Come celebrate the launch of The Juliet Stories, the second collection by Carrie Snyder
Saturday, Feb. 25
7:30 – 9:30pm
Starlight Social Club
47 King Street West
www.houseofanansi.com | @HouseofAnansi
House of Anansi is sending out invitations today!!!
You may be wondering — what happens at a book launch? Basically, it’s a party! My friend Z and I are concocting a colourful tropical theme, I’ll do a reading, sign books, you can nosh on Latino-influenced snacks, and my sibs’ band will DJ. The club opens for dancing at 10pm and we can stay and dance. RSVP if you can come.
The latest issue of The New Quarterly (winter, 2012) featuring one of the chapters from The Juliet Stories. ie. your chance to get a sneak preview
Okay, friends, let’s give the giveaway a shot. So, I’ll offer up a prize, interested readers comment below, and a week from today (Jan. 27) we’ll have a draw and announce a winner. Sound like a plan?
Yesterday I visited The New Quarterly’s office and picked up copies of their latest issue. The New Quarterly is a local literary magazine with pedigree and staying power. They’ve published award-winning Canadian talent like Annabel Lyon, Erin Noteboom Bow, Douglas Glover, Stephen Heighton, Russell Smith, Diane Schoemperlen, Rebecca Rosenblum, and Andrew Pyper, to name just a few. A recent issue offered an interview with one of my favourite writers, ever, Alice Munro. Their issues frequently sell out.
Over the years, I’ve been blessed to be a part of the magazine, starting in 1991 when they published two poems that I wrote as a sixteen-year-old angst-ridden word-happy big-dreaming high school student. That kind of encouragement makes a huge difference in a developing writer’s life, let me tell you. It was the beginning of a long relationship. And their winter 2012 issue, freshly mailed and on its way to bookstores, includes a chapter from The Juliet Stories. Here is your chance to get a sneak preview of the book, which won’t be available until March.
The New Quarterly has offered me a copy of this latest issue to give away on my blog. Now, I’m a newbie at giving things away, but I like the idea. Heck, I’ll throw in a copy of my first book Hair Hat for good measure. Why not.
(Speaking of giveaways, Goodreads is giving away ten advance reading copies of The Juliet Stories. And my husband has launched a website called “Help Make Carrie’s Book a Bestseller,” (hey, we can hope!), which will also be giving away prizes to participants. Consider joining.)
Aaaaand. Enough with the giveaways. To sum up: Prizes — The New Quarterly’s winter 2012 issue and a signed copy of Hair Hat. Comment below to enter. Deadline Friday, January 27th, noon.
It’s Friday, the kids are home from school, the sun is shining, there is snow on the ground, and here I am. Wondering: will I write more of The Big Fat Juicy Belly Worm today? My kids are wondering too. AppleApple keeps asking for chapter four. Truth is, it’s been a scrambled week crammed with conversations and variety and plans and a whole lot of dashing thoughts and activities. Amidst the scramble I’ve yet to find a way to settle and sit and focus my mind and find words. But I still have all afternoon.
Yesterday, I pretended to be a commuter: so this is what it would be like, dressing appropriately, brushing one’s hair, and slogging down the highway to the big city. Yesterday, I met with my publisher, the House of Anansi, one of the last free-standing Canadian independent publishing houses. Their office is large and bright and the hallways are lined with–you guessed it–bookshelves. I enjoyed imagining Juliet occupying space beside other Anansi authors like Rawi Hage and Lynn Coady.
Anansi publisher Sarah MacLachlan and publicist Kate McQuaid (yes, I took my camera along too)
The meeting was to discuss publicity plans for The Juliet Stories. Ah, the many stages of making a book. So I wrote a book, so I found a publisher, so it’s going to print. What now? Indeed. What now is publicizing the book’s existence and asking people to read it, and the next few months will find me absorbed in that pursuit. It’s a real change of pace, that’s for sure. And one hopes it will be a positive change of pace, as my book and I head out into the (largely indifferent) world to make connections. The glass-half-empty part of me made me add the paranthetical aside. Yes, that parenthetical voice hangs out in my head, mostly around 3 o’clock in the morning, but I’m working on suppressing her. Except part of me thinks a hairline of cynicism can be useful too; keeps me honest.
My publicist, Kate, says she hopes this stage will be a happy time, a celebration of all the work that’s gone into making the book what it is; the glass-half-full part of me agrees. Here’s the thing: Writers are not generally outgoing extroverts. That’s why we’re good at sitting for many longs hours with only our thoughts for company. Once upon a time, the mere idea of meeting new people overwhelmed me with conversational paralysis. But I’ve got a decade of motherhood under my belt, a decade of meeting a whole lot of new people–and learning how to ask for things on behalf of my kids, how to demand space and attention when needed, how to listen, how to assess situations quickly, how to problem solve on the fly, how to communicate clearly, how to pinpoint the crux of an issue, how to juggle different needs at the same time, how to be okay with not pleasing everyone. It’s been eight years since my first book came out. Eight years. I’m ready to meet and greet and talk and throw a party or two. Thank you parenthood. I think I can handle this.
Out of our meeting emerged a few things I can share with you right away.
News, news, news
**Goodreads is giving away 10 advance reading copies of The Juliet Stories. All you have to do is visit here, and click on “enter to win”; (you probably need to be a Goodreads member too). Please spread the word.
