Sunday, April 20, 2014

Podcasting Bat Girl

Last summer before I went off for total knee replacement surgery, I heard about Hardly Art's short play competition (through the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild). There wasn't much time left to submit, but I thought I had the perfect story. Set in Saskatoon, I had a short story 'Podcasting Bat Girl' kicking around that I'd always thought would work better as a play. So I polished it up and sent it off and right before I went in for surgery, I heard my play was accepted and would be produced in a short play festival at the Refinery Theatre in Saskatoon!

My first reaction was to jump up and down even though I couldn't really jump much with my sore leg and phone up my parents to tell them the good news, then share it with the family when they got home. While I've had many articles and a few short stories published, along with competition semi-finals, this was huge! I was going to have my work put on stage in my home town for my whole family to see!

Every joyful moment from working with the talented festival coordinator and founder Yvette Nolan (former Saskatoon Public Library Writer-in-Residence) who guided me in making the play the best it could be before sending it onto the fabulously creative and helpful director Philip Adams (Executive Director, Sage Hill Writing Experience) who put the final work into the hands of an immensely talented group of actors and crew including On the Boards Staging Company, I can't say thank you enough for all their dedication and generosity. And having my family's support and encouragement was tremendous!

I had so much fun, I was even persuaded to do something I never thought I'd do in my lifetime - Kristen Holfeuer, administrator of the Saskatchewan Playwrights Centre suggested I apply for the upcoming 24 hour Playwriting Competition. Happy to say, I was accepted and have been spending the last few days determining characters, etc. If only I can manage to stay awake and rest when necessary resulting in a great piece of work. Win or lose, my only desire is to create something that will further my writing career and I can share with others again. Anything is possible, dear writers and creative artists, if you put your heart and soul into it, good things will happen.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Decision Making

It's hard making decisions no matter who you are, but being a perfectionist makes it even harder because making the wrong choice could be detrimental to your future ... bah! But then again, if you look at all the choices you've made, good or poor, if you hadn't made this one or that one, you wouldn't have these great people or wonderful opportunities in your life. So, don't second-guess everything and if it feels right, take a chance, but if you're forcing it, maybe give it some more thought. Forced relationships don`t often succeed. Give yourself a break and smell the flowers today. Tomorrow is another day of opportunity!

Monday, March 10, 2014

When Sadness This Way Comes

Sometimes there's nothing we can do to stop bad or sad things from happening. We can keep on being sad and feeling sorry for ourselves and/or others. For the last few months, I've been feeling down with the winter blues or cabin fever, so it's good to finally see the snow melting and be able to spend time outdoors. My favourite season is spring, heralding in rebirth, the renewal of the cycle of life. Today, I choose to be thankful.

Nothing sums it up better than my son playing a beautiful rendition of 'O Mio Babbino Caro' by Giacomo Puccini of single-hearted love amidst the chaos of everyday family life, followed by 'Ave Maria' (Franz Schubert), my son's favourite song of all. He says, "It's so nice and peaceful. It makes me forget about everything else and ... [fills me with] joy."

Ahh, what peaceful thoughts. Thank you.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Eureka Moments in a Writer's Life

Do you ever get that feeling almost like a tingling that you've discovered or stumbled upon something that's too good to ignore? Even if it frightens you, never be afraid ... at least that's what I've learned, only through much trial and error. True, sometimes life, anxiety and depression clouds our path, but listen to the voices and follow your heart and you have nothing to fear but fear itself. Easier said than done, right? To tell you the truth, I'm not even sure how it finally happened.

As a writer, I've been searching to unravel mysteries of my novel as it's slowly revealed itself to me. It hasn't happened fast ... my story first appeared to me after a vivid dream, but has taken many years to complete and then revise some more. It's not been an easy task, but tonight's road trip was sublime in revealing things my subconscious has been working away at, unanswered until tonight. Blessed as I am, I'm over the moon thankful, but, of course as with anything, it'll take time to put all the bits and bobs in the right places, but man oh man, I'm thrilled beyond belief ... relieved actually. Thanks world for keeping me on the right path and goodnight!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Soccer, Total Knee Replacement & Life Lessons

When we're young, we think we're invincible, so I'm not sure any wise words would have stopped me from six years of soccer goalkeeping knowing I'd have a knee replacement in my forties.

Total knee replacement has extended my joys of life ten-fold. If I take good care of my knee, the surgeon says it could last twenty years before needing a new one. Living without it made life painful and depressing and now I'll be able to enjoy life more. Yes, surgery is not fun, but determination makes you stronger and happier every day.

While in hospital, I realized how thankful I am for family and good health. The skillful, kind surgeon, many caring nurses and hospital staff at Regina's Pasqua Hospital were a great help in the healing process. Thank you.

Osteoarthritic knee pain limited all activity in the past twelve months awaiting approval for surgery so much so that I often couldn't concentrate on simple things as writing, let alone stand for long periods to make meals, climb stairs or do things with family.

Would I do it all over again? That's a hard question to answer. Yes, because I loved the confidence I gained playing soccer with a professional city team, White Lightning. We were fierce, supportive and played hard, winning provincials once, and almost twice shy of scoring one goal. I won't forget those years, even if it put a few holes in my knees.

All sports carry risk of injury and it seems more athletes end up with osteoarthritis due to injury, but as sports injury research continues, maybe we'll find more answers to prevention. Everyday, find new ways to get more out of life whatever your ability!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Great Plains Diversity & Savage's 'A Geography of Blood'

We all get messages. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to register these moments in time. If we're lucky, the message comes sooner. We take tidbits of information and put together the puzzle. In this case, I understand my messages relate to my purpose, telling stories through my writing. It's a wonderful gift when I can stop, listen and understand.

Researching my current novel, I find all past experiences have influenced me and will ultimately affect all my work, past, present or future. And in those illuminating moments of discovery, I have found/sought like minds who've heard the same message: Wallace Stegner, Sharon Butala and now more recently, the works of Candace Savage.

Currently reading A Geography of Blood by Candace Savage, a gloriously brilliant re-imagination of what Stegner attempted with an alternate view more like my own. Thank you Candace for giving me a better understanding of the forgotten history of the West, one I've long sought and resesarched, knowing there's many sides to all stories.

Favourite quotes describing the Cypress Hills:

p. 4  "It's in the twilight zone where the plains of northern Montana meet and morph into the prairies of southern Saskatchewan ...."

p. 33  "... a cappuccino bar in a beat-up prairie town, and coyotes singing in the dark, and the light spinning around the cottonwoods ...."

Quotes about the disappearance of the Great Plains indigenous peoples:

p. 65  "The indigenous civilizations of the Great Plains did not die out in the nineteenth century, whether the 'frontier' had ended or not. They were present when the settlers arrived, and they are fiercely alive right now."

I'm excited to continue reading about Savage's unearthing of this gap in Western history, one that has been largely ignored and must be reckoned with, one of only part of the loss of biodiversity on the Great Plains, one that helps me see the world. If the lenses are rose-coloured, remember it helps to change the lense colour once in a while to see the diversity.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Second Day of Spring

Spring is a long way off beneath this twelve-foot snow drift outside our living room window blocking all views to our road. Lost a few shingles in the blasting snowstorm last night and four more centimetres of snow is expected tomorrow, with more on Saturday. There's no sign of the grader operator - he might be a little busy now - so we're tucked in here snug as a bug in a rug, good thing we've got everything we need for a couple of days. Keep safe at home and if you're heading out, bring some spring our way - just promise not to flood out the road this year :)