Sometimes its good, healthy even, for a writer just starting out, to get smacked with a reality brick. Recently, I just ‘finished’ my first early chapter book manuscript. I have a wonderful writing teacher, Ruth Kozak whom has an impressive background in publishing and writing, so I asked her (for a fee) if she could edit it for me. She went over the manuscript with a fine tooth comb and in addition wrote three pages of comments for me. She did an awesome job but what an awakening for me! What I thought of as an ‘almost there’ manuscript was actually a piece in need of many revisions. While I will not make all the revisions suggested, I have some work to do. Yes, my beginner’s writer ego may of taken a hit, but I am always grateful for the chance to learn something new. Seeing my writing through an expert’s eyes offers me the window to do just that.
I was saddened, last week, to hear that Gumboots Books, will no longer be in operation by March 1st. In their announcement to SCBWI Canada West, the cause is stated to be due to the double whammy of a poor economic climate and some unexpected health issues.
Gumboot Books is the brain child of Crystal Stranaghan and Jared Hunt. I got to know them through their manuscript workshops and Web Presence course. I have benefited from their expertise in editing and especially from their impressive understanding of the non-techie mind. This website would not have been if it hadn’t been for their wonderful hand-holding style of teaching. For the past year, I have sent (and still do) Crystal many a panicked technical query regarding website building -to which I always get a reply. I am so grateful she puts up with me! I now see from all the responses from fellow SCBWI CanWest members, that gratefulness is a sentiment that many of us share towards Crystal and Jared. They have given so much to aspiring and published writers in our community.
Crystal and Jared’s Gumboot Books may be coming to an end, but I also hope it will mark a new beginning. They are recently just married and they continue to offer their workshops and courses. I pray that they get the time they need to heal and that the health issues will soon be behind them. They are a cracker-jack team and I think Gumboot Books is the first of many fine literary accomplishments to come.
Last Sunday, I got together with three other SCBWI Canada West illustrators for our first ever meeting. We met at a friendly coffee bar on Main Street called the Grind Gallery and Coffee Bar. Shantala, Nuala, Alissa, and I shared stories about where we went to school, where we worked, and the challenge of balancing the three big ‘C’s of female artistdom. That is: Creativity, Career, and Kids. Ok, so kids starts with a ‘k’. It’s close enough, phonetically speaking. The only thing we didn’t talk about was men, some of which we hope to see at the next meeting on Sunday, Feb 27th.
We also decided to put together a Facebook group which Shantala has since set up in record time. Shantala has also had an illustration blog up for SCBWI Canada West members. Every month there’s an inspiring prompt to spur members to contribute their artful take on the suggestion. February’s prompt is: First Love. The website is called, Go Bananas! To check it out, click on the link to the right.
All in all, we were very pleased to make each other’s acquaintance. I am already inspired to have been in the company of such artistic young women. I’m looking forward to future meetings.
Gung Hay Fat Choy!
Welcome my new site. I apologize for taking such a long time to get this thing out there. This is mostly due to my wanting to learn how to build this website myself…. Yes, the road to discovery can be a bumpy one but, oh, so rewarding!