Showing posts with label Bone and Bread. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bone and Bread. Show all posts

March 7, 2014

Alma Mater Matters and a trip to Ottawa

You know when something is so perfect that you don’t know how to write about it without somehow diminishing it?

Even two three four weeks out from the event I did at the College of the Humanities at Carleton University, I’m not sure what I can say about it that would do it justice. I really had the nicest time!


Before I went to Ottawa, I thought a lot about what I remembered from my university classes as part of my Humanities degree, and I realized it's hard to predict what will stick with you. I jotted down a few of the random facts that have lingered in my mind in the dozen or so years since I graduated. I listed a few of them at the beginning of my reading, and I'm sharing a couple of them here upon request: 

  • Paradise is shaped like a multifoliate rose 

  • Flatterers are found in the 8th circle of hell 

  • Ezekiel cut his beard into three parts (which, respectively, were burned, chopped, and  thrown to the wind)   

So basically the recesses of my mind belong mostly to Dante and the Old Testament. 


I also dug out some of my old notebooks from university and flipped through them to see what I'd frantically underlined or highlighted in my notes as critically important knowledge from our Humanities lectures. 

Pack rat or archivist: you decide.

Here are some of the choice phrases I’d highlighted in my notes:

  • Socratic speech is always adapted to suit the interlocutor.

  • The experience of transcendence also involves the experience of immanence.

  • Happiness is contemplation.

  • There is an erotic compulsion to intellectual virtue.

Yep.

After my random reminiscing, I did a reading from Bone & Bread and a Q & A with Ottawa poet David O’Meara. David did some one-on-one feedback sessions with aspiring College writers back in the day and very helpfully stopped me from writing like a Victorian. So it was fun to be able to thank him in person and chat about writing, too. 

Everyone was incredibly generous with their questions and comments, and it was lovely to see old friends and former professors in the audience. I never imagined speaking in that lecture hall and having my (revered!) profs ask me questions about the creative process. It was humbling and thrilling all at once.

There were old friends from Carleton, former classmates and teachers...even a girl I used to babysit! But o
ne of the most exciting reunions was with B., my dearest and very best friend from Grade 1/2, and her mom, who was my fourth grade teacher...and my first serious editor. (The editing is another post for another time.)


B, me, and Mrs. D

I wish I'd taken more photos, but my phone was in danger of powering down all day. I popped back into the seminar room before we headed out to dinner to snap this one: 







A different perspective on my old lecture hall...the front!

After the talk and the reception, there was an alumni reunion dinner. It was so wonderful to catch up with everyone and find out what they’re doing now. There were also old issues of our College literary journal, including some poems of mine I'd completely forgotten about! I was happy both to be reminded of them (okay, of some of them) and to have them restored to me with just a couple of quick photos.

Catching up with former profs/old friends

My friend K came to get me (after a complicated series of back and forth texts in which we realized that even though both of us went to Carleton, neither of us could remember any meeting place accessible by car well enough to describe it to the other person), and after I changed into pyjamas and took a couple of Tylenols (some kind of strange stress headache had taken hold the minute the talk was over) and actually gotten into bed and turned the light out, I managed to touch base with my Winnipeg writer friends and ended up having a long-distance meeting until about midnight Ottawa time. So fun! I keep forgetting about the magic of Skype.

The magic of Skype: illustrated! 

And if all that wasn't already an absurd amount fun to pack into 36 hours, the next day friend K gave me a private cross-country skiing lesson.  Maybe next time I'll fully graduate to poles. And her lovely parents cooked a delicious early supper so we could eat together before I had to catch my train home. 

K said I was a natural, and I almost believe her!

January 20, 2014

Bone & Bread: the SoCal edition

Thanks to the McGill prof who sent me these photos of Bone & Bread in Anza-Borrego State Park in Southern California! 

Bone & Bread: seeing cacti for the first time?

 Bone & Bread and a beautiful vista

The temperature here dropped again, and it feels even colder after looking at these pictures! I am officially jealous of everyone who gets to travel to California in January. (Not that I've ever been there, but I'd really like to go...)

January 5, 2014

Canada AM's Favourite Books of 2013!

