Category Archives: Young Adult

Post-Thesis Blues and How I Became a Job Ninja

trendsSome artists find creative fortitude in depression. Some people make themselves upset on purpose in order to produce the sad self-reflection that devastation can bring about. These artists have offered up their insides to the world. Lovely people like Joni Mitchell, Hemmingway, Joan Didion, Paul Simon and Chopin wrote break-up songs and love letters that created a shared space for the human experience.

It’s important to be where you are and to appreciate being alive enough to feel big feelings and then to use those insights to open your mind to better empathize with our collective human experience.

I wish I was one of those people, brave enough to dance with my own demons, but I’m often not. I thrive on momentum and inspiration. And though I know that the down and dark parts have to be experienced, that they won’t go without a fight, I am not prone to embracing them. I try to avoid them.

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E-Readers. Get used to it.

Remember when film cameras were being replaced with digital cameras? I distinctly recall feeling super uncomfortable about that. I’d had digital cameras in my house since they started (my mom worked for a dot-com before the bubble burst). Our first one was a bulky device that took giant photos and saved them directly to a floppy disc that I could then insert into my computer to upload six photos, which took twenty minutes. The idea that those intangible cumbersome ideas of pictures would replace the thrill of pointing, clicking and waiting for your film to develop was such a bummer.

That sickening bout of nostalgia was quickly relieved, however, as cameras got better rapidly and the making and sharing of photography became practically free. I can’t imagine that there are any practically minded people out there that are still mourning the reign of the film camera.

***Remember: there will always be purists and nothing is ever really gone forever.

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Reluctantly Yours, The Artist.

Only children actually want to be artists – children, rich people, and boring people who are afraid of being exposed as boring people. Most of us grow up, and either learn that we aren’t interested/talented/crazy, and we move on because we are intelligent/responsible/hungry. The rest of us are either rich people/children/boring or reluctant artists. When I was a kid, I didn’t want to be an artist, I wanted to be an astronaut. And I often blame my mom for my not becoming one.  She refused to send me away to Space Camp. But really, I was never going to be an astronaut. She knew from the start what I was.

Artist is a nebulous term that I don’t have a definition for exactly, but so far as I understand, here are some of the symptoms:

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Un-Friend All of Your Writers

Don’t make friends with writers. I am a writer and I have a bunch of friends. I’m not bragging, I’m just telling it like it is. The fact is, I think I should have fewer friends.

My friends are nice friends. They love me and tell me that I am talented and they go to my readings and proofread my atrocious grammar and spelling. They are there for me when I need to quit my job, again and again. They validate my unjustifiable laziness and unsuccessfulness. They do this for me because I encourage it and I am entertainingly embarrassing at parties.

Little do they know that I’m a whining, way less than prolific, self-righteous, know-it-all with a Goddess-complex (maybe they do know this and wonder why I keep coming around).

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The Day Job vs. Bliss

It happens from time to time that a tortured artist toils and bleeds for her craft, only to die before it means anything to anyone. It also happens that an artist toils and bleeds for her craft and no one reads or cares about her work, dead or alive. But hopefully, the artist is dead by then and, presumably, doesn’t care.

No one likes to think about these things, but it’s true. Sometimes, the thing you love doesn’t love you back. Just like a girlfriend who doesn’t love you back, it so happens that, a person can follow his “bliss” (just as Joseph Campbell tells him to), and nothing comes of it. Sometimes people get hit by Mack trucks. It’s not personal, it’s physics.

So, in the mean time (the space between being a raging success and the Mack truck), you’ll probably need to get a job. You’ll want a job for the moneys that keep writers in mac laptops, gluten-free muffins and five-dollar lattes. But, what should a writer do? Isn’t a job selling out?

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Thank you, Science Fiction

Today I caught a Sunday matinée of Prometheus — a heavily criticized film that is meant to be something of a pre-Alien movie. I’m just going to come right out and say that I thought it was fine. I don’t know if I thought that because so many big block busting sci-fi films have let me down so spectacularly or because it actually was fine (please direct all of your well-composed thoughts to the contrary to someone who hasn’t thought of them already). It made me think about my beloved science fiction genre (or Speculative fiction, if you please) and I realized that I haven’t yet posted about my heart, my genre, my raison d’écrire.

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How is Writer’s Block like a Pop Star?

 So, I might have Writer’s Block. But, I don’t have any of the Wikipedia symptoms. I haven’t run out of ideas or inspiration — at least then I could do something else. So far as I can tell, the reason that Writer’s Block is so uncomfortable is because I know what I have to do but, I can’t seem to figure out how to do it. I could recite volumes of ideas and reasons to compose them but I cannot for the life of me write them down.

This conundrum has led me to a few sweeping generalizations about the affliction we call Writer’s Block. For one thing, how can you be sure you really have Writer’s Block? I have come up with a more comprehensive and realistic list of symptoms and tell-tale signs to look out for. They are as follows:

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How to Write an Unimpressive Author Bio

Before I began to think seriously about writing, it hadn’t occurred to me that the ultra-flattering,  commanding write ups that appeared in magazines, book covers and magazines were written by the author. The idea of writing my own freaks me right out – not because I don’t think highly and deeply about my work but because I don’t want to tell anyone about it. Yeesh, I’m a Canadian for goodness sakes. I subscribe to a cultural rejection of self-righteousness. It repulses me, like any other respectable Canuck, to simply spell out the ways that I am so great.

I’ve had to write an author bio exactly three times and each one was a disaster.

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5 Stages of Recovery from a Rejection Letter

Every writer gets rejection letters. You’re supposed to take them in stride. They say that “only the persistent writers make it anywhere”. They also say, “maybe the story wasn’t a good fit with that publication”, “it’s hard to get published these days”, “no one reads anymore”, and “try not to take it personally.” But, I want to know if there is a person alive who can manage not to take it personally.

Actually, I don’t. If you are such a person, keep it to yourself.

I am willing to bet that most people go through something like this:

First Stage: SWEATING

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COLLINS: The Hunger Games Trilogy

I got to The Hunger Games — the YA book phenomenon by Suzanne Collins, way late. In fact, I didn’t expect to read these books at all. If it hadn’t been for my YA writer friend Alison Mills, they may never have crossed my path.

Upon her suggestion, I downloaded a book (not this one) that came in a package with The Hunger Games for a few more dollars. I had heard of the trilogy and that it was going to be made into a movie.

Since I love a good pop-book event, I decided to read them before that happened. Because, as we all know, seeing the movie before reading the book, makes the possibility of creating your own imaginationscape pretty difficult.

So I queued it up on my KOBO and strapped it to the display of the elliptical machine at the gym. I’m all about atmosphere. Continue reading