Tuesday 30 April 2013

Letters with no Reply - Rogers Canada

Dearest Rogers Canada,

I know it's hard, and nobody ever wants to go though this. You hope and pray that it won't happen to you, you do the best you can on a daily basis, and still, sometimes, it just doesn't work out.  But you have to accept it, Rogers.

I just don't want to be with you anymore.

I admit that it was pure romance at first.  You went out of your way to keep me happy, you picked up the tab once in a while and, when I called in sheer panic because Space now played Doctor Who instead of CBC, you made sure I could access it, at no extra charge.  It was sweet, Rogers.  You were my knight on a white (and red) horse.

But, well, people change.  I changed.  I just... I can't be like you, always viewing the same channels, slaves to a pre-determined play time.  I just needed to be free, Rogers, to select what I wanted to see when it was best for me, and not dance to the strings of someone else's mandolin.

You were happy with the way things were, I guess.  You never offered me otherwise, even when I asked.  It wasn't easy for me either, Rogers, to break it off with you.

We've had good times.  And I know I'm a catch - always paying on time or twice in one month, for lack of attention.  Making jokes whenever we chatted on the phone. Not downloading more than you were willing to give.

But you have to let go.  The phone calls, letters, e-mails and texts are just embarrassing you, Rogers, and cheapening what we once had.  You've become the stain in my mailbox and the joke at my dinner table. And then you dared send me another letter, simply adressed to "Resident."


Think about how that made me feel.

I tried to be nice about it, but I can't anymore.  Your constant initiation of contact is wasteful and perhaps scarring.  Please stop corresponding with me.

We had a good run, Rogers.  But now it's time for you to let go.

Love (in a limited, non-eternal way),


Thursday 25 April 2013

Writing Routine

I've been on a fairly consistent writing routine since 2002.  Get up in the morning, bounce around the house while getting ready, get on bus, head downtown, sit in coffee shop, write.

It worked for me because I didn't have to worry about being late for anything (I'm right downtown!), and the most important part of my day was over by 8, 8:30.  I tried evening writing for a while, but that really didn't work out.  I was too tired to muster up the extra creative energy. Evenings, however, were awesome for editing, since at some point during the day I'd usually stumbled on my brain and stuck it back in my head. (Drafting doesn't require my brain, mostly because I'm a mean editor of my own words.)

Now, after more than a decade of being downtown, I will no longer be heading there in the mornings, which means that I'll be trying to find a new writing spot.  There's one not far from where I'll be going, but it only opens at 7. That's a bit late for me.  So I'm thinking I might try to switch it up.  Maybe write at home in the mornings, in my awesome kitchen, sipping flavoured coffee brewed in my Roomy-gifted Keurig machine.

My main worry is that I'll get lazy.  If I only have to head downstairs, will I start to get up later? Getting up, especially in the winter, is already hard enough with a bus schedule to stick to.  Will I get distracted by life?  A coffee shop is great because I'm not expected to do the dishes, clean the counters, wash the floors, fuzz the cats (no that they usually have those, but, you know...)  Without a book under contract, will I see it as a chance to goof off?  To regain some of my social life, cast aside in favour of putting word to paper or screen?

I'm honestly not sure.  I'm trying to figure out ways to stop myself from losing that routine and letting the days slip by into weeks and months without new stories.  The trick is to implement fail-safes. Maybe I'll start reporting word count on my blog. Maybe I'll give myself harsh deadlines - I work best under pressure. Maybe I'll get Roomy to take away the Keurig machine if I'm bad.  No, wait, that would kill all productivity.

Lots to think about. Help a girl out. What are some of the fail-safes that work best for you?  

Monday 22 April 2013

The Comic Book Shoppe

(It's a busy world, so I'm going to start providing carefully crafted executive summaries on my blog posts.  Today's executive summary is: "I heart the Comic Book Shoppe.")

When I first moved to Ottawa more than a decade ago, I looked for my new "geek outlet" store.  Where one buys their comic books and geek ware can help make or break their love for a city, after all.  It was made clear to me by other geek girls that the Comic Book Shoppe was *the* place to shop in Ottawa.  I heard things like:

  • "They actually have girls on staff."
  • "They carry titles by girl artists and writers."
  • "You don't feel like you're on display while shopping."
  • "You can browse comic books without wondering who's browsing you."

