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April 2008

Back in the writing

I started the sixth draft of the manuscript that used to be called The Big Muckle today.  It used to be in first person.  I am trying this go around not only in third person, but with several different POV.  I’ve decided to resurrect the ex-husband from the dead, and a zillions other things. 

Who knows how it will all play out?  But it feels like it’s worth a try.

It’s an exciting, daunting, scary feeling.  I was hoping that I’d be able to use huge hunks of the old manuscript and just change it from first person to third, but the whole approach to the material is different this time, and it is doubtful I’ll be able to lift much, if anything. 

If I had known it, before I dove in today, would I have decided to go forward with attempting another rewrite?  I don’t know.  But now I am in it and there is no going back.  We’ll see what happens.




Blog entry deleted

This used to be a blog about why I decided not to do that movie.  It was very funny, but someone read it, and you know what I was saying about an over-inflated ego and control-freak tendencies.  Well…I’ll let you figure out what happened. 




Poor Will

I got a call from the school around 9:15 this morning.  Will was sick and needed to be picked up.  He didn’t eat a lot of breakfast this morning, I figured it was because we had a huge dinner last night and he was still full.  Only had one boiled egg, one English muffin, one slice of bacon and two or three pieces of fresh pineapple. 

Now some people might be reading this and saying to themselves, that is a HUGE breakfast, but believe me, for a 6’3” teenage boy, that is small.

I pulled up to the school and he came out.  I knew by the way he was walking that it was not good. 

And it hasn’t been.  He hasn’t been this sick since he was seven.  All the color drained out of his face.  And then once we were home and the sickness set in even more, his face got even more pale, which I could have swore wouldn’t have been possible.  Thank God he’s listening to me about drinking fluids.  I’ve been trying to mix it up with all kinds of options.  De-hydration is the biggest concern with a bad flu.  I’ve been giving him chicken broth, Gatorade, water, soda crackers, and home-made iced tea.  Food is impossible. 

Around two hours ago, his eyes got glittery and the fever set in. 

I hope he’s better soon. 

He’s so polite when he’s sick.  He’s always been that way.  Some people get mean and grouchy when they are sick.  I suppose it’s because they are scared, but not Will.  The worse his sickness hits him, the sweeter and politer he gets.  All, yes please, and thank you, and no thank you, I’m fine.  Sick as a dog and as good as a saint.  That’s my Will for you. 

Will continue to check on him through the night.  Got my fingers crossed that tomorrow he wakes up with some color in his face.  Make sure you wash your hands everyone, lots of soap and water.  This is a really bad flu.  You don’t want to get it.




I wasn’t planning on blogging today but…

Don was playing on my computer, went to stats-counter and saw that I’ve had 1146 hits today.  “You have to blog,” he said.  “People want to know!”

“Know what?” I said, sullenly, but it didn’t help.  He handed my laptop over to me and went over and sat on the other sofa to continue his reading saga of Anna Karenina.  I think perhaps that is why he decided I must blog, because he wanted to read instead of entertaining me. 

So here I am.  Blogging, while he tucks into his great literary masterpiece, feet propped up on the coffee table crossed at the ankle, the top foot wiggling wildly, nibbling at the thumb on his left hand.  He moves his mouth slightly when he reads.  I think it helps him focus. 

Now the thumb is out of his mouth and he is chewing his bottom lip. 

I could never read the way he does.  If I am reading a massive 800 pages-plus book, I have to read it lying in bed or on the sofa.  My arms would get too tired sitting up, holding the weight of it in the air close enough to my aging eyes so that they could see.  And I would need a stack of candy or a bag of some kind of crunchy, salty edibles to nibble on, to make the reading of such a large book a special occasion. 

I know this is not an admirable quality for an author to admit to, but if a book is over a certain length, I hesitate before buying it, because I am the type of reader, that once I start in on a book, it is very hard for me to put it down.  Now I can plan my time so that I can slip away from my less pressing duties for a day or two, but an 800+ page book would require at least a four day commitment, and that is a much harder amount of uninterrupted time to carve out. 

