If holidays are breaks from routine, I’ve been on holiday for the past month. During this time, I haven’t done any creative writing or attended any writing-related events; I’ve eaten too much food and way too many sweets, slacked off on formal exercise, played numerous board and card games and hosted four guests: my sons and two cats.
The weather has been so good it’s hardly felt like Calgary winter. Am I refreshed, holiday-ed out and eager to return to normal? Not really, but I hope to be there next week.
The first step will be to start work on draft # 2 of my novel-in-progress, with the goal of finishing this draft some time in the spring. My first writing event of the year will be the Instructors’ Reading at the Alexandra Writers’ Centre on January 11th, where I’ll talk about the mystery writing workshop I’ll be teaching on Saturday, January 21st. The AWCS website offers information on the workshop and their interesting array of winter courses.
February begins with the Writers’ Weekend at the Calgary Library central branch. The event features booths by various writing organizations and sessions on such topics as 10 Ways to Kill Your Writing, Historical Research, Publishing and Editing, Magazine Writing and writing about love and sex – all of this for free. Check out the Calgary Public Library website for details. I’ve registered for several sessions.
Saturday, February 11th, I’ll be speaking to the Alberta Romance Writers about short story writing. The discussion will include such questions as ‘What is the difference between short stories and novels?’, ‘How do you know in advance which one your story will be?’ and ‘How can short story writing benefit your writing career?’ I’m looking forward to this change of focus from writing mystery novels.
Back to mysteries, with a twist, on February 22nd I’ll be meeting with students in the University of Calgary’s two winter Detective Fiction courses. Professor Margaret Hadley has included Deadly Fall in this term’s syllabus. Cool. After reading the classics: Poe, Conan Doyle, Christie and Hammett, students will go contemporary with Deadly Fall. Professor Hadley has invited me in to answer their questions about Deadly Fall and the how of writing – most of the students will submit an original short story for their major course assignment.
February 23rd will be another change of pace with Montreal Night at Calgary’s Shelf Life Bookstore. I’ll read, discuss and answer questions with three fellow ex-Montrealers: Rona Altrows, Barbara Schleifer and Julie Sedivy. Since Paula Savard, my Deadly Fall heroine, is a former Montrealer and all my writing is informed by that city I could read from the novel, but I think I’ll read from Grand Jete, my one and only short story set in Montreal, which won the 2007 Other Voices Short Fiction contest and was published in the magazine.
Thinking about these upcoming events is getting me excited about my return to routine. Maybe I’m almost there.