Monday, October 17, 2011

A Chance for Exposure

Writing a story from start to finish is only half the battle. After you’ve toiled and fretted over that story, a writer needs to get it out there.

As any writer will tell you, the actual act of getting published is hard. Really, really hard. I’ve had much luck with publishing book reviews and the like, but is it what I really want? No. I love to be able to write, no matter what the topic or genre, but if truth be told, I thrive on fiction.

Recently I had my first short story published, but not without a lot of trial and error. I still have numerous stories out there in the world waiting to hear back from potential publications but in the last year, I’ve had so many rejections it’s almost enough to make a person give up. But the reality is, if you want to succeed you can’t give up. But publication is not the only place a writer can get exposure.

Readings! Now that’s fun stuff. It can be terrifying to read your work in front of an audience, but when you’re done and people come up to you afterward and ask for more information about your story, like, what happens next, or even coming up to you months after the fact and saying, I really enjoyed the piece about such and such you read at such and such, it leaves you feeling that maybe, just maybe, you’re leaving a mark. No matter how small it might be.

So, despite the fact I haven’t had a lot published, I have a few readings coming up.

October 26, 2011 Open Mic @ Owl’s Nest Books at 7pm where I will put my name in the hat once again for a chance to read something. There is no guarantee.

November 23, 2011 An Encore Reading of Freshwater Pearls Anthology, also at Owl’s Nest Books. 7pm. I will read from my story, Wednesday, which was recently published in this fabulous anthology, along with fellow writers: Lee Kvern, Lori Hahnel, Susan Carpenter, Frances Hern, Julie Lockhart, Richard Gorecki.

November 30, 2011 Open Mic @ Owl’s Nest Books at 7pm. I may or may not put my name in the hat again. Depends on what happens on the 23rd and how many other people want a chance to read.

March 10, 2012, Writing in the Works 5 @ Memorial Park Library. Now this is a new opportunity for me. Writing in the Works is a program created by Calgary writer, Rona Altrows to give writers who are working on book length projects, actively searching for a publisher, or waiting to be published,  a chance to promote themselves. By invitation only, I am pleased to be asked to participate this year along with writers: Lori Hahnel, Jane Cawthorne, Rea Tarvydas and Rita Bozi.

If you’re a writer trying to get yourself out there, I highly recommend taking part in readings. No matter how big or how small, it’s all part of being a writer.

Hope you’ll come out to see me and all the other talent at these events.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Potty Project

Who am I kidding? It’s no project. It’s a complete pain in the butt. We’ve been trying for months to get the daughter to pee in the potty. Some days she does it, and then just as suddenly she goes on this stubborn streak and although I know she has to go because she hasn’t gone since last night, she just won’t do it.

Today I decided I would not put a diaper on her. It would be panties or nothing. For the record, she has opted for nothing. Just to spite me I’m sure. Like whatever I want her to do, she will do the opposite. So we sat on the potty most of the morning, and she refused to go. She would sit, she would get up and play, she would want water, she would pull toilet paper off the toilet paper roll, but no matter what she would not pee.

I left her for awhile. Came back and she’s standing on top of the potty, lid closed, but guess what…she peed everywhere. All over the floor, all over the top of the potty, but not at all in the potty. And it was a lot of pee. See…I knew she had to go. And she was close, but not exactly what I had in mind.

Still won’t put a diaper on her. I am determined, one way or another she will be potty trained before she turns 10.

I know I shouldn’t worry. I know it will come. I’ve been told numerous times not to worry, she will do it when she’s ready, but for all those people who say not to rush her, there are twice as many looking at me with a critical eye that says, “she’s three and not potty trained yet? What is wrong with you?” Or worse, “Is there something wrong with your child?

Well, let’s see what the rest of the day brings.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Learning What’s Important

I’ve been ridiculously busy the last little while. Despite trying to write, to finish little projects that are almost there, I have been working…because let’s face it, more money is always good. But I found something that is more than just work. Something that touches me in a way I never could have imagined. Sure, I went into it hoping to find something that would change or maybe even define me as a person. But I didn’t know how much of a difference I could make in a person’s life, or just how much I would learn.

I’ve started doing home care for seniors. This would consist of anything from companionship to personal care. Most of the clients I can expect to get have some form of dementia or maybe even alzhiemers. My first client is a lady, she’s 92 years old and for the past few years started to develop dementia. She has these moments when she slips, not really forgetting who I am, but thinking she doesn’t need me. She’s tried to kick me out a couple of times. But then there are the days she is so lonely she doesn’t want me to leave. The three hours I spend with her, is just not enough. Yet she strives to hold on to her independence, like the moment it’s gone, she is done. My job is to help not feel so lonely, to find her things to do.

Problem is, in her constant complaints of boredom, she doesn’t want to do anything except watch TV. She doesn’t want to walk, she doesn’t want to leave her suite, doesn’t want to read or be read to, she just wants to sit and doze in her chair and complain about the lack of quality television. And, much to my surprise, she doesn’t want to talk about herself either. I was under the impression that most seniors loved to talk about themselves and their pasts, but not this one. Ask her a direct question about her past, no matter how trivial the question or the intention of the question, and she thinks I’m prying.

Which makes me wonder, is she hiding something? Something she doesn’t want anyone to know. A secret? That’s the writer in me, speculating.

By the way, it’s really hard to have a conversation when you can’t ask a few questions. I know sometimes I have a habit of asking inappropriate or personal questions, but of course I don’t do that with her.

It makes me sad to see her hunched over, lonely. Nothing to do but bide her time until it’s time to go. But like I said, it’s not like she has nothing to do, it’s that she chooses to do nothing. Like there is nothing left to live for, and my challenge, to help her find that thing.

She can be the sweetest lady. She can be the most ornery lady. She laughs and smiles, gets sour and agitated. But one thing remains the same, she is so polite.

We painted her fingernails the other day. Something so simple, yet seemed to bring her some great joy. It actually gave me a little insight to her. There are few pictures of her family, those that do exist, kept in her bedroom on her dresser. In those pictures, I see a different woman. Straight-faced, matter of fact…very proper. But pictures only capture a moment in time.

So who is this woman?

I am determined to find out.