Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Editing care package!

So I've had a few pieces of good news, and, more importantly, a few kindly gestures in response to my good news.

After a suitably dramatic back-and-forth, which I won't get into here, I heard from
Palimpsest Press last week that they had accepted my manuscript of poetry.

I should have been thrilled. This moment was THE moment I've been waiting for for years.

But although I was glad that Hump (I know, I know...I'm also thinking Belly Up.) had found a home, the moment of acceptance wasn't a jump-up-and-down-thump-whoever's-nearest kind of experience.

It was more of an "Oh! Oh. Okay..." moment. Which is to say that I realized that the acceptance is only the first step in a long process whose ultimate goal is to share the work with people. Now THAT I'm excited about.

Though I have divested myself of most of my book lust (i.e. the idea that a book with MY name on it will solve all my problems) through association with much-published writers, most of whom have a laundry list of problems (heh.), the fact that I will soon have a book in the world means that I can relax a bit.

It also means that I have to work even harder, to earn this writing life.

Oh! I almost forgot the gestures of kindness. Once the news got out, I was congratulated via a variety of software/hardware combinations, I was lifted over someone's head, and several people lunged at me, ostensibly to hug me.

But the most thoughtful gift I got was from Sharon Caseburg, a poet/publisher of my acquaintance. She has a son just a bit older than Aa (i.e. she understands!) and has been very supportive over the last few months.

In any event, when she visited last week, she toted along two very important parcels: one ziploc full of freshly-baked blueberry muffins and a second filled with what I can't help but call 'school supplies.'

"It's an editing care package," she advised, her eyes doing that quiet twinkly thing Sharon's eyes do on occasion.

Of course, our children immediately started rampaging in the background, so I didn't really have the chance to investigate the contents of her package. (Plus, I just knew that if I opened it in front of her, Aa would claim nearly everything...)

But there were wooden pencils (my favourite...death to mechanical pencils!)! And erasers! And both plain paperclips and fancy ones! And smelly highlighters! And little packets of fruit gummies!

If I'd known the universe would rain down wooden pencils on my head once I got a book accepted, I would have done it sooner!

(Which is an elaborate way of saying Yay! and Thanks, Sharon!)

* * *

In other news, I heard a few weeks ago that I've been awarded three weeks at the Wallace Stegner House in Eastend, Saskatchewan.

I've had several writing friends spend chunks of time there over the years and have spent much time contemplating the picture on the Stegner House website that looks out the house's back door to the Cypress Hills and beyond.

So far, the stars have aligned. M has booked holidays for two of the three weeks and so will be coming with, as will Aa. I have it on good authority that there's a good day care in town, so we'll send her there three days a week.

Which will allow M the first uninterrupted stretch he's had since Aa was born. (It should go without saying that I'm looking forward to his photos...)

It should ALSO go without saying that I'm looking forward to framing my own view out that door...

* * *

Finally, there's an interview with me posted on Edmonton-based poet Marita Dachsel's blog today.

Marita, the mother of two boys whose first book was recently shortlisted for the ReLit Award, had been neglecting her blog (poor sad little blog!) until she devised a plan.

The plan was that she would post interviews every two weeks with writer/mothers. But Marita says it better than I can:
I'm craving a dialogue with other writing-mothers, an honest dialogue where I hear how they do it, where they reveal the dark moments as well as the triumphs.

And that, dear readers, is what I hope this project will do. Every second week in 2009 I will post an interview with a writing-mother. She will have a new born. She will have teenagers. She will have kids in middle school. She will have one child. She will have four. She is a poet. A novelist. A screenwriter. A playwright. She writes for children. She writes for magazines. She writes. She has no time to write. She is at the beginning of her career. She is award-winning. She is unknown. She is celebrated. She writes and she mothers and she will tell you how she does it and how rewarding and difficult and frustrating and loving and struggling it is.

I met Marita when Kerry Ryan and I took our Nightowls and Newborns Western Tour through Edmonton this past fall. She's lovely - smart and funny and even friendly - and so I was highly pleased to be asked to participate in her project.

It took me longer than I thought it would to answer Marita's questions and then she wanted clarification on some of my glib responses, but I'm pleased with how it turned out in the end.

Here's an excerpt from our dialogue:
MD: I wanted to do this project because I found so few satisfying examples of the writing-mother. It was either the mythology of Alice Munro writing while her children played at her feet, the writer who resented and neglected her children because she was so consumed with her art, or someone like Sylvia Plath who ended up with her head in the oven. Which writing-mothers do you admire and why?

AG: Until I had a child, it didn’t occur to me to admire writing mothers. I deeply appreciate some of the examples I’ve found in my reading since, like Robyn Sarah’s in Double Lives (MQUP, 2008) but I most admire the writing mothers I know a little bit. Like Gillian Wigmore. And Shawna Lemay. And you.

All of us struggling a bit. All of us writing when we’re able. All of us (again, I flatter myself), succeeding just enough to stay sane. To stay whole.

I tried to be honest and also a little funny. Hopefully the 'funny' doesn't come off as 'just-plain-inappropriate,' but if so, that IS who I am.



Brenda Schmidt said...

Congratulations on everything, A!

GM said...

Congratulations, Ariel. Can't wait to see it. What about "Bump"?


Dorothy said...

What a super interview! We're very proud of all you have done and are doing. We love you for the wonderful gift of our Anna. You're a great Mom AND a superb writer! I can't wait to read what you do next. D & B

Ariel Gordon said...

I don't have anything to say that won't sound uncharacteristically mushy, so: Thanks all! and Shoo!

sms said...

major congrats on all Ariel, you are deserving, totally deserving

tracy said...

Congrats! Good interview!

I like the editing package. I wondered what that was earlier, wherever it was I saw it.

Ariel Gordon said...

Thanks, again, youse guys.

Shawna Lemay said...

One more congrats from me, then I'll shoo. Enjoy all this, soak it all in!

Anita Daher said...

Holy cow...this is all so fantastic, Ariel!!!!! Congratulations :-)

I feel like I must had head my head between my knees for the past few weeks and have missed all kinds of news. We are really overdue for a catch-up over dim-sum....

Anita Daher said...

Must HAVE had. Easy to miss words when your head is between your knees...

Ariel Gordon said...

Oh, dim sum! Yes!