December 10th, 2012

The Legal Short Story

While I’ve been busy not posting on the blog, I’ve done any number of other things, mainly uninteresting and related to the course I finished taking last week (gag! death! disaster! doom!) The one cool thing was two Saturdays ago we hosted a party to celebrate a) having such nice friends and b) the making of How to Keep Your Day Job. We screened the film for said friends, some of whom had been so excited about it for so long it seemed no longer fair to keep it from them.

As far as I could tell, everyone loved the film–it was really satisfying to sit and watch everyone laugh, wince, and nod at the protagonist’s tribulations. At the end, I got many compliments, most of which were waived because I had nothing to do with the film other than the baseline story and a lot of enthusiasm. But it was still great to hear, and I’m sure the filmmakers, home with colds, felt the love even from afar.

One especially interesting compliment came from a partygoer I know less well, who surprised me by announcing that she loves short stories always, even when she’s not at a party hosted by one of their practitioners. I mentioned my pleasure and surprise at this, as it’s not the general attitude towards short fiction. She said perhaps it was because she’s a lawyer–she likes details only if they exist for a reason, and everything extraneous to be thrown out.

I thought this was such a great way of expressing the lure of the story–that leanness, efficiency. Some short-story proponents come dangerously close to anti-novelism with similar discussions, and that’s not my aim. Novels do something our friends in science fiction (hi, Scott!) call “world-building.” Novels create a whole life for their characters–clothes and rooms and jobs and friends (ok, a lot of characters in novels don’t have friends–separate post) and the ticking sound the car makes and love of romantic poetry. You are far more likely to know which way a character votes and whether s/he believes in God in a novel than in a short story. Which is awesome in the way that that’s awesome; and short stories are awesome in a different way.

I was just pleased to hear it described so well, is all I’m trying to say here.

November 8th, 2012

Baby Trivia Quiz

I have been a touch overwhelmed with RL lately, but rest assured, all is well. I am co-throwing a baby shower for a dear friend this weekend, and it’s consuming me a wee bit. If you’re not shower-savvy, they need games, and since many popular shower games are dull, gross, or uncomfortable to play with one’s mother present, I’ve been making my own. I worked hard on my baby trivia quiz and since it’s basically the only thing I’ve created this week, thought I’d share. If you hate babies, stop now, but otherwise you might want to play. If you send me your answers or post me a comment, I’ll let you know your score. Maybe we could even have a winner!

Sorry, over-excited there. If nothing else, you’ll probably learn from this quiz what I learned from making it–babies are super-weird!! FYI, I don’t have babies nor very much experience with babies–I looked up answers to these questions via google, so these answers are only as reliable as the relatively authoritative-looking websites I found them on. It might be a good thing to let me know if you notice anything wrong, so I don’t have a shower revolution on my hands!

Baby Trivia Quiz!
1. When does a baby have “mature vision” (ie., as sharp as an adult)?
a) At birth
b) 6-8 weeks
c) 3 months
d) 6-8 months

2. When is a good time to clip a baby’s nails?
a) While he is sleeping
b) Not until he’s at least 3 months old
c) Playtime
d) Never—you should bite them off.

3. Which of the following is illegal to sell in Canada?
a) Soy infant formula
b) Baby walkers
c) Teddy bears with glass eyes
d) Barney DVDs

4. When can a baby recognize her primary caregiver(s)?
a) A few days after birth
b) A few weeks after birth
c) A few months after birth
d) Around a year

5. When can a baby learn to smile?
a) They can always smile!
b) Around a month
c) Around 2 months
d) Around 3 months

6. Do cats really try to steal a baby’s breath?
a) No, but they might lie on top of a baby for warmth and smother her
b) No, but they might try to lick milk off a baby’s face and hurt her
c) No, the whole cats hurt babies thing is a myth unless the parents are really irresponsible
d) Yes.