Whereas Don always has around five books on the go at all times.  Taste testing one and then the other, dabbling in which ever one he feels like.  That’s the way he reads.  I could never read that way!  I get too wrapped up in the story, need to know how it plays out, what happens.  Can’t be fully present in my own life until I finish it.  When I’m in the middle of a book, I am a bad cook.  Reading or when I am writing the first draft of one of my own.  I over salt things, forget the baking powder, am too liberal with the ingredients. 

If I invite you over for dinner and you know I am in the throes of a book.  Politely suggest that perhaps dinner out would be a nice break.  You won’t regret it.

Well, that didn’t take him long.  I just looked up and Anna Karenina is back down on the coffee table and he is curled up on the sofa sleeping.  There is something about the position that his body is in, that reminds me of my children when they were small.  The way they would fall asleep in these impossibly bent positions.  He looks sweet, the sound of his sleep breath.  Cozy.




shifting gears

So sleepy today.  Went to bed so late and then woke up at 6 AM.  Couldn’t fall back into my sleep wave so I went downstairs and read the character info my sister sent me and then got inspired to start working on my own. 

I’ve never done an improv movie.  Actually, I didn’t know such a thing exists.  Not quite sure how the whole thing works.  I guess I’ll find out as we go along. 

Hard to believe that I’m going to be in Cannes in around two weeks, hanging out with Jenny, acting.  It’s weird.  A mix of feelings.  Been so long since I’ve done this kind of stuff.  Not sure how I feel.  On one hand, I’m excited to spend the time with Jenny, free-falling into the work. 

On the other hand, it’s all very well to be content with being forty-eight years old and all that goes with it, but do I really want it to be documented, photographed and blown up to the gargantuan size that is required to fill a movie screen?  What forty-eight year old woman in her right mind would be jumping up and down saying “Yes!” ?

Not only that, but will I be able to fly along at the same rate as the other actors, none of whom have taken a fourteen year hiatus?  Many of them have done these improv movies before with the director. 

And how does this whole, no concrete script, no written dialogue thing work?  Even though it seems to me, that there is a freedom in it, because the camera is just rolling and the scene unfolds however it does.  There is a sense that maybe the character will feel more like it is mine.  Rather than a chess piece being moved about.  But it’s an odd feeling too.  I am so used to finding clues about the back-story from the script.  With this project, each person writes their own back-story. 

And then I wonder, since they don’t know what they are going to have until it comes out of everybody’s mouths, how will they know how to cover it?  Will they be able to cut it?  And then I think, It’s none of your business, Meg.  And I try to let it go.

I called my old acting agent, Ilene, today, and we talked about the logistics, when they needed me, where I would be staying, and it was wonderful to hear her voice, to be chatting like old times and at the same time, it was sort of strange too, how there is the familiarity and yet a huge hunk of time has passed.  Everything the same, but different.

What an interesting life I have.




I didn’t win but…

I had a damned good time!  The food was better than edible.  I have never been to a big banquet dinner where I actually ate the food.  Not only that, I didn’t know that I knew so many people.  It’s going to sound weird, it’s a hard feeling to explain, but it felt like I was beginning to be part of this writing community.  Seriously.  People kept coming by and saying hello, giving me hugs, and it didn’t stop after the prize was handed to someone else.  If anything, I had an even better time. 

Christianne whooping and hollering her hands clapping wide and big over her head when my name was announced and I had to stand up.  (I’m grinning at my computer right now remembering it.)  Her fierce hug afterwards and her note that I read when I got home and washed my face.

The white rose that was pinned to my dress, so everyone would know that I was a nominee.  It felt special. 

The bagpiper who walked with a bent-kneed-glide and led the procession of the Lieutenant Governor and the other dignitaries that were there.

Rita Wong won the poetry prize for her poetry collection Forage.  And I am so happy for her.  We spent the last week on the book tour and if I could have chosen anyone to win something, it would have been her.  Not just because her poetry rocks, but because of everything she is, how she walks in the world, the straight forward, pure truth that surrounds her. 

Karen was there, and James too.  And a lovely man in a velvet jacket and a kilt said such sweet things to me, and he had such kind eyes, and I enjoyed talking with him and wished I knew him better so I could ask him if the rumors about what was, or wasn’t under the kilt were true. 

