Category Archives: Uncategorized

Stiwdio Maelor; Wales Writing Residency

One of the greatest gifts a writer can have is being invited to spend time in a Residency. Last year, I applied and was accepted to an International Writers’ Residency in Wales. The process of applying seems so long ago, but suddenly it’s only a month away. My heritage on my mother’s side is Welsh so in a strange way, it feels like I will be travelling to a country that feels familiar, even though that familiarity is a product of stories I heard as a child and my imagination.

I’ll have the precious gift of time to write and I hope to keep up a blog while I am there, so check back for news and stories of my time in Wales.

I’ll be at stiwdiomaelor, and no, I can’t pronounce it yet, but that will change when I arrive mid-May. Thank you to Australian artist Veronica Calarco for giving me this wonderful opportunity to Write in Peace.

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There’s something unknown waiting for me! 

 

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Filed under Events and Readings, General, Travelling In the World, Uncategorized, Writing Tips

The Preludes to Assaults

Thank you Jane for saying what we all know to be true.

Jane Eaton Hamilton

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#gomeshi #ghomeshi #ibelievelucy #IStandWithLucy #BillCosby #hairextensions #truthmatters #rapeculture #cndjustice

Jian Ghomeshi, you [redacted]. I don’t know you very well, but I know this: one night in early 2004, after I’d been awarded a writing prize in Ottawa, you followed me to a side room annexed to the main hall, where I’d gone to get away from the crowds, and while my (then) wife was in the bathroom or off getting another drink, I’m not sure, you put your hand on me. That hand. One of the very hands that is being discussed in court this week. You closed the distance between us and you massaged my shoulder/neck while talking to me about how I needed to relieve the stress of my big win. Eventually my (then) wife returned, you dropped your hand (that hand), and we chatted politely while you bashed the Rockies, BC and, in…

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Authors Demand Fair Contracts

January 5, 2016

An open letter to the members of the Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP), the Literary Press Group (LPG), and the Canadian Publishers’ Council (CPC):

Today, author groups from around the world have signed on to an open letter regarding the Fair Contract Initiative from our sister organization, the Authors Guild (AG) in the United States. The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) has included its name and logo on this letter. TWUC works closely with the Authors Guild on many initiatives, most notably global copyright concerns (TWUC is, for instance, a friend of the court in the AG’s ongoing book-scanning lawsuit against Google). We fully endorse the AG’s recent work updating contract principles.

TWUC has been sharing with its members the AG’s new contract principles as they have been published on their website over the last six months. As a founding member of the International Authors Forum (IAF), TWUC is also contributing to work on new, global contract principles for creative professionals. You will find attached both the AG’s open letter and the IAF’s Ten Principles for Fair Contracts.

TWUC has long advised its members on contract terms and negotiation using its own Model Trade Book Agreement, and we believe the time has come to update this document to better reflect the changed reality of writing and publishing in Canada. There is no question the economic reality for Canadian authors has deteriorated in the years corresponding with massive changes in the publishing industry. TWUC’s 2015 income survey report shows that author incomes have declined 27% since 1998, and that, distressingly, annual writing income is below the poverty line for 80% of Canada’s writers. These findings are mirrored by similar studies in both the US and UK. The reasons for this decline are complex, and contract terms are not solely to blame, but they are part of the mix and need to be addressed.

TWUC is aware that many independent Canadian publishers have used its Model Trade Book Agreement as a template when drawing up their own first contracts. In that spirit of professional cooperation, we want to make sure you’re aware of the fair contract movement in the author community. In fact, we invite representatives from the ACP, LPG, and CPC to be part of the Canadian discussion around new contract terms. TWUC proposes a roundtable discussion about contract principles aimed at establishing general best practices. In the meantime, please read the many tweaks and changes to industry standard contracts proposed by both the AG and the IAF.

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,

The Writers’ Union of Canada

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Filed under Give Me a Break, Uncategorized, Writing Tips

Place Speak: Real Time Polling Results

Check this out: Federal Election Polls Live! I am determined to vote ABC, this time around, again. That means “Anything But Conservative.” As a writer, a humanitarian and someone who is passionate about the environment and believes in a Sustainable Economy, I have little choice but to ensure Canada does not remain in the hands of Stephen Harper and his henchmen. They are out to destroy everything Canada is built on.

I came across this poll at Place Speak, that asks the simple question: “Which Party will you support in the upcoming Federal Election?  Of course, as election day approaches, pollsters across Canada want to know how the answer to this. The amazing thing about this poll is that it shows REAL TIME polling results that are neighbourhood specific in six cities across Canada! This means that I can make an instant judgment based on their polling results about which candidate is the most likely to take down Stephen Harper in my hood! This I love.

Of course, it will only be effective if all of you go there and vote and then spread the word around to your friends, family and workmates. I know I have not come across a Real Time Poll like this one. If you’re like me, you won’t be able to take your eyes off the Place Speak Live Map!  

