Jul 17 2012

Reading and Singing Farewell Tribute to Mother Tongue Friday July 20th

How would you like to share the stage with a jazz vocalist who one critic describes as having

A voice so rich it makes me crave a glass of milk.

Friday night at the final in a series of farewell soirée for the venerable Mother Tongue Books, I get to do just that.

Fabulous Ottawa singer/songwriter Renée Yoxon will be performing her magic, and I’ll read brief bits from some of the funniest and most poignant essays and poems by the likes of Mary Walsh, Lorna Crozier and others who contributed to I Feel Great About My Hands.

I’ll also tell a story or two about Informed Opinions, the project the book is supporting, which is designed to train and inspire women to share their ideas, analyses and informed opinions more often and more widely.

 7 pm  Friday July 20th

Mother Tongue Books

1067 Bank Street

If you’re in town, come join the celebration of an Ottawa institution that has supported local authors and featured a diverse selection of feminist, lesbian and queer literature.

Oct 19 2011

Chocolate was served

Brownies are not my only criteria for accepting invitations to attend book club discussions of I Feel Great About My Hands, but they don’t hurt.

Award-winning short story writer, Renate Mohr

Last night Hands’ contributor Renate (Levity in the Face of Gravity)  Mohr invited me to attend the monthly meeting of her Ottawa book club. Hearing half a dozen interesting and articulate women talk about which of the essays most resonated with, entertained or provoked them — different for everyone — was a very gratifying experience.

Truth be told, I had no idea chocolate (OR wine and cheese!) would be served: the feedback itself was incentive enough. And the experience reminded me that there are likely enough other insightful ruminations on the advantages of aging to fill a couple of additional volumes of this collection.

If you have some thoughts you might be interested in putting to paper — or know a woman whose analysis you’d like to see in a subsequent book — please let me know.


Jun 4 2011

Two close friends, one dry sense of humour

Federal election campaigns are hard on candidates, but they’re no picnic for political journalists, either. That’s why when I Feel Great About My Hands was officially launched at the National Arts Centre on April 19th, Ottawa-based senior reporter for the Toronto Star Susan Delacourt, who co-authored a piece for the book with Carleton journalism prof, Susan Harada, couldn’t make it. She was on the campaign trail, covering the election.

The two long-time friends, who share a dry sense of humour and finish each others’ sentences, claim not to recall who wrote which bits of their joint essay, called “Back to School.” But readers aren’t likely to care: the whole thing is very funny. When Susan Harada read a short excerpt from it at the NAC event, she repeatedly had to pause for laughter, from her very first line…

Let’s be candid. No one wants to be known as a “mature student”. When you’re in university or college the first time around, a “mature” person is someone who chooses to spend the weekend at the library and arrives each week at class with the textbook artfully highlighted in multi-coloured, neon hues…

And it gets better from there!

May 5 2011

Up Against Awesome

Even though I was so pale and scrawny as a kid that teachers occasionally encouraged my mother to have me tested for anemia, I had good enough eye-hand coordination not to be picked last for impromptu softball games.

But last weekend at the Ottawa Writers’ Festival, seated next to Neil Pasricha, the lively and engaging 30-year-old author of The Book Of Even More Awesome, I thought about how lousy it must have felt for kids whose inability to connect the bat to the ball made them unpopular picks.

People were lined up ten deep waiting for Neil to sign copies of his book, while Joel Yanofsky (author of the funny and poignant Bad Animals) and I were visited by half a dozen or so book buyers.

Maybe this was because younger fans are generally more inclined to stand in line for autographs whereas older readers just wanted to buy our books and get out into the sunshine. (I’d have been in that category myself.) Or maybe selling a sequel is easier – especially if the original volume – The Book of Awesome – was on the best seller lists for months, and started out as an award-winning blog.

Either way, it was an honour to be invited to the Writers Festival and to share the platform with both Joel and Neil.

(Furthermore — as you can see from the photo snapped by Jowan Gauthier — I was having an exceptionally good hair day. Which really compensates for just about anything else!)