Thursday, December 27, 2012

Finishing the Swan

Today, I braved the Boxing Day shopping rush to grab something other than a deal. It was a PSN card, so that I could download and enjoy a breathtaking PSN title called The Unfinished Swan. I played the demo last night and was immediately drawn (or painted, in keeping with the theme) to it, so I knew I had to play it as soon as I could.

This game was released as a partnership with Santa Monica Studio's incubation program, which also released other fine independent titles such as Flower and Journey. Naturally, I had high hopes for this game.


You play as a young boy named Monroe whose mother has passed away. She loved to paint pictures of animals, but she would never finish them. When she died, he got to take one of her paintings as a memento, and it was a picture of an unfinished swan.

One night, Monroe awakens from his sleep, and the swan has gone missing from the painting. He goes to look for it, and he's pulled into a white world where he must begin by throwing balls of black paint to reveal his surroundings. All the while, he is following the golden footprints of the swan to try and track it down.

As the player, you watch the surroundings evolve from simplistic white canvas that reveals pathways and creatures through the thrown black paint balls, to landscapes that feature simple white with grey shadows, to all-around elaborate, inverted dark-to-light levels. The gameplay evolves from splattering paintballs, to using water balloons to grow vines that you can climb across, to creating blocks in an alternate dimension that will transfer to the regular dimension. Each chapter of the story teaches you how to play the game through sheer experimentation and simple puzzles that will bring you closer to completing the story. The puzzles never get too difficult, and the gameplay is very minimalistic, making it a good choice for experienced gamers and casual gamers alike. You can simply pick it up and play it.

Some of the game's concept art.
Design-wise, it relies on minimalistic colours, shapes and designs, and the character designs possess a nostalgic, Petit Prince-like quality. The world, though mainly empty of characters, is full of breathtaking scenery, reminiscent of ICO. Its gameplay, though it uses a number of different mechanics to bring it to life, can be summed up as a platformer, though, as many games are, this game is so much more than that. It's one of those refreshing games that is simple but complex. It creates a new idea of what gaming can look like, and the direction it might be headed.

Another interesting component of the story is the unexpected dual storyline. At first, you're witnessing Monroe's story alone, but as the game progresses, the story of a self-absorbed king begins to unfold, to the point that his story is as important as Monroe's. It also draws a lot of parallels to Monroe's story, and to his mother's story.

While the game deals with some dark or sad themes, it is considerably lighthearted. Part of this is because of the game's fairy tale-like storytelling. It deals with the subject of death in a way that is overt, yet sensitive and honest. To me, this is saying that death is a normal part of life, and how you accept death says a lot about you. The theme of leaving things unfinished is an interesting theme, as well, but I won't go too far into detail, or else I risk spoiling parts of the game.

The game is a triumphant voyage through the imagination. It's beautiful, uplifting, strange, mysterious, and just a little bit sad. I felt compelled to talk about it in detail after playing it, but I also know I'm not quite finished with it yet. Something about this game begs to be revisited. It's one of those games that, to me, feels almost allegorical, like a good piece of literature. It further cements the video game's place as a form of art and a storytelling device. While video games have been debated over for their artistic merits for a long time, to me there is no question that it's a remarkable art form. What other medium allows you to immerse yourself so wholly into the experience?

The game is available for purchase on the PSN for your Playstation 3 system. You can also download the demo for a free trial. For more info on the game, you can read an interview with Ian Dallas, the game's creative director, here. To add, Journey-lovers should check this game out. You may just find a little surprise hidden within.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Another chapter closed.

Today, I finished writing Population: 1, a blog-based writing project I've been working on for the past year and a half. It has been a very interesting journey and I can say that I'm proud of the end result.

Population: 1 started off as a strange  and brief short film that I made on Easter weekend of 2011. I was feeling a bit bored and stir-crazy, so I wrote, filmed, and edited it over the course of a day.

The music I used is from the soundtrack of the game Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon. I wanted to evoke the same kind of loneliness I felt when I played through that game. After the video was complete, though, I felt the need to turn it into something else. So, Population: 1 was born. I consider it the spiritual successor to Hub City Survival, being that it's set in a lonely, sad world, and it's written in a first-person journal format. Plus, Tracey and Dahlia seem to have quite a bit in common.

I designed the story to be interactive, having readers vote on what direction Dahlia could take. Some options may have resulted in a different ending for Dahlia, or perhaps a different outlook for her to take. As Dahlia learns of things, the readers do, and as such, some of the chosen options may have resulted in the readers knowing more, or less, than they do now. For this purpose, I made an in-character and an out-of-character blog.


The story featured a number of design implements. I drew the map of Cullingville, for instance, as it is a fictional town. I also developed the backstory of this bizarre town and have not shared it with anyone as of yet. Finally, the Five Petals group was an important part that needed to be fully fleshed out, and I made up family trees and timelines. It was a rather intensive piece of work for something that ended up being so short, but that's part of the reason I'm so pleased with it.

Now with this story complete, it's time for me to start another project. I haven't quite decided what it will be, but I'm certain it will be a novel. I have it narrowed down to three different ideas.

I'm also going to be working on a storyboard for a web comic, on a somewhat off-and-on level. The webcomic is something I plan on writing, but not illustrating. I would be interested in collaborating on someone with the comic, and I'm sure I'll post up sketches a bit later on when I'm further in the process.

I also still have Thread in the back of my mind and really want to do something with it. I have a series of three games in my head, but no way to really get them out. This is another project I'd love to collaborate with someone on!

Thanks to my readers for sharing yet another of my writing journeys with me. I hope to start my next project, whatever it may be, within the next week or so.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Here is a post I decided to do for fun. I like to call it "things that I would do if I had infinite money and resources at my disposal, after having donated a bunch to charities and causes and stuff". They are in no particular order and they all go under the assumption that my money pool would never run dry, for whatever reason.

1. I would buy or create a video game company. And with that company, because I would be boss, I would sit in on all meetings and offer input. Then I would also get one of the teams to create Thread for me.

2. I would open a publishing house that publishes, publicizes and distributes books directed at niche markets that may not otherwise have publishers, or that publishers may overlook due to their lack of global marketability.

3. Build a large-scale blanket fort.

4. Open a no-kill cat shelter and pay all the employees to take care of the cats. It would have an on-site vet who could spay and neuter them, as well as treat them for any illnesses.

