Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Odyssey: Navigating Choppy Waters

Jennifer Cayley
This is a guest post by Jennifer Cayley, co-artistic director of The Odyssey show. She and Jan Andrews, the other co-artistic director, head up 2 women productions, and they put on awesome shows.  Jennifer is also a well-known Canadian storyteller, and she will be performing in the show.

It seems to me that putting the very divergent notions of blog ( short and now) and Homer’s Odyssey, (long and then), together make a pretty good image for this wondrous and intractable project. It has so many disparate strands. Strands that by June 16 will all be woven together for an exceptionally rich and VERY LONG performance.

So what are some of the disparities? There’s the hero Odysseus himself, so wise and strong and so full of human weakness. There’s the text, ancient Greek told in English; a poem offered in prose. Just bringing this very old work into the modern world is in itself a little contradictory. Sometimes it all seems to be happening so long ago and far away and then suddenly you recognize yourself in one of the characters or see the workings of modern world clearly in how everything is unfolding.

Then there’s the process of bringing the story to life. Sometimes it feels like a slog but suddenly the life of the piece shines through and you feel it in your bones. Then you know why you are doing this. There’s all the time to be spent on work shopping and rehearsing but there’s never enough time to really do all that you want to do. And most exciting of all, there are the eighteen tellers, each one with a particular style and a singular passion, eighteen individuals dedicated to telling just one story.

Being co-artistic director brings more strands to me woven together as Jan and I work out our different perspective on text and performance and even publicity, looking for the best way to support the tellers and make sure there is an audience there to savour and explore this grand story with us.

Help us bring Odysseus home!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Odyssey: Onward to Ithaca

I've been quiet on my blog. But everywhere else, well, I haven't been quiet at all!  I'm doing a blog tour right now, so I'm playing everywhere else on the Internet but here.  My poor blog felt dejected, so I thought I'd invite others to come play on my blog!

I'm one of 18 tellers bringing Odysseus home on June 16th, at the National Arts Centre. It's a huge undertaking, to say the least.  I've already rambled on about some of my thoughts, but I thought I'd invite some of the other tellers to come and chat about their experience. 

Let's kick it off today!  The first post is blatantly stolen (bwa ha) from the National Arts Centre blog (Okay, it was stolen with permission), as drafted by the Ottawa Storytellers' Artistic Director, Caitlyn Paxson.  (And I was quoted on the NAC website!  Woo!)

Help us bring Odysseus home! Let the NAC Fourth Stage be your ship, and let the Ottawa StoryTellersbe your guide through a world of gods, monsters, and warriors who just want tomake it home from Troy.

On June 16, 2012, Ottawa StoryTellers (OST), a non profitarts organization that presents over one hundred events a year, is undertakingan extraordinary project – a twelve hour performance of the greatest epic inWestern culture – Homer’s Odyssey. As eighteen storytellers at theNational Art Centre’s Fourth Stage weave the tale of the hero’s return from theTrojan War, the audience will be drawn together by the power of Greek myth andtimeless human struggles in love and war. For more information on the show,visit

Involving eighteenstorytellers, three directors, and a multitude of resources, a show of thisscope will easily cost more than a small arts organization can handle on itsown, so OST is also embarking on a fundraising campaign of a scale far andbeyond anything it has attempted in the past. Please check out the exciting items we’ve gathered with an eye towardsthe theme of the Odyssey and an epic journey.

Visit to watch our promo video and have a look at all the exciting perks that you can receive!

Why the Odyssey?
Because it is one of the greatest andmost enduring works of literature humanity has ever produced, carrying us backto an ancient time and yet filled with a very contemporary sensibility, helpingus to know still more of who we are. (Jan Andrews, Artistic Director)

In an age when much our entertainment relies on loudexplosions and visual overstimulation, an up-close-and personal narrationof the Odyssey, relying entirely on the spoken word and the inner eye, canwaken portions of the brain that have been numbed andneglected.  (Tom Lips, Storyteller)
3000 years ago, Homer nailed the forces that shape humanlife - family ties, honour, love, loyalty, cunning, fear, sex, wealth, revenge,consequences, religion, death, triumph. No one has ever done it better. (Gail Anglin, Storyteller)

It's got a man-eating one-eyed monster, sanity destroyingsongstresses, and a giant blood bath.  'Nuff said. (Marie Bilodeau,Storyteller)


I'm posting the video here because it's awesome fun.  Roomy and I were almost sirens in it, but alas, the timing didn't work out.  Ah well.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Keycon Schedule

This weekend, I'll be having fun at Keycon in Winnipeg. Heck, the fun even starts BEFORE Keycon with the Winnipeg launch of Destiny's Fall. Here's where I'll be:

Thursday, May 17

Starting at 7:30
McNally Robinson (Travel Alcove)
Destiny's Fall Book Launch
With storytelling show thrown in for fun!

Saturday, May 19

11am - noon
From Words to Paint
The author’s vision on the page to the artist’s imagination on the cover.
Marie Bilodeau and Kari-Ann Anderson

3 - 4pm
Ambassador F 
The art of oral fictions with examples from Master Storyteller, Marie Bilodeau. Marie
performs a number of tales. Parental Guidance advised!

8 - 9pm
Ambassador D 
Feminism in Fantasy
Writing real women into speculative fiction. Discussion.
Marie Bilodeau, LeAmber Kensley

9 - 10pm
Ambassador D 
Stereotypes in Speculative Fiction
Surmounting the haughty elf and felling the grizzled barbarian.
Marie Bilodeau, Jonathan Maberry

Sunday, May 20

1 - 2pm
Ambassador B
Marie Bilodeau reads from her book: Destiny’s Fall, the sequel to the award-winning
Destiny’s Blood

Guaranteed fun all around.  Hope to see you there!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

I Admire You

A lot of my friends are going through tough times right now.  This is for them - for reminding me every day how strong they are and, without even knowing it, for encouraging me to be stronger.

