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Full circle rambling

I think I’m just going to ramble about stuff today. I’ve got a bit of a jumble going on in my head, and it’s demanding a ramble.

First of all, for those of you who have been intrigued by the reviews of the description-defying Astronaut Love Triangle, but haven’t yet had the rare opportunity to see them live, you’ll be pleased to know that David Scrimshaw has put some videos on his website. Definitely worth a look-see. If you don’t love them, I’ll eat my cat.

Secondly. Thanks to all of you for providing links to various creative writing resources. I’m happy I asked you to do that, because some interesting stuff came out of it. I’ve gotten myself added to a few waiting lists for courses that appeal to me. However, I’m still mulling over the possibility that XUP and Tom Sawyer were right when they said (in the comments) that all this reading about writing and talking about writing and going to workshops about writing and joining groups about writing – it’s all just stuff you do instead of writing. Maybe they’re right. Maybe it’s all fences, not gates.

But, speaking of creative writing resources, my wanderings around the net took me right back to my best and favourite high school English teacher, Peter Carver. He gave me a lot of encouragement when I was a messed-up and depressed sixteen-year old. I wrote journals and stories and poetry and rants, and he read everything I gave him and kept encouraging me to write more. He tried to get me to read some of my stuff in front of audiences, but I wouldn’t. He also invited me out to his place in Nova Scotia for a week-long summer writing workshop. I don’t remember why, but I couldn’t – or didn’t – go. The last thing he ever said to me was “You ARE a writer.”

My other English teacher at Glebe Collegiate was Brian Doyle, another exceptional talent. The last thing he ever said to me was “Keep on keepin’ on.” That’s not true. It was the last thing he ever wrote to me. I still run into him from time to time, usually in taverns or at funeral services for infamous bank robbers. He usually asks me if I’m still writing.

By the end of Grade 11, I’d devoured all the Grade 13 English courses at Glebe, and I felt there was nothing left for me there, so I dropped out of school and became a drug addict.

Anyway. While I was scouring the net for creative writing resources, I thought of Peter Carver and I wondered what he was doing now. I knew he’d left Glebe Collegiate quite suddenly, and had spent some time as a fiction editor in Alberta. Well. It turns out that he lives near Guelph, Ontario, and, among other things, he and his partner offer annual writing workshops at his place in Nova Scotia! The very same place he invited me to when I was 16. Unfortunately I just missed this year’s workshop by a couple of weeks, but maybe if the stars stay aligned, I’ll go next year. I love it when things come full circle.

11 comments to Full circle rambling

  • Your rambles are a lot more coherent than my rants, I tell you that much.

    – RG>

  • Woodsy

    Zoom, you are a writer, and your blog is a legacy of unequaled beautiful writing. If you are now thinking what else to write, how about writing your life story…

  • Well, Zoom, you are clearly a writer. You just want to expand the kind of writing you are doing right now.

    I have read a whole pile of writing books. My faves are Bird by Bird (Anne Lamott), Writing Down the Bones (Natalie Goldberg), On Writing (Stephen King. I couldn’t put it down, even though I am not a fan of his fiction) and What It Is (Lynda Barry). I find that whenever I need a jumpstart, they can provide inspiration. And I guess that they can also provide an excuse to procrastinate. I usually get the books out of the library and buy the ones I want to own. I would more than willing to lend you any of the ones I have mentioned. Really.

    I think XUP is right in that most of the time, you just have to show up and write. However, I did find it helpful to take an online course last year. It turns out that I am the kind of person that really does thrive with deadlines and some structure. I did the “So you’ve always wanted to write fiction” (or something like that, with Shelley Singer) with Writers’ Online. The class participation was very disappointing but I did appreciate the feedback (more of it would have been good). I ended up being the only student who handed in all the assignments and the only one who handed in the last assignment. In my case, this was an outline for a novel. I was elated, very proud of myself and got great feedback.

    However, I handed it in on December 31 and haven’t looked at it since.

    So, based on Rachael’s experience and your pledge to join, I signed up to for NanoWrimo. We’ll see what comes of that.

    Another great thing I did was a day-long writing workshop with Jennifer Noxon. That was AMAZING and definitely something I would do again.

    OK. I promise to never hog your comments this way again.

  • XUP

    First you steal my “or I’ll eat my cat” proviso and then you mention me in the same sentence as Tom Sawyer. This is a dark, dark day. No, really it is…it looks (and feels) like it might snow, actually. But like everybody has been saying, you’re writing every day here and other places so you ARE a writer. Obviously you are able to write and you write well and you write things that interest people, so the ingredients are all there. Now you just need to focus them into a larger project. So, go on then!

  • Woodsy

    What’s going on here with all this eating cats comments? Has Coyote been brainwashing you,Zoom and Xup? Do NOT eat your cats, unless you are prepared to then cough up hairballs for a week…

  • Tom Sawyer

    “By the end of Grade 11, Iā€™d devoured all the Grade 13 English courses at Glebe, and I felt there was nothing left for me there, so I dropped out of school and became a drug addict.”

    There’s your opening sentence; fiction, non-fiction, autobiography, fictional non-fiction, whatever. That’s where it starts.

    People love to read about people.

    And how dare you mention my name in the same sentence as XUP? She dropped me as a friend on Facebook. Of all the indignities, or-or…insults! How will I cope?

  • felonius bunk

    nice flash on the ottawa writers group scene in ‘still life with june’, an award-winnning romp about someone who writes through a similar-ish metamorphosis; you got a freezer? that cat’s way too big for one meal (love the band, though!)

  • Grouchy, sometimes I just have to give myself permission to ramble in order to write. šŸ˜‰

    Woodsy, thank you for your unequaled praise! My life story, hmmm? Well, maybe some of my life’s stories.

    Laurie, thanks, those sound like interesting leads too. I’m trying to remember who Jennifer Noxon is (without googling her. I know i know.).

    XUP, it was a brilliantly executed literary typo. šŸ˜‰ And I knew I’d get your attention by mentioning you and Tom in the same sentence. It’s not *my* fault you agreed with each other. šŸ˜‰

    Woodsy, thanks, I needed that! (I think I bit off more than I could chew anyway.)

    Tom, I’ll take another look at that line and see where it goes. As for mentioning you and your X friend in the same sentence, that’s what you get for being the only one who said “XUP is right.” Anyway, no battling it out on my blog, the land of peace signs, bunny rabbits and Care Bears. (Hey, how come you don’t have a blog?)

    FB, you’re right about the cat. He’s way too sweet too.

  • Jennifer Noxon: singer, song-writer and visual artist.

  • XUP

    A literary typo? You didn’t mean to say “I’ll eat my cat?” Because that’s exactly what I meant to say when I wrote it.

  • Laurie, thanks for the reminder – and then last night I heard her name on CBC as I was falling asleep. I forget the context.

    XUP – I responded by email @ your work address.