I'm grateful to my mom and friends on Facebook for pointing this out to me -- Bone & Bread was mentioned as one of Canada AM's Favourite Books of 2013! Books producer Katie Jamieson discussed it on the show the other morning along with some other amazing titles. (Did you know they featured 144 books on the show this year?!) My mom is visiting family in Nova Scotia at the moment and saw the segment as it aired and called to leave me a very nice message (my phone was off because I was still asleep!), and if I'm not mistaken she sounded a little choked up. Awww. Thanks so much, Canada AM, for facilitating some spontaneous parental pride! 

If you follow the link below, you can watch the clip and see all the featured books (Bone & Bread is mentioned first, if you want to hear what they say about it):

           
It's not the first video that will start playing, but you can select it from the available clips in the library underneath.

December 31, 2013

2013: Year in Review

It has been a crazy year. And so much has happened, I feel like I’ve blogged about 50% of it. Maybe 2014 will be quieter and I'll spend the next 12 months just catching up.
Some of the big things:

I changed jobs (back to my old job, but still)
My book came out
We renovated our new apartment (note: this was happening concurrently with both of the above)
We had a major fire in our old apartment, where we were still living
We moved in (temporarily) with my in-laws
We moved into our new home
I travelled all over for writers festivals and other book-related events: Montreal, Ottawa, Eden Mills, Toronto, Winnipeg, Kingston, Victoria, and Vancouver
I won a prize! 

I blogged more than I ever have, and I read more, too. There were a lot of other things I wish I'd accomplished (more writing, for one), but as I keep reminding myself, this was an unusually busy year. I can't be too upset that I haven't finished unpacking all of my boxes or hanging all my pictures. I had a lot of commitments, as well as all the necessary preparation and pre-event anxiety that inevitably accompanies them. 

2013 book-related stuff by the numbers, as far as I can remember:

2 CEGEP talks
2 library talks 
2 book launches (MTL and TO) 
1 public lecture 
9 writers festival events
2 other miscellaneous public readings 
2 book club visits 
1 awards ceremony
1 gala
2 TV appearances
3 radio spots
10 (?) interviews
3 cover photos 
6 photo shoots 
1 nearly nude fundraising calendar

When I remember that all of this was alongside working full-time and moving (twice! kind of), I'm inclined to go a little easier on myself. I really am so lucky to have had all of these opportunities to  promote Bone and Bread, and I hope that I haven't let the book down in this regard. There are writers who are so much better at talking about their books, and just better at talking, period, that it's hard not to feel like one is constantly letting down one's novel. I hope that this is something one can get better at over time.

2013 really has been a year of highs and lows (though mostly highs). Notable best moments were the winning the QWF Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction, the Arcade Fire show at Salsatheque on 9/9/9 (!!!!! times a billion), the Ottawa Writers Festival, and my trip out west to Victoria and Vancouver (if ten days can be lumped into 'moments'). 

Worst moments include the fire, losing my grandmother, and some other passing moments of doubt and insecurity that aren't worth dwelling on.  

Actually, the fire was a kind of mixed lowlight and highlight in that I've never felt more overwhelmed by kindness than I was through the generous messages and offers of help we received in its aftermath. It's probably counterintuitive for a disaster to make one feel safer, but it really kind of did. And it made me feel so grateful for what we have and for the amazing people that we know.  

I haven't made my resolutions for 2014 yet, but among them I'm definitely going to include some non-book-related travel and a lot of writing. I also need to listen to more new music and go to more shows, so any suggestions on these fronts are very welcome...

Happy New Year, everyone!

December 20, 2013

Mother Superior goes on vacation

A professor in my department went on vacation last week and sent me some photos of my first book relaxing in St. Lucia.  I got a big kick out of them!

 A photo of my first book, Mother Superior, in St. Lucia, soaking up the sun.

On the subject of my first book, it is getting a little bit of a new lease on life thanks to Bone & Bread. I’m really grateful to Jay Miller for this review of Mother Superior on the fantastic Literatured.com.

Some of my favourite phrases from this review include “morally piebald” and “the damaging innocence of adults.”  I really like the last sentence, too: “Nawaz’s emphasis on the importance of mothering raises the question of how vulnerable children truly are, as well as the adults they become.” I’ve never described the collection that way (but I find talking about my own writing, especially in a summarizing or thematic sense, very difficult), but this strikes me as very accurate. It really is more about the vulnerability of children than it is about bad or indifferent mothers. Jay, I will probably be quoting you on this for the indefinite future, if that’s okay.

Itty bitty radio studio at CBC

In other writing-related news, I was so happy to be invited in to CBC Radio to take the 5 à 6 Culture Quiz as part of the show's 2013 round-up. I’m kind of a disaster at thinking on my feet when it comes to these things (What’s your favourite boutique? Uhhh…I blanked. Most intriguing artwork you’ve seen this year? Uh, art? What’s that?!?), but I’m hoping the magic of editing will remove some of my ridiculousness on that front. The lesson learned from this is that spontaneity is not my friend (which I already knew). In spite of feeling like no amount of coffee could make my brain work properly, it was really fun to go in and do the taping in a teeny tiny little studio and meet the lovely Tanya Birkbeck and Jeanette Kelly. From what I understand, it will air on the show tomorrow. 

 Jeanette Kelly and I at CBC!

December 13, 2013

Victoria: the rest

The day after the festival I lingered over my breakfast. One of my favourite things about my (admittedly limited) experience with British Columbia is the food.I love the health food obsession in that province. It's nice to know that anywhere I go, there will be an option with edamame or wheat germ.

The hotel had a continental breakfast that was kind of like my dream breakfast, with cottage cheese and fruit, yogurt, oatmeal, hard boiled eggs, and coffee with vanilla soy milk.   The muffin and yummy (and very helpfully wrapped) cereal bar were squirrelled away with me and eaten mid-morning.

First breakfast: consumed. Second breakfast: pictured.

Harbour breakfast view

Then I wandered around Victoria, where I was lucky enough to have two days free after the festival. This was exciting because a) I'd never been there before and b) my friend H. just moved there a few months ago. She kindly consented to playing tour guide and hanging out tons. I hope she doesn't mind starring in many of these photos! I took way too many one-handed cell phone photos,using my knuckle to click the shutter on the touchscreen, and unsurprisingly most of them are blurry. But I took a little more care when there was a person in the frame.

Major features included coffee (I also love B.C.'s coffee obsession and expertise), vintage clothing shopping and an amazing stationery store. We also tasted tons of fancy olive oil and vinegar at this neat place in the market. I would probably have been tempted to bring some home if it wasn't for the potential suitcase disaster involved.

Photos from our wandering:

There are bronies among us.

Victoria: looking pretty

I can really get behind this pie shop sign


We went to Rebar for dinner, which I'd heard of thanks to the famous cookbook but somehow always thought was in NYC. It was yummy.
 
Rebar, lovely friend, and a bottle of Blue Buck!

Another thrill about my stay in Victoria was that my hotel room was also one of the most amazing hotel rooms I've ever stayed in. It was roughly the size of my old apartment, except with real furniture.

Oh hello, home-away-from-home

The best part was the fully equipped kitchen that made it perfect for saving and reheating leftovers. (Being without food and the fear of being without food is one of my major travelling paranoias.)

Precious, precious leftovers in my hotel fridge

My second day in Victoria was not unlike the first: long breakfast, wandering/shopping, meeting up with H for a movie and late drinks/food. Hurrah for true vacations.

Beautiful sky

More Victoria vintage heaven
 
A trip to Victoria would not have been complete without a visit to Munro's Books.

Munro's Books of Victoria has a surprisingly imposing street presence (former bank?)

At first I thought they didn't carry Bone & Bread and I was sad, but then I turned around and saw that they had a whole special section for Canadian Literature!

Beautiful CanLit shelves at Munro's Books
 (I love the proximity of Bone & Bread to Dear Life by Alice Munro)

The next morning I left to catch the ferry to Vancouver to attend the Vancouver International Writers Festival... To be continued...!

December 5, 2013

more naps, please

I had a major nap earlier this evening, and thank goodness because I am still playing sleep catch-up from last week and last weekend. 

