Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015


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It happened again. Another perfect idea, at 3:20 a.m. It was for today's blog posting. It's still there, taunting me, on the edge of my mind. A tiny shiny scrap whirling around a snowglobe.

If only I had managed to acquire my ideal idea-capture device. As I wrote in my last post, it would be a small, lightweight laptop with voice recognition software. By day it could travel in my handbag, for idea-entry while on the streetcar, in the Globe cafeteria or Finn's after work. By night it would sleep beside my pillow, there to ensure that any errant idea-bite could be stored for future use. Was I just dreaming?

I'm talking serious resource conservation here. Not to mention maximizing efficiency, which is kind of crucial when you have a full-time job, two kids and a social life -- and you also hope to write another book. (Ask me how much I've done on the new book. Go ahead, ask me, I dare you.)

Since my last post, I have been poring over Future Shop offerings of the new "netbook" computers, which are about $400, weigh a kilo and fit in your handbag. There's even an Acer model that comes in five colours. (I want blue.)

It sounds perfect. Except here's the catch. It comes loaded with Windows XP, which eliminated voice recognition. Why? Dunno. People weren't using it. They brought voice rec and handwriting rec back for Vista (the latest Windows operating system, which pretty much no one likes) but Vista is too big for netbooks, even if you tried to load it on.

So: I'm asking. With all the talk about how creativity is going to save us, why do they make it so hard to be creative?

Are there any writerly apps out there?


Hey there

I have conjured a way to recall those late night wonders without turning on a ghastly light. Though I will not try to convince you this method will work for everyone, it has yet to fail me. When the idea knocks, I simply grab whatever is within my reach and I...wait for it....I throw it on the floor. The object (whether it is a sock, or a tissue, or something unspeakable...) is indelibly attached to the idea because I say to myself "when I see the OBJECT, I will remember the BLANK." So it goes when the alarm goes off and a 'pillow case' is staring up at me, voila, I recall the idea, and pen it down. (I intentionally use different objects so as not to confuse myself - you'll be amazed at what you can find to keep it fresh!) -

You can get a great deal on these Acers Aspire Ones at Canada Computers. They load them with Linux, not Windows, but they go for about $300 (with tax :)

They are pretty neat - now I don't have to weigh the options of lugging a laptop vs. editing my handwriting.

So, how much have you written of your new book??? ;)

For the idea-capturing idea, why don't you just get one of those little digital voice-activated audio recorders? They are tiny. Though you would have to listen and transcribe....

Yes, I do have a voice-activated tape recorder, which I used to use in order to capture my kids' delicious prattle (they always spotted it, somehow).

But the transcribing part is the time-eater. Wouldn't happen. Would need a PA, like Margaret Atwood has. But if I could afford a PA, I could probably get a laptop customized for me. Or afford the stunning new lightweight Dell Adamo, which can do anything. (It certainly costs enough to do anything, about 2 grand).

So, how much have I written of the new book? Two pages. The same two pages, written over and over and over....

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Sheree-Lee Olson

Sheree-Lee Olson is a Canadian novelist, poet and journalist. Her first novel, Sailor Girl, was published in 2008 by The Porcupine's Quill.

Go to Sheree-Lee Olson ’s Author Page