Five Great Quotes for Writers

success-failure[1]Great quotes are like mantras to me. Words to live by, to be inspired by. They can be funny, poignant, or even maudlin, but if they resonate with me in some way, they go into my collection.

I don’t have a large collection yet, but after reviewing the few I do have, I found that they still work for me, even though some I found over 20 years ago.

I’m sharing five of my favorites. You’ll notice that many have a lot to do with success and failure, which isn’t a negative in my view, but rather a reality, a challenge, and a necessary part of life.

Some of the quotes directly refer to writers or the writing life, but many are more generic thoughts that certainly can apply to writers. Do any of these resonate with you?

  1. Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. – Winston Churchill 
  2.  Success is not built on success. It’s built on failure. It’s built on frustration. Sometimes it’s built on catastrophe. – Sumner Redstone
  3.  Rejection is a writer’s best friend. If you are not failing regularly, you are living so far below your potential that you’re failing anyway. – Gregg Levoy
  4.  I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying. – Michael Jordan.
  5. I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by. – Douglas Adams

And finally, I’m sharing one that has nothing to do with writing, but given the world’s political climate, I couldn’t resist:

No diet will remove all the fat from your body because the brain is entirely fat. Without a brain, you might look good, but all you could do is run for public office —  George Bernard Shaw

If you have any great quotes, please feel free to send them along!

Advertisements

The Only Constant in Life…

bigstock-Change-Green-Road-Sign-Over-Cl-8148542[1]I’m sure you know the ending to this blog’s title, and you probably also know how true it is. Change is coming for me and my family. My 83-year-old mother had cataract surgery last week and is staying with us until the eye drops are finished. Given that she also has dementia, the very notion of expecting her to put three sets of drops in her eyes in the morning and at bedtime, and two more drops at lunch and supper, would for never have happened. Thus, her visit.

After nearly four stressful years of watching her slowly deteriorate and six months on a waiting list, she will be moving into assisted living next month. The problem is, we haven’t told her. The surgery was a bit traumatic for her, since she didn’t think she needed it in the first place, and the Ativan given at the hospital knocked her off her feet, literally. Having lived on her own for 40+ years, the idea of sharing meals in a communal dining room bothers my mother immensely, even though she’ll have her own little kitchen.

Still, the move needs to happen for her own safety and for the family’s peace of mind (and no, she doesn’t want strangers coming into her home to assist her). We found a wonderful place that offers full memory support, closer to where I live. This should be a win-win, but have you ever heard of an aging parent who says, “Oh, boy! Assisted living? Sign me up!” For many of us, quite the opposite is true.

Once she’s there, my sister and I will go through the arduous task of sorting through what she won’t be taking with her, recycling and reselling what we can before selling her condo.

I’m therefore leaving my day job (a part-time secretarial position), whether permanently or temporarily is unknown. Either way, it looks like I’m heading toward semi-retirement, which is actually fine with me, as it could mean more writing time. I’ll also continue my job as a facilitator for the writing program through Port Moody Parks & Recreation, which I really enjoy.

I’m not looking forward to the talk with my boss at the end of this week, or the inevitable talk that I and my sister must soon have with our mother. Although I don’t like letting people down, the coming changes don’t frighten me. In fact, I welcome them. The amount of work, physical and emotional, is daunting, but I’ve been preparing myself for a while.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep blogging, and reading, and writing, because I love doing those things. I haven’t spent as much time as I‘d like writing or editing lately, but I do a little bit every day. I’m blessed to have something I can feel passionate about, and it keeps me from becoming too morbid about real life.

It’s likely there will be a new routine to adjust to in the fall, and that a lot of good will come from the upheaval this summer. Old chapters are about to close, but honestly, I look forward to starting new ones. In life, as in writing, I always want to know what will happen next.

My Latest Craft Fair Experience

Launch Mar2012-21One of the most interesting things about selling my books at craft fairs is the people I meet, and this year’s Creative Chaos experience in Vernon, BC was no exception.

The fun started on day one when a volunteer in a clown costume slapped a happy face on my shirt because I apparently have a nice smile. She and her cohorts were spreading cheer and goodwill everywhere, as I saw plenty of pink stickers all over customers and vendors that day.

One attendee who spotted my first book, Taxed to Death, said she has a signed copy at home, only hers was written by a man. I assured her that I’m the author, but she didn’t believe me. I then suggested that perhaps someone else wrote a mystery called Taxed to Death (not impossible here in heavily taxed Canada), but she assured me that the cover was the same as the one she had at home. She drifted away from my table, leaving both of us confused.

I met a lovely woman who came to the fair with a handwritten note, listing all of my books that she owned, so she wanted to purchase the titles she didn’t have. Writers live for readers like that. I also ran into a customer who had purchased all five of my Casey Holland titles for her mom at last year’s Chilliwack Christmas craft fair. Here she was in Vernon, (roughly a four-hour drive from Chilliwack) telling me that her mom loved my books. I live for moments like that too.

The most extraordinary exchange occurred when I was chatting with a woman whose friend joined her and said that she used to know a Debbie Purdy, although it probably wasn’t me. The woman didn’t look familiar to me either, but when she asked if I had a sister named Val, which I do, she and the other woman yelped. They were sisters and our next door neighbors back in Surrey, BC (a five-hour drive from Vernon) nearly fifty years ago. When I was fourteen, my parents split and we moved away, losing touch with the sisters. It was great, but somewhat surreal, to reconnect with them after all this time.

There were many other lovely, and sometimes odd, conversations. There was an exchange of business cards, and I was happy to meet other writers while I was there.

