Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sensual Writing and Why I Love the Smell of Smoke

Last week, as I was driving down a winding country road on my way to Bridgewater from Lunenburg, I caught sight of the billowing smoke of a small fire. Someone was obviously doing some roadside autumn clearing.

Without thinking, I slid the window open and inhaled deeply as I passed through the billows. I was preparing to experience the exquisite “taste of home”. As I breathed in the aroma of burning vegetation, memories of outdoor campfires and old wood-burning stoves flooded in from my childhood. A goofy smile slid across my face as I bathed in the joyful innocence of adventure, wonder and the comfort of the hearth. I’d had a wonderful childhood and the smell of smoke brought it back to me in its full glory.

What does this have to do with sensual writing? Everything. That’s because writing is metaphoric. That is what storytelling is: sharing universal truth through metaphor, delivered from the heart, where these lie. Sensual writing doesn’t just involve making sure to include at least a few senses like sight, sound, smell, taste and touch in your narrative--though this is a good writing mantra. To write sensually involves much more than the simple description of a sense, though this is certainly the first step (and something all too often neglected by novice writers).

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Happy Birthday, Toulouse!... A Cat is a Cat is a Cat…Or is it?

To celebrate his birthday today, I treated Toulouse to lunch at The Knot Pub in Lunenburg. The Knot is a friendly pub where locals go to eat homemade food and tell stories. According to the staff, “the person sitting next to you could be a scallop fisherman, Christmas tree farmer, Norwegian sailor, world famous actor, musician, painter, or scholar – you never know who you’re going to meet at The Knot! The outside looks a bit like a quaint little seafaring shack complete with port hole in the front door. Inside the pub exudes sea-shanty charm, with lots of local boat building oak, nautical brass fittings, copper pennies on the ceiling, flags and other nautical things. The place even has its resident ghost, a lady who apparently glides by, especially when you’ve had a few too many pints.

Sarah recommended the Knot's Ale, made by the Propeller Brewery, a lovely nut-brown ale rich in complicated flavors that quench your thirst.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Galactic Party at the Lord Nelson Hotel!

Imagine a royal palace on an alien planet in a galaxy far far away…add hundreds of bizarre and wonderfully costumed aliens from all over the universe and you have Hal-Con at the Lord Nelson Hotel.

Hal-Con at the Lord Nelson Hotel was out of this world!

Toulouse and I attended Hal-Con last weekend, where I launched my latest SF thriller Angel of Chaos and gave several workshops. Hal-Con is the prime science fiction / fantasy / comic & gaming convention in Halifax; after an over-decade hiatus, it returned this year to a sell-out crowd of enthusiastic fans. Over 1,200 fans poured into the splendid lobby of this historic hotel on Halloween Friday and formed a moving sea of elaborately costumed SF and Fantasy characters beneath its sparkling chandeliers. Aliens, characters, and robots from Doctor Who, Star Wars, Star Trek, Iron Man, and many more universes milled about, entertaining hotel guests in the elevators, hallways, lobbies and Victoria Arms restaurant pub all weekend.