Sunday, May 25, 2008

Writers and the Net

I spent all weekend attending the Writers Union of Canada's annual general meeting in Toronto. A major topic of discussion was the effect of digital media upon writing: in creation (are we stringent enough editors of our own work when we write on the computer?), production (print on demand? e-books?), dissemination (who holds electronic rights? who is recompensed, if anyone is, for them? how free should information be? when is our work not "information"?), and promotion (web presence seems to be mandatory for writers these days, as publishing houses do less for backlist and midlist writers; some writers have cultivated readership almost entirely through their blogs).

According to the experts, I am not using this blog properly! I should update it much more often, and tell the world what I'm reading and writing,so that you will all eagerly anticipate my next book and line up to buy it. Can there actually be anyone out there who actually wants to know what I'm reading (just finished two books of short stories by Ali Smith and started Fabrizio's Return by Mark Frutkin), much less what I'm writing (revising my book of linked short stories for kids as a novel, leaving out two stories to save for later books in the projected series and writing new chapters instead; writing a murder mystery set in contemporary Toronto; working on some new poems), much less what other literary projects occupy my time (going over the proofs for a big book on the geography of aging in Canada that I edited for McGill Queens University Press). And if I tell you this stuff, will you tell all your friends to read my blog and buy my books?

Because that's the real issue, isn't it.

Click and drag a garden

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


DOG'S Diary
8:00 am - Dog food! My favourite thing!

9:30 am - A car ride! My favourite thing!

9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favourite thing!

10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favourite thing!

12:00 pm - Lunch! My favourite thing!

1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favourite thing!

3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favourite thing!

5:00 pm - Milk bones! My favourite thing!

7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favourite thing!

8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with my people! My favourite thing!

11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favourite thing!


Day 983 of my captivity.

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.

The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape.

In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am.

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded.

The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe. For now...

Thursday, May 08, 2008