Another man in a green shirt and a dark blue blazer introduced himself and told me how much he loved Gemma.  That it was a hard, but important book.  And when he said this and other things too, my eyes filled up, because Gemma is my child that nobody wanted, and that he saw her beauty, said these things to me, moved me deeply. 

Several of my favorite booksellers came by and said hello.  It was cozy.  I wish I didn’t suck at names.  I remembered faces, incidents, conversations even, but I don’t remember the names.

And then when Robert Wiersema and Dennis Foon joined up with me and Don, well the conversation topics got a little out of hand, but I suppose I am to blame partly for that.  It’s fun being bad.  I haven’t laughed so much in quite a while. 

Robert is almost finished the first draft of his new novel, which is really exciting.  And he and his family are going on a very long cruise, which I hope will be exciting and action-packed in a good way, not the throwing-up variety.

It is one o’clock in the morning, and I should go to bed, but sleep is impossible.  I’m still too excited by the evening.  Tonight made me want to write.  But Don is waiting, patiently upstairs, so tomorrow. Tomorrow I write.  And hopefully, write well.




I couldn’t have had a better morning

Good morning everybody.  It’s so nice to be home.  I woke up this morning and was so happy to be in my own bed.  Rolled over on my side and watched my husband sleep, his mouth slightly ajar, face peaceful.  He’s gotten some laugh lines in the seven years we’ve been together.  He might think they make him look old, but I love them.  It gives me comfort to see the creases spread out from the corners of his eyes.  Fanning out, almost reaching his temples, kissing his cheek bones.

It used to be, when we first got together, and I would watch him sleep, that I would get scared, because his face was so still, shut.  I couldn’t find any trace or proof that he loved me.  That he was still there, inside his body.

But this morning, watching him sleep, I could see proof positive of our life, our love, the hours we have spent together, laughing, worrying, loving. 

When he awoke, slow and sleepy, having to blink hard, once, twice, seeing me, the smile in his eyes and heart calling the laughter lines into full use.  We lay on our sides, me snuggled down facing him propped up on his elbow, and I talked and he listened like he was interested, like he really wanted to know, and I shared where I had been with him, stories of the places we’d gone, the people we met, conversations had. 

And when we were talked all out, and other things too, I put on my soft new robe that he had bought for me while I was away.  Let the dogs out and then returned to the kitchen and made chicken sausages and buttermilk waffles with the waffle iron that my friend Ilene gave me seventeen years ago.  A waffle iron that was her grandmother’s before she died.  And so thoughts of Ilene were with me as well as we ate the delicious breakfast and my boy said, “Um…tastes good.”

So happy to be home.




Home again

I just got home.  On the road all day, so blogging was impossible.  Going to go snuggle with my honey.  Will blog tomorrow. xo




So much better

I had the best afternoon ever, visited a lovely school.  Smiling just thinking about it.  Anyway, I wrote all about it on the BC Book Tour blog, if you want to read about it.  One reading tonight, another one tomorrow morning and then we begin the long trek home.  It will be nice.  I’m going to buy a big free-range turkey and all the fixin’s and cook it up and eat it.  Yum! 

Either I’ll make it Sunday, or Don said something about Dave coming back next week?  I can’t remember because we didn’t get home until around midnight last night and my mind was mush by the time I had my good-night phone call with Don. 

We got back to the hotel so late because the mountain pass was very treacherous and ladened with thick fast falling snow.  It was touch and go whether we were going to make it at all.  It was hard to see the road at times, because along with the snow and the dark, there was also, fog. 

It was scary, but fun too.  We told ghost stories.  Real life ones.  Personal ones.  Bryan drove like the champion he is.  I was very impressed, but even more, I was thankful that it was not me at the wheel, skidding up and then down the highest mountain peak in B.C. in all that pounding thick snow, with the lives of four other people depending on him.  Very glad indeed.

(Thank you Ruth and Carolyn for your very sweet thoughtful, timely emails.  Yesterday’s episode is well and truly behind me.)




Still on the road…

Hello,

I don’t know if you are reading them, but I’ve been posting blog on BC Book Tour’s blog as well as here and will be for the rest of this tour. 

I’m tired today.  A combination of being away from home and the loud music blaring in the Honky-tonk bar below me, that seems every night to push the ante just a little bit further.  The first night, the music and whoops and hollers subsided a little after ten.  Then next night it was around 11:10 PM when they turned it down.  LAST night, it was well after midnight!  Or at least that’s when I was able to fall asleep.  David (the author, not my son) said it went on way longer than that. 

