Archive for March, 2010

Wherever you go…

I’ve been meaning to post this for a few days, but didn’t get around to doing it.

Do you read Ev Bishop’s blog? If you’re at all interested in writing, you should.

Yesterday, over a decadent piece of cake (well, two… we didn’t want to share!), my friend kc and I got talking about this particular blog entry and how much we were touched by it, and how much we enjoy Ev’s blog generally. I think you will, too. Check it out.

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I mentioned in my earlier post that I’ve been catching up on blogs and finding inspiration in other people’s writing lately.

Ever thought about how many days you have left in your life, if you’re lucky? Read this.

In the interest of full disclosure, it happens to have been written by my husband. But I read it for the first time just now, and it fit so well with some of the things I’ve been thinking about and having conversations about lately that I had to share it.

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I’ve been in a bit of a frustrating writing spot lately. It’s one of those times when the disconnect between my brain and my fingers seems particularly noticeable. I have all this great stuff in my head, but when it comes to actually putting in in words, I fail badly. What comes out is not only not brilliant, but just plain bad. It’s a little like when golfers simply lose their swing for awhile. They know how to do it right, but for whatever reason, they just can’t. Until they can again. I’m hoping “can again” comes soon.

While I wait for my swing to come back*, I’ve been catching up online, reading blogs I’ve been behind on and finding inspiration in the writing of others. My daughter has Spring Break this upcoming week, so I’ll have a few days without a lot of computer time to absorb a bit of real life, too, which is never a bad idea for writers. And, of course, I’ve been working steadily on my other job, coordinating the Surrey International Writers’ Conference, and writing something – no matter how awful it might be – every day, because I figure I never know when it’s going to click again. Besides, not writing is not an option.

What do you do when you lose your swing for awhile, in whatever your work or hobby may be?

*this is entirely metaphorical, as I don’t actually have a golf swing. At least not one that can actually make contact with a golf ball.

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The end of publishing?

From A Novel Woman via a member at the Compuserve Books and Writers Forum:

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My husband’s a photographer, and since the big switch to digital, we get into a lot of conversations about the manipulation of images. His approach is simply to take good pictures and then enhance minimally to bring out what’s already there, much as film photographers have always done in the darkroom.

You can check out some of his work at www.martinchung.com. He’s booking well into 2010, so don’t wait too long if you need a wedding or portrait shoot this year. Here’s one of his shots:

There are those, however, who like to play a little fast and loose with “enhancement”. Maybe it’s just me, but are these not just a little too processed for comfort?

(And yes, apparently she’s for real.)

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Apparently I’m not the only one missing the Olympics. All over the net, I’m running into blogs and articles and posts about the amazing two weeks here, and I’m not even out looking for them. They just seem to turn up.

One thing I’ve seen a couple of times is major kudos to Canadians for being so warm, friendly, welcoming and being such good sports even when we were booing the US hockey team. At first I didn’t know what they were talking about. I watched every minute of the final game, and I didn’t hear any booing. And then I realiized. Most of you have probabaly heard the explanation by now, but since I’m still seeing comments about it online, clearly not everyone has.

If you hear anyone mention the booing, pass it on. Roberto Luongo, goalie extraordinaire, was not only the gold medal goaltender for Team Canada, but he’s also the number one netminder for the Vancouver Canucks. And his nickname is Bobby Lu. Every single time that man touches the puck, especially if he happens to be making a spectacular save at the time, the crowd yells, “LUUUUUUUUUUUU.” Which, admittedly, sounds very much like we’re booing the opposition for having a good scoring chance. But no. We’re just acknowledging our goalie for stopping it. Watch a Canucks home game sometime and you’ll see what I mean.

The video quality’s terrible here, but you can hear a little of it during a shutout celebration:

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After the Olympics

Like many Vancouverites I know, I’m suffering a bit of Olympic withdrawal today. I sat down with my cup of tea first thing this morning, mentally all set for my morning Olympic update, and there was, of course, none to be had. Back to reality.