5. I would build a castle. A big one. And I would have it designed full of (safe) booby traps and puzzles, locked doors and boss rooms. You would pay $100 to go into this castle to go through and "beat" it. It would, of course, have a Zelda theme with an entirely immersing environment filled with sounds and enemies. Each person attending would be given a wooden sword and a green tunic to wear. All of the walls would be one-way, and the other side would be filled with spectators who would pay a small admission fee each to watch the hero perform his/her duties. The wall is only one way so the hero will not be distracted by spectators.  After going through the boss battle, the hero would follow an underground tunnel that would lead to a building behind the castle that would contain a restaurant and gift shop. At that time, the hero would be applauded by the spectators as she/he appeared. It would be awesome.

6. Re-design parts of my house to look just like the Forest Temple from Ocarina of Time. What?

7. Open a cafe.

8. Hire someone to help me deal with all these new facets of my life. Because I'm sure you can understand I'd need a little organisation after all this chaos.

How about you? Feel free to be as selfish about it as you like. Daydreams are healthy, after all, and it makes for a good creative outlet. Have some fun with it. Let me know in the comments!

A quick update, also. The event in the Moncton Library went swimmingly! We had a great turn out and it was a lot of fun. Thanks to the Library for inviting me; I had a blast. I hit 50K on my NaNo later that evening, also, and completed the novel for a successful third installment in my trilogy. Now to edit, and write the scenes I skipped.

A final update: I've been published in Germination's first issue in 22 years. I have an essay/prose poem within, and have a couple of copies for sale for $15 each. You can use the PayPal link on the side and give me your address, and I will send you a copy.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Of shopping carts and cups of coffee

It seems I have a lot of adventures while walking to work.

Tuesday morning, I had taken my usual stop in to a local cafe to fill up my travel mug with hot coffee. This happens nearly every morning on my way in because the coffee is good and it has the double feature of waking me up and keeping me warm on a chilly morning. Not that you need to know why, of course. Lots of people like a coffee in the morning.

I walked my usual route until I got to the grocery store parking lot, where I typically cut through to get to the sidewalk. In front of me was a man pushing a pair of shopping carts back toward the parking lot. He stopped a few feet ahead of me, and I went to walk around him, when he started to shout something. Since I had my headphones on, I couldn't immediately hear him. I slid them off and asked him to repeat himself.

Perhaps that was my first mistake. I always assume that if people are talking to me, I should listen, because it's the polite thing to do and because I typically think they're talking to me for a good reason. Every time this has happened I have been proven otherwise, but I don't dare stop for fear I end up missing an emergency and someone dies or something because I couldn't be bothered to make eye contact with a stranger.

"All young people are good for is walking down the streets with their cups of coffee, talking on their cell phones and stealing shopping carts!" he shouted. I was a bit taken aback, and I didn't respond immediately. I wasn't sure if he was trying to make a point toward me specifically, as I had just taken a sip from my cup. Before I could formulate anything better to say, I came up with "Okay". "People like YOU!" he shouted again, throwing his hands up in disgust and walking off. Against my better judgment, I replied again, this time saying "Actually, I'm on my way to work. Have a nice day".

How dare he judge me like that? I thought as I stalked off. I know I should have let it slide. Clearly it wasn't intended to be a slight against me personally--he was just in a bad mood and I happened to be walking by at the time. I did take it personally, though. Not because he meant it against me, but because he would have said that to any person who looked "young".

I'm in my late twenties now, but I have a bit of a baby face, so I'm often mistaken for someone much younger. I feel that both my own generation and the next, the one people refer to as "today's kids", get far too much flack and not nearly enough credit. Generalism is rampant and it's a big problem. Society seems to want to paint us with labels enough as it is, and generalisation only brings us that much farther away from the truth. The truth is that regardless of what people may say about "kids" having "no respect", I have seen (and worked with) so many of these kids who not only have respect, but an incredible work ethic. I have been in many positions in the last four years of my life, among them supervisor and manager, and I have watched these  "kids" work harder than I have in some ways.

These labels are an excuse. Why do those kids steal shopping carts? Because that's just what young people do. Forget the fact that most young people do not steal shopping carts--this is a fact because if most young people did steal shopping carts, there would be virtually none left--and think that perhaps those that do are doing so for a reason. That reason may not be directly related to shopping carts in general. Think of that what you will.

This unfounded negative talk about "young people"--these broad, sweeping generalisations--fall under one very ugly word: ageism. It's not only annoying, it's wrong. Think about the "young person" you just accused of being lazy. Do you know them? Have you seen them work, or have you seen them hanging out with their friends on what is probably their free time? I know a number of high school students who juggle their every day school lives with a part time job and still manage to find time to spend with their friends, hanging out and doing whatever they please. Just because you happen to see them in that brief off moment, that doesn't mean it's what they're always doing. And what makes you so important that you feel you can judge someone based on what less than five minutes of their time is telling you?

Ageism goes both ways and there is certainly no debating that! I have merely been on the receiving end multiple times, so I'm speaking from my own perspective.

Perhaps all of this seems like common sense to you, but I see  it too often to know that it isn't common sense for everyone. I would urge you to please think before you start rapidly throwing about accusations based on something as silly as age. The person you're talking to is a human, too.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Get your write on!

This is a quick, NaNoWriMo-induced post. I don't want typing this to take up too much of my word count.

I didn't do NaNo last year, and I just wanted to briefly talk about how good it is to be back! My word count is plugging along nicely--as of writing this, I'm at 36,070 words.

Next year, I plan on attempting all of NaNo in a span of two weeks. In 2014, it will be one. And in 2015, supposing I'm still at the same job, I plan on trying the 24-hour challenge and going for all 50,000 words in one shot. Just to see if I can.

How are you doing with NaNo? If you need a little word count boost, don't forget that I'll be at the Moncton Public Library doing a write-in with this year's Moncton ML and some other NaNo fans. Come on by! We'll have sprints and maybe some prompts to help get your count up there.

Parts of my novel this year are very meta, and I've made a few references to some of my other works and works-in-progress. One of them isn't even something I've done anything with yet!

Talk to you all soon. Let me know how your NaNo's going!

Monday, October 29, 2012

A little post about stuff.

Exciting and riveting title, I know. But it's accurate! Here's a little update on the various aspects of my writing life.