**Also spread the word about the new Facebook page dedicated to all things Juliet. If you are a Facebook user, you can “like” the page and let your friends know about it too. (I always put Facebook “like”s into quotation marks, which basically gives it the opposite meaning, but you know, you’re welcome to actually like the page too).
**If you’re in Toronto, I will be reading at the Harbourfront reading series on March 7.
**News on the local launch party coming soon.
**Oh, yes, another reminder about Thursday night’s launch of Storywell at Whole Lotta Gelata in uptown Waterloo, 7-9. This is a free event for writers, interested writers, editors, etc. I will be there. Being all extroverted and talking to my cup of gelato. Or possibly to you, if you come too.
I am thinking about perfection. I happily admit to being a perfectionist. Not about everything, mind you. But when it comes to writing — and writing fiction, particularly — I obsess. I consider myself a technician, deeply interested in grammatical construction and the very tiniest of word choices. You would not believe how long I can suffer over the inclusion or removal of a “the.”
But as I read these page proofs, I’m starting to question my obsession with perfection. I mean, for me it’s the way I do it and I’m not likely to change what’s working. But I’m seeing that it may not be that important in the end. In the end, a story, a whole book, it works because it leaves the reader with an impression, an emotional impression, something intangible that exists because it exists. Not because a “the” was removed. I’m not speaking against a careful craft, please understand.
I am speaking against perfection.
Sometimes, the imperfection of my creations bothers me. I’ve worked so hard and yet I know here and there is a paragraph too many or a flabby word choice that I cannot budge. But when I let myself sink into what I’ve made and forget about how it could or should be perfected, I am moved by what is being offered. To do this requires me to place a layer of distance between myself and my words, almost to read as if I were someone else.
When I consider my favourite books by other people, none are perfect — and I couldn’t care less. It’s how they make me feel when I read them that matters. It’s that they make me feel. They catch me off guard. They push me. Or they lift me. And though these books almost all display technical accomplishment, it is not for their technical accomplishments that I love them. I love them for existing.
That is the kind of book I hope to write; I hope to have written. Imperfect. With feeling.
I am loving this quiet week in my office, reading words on the page that I’ve written, gathered into a whole. I am loving being pulled right through the book from beginning to end and understanding its wholeness differently, in a new way. This feels like a special and unusual experience. I don’t expect to have it again anytime soon. I am savouring it.
P.S. The photo is a detail of a photo that depicts me posing in costume to look like a very old family photograph of my Great-Grandma Carrie Anne, my namesake. (A little more about Carrie Anne here.) The photo was taken for a photo project by Ilia Horsburgh.
**Found at Kristen den Hartog’s Blog of Green Gables.
What happened to the past two days?
Well, yesterday was spent organizing digital photos for the year. Ugh. It’s one of those things that has to be done that didn’t used to have to be done. Remember film? Remember prints? Here’s my digital method: I order prints of, say, the top 300 photos of the year right around now, in time to be put into albums for Christmas. It’s tedious work, but someone’s got to do it. If we want to keep these photos, that is. Poor Fooey’s babyhood is essentially unrecorded due to an awkward family switchover from film to digital. And she was the cutest baby ever. I don’t want any more eras to disappear; or at least not due to negligence on my part.
So that was yesterday.
Today, I’m going to post the blog I should have written on Wednesday. Yes, I’m behind the times. This is yesterday’s news. But what lovely news it is: on Tuesday evening, Canada’s literary scene got all glammed up for the biggest literary prize we’ve got going on here. The Giller Prize! And my publisher, Anansi, was there with TWO books on the shortlist. They posted a behind-the-scenes slideshow if you want a peek inside. Ah. It will make you want to drink champagne while wearing something sparkly.
Once upon a time, I got to attend the Gillers. I was 24. I dropped the better part of a pay cheque on a glamorous outfit, arrived early, sat at the back with fellow books section types and drank and ate and had so much fun. A little glamour goes a long way, especially in an industry not really renowned for the glitz. Let me tell you, sitting here in my sweater thinking about semi-colons: nothing but hot.
Now, I’m not super-connected to the CanLit scene, having spent the past decade being mostly-mom-at-home in the wilds of Waterloo, but still. The CanLit scene is like Six Degrees of Separation minus a few degrees. So I can say that my editor edited two of the books on the list (that’s pretty sweet.) And I can say that I read at an event with this year’s winner, Esi Edugyan, back when we were both promoting our first books. If I say I knew back then she’d win prizes someday it will sound less like intuition than hindsight, but man, I just knew she’d win prizes.
Anyone else looking forward to reading through this year’s nominees? Any books you wish would have made the list? Got any six-degrees-of-separation connections you’d like to share?
Oh, and on a side-note: I’m developing a weird hankering for an electronic reading device. Anyone? Anyone? Kindle? Kobo? I do love books, the objects themselves, don’t get me wrong. But I keep having thoughts like, wouldn’t it be cool to, say, watch a video about an author after reading a book? Do e-books have features like that? They should. I so often finish a book and want more. I want to hear the author telling me where she got her ideas, or where she grew up, or how she feels about her characters. Know what I mean? That would be a very appealing addition to any book.
PS Yes, that’s a photo of my new office!!!!!!! Electrical work needs doing today. I’m moving in on the weekend. Can you believe it?! Me neither.