All stellar reviews, if you ask me. Over the years, I've shopped there on and off, but recently, with way too many cool things to get, I'm there at least once a month. Roomy and I enjoy our comic book nights.  I've always believed it was a great place to shop, but lately they've become a shining star for the Ottawa geek community, at least in my books.  A few reasons:

  • The Comic Book Shoppe 2, located on Bank Street, is in Ottawa's "LGBT Village." (I don't know if it has an official name - please let me know if it does!)  When DC said that a well-known aggressive homophobe would be penning the next series of Superman, Rob Spittall, co-owner of the Bank Street location, said he would not carry it, out of respect for the community he serves and the ideals the geek community strives to achieve.  He would still order it for the fans, of course, but he wouldn't put the money forward to carry it on his shelves. It was professional, thoughtful, and well-executed. Some people called it a breach of freedom of speech, but Rob has that right, too, and he supported it with grace.  I was impressed.
  • Last month, they hosted the Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories book launch, and it was one of the best venues I've worked with in town. They were friendly, accommodating and professional. We packed the place and they cheered us on.  What more could we ask for?
  • Last night cinched it for me.  They hosted their second Geek Girls Night, and it was a ridiculous amount of fun. They had a mini concert, vegan treats, manicures, grab bags and massages, and some great discounts. The event sported a relaxed social atmosphere.  They had pulled the female staff from both stores, making sure customers had plenty of assistance to find the cool they were looking for (or were hankering to discover!)  I supported the event by spending way too much there...

It strikes me how lucky we are to have the Comic Books Shoppe.  There isn't an establishment like this in every city, or not one that's such a beacon for the community.  I can't thank Rob, Cherry and everyone else enough for all of the work they put into maintaining such a great establishment.

Ottawa is better for having you in it.

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Everything Changes

My brother and I were working on a script together this week and part of the inspiration was: "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

Right now, I'm hoping that's true.  I've been in an upheaval of changes lately, adapting to new situations personally and professionally, one tiny or major change at a time.

On the personal front, the main change is of course the new house!  Roomy and I absolutely love it but it's a heck of a change.  Our old routines are gone, and our house, only half (okay, a quarter) unpacked, is not yet welcoming of new routines. We're figuring it out, and it is fun decorating the new place one tiny section at a time.  It'll be a while yet before we can host a housewarming party!

One of the major changes in my routine is losing my morning Klingon bus buddy. He was my first human contact in the mornings, so it's strange to no longer have him there on the bus, waiting to stand up and let me sit next to the window (so I wouldn't go flying out - I guess he grew weary of me latching on to his arm every time the bus took wild turns. Which was all the time).  I miss our early morning geek chatter. It was an awesome way to start the day.

The other major change is that, for the past eleven years, with only one year off, I've been writing downtown every morning.  Over the past two years, I've gone from solitary writing to group writing. That in itself took a while to get used to (people!  People in my space!)  After some resistance  I got used to it and now I really enjoy it (or I'm suffering from stockholm syndrom).  At the end of next week, on the same day that marks my 35th birthday, I'll no longer be trekking downtown on weekdays, so I lose my writing buddies.  They're already working on finding me a new group, so I have high hopes on that end. Still, I'll miss Derek, Nicole and Brian, just like I missed Peter when he upped and went to China (although I enjoy making people believe he's a figment of Derek's imagination).

All of these changes in my daily social interactions come at an interesting time.  For the first time since 2008, I have no writing contract.  Not one. For the past four years and a bit, I've been working at finishing my two series, and I'd write short stories for anthology editors who specifically requested one from me. That approach worked for me. Now, there isn't another book under contract. And a whole slew of books that I've been ignoring are clamouring for attention, each puffing its feathers to entice me to dance with them.  So many awesome books that I get excited just thinking about it!

First, however, I want to cleanse my palate a bit.  Some short stories would do me some good. And then I'll decide what my next book will be.  I'm getting excited just thinking about the possibilities!

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  The writing community in Ottawa is growing, or at least coming out of the woodwork at a steady pace, so I'll always get to meet new writers and find new writing buddies.  My home is lovely and as homey as ever before, because it's still full of cats and books and ponies and a Roomy (just one).  And the writing still whispers in the back of my mind, enticing me to drop everything else and run away with it, if not to a convent then at least to the confines of my mind.

As for a Klingon bus buddy?  ... well, the world can only provide something so cool so often.  Sometimes, it's good to lower expectations.