13 August 2005

Panic in teensville!

The kids arrived yesterday at Centauri. I stood out on the gravel road and waved, smiled, and directed cars towards the parking spaces. I wish I could do that for a living and not have to worry about how long it's been since I've written a poem.

There are about 130 kids here this session, and 17 of them are in my Poetry...with Fiction group. Many of them have taken sessions with Beth Follett before, and they adored and admired her, so that's a tough act to follow. My counsellor/assistant is Alanna. She is full of energy. I am an energy-depleted old geezer. But our first "class" went OK. It was just a brief one -- and it was in a classroom: gotta get my mindset out of school workshops and into camp workshops: i.e., fun is important. But they wrote some really good stuff and I'm looking forward to getting to know them a bit and getting a sense of what they can/want to do.

Last night, though, I was in a panic. Probably it was just partly exhaustion. But I'm supposed to do a 2-hour elective tomorrow afternoon and now, in the reality of being here, I realize the idea I had was awful. I flipped through a pile of books last night, looking for ideas. And then I started freaking over the Sound Poetry Choir I've planned for the day after tomorrow. I haven't done sound poetry in ages. Can I do this?

Anyway, came up with a good one for tomorrow: Everything But The Book. Feeling a little more settled this morning, though I sure am not sleeping well on this little single bed with a mattress that feels like a 1966 car seat. There are crickets inside and crickets outside, but no Buddy Holly.

I'd hoped to devote four or five days prior to Centauri to meticulously planning everything I was going to do, but a big editing job prevented that. My first work for ECW in over a year, and I didn't want to turn it down. I think Cary Fagan and his nasty review of my Confessions book brought me and ECW back together again, at least in a publisher/editor relationship. It was shortly after Fagan called me a "lowlife" and "disshevelled" in his Toronto Star review, and I wrote a letter to the editor saying that ECW and I were "still strangely fond of one another" that they contacted me to renew our fractured friendship.

In other news, I've finally sent off a chunk of my novel to the agent who's been eager to see it. I've never sent anything to an agent before. And I wouldn't have sent it to this one either, because I'm not fond of agents, except that I knew home from his pre-agent days and liked him, and even then he was a big supporter of my work, back when he had little to gain from it. Somehow, though, I think he's gonna read this excerpt and go, "Stuart expects me to sell *this* obscure thing?"

Oh, an addendum to the McFadden launch entry: the restaurant/bar it took place is called Bohemia Havana. It's on St. Clair West near Oakwood. Very nifty place, with a good little bookcase of Cuba books.

Over and out.


At August 14, 2005 6:59 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Stuart! Lisa sent me your blog address and I've been reading it and liking it. Thank you for putting it out (I thought I'd get my thank you in in advance!). Do you have a schedule for your Yammy the Cat events? can you send it to me or publish it? Thanks, Cathy (cds@axxent.ca)

At August 16, 2005 4:35 pm , Anonymous -jeff said...

If the kids are anything like the gang in the Kootenays, they will parade you on their shoulders in no time. Hail Stu!


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