I didn’t go to university. When the time came to make those decisions I was taken into the guidance councillor’s office in my small town school, where she asked me what I wanted to do as my career. I told her I wanted to be a writer. She replied that I couldn’t be a writer, they didn’t make any money. So offered, prostitute. She gasped and said I couldn’t be that either. I told her, since she wouldn’t be satisfied with anything, I was leaving. I never got the university information. I had no idea how to apply. I had no money to go even if I could figure it all out on my own. And I didn’t even know they taught any kind of writing at university anyway. Had I known, I may have actually tried to figure out how to get there. Instead I moved into a small, one room apartment in Calgary, with the bathroom down the hall and a couple fighting in the next room, because it sounded like a place a writer could be born. Then I wrote. I wrote every day, two to twelve hours a day. I wrote plays to start with. Then I traveled and wrote novels. I moved to Montreal, not speaking any French and lived in the slums and wrote more. I sought out experiences and interesting people. I figured I’d be decent by the time I hit forty. Around thirty I decided to learn how to get published. And true to my career trajectory, I began to get published around forty. (I did have a few plays produced before then). Now I write full time and I’m working on getting an agent. I teach writing to youth and tell them that there are classes in University that teach all kinds of writing. I encourage the kids to go to university. I don’t know if it will do anything for them, or if it would have done anything for me. Maybe it would have speeded up my learning curve. I can’t say, because I never went. But I’m pretty happy with how my writing life is and all the experiences I’ve had working to get where I am.
My February Trilogy hasn’t been picked up by an agent yet. My readers are complaining. I have to get it sold. But, there’s something wrong. It’s just not – I don’t know – exciting enough. I mean, sure there are gun fights and poisonings and grenades, but something’s still not right. I just can’t put my finger on it.
Then I talked to my daughter. She asked me what exactly was wrong and the more we talked the more I realized – the stakes aren’t high enough. They are in the second and third book. But the first one, it kind of falls flat.
So come November – I’m going to dive into February and pump it up. Make all those things she does life or death, because really, being a secret agent, her life is against the wall most of the time.
Now I feel better about things. Now I can fix this and finally get an agent. Did I mention my daughter is super smart.
Okay, so I didn't EXACTLY fall off the Earth. But I have been really busy. No, not your usual relatives are in town and I have laundry and dishes kind of busy. I've been teaching all summer. I ran three week long summer camps and taught at one. That's four camps. Not to mention my amazing daughter won a film making award so we had to go out to Vancouver to see her animation on the big screen. Pretty good for an eleven year old. Then September rolled around and I got to breathe for two seconds before RIO started up again as well as a Theatre class I'm teaching and school. Did I mention I home school? Couple all that with a novel deadline and a few rewrites and the fact that I'm also self publishing a novel and had a play in the Calgary Fringe festival. Yeah, so like I said, busy. But things are slowing down to a low roar and I've found a long ladder to hop back up on the Earth. Hopefully this blog will come more frequently now. In the meantime, for your entertainment - here is a good review I got of Hook Up. I'm so pleased: http://www.umanitoba.ca/cm/vol19/no4/hookup.html
Writer, Teacher, Mutant. What more could you want?