Thursday, February 25, 2010

Go Hailey!

It's not easy to work on my manuscript when the amazing and wonderful Olympic games are happening right here in my own city. The streets are full of international visitors and happy Canadians, and I know that at almost every minute, there's some exciting event I could be attending or watching on the screen.

From my office at night (including right now!), I can hear the festive music and fireworks that celebrate each day's big events. And today was a big event: The Canadian women's hockey team won the gold medal. Go Canada!

Hailey Wickenheiser, the team captain, was inspirational as always, and watching her reminded me of a great children's book about this talented hockey star. If there are kids in your life, it's a book worth picking up for them. Check out: Hailey Wickenheiser: Born to Play by Elizabeth Etue, published by Kids Can Press.

And now, it's back to work... Wish me luck. (Can you hear the music?)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Olympic Hightlights: One Writer's View

I'm looking out my office window at clear, blue skies and bright, beautiful sunshine. If I didn't know better, I'd think I was in Phoenix, Arizona rather than Vancouver, BC — home to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

Amidst the blooming crocuses and the robins singing in the trees, are 250,000 visitors from all around the world. And what wonderful visitors they are! Contrary to the hard-hitting media reports surfacing in London and other places, I'm pleased to report that from my vantage point, the city and the games all look pretty good!

I was downtown in the heart of Olympic celebrations the other night and felt as though I was in Times Square in New York. We rubbed shoulders with hundreds (thousands?) of happy and excited folks, and heard languages from all over the globe.

I also attended a women's hockey game and it was sensational: Sweden vs Switzerland (3-0 respectively) and had so much fun!

From what I've seen: people are happy; the sun is shining; transit is working well; and lots of fine young athletes are participating in the dream of a lifetime. What's not to like?

(Not to mention that our city of mountains and ocean is looking pretty stunning under the blue skies and bright sunshine.)

Some of my writer friends decided to go elsewhere for the duration of the games, and I understand their reasoning. At the moment, it's pretty tough to find the quiet and solitude you need to write your manuscript.

In spite of the buzz, however, I'm happy to report that I'm zipping along on my current manuscript. I'm trying to hunker down in quiet and solitude for at least a few hours a day. It seems to be working.

Go Canada!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Narrative Nonfiction

I've been reading a lot of narrative nonfiction lately, and enjoying it a great deal. There's a real art to telling true stories in a compelling way.

Two recent titles I've read are Hurry Down Sunshine: A Memoir by Michael Greenberg, and A Nurse's Story: Life, Death and In-Between in an Intensive Care Unit by Tilda Shalof.

Hurry Down Sunshine tells the extraordinary story of the summer when the author's fifteen year old daughter was struck with a mental illness and the psychological journey, including her hospitalization, that the two of them take. It's a fascinating, touching and well-told story.

A Nurse's Story is equally rivetting and full of the kind of information my mother, a nursing instructor, used to love to shock us with at the dinner table. (Maybe she wasn't trying to shock us, but we were shocked nonetheless. :-) In this book, I learned about the life and death decisions ICU nurses have to make every day.

Both books were helpful to me when the youngest member of our family was recently hospitalized with double pneumonia. I'm very happy to say he is now home and doing well, and we are grateful for the excellent medical care he received.

Thanks to these two books for helping me understand the important work that healthcare professionals perform on a daily basis.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Words To Ponder

I just read an excellent quote for writers I thought I'd share today. It is:

"We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives."

--Toni Morrison