Thursday, December 23, 2010

What do YOU think about first drafts?

“Only ambitious nonentities and hearty mediocrities exhibit their rough drafts. It is like passing around samples of one’s sputum.”

More Vladimir Nabokov quotes in this post on the

I sometimes get so excited about my first drafts, especially the difficult ones, the troublesome ones, that I am too eager to share them. But only one person in the world is lucky enough to receive my sputum. He is kind enough to always praise me and tell me that "it was great" and then add, "for sputum." Just what I need to start working on the second draft!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hint fiction: 25 words or less that hint at a larger, more complex story

It is my first time joining a blog chain with the fellow bloggers from Absolute Write. This month’s task is to write a piece of hint fiction, a story of 25 words or less that hints at a larger, more complex story.  Here's my attempt:

The helicopter plunged over the jungle. Mathilde chuckled: Daddy allowed only melted ice cream. How drôle.
"She's ninety, but she'll make it,” the nurses said.

One reason for blog chains is to discover other blogs, so here's a list of all the other participants.

Monday, December 20, 2010

CBC flash challenge--congrats to the winners + my malevolent offering

Congrats to the winners of the CBC flash fiction challenge--Carolyn Ciccoritti, Kate Belcher, and E. Craig McKay. Read their stories on the CBC site.  Now I can finally place my glorious, magnificent, unprecedented work of art right here on my blog, as some of you have asked.  Happy Holidays!

By Ania Vesenny (HO! HO! HO!)

The snowman grinned malevolently as Prancer and Dancer jumped off the roof. Taking over Christmas might, after all, be easy. He barely counted to five, and two of them submitted. Animal magnetism at its best! The deer landed on all fours like overgrown kittens and trotted to the bucket of carrots by his side.

Every year he agreed to a ratty scarf, tolerated snowballs with a placid smile. And not an iota of appreciation! Did anyone ever bring him cookies and milk? All he got was the pesky jingle. Frosty! No glory in that name! He fixed his eyes on Rudolph, imagined the red-nosed wonder pulling his sleigh for a change.

Snow started falling, wet and dense. Soon the kids would be out, patting his thighs, smoothing his biceps: twenty minutes of bliss. Then they’d scurry inside, blabbering about Santa and his hoofed beasts. Not the time to get sentimental, the snowman thought. Rudolph, still on the roof, glowed like a zit. “Your hoofs are loose and limp.” The snowman licked his lips. “I’m gonna count up to twenty now.”

Santa’s head popped out of the chimney. “Mitts off my transportation, Frosty!” The snowman felt sharp hooves busting his body open as Prancer and Dancer galloped back to the roof. “Hee, hee, hee!” Santa wagged his finger.

The snowman groaned. He’d need to re-read Hypnosis for Dummies and improve his reaction time. At least not another slow melt this year. What a treat, what splendour, to be buried alive!


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Highway in the snow

I was driving home from a shopping center when it started to snow. A couple of thin flakes, like dandruff, at the red light. The kids told me it was snowing, but I said, naaaaah. Then within seconds, before the light changed, the snow was copious, each snowflake large and fluffy. I could barely see the traffic light. And then I had to turn into the ramp to the highway, so I turned.

I’ve never been on a highway in such a snow, not even as a passenger. My kids screamed ‘Wow, wow, wow!’ And yes, it was that amazing, that beautiful. The snowflakes in the light of the headlights rushed towards me, around me, twirled and jumped in large leaps, then in tiny hops. I was flying in space, amidst stars.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Would you name your child Lenin?

I was reading a similarly titled thread on one of the baby forums, and stumbled on this reply:

"No, I wouldn't. It immediately  makes me think of bed sheets and then I move to thinking about the Beatles. That said, it's not the WORST name I've ever come across and there are far worse associations than bed sheets. :)."

I wasn't sure whether to cry or laugh. I laughed. But it made me a little bit sad too. Even horrific things are easily forgotten, especially in the far away lands.

Now Lenin makes me think of bed bugs, not linens. Word associations can bring up funny ideas.

Other than the bloody dictatorship, what does the name Lenin makes you think of?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Love the ocean, fear the waves

My husband's dream is to go on a cruise. The idea of never needing to cook or do anything for the entire vacation appeals to him. I don't know why not cooking is important to him, as the last time he cooked was 100 years ago.

Ever since the kids and I watched a DVD on rogue waves, we pretty much vetoed a cruise vacation. I'm glad the kids still agree to go to the beach once in a while. In retrospect that very educational DVD might not have been such a great idea.