This past weekend was rehearsal for and singing in my big choir concert (singing for four hours on Friday night, and four and half on Sunday), co-hosting a birthday sleepover (remember when you were twelve and parties lasted 22 hours??), and then getting up early on Monday morning to get to the Global Montreal studio for 7:10 a.m. (the time I normally wake up!) to talk with the awesome Richard Dagenais about Bone & Bread and winning the QWF Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction. Let's be clear: I am not complaining. All of these things were amazing experiences and fun in their own ways. But I swear I am still tired and tomorrow's already Friday. It's possible that part of the reason is the fact that I ended up going to a party on Tuesday night (haircut party!) and Wednesday (holiday party at work).  It's just that time of year. 

Oh, and last Thursday (in between the four-hour dress rehearsals on Wednesday and Friday) was a 24-hour trip to Ottawa to attend the Governor General's Literary Awards gala! It's also possible that that is what I'm still recovering from. (Yet another to-be-blogged later promise I may or may not live up to.)

Taking pictures in the green room at Global Montreal

Because of birthday festivities, I had to miss an extra concert my smaller choir did on the Saturday. (The bright side is that it meant I got to sit down for one song during a rehearsal last week and just enjoy...and take pictures!)

McGill Chamber Choir rehearsing

Blowing on candles on leftover birthday cake on her real birthday

In other news (and possibly marking the end of book-related activities for 2013), I'm reading with some other lovely writers and looking forward to a delicious meal at Souvenir d'Indochine this Sunday night at a Magical Evening with Canadian Authors. If you'd like to come, there may still be spots available. (I'm really hoping this restaurant is as delicious as promised because it's just around the corner from me.) 

November 26, 2013

air, and walking on it (or, Bone and Bread wins the QWF Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction!)

It was right around this time a week ago that Bone and Bread won the QWF Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction, and it would really not be much of an exaggeration to say that I have been walking on air since then... although slowly, inevitably, I have been coming down to earth. Buoyant, however, I remain!

I've been conscious of the fact that these moments do not come along very often in the writing life. There is always something to feel bad about on any given day...some prize your book doesn't win or some middling review that appears on Goodreads... or your book doesn't sell very well or another publishing house bites the dust... or whatever it is you're working on is stalling out or you don't have enough time to work on it...on and on forever. I'm not much given to these sorts of thoughts or even comparing myself to other writers because I don't think that much good can come from it, but there's no doubt that these are some of the deadly wolves circling the cabin if you stop to take your fingers off the keyboard and let your thoughts drift away from the positive. Even without all of those things (which truly, I don't spend a lot of time thinking about), the fact is that writing is hard. Hard and often lonely and it requires a lot of sacrifice....and the payoffs can be few and far between.

I think I was trying to say that I've been enjoying myself.  And I really have! So many friends and acquaintances have sent me kind notes of congratulations, and even students and staff at my work have been tracking down the book thanks to this story in the McGill paper. My publisher sent me flowers that I've been enjoying at my desk all week. Thank you, everyone, for sharing this excitement with me!

I spent some of my prize money on purely wonderful, fun things: extravagant leather purses (this weekend was the m0851 sample sale), Arcade Fire concert tickets, a couple of pretty Modcloth dresses, and a big, hardcover novel (The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, even though I have tons of books already queued up). But I still have one of two skirts I bought with the first money I earned from a story (published in Grain), and it makes me happy to think about that fact every time I wear it. There's something to be said for not just paying bills.

The gala was lovely, even if I was a little bit too tense to enjoy it as much as I would have otherwise. The fiction prize is announced last, so I had somewhat of a hard time concentrating through the other categories, though I was really happy to see Juliet Waters pick up a giant trophy and I liked what she said about writers needing to go dust off their old abandoned drafts (her winning story was something she had decided to pick up again). I also loved what Monique Polak said about writing as a committed relationship. I was also really excited to see Ann-Marie Macdonald hosting, and she was effortlessly funny and lovely. (Sadly, I did not get to meet her!) The funniest speech of the night was by Andrew Symanski who won a prize for his book The Barista and I. He was truly shocked and kept saying how weird it was to be up there and how he'd had to borrow shoes and how he spends most of his time writing alone in a squalid bedroom. (I think there were a lot of us there who felt like he was speaking our truth. Or, at any rate, a truth we could relate to.) I was really happy for him!

