My Writing Process: At Last!

It has taken me 584 blog posts, all of which are supposed to focus on my writing process, to actually write about my writing process…which is now part of the process.20140828_160719In writing a novel, I often find it overwhelming to take on the book all at once, or even a chapter. It’s easier, and more enjoyable, to deal with the work in fragments – a piece of dialogue, a description, a concept – treating each as a cell, whole unto itself.

wo0KzAs I develop and read through each draft, instead of becoming weighed down by the tsunami of things that are not working, I take each one at a time and make notes:

a. Uumlak needs detail. What does this even look like?

b. Dialogue between Dee and Nico needs to be moved. Where?

c. Qoorog needs to be mentioned three-five times earlier in the text.

After compiling a list, I email it to myself and then flesh out a couple of items every few days and email those back until I have a set of four or five back-and-forth replies. Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 10.33.34 AMOnce most of the issues have been addressed, I format that and insert each section back into the text. I’ll give myself a day or two before reading through the chapter, trying to gain momentum, and compose a new list of issues to tackle as I go. And then it starts anew.

042011-sisyphus-at-gymIt’s an effective process because I don’t focus on where I am in the book, nor how many more words I need to compose to get to the end. It’s just the scene, the moment, the thing itself, and that is almost always a joy to do. (And even if none of it works, at least I received a few emails that I actually read.)

Your MLK Day Quiz: What Would You Do For Someone Else?

The Dardenne brothers latest film, Two Days, One Night posits a basic question for all of us to consider: Would you choose to receive a bonus if it meant that your colleague lost her job? twodaysonenightUnderstanding that your colleague does her job well but she is not a close friend, what would you choose to do?

Martin Luther King Jr. often asked such questions of us. His final speech in Memphis, Tennessee was no exception: “The question is not what might happen to me if I stop to help the sanitation workers. The question is what happens if I do not stop to help, what will happen to them? That is the question.” MLK memphisAre you willing to sacrifice for others? Or is it you above all else?

Sparks Fly from Santiago Calatrava’s Oculus

New York City’s PATH Transit Hub, designed by Santiago Calatrava, is starting to look like something. 20150116_171337The so-called Oculus, to be completed for an estimated $4 billion, is supposed to open December 17, 2015. In the meantime, the sparks continue to fly. 
Screenshot (901)Click on the full two-minute video here, to see all the sparks:

Screenshot (906)


Blogging Floggers: Faith through Violence

The cat is getting ready. imagesApostates are being called out with violence and condemnation. Even the friendly old pope has put himself on the wrong side of the fence: “If my good friend speaks badly of my mother, he can expect to get punched. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others.” pope-francis-easter-620xaThe fact is that insulting is allowed (freedom of speech) and punching is not (violence).

The society that condones punching, suppresses any sense of freedom of speech. Punching them is the same as flogging them. Is the same as killing them. raif-badawiAs much as one might find these Charlie Hebdos and Larry Flynts a pain, the only thing to be done is eye-rolling and making an appeal for decency. flynt3008_840_634_100Nothing more.

All of that said, my guess is that a greater conflict is to come in countries that espouse freedom of speech where so many in power maintain the guise of faith simply to avoid a violent reaction from a certain percentage of its citizenry. obama-churchAs personal as the question might be – “Do you believe in God, Mr. President?” – people will keep asking and inevitably the truth will come out. And it won’t be pretty.

Dave Feshuck: Idiot Toronto Star Reporter Strikes Again

Dave Feshuck, Toronto Star sportswriter, made news for himself yesterday by attacking Phil Kessel: “You’re the best player on the team, and the coach is fired…are you difficult to coach?”
Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 8.28.36 AMKessel turned to the others. “This guy’s such an idiot; he’s always been like this.”

Mr. Kessel is, in fact, quite correct; Feshuck has always been like this. Even as an elementary school student, Feshuck enjoyed baiting others, once demanding of a Grade Four classmate: “You’re the best student here, the school burned down…are you difficult to teach?”

distressed-girl_225Feshuck gave international reporting a swing after college but had to be escorted back to Canada after he posed the following to Prince Charles, “You were supposed to be king, Princess Diana is dead…are you a difficult prince?” prince-charles001Feshuck had a brief reprieve under Mayor Rob Ford, because he seemed to like these questions. “You’re a heroine user, people laugh at you…are you a difficult mayor?”a_560x375However Feshuck had to be escorted away again when he demanded of President Obama, “You’re a black guy, the police are killing black people…are you a difficult president?” 6a00d8341c630a53ef0134884c0c96970c-600wiIt is believed that Obama muttered, “This guy is an idiot.”bSFSQas1And so, Feshuck, being dumb, aggressive and lazy, found he was qualified only for one thing: reporting on sports.

Rush Hour Walk

He went into the oncoming pedestrians, half of them on their phones, and failed to pull his shoulder back, knocking the woman, intent on her messages, sideways. 20150106_075704Another was coming right after her, protecting a plastic bag. 20150106_080100(0)“What ya got in there?”

“A crystal palace.”

“Looks like some bullshit trophy to me.” 20150106_080041“Come on, man, have a heart.” The homeless man was on his knees, hat and sweater askew. “Jesus had a heart for you.” 20150106_080108He cut around him and hurried down the stairs to the 5 train.

My New Year’s Wish for the Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the most talented teams in hockey, and yet, as CBS Sports wrote,”They are extremely streaky and volatile. You never know which team is going to show up and what exactly is going to happen.”leafsThese players know how to play. They know how to pass. They know how to score. They know how to defend. They just need a coach to move them in the same direction.kesselCurrent head coach, Randy Carlyle, is the one to blame for this inconsistency. As he admitted himself after the team lost recently to Carolina, the team with the worst record in the league: ”I don’t think we were mentally ready to go out and play the type of game that was required. Simple as that.” randy randy(Whose job is that? Oh, right, the coach.)

And so as simple as that, Carlyle has to go. Sign Dallas Eakins for the rest of the year and see how that goes.eakins If it doesn’t work out, get Babcock. Now is the time to win.

Looks like 2015 might be a good year after all: Leafs Fire Carlyle.