Launches; WitWorks 4 in the works

It wouldn’t be fall without book launches, and I’m looking forward to the launch of Lee Kvern’s new novel, The Matter of Sylvie, at Shelf Life Books, corner of 13th Ave and 4 St. SW at 7 PM this Thursday. I’m also interested to see what Shelf Life is like — not only is it Calgary’s newest bookstore, it’s also located in the very spot where the Interfaith Thrift Store I used to work in many years ago was. Other upcoming launches include Maureen Bush’s new YA novel Cursed! on October 16th at Monkeyshines Books, and Rona Altrows’ new collection of short fiction, Key in Lock, at Memorial Park Library on Oct. 23rd. Nothing more fun than a good launch. Assuming I stay well enough to go to any of them. It also wouldn’t be fall without colds and flu, and Dan is home today with some kind of nasty cold, which I’ve been staving off with Cold FX.

Speaking of Memorial Park Library, Writing in the Works 4 is set to take place there on Saturday, May 14th, 2011 at 1:30 PM. This year’s lineup is comprised of Naomi K. Lewis, Leslie Gavel, Susan Calder, Inge Trueman and myself. Always a great show!

Well, speaking of writing, that’s what I ought to be doing right now.

Another W-i-R; Punk History; WitWorks 4 looms

Enjoyed a reading last Saturday by Gail Bowen at the launch of her new book The Nesting Dolls and the kickoff of her term as this year’s Writer-in-Residence for Calgary Public Library. She will be giving manuscript consultations and giving a variety of programs until the end of November. If you have a manuscript you want some feedback on, I’d encourage you to get it in early as the spaces do fill up.

Speaking of Calgary Public Library, as I mentioned earlier Dan Hayes of The Golden Calgarians and myself are putting on a program entitled Cow Town / Punk Town on November 6th, as part of CPL’s inaugural One Book, One Calgary project. Aritha van Herk’s Mavericks is the book this year, and it’s inspired the library to put together a whole slew of really interesting programs. Looking forward to reminiscing…or trying to. I’ll be reading and Dan and his lovely assistant Christine are putting together a really rockin’ multimedia thing. Should be a blast.

In mundane daily news, chugging away on this novel revision, which I’m hoping to have wrapped up once and for all by next spring. I was a little bit afraid that I’d been away from it for too long and that the whole thing would have gone cold for me. But actually, I think I have abundant objectivity now and am able to make some big changes — improvements, one hopes.

My mom is hanging in there, but her ALS continues to progress and almost weekly she loses more and more physical capabilities. It’s meant lots of challenges, no question. I have to hand it to her, though — she is coming through this with grace and dignity intact, as well as her sense of humour. Food for thought indeed. All of this has had me thinking about the nature of compassion quite a bit, and I happened to come across The Charter for Compassion a little while ago. That food for thought is everywhere, I tell you.

Finally, looking forward to a beer tomorrow eve with my friends on the Writing in the Works organizing committee. Watch for our fourth annual fabulous showcase of local writing coming out sometime in the spring. Seems far away right now, but you know how that goes.

CAA w-i-r; Key in Lock; Bottled Poets, etc.

So here’s the contact for Rona Altrows if anyone is interested in sending her a manuscript through the Canadian Authors Association Writer-in-Residence program:

She can give you details on manuscript length, appointment times and so on. Rona’s got a busy fall coming up this year, kind of like me last year, in that as well as doing this residency, she’s also bringing out her second book of short fiction, Key in Lock, being published by Calgary’s own Recliner Books. Yeah! Looking forward to the launch: 2 PM, Saturday Oct. 23 at Memorial Park Library, 1221- 2 St. SW.

As usual, school’s back in session, and the weather turns from August-miserable to September-gorgeous. And here I am with my nose to the grindstone. The proverbial grindstone. Not that I’m complaining. I’m trying to be mindful lately, to stay in the moment; my mother’s illness has certainly made me realize of late the importance of staying in the moment. Yes, I could have been looking at life this way for the previous forty-seven years. But. At least I’m starting to figure it out a little — is that to my credit? Anyway, happy to look at the blue sky from my office window, indeed.

Aritha van Herk’s talk for AWCS last Saturday was great; very refreshing and down-to-earth. And here’s an awesome picture, unphotoshopped, of the old Inglewood Bottle Depot a little ways down the street from the Alexandra Centre, courtesy of my pal Jan Markley over at Three Dead Moths in my Mailbox. Enjoy: