TWS Writers’ Successes

First Alice Munro. Then Lynn Coady. I’m getting the feeling that the fiction writers across the land, those who are feverish with short stories, are feeling a bit worked up with possibility these day.

There’s a lot going on, as well, with the writers who have graduated from The SFU Writer’s Studio a.k.a. TWS in the 12 years that it was first begun by writer & mentor & author & manuscript consultant Betsy Warland who handed the reins to Wayde Compton in 2012.TWSBooksimage

Of course, I couldn’t even begin to tell you what’s going on with most of them, since I don’t even know them, but I am aware of some grads from more recent years who have recently released their babies (or is it their taskmasters?) into the world.

I expect you to buy at least one of these. Authors have to eat ya know!

Janie Chang released Three Souls and has been travelling promoting it. Fiction mentor Shaena Lambert has launched her newest book of short stories, Oh My Darling. Renee Saklikar is launching her first book of poetry: children of air india. Show up at SFU Woodward’s World Art Centre this coming Wednesday evening for the launch. If you can’t make that night, she’s doing it again at Heritage Grill in New West on  December 1.

Ayelet Tsabari’s The Best Place on Earth was published by Harper Collins this past year. She now lives in Toronto but came back to Vancouver last week to give a reading with two other TWS alumnae.

Eufemia Fantetti had her book A Recipe for Disaster and other Unlikely Tales of Love released by Mona Fertig’s Mother Tongue Publishing on Salt Spring or Savory Island (not quite sure where Mona is residing at the moment).  Mona also just launched Lucky by Kathryn Para who was the second winner of Mother Tongue’s Great BC Novel Contest. Para has an MFA from UBC Creative Writing.

Anakana Schofield wrote Malarky which was released in 2012 and I didn’t realize until I went to a recent reading that she went through TWS.

And the TWS 2012 non fiction mentor/writer/author/Brian Payton’s new novel, The Wind Is Not a River will be available to purchase on January 7, 2014. But, you can pre-order it off Amazon.  

In addition, there is someone else I wanted to mention. In  my browsings at literary journals yesterday, I noticed that Caroline Wong who was in TWS 2012 Poetry won Grain Magazine’s 25th Annual Short Grain Contest in August in the Poetry category and will be published in their Winter Issue upcoming. Congratulations Caroline!

Oh, oh, oh. One more thing. I almost forgot (well, I did forget until now actually) that you can purchase  emerge 2013 as an ebook.

I’m sure I’ve left out TWS writers and their accomplishments only because I didn’t know about them. Feel free to add your own by sharing those with us in the comments below. I had fun learning about these and attending some of the events.

Keep writing! Start and or keep submitting!

Literary Mantra as the Key to Ruin or Fame

We’ve all heard the statement: Write what you know. Okay, I think to myself, but what if that only fits into a poem, a haiku perhaps, not a full novel?

I’ve recently had a major breakthrough. I figured out what my personal mantra should be. “Write in a way that shows your readers that you have figured out who you are.”  Don’t try and be the late Christopher Hitchens if you’re actually Danielle Steele. Of course, if you’re  channelling Danielle Steele you may not even know who Christopher Hitchens was.

I was thinking about this poet in our class who has the personality and the life history and the sensibilities of a poet. Every time she reads, I have no idea what she’s talking about. It can be quite scientific and academic and that’s who she is. She’s an intellectual with a capital “I”.  I couldn’t  even fake being her. I’d have to do research for a very long time to be her or to even do some sort of Monty Python-styled skit about her. Because, let’s face it. This is my promise to you. I will never write anything that will go over your head. It might go over your head because the sentence structure is bad but it won’t be because, intellectually, I’m writing about things that could equate to the quantum physics of the literary world.

I write things that are small. Daily. Easy to understand. You might have experienced them as well. I usually write in a way that might make you laugh. I hope so. And, I realized this insight just by listening to the poet and watching her be her poetess self  in all her glory.  The poet did me this huge favour without doing anything. Forget webinars. This was learning through the observational art of extreme comparison.

Don’t try and be who you are not. Don’t do it at a dinner party. Don’t do it on a date. Don’t try and do it on your laptop. Don’t do it in your writing. You’re good enough, crazy enough, funny enough, boring enough, snobby enough, pretentious enough, cranky enough (fill in the blank) just by being you. Be you  to the extreme and that could lead you to the ultimate reward: Ruin and/or fame. Maybe like big lottery winners,  you’ll get both at the same time. It might just take ruin to get fame. Ever think of that? So, buck up and figure out who you really are. Then, write in that way, the way that epitomizes who you are and then sit back and let the accolades stream in.

Just don’t take this as the gospel truth. It’s only a theory. My theory. You, you get your own.

What’s your literary mantra? What are you trying to do on the page? Does it have something to do with who you are or are you pretending to be that other gal/guy? The one you wish you were. [Sound gong.]