Dirty Laundry

Taking A Breath

So, I’ve handed in a first draft of the new book and now I’m taking a breath. Sort of. There is still much “To Do” listing to do.

As I was careening toward the finish line of my draft (feeling increasingly insecure about the whole thing as I typed my fingernails off), I kept adding to my “To Do Later” list. Every time something would come up - a plumber to call, a bill to pay, a load of wash to do, a dog to walk (poor Scooter and his crossed legs) - I would just scratch it down on my I’ll-get-to-it-once-I’m-finished-with-the-book list. Actually, I no longer scratch anything down anymore. Now I just type things into my phone/computer/iPad on a handy To Do program. Which has made me much more organized but also much more stressed out as the little red number indicating how many things I still have “to do” reaches triple digits.

Anyway, suffice it to say that by the time I was ready to tackle “The List” it had grown to monstrous proportions. It made writing my book look like a walk in the park. Like a day at the beach. And like every other clich?d analogy you can think of.

And so, my taking a breath has so far amounted to returning phone calls, and responding to long-neglected emails, and making school visit travel arrangements, and getting my hair cut, and filling out mountains of forms, and getting my taxes together, and letting Scooter finally relieve himself.

I’m not complaining. Well, okay, yes, I’m complaining a little, but really I’ve learned a lesson here. I’m not exactly sure what that lesson is but I’m sure it’s here somewhere under the piles of papers on my desk.

I’ve wanted to blog for a while now about how happy I was to have my first draft done. About how depressed I was that it’s not as glorious as I want it to be. About how I know that I will get to make several more runs at it and so I shouldn’t be so depressed but that’s my writing process which unfortunately involves much self-flagellation (okay, that could be read wrong, but if your mind’s that filthy well… you will probably enjoy reading my books!)

So, I added “Write a Blog” on my “To Do” list because I knew if it was on the list then I would get it done. There’s something very satisfying about checking things off a list. The problem with virtual lists as opposed to physical ones is that it’s not quite as satisfying clicking a little box as it is scratching a line through something. Also, since the items disappear off the list once you’ve done them you don’t get to see how much you’ve accomplished. The upside is that you have your list wherever you go which is great for making one feel guilty that one is not to-doing ones “To Do” list.

As you can probably tell by my meaningless ramblings here my brain is a puddle of mashed potatoes right now. I tried to wait until I was a bit more coherent to write this blog but apparently that hasn’t happened yet.

I’ve been having very vivid dreams lately (cue the non sequitur). Mostly about ideas for new books or screenplays. Probably because I am not writing at this moment and my creative mind is all WTF? So, it hijacks things while I’m asleep. In my dreams I am ecstatic that I’ve come up with the most fabulous idea for a new story and I tell myself in my dream that I must remember this when I wake up (because, for whatever reason, I realize I’m dreaming in my dream). Of course, many times I forget what the amazing idea was but I’m not too worried about that because on the occasions when I DO remember the idea I am, let’s say, not too impressed with the “brilliant” concepts I was dreaming about.

I am, however, jotting down several waking-hour ideas which I think might be fun to play with once this book is finished. We shall see if they are as “great” as I think they are when I revisit them.

Okay, enough of this for now. I am going to leave you with a few random thoughts (as if this entire blog hasn’t been random enough).

Hockey playoffs begin soon. Hooray!

Canucks are in first place in the entire NHL!

Sidney Crosby is skating again, recovering from a concussion!

The weather has turned and spring is really trying hard to bust through.

Time to pick up my camera again and relearn how to use it (after having relearned what all the buttons do several times before).

Am in the middle of reading four books now. Three nonfiction and one short story collection. I was so excited to be able to read again that I went a little nuts and began reading EVERYTHING I picked up.

Crossing my fingers my editor enjoys the first draft of the book (but trying not to think too much about it… can you tell I’m failing miserably).

Also hoping my editor continues to take her time with getting to the new book as I am still trying to scoop my mashed-potatoes brains up and reform them.

And now a couple of random photos.

This one I took with my iPhone last October. That’s the sun reflecting on the house windows, not the lights from inside.


A view from my window yesterday.


And finally, Scooter visiting his new buddy Barkley (Scooter seems mildly pleased, to say the least. Barkley… not so much).


Braving the Waves

The ferry ride over to the mainland yesterday was hurl-inducing as waves buffeted the ship this way and that. Rain pelting the windows. First officers announcing warnings of “lumpy water ahead.” We were advised not to leave our seats before the ferry was docked as we risked being thrown off our feet. But I did not listen to this warning as I had to rush to the gift shop to get some sea-sickness pills.

It’s funny, I never used to get seasick before. I used to go out fishing with my dad all the time and it was my sister who would wind up green and lying down below deck. But my wife gets motion-sick all the time and we are so connected to each other that I now have sympathy seasickness, even when she’s not on the boat with me. My wife jokes that it’s a lucky thing she had her kids before we met because I would not have done well in the delivery room.

The reason I was braving the winds and waves was because I’d been invited over to visit the students at New Westminster Secondary School. The visit was arranged by their amazing teacher-librarian Sarah Wethered in celebration of the New Westminster librarians nominating my book for their first annual Hyack Teen Reader Award.

The two sessions went really well, the students asking some great questions about the books and the writing process and how much money I make.

Thankfully, the ferry ride home was much calmer and I was able to get some writing done. Which is a good thing since I’ve promised my editor I’d have a first draft of my book to her in five days.

I’m really looking forward to getting this first draft off my plate as I’ve got some serious hockey watching to catch up on. I’ve really been neglecting my teams and I’m sure they have been missing my viewership. But fear not, the playoffs are just around and the corner and, if I’m lucky, my editor will take her sweet time in getting her comments back to me.