If I must choose, I choose OIL

Zsolt said to me the other day, I’m haven’t checked your blog in a while – which made me go, eep… I haven’t written in a while. The last post wasn’t exactly uplifting, so what I am going to write here is a very brief summary of things. Stories may come from these, but at the moment they are all just things.

September is the month of scans. As the chemo continues every three weeks, it is now time to see if it is actually working. Fingers crossed. After a summer of blissful ignorance, it will soon be back into the consultation to receive results. Oh do I hate these moments.

The Ottawa International Writers Festival is kicking back up. This is great news because of the great conversations that take place. This year I’m hoping to catch Margaret Atwoood on The Tempest, Madeline Thein and other panel members on The Ever Present Past, and perhaps I’ll go to Charlotte Gray’s The Promise of Canada. And of course, I’ll be bringing along my microphone to see what others think of the show. These event fit somewhat well around my chemo schedule – those Atwood and Thein are only shortly after treatment, and I’m quietly slightly a bit worried that I’ll have to skip them.

OH I started an art class. We have a choice in the class: paint with acrylics or paint with oils. There is no switching mid-course. My brother and I visited the art store together, and noticed that oil paint is WAY more expensive than acrylic paint. Therefore, at the class I decided to paint with acrylics. UNTIL I went down into the gallery at the school. All my favourite pieces were painted in Oil. AND I have always wanted to paint with oils. The medium intimidates the HECK out of me, for some reason. But you know what? It’s time to stop being afraid of failure. And it’s time to see past the price difference and decide what will bring joy. My gut says oil.

By the by, our art teacher is charming. However, she has this need for things to be captured properly proportion-wise.  In terms of details, I am not meticulous. Details are so boring. If I draw a terrible milk jug, it is highly like that I don’t care two bits about that milk jug and would rather focus on the tea cup. Like writing, when drawing, I edit out all the boring bits and prefer to just focus on my focus. It’s the portraits of Manet that struck me long ago with this approach – focus on the focus, and give little detail elsewhere. Art school rebel = ME! Let’s see how that turns out, eh? (Though I do agree that contrast and tone are essential)

One more thing about that. The class is in the middle of the day, middle of the week and it’s all younger women. What the what? Seriously, I anticipated being the youngest in the room. Rather, I’m one of the oldest. This makes me feel wise with my years.


Work – I am working part-time. YES. It is going very well. And speaking of work – disability. What the heck is it? How does it work? Am I eligible? My oncologist wrote me a letter explaining to Service Canada why I am not able to work full time anymore, and how I will likely never be able to do so again. It was one GRIM letter. No sugar coating the impact of stage four cancer in that letter. I should never have read it, but he did the right thing in writing so openly about everything. But seriously, I never, ever, ever should have read it.

Heck yes, I’m using oil paints. Life is to be lived.

Books! Well, apart from the Amnesty International Book Club (facebook link!) which sparks some pretty fascinating conversations, I am just about to finish All the Light We Cannot See, which I picked up upon recommendation from a friend. It is fantastic. Gripping, beautiful, immersive, and so excellent story telling. It takes you through some hard things, but keeps you flying as you pass. This novel is worth reading. Go to your bookstores or libraries, read, savor . . .

And speaking of books to read, my friend Don Kerr who I met through facingcancer.ca, is in the process of kickstarting his account what it’s like to support someone diagnosed with cancer. About five years ago, his wife Kate was diagnosed with breast cancer. Don began to blog at facing cancer about his feelings, and how he found his way in supporting his wife. He is open and honest – and maybe, probably, other care-sharers/givers would benefit from such a book. Or for those trying to understand their partners as they support them, to read someone’s perspective.

Here is the link. Visit and consider buying a copy to support Don’s great initiative.

And seriously that is all. Life is thankfully busy at the moment, and alternates between good days and harder days. I do not feel like being specific, because I am so tired at the moment, and therefore, this blog post is done.

Like a pancake.

Hmm, I miss eating pancakes.


Economy of Fear

Hello you lovelies,

My good friend and podcasting partner Kevin is doing a pretty big thing. I mean, he’s been doing a lot of big things this summer, including adding a new tiny daughter to family of ladies, and now he gets to add ‘squeal book‘ to that list. Kevin and I met over a year ago, when we got together to discuss writing. I’d just finished his book The Page Turners, and he had just finished reading Claire Never Ending. I’ll never forget how he showed up at the coffee shop with a list of questions to ask and a book to be signed. I showed up with  . . . ahh, well. . . nothing, actually, except nerves and a mindset to make a new friend. But that momnet is a good snapshot of Kevin, if you don’t already know him. He pours himself into his projects. He exceeds expectations.

Anyhow, right now at this moment he has a pre-order party happening for the follow up novel to the Page Turners, called Economy of Fear. But Kevin being Kevin didn’t stop with, ‘”hey I have a new book, guys,” He’s gone and created this bundle – because he has this funny deep love for bundles. Normally I’m all anti-bundle. Even in the grocery store when Zsolt wants to buy 2 cans of tuna for the price of one, I full on reject the idea because hey, we don’t need two cans of tuna! (Except that we do, in reality) however, I actually think Kevin has knocked this one out of the park. Again, exceeding expectations.

But because you guys probably haven’t read Kevin’s work – I’ll give you the skinny on it now. To celebrate the sequel in the series, he is giving away an entire audio book of the Page Turners:Blood (the first book), plus he’s giving away audio commentary, a prequel chapter and a 40 minute video where I get to interview him about writing! It’s like the coffee shop all over again, except I’M IN CONTROL!

Ha. Ah. That got awkward.

Kevin books are, I think, a cross of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the kids from Freaks and Geeks. It’s dark, deep and dives into the world of small towns, friends, depression and how books can both save and change you.

If you want a good and gory read, check it it 🙂 Pre-ordering stars now!

And . . . Go! The Big Project is live!

I can’t express how exciting this is. My big dream: To become a novelist. How is it happening? With your help and this kickstarter campaign. I’ll tell you what, I’m so freaking excited and giddy. So, I’ve drawn a cartoon to illustrate how much all of your support has been knocking me off my feet, and blowing my mind.

blow my mind

Today is day one of reaching that goal for publishing my novel, The Adventures of Claire Never-Ending. I won’t say again how much this means to me, because it’s said in the video on the kickstarter page, and I’ve written about it before in this blog.

What I will say is that there are two huge goals in this campaign:

1) Raise enough money to create this book.

2) Get this book into people’s hands. To imagine people sitting down with their cups of tea and reading my novel . . . to picture people meeting the Claires, having their favourites, resonating with the stories . . . it’s magical. And I can’t help but wonder in what ways will people connect with the ladies and gentlemen of this novel? There’s a ripple image used in one of the stories, and I’d like to apply it here. If one person reads the book, and passes it onto their friend, who passes it onto their friend – I just wonder how far the story of the Claires could go? It’s a dream and in this next month we’ll see what happens.

So yes – the campaign is live, please do pledge, pick up a copy and share.

Also, not to distract you but I’ve got to share this too: Apt613 has written a piece on my writing/project, and I’m so totally thrilled with it. If you’d like to read it, click here and check it out.