7. When might a baby start reacting to the word “no”?
a) around 9 months
b) around a year
c) around 18 months
d) never

8. How fast does a baby’s head grow in circumference in the first 2 months?
a) 0.5cm a month
b) 1cm a month
c) 1.5cm a month
d) 2cm a month

9. How do babies get ready for teeth while still in the womb?
a) They gum the umbilical cord
b) They suck their hands
c) They grow tiny “tooth buds”
d) They grow “milk teeth”

10. When do the legendary “baby fat” rolls appear?
a) Birth
b) 4-8 weeks
c) 4-8 months
d) 1 year

August 31st, 2011

*The Big Dream* Book Launch Facebook Invitation

Because it’s not an event until it’s a until it’s a Facebook event (at least, not in this town!) Hope you can make it!

December 9th, 2010

Reverb 9

Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans. (Author: Shauna Reid) (

I’m not really getting this–is Reverb a writing thing or not? Most of these questions could be answered by anyone, but one of the first ones wouldn’t have had any answers for non-writers…mysterious!

Anyway–parties! Like most people, I started 2010 at a party full of friends, and as recently as last night was at a similar event (actually, I didn’t know all that many people last night, but it was still excellent). My favourite parties this year…oh, the bbq in Moncton that lasted for 12 hours and involved moonshine jello shots and croquet (first draft of this said “crochet”…the ladybug birthday party with ladybug everything and adorable babies…the swish engagement party for estatically happy friends (whose families know a thing or two about food)…the picnic Mark and I held in Norwood park on a so-sunny August afternoon. Ok, and the formal Christmas party I went to last week, which was fun and glamourous and all, but almost entirely overshadowed by the fact that the centrepiece was a box of chocolates and the BOX WAS MADE OUT OF CHOCOLATE!!

I may never get over that.

March 26th, 2010

Events: I likes them

Last night was the incomperable Book Madam‘s Sociable at the Pour House, which I attended with Kerry Clare and great joy. It would have been more useful if I’d blogged about this *before* the event happened, but you probably heard about it anyway. I’m a little out of the loop, but judging by the crowd around the bar, this was not an event that suffered from lack of publicity.

More upcoming events of awesomeness:

Wednesday March 31, 7pm–The launch party for the Baracuda anthology, put together of the most outstanding work from last year’s SWAT program. One of my students is in it, and some of this year’s are going to come out and applaud. I’m super-stoked.

Sunday April 18, 3pm–Draft Reading Series re-emerges from its winter hibernation with readings by Michael Bryson, Ian Burgham, Dani Couture, Ellen S. Jaffe and Mark Sampson. Woot!

Monday April 19, 6pm–Launch party for the poetry books by Paul Vermeersch, John Steffler, and Dionne Brand.

Wednesday April 21–Um, I think I’m reading, at the Free Times, as part of the Now Hear This series. Except, when I went to get the link, I got this instead, so now I’m not sure. Maybe someone will tell me soon. Check this space.


June 17th, 2009

Introducing Samantha

I’m pleased to say that my future work in the world will now be represented by the very book-savvy Samantha Haywood at Transatlantic Literary Agency, Inc. Here we are at Samantha’s author party last week, her looking like the charming individual she is, me looking mildly deranged for wearing an enormous winter coat in June (you can’t even tell in the picture, but it’s actually buttoned wrong, too!)

I have to say that I find it mildly terrifying to even suggest that I will *have* future work in the world, but one of the best ways allay terror is to work with smart people, so this is, I’m sure, a good step forward.

Gloria / where are you?

March 6th, 2009

What I’ve Been Up To

1) Listening with alarming interest to paranoid conspiracy theories (but still not to zombie apocolypse scenarios, rest assured).
2) Getting Disney tunes stuck in my head, apropros of nothing (I haven’t heard that song *outside* of my head in 15 years).
3) Tracing stuff with a pencil so it will scan better.
4) Being asked, yet again, about my ethnicity by strangers. I’m thinking, the next time someone asks me, “What’s your background?” I’m going to glance over my shoulder and try to describe what colour I think the wall is painted.
5) Getting a nice review in Jewish Book World. The online version’s not up yet, and it’s a US mag so you might not be able to find it here, but rest assured, it’s nice.
6) Hugging poets.
7) Glamourous parties.

