A Launch, A Ride and A Ribbon


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Yesterday at Blue Heron Books in Uxbridge, Ontario, Erin Thomas launched her latest book, Haze. There was great food, crafts for the kids and a huge crowd of family and friends all there to show support. Erin also invited two young swimmers who spoke to the nature of the sport featured in her book—the dedication involved and the benefits of such a deep commitment. Another young speaker touched everyone’s hearts.

Erin is one of countless Canadians who have faced the challenge of cancer. Her awareness of dealing with it brought her in contact with another special young man, Scott Cannata. He too has experienced cancer, as his mother is a survivor.  Recently, he set out to run across the country in an effort to help raise awareness and funds for cancer research. Sadly, much of the media wasn’t interested in his story. I find this reaction to his tremendous efforts heartbreaking, hence the mention here. Check out his website theruntolive.com and please consider making a donation in his and/or Erin's honour. 

OR visit Canadian Cancer Society  to support this worthy cause!

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The sun made an unexpected appearance on the ride home with Husband—aka Trusty Chauffeur—and writer-friends Lena Coakley and Cheryl Rainfield. We talked shop, giggled and enjoyed the ride just as we had on the way to Uxbridge earlier. I was reminded, again, how important having a network of support is. Lena and Cheryl both have insights and experiences to share about writing, publishing and launches. I am blessed they are so willing to answer my questions and offer advice. Some day I hope to pay it forward and help other budding writers. For now, I watch, listen and learn.

I admitted that one of my biggest issues with writing is that I am Susan, Queen of the First Drafts, and seem blocked to take any one project much beyond this stage. Like Erin, I have dealt with serious health issues in the past, not cancer, but the kind that remind you of your mortality. Part of the reason first drafts appeal to me is because the represent a goal I can set, work on and accomplish in a relatively short period. I think I’ve been reluctant to dive into the next step for fear of ‘not having enough time to finish’. This is not a logical fear given that my health is stable, but it is real to me. Also, my stories are my babies—beings I’ve created and brought to life. I’m not a fan of the phrase ‘kill the darlings’ when it comes to deleting parts of a work or, GULP, an entire story...

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Lena offered a suggestion: 

Why not print off a hard copy of my first drafts, put a ribbon around them and treat the next draft as though it were a whole new ‘baby’? The idea intrigued me. Treating the initial drafts with this sort of respect might allow me to move forward without feeling a loss. Wow, such a simple concept, but potentially meaningful!

So, guess what I'm about to go off and do? Trudge out into the wintry weather of late April to find some pretty blue ribbon. Thank you, Lena!



© Susan Blakeney 2014