Heather moved rooms to the other side of the building and up a floor, inadvertently giving up Internet access, which would have been worth it, but apparently on that side of the building someone had left a dog in a parked van and the dog howled and barked until the wee hours of the morning. 

No one, apparently, had a good night’s sleep.

“I was thinking what we should do is,” Heather said, eyes sparkling.  “Is march into the bar at midnight.”

“In our pajamas,” I put in.

“And do a reading,” she continued.  And the image it conjured up, couldn’t help but make us laugh.  Us doing our passion filled readings of literature, to a bunch of confused, bleary eyed drunks.  “That would clear the place for sure!” Heather said.  “Five minutes tops.”

I find I am missing the comfort of home.  My husband, my boy, Will, my pots and pans, having a fridge.  And to make the missing even more, my boy David arrived last night.  He had a couple of days off, and I’m not there. 

I made Don promise to stand on the stairs, like I do sometimes with my tall grown-up boy and give him a hug, tell him, “This is a hug from your mom.” 

“Did you do it?” I asked Don last night on the phone, talking before I tried and failed to drift off to sleep.  “Did you give him the hug from me?”

“Yep,” Don said.

“Did you stand on the stairs so you were taller?  Did you tell him it was from me?”

“Yep,” Don said.

“Did he laugh?”

“Yep,” Don said.  And it made me happy.  Happy and sad too, because I wished I would have been able to make him laugh in person.

I woke up at ten after three AM, because I thought I felt Don touch my shoulder.  Thought he needed to talk, so I dragged myself out of my sleep wave to be there for him.  And then the room came into focus, and I felt so empty and tired and wanted to be back home, snug in my bed, with my Molly dog sleeping outside my door.

The male teacher at the school I read at today hated my guts.  I don’t even know this guy, but he had a whole story about me and who I was playing in his head.  He was a real asshole.  I wonder if his wife left him or something and I reminded him of her?  I was there for the kids, but he made it hard.  So glad I never have to see him again.  What an unpleasent person.  He really hurt my feelings and then in the van, I got mad.  He doesn’t deserve my anger.  I’m over it now.  But it’s people like that, that make people like me want to just stay home, and stop trying to help, give back.




early morning

I woke up with the usual.  4:45 AM.  This is one of those times when I wish I had Internet in my room.  Am tempted to go out to my post in the hallway, so I can answer emails, browse the web, until sleep decides to return.  But then I’d have to get dressed, and getting out of my p.j. and into clothes, seems counter-sleep-productive somehow.  So, I am writing this blog on Word and then will post it later, when I am dressed and the rest of the world is awake.

There is something about this B.C Book Tour that reminds me of making movies, all those years ago.  I think it’s the brief spurts of actually doing (reading to people) what we came here to do, combined with the hours and hours of waiting. 

That sort of float-drifting.  In a strange town, hours to burn until the next event, too far away to go back to the hotel.  And so you wander.  Drink tea.  Eat a bit.  Find a café that has wireless.  Stay until the place closes.  Find another.  Being thrown in together with people that you don’t know, for long periods of time.

At first, you all have the writer thing in common.  Then it feels that you have nothing in common.  And then, as the facades fall away, you see the commonality again, but on a deeper, more human level. 

That being said, it’s odd to spend some 12 or so hours with a group of people, when usually, I spend perhaps a total of five hours a week with people other than Don and Will.  Huge hunks of alone time.  Just me and my thoughts and the page. 




Oops!

Okay, so I just checked the blog to make sure I did everything right…I guess I didn’t!  That picture is GYMORMOUS!  And I don’t have the vaguest idea how to correct it. 

Well, I say brightly, it will help you get a better sense of the vastness of the snow.  Yeah, I did it on purpose.  (At least until I can sic Don on the problem. Don can fix anything.)  Don honey, I need your help.




On the road

Hello everyone,

I am at present in Clive’s cafe using their Internet access, and waiting for our 7 PM reading at Cornerstone Cafe.  We did our reading this morning at Glenmerrry Elementary for a wonderful group of students.  The hands kept flying in the air, which is always a wonderful thing for an author to see.  The worst is that dead pause when nobody, and I mean nobody wants/is brave enough to get the ball rolling. 

