Update: Not much writing yet, but there’s always tomorrow. Right?

The calendar may say otherwise, but with the snow and sub-zero temperatures of the past week, autumn seems to be no more than a hazy memory. More than one month into my year of writing fearlessly, precious little Writing has taken place. But’s been a positive, inspiring time all the same.

My city’s annual readers’ festival, Wordfest, was held in mid-October and this year I volunteered as a driver for the first time. What a fantastic way to meet and engage with authors! Whether I was driving children’s authors out to school events, or picking a New Yorker columnist up from the airport, I thoroughly enjoyed the conversations that arose. The programming was impressive as well, including a strong representation of Indigenous writers. But my personal highlight, without question, was the magnificent M NourbeSe Philip. I had three opportunities to talk to this most remarkable woman—a Caribbean-born Canadian poet, writer, playwright, and former lawyer—at some depth. We talked about poetry, writing, and our adult children. She was generous and supportive, especially when I shared with her the nature of my writing about the body. And her performance of excerpts from her seminal, experimental poem Zong! was one of the most powerful readings I have ever attended.

Since the festival ended, I’ve been busy. I worked during our municipal election—an absolute nightmare—we are one of the last paper ballot hold outs, turnout was unexpectedly high, and by midnight during the third recount I found that I was completely incapable of counting to fifty! Add feline dental surgery, writing reviews, editing, and a public speaking engagement (on the intersection of faith and my queer identity, in case you’re curious, a rather uncertain junction to be fair), I have found it difficult to carve out a creative space of my own. But, it’s all good. I even had the opportunity, earlier this week, to attend a book launch for fellow Albertan and Twitter compadre, Steve Passey. To be honest, I went to heckle him, but he’d stacked the house with his friends and family so I decided to be polite. (Just kidding, of course, it was a great night—with wine and cupcakes, what more could you want!)

But, in the midst of all this, the most unexpected and welcome surprise came in the form of an invitation to join 3:AM Magazine as Criticism/Nonfiction Editor. There was a time when just publishing something at 3:AM seemed an impossible dream, and my first effort appeared after the most brutal editing experience—one that almost caused a me to have writerly crisis of faith. I had over-read and over-written a complex postmodern novel. However, I learned so much from the process of working it into shape and I was, in the end, very proud of the result. I firmly believe that being edited myself, editing for The Scofield, and the workshops and training I’ve taken along the way, have all helped make me a stronger writer. And it’s an excellent way to encounter great writers, engage with exciting writing, and help bring it to the attention of others. I look forward to being part of the 3:AM team, I expect it to be both rewarding and inspiring.

So now, to attend to writing. With winter making its presence felt early, it seems the ideal time to settle down and get to work.

Author: roughghosts

Literary blog of Joseph Schreiber. Writer. Reader. Editor. Photographer.

23 thoughts on “Update: Not much writing yet, but there’s always tomorrow. Right?”

  1. I think I congratulated you elsewhere on your new appointment, but still – well done. The editing process is chastening – I only had limited experience of it so far, preferring the safer monoculture of my blog! I admire your bravery in committing yourself in this way. You remind me that your cat just had expensive surgery; hope that went well. The festival sounded good fun. Enjoy your Canadian winter! Here in Cornwall we rarely get snow, but it is usually a rather damp, grey season. Still, spring is never far behind.

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    1. Thanks Simon! I generally like reviewing on my blog. I do spend a long time on each one, but writing critical reviews for publication can be exhausting even with much less grueling edits. But every now and then I have a book that I feel I want to take to a broader forum. Then I quite like it.

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  2. Snow already! Its making me feel cold just hearing about it. We seldom get snow in the UK but when we do it’s rarely more than a few centimetres yet you’d think the world had come to an end with the fuss people make.
    Congratulations once again on that 3:AM role. You said you’ve learned a lot since that first bruising encounter. I suspect your learning journey is going to continue but it will be a lot more enjoyable.

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    1. Here where snow is inevitable, we are still unprepared every year (I still need to put my snow tires on). As much as I hate driving in snow, I do love having it on the ground which is otherwise brown for so much of the year.

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  3. In a piece of synchronicity, an email popped into my inbox offering tickets at the Bristol Old Vic for a play called The Meaning of Zong. It’s a debut and highly appropriate for a city which played a large part in the British slave trade.

    Many congratulations on your new appointment, and good luck with the writing.

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  4. Congratulations! It sounds like a busy time, even though not necessarily writing time. Sometimes the writing field has to lie fallow for a while to allow for regeneration (and other crops to sprout, if you will pardon the ignorant use of farming metaphors).

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  5. Heheh. Oh, I know that stack of notebooks. You could take a photo and then track your progress as the actual writing begins (in private or here, whatever tickles your fancy). Some spells are more for ruminating, and some more for wordcounts. That probably sounds like a good excuse – and maybe it is – but there’s something to be said for ebb and flow.

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