Sunday, June 26, 2011

Public Speaking

The past three months have kept me occupied with my family's move, the release of the novel, navel gazing and lately... preparations for a public speaking opportunity.  The latter started three weeks ago when a talented writing friend and local author contacted me.  She was scheduled to present at an Arts Night event but unfortunately had to cancel.  She suggested that the organizers consider little ole me as her stand-in for the Writer Artist portion. 

On one hand, I was flattered and saw it as a serendipitous opportunity to promote the novel.  On the other hand, I saw it as an Oh-my-gawd! a public speaking event?! That's the hand that immediately clasped my face and gaping mouth.

Standing and speaking in front of twenty or more people is a lot more difficult than pounding out a few paragraphs in a blog post or email newsletter.  I can perform satisfactorily when speaking in front of a group if I am relaying announcements or technical instructions.

I admire people who can perform in front of an audience, speak clearly then with grace and intelligence, handle challenges as they are thrown at them.  Those who know me, will know that I had done my best to prepare by listing out the order of speaking topics related to the art of writing, gathered appropriate props and chose an excerpt to read. I am anal about planning and preparation.  Those who heard me chatter nervously lately will know that the last time I presented formally at an event like Toastmasters was almost 20 years ago when I was eight months pregnant with my youngest child.  I hadn't persisted with opportunities to continue since. 

The reading of the novel excerpt went well except I hadn't thought to print it in a larger font so I didn't have to hold the paper close to my face (d-uh) and block it off from the audience (d-uh).  Well, there was a microphone, so couldn't they audience just listen to my voice and follow along with the story?  Sure but this temperamental device was tormenting me with it's persistent projections of p-words.  Augh!

It's a good thing the heavy rain that Friday evening kept other prospective attendees at home so that I was speaking to a smaller welcoming group of art lovers.  I was relieved to see friendly, familiar faces in the crowd.  I even sold three copies of the book.  It's a start... My primary goal was not to sell the books; it was to promote the story and share my experiences with writing as an art, an outlet and a form of therapy

That week, that night, I ventured out in more ways than one.  I look forward to exercising my "voice" and sharing more experiences with others. 

Thank you for reading this far ... and for listening too!


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Walking on the Farm

I took an early morning walk around the Central Experimental Farm.  It was wonderful to feel the earth, the grass and soil under my feet. It was a treat compared to the workweek concrete and asphalt of downtown Ottawa.

I found a large patch of trees in a central location.  I stood refreshed by the shade and breeze.  The sound of the rustling leaves blended well with the "swishing" of distant vehicles and at times, nearly drowned out motorized annoyances.  What a perfect spot for quiet reading, creative writing or sketching if you don't mind the occasional company of chattering birds. 

Did you know...?  There are approximately 280,000 farms in Canada today and only 3% of Canadians live on farms?

The location I visited is not as picturesque as the Arboretum yet the refreshing rustling of leaves and welcoming shade reminded me of trees I have known and trees about which I have written

Thanks for joining me on one of my short wanderings.  Perhaps you would like to read an excerpt from my novel - one about trees and the important role they played in The Year of the Rabbit

If you purchase a print on demand copy, you could bring it with you on one of your own nature walks or visits to the beach.  Soon you will be able to read an electronic version of the novel on one of them newfangled smart phones or eBook readers ;o^  

Thank you.  Come again.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Ideal Man

So I was writing an early morning blog post for the novel, reflecting on the coming celebration of Fathers' Day.  I was in the process of sharing the description of Sera Fletcher's father, Matthew.  

In the process, I think I described my ideal man.  

Hmmm, a goal for next year perhaps?  Meh... We'll see.  I'm not expecting "perfect".  I'll accept one or two flaws like... he has too much money.  Or - he only wants to give me a back rub with no ulterior motive ;o)


Saturday, June 11, 2011

How do you like them apples?

In an effort to push more fruits into my diet, I am forcing myself to make more visits to the basket on our dining room table. 

The new rental home is shaping up with less boxes lying around.  I don't like our small kitchen though.  Due to my avoidance of using the new stove and the horrible humidity of this past week, we have been ordering a lot of pizza lately.  At least it's good quality, Colonnade Pizza :o)

As I bite into a Cripps Pink apple, I think about and appreciate the fruit so simple as an apple.  Apples are sturdy, portable, reliable fruit packed with fiber, vitamins and natural sugar.

Last weekend, after I unpacked more boxes from our move and sorted dirty laundry, I managed to sit long enough to enjoy watching The Cider House Rules on TV Ontario.  It's a beautiful, touching story that I discovered had many themes similar to those in my novel, The Year of the Rabbit.  (teen pregnancy, adoption, abortion, apples, love and... breaking rules)

In The Year of the Rabbit, the apple appears many times - mostly as a symbol of innocence and discovery.  It leads Sera through thoughts of life after death then the accidental revelation of her true paternal origin.  There is another scene where its innocent influences cannot prevent Sera from acting on uncontrollable rage.  

So... have I tempted your interest in reading the story?  Visit the YOTR blog for more excerpts and links on where to purchase your copy of the book.

Thanks for dropping by.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Mission Accomplished: Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Smaller Home.

I am relieved to say that I have satisfied one of the goals I set over a year ago

My family is settling in to our new, smaller place.  We are being creative with placing items according to need and... aesthetics.  I aim to continue to provide my children with a happy, healthy home now that the dark, emotional clutter is far behind us.  One little bird is spreading its wings, getting ready to leave the nest.  The others will need more encouragement...

Home is what you make it.  

Home is where the heart is.  

In my novel, The Year of the Rabbit young Sera loses her family home due to sad circumstances beyond her control.  She finds a new home at the Red Hare Restaurant which is owned and managed by the Young family.