Citations for all the shortlisted books are read out before the winner is announced, and it's always a good way to find out about books that might not already be on your radar (in my case, some of the non-fiction titles and the books in translation). My to-read list has increased exponentially as a result. The jurors' comments that were read out for Bone and Bread were so kind and humbling and inspiring and frankly overwhelming that I literally thought I was going to fall off of my chair. I really would have been happy to fall off, lie on the floor and weep for a few minutes. At that point, I almost didn't care if the book was going to win the prize or not.
Bone and Bread has engrossing humanity, relevance, readability and the adumbration of a sage reflection on our Montreal universe. This novel really gripped me through its characters, not through plot devices.  On the whole, it is brave, it inhabits fresh territory, it is ambitious, and successful... The author is very gifted, and…I believe she will produce significant works and become a major Canadian writer.  
(!!!)

I feel like it's the most wonderful fortune cookie fortune...the kind you tuck in your wallet and carry around forever and ever and pull out and read whenever you need to hear something good. I'm so grateful to the jury not only for the prize but for saying something so kind and encouraging.

So I went up there on the stage and said something, probably forgetting to say lots of things I should have (ahem, thank you PARAGRAPHE for sponsoring the prize and for everything you do for writers and readers in Montreal). The beautiful trophy (I have always wanted a trophy, though I have never done anything even remotely likely to get me one) has my name and the title of the book on it, which is a nice touch I didn't expect. I took it out for poutine afterwards.

still life with celebratory poutine

My only regret of the evening is not getting some pictures of my friends in their finery or of the beautiful interior of the Corona Theatre...and not getting to talk to everyone I would have liked to chat with. Given that it takes place on a Tuesday evening, the QWF gala is not a very late-night affair, so my husband and I just came home after our quick food stop with some photos to commemorate the evening.

me and my precious 

October 1, 2013

24 hours in Toronto

I'm becoming an expert on the 24-hour trip to Toronto. Top tips: take taxis, wear flat shoes, and call ahead to place your lunch/dinner orders if eating out. This will all save time and stress and let you squeeze the most out of every minute. 

This trip was less crazy than my book launch trip to TO, but it still went by in a whirl. I flew in via Porter at 8 p.m. after a full day of work, got to the hotel a little before 9 p.m., then ordered supper up to my room and started revisiting the notes I'd made for my library talk.



The next morning, I stopped by the House of Anansi offices (always a treat!) and met the new fiction editor at Anansi (a lovely woman who offered me free books...which, given the overflowing state of my apartment, is not unlike offering crack to an addict), left gleeful with a copy of Skim and Hellgoing, the new Lynn Coady (yay yay yay), had a lovely lunch with L, my new publicist, and headed to the Deer Park branch of the Toronto Public Library.

I was nervous that I wouldn't have enough to say...and also nervous that I had too much to say, or that what I'd planned to talk about would be boring (I think readers and writers often have different concerns and preoccupations when it comes to books), but everyone who attended was lovely and made me feel very welcome. Many of them had already read Bone & Bread and had interesting comments and questions.

I was very excited to meet one of them in particular: Catherine Bush's mom! I gushed here previously about getting to meet Catherine at Eden Mills, and I was so happy she asked her lovely mother to stop by and say hello.  (Her mom even rescued me before the reading by helping me locate a key to this very puzzling washroom.)


I usually get uptight about following the directives of signs, 
but this one I was quite happy to ignore completely.

L. suggested we take a picture -- I'd been too shy 
to ask Catherine for a photo together!

Then I had a fantastic though somewhat rushed visit to the brand new David Bowie exhibit at the AGO (so many amazing things to see and hear...and pretty much all the memorabilia you could imagine). I could easily have spent more than twice as long. 


A shot from outside as there was no photography allowed inside the exhibit.

Toronto looking pretty.

When I finally got to the train station (I literally ran from the cab to the gate), everyone was already boarding. But I made it! 

