stars, eggs, editors, and other bright lights

Must be the way the stars are lined up. Or something. February’s darkness and promise of light? The way the snow crunched under my boots this morning? A perfectly poached egg?

Whatever it is, I’m full of the joys today.

Could be that I’ve begun serious revisions on the ms with the help of a freelance editor—whose help I should have enlisted moons ago. But one has to be ready, there’s marinating time, other things to be written and (thank god) published in the interim. Other games to play.

‘Games’ as in both politics and pure fun. The first is a given, everyone’s up to their necks in that, but the second, the play, the lightheartedness that allows for pleasure in the ‘process’—that sometimes gets overlooked, shoved aside for later. And when later never comes Jack turns into such a cranky pain in the butt.

And yes, I know, I know, the sky is falling over publishing, and true, the industry may not be perfect and the work may sometimes feel like dancing in cement and no one understands us or treats us with respect…wah wah… but jeezuz, would you really rather be doing anything else?  

Here’s what I’m saying: there’s altogether too much grumbling out there.

My ears and eyes hurt from it. I’m thirsty for positive thinking. Maybe we could look at the problems as opportunity?? A new world to embrace, even be enthusiastic about, rather than cynical and bitchy. Some very novel things happening on this front, as revealed over at Book Madam.  More of that please. Constructive action, not whinging, is what we need.

Let’s talk about what works, celebrate the good stuff—because it’s happening out there. Just maybe not to the naysayers. Or not at the moment. Or maybe it’s happening and they’re just not seeing it because they want what the other kids have. Wah.

So much is perspective and, granted, on another day in another mood, I might not be writing any of this. But today I’m feeling (annoyingly?) perky.

Truth is much of my current perky joyful positivity has to do with good news received by two writerly friends in the space of just a few months. 

No one is more surprised at how their success has added a zing to my own spirits.

The first is Steven Mayoff, whom I met at a workshop a few years ago on the beautiful shores of PEI and whose short story collection Fatted Calf Blues was not only short listed for the ReLit Award, but went on to win the PEI Book Award. The second, a former Humber classmate, Darcie Friesen Hossack, whose (also short story collection) Mennonites Don’t Dance has just been short listed for the Commonwealth Prize.

Egad. I should be knotted up with envy and bitterness, no? Both Darcie and I had work nominated for the 2009 Journey Prize, neither of us made the cut. She went on to make a book. I’m still revising. I should be asking myself: why am I still revising? But oddly, I’m euphoric rather than frustrated. Could be symptoms of a mania, but actually, I think it’s more honest to god joy that maybe the sky isn’t falling. That good things— yes they do!—still happen.

The bonus is that when they happen to really good people, it’s impossible not to be thrilled.

And revelling in the success of others, it seems, is not only good for the soul, but for the writing. An inspiration and a happy reminder that anything is always possible.

As for me, sir, I’ll take my pleasure anyplace I can…


14 thoughts on “stars, eggs, editors, and other bright lights

  1. Nice post and thanks for the mention. Thankfully, there’s no real timetable when it comes to things happening. They happen when they happen, no matter how fervent or lackadaisical we are. If I find myself feeling envious of other writers’ success it often means the writing isn’t going well, rather than I’m not where I should be career-wise (whatever that means). I’ve always found that when the writing is going well nothing else matters. And when another writer succeeds it means that there’s hope for all of us. Good luck with your revisions. You sound very excited about them and so you should be. The best time in a writer’s life is when the work is in front of her and she knows what she has to do.

  2. You’re so right (profound even) about envy. Doesn’t happen when we’re feeling good about our own work. Never thought of that. How when the words are falling where they should, nothing matters… So true.

    As for the revisions… maybe not exactly excited, but relieved that I’m no longer groping through the mist all alone. :)

  3. “… the play, the lightheartedness that allows for pleasure in the ‘process’—that sometimes gets overlooked, shoved aside for later.”

    Carin, in a week when reality feels very surreal, when I don’t know quite what to do with myself, you’ve inspired me right back.

    1. Darcie, I can’t tell you how happy I am for you. The contract was one thing, but this… is stunningly wonderful. Surreal must be the least of what you’re feeling!
      I loved your ‘numb face’ comment. :D

      1. Oh my goodness, you hold the seasons together in such a satisfying season (as it was you who informed me at the end of August that I still had another month of summer left!)

    1. Poor maligned February, eh? ;)
      Thanks, Teri… and stay warm in la belle province…(unless of course you’re back in Greece?)

  4. Kerry, so glad to be of service!
    Note the (essential) nuances of seasonal lingo:
    (in August) *still* another month of summer
    (in Feb) *only* another month til spring…!

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