  • NaNoWriMo is just around the corner! I will actually be participating this year, and I will be writing the third and final installment in my bizarre adventure series that will probably never see the light of day. Okay, it probably will, just... under a pen name.
  • I will be at the Moncton Library on the evening of November 21st for a NaNoWriMo write-in session! If you're having trouble with your novel, come in and feed off the writerly energy the lot of us will be exuding. I have updated this under my "events" section.
  • Rusty is still cute (obviously), and adapting well. This doesn't have anything to do with writing, really. I just love my cat. Enjoy this picture that I took of him today.
  • Halloween, my favourite, is in just two more days! I plan on celebrating it by, well... working, but then by handing out candy to kids at our house. As well, Population: 1 will be getting the Halloween treatment with a spooky post. It's also a special post. It will link with the story and, in fact, will be a very important part, but it's going to be a bit different from the others. I will probably make a special post here, as well.
That's it for updates! All kinds of things going on. Everyone be safe during Hurricane Sandy this week.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Things come full circle

About one year ago, my family and I said farewell to an old friend of ours. Our cat, Jake, who had been with us for fifteen years, died of old age as her heart failed. I posted the blog post on Oct. 24, 2011, and the one-year anniversary of that post is in just two days.

This post is meant to be an homage to Jake's fond memory through new, happy news. It seems that, for me and my family, things have truly come full circle.

The two momma cats.
Just under a month ago, my Dad came home to find a pair of sister mother cats and their respective litters of kittens--6 in total--hiding under the cabin in the lower lot. For a man who loves cats as much as my father, this was a pleasant surprise. For about a week, he took good care of those cats and kittens. He fed them and cleaned up after them, gave them a roof over their heads and gave them all the love and attention they could ask for. I went down to visit and was getting ready to decide which kitten would come home with me. The decision was impossible--six sweet kittens, and all of them with their own lovable traits. Absolutely impossible.

Just under a week later, the cats vanished without a trace. We were all devastated and concerned. Maybe something got to the kittens, or the mothers moved them somewhere else. I hadn't decided which kitten to give a home to, but I was excited about the prospect of another cat in the house. Regardless of this, the safety of the cats and kittens was our foremost concern.

My parents searched for a few weeks, but to no avail. As time stretched on, we began to lose hope that we would see them again. Nonetheless, my parents kept up the search.

One day, without warning, the mother cats came back, alone. Dad caught wind of people adopting the kittens, which made me happy but a bit sad. I was happy they got homes, but obviously, sad that I couldn't be the person to give them one. Dad started feeding the cats and they hung around outside the house, giving the place a new life it hadn't seen since Jake died.

The night the mother cats returned, I had a dream. I dreamt that the cats appeared at my parents' house, with one of the kittens in tow, and that I took that kitten home with me. That kitten was orange and white, like four of the six kittens in the litter were. It wasn't a strange dream to have, to be honest; I was already thinking about the cats so of course I dreamed of them. I woke up and told Dad about my dream, then, to my surprise, discovered that he had the exact same dream.

That night, my phone rang. I answered, and my Dad, on the other end, frantically relayed a message that the cats appeared as Mom was on her way up to town... with two kittens in tow. I couldn't believe it! But then, he told me that they had flea collars on, so they obviously belonged to someone. He asked me for advice so I, without being able to hide my disappointment, suggested that he call around. He said that he would and he would get back to me.

Not long after, my husband and I were sitting down to have supper when my dad called back. The kittens, it seemed, belonged to the neighbors, and as did the mother cats. It certainly explained why they were over so often! The good news, then, was that they would be visiting, considering they were indoor-outdoor cats and, well, they were just next door. Still, I couldn't help but feel a bit of disappointment as I hung up the phone. The cats had homes, and they were nearby. I should have been happy. I never thought I'd see those cats or kittens again, and they were just next door, and, it seemed, more than happy to migrate back and forth. This should have been excellent news.

But, I'm only human, and I'm a bit selfish. I was disappointed to hear that one of those kittens wouldn't be coming to live with me. It seemed like the end of it.

Just as we were finishing up supper, my phone rang again. I answered to my mother, quite suddenly, asking if I wanted a kitten. Shocked and stuttering (and, admittedly, after shouting "YES" into the phone), I asked for an explanation.

It seemed the neighbors had the two mother cats and three kittens, but really, were giving most of the kittens a home simply because they had the mothers living there. While one of them wanted to keep the little tabby kitten, they told my parents "Kate can have one of the orange ones, if she wants". Rewind back to the dream I had. An orange and white kitten.

I don't want to necessarily say that there is such a thing as fate, or things happening for a reason, but this seems a bit too much to be a coincidence. All I know is that if you had told me, yesterday morning, that one of those kittens would be living in my house by the end of the day, I would have called you a liar.

About an hour and a half after I got off the phone with Mom, I had a very happy reunion with a little guy I named Rusty. Even his name has a story behind it: he was the kitten with the most vibrant, bright orange red in his fur, and the time I helped Dad out with the cats about a month ago, I also spent naming the kittens individually. It certainly beat "orange kitten", "other orange kitten", "runt tabby" and "the white kitten with an orange tail and a couple orange spots on his back".

Dad and I were talking about something I can't really remember while we were standing on the deck, and he pointed to something, saying "that's all rusty". Rusty, I thought to myself. Indeed. And thus, the first kitten was named.

Lady Pansy, our four-year old tabby, is (very) slowly starting to warm up to him. I think that, in time, they will grow to be great friends.

Rusty, then and now. He was only about eight weeks old when we found them, and here he is now at twelve. Notice his pretty amber eyes!

The best part? I didn't even have to decide. The kitten was chosen for me, and I was more than happy to take him. I would have given any of them a home, but the decision-making process was excruciating.

And now, I have shared my story about the latest addition to our family! Thank you for reading.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

End of an Era

I like to go walking--sometimes for hours at a time. It takes a bit longer than jogging but there's something about it that makes me prefer it. Perhaps it's the little details I catch along the way, or the opportunity to stop and smell the roses. I've never been much for moving fast. I always took the moral of the Tortoise and the Hare to heart: slow and steady wins the race.

So, I give myself a bit of extra time and I walk, leisurely. Normally, I walk to work, but in the summer time, all I do is walk around and explore my surroundings. Walks become more difficult in autumn and winter, when the days are shorter, but I usually get one or two in on my days off. I don't like to walk after dark quite as much, mostly because it's harder to see your surroundings and pick out those neat little details that you could see more easily in the daytime. Occasionally, though, something special will happen during a nighttime walk. One time, I saw a friendly cat with a scratchy voice, running toward me on only three legs. She let me pat her for a moment, but then I heard a door across the road open, and a woman calling softly to her. I don't remember the name, but it was a cute, feminine name, like Amelia, or Annabelle. The cat went running back across the street and I thought to myself that she was probably well-loved and well-taken care of.

