March 1st, 2016

Publications Page Update

I was moving a link from my “Now and Next” widget at right (it was from September, so very non-now) to the publications page when I realized I had meant to clean up that page, as I did with the biography page a few months ago. It’s an annoying task for the same reason it’s a necessary one–some sites have gone to the big 404 in the sky and many (many!) have reorganized their naming conventions so everything has new URLs. I also discovered that the link to the first story (which was broken, even) had somehow copied itself into every other story link, so if you clicked on the wrong spot you’d just be going to this one 404 page over and over.

Anyway, all of that’s fixed now–I’ve tracked down the links that exist and deleted those that no longer do–but for the fiction section only! I’m just not strong enough for non-fiction today–coming soon. Of course, the fact that no one pointed out all this weirdness suggests that the publications page is not getting used a great deal, so perhaps no one cares! So be it–the links are fixed, should anyone wish to use them.

October 19th, 2015

Blogroll update?

What do we even call the blogroll in 2015? I have a feeling the term has changed and no one told me. But whatever, I updated that list of links on the right of this page. I hadn’t done it in ages but I’m pretty sure no one case, since many of the links were broken and no one ever complained about it. I have fixed the broken links, deleted the blogs not updated in over a year, and added a few ones that I’ve been enjoying for ages but never mentioned.

As I say, no one clicks and these links and I doubt anyone will now. The reason the terminology is changing is that the internet is changing, and few people actually get content by surfing around a site and seeing what else they have. People use social media platforms to post links to individual posts or stories, which people click on if the topic is of interest, no matter who wrote it or where it was posted. I would never, ever actually go to the mainpage of a site like Clickhole or Upworthy, but I sure have read a lot of listicles from both.

I actually just spent a painful few minutes trying to log into my Google Analytics account and that has changed too–not only did I have to get my cell phone involved to log in, once I did I no longer really understood the dashboard. I got as far as “content drilldown,” which sounds like a cheerleading routine, realized I don’t really care if anyone clicks on my by-any-other-name blogroll and gave up.

But this post isn’t all “I will live in the past forever”–I do intend to do something new. I am going to try linking some of my posts (the good ones?) on Twitter and Facebook, just to see if anyone is interested. I feel really awkward about “push messages”–marketing speak for asking people to read my blog. But if that is the way people read now, I think I could try it without being seen as a blog-whore. People just ignore what doesn’t interest them, so they can ignore Rose-coloured along with all the Clickhole stuff as well… We’ll see how it goes.

October 20th, 2014

A story and an essay

Believe it or not, I do work on this blog semi-regularly. I come to the site, open a doc, work away on a post.¬†Then at some point I get either get interrupted or bored, but either way, the piece gets saved in draft form instead of being posted, and I go do something else. Then a few days/weeks later, I come back to the site, but I have this even BETTER idea for a post. I start working on that and…repeat cycle.

This isn’t really a tragedy; you aren’t missing out on any particularly golden words, believe me. But some of them aren’t half bad, and with the amount of work I’ve put in on them, I’d really like to get something posted sometime. Plus, I feel I’m really too old to have become a flibberty-gibbet at this point in my life–I’d like to get the blogging back on the rails if only to prove I can!

Here, at least, is a very short post on some upcoming publications for me–since they are coming soon, the post is time-sensitive, which will force me not to ramble…

First up, coming at the end of the month, is my short story “The Framer” to be published on Little Fiction. I just had the pleasure of doing the edits with the insightful Trevor Corkum, which was fun–always nice to get another viewpoint on the work, as well as some suggestions for making it better.

