writing career


I am still bone weary. I just do not bounce back from sleep deprivation. My body refuses to push the envelope anymore. It’s a direct result of years of getting by on 4 or 5 hours a night while carrying the weight of my small existence around on my back, stooped like a Chinese peasant tending rice paddies.

Since I know it can take weeks to get myself even again, I will have to modify my plans for the next three months a tiny bit. Yes, it’s the new quarter, and I am laying out the calendar.

April will see me finish Night Dogs. Thanks to Rob’s plot insight, I have plugged the gaping plot hole in a plausible manner and can now continue. Night Dogs will be the story I workshop in June when I have plans to take a course on revision at the U of A’s Women’s Writing Week. The revision class is the only one I found that was not fluff, and it bothers me a bit to support a program that equates women’s writing with “journaling” and poetry only but so be it. It’s the only game going and I need to take a class.

In May I will begin working on a novel whose idea came to me via a science article on Slashdot about solar flares and our planet’s scary dependence on electrical grids and gadgets. Rob listened while I outlined it as we drove and he answered my questions about what-ifs. He liked it. He is partial – to me – but if he thought the idea totally blew chunks, he would say so.

June is classes. Revision, drafting and the beginning of prodding Rob to write out his part of our story. The memoir is now a joint project. We will work on it over the summer with the idea that it might be a pitchable idea by the time I head to the Williamette Conference in August (where I am going to try to pitch Night Dogs for sure and hunt for an agent at least).

In the meantime, blogging is going to suffer, but I will continue – just not at my usual pace. I can’t say what my pace will be, but if you bookmark me or put me on your reader, you shouldn’t miss much.

If you are wondering about the trip, you can read about it here, here, here, and here – if you haven’t already.

Wednesday afternoon was spent unpacking, doing laundry and generally regaining our land legs. Slept in on Thursday  but as I mentioned, I am still whipped.

I finished up the presentation for the workshop on Saturday but I am not going to be practiced enough. Hopefully my teaching instincts will take over and all will be well.

Since I am too tired (I’ve mentioned that too much, I know), here are pictures from the trip to make up for the piteous Friday update.

Revelstoke Town Centre

Revelstoke Town Centre

Rob taking a photo of Mt. Robson

Rob taking a photo of Mt. Robson


I answered the phone yesterday and when the young woman asked for Robert I was fairly certain I was dealing with a telemarketer.

“He’s not available. Can I take a message?”

“Well is this Shelley?”

Now I am certain she’s a telemarketer.

“Shelley died.”

“Oh, I am so sorry. Perhaps you could help? I am calling on behalf of Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party.”

I refrained from asking her why that nob thinks the party is his alone and interrupt with,

“I’m an American. I don’t vote here.”

“Oh, I am terribly sorry. Have a good evening.”

It wasn’t quite three in the afternoon, so she must have been out East and I wondered if she knew something I didn’t, but a quick scan of the headlines at MSNBC revealed that the U.S. hadn’t completed its slow implosion, nor had the solar winds ripped away the atmosphere hovering above it so it was indeed still there.

An interesting punctuation mark at the end of my work day. I’d just gotten back from town where I set up my own checking account to deal with business expenses and hopefully payment someday soon. I felt like a 50’s sitcom wife, setting up her little hobby business. Except I am my business and I am not a hobby. It was odd, however, because I have had my own banking accounts since I was 15 or 16 years old and I still have accounts back in the old country.

Reminded me a bit of getting the credit account at the furniture store a few weeks ago, stepping back and seeing how different I am. I had refused to merge my accounts with my late husband’s because I was so worried about losing my identity to that of Mrs. My mother had beat it into our heads as young women that we should never be without money or credit in our names alone.  It was too dangerous in a world where women are still not quite equal.

With the continuing collapse of the financial world, I should be more militant but I have a feeling that in the end, things like credit histories and the like aren’t going to matter all that much.  I hope I am being too much of a pessimist, but American currency seems a dubious bet right now and joint or separate – it’s all the same, heading toward worthless.

On a brighter note, I will hit 70,000 words today or tomorrow and be done by Christmas. That is two weeks later than my original goal but I got tangled up a bit on my timeline and needed to go back and read some email and the like for clarification.

I was reminded by a woman in my Fort writing group about the Writer in Residence at the U of A only being available to critique manuscripts until the beginning of April, so I will have to get on reading and revision quickly in the New Year. Can’t let a free service like her go to waste.

Rob is chomping at the bit to read. Usually I let him read and edit things as I work, but I have been selfish with the memoir. I did read him a bit the other night and he liked it. Good sign.

My thwarted columnist ambitions are still on the hunt for other opportunities. I hesitate to seek out another blog contributer position because even with the exposure, it’s still working for free. I am keeping my eyes open. At this point anything I find is at least good practice. I plan to sign up for a course or two via Writer Mama. Perhaps define my area of expertise and work on short creative non-fiction?  Still deciding.  Kind of like the business cards.  I think I need one but haven’t decided on the wording or look. I am a WIP just like my memoir it seems.

BabyD’s Christmas concert was last evening. They call it “Christmas” here. None of that “winter holiday” stuff. Typical elementary performance. Mercifully short. I am a terrible person who really would prefer not to watch other people’s children sing badly, so I was fine with the abbreviated length.

Last day of freedom for me today, so Rob and I are eating in town. Our usual sub joint.

It’s cold. An old high school friend’s FaceBook update indicated that a woman knows it’s cold when she has cl*tcicles hanging from her lady cave*. It’s not that cold.  But the hairs in my nose freeze or thaw depending on the direction of the air flow and fingers are sandpaper from dishwashing these days. -31C yesterday morning and worse is to come for the new year.

And that’s the week, dear readers. Do stop by Monday. I’m having a book giveaway! Joshua Henkin will personally autograph and send a copy of his novel, Matrimony, to one of you – wherever you are in the world – and all you have to do is drop by and comment.

*I am paraphrasing somewhat. Disturbing vision though, eh?