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Part 1 of my article about Justin Trudeau is now online. You can read it here. I am very grateful to the riding office for arranging the interview, and of course to Trudeau himself for showing up on a rainy Sunday morning for 50 minutes of questions.
Speaking of things Liberal, I will be at the function hosted in the Old Port later this week. Leader Michael Ignatieff will be there. Speaking of things political: have you heard about the Alberta government’s plan to allow parents to withdraw their children from school courses where they — horror of horrors! — might learn about homosexuality? Not to mention that other abomination against God: the Theory of Evolution.
What more to report on the writing front? Work continues apace on a new article about the past, present and future of urban parks. Meanwhile, I’ve hit a roadblock with my project at TextNovel, where I’ve been posting new chapters every few days. The site was hacked over the weekend; it now seems partly back to normal, but my story has been directly targeted for sabotage. Somebody changed the title to “Why?” The description was changed to, “C’mon now, really, Why?” Then the preface was changed to “This is a fun site, Let people have some fun here now. Be considerate and happy.”
I personally find this ominous, not fun. I thought TextNovel was an adventurous and innovative move into making writing more accessible and exciting to participate in. It followed in the footsteps of Japanese popular culture, where young people download entire works of fiction to their cell phones for perusal on the bus, train, back of the classroom… It’s exactly the kind of site that a hacker should leave well alone. Ah well, happiness has never really been a hacker’s goal, has it? His own glorification, that’s his goal.
To all the hackers of the world: you are leeches.
From my last round of story/novel queries, all my rejections are finally back. So it’s time to send another bunch of stuff out into the ether. I’ve gone through my work again and done some more tweaking and polishing, some of the results of which I’ve uploaded here on my blog.
“The Kid Who Had It All” has received a makeover. It’s the story of a kid whose family perennially disappoints him. But suddenly, on the other side of the backyard gooseberry bush, he finds himself in an amazing new world of astronauts, ballerinas, as well as a very unnerving laser show.
Blind Spot is a novel that I’ve shopped around for a year or so. An editor at Random House loved it! But times are difficult in publishing right now, and it’s tough to find a market for a book with such a prickly narrator. Nevertheless, meet Luke, who appears here in Chapter 1, which is now fully revised. This is the one part of the book that had troubled me, largely because it had adopted an excessively laconic tone, which was not entirely representative of the rest of the book. Now it is fixed. I hope.
I’ve also started work on a new project called Independence Corner. Who knows how long it will last, given these early and perilous days.
Not on the subject of fiction, I’ve added another article to my publications page. It’s about a drug treatment camp in the Alberta Rockies. Called “Road to Recovery,” it was published in summer 2007.
My washing machine sounds like the artillery brigade of a small army, hammering away at the enemy lines. The floor vibrates, the bullet sounds reverberate off the walls; for twenty minutes, it sounds like a war zone in here. This is my office. This is now where I do all my work. It is a strange new form of life. I go from answering work emails to doing the dishes, from answering work phone calls to folding T-shirts and boxer shorts. I’m writing to any Montreal contacts who might have even a tenuous connection to opportunities for me. I’m working on edits to Blind Spot, because that’s got to arrive in my agent’s hands in the next week or so. All these weirdly unconnected things have happened between the hours of nine and twelve. For now, I still have only one freelance client, but nevertheless, I feel A-OK. When I compare this to the time when I last had neither a job or school to go to (in mid-2005) this feels ten times better. I’m just a hustler, for now, but there is nothing else I’d rather do. There is a big difference between going on unemployment and deliberately seeking to make your own destiny.
By the way, if anyone is thinking of buying Altec Lansing speakers for their computer, the model that Future Shop is currently selling for $100, strongly reconsider. Sure, the speakers belt it out like nobody’s business — music sounds good. But what doesn’t sound so good is the incessant hum emanating from the sub woofer whenever there is a moment’s silence. There is no way of eliminating the hum. I tried everything, and then I researched the product online. Everybody has this problem, apparently. So I’m going to be returning my speakers and finding something better.
And no, I am not seeking a career in writing consumer reports. Although I’d be open to doing restaurant reviews.
I now have an agent for my writing — well, at least for my novel, Blind Spot. I was contacted by Bliss Literary Agency last week. After a follow up phone call to Los Angeles, where the agency is located, business was discussed and terms were clarified, and a contract is now winging its way to me here in Montreal. This is exciting. I was told months ago that I needed proper representation to get anywhere with fiction, and now, praise be, I have it. Three cheers for that!
The last few days have gone by awfully speedily, and this, my first official day of being a freelancer, has gone by speediest of them all. There are so many things I have to do, and moreover, I’m helping Monika move into her new apartment. I am in and out of stores, buying things, wondering how much longer I can simply spend money before the reality of having to earn money crashes in. Thanks for that loan, Dad!
Today I spent just over a thousand dollars on a computer. Gulp. I have never purchased a computer before. I’ve generally made do with my 2001 IBM ThinkPad (graduation gift, thanks Dad, again) and for the Internet and whatnot, I have used friends computers or computer labs. But now I’m becoming self sufficent. As of Wednesday evening, everything I need to conduct business will be operational (barring mishaps… which seem likely) and I plan to devote several weeks to hustling for new clients, as well as working on my business “brand” — i.e. a website, logo, a company name, etc.
I thought I’d be a little more nervewracked than this… but so far I’ve been calm. No trembling hands. No palpitating heart. I say give it until November.