While on my walks, I have a number of notebooks that I keep close at hand in case of sudden, inexplicable inspiration. This happens fairly often. One of these books is a little brown Moleskine that I use to write poetry.

It's a bit faded now, but it features a design that I put on to decorate it. Inside is poetry that I've been writing since 2010. My father gave it to me one day when we were on a little excursion together in Sackville. He bought a little three-pack and handed one to me for use on my travels, and I've been using it ever since. It's an interesting assortment of poems, because they were written during various periods of self-evolution. One of them, for example, was inspired by how excited I was to try and find a new job. One was written when I really didn't want to go to work. I wrote one while visiting a graveyard in the town of Charlbury, England, based on the idea of walking with the dead. I have a page dedicated to haiku. All of these poems I can look back on and associate with a time in my life.

I will, now, share with you the final poem I wrote in this little book. I wrote it yesterday, pausing on my walk to work. It needs editing, but perhaps publishing this unfinished version of it will force me to finish it! It is currently without a title.

Head filled with numbers--
Crammed full of stupid little things that, years from now,
Will not matter to me
Nor, really, to anyone.
How is it that we humans are able to fill the blanks in our lives
With such useless information
That we end up becoming defined by it?
Our society corrupt,
Driven by cars spewing pollution of one kind
And the media spewing pollution of a whole different kind.
How can I write poetry
When I'm too busy worrying about
Today's sales, or
What hairstyle to wear tomorrow, or
What to think of the woman who walked by alone, having an animated discussion with herself?
How can I focus on someone else's personality, their mind,
And the creative jewel within
When I can't stop thinking about how stupid she looks in that outfit?
Society has trained us all to be mindless and shallow.
The defining moment comes when we are able to break free of those restrictions.
- Sept 28, 2012
I wouldn't call it a positive poem by any stretch, but more of a "catching myself in the act" poem. Have you ever caught yourself thinking something about a certain topic that, under normal circumstances, you would be embarrassed of yourself? That is, essentially, what this poem is about. On more than one occasion of late, I have caught myself doing just that and feeling ashamed of myself. Instead of beating myself up over it, I turned it into something creative. And, here we are. It's a little reminder to go back to former ways of thinking while I still know that the current way of thinking, really, is not who I am at all!

Tomorrow, I will go out and find a new little pocket book for poetry, and begin another chapter in my everyday-inspired poetry.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Nostalgia of the Infinite

The Nostalgia of the Infinite, Giorgio de Chirico

Do you ever spend time thinking about the past? Most of us do. I tend to spend more time in my head than I do in reality, so sometimes I spend more time thinking about random details than I do focusing on the task ahead of me. It can be difficult when there's always some form of trigger to bring the waves of nostalgia into being. Smells, sounds, songs and albums, and sometimes places will lead me to different places in time.

For example, the smell of some of the winter teas we sell at work reminds me of sitting in the back room, writing numbers on bags during a 12-hour work day. Watching any episode of the Walking Dead reminds me of New Year's Day, when my husband and I pulled an all-nighter marathon-ing the second season then went out for breakfast at 6:30 AM. We went to bed at 8 and slept until 1, making it one of the most awesome days we've had together. The song "Keep on Galloping" by Korpiklaani reminds me of walking to my job (which I hated at the time--waitressing, yeuch!) in the snow, daydreaming about a log cabin in the woods with a warm fire. The smell of the peppermint vanilla candle in the bathroom reminds me of playing FEAR 3 with my husband before Christmas, with that same candle lit. Not exactly festive, but a fond memory nevertheless.

This post is named after a painting by Giorgio de Chirico of the same name. I found it appropriate, because of the name and the certain lonely feeling I get when looking at the picture, even if there are two people. To me, the two people in the picture represent one person. One person is in the present, while the other is in the past, and they're walking together on the same path. It could be said that one walks with oneself whenever reminiscing about the past.

While it doesn't always do to dwell on the past, our past experiences have helped make us all what we are today. I always find it interesting to listen to new albums, or to frequently drink a certain tea, and see later what those things remind me of a few months down the road.

How about you, readers? What reminds you guys of certain things? Any tastes, smells, songs? I'd be interested to know!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Dream drawing

Today, someone asked me if I still drew, and I told him "I try". I realised that couldn't be further from the truth. I haven't sat down and completely finished a drawing in a about two years.

I used to draw often. I would be inspired by games I played, books I read, shows I watched, and things I saw in nature. I would create and draw pictures of characters I had invented--some from roleplaying, some from my own writing. Some things I drew would just be people who popped into my imagination: fairies, sprites, nymphs, outfits that I'd like to wear. I would always have a sketchbook with me.

For some reason, that changed. I stopped drawing frequently, only stopping to pick up my pencil once in awhile. I lost interest, apart from doodling on paper while taking notes at work or on place mats in restaurants.

This afternoon, well after the aforementioned question was asked of me, I took a little nap. Okay, I admit, that's an understatement: it was a two and a half hour nap. During that time, I had a dream of relatively epic proportions. A man in his late twenties was given a gift of magical transformation, giving him the ability to become a superhero. He was navigating a politically corrupt landscape, with spies watching people's movements and tapping wires to listen in on conversations. A young woman appeared, having witnessed the man's heroics, and offered to be a spy for him as a double agent. Between the two of them, they were gathering followers to try and eradicate these political issues.

When I woke up, I was compelled to draw these two. I didn't draw the man in his superhero suit (because, quite frankly, I'm not sure what it looked like), so here he is, extending a hand to the girl. They don't have names yet.

The style is a bit more angular than what I usually draw, but I think I like it. Except his hand. Always need more practice with hands.

I've always worked to develop a style and I've never really had one of my own. I'm not sure I know how to begin developing one. As always, my artwork is a work in progress. I'm sure it always will be.

I have too many stories to tell. It seems like my subconcious helps me think of new ones, too. One day, I'll get them all on paper in one way or another. I think this one would make a better comic than anything.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The growing autumn

I had a beautiful dream this morning, just before I woke up.

