Adventures with Lulu Dog & The Writing Life
Thank you to the team @unitedforliteracy for inviting me to defend Study for Obedience by Sarah Bernstein for the 22nd annual @gillerlightbash in support of literacy education across Canada.
Warmest congratulations to all @gillerprize long & shortlisted authors & shout out to my brilliant friends @deborah.m.willis (Girlfriend on Mars) and @thatkevinchong (The Double Life of Benson Yu)
Congratulations to *all* writers harnessing the imagination and perseverance it takes to get their stories into world.
And thank you for listening to my fireside chat, providing I figure out how to repost this video 😆
Posted @withregram @gillerlightbash
Check out @sam_and_lulu_ defending our 5th and final @gillerprize shortlisted book, Study for Obedience by #sarahbernstein, published by @knopfca
Still grinning into space one week after reuniting with author and friend Charlotte Gill @wordfest
It seems impossible that our lives have been intersecting for almost 20 years. So grateful for the time we were able to steal, holed up in a booth nursing a 64 oz carafe of coffee while circling the sun in much overdue conversation.
Charlotte’s new book, Almost Brown, is a thought-provoking, moving and unforgettable memoir that I will devote a separate post to when I resume weekly book content!
In the meantime — with an abundance of highlighted passages I love — I’ll close this post with a short quote drawn from one of many poignant sections:
“My true ethnic home is really no place at all. It’s a small island nation of the imagination that doesn’t exist on any map and not in geologic form. You can’t get there via any airport. You can only be born there by fateful accident. Half in and half out, formed from two worlds, belonging to both and neither.” ...
So much to say about tiny wolf Lulu. Master of the moment. Guardian of classified intelligence. For now, a brief capture of her focussed coaching (river) style #best ...
between thunder storms under the full thunder moon 🌓🌔🌕🌖🌗 ...
solstice reflections — literal, figurative
#riverseason #summer ...
What a night celebrating the release of Girlfriend on Mars by @deborah.m.willis 🔥
Over 100 people joined us @shelflifebooks where the (amazing!!) staff helped us transform the bookstore into a dimly-lit, cosmic lounge!
To echo something Deb says below — standing next to Mars & its moons — surrounded by the warm curiosity of a galaxy of guests — in conversation with this funny, brilliant, thought-provoking author — I too had moments that felt like I’d floated up into space!
Thank you to everyone who helped make this launch so memorable. And thank you Deb for nudging me out from underneath my earth rock by inviting me to host ❤️
Posted @withregram • @deborah.m.willis
Calgary, THANK YOU for helping me to launch this book in such a shimmering and meaningful way! 🚀 🧡 I was astonished by the number of people who attended last night—it turns out I do still have friends, despite disappearing for years into the pandemic-parenting life. I’m deeply grateful for all the support.
@sam_and_lulu_ and @shelflifebooks we did it! We pulled off the cosmic, vibey party of our dreams! Sam, I could have talked to you for hours. And couldn’t have pulled off this event without you.
And we sold out of books! Which means a $110 donation to the @calgaryclimatehub ! Enormous thanks to all those who bought books and to the wonderful staff at Shelf Life who sold them.
@kris.demeanor you make every event more vibrant and thoughtful. You make every one of my days more vibrant and thoughtful.
Standing next to Mars and its moons, I had a few moments where it felt like I’d floated up into space. I spent years failing to write a novel (actually, failing to write MANY novels…so many attempts sputtered and died). I’m so happy that I could celebrate the novel that I finished, a book that means so much to me, with friends. 🧡
Oh, and a note about the fashion: by popular demand, I included a shot that shows the silver space pants. I think I looked cute despite realizing, on stage about midway through the night, that my shirt was on backwards. ...
True story. Short story. Let’s call it Travel Moon.
Eight months ago, under the full October moon, I ventured to a favourite riverbank ‘island’ with Lulu.
A good friend of mine (based in Montreal) will often suggest thoughtful acts that a small group of us carry out simultaneously under the glow & tremble of full moons.
In October she suggested we leave a trace of healing magic in our communities: “magick messages of hope and perseverance.” The intention was for others to happen upon these pieces of hope by chance.
I placed two polished stones on the riverbank, arranging them in a way I thought was hard to miss. The word “strength” was carved into one of them. The other, “healing.” I knew people aside from myself found this place too (ok, probably not many but some) & believed the stones would be discovered. This turned out to be my last sojourn to the island of 2022.
October’s full moon is sometimes called the Travel Moon. I love this because I often dream of following summer to another country by the end of this month.
I trekked back to the island with Lu over the weekend to seek solace, silence (—strength & healing!), aware of the full moon thrilling above us, but otherwise heavy with too much thought-gravity for my mind to settle on the stones I’d left in the fall.
We arrived and took in our surroundings: a kaleidoscope of butterflies, emerald bounce of water, a rogue loon face-planting for fish. Dozens of small leafy poplars shooting out of the earth.
We settled onto a blanket with notebook to work on our wolf memoirs. I glanced to where I’d left the stones and figured (hoped) they’d been found.