The story is a piece that got cut from my book currently in progress, so I am very happy to have found it a home on Little Fiction. I think it’s a good story, just didn’t belong in the book (another story in that category is Everyone Likes a Little Guy, which appeared in the Rusty Toque a few years back). I’m also in a weird place in that “The Framer” will be the last story that I publish for a while. Because of the terms of my contract, I can’t submit pieces from the book right now.¬†They may eventually get published singly; just for now that’s not on. So unless I cut more, you won’t be seeing anything from the *So Much Love* world for a year or so. And while I do have other pieces in progress, most date to well before I started on SML (I’ve been pretty single-minded on it for 3 years or so) and have significant problems that I don’t have time to fix right now. So yeah, weird–no more submissions for me for a bit. I’m going to miss it!

On the non-fiction front, I have an article called “How to Learn to Read (If You Don’t Already Know)” coming up soonish in Canadian Notes and Queries. Hilariously, I wrote the blog post Why a Creative Writer Is Not a Journalist very shortly before I started working on this semi-memoir-y, essay-ish piece with a bunch of interviews and quotations in it. Call it what you will. It was really ambitious for me to try this sort of thing, but I don’t think it turned out too badly, due in part to my having married an actual journalist who helped me with it. Anyway, I wouldn’t have tried if I were not a) pretty passionate on the subject and b) egged on Mr. Wells. So I thought it was worth a try–please be gentle.

And that’s what I’ve been doing. Actually, so much for not rambling: this “short” blog post is 600 words. Maybe this is what I should aim for from now on!

January 18th, 2014

2014 Resolving

It’s been over a month–sorry, guys. I missed the holiday season completely on this blog–I hope you had an excellent one. Here at the Rose-coloured Ranch, the ice-storm left our power intact but stranded a householder in Moncton for a few days, so things were a bit scrambly. 2014 has actually been going fine for me, but my job has gone bananas, as it does a couple unpredictably timed months a year. It’s a good job and people have been kind to me there, so I try to role with the punches and put in the hours, but I really think I’m simply not cut out to work overtime. A few 10-hour-days, which is nothing to people in many other positions, and I am absolutely bonkers with nervous energy and fret. It’s not very nice to find out I have so little fortitude, but at least I’m certain I don’t now. I just want the month of January to be over, and with it this project.

I had been thinking about not doing resolutions this year–I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by simply getting through the days of late–but a few things conspired to inspire, so I figure, why not? I’m not going to get too bent out of shape if I don’t do these things, but…why not try?

1) Mini-M&Ms charity. I’ve always told people new to Toronto that you’ll make your life easier if you make a blanket decision about panhandlers. Maybe you give whatever’s in your pocket to whomever asks, maybe you never give on the street but donate to a charity that helps the homeless, maybe you stop and chat, maybe you pretend not to see. Whatever you are going to do, reason it out and stand by it–it’s the dithering that makes you crazy and sad. My usual policy is to give to charities like the United Way and local food banks, not to individuals, but to meet everyone’s gaze and apologize that I won’t give to them. This policy was born of being disorganized and not wanting to fumble in my bag and take out my huge wallet in front of strangers that may or may not be benign. Usually people who hit me up on the street for cash nod or shrug at my murmured apology; some even say something nice in return. Lately I’ve noticed a new phenomenon where I get some snark–one girl said archly, “Wow, that sounded really sincere.” I have no idea why she bothered–it’s a weird kind of pay-it-forward, because I’m not going to running back to shower cash on someone who said something mean to me, but it does make me think a bit harder about my own sincerity, and what I’m going to do the next time I’m asked.

Years ago, when my brother was living in Toronto and I wasn’t, he told me he used mini-M&Ms containers–small plastic tubes–to carry quarters in. They are just the right width for them, and you are able to fish them out without rummaging through all your belongings. You also know at a shake whether you actually have something to give or not, so you don’t waste everyone’s time. Of course, mini M&Ms disappeared from Canada years ago, a sad loss for many reasons. But beloved friend AMT brought me some from America recently and, delicious as they were, I couldn’t help but fixate on the container. It showed up at such fortuitous time, right when I was rethinking my street charity policy. As I type, it’s beside me, half full of quarters.