The last three make up for the first four, natch.

Everybody loves a train in the distance

February 21st, 2009


Sometimes, I become so upset at my teetering stacks of books and papers (commented one recent guest, “You’re busy!” me: “Or should be!”), email queue and general failure of productivity, that I resolve to scale back on all frolic, forthwith. Which is of course the signal for an eruption of amazing frolicking opportunities amongst my friends and acquaintances. Thus, last night spent on the announcement of the Descant Winston/Collins poetry prize (congrats to all the long- and short-listers, and to Descant for the amazing bash) and later on guitar harmonies and silliness (I sure know the words to a lot of bad songs). And then today, between the yoga and the photo shoot and writing this very important blog post, I had amazing things planned, workwise…which didn’t quite happen. And in a few hours, I have to go out for Mexican food!! How do these things happen?

Something, obviously, has to scale back. Don’t worry, it probably won’t be this blog; does a junkie ever get too busy to shoot up? I fear it’s sleep.

Wake up
The house is on fire
And the cat’s caught in the drier

December 9th, 2008


I have an intense devotion to etiquette, brought on by a lot of underaged reading of Amy Vanderbilt and Emily Post. I have thoughts, which I try not to share, on how one should conduct oneself regarding coasters, hairpins, floral arrangements and divorce. The reason I do not share these things is that they are antiquated and unhelpful, and most people only find my rule-following annoying and compulsive, not, as it is meant to be, respectful and friendly.

And then when there is a rule that I could usefully follow, such as RSVP, I drop the ball. I have been corrupted by modernizing forces, aka Facebook–where RSVP is not the French acronym for the polite imperitive, respondez-vous, s’il vous plait but a vaguer suggestion, “respond if you want it to show up on your wall, if you want someone to save you a seat or a sandwich, or if you feel like it. No committment required; feel free to ignore if unavailable/uninterested.”

Such is the social climate of Facebook–that’s the way it works, and it is respectful to follow the rules of Rome when there. But Facebook is not the Governor General’s awards, and despite the fact that I felt very sad about not being about to go, it never occurred to me to call and tell anyone this, despite the swirly-script RSVP clearly printed on the invitation. So I now also feel very sad about making the nice GG people call me to find out that I will not, in fact, be there tomorrow.

I have learned a lot from this experience, and will be rereading my Post and Vanderbilt shortly. Until then, if you are going the GGs, or any of the attendent amazing events, have an extra good time on my behalf.

Stared at the grown-up feet while they danced and swayed

October 20th, 2008

I give up!

I love Hallowe’en more than I love most things, but this year I cannot come up with a costume. This is a sad and embarrassing failure; I wouldn’t blame you if you thought less of me, even stopped reading this blog. But if you are still reading, here are my excuses:

1) The party I am going to is TV-themed, and I haven’t had a working television in 4 years.
2) Prior to 2004, all my favourite shows were sitcoms, and all those characters look approximately like real people. How would you *know* I was dressed as Bailey Quarters, even if I straightened my hair?
3) I am insanely busy these days and will actually be away for most of this week. Even when I am not insanely busy, I am a poor seamstress and have had bad luck with hair dye. Whatever costume I wind up with cannot be complicated, blond, or bulky (the party is also very far away–I don’t want to spend an hour trying to keep my wings or antennae or whatever to myself).

Are these constraints not imposing? I am seriously thinking of covering my clothes with Styrofoam peanuts and going as no-signal snow… If you have a better idea (and almost any idea is better than that) please please share it. I will be forever in your debt. I’ll bring you candy!

After twelve / just as well

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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