But as the sun took hold, a flash caught my attention, glinting from under water several feet from land. I rose to investigate, Lulu followed.
And there they were — still a pair — huddled together in a trough of sand and grit.
No way, I said. Lulu wasn’t surprised. We decided to leave them undisturbed, resting in the sunken peace of their chosen silt ripple, unmoved by the chaos of nearby currents.
Perhaps this is (still) the beginning of a much longer journey they will take
Dedicated to my brilliant friend @corrinahodgson ♥️ ...
Looking forward to interviewing author @deborah.m.willis about her fabulous forthcoming novel (Girlfriend on Mars) at her launch on Wednesday, June 14, 7pm @shelflifebooks ☄️
The evening will open with a performance by @kris.demeanor & offer a “Taste of Mars” wine & literary pairing, in-conversation, reading by the author, satirical/cosmic selfie station and an opportunity to reconnect with community under starry indoor skies! Also: Mars Bars.
$2/book will be donated to The Calgary Climate Hub @calgaryclimatehub
ABOUT THE NOVEL
Amber Kivinen is moving to Mars. Or at least, she will be if she wins a chance to join MarsNow. She and twenty-three reality TV contestants from around the world―including a handsome Israeli soldier, an endearing fellow Canadian, and an assortment of science nerds and wannabe influencers―are competing for two seats on the first human-led mission to Mars, sponsored by billionaire Geoff Task. Meanwhile Kevin, Amber’s boyfriend of fourteen years, was content going nowhere until Amber left him―and their hydroponic weed business―behind. As he tends to the plants growing in their absurdly overpriced Vancouver basement apartment, Kevin tunes in to find out why the love of his life is so determined to leave the planet with somebody else.
An audaciously original debut, Girlfriend on Mars is at once a satirical indictment of our pursuit of fame and wealth amidst environmental crisis, and an exploration of humanity’s deepest longing, greatest quest, and most enduring cliché: love.
☄️ event presented by Hamish Hamilton / Penguin Canada & Shelf Life Books ...
Wildfire smoke has been pressing against the windows all day. Eerie yellow light. The smell of campfire indoors. It can be difficult to imagine how extreme conditions like 10+ (very poor) air quality really feels. Sending strength to all folks under evacuation and/or needing medical care right now. Brutal. ...
Congratulations Chris Turner @heyturner — winner of the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing for his book How to Be a Climate Optimist: Blueprints for a Better World 🌎
From the Globe & Mail this morning: “In their citation, the jury for the prize said Mr. Turner’s book is a “masterclass” in brisk, vivid storytelling.”
Lulu helped me select this title @shelflifebooks a couple of weeks ago and we’re so pleased to hear this news today!
This excellent book is also currently on the 2023 @writersguildab Literary Awards shortlist. Winners to be announced on Saturday, June 3 at the awards gala at Fort Calgary. Congratulations to all nominees on that list too ✨ ...
Celebrated the FULL FLOWER MOON with a long overdue visit to see Meaghan @thebotanistcalgary (for plant, gardening and full moon supplies!) and where Lulu was *over the moon* to have a play date with her twinning-pal Odin @adventuresofmoneyandodin
Looooooove this place! Thank you Meaghan & Odin for the magical urban jungle adventures 💚
#thebotanist #thebotanistyyc #gardeningyyc #fullflowermoon #calgaryplants #urbangardening #tinywolves #magickingdom #fullmoon ...
Back in January I had the opportunity to attend a literary conversation featuring authors Jamaica Kincaid and Suzette Mayr @ucalgary (thanks to @ashleyjjwhite of @writersguildab) 💕
“Domestic life is a horror show,” said Jamaica during the interview, and the entire audience seemed to breathe a sigh of collective understanding over what she meant by this (—& she *did* elaborate in very poignant ways on the topic).
This statement and her elaborations have haunted me for months!
And so — on the heels of a dozen administrative & household/domestic deadlines, of organizing and filing taxes — we breathe 🤍 ...
“We can spend our whole lives escaping from the monsters of our minds,” wrote Pema Chödrön in her book When Things Fall Apart.
Rumination and absurd complexity can follow us to even the most remote and beautiful places. Contentment and joy arrive in moments; extended ones if we recognize and savour them. And so — recently home from off-the-beaten Yucatan — here are some of those precious moments, highlighting (as I do) Lulu’s ever-intrepid adaptability and presence.
Wishing everyone pockets of sun, solace and levity amidst the (at times) kafkaesque trials of human life — and thank you @na.oh.mee for bringing the term “kafkaesque” back to my attention — I can’t stop using it now 😆 ...
happiest dog to be away from winter I think ...
extreme cold warnings continue
flight points 👍
destination Bacalar, MEX (en route) ...
Happy birthday(ish), Lulu — am inspired by your indomitable spirit every day ♥️ ...
closed out year of the water tiger doing water-tigery things 🌊 🐯 ...
Wolf Moon 2023 — made it to San Diego — on the road and writing 🌓🌔🌕🌖🌗 ...