Saturday, March 12, 2005

Conception Night

Don't freak. It's a book, not a baby. But it feels like a baby with 11 parents.

Shoreline Publication Committee held its first meeting Friday night out at Helmi and Fred's artists' haven home in Whonnock. For the first time in several years we had two carloads of writers. Ten in all, counting Gale who is contributing by email and phone from Saskatoon.

These are my kind of people. Jodi is leaving for 9 weeks in Guatamala next week, so we spent most of supper discussing vaccinations and horrible tropical diseases. This conversation continued on the drive home, with the invention of a set of collector cards about "bad things that might happen to you, with actual illustrations." I'll trade you 2 denge fevers for a vampire bat bite...yeah!

Like a baby, it takes about nine months to make our book. We select pieces together, edit in triads (each person chooses two editors from the group and edits two other writers' work). Helmi copy-edits. Fred does the layout. Someone contributes original art for the cover. We usually make about 300 copies so we get a good price. It's ready for Christmas to give to families and friends, and we launch in January. Along the way we meet, eat, email, phone and generally build each other up. It's also the opportunity to get a deeper level of writing help than we are able to provide in our monthly workshop meetings. Lots of trust and love is shared, and sometimes we argue and get upset. In the end, there's a baby, er a book.

I'm thinking about what to contribute this time. I have a short story that's okay, or maybe poetry. I think if I can I will contribute a story. I am frightened to write and share adult fiction. I have written a ton of memoir stories, but I lack confidence about making something up. Poetry is always and option, but I'm very confident about that, and I always prefer to try the option about which I feel the least sure. It's a good stretch. Anyway, my friends are honest. If the story doesn't cut it, they'll tell me, or better, help me get it to where it does.

Helmi, Fred, Jodi, Jim, Michael, Deirdre, Gale, Elvira, Bryan, Kristene... here we go!

Question: How'd I get so lucky?

mompoet - participating in group gestation

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