Today was an early and busy day for me. Tomorrow I travel down to the Art Gallery of Sudbury to Laurence Steven’s launch for the Scrivener Press spring lineup. While it might seem on the face of it that I really have to do is bookmark what I’m going to read and make sure my clothes are ready, I had more than that on my plate today.
The next whole week-and-a-bit is going to be busy. Not only do I have this launch, but I also have the one on May 12th in Thessalon, courtesy of Stories in the North. I’m teaching two classes – and you know prep is never really done – and then reading in the evening. Then May 15th is the postmark deadline for the Northern Arts grant, which I’m entering this time around.
This morning, in an effort to look my best for the launches, I went to La Salon Doi, where my friend Ali did her usual wonderful job of making me look like a gorgeous redhead. We made some pop-up sheep for the tables for Saturday night and talked about decoration and had coffee. It was wonderful. Ali and her husband Len feed the birds, so there were grosbeaks and jays and finches all around the windows. Ali’s daffodils are blooming like crazy (mine have barely started), and her cat BeeBee danced with a dead mole on the porch outside the glass door for our edification. Nature in all its beauty – it don’t get better than that!
Then I went to the home of my friends Angie and Gordon, and their beautiful daughter Cassidy, to whom I am fairy godmother. (A rather sarcastic and occasionally cranky fairy godmother, but, hey, I never got any training for the job, okay?) Angie and Gordon gave me some great feedback on my ten-page entry for the Northern Arts grant. All I have to do is finish a quick rewrite and complete the application and I’m ready to rock and roll.
While we discussed my pages, we totted up the grants that have come into our area in the last three years or so. It was quite astonishing how much money our little writers’ group has managed to bring into the local economy. The reason for that, we believe, is that any time someone from our group applies for a grant, at least a few of us read and critique the pages.
We’re quite serious about our critique, too. Nobody’s mean, but nobody glosses over faults, either. In my short submission I heard about every improvement that Angie or Gordon thought could be made in pacing, characterization, diction, tension and setting. There were lots of notes, and I also have online responses from a couple of other group members. I probably have at least an hour’s work to buff up this entry.
As I came home, I was wishing I could break my whole novel into ten-page sections and get this kind of deep, thoughtful critique on every bit of it. If I get this grant, and if my book launches are successful, I’ll know that it was in part because I’m good at what I do. That’s only part of it, however. I have a great team backing me up, making sure that I don’t get lazy about my writing.
Oh, yeah, and that I have great hair.