Sunday, December 6, 2009

A bit of this and that - is it December already?

RIP NaNoWriMo 2009

It certainly has been a while since I have written a blog - the entire month of November saw only 4 blogs and now we are one week into December and this is my first blog of the month!  However, as you know I have been a bit busy with the NaNoWriMo thing.  If you have been returning to my blog to check my progress you might have noticed the little icon to the right creeping up in its word count until last weekend it exceeded the magic count of 50,000 - the number of words necessary to say I had "won" NaNoWriMo.

Before I write anything more about the experience, let me first stand on a soapbox and announce that I will not be selling autographed copies of this work in any of the coming months.  It was an exercise in speed writing a first draft - nothing more.  While I am still very excited about the ideas I generated in the month I recognize that I have a major job ahead to turn this first draft into anything I would let any of even my most trusted friends read, let alone submit to a more critical audience.  I plan on letting the draft marinate until at least mid January when I will dust it off and decide how to proceed.

I was able to use the "speed writing technique" to develop lots of plot ideas although it certainly is not my preferred manner of writing.  I  learned to leave my "inner editor" outside and just write to build on ideas and this was very freeing but left me with an uncomfortable sense of disorder and a lack of satisfaction relative to my novel.  I am sure that I will need to rewrite it in its entirety.  However maybe many of the ideas contained in the current version would have been lost as I backspaced and rewrote paragraphs if I were not speed writing.  

I have in the month of November gained a new respect for authors and the difficulty they have in practising their craft.  I was listening this morning to a podcast featuring Joyce Carol Oates talking about her novel The Gravedigger's Daughter.  She said that she found the first 6 weeks of writing a novel the most stressful and difficult.  I am encouraged that maybe the 2nd draft might be somewhat easier.  I won't be giving myself any deadline on that exercise for sure!

And Joy of Joys - I have planned a sort pre-Christmas holiday at a resort in Varadero Cuba!  I had originally thought of flying into Havana and staying at a Casa Particular (a sort of government regulated "home stay" program)  however discovered that I could buy  one week at a 4 star all inclusive 45 minutes from Havana for about the price of air fare alone.  I am feeling of need of pampering and there are advantages for a single lady to stay at a place such as that... So I will leave my Casa Particular adventure for my next visit to Cuba - when I plan to stay at least 3 weeks in order to take some "immersive" Spanish lessons.  This particular resort is about an hour closer to Havana than the other Varadero resorts so I will be able to go into Havana and sight see as much as I like (I have direction for taking the bus!)  - but of course I will be lured by all the other "all inclusive" activities at the resort.

I am leaving in 1 week - so will only be able to manage maybe one more short blog before I leave town.

RIP  Québécois Filmmaker Gilles Carle

I first became acquainted with Gilles Carle one day when listening to the CBC Radio morning show, The Sunday Edition.  Gilles Carle had been one of Quebec’s most talented filmmakers with a career spaning from the 1960s Quiet Revolution and the Québécois cultural explosion until the mid 1990s when the effects of Parkinsons disease caused him to retire.  The radio documentary focused on Chloé Sainte-Marie , his companion of 28 years, who had been caring for this increasingly frail man in their home since the late 1990s.  She was obviously still very much in love with this man 34 years her senior.   It was a heart warming story of love and devotion and I must admit I am a sucker for such things.  In the week before his death Chloé opened  a long-term care facility in his name for sufferers of Parkinsons. The Maison d’hébergement Gilles Carle was inaugurated Nov. 7.

It was very appropriate that they rebroadcast the documentary today to mark his death and as a testament to Cloe's continued devotion to him to his dying day.  A state funeral was held Gilles Carle at Basilique Notre-Dame in Old Montreal on Saturday December 5th.

There is no entry in the English Language version of Wiki for Gilles Carle however there is one in the French Language version, which if you go here you can see a Babelfish translator version in English.

You can view films by Gilles Carle online at the National Film Board Site here.

Chloé Sainte-Marie is a great artist in her own right and has several albums to her credit.  Her most recent album launched just this year, Nitshisseniten E tshissenitamin (Je Sais Que Tu Sais), sung in its entirety in Innu. The words and the music are of the song writer and performer Philippe McKenzie.  The Innu are among the First Nations of Canada. They have maintained a vibrant folk music culture, which of course involves dance and percussion-based music.  Chloé brings her own special touch to these songs.  Having discovered it for the first time today and having listened to the samples on iTunes, I have added it to my Amazon Wish List.

I quite enjoy her album Parle Moi, which I have in my personal collection.  This video following is from Parle Moi and features some nice graphic artistry as well, which I understand was filmed in her attic studio in her home. 

Where the Hell is Matt?  A Good Times Video

Now for a completely different tone, I have been doing a lot of browsing of "backpack traveller" web sites and warn everyone that my wanderlust will only be contained for a year or two more.  I have bumped into the "Where is Matt" internet videos on more than one occassion, and in case you have never seen one - here is his 2008 offering.  I find watching his videos make me very happy thinking about the travels which might be in my future.

My "Be Happy" Inspirational Video of the Month:

If you are intrigued then here are a few more things to check out:

Where the Hell is Matt - his web site:

How he got people out to dance with him badly


  1. Congratulations on finishing the NaNoWriMo thing. Enjoy your week in Cuba; you've earned it!

  2. Felicitations on winning NaNo and because I too live in Canada I wish you all the best on your holiday, even if I ripe with jealousy. As for the rest it is always said when a talent is lost so I'm sorry to see Carle go.
    Warmest regards,


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