Saturday, August 1, 2015

“Wounding Heals” by Naomi Ross

Mario Perez
I see him walking through the door. He looks good but like he’s been gently worn since we last spoke.  He’s tall and his chest still looks chiselled beneath his light blue shirt, but his hair has retreated further from his forehead and the bits on top look wispy. He still looks like a Casanova, but now he is being pursued by his age. We broke up a year ago.  He told me he was leaving me after he moved everything out of our apartment.
I realize that he is going to see my art display. My heart is pounding, filling up the spaces in my head. He’s about to see my red, bloodied artwork. Artwork designed by our break-up. Anyone other than him would never know this – it’s abstract – but that painful experience has been splattered all over these canvases. These were meant for strangers to hmm and haw at and pretend that they have some idea of the emotions the artist was trying to convey.  They weren’t meant for him.
He could always read me: a doodle, a grocery list, paint spilled on a canvas, that’s all he would need in order to know just how I was feeling, even when I didn’t know myself. He worked so hard to have me open up; slowly chipping away at the protective shell I created throughout my childhood. My shell had thinned enough for me to feel vulnerable, enough for him to be confident that he knew me. He knew me and he left me.
Kazuya Akimoto Art Museum
            I realize I’m staring. He’s reading the art show’s brochure. A pretty blonde girl walks up next to him. She stands on her tiptoes and whispers something in his ear. They laugh. He smiles at her and I feel sick.  He looks up from the brochure and points down the hallway in my direction. 
            Shit, has he seen me? No, I don’t think so but they’re coming my way. I want to run but instead I decide to sit down and wait. My heart is pounding, my chest is getting tight. There are two displays before he will reach me.
            This was supposed to be a good day, a day when I could see the fruits of my pain without tremendous attachment to the experience. Pain is worth something. This is especially true for a self-obsessed artist like me. But then it has to go away. It has to be gone to make room for new pain. Seeing him now has split open the scar on my heart, the gap is not as big as before, but it will take time to heal. I smirk, reminding myself, “Time wounds all heals.”  He sees me, I’m not sure how much time has passed since I’ve sat down but noticing him recognize me pulls me out of my pity party. He’s about to read my paintings.
            He speaks: “Rachel! Hi. I, uh, I had no idea.”
The blonde looks over. I am suddenly acutely aware of her presence.  I wish she would go away. She is adding to the pain of this moment while simultaneously making it less about me.
            He was supposed to be gone, far away from this godforsaken place, never to return. I respond: “Brad. I thought you moved to California.”
            The blonde is at the display next to mine. She hears us. She looks over; I see various emotions flash across her face. I don’t have time to figure them out. I quickly forget about her and look back at him. He’s standing there in front of me. I am aware suddenly of my ferocious need for answers. I want to know why he left me but didn’t leave this desolate city. I want to know why he didn’t follow his dreams to California. Why he didn’t follow his dreams and take me with him. Why is he here in front of me, witnessing my heart splattered all over these canvases?
            “I was ready to leave but…”
The blonde comes over. She’s smiling but looking straight at him.
Maybe she’s the answer.
            She squeezes his arm. “Brad, I have to go to the washroom. I’ll be back in a minute.” She leaves after flashing me a slight smile and a worried glance but not in a way that conveys I’m competition.
Maybe it’s something worse. Maybe I’m her future.  
            Now it’s just us, but we’re not us. We’re not anything. The only proof that we ever existed, other than my pain at this moment, is on these canvases.

Naomi Ross works as an addictions counsellor and is busy planning her October wedding.  She is currently attending Brian's creative writing class at the Mississauga Living Arts Centre, her first writing class in 10 years.  She often dreams about days filled with walking the dog, drinking coffee, reading books (with a cat on her lap), all the while working on her writing. 

