Since returning from California, I haven’t had much time to breathe. A combination of work deadlines plus more traveling has left me sleepy, but all for good cause. Some fun stuff happened; I have pictures.
I’ve mentioned the ladies I keep in touch with from the Humber program I took a few years ago, and last week I was lucky enough to meet a handful of them. Lisa McGonigle, author of “Snowdrift”, happened to be in Montreal for an Irish Studies conference at Concordia. She arrived while I was out of town and even though we had never met, I had no qualms about letting her stay at our place (and catsit our surly cat, Archer.) When I returned, the two of us met up for a drink here in the city and finally met in person. We laughed a lot.
Then I took a train down to Toronto. I had been invited, along with a number of other alumni, to speak to the participants of the Humber School for Writers summer workshop. There were 13 of us in total, and it was illuminating hearing the various paths one can take towards getting a book out there into the world. Everyone advocated persistence, but there were also little blips of good luck, bad luck, strange detours and rejection woes along the way. I talked a lot about the importance of querying a publisher suited to your writing and how important it is to have a supportive group of people around you. I also quoted Lorrie Moore’s story “How to Become a Writer”, which has the best piece of writing advice: First try to be something, anything else. Ha.
But let’s talk more about that supportive group thing. My pal Darcie Friesen Hossack was also invited to the talk, and she took a plane all the way from BC to attend. I was overjoyed when I found out that we would finally get a chance to hang out, and like my meeting with Lisa earlier on that week, I was instantly comfortable around Darcie. Her talk at Humber was exactly what you would imagine from Darcie if you’re familiar with her writing: eloquent, wryly funny, ultra professional.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day in Toronto, and after strolling around the Humber campus, we headed downtown to meet even more members from our little mailing list. Five us crowded around a table in the patio of Terroni, ate incredible Italian food and spent almost 3 hours gabbing about writing and life. (And near death – Lynda, who is a pilot, had an impressive arsenal of terrifying/exhilarating stories about situations she’s encountered in the air). It was the perfect way to spend a summer night, and I hope to repeat it again soon.
Thank you, ladies. Truly.