I admire you.  I really do.

I admire how you struggle through life.  I admire that you manage to get up in the morning. I admire that you fight your weaknesses to the best of your abilities. Today. Every day.

I admire that you don't call it a weakness, too. I admire that you call it "what I have to get through," or "this temporary thing."

I admire that greatly.

I admire that you manage to go to sleep, each night, every night.  That you manage to shed the nightmares when you wake up. I admire your ability to dream, still, of a better day.

I admire your persistance, your perseverance, your belief, your stubbornness, your desire to win.

And I admire your tears.  I admire that you still manage to cry even as you say everything will be fine.  I admire that you don't always camouflage your sadness.

I admire that you don't even realize how much you inspire.  That, in your determination to make it through your day, you fail to realize that you've helped others make it through theirs. So many others.

I admire your surprise when you figure this out.

I admire when you reach for the light through the inky darkness.

I admire your laughter.

I admire you.

And, I admire that, when you read this, you probably won't even think I'm referring to you. So if you have but a speck of a doubt that this might be about you - if you're a friend,  if we've spoken once or twice, if our paths have crossed, virtual or otherwise, then believe me, this is about you.

Because I admire you.  And I wanted to thank you.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Where I'll be (Everywhere!)

The next month is going to be rock and roll, my friends, as the various launches for Destiny's Fall come to an end.  First and foremost, I'll be at McNally Robinson Booksellers in Winnipeg next Thursday, with a launch and some stories (!) starting at 7:30 pm.  (Details here.)  I've been so busy with writing and launching that I haven't told alllll year so far.  I can't wait to rediscover some of my old favourites and find some new gems, too!

Then I'll be at Keycon.  I don't have a full schedule yet, but trust me, it'll be fun!

Now you're thinking: but, Marie, that's not everywhere. That's really just Winnipeg.

And I'm saying: Ha!  You're wrong!

For you see, I'm also going to partake in a blog tour.  Woo!  In a rare moment of insight and wisdom, I got some help to set this up.  The good people at Goddess Fish Promotion have a whole slew of blog visits set up for me.  Check out the full schedule.  They made a banner too:

Now ain't that cute?
On top of the 15 stops organized by them, I'm setting up a few on the side, as well. The first will be on Roomy's blog, next week. I can proudly say that's probably the most insane blog post I've ever written. Say a lot, I know.

Doing all of these interviews and blog posts was an exercise in keeping things fresh.  I tried to tell one personal story per post (kind of like I try to do on panels, sacrificing any pretence of sanity). I hope you'll enjoy following along as we chat writing, Destiny's Fall and what I wanted to be when I grew up.

Yes. All fascinating details.  I'll post the daily blog posts on my Facebook Page, and round them up on my blog probably each week.  Something like that, anyway.

If you'd like to host me on your blog, please contact me and let me know what you'd like me to ramble about!


Friday, 4 May 2012

Aurora Awards for Rotting Heads

So, for the few of you who don't yet know, my short story, The Legend of Gluck (When the Hero Comes Home, ed. by Gabrielle Harbowy and Ed Greenwood, Dragon Moon Press), is nominated for an Aurora Award in the short fiction category!!  I can't thank you all enough for being so supportive of a rotten head (you're all a little twisted and I like that about you).

The ramble
Because it's Friday and I like to ramble. There's actual useful info in the next section, if you want to skip ahead. But, why would you want to???

I found out about this year's Aurora Award nomination during a super busy and stressful week.  I hadn't really put the word out there about my eligible works, just a simple post that said "vote if you wanna, don't worry if you don't wanna."  More or less.

The organizers had been trying to reach me by phone to inform me of my nomination, but I was out a lot that week.  Roomy was working overtime since it was a crazy busy period at work, so I was out grocery shopping by myself, which is super boring.  No one was there to shake their head at me as I spoke to little fruit or danced in the aisle.  Quite dull. 

This was also the day they'd moved everything around at our local Farm Boy, so it was a bit of a discombobulated experience (I was also very sleep deprived, did I mention that?) 

A scrunched up Ukranian (?) woman grabbed my arm as I was examining jars of pickled things and we became shopping buddies.  I have no clue what she said as she spoke in an East European dialect, but we worked it out. I helped her get bread (she was really scrunched up), and she helped me select yogourt.  S'all good.

So, after that experience, she tottered off to another cash and I lined up at my own.  I pulled out my iPhone to e-mail Roomy and see how things were going at work, when I noticed an e-mail from the Aurora Awards Committee, marked as urgent.  I read it, eyes wide, and did a little dance (my feet went on their own - I totally had no control. Totally).

I now confess - we're not supposed to tell anyone about our nomination before the ballot is announced, but I told the Scottish-accented man in line in front of me.  He said: "Well, congratulations, lass!"  He had no clue what I was talking about cause I was rambling, but he seemed as pleased as a muddy pig so he was a good audience.

Anyway, on to the actual point of this blog...

How to vote

To vote, you go here:  (Canadians only.)

Those that nominated don't need to pay again - it's part of the one-year membership fee.  Those who did not nominate but still wish to partake of the voting fun may do so by joining now. The fee is $10, but this year, the Aurora Awards Committee is offering a voter's package, which includes full novels, short stories, poems, etc.  Considering the titles on that list, it's worth the price of admission.

I have lots of friends on this year's ballot, including some that are in the same category as me.  I wish them all the best. It's an impressive line-up!  Seriously - Canadian speculative fiction rocks!

Again, thank you for your support. You inspire me to blow up more villages, showcase more rotting bodies and destroy more lives. Terribly, irreparably. 

Sniff.  Isn't that beautiful?