Monday, 22 April 2019

The Grind Writers on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/819686218123471/

Updated meetings schedule


Please email grindwriters at gmail.com 

before you attend for the first time.



Grind Writers Dates 2019
·  Sun Apr 28
Elizabeth McLean: "She's Terrible, and I Love Her:  'Unlikable' Female Characters."
·Sun July 21
·Sun Aug 11  
·Sun Aug 25
·  Sun May 5  date changed to:
·Sun Sept 08
·  Sat May 11
We’re at WriteOn Vancouver Fest,  VPL downtown 11-4
·Sun Sept 22
·Sun Oct 06
·  Sun May 26       
·Sun Oct 20
·  Sun June 09
Susan L Greig, Journal Lady  
·Sun Nov 03  DST ends
·  Sun June 23
Karen Schauber - "The Marvels of Flash Fiction"
·Sun Nov 17
·  Sun July 7
Elizabeth McLean: “Interiority in Fiction - How to balance internal narrative with action
 
·Sun Dec 01
·Sun Dec 15, 2019

Monday, 18 February 2019

Ke Tou: The Ancient Sound of Respect


Several years ago, Bonnie Nish the long-time executive director of Pandora’s (literary art) Collective came to The Grind Writers Group to do a mini-workshop with us. She brought along her Pandora’s Box full of 3D writing prompts. I had also attended a regular evening her co-ED Sita Carboni hosted called Word Whips* where people got together and wrote to a prompt she brought. Sita set the timer for 15 mins. and gave us a prompt (a coat-hanger).

She explained to us a Pandora's tradition that, since these were free-writes we were welcome to read our output but we would not be getting feedback on what was read, since it was material we had just written – or, what local writing coach Sylvia Taylor amusingly calls a “barf draft” or a “shaggy first draft.” Anne Lammot (Bird By Bird)  calls first output “shitty first drafts.

It’s important that distinction be made.

So many non-writers (including some friends and family 
members) seem to think that the Writing Greats just sat down and poured out War and Peace, Pride and Prejudice, or The Grapes of Wrath in one go. And the first thing most of those people ask even a fledgling writer is, “So, have you published anything?” as if good writing just rolls out like sheets on a roll of paper towels.
Sita explained at Word Whips that night that when someone finished reading we would just tap the table with two fingers (softly, because we were meeting in the library) to indicate our support and admiration for one of us having had the courage to share their first-output material to a bunch of strangers. And that’s what we did. In turn, we have carried on that fine tradition at The Grind Writers Group.
Nothing new here. Except today I was reading a book, All the Tea in China: History, Methods and Musings (Wang Jian). And I came across this “lovely ancient Chinese Tea Story” Jian recounts:  
One day, the emperor Qianlong visited the Dragon Well tea area in disguise and took tea in a small tea-house where the attendant, unaware of the emperor’s identity, gave him the tea-pot and asked him to serve his entourage.
Unwilling to divulge his identity the emperor poured tea for his followers. This frightened his entourage out of their wits and, in their anxiety they began to tap on the table with their fingers bent to show that they were “kneeling on both knees ke tou continuously” (ke tou—to knock one’s head on the ground in obeisance).  
This story later became wide-spread and “tapping the table in respect” became part of the etiquette of drinking tea even up to the present day. When the host presents his guest with a tea bowl and pours water for him the guest slowly and rhythmically taps the table with the bent middle and fore fingers of the right hand in a gesture of respect to the host for having been served tea.

I don’t know if Sita or Bonnie had ever heard this ancient story. But now we’ve got a name for the tapping and I am totally down for giving ke tou to people who’ve had the courage to share what has just rolled out of their pens.
________________

*Word Whips carries on to this day meeting regularly at various locations

©2019 Margo Lamont

..................................................

Goodreads review:I love tea and bought this small book while at the Ai Weiwei According to What? exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario today. The book was written in China and translated and beautifully presents the history of the use of tea in China through a long list of dynasties, describes the different types of tea, where they are from, when they are picked, how tea is prepared, the tea rituals and spiritual significance of drinking tea - even recommending with how many people tea should be enjoyed. Poetry, brushing drawings and stories tell the story.”—Nancy




Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Schedule 2019

Please write to (grindwriters at gmail dot com) before attending your first meeting. Thanks.


