Almost there

A few posts back, I mentioned that my book (This Hidden Thing) had been nominated for a couple of this year’s Manitoba Book Awards, and even more recently suggested that very soon, when the excitement of the shortlists and gala was over, we’d all be able to slip back to our quiet desks or reading chairs. Well, let me conclude this matter, since I brought it up, by saying I’m almost there, almost solid again after the emotional pudding I turned into for a couple of days, but still very happy and more grateful (in so many directions) than I can possibly express. Of the categories I was nominated in, David Bergen won the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction and I took home the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award. If you’re interested in news of the event, photos, or the jurors’ comments on the book, all of it is at the THT page or Events.  Off to my cozy corner now, where I’m reading last year’s Pulitzer winner, Tinkers, by Paul Harding, a slow and evocative book about an old man returning to his childhood, via memory, in the days before he dies.

What I’m writing…

A lot of my writing energy these days is going into a new novel project. I’m too far in not to continue, if you know what I mean, though not nearly far enough in to announce what it’s about. First drafts are just first drafts. This means I’ve been less active here at my blog; the nice twice-weekly rhythm I’d worked myself into seems to have slowed to weekly. I remain committed to this form of writing and publishing, however, even as I continue to evaluate it, and appreciate so much my readers, whether regular or occasional.

Besides the novel work, I’ve recently done a couple of smaller assignments. And since a blog is, in its original meaning at least, a personal “log” on the web, here follows a report (and links) to those bits of writing. The MB Herald, where I held various editorial positions at both ends of my “working-out” career, such as it was, is celebrating its 50th year as a magazine by asking those who spent time in the editor’s seat to reflect on any aspect of their experience. There’s no chronological order to their appearance; John Longhurst, Harold Jantz, and Jim Coggins opened the year, and yours truly appears in the April issue. (Just to make me sad at how quickly the decades pass, I suppose, they also pictured me as I looked once upon a time: dark-haired and long-haired! Hmm, and hint: maybe it’s sadness taking me back to the 60s and 70s in the new novel project?)

The Manitoba Book Awards nominations have brought a couple of lovely extras my way, such as the chance to read with fellow Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction nominees David Bergen, David Arnason, and Patti Grayson (Joan Thomas was out of town) at Aqua Books this week. I also very much enjoyed talking with Keran Sanders of the CBC Weekend Morning Show for tomorrow’s broadcast (April 10). CBC has a great website called “Manitoba Scene,” including a blog on books for which they requested a few words, like maybe some reasons to write. Loneliness and love are two of mine!

Eight days from now the excitement will be over, and we’ll all get back to our quiet desks or reading chairs. Next post, a log of what I’ve been reading…