I don’t kid myself that 50 cents or a dollar from me is going to make a great difference to anyone at all. It’s the stopping and engaging that might matter, if not to the recipient, than at least to me. I’m worried that after nearly 12 years in Toronto, I’ve stopped seeing people on the street, despite my “sincere” little apologies. I’d like to start seeing again, and seeing where that leads me. Giving a little bit might help me do that–and I’m sure a few quarters wouldn’t hurt those who ask.

2) Learn to play guitar. I will count success as being able to play a recognizable tune on-key. I have had two lessons so far and have learnt two octaves of the B-flat major scale–progress. I enjoy the practicing well enough and am starting to develop some calluses. I’m also find that, as was true in my many years of piano lessons, and also with opening pickle jars, juggling, and holding hands with large-fingered men, my tiny little mouse hands are a handicap. One I plan to overcome, but the fourth fret poses some challenges for me.

3) Possibly file the papers I’ve had stacked on the floor of my office for over a year. Maybe.

4) Clicker train my elder cat, Evan, to give him something to focus his energies on so he isn’t such a pain all the time.

5) Knit a thing that has an actual purpose. I have been working on a pointless blue rectangle for more than two years.

In the number 6 slot, I could say something about my manuscript-in-progress here, but I sort of feel like at this point in the process that’s a bit like resolving to get a boyfriend. I’m going to do my best and not worry (as much as possible) about the rest. Actually, maybe that will be true on all fronts this year. That lack of worry in itself is a worthy resolution, I think.

7) Cook lots of new recipes, even ones not from the milk calendar.

8) Blog more frequently than once a month!

December 9th, 2011

The past few days

In the past few days, my last two posts for the National Post’s book blog, The Afterword, have gone up: from Wednesday, Because there is no real and from Thursday, Oh my god, my friend is a writer–what do I do?. It was very fun writing for the Afterword, but I am happy to be back in my blog-home, without the pressure to post every day!

What else has happened recently? I went to a nice party, ate some really good but odd toffee, had a tough time catching a #7 southbound bus, and discovered that ligers are real! Did you think Napolean Dynamite made them up?? Me too! But no, really, there are actually ligers in the world. Also, tigons, or possibly tiglons. The information is a little unclear, mainly because most of the folks who have a big interest in this topic are crazy, but anyway, I just thought it was kinda neat. As if I was just sitting around chatting with friends and found out they have a gryphon in a zoo in upstate New York.

December 6th, 2011

Blog Promiscuity Continues

So today is day #2 of my affair with the National Post’s book blog, and on it I wrote a piece entitled Editors: Scourge of the Earth or Cheap Psychotherapists?”, which I hope you’ll find amusing and/or edifying.

I also had a one-night stand with The Story Prize blog, which resulted in this piece on finding the right point of view for a story.

I hope you can forgive me for all this blog debauchery–I promise to be back to the straight and narrow with Rose-coloured next week!

December 5th, 2011

Blog affair with the Afterword

You know how infidelity reveals itself–you get no action for ages and when you do it’s quick and perfunctory. And then, blammo, you realize that all your love and attention is going to someone else. Cheater!

Yes, it’s true, I’ve been blogging elsewhere and I wish I could say I’m sorry, but it’s been great! I’ll be pontificating all week long at the National Post’s book blog, The Afterword–here’s today’s post.

I’ll put the links here if you want to check it out. And I’ll be back full-bore on Rose-coloured by the weekend. Which if you keep going with the above metaphor, is sorta twisted. So let’s not.

August 22nd, 2011

A Little Different Now

Mainly, Rose-coloured is the same as it ever was, but if you look closely, there are a few little changes. Most striking on this page is the big beautiful book cover to your right–the cover of the forthcoming *The Big Dream*. If clicked on, this icon will take you to the Books page, which has been updated to include an entry on this book, complete with back-cover bumf, reviews (hopefully to be expanded in future) and buying links. You can also see a new picture of me, if so inclined, on the bio page.

