Venn Diagram

The Berth House

In response to Bookninja's 're-masculate' contest, the goal of which was to 'masculine-ize' a chick lit. title, behold, The Berth House, by Andi McKay.

Here's the synopsis: Donahue “Huey” Rare is the first boy in five generations of Scot’s Bay, Nova Scotia Rares to reject the family carpentry business and head to the high seas, despite the family sea curse. In his youth, Huey apprentices with Mr. Comeau (“Mr. C”), a salty Acadian sea captain infamous for his sea chanties and mean-spirited blind parrot, Chico. After a decade at sea fighting pirates, Germans and sea monsters, Huey returns to Scot’s Bay with his crew of misfit sailors to prove his worth, winning the love of the village hooker, Ruby. When a harrowing fire set by a new American carpenter threatens the berth house his father and brothers built, only Huey can save the village. But will he?

(note #1: I'm posting this here because, what happened to this contest? Seems they got a bit of press in The Guardian and that was that. Away into the ether)

(note #2: You can read the ridiculous synopsis to the extremely ridiculous original Birth House, which has one of the worst, most sexist covers ever, here)

You Are Not a Writer

No, you're not. I know you may think you are because you can hold a pen and put words down on paper with that pen. Or maybe you can type and you think it's magic! and wonderful! and creative! when the words you type turn into sentences, and those sentences turn into paragraphs. You might think, heck, if I can write a paragraph, I can write a story! But you know what? You can't write a story because you 1. never read them and 2. don't know what the heck a story is.

You are not a writer if you:
-think there's no difference between fiction and non-fiction. If you read a story and want to ask the author, 'did this happen' or 'is this true' then you're not a writer
-wrote a poem/menu/newsletter 18 years ago and your mom/co-worker/boy (or girl) friend-at-the-time thought it was great
-have had kids and think, heck, I created life, I can create anything!
-watch more TV than read
-have no sense of humour
-think 'I'm gonna write me a book' and start writing said book for, like, a week here and there, and then abandon that idea like you do all creative ideas in favour of another creative idea like making bracelets or bread or T-shirts with funny sayings
-like the above, get a new! unique! creative idea every couple of days or weeks that you think will sell! sell! sell!
-think you'll make money and be a famous writer like what's-her-name
-make fun of other writers who'd rather write than drink or watch a bad movie
-don't swear
-can't spell
-don't know anything about English grammar and/or think grammar is full of patriarchal rules made to be broken
-think 'why do stories always have to be sad and depressing?'
-think a story actual does not need a problem or suspense to be interesting or a story. In fact you think random words on a page are a story, that it's literature's patriarchal rules that say a story needs a problem and how dare someone published and/or educated tell you otherwise

And finally, you are not a writer if you tell people you are going to be a writer. Writers write. In a room. By themselves. They write because they have to, not 'cause they think it'd be kinda cool to try writing for a while. They would write even if there was no one left on the planet. In fact, they'd be happy no one was on the planet 'cause finally they wouldn't have to deal with wanna-be writers asking them, 'can you read this thing I wrote yesterday while I was waiting for the bus?' They'd finally have some peace and quiet. They'd finally write.

Professional Writer

That's me! According to the Canada Council for the Arts, to be eligible for a grant, one must be a "professional writer" who has "a minimum of four texts of creative literary writing...published on two separate occasions in literary magazines, recognized periodicals (including general interest magazines), or anthologies published by professional publishing houses..." So, thanks to Grain (who just accepted "Happy Meat," my sex and death on an organic farm story), I have four stories published in more than two journals. When the stories will be published, well, that's another story. I also have a story ("Diving for Pearls") forthcoming in The Fiddlehead. Sometime, in the future....

In honour of being a professional writer, here's a picture of a lovely couple, admiring the man's writing. This is what The Professor and I do each day: gaze lovingly at each other's writing, because both are things of beauty.

Cover Woman

I want to say cover girl, but when you hit your 30s, girl, boyfriend, and missionary are a few words that should be left behind. Anyway, here's the cover of The New Quarterly, Issue 98 (a.k.a the Nicole Dixon Issue).

Inside you can read 2 of my stories and an interview with yours truly. For more info, click this link: http://www.tnq.ca/magazine/

You can also check out issue 100, in which my defence of the short story is published: http://www.tnq.ca/magazine/back_issues/issue_100/

Thank you TNQ!