During the quieter moments, I watched the people go by, some wearing T-shirts stenciled with the names of places they’d been to…Paris, New York, Gettysburg, New Orleans. It occurs to me that people have become more colorful over the years with their pink, blue, and green hair, the tattoos and facial piercings. It was really fun to watch.

The seniors loved to share stories, and I heard a number of great ones. One kind gentleman even gave me one of the homemade butter tarts he’d bought from another vendor.

Craft fairs are always a gamble. The fee to participate can be steep and sales can be slow, but I can always count on stimulating conversation and even one or two ideas for my next mystery novel. I can’t wait to go back next year.

Arthur Ellis Award Winners & an Upcoming Event

Books, Craft fairLast Thursday, the winners of the Arthur Ellis Crime Writing Awards were announced at a gala in Toronto. You can see the list of winners HERE, and congratulations to all!

This week we’re driving up to Vernon, BC to take part in the 34th annual Creative Chaos summer craft fair. It’s been about three years since I last attended, so I’m looking forward to going back. Touted as the largest summer craft show in western Canada, there’s certainly a lot of cool stuff to purchase.

The fair has clear guidelines about handmade products, so I’ll be selling only my self-published mystery titles, which is fine. We always turn these out-of-town excursions into mini vacations and make sure to visit a winery or two while we’re up there. Lord knows, you can never have enough wine and cool crafts to buy. For more information about the fair, check out this link.

Staying in with Debra Purdy Kong

I’m delighted to be featured at Linda’s Book Bag today! She has a wonderful “Staying in With Linda” segment that I enjoy reading every week.

Linda's Book Bag

Knock Knock, front cover

What with one thing and two others it’s been a bit manic here on the blog of late so it gives me great pleasure to put my feet up and stay in with Debra Purdy Kong today whilst she tells me all about one of her books.

Staying in with Debra Purdy Kong

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag, Debra. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

It’s a pleasure, and thank you for the invitation.

Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

Knock Knock, front cover

I’ve brought my latest mystery novel,Knock Knock which was published in November 2017 and is #5 in the Casey Holland series. It’s been a long and interesting journey to write about the same protagonist all these years and I’m pleased, not to mention a little relieved, to have finally finished this book!

(I’m…

View original post 854 more words

Researching the Ten Pound Poms

Sydney_Opera_House_Sails_edit02[1]Last week, I blogged about listening to a radio show on coded knitting that inadvertently sparked ideas for a new novel. This week, novel research is being approached from the opposite direction. The work is written, but now I need to flesh out the details.

One section of the contemporary fantasy I’m writing takes place in York, England in the 1950s. My protagonist, a widow with two young children, needs to flee the country to escape her wealthy, predatory father-in-law who’s scheming to take her children away.

Originally, I thought she’d go to South Africa, but after reading a few pages aloud to my critique group, two key questions came up. Why South Africa and how could she afford it? Good questions indeed. I began some research and soon came across an article about the “Ten Pound Poms” as the Australians once called British citizens who migrated to Australia and New Zealand after WWII.

You see, after the war, the Australian government decided it needed British workers (partly due to the Australian government’s racist whites-only policy back then) to build its economy, so they offered passage for only ten pounds, including free passage for kids. Tired of food rationing and probably the weather, among other things, nearly 400,000 Britons applied in the first year alone. The catch to the offer was that the Britons would have to stay for two years before they were allowed to return. Otherwise, they’d have to pay back the full fare.

Many built new lives there, but a minority loafed around not doing much of anything until they could return home, according to the article HERE. Also, those without money were shuffled into former army barracks when they arrived, so needless to say, conditions were less than ideal.

It’s a fascinating story to me, most of which I’ll never use in the book because my protagonist actually winds up in Canada, due to a dramatic change in circumstances. Still, like last week’s knitting story, this is a bit of real history that I knew nothing about until I began the research, and for that I thank my critique group!

The Secret World of Knitters

knitting_250x251[1]When I was a girl, my grandmother taught me to knit. I kept it up for a few years, but then stopped. I’m not sure why, but it was probably because school and the many ballet classes and practices that demanded my time. Perhaps I haven’t lost interest completely, though, as my most recent Evan Dunstan mystery novella has a ball of yarn on the cover and a couple of key characters are knitters.

What really sparked my interest again was part of a radio discussion I heard while driving home from work last week. It was about women who had used knitting to implant coded messages during WWII. In fact, apparently Dickens’ novel A Tale of Two Cities has a French character who knitted the names of people who were being beheaded into her work.

After I got home, I googled coded knitting and found interesting articles on the topic. In a book called Writing Secret Codes and Hidden Messages it’s stated that after Morse code was invented it was soon realized that yarn or well would work quite well as a way to send messages.

I learned that an ordinary loop knot can make the equivalent of a dot, a knit stitch looks like a ‘v’ and a purl stitch could look like a horizontal line or a little bump. Even a dropped stitch had meaning, so you can see how messages could have been embedded in a scarf, for example.

A great example in the article HERE tells the story of a female secret agent who parachuted into Normandy in 1944 and began speaking with the Germans, pretending to help them. The information they inadvertently gave her was then embedded in her knitting and passed onto the British.

The other article (HERE) indicates that the Office of Censorship (in Britain) banned people from sending knitting patterns through the mail in case they contained encoded messages. Did you know that older Belgium women whose windows overlooked the railyard were recruited to note the trains coming and going, and embed that information into their knitting?

All this got me to thinking about the whole concept of coding, from early times to what we think of as coding today (something my son learned in computing science courses). Maybe there’s a mystery novel to write that incorporates different types of coding. The idea’s percolating in the back of my brain. If it has merit, it’ll surface, and a new novel will begin. Meanwhile, perhaps I should take up knitting again. Their world sounds pretty awesome.