Saturday, 26 March 2011
Thursday, 17 March 2011
Last Saturday featured an incredibly good Montreal Gazette review of The Meaning of Children, by freelancer Anne Chudobiak! She may just be my ideal reader...
Here's just a taste of it:
"...The Meaning of Children took on the tone of motivational reading, each story a reminder of what an optimistic endeavour it is to parent...
"The book touches on a lot of the biggest parental 'what ifs.' Kidnapping. Hate crime. Death by drowning. Suicide. Even so, it would make a good gift for a new mother. Akerman holds up our greatest fears, not to dwell on them, but to marvel at our commitment to life, especially to passing it on to others. Says one character, looking back, 'Life had been perfect … but I’d been too busy to notice.'"
My first online interview is up at the Fictionaut blog.
Many thanks to interviewer Meg Pokrass and Jürgen Fauth (pictured at right) and the rest of the folks at Fictionaut, a great place to read and share your fiction. Here's an excerpt:
What do you do when you feel stuck or uninspired… suggestions for unblocking creativity?
I’m a big believer in getting out of your comfort zone–I’ve traveled to workshops/fellowships/residencies in Alberta, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Ohio, and Oregon. When I’m unsettled, my emotions are closer to the surface, and I highly recommend it. I’ve even written naked in the Super 8 Airport Motel in Portland–one of my favorite stories poured out there when, after a bad dream, I got up and started writing instead of turning over and trying to get a little more shuteye. I wrote for a couple of hours, made my plane and kept on writing in the stopover at San Francisco (don’t worry: I was clothed by then). Other suggestions: go to art galleries, watch movies, get in touch with nature, take long walks, ride a bike, visit your old neighborhood, join a choir, look at old photos–your own or even strangers’. Whatever it takes to stir yourself up. And work at finding things that make you happy, that make you laugh.
What inspires you?
Kindness and compassion. How much some do for others. The feeling of being in this together, the ol’ John Donne thing. Seeing kids enjoy things. My mother used to take my kids to see plays put on by a local theatre–the rapt look on the faces in the audience used to make me cry. Probably still would. Luckily, my kids are grown and I don’t have to humiliate myself in public that way quite as much anymore. But I’m still trying to move people.Where do stories come from? What makes them happen… for you? Talk about recurring theme or themes in your own work here…
Again, you can find the rest of the interview at Fictionaut.
Sunday, 13 March 2011
Faster than speeding bullsh*t, able to reach Russia in a single bound, makin' less sense than Donald "known unknown" Rumsfeld, it's Sarah Palin, the snowbilly Energizer Bunny of America’s right wing: she's baaack!
And this time, she’s partyin’—tea partyin’ that is!
Our Sarah’s been a real busy gal these past few weeks. First there was that book a hers, Goin’ Rogue. Why shoot, when I heard the Queen a Texas Tea had writ herself a real, goldurn book, I wanted to shake her hand--after those early Katie Couric interviews, there were times I doubted she could even READ! But then she streaked past readin’ and writin’ to become a talking head on that station for the unfair and unbalanced, Fox "News." Truly, we live in a age of signs and portents--and that joyful phrase "President Palin" has me convinced the end times we all been prayin' for sure are plum nigh.
Sarah Barracuda's Alaska-to-household-name "common sense" story IS kind a miraculous: any of the women I know who had just given birth to a Down's Syndrome baby and discovered their 17-year-old daughter "with child" wouldn't a had a moment free to run for the White House, what with all the hysteria going on in their OWN houses. But—praise the Lord—when there’s a job to do, NRA members and right-to-lifers charge right in where ordinary fools fear to tread!
But our Grandma Palin ain't no ordinary fool. She’s a lipstick-wearer so on top of things as Governor, wife, and mother of five, that she popped right back to work a mere THREE DAYS after birthin’ young Trig.
I, on the other hand, have yet to recover from my last pregnancy. And that was 15 years ago...
As governor, Palin roamed the legislature halls, skimming through messages with a BlackBerry in each hand. Well Lord sakes, what good thinkin’, keeping your trigger fingers limber despite those long days at the office where you couldn't shoot nobody, much as you mighta wanted to. You betcha!
Me and the gals I know don't have no time to be exercisin' our Second Amendment rights (use it or lose it, girls!), what with all our worryin’ over silly, everyday stuff--like how to get pregnant, how to keep from getting pregnant, how to keep our daughters from getting pregnant, how to find affordable/reliable/quality childcare/healthcare/eldercare, how to juggle our careers and family, how to keep a roof over our heads, how to keep said roof from leaking, and so on. Meantime, Sarah’s doing The Nation’s business and The Lord’s Work, tryin’ to get a handle on where Obama was really born, and getting the scoop on those Canadian death panels!
I guess me and my gal friends will always be handicapped by our small dreams because, as Sarah Palin, former beauty queen and one-time mayor of Wasilla, Alaska (pop. 10,256), has clearly shown, the best way to the top is over the top.
But wait--there’s more!
You Sarah, inspire us--not just by bein’ a whiz bang at shootin’ fish in a barrel (or moose from small planes), but also in knowin’ how to stick to your guns: despite young Bristol's unplanned, out-of-wedlock bumble of joy, apparently you (and Bristol) STILL champion high school sex ed that’s abstinence-only. Well shoot, it's like your whole life is based on the teachin’, "Don't confuse me with the facts! La la la!" You can't even be taught! Tarnation!
A better shot than Dick Cheney, more photogenic than any of the Joes, to this hard as nails moose dressin’ little lady who resurrected the beehive and made the McCain campaign cough up a fabulous new wardrobe, I say: you go, girl!
All hail President Palin for 2012!
You are Dan Quayle without the gravitas, Hillary with none a that pesky, wrinkle-inducin’ experience. As the capitalist economy, the fourth estate, critical thinking and them thar “educated classes” scatter before you like rose petals, you sure give us feminists faith in the future.
At least, in the future of comedy!
(Originally published by me on Open Salon, Feb. 8, 2010)