Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hello, friends. This blog has moved to -- please check it out!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Movin' On

Rose-coloured regrets? I have none: this has been a wonderful blogging experience ever since that delightful day in March 2007.

But now I'm off to, courtesy of the fabulous Stuart Lawler at Create Me This. Thank you for being a rose-coloured reader, lovely friends, and I hope you will hit the road with me to the new space (and change your links/feeds/spycams accordingly).


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Career Notes: Everybody sad!

I think at my career-talk thingy on Thursday, I am going to be asked about how I balance writing stories and earning a living. My glib answer is "badly," but my non-glib answer is not too much better--I do what I can, sleep less than I want, miss parties I'd enjoy, I don't own a car, cellphone, cat, or cable box, and have truly demented tax returns. But judging by the state of the bloggersphere today, everybody is miserable in this situation. So I'm in good company, and at least I'm not injured:

Mark reports on AL Kennedy's description of the writing life composed of exhaustion, obsession and back pain.

AJ comments on Geoff Pevere's description of the writing life as composed of networking, being ignored, and self-doubt.

Amy comments on the writing life of trying to find a totally un-writing-related job to support the writing. I like how Amy is positive and puts the pros of the situation before the cons, albeit after the eye-gouging reference.

So what am I really gonna tell the kids on Thursday? That if you want to do a thing that doesn't pay much (or sometimes anything) you will have to do another thing that pays at least something, to balance it out, at least for a while. And while yes, that can suck the life right out of you and make you just want to lie down and have a little nap at the bus stop or the grocery store, it can also be stimulating and exciting to be in two different worlds. And a workaday job, as opposed to writing, will introduce you to new people, help you learn to work as part of a team, expose you to ideas you did not think of yourself, and more than likely offer at least some cake.

This might be aggressive silver-lining searching from someone writing this blog post as her sole creative outlet this week, as she spends her days editing and her nights marking teenager stories (Bulletin: I have learned about the teens: they like the video games. Also: weird fonts.) But there's always gonna be tradeoffs, and quite often I get to write for a few hours at a time. At least, that's what I tell myself.

I think I'm going to do a post on "Jobs for Writers." I've had a lot of different ones, but not nearly all that are out there--please send comments if you've had a particularly good, or particularly bad job-writing fit that we can all learn from.

Back to work!

Monday, May 10, 2010

The News

So the news is, in case you have not been picking up on my extremely subtle hints, that Rose-coloured is moving to its very own dedicated URL with a splendid new design from Create Me This, and life is good. Ok, life is actually incredibly hectic, so I've been building up to the big unveiling by not posting much--I'm sure you've been crushed by my silence. But see below--lotsa cool stuff:

1) May is the Month of the Short Story. I sort of knew this last year, but not really, because I spent most of May in Japan, where was probably not the Month of the Short Story and even if it was I wouldn't have understood. Anyway, I definitely know it this year because Steven WB has moved 31 Days of Short Stories to now and that's so amazing. Although my first thought when I saw the first post was, "Hey, that's not until August!" I have a hard time with change. At least it's not one of those 30-day months or I would really have lost it.

2) Amy asks (in the comments on the last post) what I say when I'm asked by a random person at a party what I do--writer or editor. It depends on the party--I go to a lot of parties where people are both writers and editors and other artistic people and sympathizers. In *that* crowd I always say writer (if we talk for long, the other will come up though) because they are likely to get it and be nice about it. *However* if the party consists of people of unknown professions, I say "editor" because I'm scared they will be mean to me if I say "writer." That's, mind you, a stupid stereotype of people in the non-obviously creative professions (in fact, most people need to be creative to get their jobs done). However, some people *are* dismissive, and I get really sad when someone, even a random stranger, is mean about my writing. It's like they insulted my significant other--the conversation cannot go on. And although rare, this *has* happened.

Pharmaceutical exec: So, what do you do?
Me: I'm a writer. I had a book of stories come out in 2008.
PE: A writer? Really, so you just sit around and write all day?
Me: Well, actually...
PE: Man, that would be great--sleep in, make coffee, write a little story. No crazy commute, no DVP, no stress..
Me: Well, actually...
PE: (long detailed discussion of PE's exact route to work, timing, possibility of accidents, etc. Seriously, 10 minutes!) A writer, wow, I should get on that. That would be the life. No stress at all! You wouldn't believe what I have to put up with.
Me: You must wish you were dead.
PE: What?
Me: I wish *I* were dead?
PE: What?
Me: Oh, look, the hostess just put out a new kind of cheese. Excuse me.