See Brian Henry's schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Barrie, Bracebridge, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Ingersoll, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Orillia, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Exploring Creative Writing, an introductory course, Thursday afternoons, Sept 24 – Nov 26, in Mississauga

Exploring Creative Writing
10 weeks of discovering your creative side
Thursday afternoons, Sept 24 – Nov 26, 2015
12:45 - 2:45
Unity Church Unit 8, 3075 Ridgeway Drive, Mississauga (This is just north off Dundas between Hwy 403 and Winston Churchill Blvd. Map here.)
Note: See details of all six courses starting this fall here.

This is your chance to take up writing in a warm, supportive environment. We’ll explore writing fictional stories and writing true stories, writing technique and creativity technique, getting down your very best writing and just for fun writing.
The class has the same format as "Welcome to Creative Writing," but we look at different aspects of writing. With either course, you get a shot of inspiration every week and an assignment to keep you going till the next class. Best of all, this class will provide a zero-pressure, totally safe setting, where your words will grow and flower.

Instructor Brian Henry has been a book editor and creative writing instructor for more than 25 years. He publishes Quick Brown Fox, Canada’s most popular blog for writers, teaches creative writing at Ryerson University and has led workshops everywhere from Boston to Buffalo and from Sarnia to Charlottetown. But his proudest boast is that he has helped many of his students get published.
Read reviews of Brian's courses here.

Fee: 158.41 + hst = 179
To reserve your spot, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca


See Brian's full schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Barrie, Bracebridge, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Ingersoll, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Orillia, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Kids Can Press seeks picture books and chapter books

Kids Can Press
25 Dockside Drive
Toronto, Ontario

Kids Can Press is looking for quality picture books and nonfiction manuscripts for children, as well as chapter books for ages 7–10. We do not accept young adult fiction or fantasy novels for any age. To ensure that your manuscript is appropriate for our publishing list, please familiarize yourself with the books that we publish.

“For picture book submissions, please send a copy of the entire manuscript. For chapter book submissions, we require a synopsis and approximately three sample chapters. Please do not send the entire manuscript unless requested to do so. No email submissions.

“You are welcome to send your proposal simultaneously to other publishers rather than submitting it exclusively to Kids Can Press.”

See the full writers’ guidelines here. See the guidelines for illustrators here.

Note: On September 12, Yasemin Uçar, senior editor at Kids Can Press, will be one of our guest speakers at a “Writing for Children & for Young Adults” workshop. Yasemin has been children’s book editor for seventeen years. She’s worked with many popular and award-winning authors and illustrators, including:

Louise Rennison (international bestselling author of Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging and other Confessions of Georgia Nicolson books), Barbara Coloroso (author of Kids Are Worth It and many other best-selling books about parenting and bullying), Anne Velleneuve (author of the Loula series of picture books), Pierre Pratt (illustrator of I See … My Cat and many other picture books), Caroline Adderson (author of the Jasper John Dooley series of chapter books and many others), and Ashley Spires (author of the Binky series of graphic novels and of many others).

For details of the Writing for Children and for Young Adults workshop see here.

See Brian's full schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Barrie, Bracebridge, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Cambridge, Collingwood, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Ingersoll, Kingston, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Orillia, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Next Step in Creative Writing course, Wednesday evenings, Sept 30 – Dec 2, in Burlington

The Next Step in Creative Writing
10 weeks of creative growth
Fall session
Wednesday evenings, 6:45 – 9:00 p.m.
Sept 30 – Dec 2,
 2015
Appleby United Church, 4407 Spruce Ave, Burlington, Ontario (Map here.)
Note: See details of all six courses starting this fall here.

The Next Step in Creative Writing will challenge you to take a step up in your writing. Over the ten weeks of classes, you’ll be asked to bring in five pieces of your writing for detailed feedback. All your pieces may be from the same work, such as a novel in progress, or they may be stand alone pieces. You bring whatever you want to work on.

Besides critiquing pieces, the instructor will give short lectures at the start of class, addressing the needs of the group, and in addition to learning how to critique your own work and receiving constructive suggestions about your writing, you’ll discover that the greatest benefits come from seeing how your classmates approach and critique a piece of writing and how they write and re-write. This is a supportive group and a rewarding class.

