Because it's been so long, I think it's best that I just talk about a bunch of random things that have been going on with me or that I've had thoughts about lately, or just five minutes ago, or stuff that just flits into my head and is gone by the time I've written it. We'll see how this goes.
1. The answer to the question, "Where have you been?" is that I've been held captive by a tribe of monkeys on an island in the South Pacific and made their chief. I'm actually still there, but we now have internet service on the island and, though it's quite slow (dial-up), it is faster than the smoke signals I've been using for communication. The shriek of a thousand pissed monkeys has just gone up, and I must sneak my way back into camp. They've found out I'm gone, apparently, and have yet to pay their daily homage to me. If I don't return quickly, they'll elect one of their own, and I do believe that a tribe should never be allowed to rule itself; otherwise, they'll want power all the time. They might even get a high speed connection and realize that there are other potential rulers out there who are far more suited to be their king.
2. The real answer to the question, "Where have you been?" is nowhere. I've been sitting here all winter long, working on revisions to my upcoming novel, Finton Moon. Apparently, there were logistical issues with the manuscript, besides the fact that it was written on paper towels and old wallpaper strips. So I spent from Christmas Day to early March revising the story. That was a hellish 12-13 hours a day, seven days a week from early winter until early spring. I felt quite a bit like a Stephen King character (Jack Torrence of The Shining comes to mind), really. Long hair, beard. Red, bleary eyes. Barely speaking in an unintellible mumble. Within a couple of weeks, I had the manuscript back for Round 2 of revisions. That was another 4 or 5 weeks, and then we did it again, the last round being for only a week.
3. It's a much better novel now. It's the story I've been wanting to tell for a very long time. I'm extremely grateful to Killick Press for publishing it. (Below is one version of the final cover. You can check out the other version at the publisher's website: Creative Publishers. If you feel like it, let me know which one you prefer. It's not too late to have your voice heard on the matter.)
4. You might have noticed that Moonlight Sketches was nominated for an Atlantic Book Award. Now that I'm functioning again, I think that's pretty cool. http://www.atlanticbookawards.ca/finalists-winners/2012-ann-conner-brimer-award-for-childrens-literature-nominees/
Here's part of what the adjudicators said about my short story collection: "this frequently hilarious, unassuming collection serves up a rare and unflinchingly honest portrayal of what it takes to persevere against the oftentimes extraordinary odds, hardships and uncertainties that have come to typify much of the daily life of the modern day rural Newfoundlander."
5. The Atlantic Book Awards are being held in St. John's, May 10-17, with tons of readings and literary events all week. It's the first time they've been held outside of Halifax. On May 15 I'm reading (along with fellow nominees Patrick Warner and Kevin Major) at the Ship Pub. Starts at 9 p.m.
6. I met Kevin Major the other day. Nice guy. Very talented writer.
7. I was at Government House this past week for a celebration of 60 years of the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters Awards. Very cool event, by invite only. They've hired a writer-historian by the name of Allen Byrne, who's doing an oral history of the awards covering the past 60 years. It includes people like Christopher Pratt and Tom Dawe (those are the ones I know of) and, inexplicably, me. They're profiling only 20 artists, writers, adjudicators, and administrators, so I'm very grateful and unusually humbled by the honour of being included.
8. Sofia Vergara is everywhere these days. Thankfully.
9. I can't stop listening to that new Taylor Swift song from The Hunger Games movie lately. I just love the sultry, soft way she chose to sing that song. Here's a link to the video:
10. I read the first book of the Hunger Games Trilogy and loved it. It's a good, clean writing style that's not overly complicated, but emotionally punches you in the gut quite frequently.
11. Author Chad Pelley (Away From Everywhere) just won an arts and letters award, which is very cool because|: a) I know he's been wanting to win one and b) he is a tireless and selfless promoter of other people's writing and music, including my own work. You don't meet many altruistic people in the publishing industry, but he is is truly one of them. Congrats, Chad.
12. Lee Thompson of NB has just put out a brand new music CD (he's also a published novelist). Like so much else over the past few months, I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet. But I will be buying his CD in the next few days and offering up a few words about it as soon as I can.
13. It's a cold, shitty month of May we're having so far. I love living in Newfoundland, but now that I've actually looked out my window for the first time since Christmas, I can truly say that the weather sucks, and I'm missing my tropical island of monkeys.
14. I'm going to arts and letters awards gala tomorrow night. I've won a few of these, but this is my first year going as an adjudicator (for the junior division). I'm really looking forward to the exhibition of art, the readings, and the music--my favourite part of the arts and letters awards every year, when I'm lucky enough to be invited.
15. Today was my first day off in several months. I did laundry, blogged, answered email and generally worked at the computer all day. I'm generally useless at down time. So I made myself watch Captain America. As superhero movies go, it's quite good. I love that they took nearly forty minutes to provide a solid backstory and build character. That's rare. Looking forward to the Avengers, which I'm assuming will have very little in backstory and very much in fight scenes. Fair enough.
16. The Bruins lost early this year. What do normal people do every second night of the week in May?
17. Listen to the Civil Wars. You won't regret it. In fact, they play on the background track of Taylor Swift's new song. Just listen:
18. I've started reading Kerri Cull's first book of poetry, "Soak"--it's very good. More to say on that one too soon. Kerri is another tireless promoter of the work of others, and she just happens to be a very talented writer as well.
19. I enjoyed this kind of blogging. I might do it again soon.
Thanks for reading!