Thursday, 17 July 2014

Publishing Defacing Poetry

I've heard that once you've worked on a piece of writing so long that you hate it, it is finally ready for publication.  If this is true, then my newest book, Defacing Poetry, is ready!  I began writing the novella by this name in 2002 and was thrilled with the idea behind it.  I presented it to my writing class at University and worked on it with then Writer-in-Residence, Jeannette Lynes.  She encouraged me to enter it as a work-in-progress for a Saskatchewan Arts grant.  I did, but was not selected.  I revised it and began sending it to publishers.  It was rejected again and again -- kindly, but, unfortunately, decidedly.  So, finally, I put it aside and started writing Subgirl.

Six self-published books later, I dug it up again.  Parts of the book would come to mind occasionally and I had to try again.  I decided, for various reasons I wrote about in an earlier post, to publish it under a nom de plume - Adelle Samson - taking the beginnings of my first and last names to create the handle.  I added some of my short stories to make the book more substantial and interesting.  But then I left it.  Was it good enough?  It's unlike my other books.  Less upbeat, less action.

At last, with the encouragement of my wonderful writer's group, I have put my doubts and dissatisfaction out of mind.  I have published it under my own name because it is my writing.  Besides, my memory is getting fuzzy with age and keeping track of another name and identity is too much for me.

I still love parts of my book.  I'm especially proud of my short stories Sea Witch and To The Grave.  All of my stories started with an idea which completely enraptured me.  I think, by hating my book, I mean that the obsession has faded, but still, there remains something I'm proud of.  I hope my readers will be gracious enough to notice these little embers and to lose themselves in my wild imagining.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Review of Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope

Sense and Sensibility is a modern-day retelling of Jane Austen’s novel of the same title.  It retains the same setting and characters, although society and technology have certainly changed in many aspects.  Trollope’s novel is written in an omniscient point of view which allows the reader to see inside the heads of Marianne, Elinor, Belle (their mother), Margaret and even Wills (as in John Willoughby).  I loved this aspect of the novel as it made all the characters more human and explained their motives and thoughts.

Trollope is a very skilled writer.  I was impressed with the consideration that went behind all of the decisions she made in modernizing the story.  She was able to retain what makes this story charming even though it seems our world has changed so much.  She managed this, in part, by explaining that Edward Ferrars was old-fashioned, for example.  While Elinor does get a job in the story, her mother and Marianne remain unemployed because this is what they were accustomed to when they lived at Norland. 

I also appreciated how Elinor sees Edward’s faults, but loves him anyway.  Elinor is not the saint she appears to be in Austen’s novel.  She, like everyone else, sees how harsh and unfeeling her sensibility can make her.  It isn’t just Marianne who is flawed, but Elinor can learn from her younger sister as well.

This novel was a delight to read.  The language is fun and believable, fresh and inventive.  Trollope’s portrayal of the Steele girls is bang-on.  I did have hopes that young Thomas would find love in the story, but I admire that Trollope stuck to the original in this regard.  I hope she has plans to retell more of Austen’s books in the future.