T. S. Eliot described poetry as being overheard. Most writers agree that pure sentiments come in private, with the tentative, wavering focus of a single candle lighting a face. Imagine, then, how brave writers must be to read their works out loud, facing a spotlight on a stage with nowhere to hide. Their words expose all.
I didn’t face a glaring spotlight on Wednesday night, but I did present at a public reading with other brave writers in North Delta who meet regularly at the George Mackie Library. We read out loud and fearlessly from our own works, and we grew from the experience. I can think of no better test of one’s words than hearing them resonate through audience as they sigh, laugh, or take in their breath.
I admit that I cheated. Not only did I come prepared to read my own story, but I indulged myself in four other excerpts from our first issue of Pulp Literature, the loose pages of the printer’s proof lying on my lap. On behalf of everyone’s stories, I received applause. Better than the applause was when an audience member jumped up afterwards to add her name to our email list. I guess she liked what she heard.
It is a good journey to go from private words to public readings. We are very proud of the talent in our first issue and it is a privilege to put these works in print and take them from candlelight to spotlight.
Tonight, Wednesday November 27th, Sue Pieters will be reading excerpts from our first issue at the George Mackie Library in North Delta along with other emerging and published Fraser Valley authors.
Come down and join them for an evening of literary fun and prizes. Participate in the open mic portion of the evening or sit back and have some coffee/tea and goodies while you listen to the written word, including poems, short stories, novel excerpts and more!
George Mackie Library
8440 112th Street, North Delta
November 27th, 2013
7:00PM to 8:30PM
Bring your own works for the open mic, and get a sneak preview of our printers’ proof!
If you can’t make it down to hear Sue in person, you can always check out her guest blog this week on the Vancouver School of Writers‘ site.
Or at least, the unbound printer’s proof has arrived. As gorgeous as the pdf proof was, there’s nothing quite like the magic of printed pages in your hands. First Choice Books / Victoria Bindery have done a beautiful job and we can’t wait to get copies into your hands!Physical books will be going into the mail mid-December, but remember, you can always pick your copy up at the launch party. There will be a few extras on hand for last minute stocking-stuffers, as well authors available to sign them for you.
Now, I think I’ll sit down — beer in hand, of course — and take a leisurely look through the proof.
This motto comes from the British Special Air Service, but most writers recognize this as the catchphrase of author and speaker Bob Mayer. Bob often comes to the Surrey International Writer’s Conference, and he’s the kind of guy who blends into the crowd when it suits him. He tends to hang out at the back of rooms, and people look past him like he’s invisible, even while they feel the pull of his presence. He’s powerful and unobtrusive, like a black hole. And he’s well worth listening to.
I always thought Bob’s publishing motto was about achieving an external goal. I assumed that if I were more aggressive, more dominant, more forceful, I would “win” at getting published. Not until I stepped out into this magazine venture did I understand that the win happens the minute you dare. Winning means trying.
Who risks, wins. Who reveals, wins. Who becomes vulnerable, becomes free. Who opens his hand to Fate grasps choices. Who fears losing his life is already dead. Who keeps silent now is silent forever.
We should be boasting our own success after achieving our kickstarter funding, but on this Remembrance Day weekend, we want to acknowledge the veterans who risked everything. Their success cannot be measured in the win or loss of their battles, but in the courage they took in each step forward. We want to learn from them and honour them; they teach us truly, to dare is to win.
Things are chugging along nicely here at Pulp Literature as we ramp up to the launch of our Kickstarter campaign next week. Content is falling into place, and our editing gears are clicking away. I need to keep reminding myself that I have creative content to provide as well. Here are some unfinished pencils of a piece I’m working on for our first issue.
It’s a family portrait containing two of the three main characters in Allaigna’s Song: Allaigna and her mother, Lauresa. (Also pictured, the annoying baby brother, but we needn’t talk about him just now).
The drawing has been sitting in its unfinished state for some time, and I’m finding it hard to touch a pen or brush to it. Partly it’s because I’m not entirely happy with the pencils yet. It is not just any illustration; it’s the opening scene of the story, and I want to get it right.
But also, there is one part that is right — just right — and I’m a little bit nervous I might ruin it with ink.
You sometimes hear writers talk about how characters take over, and begin writing themselves. Well, apparently it happens in sketches too. This is not how I imagined Lauresa when I wrote her, or even when I began to draw her; but she had other ideas.
She was supposed to look more tired, harried, oppressed by post-partum blues and an unhappy marriage. Indeed, her right eye is withdrawn and weary. But the left — it pins the viewer. This is the eye of a woman who knows she is the matriarch. Her husband’s possessive hand on her shoulder is irrelevant, for it is she who calmly holds the future in her arms and challenges you to say otherwise.
My brush-pen hovers over the page and this woman looks back at me, saying ‘don’t you dare mess it up.’
I’m embarrassed to report I seem to have been intimidated by my own character. Who’ll win the battle of nerves? Hard to say at this point. Wish me luck …