Thursday, December 8, 2011

Off the couch and into the cold!


I wanted to just be lazy. I wanted to curl up with the characters of a good book. I wanted to spend some quality time doing nothing with my canine. Instead...

I headed out into the cold, windy Winnipeg night. I scoured the Exchange District for a parking spot. I slip-slided over the ice-covered sidewalks. I went for the discomfort of attending an event, where I would hardly know anyone and feel nervous and awkward. And...

I had fun. Had some good Christmas baking, and mingled with some local writers - warm and friendly, not at all intimidating - kind of like my good dog - minus the cold nose.

I suppose my biggest thrill was meeting Dora Dueck. Dora is the author of This Hidden Thing. The novel won the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award in 2011. It's an excellent book - one of my favorites - about an immigrant woman's experience coming to Canada. The storyline is compelling and the writing is exquisite. I'm sure I've posted about it earlier.

I also got to re-connect with Carla Keist who writes a regular landscaping column in a local newspaper. I was very happy to hear the story of how she got to have this regular writing gig and what it's doing for her writing career.

Another person I met was Sally Ito, contributor to a Pacific Rim blog about children's lit. The Paper Tiger is definitely worth repeat visits. During the open mic, Sally shared part of her grandfather's memoir about the Pearl Harbor attack. Very fitting since December 7th is the anniversary.

Speaking of open mics, Jodi, from my critique group (we call ourselves The Anita Factor - in honor of our inspiring mentor, Anita Daher) braved the unknown and read from her WIP. She had the audience laughing out loud, which isn't surprising since Jodi is a very funny writer and animated speaker. No doubt she'll post her experience on her blog.


All in all, the evening was well worth the effort. Thanks to Anita Daher for doing so much organizing on behalf of the Writers Union of Canada. Thanks to the Manitoba Writers' Guild for hosting the event. I'm proud to belong!