Anyway, have fun with this. I am.

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Writers and Artists Please Vote for Culture in the Canadian Election

Many thanks to the Alliance for Arts + Culture for their Election Toolkit, which arrived in my email box just now. I couldn’t wait to share it with all of you.

Although I realize that most of us would rather chew off our own arm before we’d mark a vote for Harper on our ballots, this sentiment is useless unless we get out and vote for Arts, Culture and the Environment. It’s so important to spread the word to friends, colloquies and family. Usually my mantra is “Show up at the page,” but today it’s “Show up at the Polling Station on October 19th, 2015.

Remember to vote with ABC in mind: Anything but Conservatives (Harper). Both the NDP and the Liberals have some amazing candidates and they need your support.

Even writing Harper’s name makes me feel nauseous…

Julie

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MyVoteMatters aims to increase voter turnout

This is non-partisan and just a plea for all of us in Vancouver who are eligible to vote to get out on November 15th and vote. I have this sign on my lawn, but it keeps getting stolen. I just hope the thieves are putting it where everyone can see it. I’ve got lots!

CityHallWatch: Tools to engage in Vancouver city decisions

Lawn Sign MyVoteMattersWe are happy to share the following message from Mike Andruff of MyVoteMatters.ca, which was established to identify issues that matter to voters and invite candidates to state their position on those issues — and to get people out to vote in the November 15 civic election in Vancouver.

“On October 27, 2014, 64.3% of eligible Torontonian voters turned up to exercise their franchise, in contrast to 34.6% of eligible Vancouverites who turned up in November of 2011. Why the apathy in Vancouver? Granted that was then, and a lot has occurred since that time.

Will the Vancouver voter turnout be different in 2014? Every voter in Vancouver has a stake in how their city is managed. The 18-35 year olds who typically shy away from the polls, need to join the process if they are to get an electoral system more responsive to their needs. New Canadians, unfamiliar…

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Ottawa Shooting, Lest We Forget: Hold on to the Dream (of Peace)

When I woke up this morning to the news of the shootings in Ottawa I felt sick and saddened because my Canada has never included gunfights in the Parliament Buildings.

Like many Canadians, I heard the news on CBC first and like many Canadians I tripped over myself leaping to conclusions. Conclusions about who did it and why, anger toward the Harper government, fear about travel, and personal security.  And then I tried to make myself stop, to slow down and push away hateful thoughts of blame and fear and hopelessness. To pause and think about the victims. To take a deep breath and send a prayer to our Capital City.

It was a struggle, until out of nowhere, Roger Waters started to sing to me 🙂

As an avid Pink Floyd Fan, who has probably listened to The Final Cut a thousand times, the lyrics to The Gunner’s Dream flooded unbidden into my mind. I remembered how I used to listen to this song and sing along feeling incredibly lucky, blessed even, that as Canadians we, can relax on both sides of the tracks and maniacs don’t blow holes in bandsmen by remote control. And everyone has recourse to the law. And no-one kills the children anymore.

Had a crazed and bloody morning in Ottawa destroyed our country’s sense of security?

Had an insane act of misdirected hate taken away my right to feel lucky about being Canadian?

“Canada under attack,” said one reporter. Fear mongering and hate can grow from these three simple words. But just because it happened once, doesn’t mean it has to happen again.

I don’t believe we should be at war with anyone and many, many Canadians are of the same mind. The decision to drop bombs in a far away place was never a democratic one. So, it’s up to those of us who believe in Peace to not let the horror in Ottawa destroy us. It’s up to us to “Hold on to the dream.”

Do it for Corporal Nathan Cirillo, (Rest in Peace).

*Fellow bloggers, out of respect for CPL Nathan Cirillo, let’s not ever name the shooter online. Let’s use social media to erase him.

Julie

The Gunner’s Dream (Waters) 

Floating down through the clouds
Memories come rushing up to meet me now.
In the space between the heavens
and in the corner of some foreign field
I had a dream.
I had a dream.
Good-bye Max.
Good-bye Ma.
After the service when you’re walking slowly to the car
And the silver in her hair shines in the cold November air
You hear the tolling bell
And touch the silk in your lapel
And as the tear drops rise to meet the comfort of the band
You take her frail hand
And hold on to the dream.
A place to stay
“Oi! A real one …”
Enough to eat
Somewhere old heroes shuffle safely down the street
Where you can speak out loud
About your doubts and fears
And what’s more no-one ever disappears
You never hear their standard issue kicking in your door.
You can relax on both sides of the tracks
And maniacs don’t blow holes in bandsmen by remote control
And everyone has recourse to the law
And no-one kills the children anymore.
And no one kills the children anymore.

Night after night
Going round and round my brain
His dream is driving me insane.
In the corner of some foreign field
The gunner sleeps tonight.
What’s done is done.
We cannot just write off his final scene.
Take heed of his dream.
Take heed.

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Filed under Give Me a Break, Travelling In the World, Uncategorized