It is our pleasure to introduce the judge for this year’s Magpie Award for Poetry, Surrey BC’s Poet Laureate Renée Sarojini Saklikar.
Renée Sarojini Saklikar writes thecanadaproject, a life-long poem chronicle. Work from the project appears in journals, anthologies and chapbooks. Renée’s first book, children of air india, un/authorized exhibits and interjections, (Nightwood Editions, 2013) won the 2014 Canadian Authors Association Award for poetry and was a finalist for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Award.
Renée is currently a mentor and instructor for Simon Fraser University, and co-founder of the poetry reading series, Lunch Poems at SFU. With Wayde Compton, Renée co-edited The Revolving City: 51 Poems and the Stories Behind Them (Anvil Press/SFU Public Square, 2015). She is currently at work on the long poem, “Thot-J-Bap”, excerpts of which can be found in Eleven Eleven, The Capilano Review, DUSIE and The Rusty Toque, as well as in chapbooks published by Nous-Zot and above/ground presses.
Renée is the inaugural Poet Laureate for the City of Surrey and the 2017 UBC Okanagan Writer in Residence. She collects poems about bees.
We are delighted to have Renée onboard as the Magpie Award judge. Thank you, Renée!
The 4th annual Magpie Award for Poetry is open until April 15th. Contest guidelines here.
Now and then, a moment arrives, when hardly anybody wants anything from us. Maybe something was cancelled, leaving a serene empty space, or it’s the day after a holiday.
I used to go mad at such moments. Quick, this is my chance to write 5400 words. But, what if, instead of typing up a storm until the next serendipitously empty timeslot raises its noble head and invites us to gallop away upon it (okay, that’s a tempting thought to me too, so if you love that idea, leave this paragraph in your dust and ride away on inspiration), what if we use this little moment of peace to redesign the systems and reset the components of our lives to create timeslots of our own? And perhaps ask 3 questions:
- If my perfect life and writing career were here, what would it look like?
hint: every day includes time for relationships, for eating and moving well, and for kicking back.
- What am I using up time for that I don’t like much, and that doesn’t serve me or mine?
hint: we all know what to do, so, how to do it?
- In the area of life where things seem so crazy they’re sucking my creative energy, is there any system, perhaps over the course of the week, that I could set in place to make things less onerous?
hint: systems are not about achieving perfection, they are about our present selves doing something in a few minutes to save our future selves an hour for writing.
I don’t want to use my creative powers to deal with It’s five pm and there’s nothing to eat, what magic can I perform? I like cooking, but I’d prefer to use the magic on my manuscript and have food in the fridge and a plan in the kitchen. Come the weekend, I don’t want to take that big beautiful 3-hour drafting timeblock and use it to shoulder through crowds at Costco. If we can generate a system or two, we can support our creative powers without shortchanging our lives and the people we adore.
I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week. Cheers, Mel
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This week from @yourwritingmuse: Whatever the weather, you keep writing. Your persistence, endurance, and strong talent move your career along beautifully. Your Writing Muse
M is for March, and M is for Magpie … which means the 4th annual Magpie Award for Poetry is now open. Earlybird rates save you $5 until March 15th, so hurry and get your poems in now.
Submission guidelines are here.
To inspire your fine-feathered words, here is some lovely coloured pencil work by Sandra Vander Schaaf, on artwork by Mel Anastasiou from Colouring Paradise: A Renaissance-Inspired Colouring Book.
‘Magpie’ by Mel Anastasiou, coloured by Sandra Vander Schaaf
The Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest: short and sweet stories with a sting. The real sting, though, is choosing between so many excellent entries. The editors had to work hard to select a longlist. Thank you to everyone whose stories made choosing difficult.
Here are the authors on the longlist, alphabetically by first name:
- Amanda Truscott
- Candace Kubinec
- Catherine Raphael
- Charity Tahmaseb
- Claire Lawrence
- Colin Thornton
- Cornelia Hoogland
- David Perlmutter
- Soramimi Hanarejima
- Ingrid Jendrzejewski
- Jenny Fleming
- Jay Allisan
- Joel Freiburger
- Kat McNichol
- Katie Gray
- K. Kris Loomis
- KT Wagner
- Laura Taylor
- Leslie Wibberley
- Luo Yang
- Margaret Code
- Melanie Cossey
- Richard Arbib
- Rose Divecha
- Steven Kochems
- Tristan Marajh
- William Kaufmann
Congratulations, authors! We editors will steel ourselves to make a shortlist for contest judge Bob Thurber soon.
In the meantime, the Magpie contest opens tomorrow. Poets, prime your pens!
One of the many reasons we began publishing our literary quarterly Pulp Literature was that there were very few magazines that paid, and many that did not. We firmly believe in paying authors.
Writers have a deep reservoir of great pieces. Opportunities for paid publication can be tracked down on the Internet, although they are apt to go out of date quickly. And, when agents and publishing firms are happy to accept unsolicited manuscripts, you want to know it.
Somebody’s got to scour the web for these opportunities, and since Mel is a mystery writer, and Jen is unstoppable in mounted combat, we decided we are the women to take on the challenge. We search for paying opportunities, for open submissions windows, for publishers who are willing to take on emerging and established writers, and we devised a meeting place where you can find them.
Welcome to the Writers’ Café and Centre Stage, where there’s a paying opportunity posted at least once every day. Cheers to you and your career, may you be prolific, publish often, and get paid for your excellent work.
With three cheers, from your Pulp Literature Team!
This week from @yourwritingmuse: You’ve got talent, persistence, and a great love of learning. Top success indicators. Congratulations from Your Writing Muse.