The dream's setting was a spot that my friends and I used to visit when we were in high school. It would usually be three of us--me and two others--but sometimes another would join us, too. We would spend full days up there, climbing trees, talking, playing games. It was a special spot only we knew about.

Years later, one of those friends is now my husband. Just this past week, he and I took a visit to this spot to see if it was still there. While a large quarry has formed nearby, disturbing some of the peace and removing a large part of the path to the spot, the spot itself remained completely in tact. A circle of stones rested perfectly at its entrance, almost undisturbed by time, save for a few fallen branches. A staff from years before was sitting by a tree, the only hint of time being the light moss that had begun to cover it. One of the biggest differences from before was a collection of multicoloured mushrooms that had popped up here and there--some of them were bright orange, though we also found a few black-purple ones.

In this dream, I was alone, walking through the area and gazing up at the trees and sky. For some reason, I could see the sky a little better than I could if I were really there. It was the bright blue of a clear day, with only a few white, fluffy clouds. A large spruce tree heavy with cones towered over me. In my dream, I thought to myself that I should go there alone more often. It was cut short when I woke up, but it lasted long enough to leave me with a pleasant mental image.

Maybe it was the pure blue of the sky, but something made me think of summer. When I woke up, I was met with the jarring darkness that comes from the end of August: the sunrise coming later in the morning--the orange-gold morning light that comes from a waning existence. Seeing light of that colour reminds me of a section of Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead:

GUIL: It's autumnal.
ROS: (examining the ground) No leaves.
GUIL: Autumnal -- nothing to do with leaves. It is to do with a certain brownness at the edges of the day... Brown is creeping up on us, take my word for it... Russets and tangerine shades of old gold flushing the very outside edge of the senses... deep shining ochres, burnt umber and parchments of baked earth -- reflecting on itself and through itself, filtering the light. At such times, perhaps, coincidentally, the leaves might fall, somewhere, by repute. Yesterday was blue, like smoke.

The last days of summer are melting away, but 21 days of September remain before the equinox hits and the summer is considered truly over.  Those 21 days still have a remaining possibility to them, as though there is still so much left to accomplish. Though it's all but officially over, I'm still not ready to give the summer up. I didn't always (or, really, ever) like summer as a child, but now that I'm an adult I have grown to really love it. I'm not even sure why. Maybe I just need a good winter hobby to get me through the rougher months.

Do you have any plans while it's still warm? Maybe you enjoy the fall and winter months and you're looking forward to the cooler weather. I went canoeing and hiking with the hubby earlier on this week, and I'm hoping we can squeeze in one last full beach visit before.

I also wouldn't mind having another pretty dream like last night's, but  I suppose I could do that any time of year.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

An open letter to the guy who almost ran me over this morning

Dear Sir,

This morning, as I was walking to work, I stopped at a busy intersection to press the walk light and wait for my turn to cross. It came on immediately, and so I started crossing.

About half way there, I turned to see you suddenly veering around the corner. I know that you also had the right of way, but I'm afraid you weren't really paying any attention, even as I stood there (I had to stop for you) and pointed at the walk light! As you passed you seemed to be having a particularly animated conversation with the lady beside you. I'm sure you didn't even see me in your rear view mirror--did you look in your rear view mirror?--as you sped away.

I'm glad one of us was paying attention. I just wish it had been the one operating the 1 ton piece of machinery.

The unfortunate part of this is that it happens all too often. I'm not talking about distracted driving, though that's certainly an issue. I'm talking about utter disregard for anyone traveling on foot. Here in Moncton, the pedestrian's rights are few and far between, and when we do get the right of way, our time is either short or interrupted by drivers who also have the right of way. Even if we push a button on one of the many non-intersection crosswalks in the city, it's hard to say if we'll make it to the other side of the road without having to stop and let a car go by. Yes, it's the driver's fault if we're hit, but how many people honestly want to play chicken with a motor vehicle?

I'm not saying the pedestrians should retaliate by walking in the middle of the road at any given time, though some do. I'm saying that the time has come for pedestrians to be a priority for drivers. We all lead very busy lives, but that extra 30 seconds that could be getting you to work a little earlier could also save someone's life.

Sir, you were not on your phone, and you weren't texting, but you certainly weren't watching the road. Please have a bit more consideration for the world around you.

Not-so-fond regards,
The blue-haired pedestrian you somehow missed this morning.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

...Like an airy spirit go...

Was it all just a dream?

Last week, I had the opportunity to take part in another of Hubcity Theatre's performances. This year, we did A Midsummer Night's Dream for our yearly Shakespeare in the Park staging, and I took on the role of Puck, Oberon's jester. Funnily enough, my husband, Brad, assumed the roles of Theseus and Oberon, meaning that he was the one I had the most personal interaction with--and sometimes it got a little violent!

For a little while, this play was less like an airy dream and more like a nightmare, and I'll tell you why.

We had a condensed rehearsal schedule. And by this, I mean that in early July we were having about 5 rehearsals a week, on top of what we all do in our normal lives. I rope myself into doing this every summer, even though I value my free time more than most. This year was a little more strenuous that previous years, since we had to be in rehearsal so much more leading up to it. All of my free evenings were taken by rehearsal and, more often than not, I would go straight home from rehearsal, go to bed, and then get up the next morning to start all over again.

Somewhere, in the shuffle of losing free time, frustration over various play-related things and extreme physical exhaustion, I managed to completely lose myself. Around dress rehearsal time, I started having fun. When opening night in Sackville came, I was back to enjoying the process. When opening night in Moncton came, and 215 people showed up to watch the show, that's when the dreamlike quality of the experience started to kick in.

At closing night, we removed our (considerably sweat-laden) costumes for the final time and let out a collective cheer. We had done it. It had been a roaring success. Long, late rehearsals in mosquito-filled parks had paved the way for what was truly a fantastic show. The cast and crew ushered their way to our house for the cast party, where we ate ourselves into a stupor and reminisced about some of our favourite parts of the play. We talked late into the night, and when we went to bed, we woke up the next morning, finding it suddenly over.

I'm an introvert. I don't really like hanging out with people. I like my space. But if you expose me to a situation long enough, I will gradually warm up to it, to the point of enjoying it. I become, for a brief week or so, an extrovert. And right now, I find myself missing the people I met and spent so many hours with this summer. I've even had dreams about this play, and I'm left wondering if it really happened. I find myself liking posts on Facebook and staring longingly at pictures, and looking in every direction for a chance at stumbling across some of these people when I'm out in public.

