In alphabetical order, we have a book authored by Jennifer Bain. The book is called, “HILDEGARD OF BINGEN and Musical Reception, The Modern Revival of a Medieval Composer”.
The book is an achievement for sure. Jennifer said she tried to write the book in such a way that both academics and non-academics would find it enjoyable and instructive and Sue thinks she's accomplished that goal very nicely. (Pic of book)
Then there’s Suzi Hübler’s achievement: a brand new business she has opened up in Toronto and it’s aerobically friendly. The business is called, “HIGH JUNCTION GYMNASTICS”. This is a place where young people can skin cats, do the splits, go to parallel bars, somersault themselves silly and become proficient at gymnastics, because Suzi is an expert at teaching gymnastics. You can check out her colourful website here: http://highjunction.ca/
(Jennifer is Sue’s daughter, and Suzi is Sue’s daughter-in-law, so you can see why we are excited about both of these accomplishments!)
Writers write a lot about feelings. Usually, if the story is going to have some punch and power, then the author feels and empathizes with the characters he’s creating or writing about.
So it’s no surprise that writers are filled with strong emotions. In many cases they’re not buried far below the surface. From time to time they even seep out like oil out of the ground.
At the same time, writers deal with the fickle world of fashion, pop culture, political correctness, social perceptions, changing rules, high and low grammar and lots and lots and lots of rejection.
If you write, you get to know about rejection. And most writers aren’t cold stone stoics, so it affects them. Sometimes a rejection makes no sense. And for many writers, the rejection slips/emails reinforce their deep feelings that they aren’t any damn good. The proof is there to see.
But, writers write anyway. Now, what I do is write and duck. Like the old duck and cover procedure they used to teach students to follow if an incoming atomic bomb was heading their way. Incoming rejection coming soon to your mail box. What an attitude, eh?
I heard a story about a fella who submitted some short stories to a national short story competition. They were stories written by the likes of Ernest Hemingway. These stories didn’t even make the long list.
I once had a story on the long list, but not on the short list. Ironically, I didn’t come up short and did. Now that’s a riddle for you. Anyway, I sent the story out to three other publishers. They all rejected it and yet I’m pretty sure that stories which would most likely not have made the long list, were published in their magazines.
J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” was rejected twelve times and then bought by the thirteenth publisher, not an unlucky number in this case. You want to know the reason why the thirteenth publisher bought it? I’ll tell you. Because the publisher’s CEO’s daughter loved it. How was poor Ms. Rowling supposed to know that she should have addressed her manuscript to the big honcho’s daughter?
The classic, "Lord of the Flies", was rejected twenty-one times. And you can damn well tell it was a classic because they made me read it in high school. One publisher wrote that it was “an absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull.”
Do you know what one publisher told F. Scott Fitzgerald when he read "The Great Gatsby"? He said, “You’d have a decent book if you’d get rid of that Gatsby character.” So funny!
Stephen King filled a spike with impaled rejection slips by the age of fourteen. Wow! He was prolific for sure.
My feeling is that if you are going to be rejected, at least have your writing as polished as it can be. That’s why I have an editor. Her name is Sue and she can spy a rogue, “I’ve went...” a mile away. Which, apparently, is one of my favourite illiterate-oral weaknesses. At least in a Jane Austen type of world.
Stephen King wrote, “To write is human, to edit is divine.”
I’ve started reading some poetry and short stories by Alden Nowlan. He was a mostly self-taught man, who was born in Nova Scotia. One of my favourite poems is called, “The Bull Moose”.
Here’s another one of his poems.
“This is the amazing thing
that it is so easy
to fool them—-
the sane bastards.
I can talk about weather,
eat, preside at meetings
of the PTA.
They don’t know.
Me foreign as a Martian
With the third eye in my forehead!
But I comb my hair
cleverly so it doesn’t show
except a little
sometimes when the wind blows.
Alden Nowlan, “Disguise”
When those around you seem to doubt the cause
And all they find to do is keep remarking
Don’t track up the carpet with your paws!
If you can lick the hand who needs you
and realize it’s really no mistake
When that hand that somehow failed to feed you
Feeds itself the whole darn sirloin steak.”
Lily Tuck, “Sniff”
The dog will stare at me like I’m wearing a tracking device. The dog’s eyeballs will hone in on me and not get his peepers off my moving form until we’re way beyond the human encounter distance of seventeen feet. (Apparently this has been measured by people who like to measure things.)
In some ways I think this places me at the dog's level of the food chain. Which could be way above the human's. This theory comes from watching too much news.
Which might be why I’m more comfortable on a log, inside or outside, rather than on a beautiful couch. A not so expensive, not so beautiful couch, doesn’t bother me quite as much. I guess my mind won’t stop reminding me that there’s a whole lot of social voo-doo comes with sitting on a beautiful couch in a living room.
Oh, and before you let your creative minds run wild, I have not yet had the desire to lift my leg and piddle on said log, nor on said less beautiful couch.
So, this Sunday, while I was in the washroom brushing my teeth, Buster was in the hallway barking. Sue, (who now barks back, but that’s another story), could not decipher from Buster’s barks, what the heck he wanted.
I stepped out of the washroom. Sue said, “What does he want?”
I said, thinking I was just guessing, that he was looking for his slipper so he could play “Fetch the Slipper”. So I found the slipper and sure enough, that’s what he wanted to do. Fetch the slipper.
Which goes like this. I throw the slipper or toss it, if you prefer that word. Buster runs and fetches the slipper. He returns with the slipper, which, for accuracy’s sake, is actually an old croc. He lets me pull the croc, thinking that I don’t know that he’s not really jawing down on it as hard as he would like me to think. Because he really wants me to wrench the croc out of his mouth, so the croc can glide through the air like an eagle and land on the kitchen floor in front of the fridge. So Buster can burst out of the starting gate, slide and slam into the fridge door, return the slipper and his drool to me and start the process all over again.
The whole game is a Buster diplomatic exercise in pretending he doesn’t want me to have the croc while wanting me to have the croc. Which I know is all a crock.
(Thou rather) and I may enter
without knocking, leave without a bow, confronts
each visitor with a style,
a secular faith: he compares its dogmas
with his, and decides whether
he would like to see more of us. Spotless rooms
where nothing’s left lying about
chill me, so do cups used for ashtrays or smeared
with lipstick: the homes I warm to,
though seldom wealthy, always convey a feeling
of bills being promptly settled”
W.H. Auden, “The Common Life”