We most likely have, each of us, a dedicated writing office space of one kind or another. Here, seated or standing at our own desk, we often feel primed to begin. It’s almost like having a head start on the work. I hear some of us saying, as I have from time to time, I can only write when I’m alone in my office.
Still, charm of setting and pursuing a noble goal are not enough for storytelling, nor are they always enough for the writers who devise them. Just as the stories we’re writing demand transformation to hold a reader’s attention, our writers’ minds desire change to keep sharp.
Libraries. Coffee shops. Different areas in our homes. If we consider devising pop-up writing spaces, should silence be a prerequisite? Those of us who admire Jane Austen’s work know we’d be missing much had she required quiet.
A pop-up office won’t be as fab as our own perfectly — or madly — arranged private offices. Especially office spaces we love with all our hearts. But, even pleasures may fail to please when we settle into a favourite rut. Our brains are our most important writing tools, and they thrive on change as much as comfort.
I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week. Cheers Mel
This week from @yourwritingmuse:
You keep the goals for your writing career in plain view. A perfect guide for your continued success. Your Writing Muse
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Planes, trains, automobiles, and mechanical bears carry us away this issue!
- Bestselling author, actor, and swordsman CC Humphreys sets two strangers on a train ride in ‘The Ankle Bracelet’.
- Colin Thornton’s ‘Candy Apple Baby’ spins us out of control on the road.
- Poetry from Ian Haight’s ‘Detroit’ takes us to the gritty streets of motor city.
- Joseph Stilwell’s and Hugh Henderson’s graphic novel Blue Skies Over Nine Isles, soars to an intriguing post-post-apocalyptic future.
- The protagonist of ‘Robin Hood’ by Susan Pieters takes a road she hadn’t planned to travel.
- We’re stalked by two very different bears, in Greg Brown’s ‘Bear’ and William Charles Brock’s ‘Jonathan S Primrose Gets Eaten by a Bear’.
- David Clink’s ‘Birdcage’ takes a suburban trip to the final destination.
- There are two contest winners this issue. Our Raven Short Story Contest champion Pat Flewwelling’s ‘The Handler’ is a superhero tale that doesn’t put a foot — or wing — wrong; and the winner of the Surrey International Writers’ Conference’s Storyteller’s Award, Claire Gregory, tells a poignant tale of heartbreak and betrayal from the beginning of the last century in ‘Forget Me Not’.
- Stella Ryman is back with more amateur sleuthing and righteous red-tape slashing in The Case of the Fallen Crusader.
- And with the second instalment of Allaigna’s Song: Aria, our heroine wields magic and a hero’s conscience as she gets farther and farther from home
Pre-order and save!
Issue 14, Spring 2017
Whistling in the dark, we sometimes call it, but it’s painful, hearing emerging and establishing writers speak self-deprecatingly of their work. We don’t hear that sort of self-mockery much in other professions. And, even in our own, with a few Fitzgeraldian exceptions, we would be shocked if top-of-their-field authors spoke with destructive irony about their work.
Furthermore, feeling down about writing interferes with our management of our planning, drafting, and editing time. Well, I’ll never get there and the world’s not waiting, so I might as well check my emails.
Instead of speaking harshly about our own work, we would be better served to give our inner writing minds all the encouragement we can. And give that encouragement with our eyes wide open, and sincerely, because we know what our strongest skills are, and which skills we’re working on. With persistence, hard work, and learning we will always get better still. And that’s why we’re in this game, isn’t it? To write superb stories. To become our highest writing selves. To do that, we look to our great goals, and show up for the work. And, we don’t kick the authorial dog.
I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week. Cheers Mel
This week from @yourwritingmuse: You’ve wisely employed all the skills your hero gained in Act 2 in your final showdown. Your Writing Muse @pulpliterature
For more daily writing inspiration from Mel, check out The Writer’s Boon Companion, available in our bookstore and on Amazon.com.
Take one part beautiful island in BC (I recommend Bowen Island, the birthplace of Pulp Literature) and one part historic lodgings and add a gourmet chef with a laid-back personality. Mix well.
In a separate bowl, combine eight writers with different styles, preferably from a variety of locations. (This year’s combination of writers from the East and West coasts lent a tangy flavour and I’d advise repeating this balance of flavours).
Set the timer for one hour, five times during the course of the weekend. (Yes, we wrote five sessions and not only had time to read out our works to each other, but fit in a critique session as well).
Garnish with praise and encouragement and honest admiration for each other’s talents. Serve with a warm heart, and enjoy for the rest of the year. And share this recipe with others, because next year will come again faster than you think!
Next year’s Muse retreat is pencilled in for the 12th – 14th of January.
Dear Muse, thank you for showing up at our retreat on Bowen Island. Just when I thought I had no more words to write, you rescued me and my manuscript. I don’t think Superman has better timing. I hope I don’t come that close to crashing before our next retreat.
Dear Muse, I also want to say it was a nice touch to expand my horizons in the way you did. The selection of people at our table was like a vase of flowers with eight very different varieties in bloom. To see the contrast in our voices, yet to affirm each other in our different styles, brought health and a sturdy platform of confidence to my writing. Together we were stronger. Support is such an important part of long term success as a writer. Thanks.
Dear Muse, I’d also like to thank you for the food. I don’t usually get such careful cuisine for so many meals in a row. Or even one meal in a row. I felt the respect and craft that was put into the cooking seep into my body like some physical artistic elixer. And that didn’t even include the wine. I guess you are the Muse of chefs, too, aren’t you? And the Muse of bubble baths. And that was also a lovely walk through the snowy forest.
Dear Muse, please help me to remember how great this retreat was when I get discouraged later this year. Remind me that such places and spaces exist still inside myself. And when more opportunities come, let me grab hold of them and say yes. Saying yes was important.