The End of an Era?   Finally recovered from my intense week at Humber. I can't remember the last time I managed to wake up joyfully for daily early morning appointments. Ninety participants ranging in age from 18 to 80 came to learn from published authors and fellow writers. Mornings were devoted to workshops and the afternoons to talks from the author participants (Edward Albee, Nino Ricci, Alistair MacLeod, to name a few) and various kinds of publlishers and agents. The latter had the tough job of painting both a rosy and realistic picture; your chances of being published are slim, but keep writing anyway!  I attended this workshop 72 hours after I was laid off from Softimage. After almost seven years in their employ, my position was eliminated, giving me the opportunity to truly dive into the week at Humber and be in the enviable position of actually having the time to flex some newly-honed creative writing muscle. Opportunity knocks in the strangest ways sometimes.


I've been at Humber for two days now. They've been filled with fun talks from literary agents, publishers and authors (notably Alastair MacLeod, who, among other things, compared writing to the the stuff of grocery store carts and suggested that you write the end of your story before you actually finish it).   Took the streetcar from the college, which is the in the southwestern part of Toronto and travelled all the way to the Kensington market and on to College street. If you thought St-Laurent was bad on a Saturday, you should trying wading through the corner Bathurst and College.  Had passable food and excellent ice cream.    The first two chapters of what I am far-too-hopefully calling a novel are being reviewed tomorrow. I pray that the few pages I've submitted don't suck.


Cocktails with Edward Albee Next week I'll be attending a week-long workshop at Humber College. In attendence will be Edward Albee, Guy Vanderhaghe, D.M. Thomas, and a host of other published writers. My mentor will be Wayson Choy. To say that I'm excited would be an understatement. After getting really encouraging feedback on some of my short stories, I'm hoping that this workshop will help me focus on my current writing project, a novel about a girl and her time-travel machine. I'm hoping to capture some pictures for posterity, which I will post, time and wireless connections willing.


Would You Sleep with Christopher Walken? On the drive home from the cottage last night, "Weapon of Choice" started playing, which prompted a discussion of whether we would sleep with Christopher Walken. One friend said that she couldn't even imagine it--although she could imagine singing in public at a shopping mall. I dunno. He's creepy, yes. But does anyone remember what he looked like in The Deer Hunter? Does this make me weird?


Cottage Critters The first weekend at the cottage went well. The weather was perfect, and the swimming was excellent--the water was actually the right temperature for feeling refreshed but not so refreshed that it took hours to steel yourself for the first dip. Apparently, I am allergic to mosquito bites. I am now covered in small welts that itch like mad (antihistimines are helping). I actually woke up because I was scratching myself in my sleep. I don't even recall getting bitten. Regardless, next weekend, I will liberally apply a deet-based repellent and keep as much skin as possible covered. This evening, I'm looking forward to slathering aloe and lavender on my bites in the hope that this will calm the itching down a bit. The cottage itself is beautifully quiet. We discovered that bull frogs will sing us to sleep every night without our asking. The wild roses surrounding the structure release their odour pretty much all day, and their scent wafts through the open (but screened) windows of the living room and veranda. No inaugural trip to the cottage is complete without an exploration of the shopping in the area. The closest village is Ste-Agathe, and it possesses a fine Dollarama store, a well-stocked Provigo, a hellish Canadian Tire, and a Tigre Geant. In the latter, I purchased "my kind of flip flops": they have small kitten heels that go fetchingly with jeans and will take me from city to country and back again in sweet urban style. They were only ten bucks, so I bought two pairs; black for evening and blue for cocktail hour by the lake.