie Writing Tip #1

Accept the next Proposition you Receive

My college roommate and long-time writing sister recently took the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge, spending the month of November faithfully putting down over 50,000 words towards a novel. Here’s what she had to say about the experience.

Well, it was mind numbing and freeing. I was obsessed with the word count, and that may have been both distracting and helpful. Not having a story plotted from start to end,I just had to make it up as I went, and somehow I managed to avoid writing myself into a corner. It’s a quest story, which is probably well-suited to this sort of thing because the characters always have someplace to go.

And it made me see what words I use too often. But I didn’t worry about that, I promised myself I would write and could always go back and change the words, and the grammar, and the everything else. Mostly I cannot say enough how good I felt to make the 50,000 word count. I was jumping up and down(really) and feeling proud of myself. I may not be the best writer going, but at least I’m writing. So to anyone who’s thinking about NaNoing, I say go, go, go.

The only thing to lose is some sleep.

In the spirit of this month’s Fortune Cookie writing tip, I have said ‘yes’ to the wonderful Antigonish Review and am now proud to be counted as an Associate Editor of Fiction.

What will you say ‘yes’ to…for Chanukah, for Christmas, for Yule, for Diwali, for Kwanza, for the New Year, for yourself?

Quote of the Moment

If my life wasn’t funny, it would just be true.

And that’s unacceptable.

Carrie Fisher –Dinner for Five

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