Instructor Brian Henry has been a book editor and creative writing instructor for more than 25 years. He publishes Quick Brown Fox, Canada’s most popular blog for writers, teaches creative writing at Ryerson University and has led workshops everywhere from Boston to Buffalo and from Sarnia to Charlottetown. But his proudest boast is that he has helped many of his students get their first book published and launch their careers as authors.
Check out two reviews of the Next Step course hereAnd see more reviews of Brian’s courses and workshops here.

Fee: 176.11 + 13% hst = 199.  
To reserve your spot now, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca
Note: I start working out the schedule for when participants are due to bring in a piece of their writing three weeks before our start date, so please try to sign up by September 9. In any case, these courses fill up, so enroll early to avoid disappointment. ~ Brian

See Brian's full schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Barrie, Bracebridge, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Cambridge, Collingwood, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Ingersoll, Kingston, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Orillia, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Literary agent Noah Ballard of Curtis Brown seeks new authors, upmarket thrillers & narrative nonfiction

Noah Ballard
Curtis Brown Ltd.

Note: Don't ever miss a post on Quick Brown Fox. Fill in your email in the box to the right under my bio, and get each post delivered to your Inbox. ~ Brian

Curtis Brown is one of the world’s most well established literary agencies. It employs more than 28 people, with offices in New York and Los Angeles.

Noah Ballard is a new agent at Curtis Brown, and like all new agents, he needs authors. Noah received his BA in English from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, and began his career in publishing at Emma Sweeney Agency where he sold foreign rights for the agency in addition to building his own client list.

Noah specializes in literary debuts, upmarket thrillers and narrative nonfiction, and he is always on the look-out for honest and provocative new writers.

Query Noah at: nb@cbltd.com
Include the first ten pages of your manuscript or proposal. See Curtis Brown submission guidelines here.

Rachel Letofsky
Brian Henry will lead "How to Get Published" workshops in St. John, NB, on Saturday, Oct 3 (details here), and in Hamilton on Saturday, Oct 17, with Rachel Letofsky of the Cooke Agency (see here). 

Other upcoming workshops, include "Writing Your Life," Saturday, August 15 in Midland (see here) and Saturday, September 26 in Brampton (see here), "Fall Colours Writing Retreat," Sept 19 - 21, in Algonquin Park (see here), and "How to Make Yourself Write," Saturday, October 24 in Guelph (see here).   
For more information or to register, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

But the best way to grow as a writer or to get your manuscript ready for publication may be with a weekly class. This fall, Brian will offer a full line-up of six weekly courses, for beginners through advanced. See details of all six fall courses here. And here's the schedule... 

“Exploring Creative Writing,” Thursday afternoons, Sept 24 - Nov 26, in Mississauga (see here).
“Writing Personal stories,” Thurs mornings, Oct 8 - Nov 26, in Oakville (here)
“The Next Step in Creative Writing,” Wednesday evenings, Sept 30 - Dec 2, in Burlington (here).
“The Next Step in Creative Writing,” Thursday evenings, Sept 24 - Dec 3, in Georgetown (here).
“Intensive Creative Writing,” Tuesday afternoons, Sept 15 - Dec 8, in Burlington (here).
“Intensive Creative Writing,” Wednesday afternoons, Sept 16 - Dec 16, in Burlington  (here).
For details or to reserve a spot, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Read reviews of Brian’s courses and workshops here.


See Brian's full schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Barrie, Bracebridge, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Cambridge, Collingwood, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Niagara on the Lake, Orillia, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Intensive Creative Writing, Tuesday afternoons, Sept 15 – Dec 8, in Burlington

Intensive Creative Writing
12 weeks towards mastering your craft
Tuesday afternoons, 12:15 – 2:45 p.m.
Sept 15 – Dec 8, 2015
Appleby United Church, 4407 Spruce Ave, Burlington, Ontario. Map here.
Note: See details of all six courses starting this fall here.

