Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Scary Thing!

I forgot, in my terrified state, to post my scariest moment of the week: submitting to the Canada Writes Short Story Prize. I mean, it's not scary if I don't think about it, but it's hard to put on the back burner. I've never done anything like this. Ever. I don't buy lottery tickets; I don't enter contests. I don't write short stories. I write big long heaving things that snap wrists and test eyesight.

But let's face it: I'm in a bit of a writing limbo while I wait to see if Sandy can work her literary magic and convince a publisher to air my big scribbles. So I might as well do something constructive in the meantime that doesn't involve rocking back and forth in the corner. I've illustrated the upcoming book, Witches Don't Do Winter, and I've taught BoyChild to take the bus on his own (thank you OC Transpo), so I thought I'd dust off my short fiction files and see if there was anything worthwhile.

Thanks to the drunkhouse down the street, the story fragment that spoke to me most was the one about a dazed kid winding his way home in Halifax after having traded away his expensive bike for a bum's shopping cart. Yeah. It's got "prizewinner" written all over it, eh? But in the writing of it, I bonded with my daughter and paraded ideas past my husband, and generally had a good time. I felt like a writer.

Which means that in the act is the proof. Some days -- not all days, of course -- but some of them...are good days.

Season of the Witch

I scared the bejeezus out of the GirlChild this morning. It went like this*:

RIOPELLE: 'Morning, sweetheart!
GIRLCHILD: Remember, Mum, I'm going to Carine Wilson High School today for the leadership conference!
RIOPELLE (looking down at her costume): Really? So am I! We can hang out!
GIRLCHILD: [crickets]
RIOPELLE: You can introduce me to all your friends!
GIRLCHILD: You're kidding, right?
RIOPELLE: Yeah. I'm going to a different school.
GIRLCHILD (under breath): Bullet. Dodged.

*I was dressed as a witch: green striped stockings, a hella big wig, black bicycling shorts, black top and a colander hat.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Nice People Live Here

I know, I know. Not scary and this whole friggin' blog is supposed to be scary and shit and whatnot, but maybe on some level this is actually scary. That Canada is filled to capacity with Nice People.

So my car breaks down while on my way to pick up the BoyChild. I was already running late because I was watching Dr. Phil interview the Milk Box Kid who'd been kidnapped and abused by the head of security at her middle school...for 10 years!!! Okay. So, I break down and am at the side of the Queen Elizabeth Parkway, everything cuts out (Alan Neal yammering away about something I can't remember because I was still wondering how the hell the HEAD OF FRIGGIN' SECURITY at a SCHOOL gets past the personal reference checks -- thanks, Dr. Phil, for erasing the meticulously created Canadian content that took Alan Neal's team hours and hours to put together). Phew. Okay.

So my car breaks down. Right away, within seconds, a nice Haligonian couple stops, lend me their cell phone (because I forgot mine on the coffee table because I was watching...well, you know), and I call CAA. WHO TOOK OVER AN HOUR TO GET TO ME. But more on that later.

During my HOUR LONG WAIT / BATAAN DEATH WATCH, no fewer than 6 cars stopped to ask me if I needed help. And they weren't all from out of town! They seemed to live here! And they weren't perving on me because, hello, I'm old now and don't attract that kind of attention. Just because they're nice.

So, while it was shitty that my car broke down and CAA took over an hour (and two phone calls, one from the nice guy who stopped and called on my behalf and who used to be a CAA guy and gave them polite shit and got the guy there in 30 seconds), people in Canada generally and Ottawa in particular are, indeed, nice.