Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

rblechta's blog

The shape of things to come

Not the most original title, certainly, but it does hit the nail on the head for what I want to say for my last (and sadly) very tardy blog entry for my time as the February WIR here on Open Book Toronto. These words come out of my earlier entries where I kicked around the idea of electronic readers. So here goes. Blechta pontificating. This is only my two cents and you're welcome to agree or disagree as you see fit. I'm only stating what I think.

And as my time here draws to a close...

Nearly a month has gone by and I'm actually getting a bit nostalgic here about Open Book Toronto. It's either that or the slice of pizza I had for lunch.

It was pretty daunting starting out. I mean, in this case, what is a writer-in-residence supposed to do? Maybe I should have talked more about how I write, or my philosophy of writing, but that can get pretty boring, pretty quickly. Sometimes I doubt I know what I'm doing, so how can I pontificate about "how it's done?" That would be pretty bogus.

Maybe I should have talked about how I develop characters. Okay. It's not too late for that.

Finding Home

Most of us have known him only as a writer of police procedurals. As a matter of fact, Eric Wright is one of the grand old men of Canadian crime fiction. Lately, though, he's taken to producing novels that are definitely not cut from the cloth of police and criminals, but based on seemingly more mundane things. Finding Home, his 2007 book for Cormorant, does have a bit of mystery in its plot to be certain, but this is more of a sidebar to the structure of the book.

Shift Happens

A friend sent me this link a few days ago and I've looked at it several times and find myself still shaking my head. The numbers cited are for comparison in the States, and since Canada is roughly one tenth the population of our southern neighbour, the numbers become even more startling.

It's pretty clear the 21st Century will belong to a different group of people. I hope they do a better job.

The moment of truth

I'm sitting here with the latest addition to my novelular family, A Case of You sitting proudly on the desk next to me. This is the moment that I always look forward to with the greatest anticipation -- and also the most dread. Up until now, I'm aware that the book isn't final, nothing is completely written in stone. I can completely change the book if I want. That perfect phrase that just hit me can still be inserted. That badly phrased sentence can be fixed. (Actually, this isn't quite true. The creative process is over the moment the printer hits the "ON" switch.)

I'm one of those writers who will fiddle till the last. My wife once teased me that I'd be there with a chisel and hammer, changing the printing plates as the book is on press if given half a chance.

Brought up short

I had a very disagreeable encounter this afternoon, and while I suppose it's happened to many, many authors, this latest turn of events has made me quite miserable.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I don't get a lot of pleasure out of being unpleasant to people. I also will often turn the other cheek rather than risk calling someone down. Embarrassing people to get something back at them is not a good way to promote books, either.

So, no matter what goes wrong at a book signing (books not ordered, store forgetting you're coming, nothing set up), I keep a cheerful face and tell them not to worry, we can make it all work somehow. I always have my happy face firmly in place.

Not today.

Second Hand Smoke

I've been casting about all day for what to write about. This steady blog thing for is quickly becoming habit-forming, subject matter being the only problem.

I just went out to the grocery store to pick up a few things and tonight it's cold outside (well, cold for Toronto) and a bit windy and I needed to get out of the house, smell the air.

Now back inside and warming up, I have CBC Radio 2 on, listening to Manteca in a live concert.

(Where the hell is he going with this?)

Toying with plots

I had an interesting conversation the other day with a friend. In talking about my soon-to-hit-the-bookshelves novel, I was telling him the various ways the story might have gone if I'd let it. One particular direction still holds some interest for me, but I decided against using it since the idea I did decide to go with gave, ultimately, a much stronger story line. His comment was, "Wouldn't it be cool to write the book again using your second idea for the plot?"

Another educational time-waster

I got this link a couple of weeks back and have shared it with a lot of people. What makes this little game way better than computer solitaire is that it's fun, educational, and as far as I have been able to find out, they really do donate rice to the UN World Food Program.

So try your hand and don't feel the least bit guilty -- even if you're at work. Tell your boss you're helping to support their corporate philanthropic programme.

What the Kindle IS good for!

Surprise, surprise! (said in a manner like Gomer Pyle) I'm going to close off my cogitations on electronic readers by saying something really positive about them.

I've thought long and hard on this, and being basically a positive person in outlook, I decided that, since there's a good for every bad out there, electronic readers cannot be an exception. Yin and yang is a universal concept. So here goes...

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