This Intensive course isn't for beginners; it's for people who have been writing for a while or who have done a course or two before and are working on their own projects. Over the twelve weeks of classes, you’ll be asked to bring in six pieces of your writing for detailed feedback. All your pieces may be from the same work, such as a novel in progress, or they may be stand alone pieces. You bring whatever you want to work on.

Besides critiquing pieces, the instructor will give short lectures addressing the needs of the group, and in addition to learning how to critique your own work and receiving constructive suggestions about your writing, you’ll discover that the greatest benefits come from seeing how your classmates approach and critique a piece of writing and how they write and re-write. This is a challenging course, but extremely rewarding.

Instructor Brian Henry has been a book editor and creative writing instructor for more than 25 years. He publishes Quick Brown Fox, Canada’s most popular blog for writers, teaches creative writing at Ryerson University and has led workshops everywhere from Boston to Buffalo and from Sarnia to Charlottetown. But his proudest boast is that he has helped many of his students get their first book published and launch their careers as authors.
Check out a review of the Intensive course here. More reviews here.

Fee: 193.81 + 13% hst = 219
To reserve your spot now, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Note: I start working out the schedule for when participants are due to bring in a piece of their writing three weeks before our start date, so please try to sign up by August 25. In any case, these courses fill up, so enroll early to avoid disappointment. ~ Brian

See Brian's full schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Cambridge, Collingwood, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Niagara on the Lake, Orillia, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

“My Reasons to Love You” by Ángeles F. Hernández


My reasons to love you,
Are not more than these that my heart gives me,
Indeed, my words, my worries and not the reason,
My anguish as I seek you,
And my ability to find you, love;
Without you knowing me yet

Let me love you and know you
Move aside the mountain of prejudicial norms,
Let me love you, even against the world,
In the sleeplessness and solitude, hearing more at the insistence;
As a little girl who doesn’t understand the course of time
Things that are not important at seventeen

I have no reasons to love you, they say
That I shouldn’t speak to you, go out with you
You and I know, but they don’t know,
That love is free

Love is the flower,
The soft fragrance on your shirt
Awakening the senses
It is the colour of the sky after it rains
Hold me,
Because like this, in my adolescence;
In what I know and what I don’t know,
I find reasons to love you
But why do these ties of love they all intend to break up?
My heart, proudly fights such rudeness
The antagonism that leaves me in an abyss of uncertainty
Either of punished insolence
Or of rules which I do not accept

I look for you nonetheless, and I wait for you
Thinking that nobody knows it,
In this beginning which love brings;
That seems to be uncertain,
For which I’m punished,
But which beats beautifully in my heart

Sometimes I lose myself, without finding you
But there is a refuge in my anguish;
Indeed, the desolate words,
Those ones that give me comfort
Those ones that while longing your heart I write
Words, pages in my books,
Poems,
Words with the scent of a flower,
Soaked in tears, wrapped in the wings of hope
Adorned with rose petals inside the book;
And in my notebook once more I write,
Your name, my love

Ángeles Flores Hernández is a writer, visual artist and songwriter.  Her first poetry anthology, 20 Poemas Desesperados y Una Canción de Amor / 20 Desperate Poems and One Love Song is a bilingual book which was published in September of 2014 and is now available at the Mississauga Central Library (here). Her first major exhibit presented paintings of abstract expressionism at the Mississauga Central Library in January 2015 and most recently by Visual Arts Mississauga’s Art in Motion, an exhibit for the 2015 Pan Am & Parapan Am Games. She shares her literary achievements, visual art exhibits and her life as a runner through her blog here.   
Ángeles’ son Nate Sheppard has produced and directed The Unframed Window – A Short Film for Autism Awareness (see here).

See Brian Henry's schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Cambridge, Collingwood, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Niagara on the Lake, Orillia, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.