I just emailed this video to my husband. A cruise ship losing its engine, but still getting to their destination port on time. The waves were pretty big. Like HUGE.

If my husband wants not to cook for a week, he can go on a cruise. Or he can stay home. Though I don't guarantee the same eat till you die selection.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Something that awesome can't be embarrassing

Yesterday I duct taped the right passenger door of our van. Apparently there’s nothing wrong with it, at least according to the mechanics that we just paid close to a thousand bucks to service the van for winter. Despite the fact that there’s nothing wrong with it, it still opens when I drive up hill.
Duct tape is awesome.
My husband of course thinks it is embarrassing to duct tape the door. He also agrees with the mechanic—there’s nothing wrong with the door. Easy to be so level headed, if you never experienced the door opening and my 5 year old holding on for dear life to his seat. (We were just getting out of our driveway, with the speed that my husband calls “is your parking break on?”, but still.)

According to my research, duct tape was originally developed in 1942 as a water resistant sealing tape for ammunition cases. It was also used to repair military equipment, including jeeps, firearms, and aircraft (!). There’s a variety of duct tape that is supposed to hold in up to 160 km/ h winds. I doubt I got that particular variety at Canadian Tire, but I don’t drive that fast anyway.

For the record—this is not my baby. I borrowed it from here. What a patient cutie!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

So you want to write a novel

Super funny and spot on. (by David Kazzie). Those xtranormal videos are a riot!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How to buy and lose a book by local authors

Last week in Chapters I stumbled on a group of local authors who got together and self published a book of their stories. Whenever I see an author doing a signing, I stop by and at least chat, and mostly often buy their book. In a rather selfish way I imagine myself in the same situation in a couple of years, and I hope that at least 2-3 people would stop and smile. It is disheartening how many people just rush by.

 My toddler was crying in my arms—we were on our way home, I had no right to stop on my way to the car! My older two kids weren’t pleased either, but I persevered. The authors didn’t look too forlorn or miserable. Doing a signing in a group must be not as depressing as doing it alone. But even then, I ended up buying the book, for $12. All the authors signed it really fast for me, I appreciated that.

Now I want to read it. And I can’t find it. Granted, our van is our second house, as there we have a library, three closets, a collections of bags, emergency food supplies, and somewhere there I lost my glasses. And yet I checked every square inch of that car. Not there. Not in the house either. My only guess is that maybe we quickly tossed it together with the not-to-be-seen kids’ Christmas gifts somewhere in the basement. I will find out on Christmas morning, perhaps. For now I can’t even recall the book’s title. Something about chances and choices, I think.

Monday, December 6, 2010

2 days left to submit to the CBC flash fiction challenge!

At first I groaned and moaned. I didn't like the first line. "The snowman grinned malevolently as..."? Pleeeeeeeeeease! But a challenge is a challenge, and I do like to challenge myself. Sure, it isn't a line I would have ever come up with on my own. But the last line, "...buried alive." possessed morbid promise.

I just submitted my 249 word wonder. Go, challenge yourself! The deadline is Wednesday, December 8, 4PM. The rules are here, and here. The second link says that the deadline is Wednesday, December 6... My own assessment is that it is still on the 8th.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

How to walk in the rain

Wear red rubber boots.
Or yellow.
Or orange.
Blue rubber boots don’t make any sense.
Black rubber boots are atrocious.
Don’t walk around puddles.
If there’s mud, make sure you feel it with your left boot, it is closer to your heart.
Come back home when your clothes are soaked.
Drink organic rooibos and think about lions.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I wish I wrote science fiction and drank arsenic

Who could have imagined arsenic as a building block of life?

When I was a child I was fascinated by arsenic. I must have read a mystery involving arsenic poisoning, and I liked how the word sounded in Russian (myshiak)--vaguely like mice, and like something sinister.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How to write a poem

Pick a word. Any word. Don’t think about rhyming.
Write it down. Look up at the ceiling or at the sky, whichever is more accessible. Don’t strain.
If you wrote ‘peony’, imagine a heavy pink flower after a rain.
Peonies make me thinks of grandmas. (That’s fairly unique)
Grandmas smell of kitchens and apple pies. (That’s a cliché. This means that most people would think that Grandmas smell of kitchen and apple pies.)
Grandma that rides a horse might be fairly unique.
I don’t know where she’d ride her horse in the middle of the night.
Do you?