When I'm exposed to a situation like that, I go from resisting it to embracing it. I'll spend the week thereafter in a fog induced by the glory that was the performance week. I'll randomlyrealise little things, like "hey, a week ago was our closing night in Sackville" (it was!). The days will slip on and the reminiscing will finally disappear for now, to hopefully be brought up again next year.

I had a dream ("past the wit of man to say what dream it was") that I spoke some of my lines, then flew into the air. It was a brief dream, but its magical qualities reminded me, in waking, of the week that had passed so quickly. A week of adventures in Sackville, moving on to Moncton and praying for good weather. And then, it was back to reality, and back to work, for me. That fleeting, beautiful, dreamlike week.

In the retail world, we're suddenly hearing talk of "back to school" and "fall collections". But it's only August! We still have about a month and a half of summer left! Just in the past few weeks, the heat has reached its peak. It seems sad that we spend our remaining summer days wishing the summer away, especially since it's such a short season in this part of the world. We are but in midsummer, meaning we have the rest of the summer ahead of us yet. Embrace it and find that lingering flicker of magic. It's not over.

Photo by Albert Arseneau. For more information about Hubcity Theatre, check out their Facebook page.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A moment to myself

I just need a few minutes to myself.

This happens, sometimes. I'm at home alone but I need to be out, among the world but not communicating with it. Just being. A person, watching people who are watching back.

My backyard is my sanctuary, with its fragrant yellow roses and towering purple irises. But it's not what I need now. Instead, I lock the door--leaving my cell phone behind--and walk to the park down the road. All the swings are vacant, inviting. I sit down, heedless of the fact I'm wearing a skirt. I had put on a pair of shorts underneath for just such a purpose, anyway.

Already, my legs have settled into the familiar rhythm of pumping, then pushing back. I have to spread my ankles apart because my legs are so long, they risk brushing the gravel below and breaking that rhythm. Already, I seem to be matching height with a tree across the field.

A man and a woman cross the path in front of me, watching me as the swing's chains creak in protest. I momentarily wonder how old they think I am. I'm 26, but I've been told I look closer to 19 or 20. Would a normal 26-year old come out to a swing set? Why do I care?

Suddenly, a woman about my Mom's age appears from the sidewalk, walks behind me and takes a seat on the swing set next to mine. We exchange a brief moment of silent acknowledgement through a smile, and she starts to swing as well. I notice earbuds in her ears and can't help but wonder what she's listening to. I also notice that she and I are both wearing turquoise. For some reason, it seems significant; we're two bluejays in a neighboring tree, both aware of each other's presence but not really doing anything about it.

My legs continue the same rhythm, never faltering or changing. I see them rise up before me with every pump and laugh inwardly to think of how pale I am. The wind rushes through my hair, sending it into my mouth. I think about how much I will enjoy cutting it before long. I grew it out so I could have something to work with for the wedding, but that was back in October. Time for a change.

When I snap out of my reverie, I notice my swing-mate and I are swinging in perfect tandem like the pendulums of two grandfather clocks standing side by side. I wonder if she notices, too, or if she's still off in her own world. The lack of eye contact on her part confirms the latter. That's all right. I didn't come out here for company.

My time for reflection seems to have ended, for I feel myself slowing, and my legs stopping to allow the momentum to catch itself. Any extra motion from my legs may start my progress over, so I just sit and let the swing gradually stop. I try to stand and walk away with dignity, but my legs wobble beneath me. It seems ironic that, after using them so extensively for the past fifteen minutes, my legs no longer seem as though they want to carry me. I force them to, and I head back home.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

More on Journey

Not to beat a dead horse, but I have more to say about this game after a week of playing it. As I said in my last post, I don't want this to turn into a video game review blog. That's not my aim. Instead, I'd like to have a discussion about this game, because I absolutely love it. I love this game.

Here is some background music for you while you read the article. Please listen to it; it's one of my favourite pieces from the game's soundtrack.

Since my last post, I have played through this game 4 more times, making for 5 in total, and my husband has played through once. I've convinced 2 other friends to play and it affected them similarly. The 4 other playthroughs were vastly different from my first, and two of them I found profoundly sad.

What I've learned from the playthroughs of the game is that finding a companion who wants to travel with you is absolutely golden. I was spoiled during my first few plays, and I had partners who were helpful, engaged and patient, then moved on to partners who were mostly goal-oriented in the latter plays, some of whom didn't think twice about running ahead. I got separated from many of them. It didn't sour the experience, but it did make me feel very sad, and lonely. This is especially true for the last one, in which I had a few not-so-patient partners, then finally came across one who was very friendly and let me teach them a little trick (how to trip). Momentarily afterward, though, we were separated, and then I was forced to complete the rest of the game alone.

One of the main things this game has taught me is that you can find kindness in anyone. In that the game is anonymous (until the end--but even then you can retain a level of anonymity), any person you meet on the street can be a person you played with. Regardless, I've been rethinking how I interact with people I don't know, even if it's obvious that they wouldn't play Journey. To me, the people you play Journey with are the same as the people you encounter randomly on the street. They each have that capacity for goodness and kindness. The person you're playing Journey with is, figuratively, the person who holds the door for you, or the person who bends down to help you pick up something you dropped. They may not be directly or overtly changing or affecting you, but what they do for you certainly means a lot. It's like graffiti or yarnbombing, but instead of witnessing a physical imprint, the player gets to witness an emotional imprint. The game's anonymity is also a nice reminder that you could be playing with anyone, making discrimination virtually impossible.

That also means that in this game, any first impression is not a first impression of you. You don't need to wear specific clothes or look a certain way for someone to like you. Racism is gone. Language is gone. A whole new level of anonymity is achieved. Because of that, nothing can be personal; it's simply not possible. Though, of course, with a game like this, the player just might end up taking things personally, because the game feels personal, even if it really isn't. The game is really an extension of yourself: it is how you project yourself uniquely in a world where people don't look so unique.

On a more plot-driven point, this game can be seen as many stories converging into one. This game has seven chapters: the Prologue, the Broken Bridge, the Desert, the Sunken City, the Water Caves, the Sand Temple, and the Snowy Summit. Other things that have seven chapters are the seven stages of grief and the seven stages of life, both of which can have nuances which hint to themes used in the game. I will leave that for you to explore with your own experience of the game, and if you haven't played the game yet... well, why haven't you played the game yet?!

