5/21/17

Whirlwind

Since my last post a lot has happened. I finished drafts of my short story collection and my novella. As I indicated in my last post, writing my novella was hell. For at least 4 weeks, I slept maybe 2 hours a day. Spending most of my time re-writing a manuscript that was short-listed for an award, yet, was not up to my standards. I felt embarrassed about my past writing. It was a humbling experience.

Writing will always humble you. I've met writers who think they know the universe, simply, because they are writers. I don't understand that way of thinking. Writing teaches me to accept failure. To face failure head on. It anchors me in the reality that I am imperfect.

It looks like my novella will be published early next year by Grey Borders. I'm still waiting to hear on the publisher's thoughts of my current draft, but I'm hopeful that it's close to publishable. I don't want to write such a dramatic re-write of a manuscript again. I haven't asked them, but I've been thinking about submitting artwork for the cover. That would motivate me to get out and about with my camera.

My short story collection, He Doesn't Hurt People Anymore, is going to be released this Fall before the Word On The Street festival, by Dumagrad Books. Other than one of the short stories, it apparently just needs copy edits. The cover art looks amazing. Maybe 2 or 3 weeks after we came to an agreement, I was sent the cover art. I might suggest a couple tweaks, but it looks fantastic. So far, this is the kind of relationship I want with a publisher. I want to be able to trust my publisher to handle graphic design, etc. I just want to write, and read my work.

My last book of poetry published, A Mingus Lullaby, was short-listed for the Trillium Book Prize for Poetry. My first major short list. Again, I'm humbled. I've always assumed that I would never be short-listed for a major prize. That's part of what makes my writing fearless. I don't worry about offending publishers who would never publish my work, and don't care if I offend the sensitivities of literary judges, because I don't expect them to take me seriously anyway. Again, being a writer will humble you. Sometimes those you assume will never read you, read you and mistake fearlessness for bravery. I'm not brave. Far from it. Bravery involves carrying burden and fear, whereas I've thrown most of that away.

I probably will not post for a while. If I win, I'll throw something up. Otherwise, I want to start on a novel (and haven't even started plotting it). I have a short story collection to promote. A poetry collection that needs a home. Two other novels and a novella which I've started plots for and want to fill in details so they're ready when I start working on them. MFA applications to send out as well (I'm looking at online programs). A dancehall reggae project I'm involved with is being released this Summer in Jamaica. I also want to redesign this blog, or design a more in-depth website.

There's a lot to do. June 19th and 20th there are events with the Trillium Award. June 16th, my publisher wants to host an event. I really want to submit an idea to a micro-publisher I really like as well.

Let's see how many more times this year I can be reminded about the importance of humility.

Take care all
Peace and Respect

3/23/17

Can't get past chapter 1

Greetings,

As March rolls, I've been in a bit of a rut. My rewrite of my novella is going slowly. The reality is, I'm a much better writer now than years ago when I wrote the first draft. I sent my manuscript out to a buddy who's a novelist. Despite the manuscript being shortlisted for an award, he had a lot of problems with it. As soon as I read the first few pages of his comments, as a better writer than I used to be, I immediately saw the issues. Combine that with the fact that, as I started working the first chapter, the voice of the primary character in that chapter started changing. I'm envisioning that I'll be working for weeks on this chapter. I wanted to take a day.

Many thanks to open-book.ca for having me. A few years ago, back when they were Open Book Toronto, I did my first online residency with them. Before writing for February, I read my work from back then. What impressed me, is that I essentially have the same point of view as I did back then. However, my writing is in a completely different stratosphere.

When I started getting published I thought that I was already a great writer. But these past months have shown me how much I've improved. Before, when I wrote something of a high standard, it felt like an out-of-body experience reading my work. I would ask, How did I do this? Now, I expect to be moved by my writing. If it fails to do so, I'm forced re-draft my work. When I started getting publish I had the audacity to think I was a great writer, now it's my goal to become one. Go figure.

Next week I'll be reading at Harbourfront for an IFOA event. That Saturday, myself and Liz from my collective will be taking part in a really cool event that's worth checking out. Another really cool event is coming up April 28th as well. Keep an eye on my Facebook Fan page for my listings.

Peace & Respect

1/31/17

February, my novella, other news

Greetings,

I hope the season has treated you all well. Since my last post, I've read at Brockton Writers Series (Which was a blast!), was invited to read at Art Bar (Which is tonight.), and invited to be the Writer in Residence at open-book.ca! Here's my introduction to their readers.

For the month of February, I'll be writing opinion pieces, interviewing people, and potentially reviewing events.

You'll be able to find my work on open-book.ca, but if you miss my posts, I'll also add links here. I hope to have fun, stir up conversation and be a bit controversial.

Also this month, I've been invited to share my work at the Black Arts & Innovation Expo 2017.

Take care

P&R