Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Work of Being Read

Over the past week, I have been working at choosing poems for my next flurry of submissions to various Canadian literary anthologies. I haven’t sent out my work in months, so it is about time to get back in the saddle. I am going to try and keep my ‘balls in the air’ by keeping my poems in circulation, rather than put all of my eggs in one basket, sending select poems to one literary magazine, and waiting for a yay or nay letter in four to six months. I have also been passing out my draft manuscript of Turnstiles to friends and family, and patiently awaiting feedback and reviews. I’ve already been given a few valuable suggestions and much encouragement. Last week Patrick held an intimate reading for the launch of his debut novel, Red Dog, Red Dog at the Alix Goolden Hall in Victoria. He said something at the reading that stuck with me: writing about what you know does not mean writing about everything that has happened to you personally. Writing about what you know means having a wealth of information gathered from all the shows you’ve watched, people you’ve met, books you’ve read, news stories, foreign places you’ve been to or heard about, and conversations you’ve had with other people and picking up pieces of their lives.

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the 5th Annual Victoria Butler Book Prize Awards gala in the Union Club Building. I was cheering on two friends of mine, who are becoming celebrated authors in their own right: JoAnn Dionne (Little Emperors: A Year with the Future of China) and Arleen Pare (Paper Trail). I have reviewed both of these excellent books on my blog. JoAnn’s book is a memoir about her experience teaching English to elementary school children in China, and Arleen’s book is a mixture of poetry, fiction and memoir about her years working in government beauracracy. Arleen Pare won the Victoria Butler Book prize for adult literature. There was also an award presented for the category of Children’s literature, created by Bolen Books. It was an exciting night for all of the short-listed authors, presenters and guests!

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