The game is also highly reflective of the hero's journey, which Jenova Chen himself spoke of in an interview. Once again I'll let you read it and draw your own parallels.

Part of the problem I've had more recently with finding partners not quite so engaging might be me. I've realised that I have gone into the game more recently with a goal: to show people things and to make friends. But, it's the journey that's important. The point of this game is not to have goals and things you absolutely need to do or succeed at. It's the journey that counts!

To end this, I have a different article for you to read. This one is about Jenova Chen, co-founder of thatgamecompany and artistic director. I find his vision to be fascinating and genuine.

I think part of the reason this game has affected me so strongly is because I am on a journey, myself. Like Chen, my desire is also to move and touch people, but with words instead. It is my wish that some day, I might be able to write something that moves someone in the world as much as Journey moved (and continues to move) me.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A petal for your thoughts, Part 2

...And then, I played Journey.

As the trailer suggests, it's a game in which the journey is the most important part. As the trailer also suggests, there is a co-op mode, meaning you can play alongside someone else. The co-op is very unique, however, in that you don't choose who you play with. In fact, you don't even choose if you get to play with someone. The co-op is randomly selected, depending on whether or not someone is playing in the same area as you at the same time. They could also leave at any point, making your experience different every time. Sometimes they'll be replaced by someone else and you'll have multiple companions. You can't talk to your companion. You can only communicate in symbols, song notes and chirps. You may not believe this, but it actually becomes a feasible means of communicating, and you may find yourself understanding what your companion is saying by the end of the journey.

I was lucky, in that I had the same companion throughout. I wasn't sure if I had switched companions, but my suspicion of having the same one was confirmed at the end when I was told the screen name of my buddy (thanks for the great time, mrconkin! Sorry I kept falling off stuff; I have terrible depth perception).

Near the beginning of the game, I was walking alone when my companion, very suddenly, appeared beside me. We were both overjoyed, and we sang back and forth and chased each other in circles before progressing in our journey. The wide expanses of the game's setting are enough to make a player feel very small, so having a second person just like you to help you and stand beside you is startlingly powerful.

My companion was very helpful, and tried to protect me and signal me where to go when monsters appeared. He would sing to me to get my attention when he found something. At one point near the end of the game, we had been momentarily separated. I knew we were near the end, and I couldn't even see the white bloom glow that hinted at his whereabouts. I felt lonely and sad that we wouldn't be completing the journey together. I actually started crying as I looked up at the beautiful, glowing expanse I was soaring through, quietly wishing that my companion was there to see it with me.

My husband, who was watching me play behind me, saw the golden glow of my companion soaring up a long line of scarves at the same time I did. Knowing how attached I had grown to this guy in the mere span of 2 hours, he pointed him out, saying "there he is!". I laughed, and the two of us were reunited once more. After another brief separation, we were rejoined again, and we completed the journey together, walking into the bright white glow side by side.

Reading this, you would think I went on some sort of life-changing pilgrimage. I almost feel as though I did, and I don't care how stupid that sounds.

The game made me think of communication, and the inner workings of things like language. The entire game, nothing is ever verbally communicated, and it's not needed. You form ways of communicating with your companion, and you learn more about the story by visual representation. Your relationship to your companion reminded me a bit of ICO, in which you also can't communicate other than by calling out. The bond is made stronger, though, in Journey, by your companion actually being a real person on the other side. A story I heard online was that someone played a game of Journey with someone and sent them a message afterwards. That person replied to them in Japanese, meaning they were both able to play this game together when they may otherwise not have been able to do so. It's incredible that a game can bring strangers together like that.

I am truly captivated at the way these games can convey strong stories without using any words. They both have linear stories with a beginning, middle, and end, but the only way to communicate those stories is through strong images and powerful music. And yet, I feel I have a stronger response to these games than from any game I've ever played. It seems that the games with the most minimalist storylines and gameplay are the ones that really tug at me and make me think outside of the story.

I don't want to turn this into a video game review blog, obviously, but being that both Journey and Flower are games that have heavily inspired me (and the blog is called "When I'm Inspired, after all) I felt compelled to share my experiences in writing.

If either of these games appeal to you at all, I really urge you to play them. My experiences are just that: my experiences. You cannot truly know these games by listening to someone else's commentary. You have to play them yourself to truly know. Some people have talked about which is "better", but in my opinion they can't be compared. They are separate, unique experiences that stand alone.

Both of these games are great advocates of non-violence in video games, as well as art in video games. Journey is an excellent example of teamwork, as the only reason to work with someone else in the game is for the sheer gratification of it. I feel there is a little something in each thatgamecompany game that suggests harmony and peace. If we all had that little something in us, I believe the world could be a better place.

Our world is so full of "stuff"--cars, buildings, and machines. In a world like this, it's nice to find some simplicity, such as the simplicity you find in Flower and Journey. The landscape and scenery can make you feel this unexpected elation. It's too bad that can't be enough for all of us.

That is how these games have affected me. Have they affected you, too?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A petal for your thoughts

Anyone who has ever tried to pass off video games as mindless entertainment really owes it to him/herself to check out the game I have posted a trailer of below.

This game is Flower, a game in which you control the wind and a stream of petals to make flowers bloom. Each flower that blooms adds another petal to your stream. It sounds simple, but watching the trailer alone should tell you that it's actually a very intensive emotional experience. It's a game that is directed at everyone, and that anyone could pick up and play and enjoy.

I don't want to spoil the ending, so I'll recommend that if you have a PS3, you at least download the demo and give it a shot. I hope you won't be disappointed.

Playing through this game got me thinking about the things we do to this planet and have been doing, and all the things that are happening because of us. The bees disappearing, climate change. The earth is slowly falling into ruin. It's not pleasant to think about, but it's sadly what we face from day to day. Most people prefer not to think about it at all (including myself, some days), and some deny it. The reality is that the planet is declining, and we aren't helping that. In fact, we're helping it decline.

I notice a lot of negative connotation when the topic of environmentalism is brought about, and I've always really wondered why. I read a letter to the editor in a local newspaper once that said that "tree-hugging" wasn't the way to secure a sustainable future, and that a creating jobs (that negatively impact the environment, in this instance) was. I can understand and support the need for jobs in any community, but why would that ever take precedence over the world we live in? If it's an immediate threat to our world, why would we choose that over our planet?