September 9, 2013

Bone & Bread a "Best Book" Editor's Pick at Amazon.ca and Salty Ink

Before I completely forget to neglect to commemorate this amazing fact from the beginning of the summer here, I wanted to write about Bone and Bread appearing on this list of Amazon.ca's Top 25 Books of the Year So Far, along with nine other Canadian books (and a lot of high-profile titles).  See the full list of editor's picks here.

AND over at Salty Ink, Chad Pelley named Bone and Bread as one of "the Finest 4 Novels From the First Half of 2013 (and then some).  Hurray!!  Um, anytime I am somehow mentioned in the same breath or list as Lisa Moore, I am basically ecstatic. 

(AND apologies to friends on Facebook, for whom all this news is a duplication and possibly an annoyance.) 

Last night I had an anxiety dream about some talks I may need to prepare for some upcoming events, which I guess means I should just...start preparing for them. The weekend was both social and home-improvement-oriented, both things which were necessary and enjoyable, but it meant that there was not a lot of time left for reading or writing. Where are the people with the perfect work-life balance? Let's feed them banana cake until they tell us all their secrets.

Also, today the new Arcade Fire single is out! I couldn't resist listening to the leaked version, and I'm pretty excited. 

September 5, 2013

book blogger love

Another haphazard recapping of some of the lovely reviews of Bone and Bread that have cropped up over the internet. One of the best things about stumbling upon these reviews is finding new great book blogs to read! 
 
"As a fellow Montrealer, the atmosphere of this novel really brings it to life. Nawaz writes about a Montreal I know, and live in. This has not always been the case when I’ve read other books that are set in Montreal..[...].. I highly recommend this book, especially for those who have a sister. I believe the story would be even more powerful. Great for book clubs!" (excerpted...click for full review) 
Mrs. Q is a tremendous reader, by the way. Check out her impressive 2012 and 2013 reading lists if you want to feel unexpectedly guilty about how much television you're watching.

From Lindy Reads and Reviews:

"Bone and Bread moves back and forth in time, revealing a unique family and a strong sisterhood bond. I found Nawaz's portrayal of attitudes towards immigration and a plural society in contemporary Quebec particularly compelling." (excerpted...click for full review)
(Lindy, by the way, reads over 250 books a year! That would be a feat in itself, but taking the time to write about what she reads is next-level amazing.)

And this is actually a review of Mother Superior on Buried in Print, which I was so elated to see, and it even includes a brief outline of each story that somehow manages not to give anything away. There is nothing more gratifying than a reader who gets it... I think this is at the heart of why writers write.

Buried in Print's review of Bone and Bread therefore brings into play what happens in "Bloodlines," the story from which it developed, and I was really curious to read what impression the novel would make on somebody who already knew the characters.
"Fundamentally Bone and Bread is about loss, and the connections that one makes in the face of loss. But, which loss? A father. (A husband.) A mother. (A friend.) A sister. (A lover.) An aunt. (A father.) Some of these relationships are more parenthetical than others, but there is always an absence, so lasting an absence that it becomes ever-present, like the cross on the mountain in Montreal.... What makes us good? Which relationships define us? What does the effort of concealment truly cost? How fervently can we shape our own reality? What kind of sacrifices truly yield new choices?" (excerpted...click for full review)
Buried in Print is the web page of another insightful (okay, fine, I'm biased, but I really think so!) and voracious reader and there is so much good content to get lost in here. 

Hearing from even one reader is amazing (hell, just having one reader is nothing to sneeze at), so I feel really lucky to be able to find out people's impressions after picking up the book.

July 31, 2013

cover girl, take two

Photo by Terry Byrnes
 
I'm really thrilled to be featured on the cover on the latest issue of the Montreal Review of Books! You can read the full profile and review here. I'm so grateful for the prominent coverage of the book, as well as for the thoughtful review and interesting chat with fellow writer Ami Sands Brodoff. Not all interviews are created equal, and it is always a pleasure to speak with someone who is a careful reader...and who isn't afraid to ask real questions.

June 6, 2013

Epic Sunday and other randomness

On Sunday morning I had a photo shoot with Terry Byrnes, which felt like a rite of passage for a Quebec writer.  (If you're not familiar with his work, you can read a little about it here.) It was so nice to meet him at last, and I’m very curious to see the results!

