Archive for November, 2014

I have created what I believe to be the greatest query letter ever. I’ve been writing it for days, tweaking this and changing that. I’ve spent a lot of time researching what turns an agent off and what can get your painstakingly invoked words ruthlessly chucked into a slush pile.


And you know, most of it is common sense.


I mean, I may be slightly off my rocker and tilted to one side, but I would like to think that because we’re writers, we would know what to write. “Don’t tell us you’ve just finished a novel—why else would you be writing us?” or “Never say your book is the next Harry Potter—this makes us think it just might be, well, the next Harry Potter and usually, we’re pretty freaking disappointed.” should be obvious things to avoid, but it seems this is not so. Disappointingly, enough of us are sending in malarkey like this to justify experts having to produce Querying for the Dumbass instructions.


But my query—my query is clever and quirky. The words run together like butter down the side of a hot mound of mashed potato and come to a cohesive finish at the bottom in a supple pool of slick and creamy amalgamation.


You have to admit that even if you don’t like mashed potatoes, you’d read a letter like that, right?


And that’s the idea. Whether or not you have creds to list, achievements to boast or stats to rattle, your letter is supposed to sell you—your wits, your worth, your words.


So prove you’re a writer and use them wisely.


Now, if only I had a novel to go along with my cracker of a query.




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Is it possible to develop ADD later in life? Because I’m pretty sure that’s what’s happening to me.




Sure, I’ve been a putterer for as long as I can remember, skipping from one task to the next, but at the end of the day, my long list was always complete. I accomplished what I set out to do and went to bed each night, content and satisfied.


No longer the case.


Just to give you an idea, in the past two days, I have opened up six new Word docs with the intention of courting you with six different subjects and currently, each one displays about three sentences. There are twenty-three tabs open in my web browser. I can’t seem to make it to the laundry room because I have to walk through the family room to get there and well, let’s just say there’s always cause for pause in that area. I head towards the kitchen with the intent of baking cupcakes, but notice the granite counter top feels gritty, so I clean the entire kitchen instead. A vacuum out the cutlery drawer and wipe down all twenty-six cupboard doors kind of cleaning where, eventually, I look down to see the folds in my yellow rubber gloves crested in moonlight and I find myself totally alone, wondering why everyone is in bed already.


I don’t know what it is. I’ve started four books and can’t read more than a page in any one of them. I stand in front of my outdated pine bookcases and ponder how much better they will look when I finally paint them, only to get lost in the paperwork they house, which is never, ever finished…and thus, neither are the shelves.


Anyway, squirrel.


I got together with a friend last night. She helped me not only to hunker down and finish something, but to get a little of that Christmas Spirit I find so hard to muster, flowing. Here is the productive result of our focused girl’s night…



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I’ve developed a zealous addiction to ice cream. I can also be persuaded with Gelato or frozen yogurt—anything cold and creamy really, and most any kind. It doesn’t need to be expensive or of a certain name. It doesn’t have to be healthy or organic and I admit, with a coy smile and fluttering lashes, that it doesn’t even have to be particularly good.


There’s just something about it. Tiny spoonfuls. Over-sized globs. I don’t discriminate. Textured with nuts, smattered with chunks, smothered in swirling trails of smooth liqueurs—I’ll try them all.


Oh yes, I’ve always liked ice cream. As a kid I’d run after the creepy van or sit cross-legged on the sidewalk, scrawling my name in chalky bubbles, waiting for a poor schmuck to come by, pedaling a freezer full. I’d gleefully shell out way too much of my hard-earned pocket change for a Phantom or a Drumstick, and when I lived in the UK, I’d drool over 99’s and Raspberry Ripple. I savored bright afternoons watching Ernie stack his spherical scoops while I lazily traced designs in our blue, sun-warmed, shag rug.


But lately, it’s more than that. It’s like someone’s trying to tell me something. I just don’t know what. Maybe it’s that I’m getting too old for ice cream. That my time to enjoy it is running out. That soon it will make my teeth twinge and my stomach ache—that diabetes and high cholesterol are right around the corner and I should slow down. Or it might just be telling me I should go after more of what I enjoy .

Maybe it’s as simple as that.


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It can be tough to keep going. Everyone has reasons—some physical, some mental, some…imaginary.


You’ve given it your all, done all you can and you’re tired.


Maybe you’ve been trying to lose weight, but can’t seem to shed more than a pound or two, perhaps you’re training for a new job and things simply aren’t clicking, you might have been blogging for years and a high-profile publicist has somehow failed to swoop in and make you a star, maybe every query you’ve ever sent has ended up in the slush pile or it might just be that the expensive tooth whitening system you succumbed to buying just isn’t delivering those shocking pearly whites.


Unfortunately, I get it. I am very familiar with the rigorous tear down of the emotional psyche. No surprise there. Why do you think it occurs to me to write posts like this?


So last Sunday, I watched my daughter play yet another soccer game. She’s a good little player. Usually the oldest and almost always the smallest. She’s phenomenal with ball control, but sometimes doesn’t have the physical strength to match the other players. She was on a team at 4 and 5 years old, but quit shortly after for whatever reason of the day she gave back then, probably a blister, but decided to start up again two years ago. She’s almost 14. She’s playing with girls who never quit. Girls who have been playing since they were 3, 4 and 5 years old. Needless to say, it has taken her some time to build enough confidence to do more than run the ball for more than a few feet or make a quick pass to another teammate.


But Sunday was a great day. The weather was invigorating—cold and crisp with the odd burst of energizing sun. We played on a beautiful landscape adjacent to the prestigious grounds of UBC. The team played particularly well and incredibly hard. We were treated to all kinds of fancy footwork and the opportunities to cheer were plentiful.


And cheer we did.


Especially when my determined little girl seized the chance to strategically chip the ball up over the goalie’s head and score for her first time on a Rep level team.


Everyone needs a goal. What’s yours?

Not from Sunday, but a good one, nonetheless. (Photo cred goes to Kori Balaberda)

Not from Sunday, but a good one, nonetheless. Ava is the one in all black. (Photo cred goes to Kori Balaberda)




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“I was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.”


That is due to the grace of a perception that, cruelly, only becomes 20/20 in hindsight. It’s easy, when we feel we don’t understand enough, or maybe anything at all, to run with the guidance of people we deem worldlier than us.


And for someone like me, that’s a lot of running.


But it’s okay because a long day lets us appreciate the silence at its end. Blunders allow us to feel we’re getting somewhere. Change lulls us into the comfort of progress. Learning makes us excited that there always seems to be a way to improve.


I’ve taken risks this past little while and in the process, have clearly figured out a few things–one of them being, that I am very at home here, tucked inside my little piece of this World Wide Web and more importantly, so are you. I enjoy the content I produce for this place and can only surmise that you do as well, seeing as you’ve gone to the trouble of following me. You need a sturdy place to hang your hat. And only you get to decide where that will be.


I came close to forgetting this.


I am so happy to have all of you here that it makes that really hard to comprehend.


Thank you for staying around while I find my way. It’s a small world and technology can make it even smaller, but without the human connection we’re all still miles from home.


If you wish, please feel free to also follow me on hazyshadesofme.org.




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