Grind Writers Dates 2019

Sun Jan 06
Sun June 23
Sun Jan 20
Sun July 7
Sun Feb 03
Sun July 21
Sun Feb 17
Sun Aug 11
Sun Mar 03
Sun Aug 25
Sun Mar 17
Sun Sept 08
Sun Mar 31
Sun Sept 22
Sun Apr 14
Sun Oct 06
Sun Apr 28
Sun Oct 20
Sun May 5 (gap)
Sun Nov 03  (DST Ends)
Sun May 26
Sun Nov 17
Sun June 09
Sun Dec 01

Sun Dec 15, 2019






Saturday, 30 June 2018

Indigenous Style Guide: Writing with Respect

Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guide for Writing By 
and About Indigenous Peoples by Gregory Younging PhD 
Brush Education Inc., Edmonton AB: Feb. 15 2018
PB, 168 pp

ISBN Print:  9781550597165
ISBN eBook:  9781550597196 


This book is a must-read for every Canadian, writer or not. Gregory Youngling has done everyone a service writing and compiling this book.
It is more than just a dry style guide. (A usage geek, I actually don’t find style guides dry, but I know many people do). 


When Younging explains what the offense is in various word or phrases, you learn what the pain connected with it is, what the sorrow, the trauma, and the anger are—what, in some cases, the cultural or physical violence has been and, yes, the attempted genocide cultural or otherwise. 
Born in Canada, I initially found  it eally offputting to be considered a 'settler.'  
I’m not, nor were my parents nor any of my ancestors the people who came ashore and laid claim to this land centuries ago. Yet, the occupying force (Government; Crown) that was in place, that ordered my parents to relocate during WW2 to this country where I would later be born—that was the government of a colonial force, no matter how much time has passed. It’s simple. We are. They’re right. 
I have resented that settler label. This book helped me accept and wear it. By default, and not really my fault--you don't get to choose where you drop out--I'm part of settler culture. Unfortunate for me, it completely dispossesses me. (Where is my place in the world? What place can I claim to be from? Nowhere apparently. And that was hard to come to terms with and try to accept.)
Still, as I read this book, my heart opened even more to the suffering of the indigenous peoples (note: ‘indigenous peoples of Canada’: ok. ‘Canada’s indigenous people’: not ok -- that possessiveness again…).  We can’t undo what happened, but we can acknowledge it happened. (What we do about that, how we all handle it together—that’s another matter altogether.)
We need to fix it and make it right. That will never happen 100%: nothing can ever un-do the taking over, all the past pain, hurt and horror—but we can try. 

And one way we can all try is by watching our language. We can make that effort to become aware of how we talk about indigenous people, how we characterize them in language that may be deeply offensive (for very good reasons), and what we do with their stuff, in this case specifically their stories and history.
If you are writing about indigenous peoples or topics, one big takeaway from this book is: consult, consult, consult. 

Take your work to the Elders of the relevant nation and ask them to review what you have written to ensure not only that what you’ve done is accurate, but  especially that it is your story to tell. Because as Younging says in an interview cited below: 
There are a lot of editorial issues that are particular to writing by and about indigenous peoples. There are a lot of internal protocols and laws around indigenous knowledge and stories that non-indigenous people just don’t know. For example, some traditional stories are sacred, and there’s a training process required before you have the right to tell them. Some have an apprenticeship-like system, where someone has to train under an elder or master storyteller before they’re allowed to tell the stories.” We just need to think about how we would feel if some stranger came along and stole our histories and our stories and told them supposedly on our behalf, when we were perfectly capable of telling them ourselves, and those strangers told them incorrectly, out of context, and broke our sacred laws in the process.
It's all about respect. 
Younging says indigenous people are not saying ‘don’t write about us’ – they are saying, “If you’re going to write about us, make sure you understand these editing issues.”
We have a lot to learn. This book is one step towards starting that process.
……………

Author Gregory Younging
 “is a member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation in Northern Manitoba. He’s been the managing editor of Theytus Books, the first Aboriginal-owned publishing house in Canada, for over 13 years.  Elements of Indigenous Style evolved from the house style guide Gregory developed at Theytus in order to ensure content was consistent and respectful.” (--Alberta Writers’ Guild).  He’s a professor of indigenous studies at UBC–Okanagan.   
This Quill & Quire Q&A with Greg Younging on editing indigenous works, story ownership, and Canadian publishing is a good introduction. 


©2018 Margo Lamont

Saturday, 28 April 2018

2018 Grind Writers meeting schedule

Before you attend, please email:  grindwriters [at] gmail [dot] com
We sometimes meet elsewhere; meetings may be cancelled.

Please come and join our Facebook group - search "The Grind Writers Group" (Make sure you put that "the" in the search words because there are two groups, one defunct.)

2018 Grind Writers Group schedule
(skips holiday weekends)

Sat Jan 20
Sun July 8
Sat Feb 10
Sun July 22
Sun Feb 25
Sun Aug 12
Sun Mar 11
Sun Aug 26
Sun Mar 25
Sun Sept 9
Sun Apr 8
Sun Sept 23
Sun Apr 22
Sun Oct 14
Sun May 6
Sun Oct 28
Sun May 27
Sun Nov 18
Sun June 10
Sun Dec 9
Sun June 24


Friday, 19 January 2018

MEETINGS SCHEDULE 2018 - The Grind Writers Group

Before you attend, please email grindwriters@gmail.com.
Sometimes we meet at other places, sometimes meetings are cancelled.