Ok, I might have made a little tiny bit of that up, but largely, it's accurate, and so very depressing. I'd rather just say "editor" and talk about my bus route to the office. Which makes me, I know, a giant wuss, but it's less stressful by far.

3) Lindsay has a new website too, and it's really pretty. Spring is the time of web renewal, apparently!

More to come soon, I promise--and brace yourself for the big change (I think this is a change I will be able to handle) of URL, coming soon!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Career Queries

Although it does not come up on Rose-coloured very often, I work as an editor. To do this, I got my publishing certificate. Most of the curriculum was to make us competent enough to do certain jobs in the publishing industry, which was very useful. As well, though, a sizeable chunk of time was devoted to helping us *get* those jobs. You'd think that latter part would have been interesting, and it was, but it was also very odd.

The classes on job-getting inevitably had a guest speaker who had been very successful in publishing--someone who had been at it 20 or so years and had risen to VP status or similar. They were supposed to tell us both about life in the industry and how they got their starts. The former category always a lot fascinating stuff , but the latter... Some weird kind of modesty would overtake our speakers, coupled with spotty memories, and they just could not (or would not) admit they had ever been ambitious or tried hard or even *wanted* to work in publishing. "Just fell into it," "wasn't good at anything else," "friend begged me to take the job," were a few of the things I heard.

I don't think these people meant to come across as they did, which was weirdly smug and secretive. I think the industry has genuinely changed in the last 20 years, and it used to be much easier to just "fall" into a successful and exciting career. And, well, I think some of those people *did* fear seeming like they had been ambitious and tried really hard to get promotions and earn money--that's not something the genuinely bookish are supposed to do.

Well, here's the truth about me: I have always had a strong--borderline obsessive--desire to feed and clothe myself and to sleep indoors, and I thought it would be best if I could do it working with books. This was hard to do, and continues to be, but I can (usually) manage. Sorta.

So when UofT Career Centre asked me to speak to a bunch of graduating students about my work and path to it (and ongoing), I suddenly had a wash of that bizarro reticence mentioned above--"Oh, I don't really know, it just worked out, sorta..."

Which is of course crazy--I remember exactly how I got here, and some of those wounds are still quite fresh. I think maybe offering advice feels too much like tempting the fates--"Hey, I am confident in my work; must be time to shoot me down!" And, in truth, no one is an expert except on whatever works for that person...and even then, there's a fair bit of randomness involved.

But I do think I'll be able to tell those young graduates a few useful things, and maybe it'll even be good that I'm low-level enough to remember how hard you have to try to get started. Since I suspect a lot of the Rose-coloured readers might work in publishing, or be interested in it, please feel free to post either queries or advice (or both) that I might use in my talk (May 13). I promise to post whatever notes and answers I come up with here afterwards.

I will of course also be talking about writing stories and stuff, and how I balance the two (poorly). But I have a feeling that students weeks away from summer vacation who are willing to go to a careers seminar are not in the market for a job that you would require another job to support. But...what do I know?


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Road Trips Announcment

Frog Hollow Press sent out their announcment of my forthcoming chapbook, *Road Trips* today. I tried for a while to figure out how to post the pretty flyer here on Rose-coloured, but Blogger seemed determined to thwart my desire. And then Dan very nicely posted it on Thirsty, thus solving all my problems.

So take a look, if you care for such things. The cover is posted, too, and it's super-lovely. Just a few more weeks to go--I'm hoping to have the book in time for my birthday!


Smart cat

The cat I am cat-sitting is a genius! She has figured out what the sound of my alarm clock means! What it means is that I am going to hit the snooze button and lie there for 9 (0r 18) more minutes, not entirely awake but conscious enough for petting. At the sound of the alarm, she comes scrambling from the foot of the bed or, like this morning, the other room and positions herself by, or on, a hand. When I can feel her there (my eyes are usually still closed) I pet her, and she is happy.

Seriously, that's some pretty good behavioural knowledge after less than a week, no? And she knows that the boiling kettle sound, which is similar to the alarm-clock sound, is useless to her, so she just glares at me until I shut that off.