On Sunday afternoon, we officially moved over to our new apartment (i.e. slept over there), even though things are in shambles and we’re still missing a lot of important everyday items (curtains, coffee maker...). But I'm ecstatic, anyway. 
 

Then, on Sunday night, I had such a fun talk with a book club in Toronto.  Sadly, the connection wasn’t good enough to sustain a Skype chat (though we got a brief glimpse of each other!), so we chatted on the phone.  Thanks so much to those generous readers for inviting me in!  I loved hearing their smart insights into the novel, as well as other books their club has enjoyed over the years (note to self: read Colum McCann).  If only the snacks could have beamed through the phone, too...

I view this as major progress, by the way, that a day with two such semi-public-writer engagements didn’t totally undermine half of my week with anxiety leading up to either one.

In other bookish news, I also recently recorded an excerpt of Bone & Bread for Cityline, which you can listen to on their website here.  It’s about five minutes of me reading from the first chapter.   

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Last night I went to my first sewing class (led by the costume designer in my knitting group, mentioned before here).  I was more than a little afraid that I would be the worst one in the class (flashbacks of grade seven and grade eight home ec class!) and attending has done very little to allay those fears.  But I’m trying to hold on to some shred of misplaced confidence after sewing all those wedding banners last summer.  It is a little unfortunate, however, that accurate tracing and cutting in a straight line are among my two worst skills.

 Tracing my skirt-to-be

Other randomness:

Some pink corduroy pants I keep trying to get rid of somehow keep coming back into my life.  They’ve been given a leg up by the fire (they were in a bag in the car, and therefore smoke-free) and the unseasonably cold weather. Someone send me the strength to just stop wearing them.
I’ve been sleeping on a makeshift pillow composed of a pillowcase, a blanket, two sweatshirts, a zip-up fleece, and a towel.  I’ve finally smooshed it into exactly the right shape to be able to procrastinate on pillow purchasing for another week.
I’m desperate to sit down and read something, but these days are so busy it’s impossible to justify.  Even my lunch hour has its own list of errands.
I’ve been dreaming prolifically at our new apartment.  I’ve had more vivid dreams in the past four nights than I’ve had in as many months.

May 31, 2013

Bone & Bread is a Cityline Book Club pick!

I was really thrilled to find out that Bone & Bread is the latest Cityline Book Club pick! It's a six-week online book club, which is a relatively new feature on the show's website.  The first book they picked was Will Ferguson's Giller-winner 419, and it seemed to generate lots of interesting discussion.  You can win a copy of Bone & Bread by commenting here with your last great read.  

Speaking of book clubs, I'm Skyping in to my first book club on Sunday night and I'm nervous but excited. I really hope it turns out to be light and fun and interesting rather than awkward and intrusive.  I've never succesfully managed to be a member of a book club myself (as soon as I "have" to read something, I suddenly don't want to), but I can imagine that having the person who wrote the book turn up in one's midst could prove to be uncomfortable...as though you suddenly have to ask an insightful question, or pretend you actually liked it when you didn't, or say, actually read it all the way to the end instead of blowing it off to see the latest Star Trek movie (which, incidentally, was pretty enjoyable).  

But I think it will be fun.

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The unpacking, cleaning, and other wrangling of our possessions continues, albeit it at a slower pace that I would prefer.  There's just so muchAnd even if they are things we decide to get rid of, we (I?) still feel the need to clean them first.

The de-smokified books still smell a little bit smoky, a bit musty, with a sweeter overlay of some sort of cleaning product (or ozone? does that smell?).  Basically, they smell a lot like library books now, which I think is okay.  I like the smell of library books. 

  Some unpacked but totally disorganized books.

Looking at that wall of books makes me feel like we've made a lot of progress until I turn around and see all the packed boxes of books that are still remaining:

 Boxes of books

In other news, my choir is doing a benefit concert for Head and Hands on June 9th, so there are a ton of upcoming rehearsals, which is wonderful except for all the unpacking it means I won't be doing.  

 
And in just a couple of weeks, I am heading to Winnipeg for an event at McNally Robinson with the lovely Charlene Diehl!  Winnipeg, can we hang out??