I always have a special affection in my heart for the first hand that is hoisted into the air. 

We left the hotel in Nelson at 9:30 this morning.  It was snowing hard.  Oh hey, I’m going to post a very bad picture I took out of the back seat of the van of the snow whizzing by.  It is a very flawed picture and I wasn’t planning on posting it, but as I was writing this, I thought the grimy smeared visual might help.  Be right back.  I’m off to wrestle with the mechanics of downloading a picture.  (Speaking of which, I’ve posted another blog on the BC Book Tour blog as well, for those of you who feel the need to over indulge in a dose of Meg.) 

image

See what I mean.  Bad photo, but it gives you an idea of what the glamorous life of an author is like.  For all of you aspiring authors.  Pounding snow in April.  It’s a good thing Don made me stuff a sweater in my suitcase at the last minute, even though I scoffed at him.  “Don,” I said.  “I checked on the Weather Network.  It said it was going to be 8 degrees Celsius.”  Not.  I am freezing my butt off.

However, here in Trail, it is warmer.  There are no banks of waist deep snow.  There is no snow at all.  We did, while we were shlepping around town, have hail.  There was a rumor started amongst the authors that it was debris from the smelter, but Meg, the detective came to the rescue.  I picked up a piece and it melted in my hand.  Hail.  I type this a trifle more smugly than is seemly.  I guess it’s that whole, “Okay, maybe I didn’t go to University like the rest of you, but I know hail when I see it!”  ( Now I’m sitting here in this cafe with a huge smile on my face.  Silly huh?  Glad I’m facing the window and they can’t see me.)




Soiree

Hello bloggers,

This is a picture of KC and me at the BC Book Prize Soiree last night.  For those of you who are long time readers of my blog, KC is the person I was nervous about asking if she’d like to go for a walk.  Well, now here we are a couple months later, we go for a walk every week.  What a happy outcome huh?  So if there is someone you have met, that you think you might like to be friends, give it a go.  Even if you think you might look like a doofus.  Not much to lose, a little dignity perhaps.  But who knows, you might end up lucky like me and have a new friend.

image

(And don’t worry, I’m not going to inundate you with photos.  I’m just practicing.  Don was teaching me how, so hopefully, I’ll be able to post some pictures of our road trip on the BC Book Tour blog.)




Well…at least one thing is now in my suitcase

Okay, so the last posting was a little silly.  These things cannot be helped.  Only tolerated.

I shall now do a sophisticated blog so you, my good friends, shall forget that brief lapse, fall, perhaps from my lofty perch of…hmm…I’m not sure where this sentence is going?  Best to leave it unfinished and move on to the elegant topic at hand.

I have decided to bring the new face powder that my sister Jennifer bought for me on the road trip to the Kootenays.  It is called “Jurlique”  and it is very fancy indeed!  It smells really pretty and right under the brand name it says “Lavender Silk Finishing Powder A translucent calming facial powder”  Then on the back it says “A silky translucent facial powder that refines the complexion and helps reduce unwanted shine.  Leaves the skin fresh and radiant.” 

Well, that’s definitely what is called for.  With this “change of life” thing I’m going through, my face could certainly use calming.  Not to mention, who wouldn’t want their skin to look fresh and radiant? 

Oh and then on the side of the box it says “Beauty from Beauty  Our herbs and flowers are gently tended and harvested by hand on our certified organic and biodynamic farms.”  Even better!  If there aren’t a lot of chemicals and things, maybe I won’t be allergic to it.  Hopefully.  A terrible case of hives is not what springs to mind when I read “refines the complexion.”  I’m allergic to so many shampoos and facial products it’s pathetic. 

Now, one would think that I would try out the fancy new face powder before I left, so that if anything untoward happened, ie: a rash. I would be able to lurk around in my house until my face cleared up.  Probably not the smartest time to try out a new product when I have a bunch of public speaking events to show up at.  But do I stray from this path?  NO!  I am not a timid sort!  Live wild, that’s what I say.  I’m bringing this face powder and I’m going to use it! 

Alright, enough fun, back to my packing.




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