All this just one more step towards my very exciting BOOK LAUNCH, which did I mention is SEPTEMBER 20th at the DORA KEOGH???? I’m very excited.

Thanks to Stuart at Create Me This for design excellence (and alarcrity).

June 20th, 2011

What Spammers Think Bloggers Do

I get tonnes of blog spam–comments that serve no purpose except to lure those who read them to some spammy link selling knockoff shoes or Viagra or the like. Also, I think the more links to your site you have the web, the higher your Google ranking is, or something like that. WordPress’s spamnet catches most of them, and I’m pretty vigilant about deleting the rest–I really hate spam, plus it’s not that hard.

Recently I’ve started reading the spam WP catches for me, just to make sure they haven’t confiscated any legit comments. They haven’t, so far, but the stuff they get is pretty funny. Apparently, the spammers are trying to pass undetected by formulating comments generic enough to make logical sense on all the many blogs they spam. It is interesting what someone who shills for bottom-of-the-barrel internet markets thinks the rest of us are probably up to. Here are some hilarious examples

Comments on New York Was Great, a post about my trip to New York to speak at the Jewish Book Network’s conference, including comments on how nice the people were, and pictures of things I saw and the terrible rash I had throughout:

“I had been looking for this product. Finally I found it in your blog. Thank you so much for the information”

Comments on The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award, which includes 7 things about me like how I used to grow squash, am really fond of cats, and sometimes get accosted on the street by randos:

“Thank you for another informative blog. Where else could I get that kind of info written in such an ideal way? I’ve a project that I am just now working on, and I have been on the look out for such information.”

“Hello there, I found your site via Google while looking for a related topic, your web site came up, it looks good. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.”

(I think I have outsmarted the spammers by having so little information of any kind on the blog–most of it just nattering. I guess they think all blogs serve some kind of purpose. Hahaha, I say!)

Comments on my interview with Aaron on space management:

“While this topic can be very touchy for most individuals, my opinion is the fact that there has to become a middle or widespread ground that we all can locate. I do appreciate that youve added relevant and intelligent commentary in this article although. Thank you!”

(This comment almost makes sense–if it didn’t come from a coupon sales site, I’d nearly be flattered. Though I might have been tripped up by “widespread ground.”)

Comments on More from Me, a post listing a few things I’d written for other folks’ blogs:

“I am on a diet that directs me to eat bananas for the potassium, etc. what can I substitute in place of the banana?….”

(That one is my favourite!)

June 17th, 2011

The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award

Thanks so much to Allyson Latta for gifting me with the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award! This is an award that is inspiring in its generosity–the rule is the recipients are the next adjudicators, and have to pass it on some other sweet blogs. Which is actually rule 3–let’s do this in order.

Rule one is to thank the person who have you the award–thanks so much, Allyson. We met when we judged the UofT writing contest last summer–and had a wonderful lunchtime debate over the winners at the Gallery Grill. Also is an insightful reader and a fascinating person, as her “7 things about me” section of the Blog Award requirements proves–you should read it if you haven’t already.

So rule 2–tell 7 things about me. I got into trouble trying to do the “25 Things about Me” Facebook meme a few years ago, but 7 seems more manageable. Let’s see…

(1) I’m from a quite small town, and I lived there until I graduated high school. Then I went to McGill and from there to live in Toronto. Apparently these urban experiences have completely overwritten any rural parts of my personality, because people are always shocked and disbelieving that I grew up planting squash seeds every summer so I’d have something to enter in the fair in the fall. I totally did though–and once my squash won third place!

(2) I have a bunch of qualities that “creative” people aren’t supposed to have–I’m pretty good at math, enjoy socializing and dislike being alone, have an easy time obeying orders and learning from direct instruction. The math is helpful, and so is being good at school-type contexts, but it’s a bit hard to be a writer if you don’t really like being on your own, which is why I am very glad I have this blog. And Facebook. And a good long distance plan. And friends in general.

