Enthuse your muse with this writing prompt

Let the following random sentence chosen from a book on my bookshelf inspire you. Don’t think; just write.

“I’m taking it to Venus. That’s a neat planet, you know, Mum? It’s very bright, all surrounded by these gases that they don’t know what they are.”
The Fire-Dwellers, Margaret Laurence

Let’s talk about film

As this is a blog dedicated to storytelling, I would be remiss if I did not, at some point, talk about film.

Look, I’m not an expert or even really a knowledgeable amateur when it comes to discussing the intricacies of what makes a film “great.” For that, I bow down to the lovely critics and experts and people in the business who are dedicating their lives to exploring this wonderful medium. But in an effort to be exposed to some of the greatest stories of all time, I’ve been on a structured path to see all of the best films that have ever been made.

A few months ago, I was reading one of those “Top 100 films of all time” lists, and I was struck by how few of them I had seen. Deciding that I would watch them all, I compiled the Master Movie List of Awesomeness (shall I post it here?), which is made up of the “top films of all time” from the following sources as of June 2014:

Even with many overlaps, the full list has about 400 movies on it. Every Thursday, JT and I host an open house movie night where we watch two of the films (or just one if it’s longer than 3 hours) with our friends. In addition to the new and/or less decorated movies I’ve watched outside of movie night, since June I’ve seen (in order):

  • His Girl Friday
  • The Godfather
  • Taxi Driver
  • West Side Story
  • Blade Runner
  • The Third Man
  • North by Northwest
  • Psycho
  • Citizen Kane
  • Annie Hall
  • American Beauty
  • Driving Miss Daisy
  • Roman Holiday
  • The King’s Speech
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day
  • Aliens
  • City of God
  • The Graduate
  • Apocalypse Now

That’s a whole lot of story.

Book browsing, book buying

You can never have too many books. That’s why, though my bookshelves are overflowing, in the last month I’ve bought 21 “new” books. Peruse my haul below!

The first batch came on the September long weekend. It was our “paper” anniversary, so JT took me to the local independent bookstore and let me go wild.

IMG_2138Cloud by Eric McCormick
Flamethrowers, The by Rachel Kushner
Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls
by David Sedaris
Name of the Wind, The by Patrick Rothfuss
Room by Emma Donoghue
Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
Y: The Last Man Book 2, Cycles by Brian K. Vaughan

The second batch came a week later. A local not-for-profit used bookstore and cafe in my area was having a sale — $1 per inch for books. What’s a reader to do?

IMG_2142Better Homes and Gardens Pies and Cakes
Brideshead Revisited
by Evelyn Waugh
Death in Venice and seven other stories by Thomas Mann
Fire-Dwellers, The
by Margaret Laurence
by Marilynne Robinson
I Capture the Castle
by Dodie Smith
Name of the Rose, The by Umberto Eco
Selected Poetry by W.B. Yeats, edited by A. Norman Jeffares
Selected writings of the ingenious Mrs. Aphra Behn by Aphra Behn
Sonnets, The
by William Shakespeare, edited by George Lyman Kittredge
Thorn Birds, The by Colleen McCullough
What’s Bred in the Bone by Robertson Davies

The third batch came yesterday. Mum, Sister and I went shopping in the hipster district of our city for Sister’s birthday, and after a few vintage shops with used books, I finally gave in and got a couple.

IMG_2139Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje
Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood


Canadian writing contests: November through December

CBC Short Story Prize
November 1

original, unpublished work between 1200-1500 words
open to Canadian residents only
$25 per entry
$6,000 first prize

The Malahat Review Open Season Awards
November 1

one fiction entry of no more than 2,500 words; one poetry entry of up to three poems of no more than 100 lines per poem
$35 for first entry; $15 for subsequent entries
$3,000 first prize

PRISM International Creative Non-Fiction Contest
November 17

original, unpublished work of no more than 6,000 words
$35 for first entry; $5 for subsequent entries
$1,500 first prize

Banff Centre Bliss Carman Poetry Award, Short Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction Contests
sponsored by Prairie Fire Press and McNally Robinson Booksellers
November 30

one fiction entry of no more than 10,000 words; one poetry entry consisting of one, two, or three poems of no more than 150 lines; one creative non-fiction entry of no more than 5,000 words$32 per entry
$1,250 first prize

The Fiddlehead Annual Literary Contest
December 1

one fiction entry of no more than 6,000 words; one poetry entry of up to three poems of no more than 100 lines per poem
$30 per entry
$2,000 first prize

Red Tuque Books 2014 Short Story Writing Contest
2014 Canadian Tales Of The Mysterious Short Story Competition
December 31

work must be “identifiably Canadian” and have “an element of mystery”
original, unpublished work between 1500-5000 words
$15 for one manuscript; $25 for two; $30 for three
$500 first prize