The schmoozing was great, as it had been in Montreal. But more than that, we gloried in finding one another. Most of us had been working in silos, with no peers or mentors. Imagine the thrill of finding ourselves among “our peeps” for the first time, with hours and hours for in-depth discussion of what we do and how we do it. Imagine the relief of finally getting answers to those pesky questions we’d carried around for years; the pleasure of providing helpful suggestions to our less experienced colleagues. Every item on the agenda was apt. Every contact made promised concrete mutual benefits.
carte blanche and the Creative Nonfiction Collective Society are pleased to announce the shortlist for our inaugural creative nonfiction competition.
The winner of the competition will be announced on Saturday, May 3rd at the 10th Anniversary CNFC Conference in Calgary.
Some people maintain that writing is a lonely business. In my experience, that’s not necessarily true. When I sit down to write, I am joined by a crowd of internal negative voices: the infernal censor, the cranky critic, and the whiner who keeps reminding me of all the other things I could or should be doing.
No list about audio storytelling would be legit without This American Life. These are the masters and I can’t imagine a person who could listen and not be enchanted. I might not be able to be friends with that person. Ira Glass, an early adopter of hipster eyeglasses makes vocal ticks like hesitating feel sexy. Early contributors like Sarah Vowell and Starlee Kine set the tone for the smart, introspective, funny tone of the show and really changed the way we think of radio with their atypical radio voices.
Language pulls us along and we swim with the current or against it or diagonally. It’s bigger than any of us and has a lot to do with how we think of ourselves, how the young women in Elizabeth House think of themselves and their children. Think of the words in the mouths of powerful people in your own life that have changed you, maybe a little, maybe for a lifetime: Good, Bad, Lazy, Yes, Stupid, Pretty, Fat, Brilliant, Lovely, Never, No, Wonderful.
The rumours are true: we’re turning ten years old this fall! We know, we know, we don’t look a day over three.
We’ve got quite a few plans to mark our anniversary. We’ll be celebrating all year leading up to our autumnal birthday: at the beginning of each month, a different carte blanche editor will share their own Top 10 list on the blog.
Sorry, everyone else, but when Canadians apologize to you it’s not an expression of deference. Unlike “eh”, which means to Canadians what it means to everyone else—it’s an invitation to polite disagreement, the opposite of the British “don’t they?” or “aren’t they?”—the Canadian “sorry” means something more like “Ah jeez, I’ve got to deal with this idiot?” (Say it in a Fargo accent to get the full effect.)
I was at a friend’s house and we were talking about death and the statistical probability of heaven, all that deep stuff you talk about over tea on a cold winter’s day. I was thinking about all those viewings I had been to in my lifetime, how the faces of people in their coffins never quite look like they are just asleep. I couldn’t for the life of me fathom what it would be like to not exist.
Don Sedgwick has worked in the Canadian book and magazine industries for 35 years as a writer, editor, publisher, literary agent and educator. He is the Executive Director of the new MFA in Creative Nonfiction at the University of King’s College and also teaches in the university’s Master of Journalism program.
I met up with St. Hilaire to talk about the relationship between writers and their readers. We spoke broadly on the subject: authors in relation to the general public, to friends, to publishers, and even to reviewers. We also discussed the relationship specific to her own situation as a writer of erotic fiction.