We've taken the earth into our own hands, and we haven't been very careful with it.

I'm not saying I'm perfect. None of us are. But we can all find ways to live a little more purely, whether it's by recycling more, composting, turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth, planting more flowers, or turning off the light when you leave the room.

Earth Hour is coming up on March 31, 2012, 8:30 PM. If you're able, try to make an effort to use little to no energy during that time. Light a candle and read a book. I plan on doing just that.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Burning the midnight oil

Some nights, when I'm up really late and can't get to sleep, I get some of my best writing done.

Tonight is not one of those nights.

I did, however, want to take the opportunity to talk about a talk and workshop I gave at the Moncton Library two weeks ago.

I was very privileged to have been invited to come speak about my creative process to a welcoming group of 13-18 year-olds. I discussed inspiration, writer's block and other things to a fantastic audience, then we paired off to do workshops. I was presenting alongside talented comic artist Rene LeClair, who did a comic and illustration workshop as I gave a writing one.

A surprising amount of people in the group expressed that they had some trouble with writer's block, so I took the opportunity to talk a little more about it to them.

I don't want to say that I have never suffered from writer's block, but I've noticed that in recent years, I have had less trouble finishing what I've started than before. I think part of that reason is because I have stopped placing the bill of urgency on things to be completed, which is something I was guilty of in the past. I would get so preoccupied with finishing the work in a timely matter that I would lose focus of what was important: the actual writing. Last year, I started my NaNoWriMo project and had hit the 50,000 word mark, but I didn't write the actual ending to the project until a full year later.

My best advice for writer's block is thus: continue with life. Find something else to write about. Give yourself exercises, like describing an item or a place. Take long walks and look carefully at the things and people around you. Start a field journal and write about your surroundings. Write. Write often, about everything. Take those experiences with you as you finish the work you're stuck on.

Also, never edit as you go. Once your words are on paper, leave them and come back to them later, with fresh eyes. If you get too caught up in the details of your own work, you risk being stuck in the details and never seeing the big picture. If you must, set time aside for editing, but try to make it a goal to write first, and edit later. A first draft will never be a perfect, groundbreaking piece of literature. You can progress from there and turn it into a second, third, and fourth.

Everyone writes differently, so please don't feel that I'm trying to preach. This is all simply what I find helps me if I'm stuck in a rut. If I pace myself and don't think of finishing the work, I'll find, more often than not, that the answer will subconsciously appear when I'm writing something else. That is the time that having a couple of spare notebooks lying around becomes very useful!

And with that, I'm going to try and get some sleep. Sometimes, writing becomes such a force that it keeps you up at night, even if the things you have to say are, really, only for yourself.

But on a note that is not directed to myself: a big thanks to the Moncton Library for having me to give a talk. It was my pleasure and an honor to be invited. Thank you!

And with that, good night.

(To add, Population 1 is still coming along nicely. Feel free to visit the blog and join the story!)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Population: 1

Some good news today. I sat down and completely finished the planning for Population: 1, meaning that the story and general skeleton are complete and what remains is to begin writing it!

If you'll recall, almost a year ago I published a post containing video and a blurb about it. I wasn't sure what to do with it at first, and later decided it should be my next web-based writing project a la Hub City Survival. Ever since I decided to make it a writing project, I've undergone a very extensive planning process to ensure it is everything it can be. The planning took a little longer than anticipated, but it is done and it is ready to start being written.

What this means to you, the reader, is that you will soon be able to start participating in and influencing the story. Now, I've given myself a deadline for the first post so you all know what to look for. The in-character blog will be updated on Monday, February 20. So, to recap, here are a couple of links for you:

- Population: 1's in-character blog, where the story unfolds.
- Population: 1's out of character blog, where you will participate in and influence the story.

Here, too, is the trailer that I originally made for the project, back before it was a trailer and when it was just a random short film.

This will be the last I post about Population: 1 in this blog until the story is complete, as all updates will be story-related from here forward. Check on both blogs on Monday, Feb. 20, and be prepared to enter a strange town where no one can be found.

I'll leave you with a couple of teaser photos. Below are photos from my project notes. I have 28 pages worth, most of which is plot summary but a lot of which is history and geography-related as well.

Seeya on Monday!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


It's been awhile since I last posted. The holidays took up a lot of time and sucked up most of my energy. Directly up to December 24th, my creative pool was dry as a bone. I took those days to completely relax, and with the relaxation came ideas.

I've said before that I have a particular love for video games that convey certain feelings or emotions, and I find aspects of certain games to be inspiring. Throughout the month of December and into early January, I kept myself sane by playing video games. For nostalgia factor, I played Legend of Zelda, but the new and updated 3D version. Then my husband and I played FEAR 3 together (I played Fettel). From the ashes of the holidays came the phoenix known as Boxing Day sales, which led to me buying a copy of the ICO/Shadow of the Colossus collection. I have since gone through and beaten ICO, and it was my first play through of the game.

I'd like to take an opportunity, before I continue, to make a case for video games as storytelling devices. Too often, video games are passed off as merely entertainment. I have to wonder if the people passing off these games have ever really sat down and played a truly good game, with a rich story and characters you relate to. The point of a good video game is to take you and put you directly in the story. You become the character, and their goals are yours. Instead of following along with the character's goals and aspirations, they become yours. That facet of video games has always been one of my favourite parts of playing them.

Because of this love for specific games, I have always had a desire to design and direct a game. This has been ever since I was a child. I remember drawing characters and writing back stories as early as twelve, dreaming up new worlds and levels.

This past week, I've taken a step toward designing one, myself. I drew a scene from a game that I would make, called Thread. Click the image below to see the scene, and to read about my aspirations for the game, should it ever come to fruition.

Thread by ~nekonezume on deviantART

Now that my little spiel is complete, I'm going to update you on a couple of things.

Population 1 is not cancelled! It's postponed. I ended up writing a lot more backstory than I intended, and adding more detail than I had originally even planned. This is a good thing. When Population 1 launches (I'm hoping for a February launch, but stay tuned), it will be complete.

I have been invited by the Moncton Library to give a talk on my book in March. I'll have more information on that when it arises. I'm very excited about it! Thanks to the Library for inviting me.

Next week I'm going to be my theatre troupe's production of Ken Ludwig's Three Musketeers, which is yet another reason the planning for Population 1 has been stunted. Busy busy...

I hope to talk about poetry with my next post, which hopefully won't be another two months from now!