2018 Grind Writers schedule
skips holiday weekends
Sat Jan 20
Sun July 8
Sat Feb 10
Sun July 22
Sun Feb 25
Sun Aug 12
Sun Mar 11
Sun Aug 26
Sun Mar 25
Sun Sept 9
Sun Apr 8
Sun Sept 23
Sun Apr 22
Sun Oct 14
Sun May 6
Sun Oct 28
Sun May 27
Sun Nov 18
Sun June 10
Sun Dec 9
Sun June 24



Look for us on Facebook. Search "The Grind Writers." (there are two pages - make sure you put the "the" in your search words)

Monday, 15 January 2018

What question would you ask a psychic?

10 Min. Free-write Prompt:  What question would you ask a psychic about the future?

Do they remove Mr. Trump before his term is done? And is Mr. Pence even worse?

I’d also like to know about that “void” area archaeologists have just found in the Great Pyramid at Giza – a void the archaeology establishment seems to be going to great lengths to stress is not a “chamber.” Oh, why stop there: I could ask the psychic a lot about that because a good psychic should be able to go back and forth—way back and forth—in time. So I’d ask who built the Great Pyramid and how’d they get all those blocks…….
My issue around psychics is this: if I ask about a prediction of some future event and they say “X will happen” to me—that says something I may not be too happy with about Fate or Destiny. I don’t like the idea that our fate is absolutely fixed.

If the psychic tells me X is going to happen, then that means fate is fixed. Doesn't matter what I say or do. Doesn't matter what decision I make. Like the way Sleeping Beauty gets the puncture by spinning wheel thingie no matter that her father banned all spinning wheels from the kingdom for her entire life previously.  
I like to think there may be a kind of karmic template, but that we can add our own embellishments, that we perhaps can temper things a little by our actions. 

The concept of karma seems to say that. In a way. But then, if you experience karmic events as they say we do—then those may be fixed. Or… are they? It gets very complicated very fast. Are you predestined to have Experience Y to work on some past karmic issue, well then what’s the point of things like Buddhist “right action” if it’s already set in stone? How can you change anything by your actions; or is that only for the next life? Does the Christian concept of free will factor in?  
Another problem with consulting psychics and oracles was related by the ancient Father of History (or "Father of Lies"--take your pick) Herodotus centuries ago about that  time when King Croesus consulted the oracle at Delphi before an important upcoming battle against the Persians. 
Delphic oracle

“One ruler who consulted the oracle was Croesus, whose kingdom, Lydia, was located in an area that is now part of the nation of Turkey. 

Croesus was worried that his rival, Cyrus of Persia, was a threat to  him, and he sent messengers to Delphi to ask the oracle for guidance.

The oracle said that crossing the river Halys and battling Cyrus would  cause a great empire to be destroyed. Croesus wrongly assumed that the "great empire" which would fall would be that of his enemy.”

(from this forum


Oops.
As the writer points out, contacting the psychic realms can be rather unreliable: ”The word "delphic," meaning "ambiguous or obscure," is a reference to the often enigmatic prophecies of the Delphic Oracle.”

No, it’s too too complicated. I’ll just ask the psychic about the 649 lotto. I'm only out three bucks if it’s wrong.
Margo Lamont
______________


Saturday, 13 January 2018

Christmas - A Writing Prompt

At our last Grind Writers Group meeting before Christmas, "Christmas" was the season's organic prompt and I want to share the Christmas card I wrote to our members.
_______________________

Grind Writers – December 17, 2017

Prompt:  Christmas 


Christmas is not all about presents. It’s also about presence. 

In this group it’s about your managing to get yourself here—putting it in your calendar; getting your writing gear out, maybe a piece printed to share; and getting here by whatever way you travel. Some of you come by car, some by bus, others cycle here, others walk. One of you comes all the way rom Surrey, another from UBC, another the West End. We draw together for this endeavour of writing, whatever it is. 
Christmas—the giving part—the sharing part Christ taught: “Do Unto Others” – is about you sharing your time to be here, sharing your work, trusting us to be supportive (there’s that “Do Unto Others” thing again), and being supportive yourself. 

Supportive isn’t just saying, “Oh, that was nice” or “That was good.” It’s really listening to a piece and trying to be that writer’s ideal reader. It’s trying to see where they are coming from—and doing what 
you can to help them get there through your feedback ("Love One Another”?) and via your encouragement, your cheering on the sidelines.  

It’s about making that effort to turn out to others’ readings. About taking the time to give them a boost review on Amazon or the VPL. About sometimes being their beta reader. All of which take time and give of yourself and your energy. 

So – thank you all for giving us all the gift of 
you all year as the we head into our 12th year in 2018. 


Merry Christmas! 

______________________________ 

Margo Lamont