I’ve been thinking a lot today about what I want to say about the Olympics. It was a pretty amazing couple of weeks, one that gave Canada a chance to celebrate – right out loud – being Canadian, something we’re not known for, to put it mildly. At the beginning of the games, we’d never won an Olympic gold on Canadian soil, despite having hosted two previous Games in this country. At the mid-point, we’d passed that hurdle, but some people worried, in fairly typical Canadian fashion, that the money put into the Own the Podium program had been wasted, because the results just didn’t seem to be happening. I was part of the wait-and-see camp, convinced we shouldn’t judge the outcome until it was over. And by the end of the games, Canadian athletes earned more gold medals than any nation has at any winter games. Ever.

I’ve said before that I’m a sucker for the stories of the games. It’s not all about gold, but something came over us as a nation as the golds and silvers and bronzes racked up. The community spirit that shone through during the thousands of kilometres of the torch relay intensified every day of the games. By the time the Canadian men played the US for hockey gold on the last day, it’s estimated that 80% of Canadians watched at least part of the game. Eighty percent. And when Sid the Kid scored the overtime winner, the cheer went up simultaneously coast to coast to coast. It was something to see, and I’m glad I’ll be able to say I was here, watching.

Some of my favourite moments, in no particular order:

– skating at the outdoor ice ring at the Richmond O-Zone with my family and our best friends. Outdoor skating may be old hat to the rest of the country, where they really do have winter, but here in the mildest little corner of our nation, it was a novelty, and we loved it. Great friends, cheery music, and the ice under our blades. Awesome.

– spending my daughter’s tenth birthday in downtown Vancouver, taking in the festive atmosphere. We were at the Olympic cauldron when John Montgomery won the gold for skelton, and we all cheered. We may even have initiated an impromptu singing of O Canada, in which we were joined by a large part of the crowd around us. Thanks to the volunteers announcing things we might want to see, we didn’t miss seeing the red Olympic rings on the water change to gold to celebrate the medal. And everywhere around us, people were cheerful, friendly, celebrating, and patriotic, whatever their nation. It was a giant, multi-cultural, family friendly party, and we had a great time.

– watching the footage of the Slovenian athlete taking bronze in cross country and then having to be helped onto the podium by a paramedic because she’d skied after cracking four ribs and collapsing a lung in a fall during a practice run.

– Joannie Rochette’s short program. It broke my heart to watch her holding back the tears as she got on the ice for that skate and sobbed as she finished, but it was a performance I’ll never forget.

– Moir and Virtue’s free dance was the most beautiful thing I’ve seen on ice since Sale and Pelletier took gold (eventually) in Nagano. They mesmerized me, and the program seemed to go by in seconds instead of minutes.

– Watching the German speed skater in the team pursuit react when she fell and slid across the finish line, first devastated, sure she’d ruined her team’s chances, and then elated when she realized they’d made it to the gold medal final.

– the footage all through the games of families and lovers and fans reacting to the performances of their people.

– sitting with kc over dinner during the Canada/Russia game, watching and listening to the crowd react to every call. We got a table because we gave up being able to see the TVs, but who needed them? Every nuance of the game was reflected on the faces and in the voices of the hundreds of people around us.

– seeing wide shots of venues where people gathered to watch the gold medal men’s hockey game, taken when the OT goal was scored. Hundreds of people, thousands, all raising their arms in celebration at once.

I could probably go on all night, but I’ll leave it there. It was a spectacular two weeks. Thanks to all the athletes, volunteers, film crews, and everyone else who made it so special.

There have been some wonderful summaries of the games. This one by Lloyd Robertson, longtime CTV news anchor, shows clips of a few of the moments I’ve mentioned here. It’s slow to load, and may only be available in Canada, but you can find it here: http://watch.ctv.ca/news/ctv-national-news/feb-28/#clip270699

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