(3) I really like cats. Really a lot (but not a psycho amount). The pathetic thing is I don’t have a cat of my own, and often, other people’s cats don’t like me. I think it is because I am too needy, and I want to play with/cuddle them more than they want to be played with/cuddled. I joke that I am a reverse cat lady because I have a happy long-term relationship with a man but can’t keep a cat interested–but really, when they sprint away from my outstretched arms and hide behind the couch, it still stings.

(4) I used to be a good driver, but after not having a car for a decade, I’m distinctly tense behind the wheel these days. I’m trying really hard to get better, but I still prefer to have a second opinion on whether it’s a good time to merge now, which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in my passengers.

(5) I have two small titanium screws hinging my upper and lower jaws together, one right in front of each ear. If you were wondering, titanium does not set off metal detectors in airports.

(6) Of all the “amusing anecdotes” I sometimes tell at lunch or at parties, this one is the most popular:
A couple years ago, I was walking home from the grocery store (about a 6 block walk) and pulled a 600 mL bottle of Coke Zero out of the bags and began drinking it as I walked. A guy strode up from behind me on the sidewalk.
Guy: Can I have a sip?
Me: Uh, no. Sorry.
Guy: Oh, come on. I’m thirsty. Just one sip?
Me: I really can’t. (trying to walk faster, but groceries are heavy)
Guy: Come on, please (repeat several times)
Me: I’ll just give you the soda. Here.
(He refuses to take the bottle)
Guy: Is it because I’m black?
Me: No!
Guy: Well, why then?
Me: It’s because you’re a stranger! I don’t know you.
Guy: Oh, come on, I’m a good guy, etc. (followed by further badgering)
Me (now upset and confused): STRANGER! STRANGER!
Guy: (Backing away, hands up) Ok, ok. I’m a good guy you know. I’m just going to church.
Me: Ok.
Guy: So I’m going to go to church now. (He jaywalks across the street, and does in fact go into a church.)

(7) In grade 2, there was a sink directly behind the painting easel in my classroom. Sometimes centipedes would come out of the drain and live in the sink for a while, which freaked out/fascinated all the kids. Once while I was painting a picture at the easel, a centipede appeared in the sink. I was so disgusted by this that I took my brush and painted the centipede blue and yellow (this sort of reaction made sense when I was 7). When the teacher came over to look at my painting, she saw the painted centipede and admonished me: “What if I put you in the sink and painted you blue and yellow?” I thought it over and realized this was probably a fair punishment, and climbed in to the sink, which really baffled the teacher.

~~~
Here are some really sweet blogs for your enjoyment–the new winners of the Irresistibly Sweet Awards!

Candy Blog is an obvious choice for this one. Written by a playwright, but entirely separate from her creative work, the candy reviews are totally serious, well-written, detailed reviews of all the candy in the universe. Great reading if you…like candy, but also if you are looking to expand your vocabulary with ways to describe tastes and aromas. Fascinating.

The Corinna Wraps blog is a full of adorably wrapped presents and other confections made out of paper and card. It’s great if you’d like tips for gifts and favours, or even just like to look at pretty things. It’s done by my sweet friend Corinna, who also teaches workshops on how to wrap like she does. I took one of the workshops on Tuesday, and while my paper flowers came out a little wonky, I was impressed at how much she could teach even a klutz like me in only a couple of hours.

A Place is run by my dear friend Fred, but I’m pretty sure her blog would be funny and fun even for those who don’t know her. Just slice of life stuff–my favourite of the recent posts is the reviews of the foods she got out of a vending machine–but with a very charming eye for detail and a sense of humour. This blog is also 10 years old, so there is a wealth of archives to explore.

My friend Scott’s blog Letters to Henry (is it bad that I pretty much read only blogs of people I know?) is often inspiring and always interesting. I always wish for more updates (cough) but really, a fun and fascinating life away from the screen does make for better posts when they do appear.

~~~

Thanks again, Allyson, for this lovely award and a chance to gas on about myself and the blogs I like. A great start to my day!

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