Tag Archives: work

Whatcha been up to?

Wow, I’ve really missed everyone in the past week or so. How are you all? How come you never call any more?

I am super stoked to have some things to report on. After my last post I got a lot of exceptionally thoughtful responses to the trip and the blog. Many of them were of the “so, when’s the book coming out?” variety which was very pleasing to my ego (and also, stop pressuring me!). I have been spending a great deal of time since then dissecting what I have published here, what I have still in the private reserves, and what it all adds up to. I’ve also been researching publishers, agents, and editors (and if anyone out there has useful input for this, please get in touch). In other words, yes, I am on it.

Most nights I’ve been up into the witching hours slogging my way through some pretty dry how-tos about writing book proposals. As well, on the authors’ advisement I’ve been reading “the competition”, an exceedingly strange exercise. I recommend that everybody take a moment to think about who, in their field, they would consider to be their own competition. I’ve decided that I am the queer, female bastard child of Bill Bryson, Pete McCarthy, and Robert Sedlack (I know, I know, you don’t know who he is – but you will!). Yes, I am totally aware that there are no women on my list but that’s because I have not yet discovered that rare female travel writer whose work is not consumed with discussing how she juggles the twin imperatives of family and adventure. I’m not saying she’s not out there but I haven’t yet met her. So let’s just say that Joan Jett and Margaret Cho were at the conception and leave it at that. Or something. Really – it’s hard not to feel like a complete lunatic egomaniac even committing this to the page but according to you all, my “willingness to expose myself as a real, flawed human being” (read: blatant disregard for my own dignity) is one of the reasons you read.

I must confess that all this being writerly has had an impact on my appearance. Like a consumptive takes to her bed, so I have taken to my sweatpants and cardigan. (I knew it was serious when I looked down and saw words on the tissue into which I’d just hawked.) The picture would be complete if I could only grow a beard! I am, however, allowing my hair to grow into  an unruly thatch that kicks out over the tops of my ears in a fetching way that proclaims (ever-so-casually), “I am an artist…”. I guess you’d call that “making ‘do”. Ha ha.

For such a fine writerly specimen, you may be saying to yourselves, you sure haven’t been doing much writing. And to that I would say this: No need to be snippy. Also, I had to “regroup”, as they say. It became obvious that when the wild Kennaway affair came to an end, so did the main storyline of this blog. Losing the backdrop of warthogs, puff adders, and the thrumming threat of violence also took some of the wind out of my story-telling sails. After all, posts entitled “Rearranged Apartment: Domesticity Edition” or “Noodle won’t stop looking at me” weren’t likely to delight the readers, eh?

Nonetheless, I do have news! I have continued to be in touch with many of the people I met in Africa, and to work on projects begun while I was there. Most pressingly, I will be collecting gently used soccer equipment over the next few weeks to get to Philly in time for Craig’s Christmas trip home. He will pack the stuff back and redistribute it there, thus bypassing the interminable Customs delays and mysterious disappearances of goods. So, would all you Toronto-based soccer-loving folks take a peek into your closets (just brush the skeletons aside) and check for extra kits and equipment? More to follow on drop-off times and locations, or you can always contact me directly to make arrangements. Non-local people wanting to contribute should also contact me directly and we’ll see what we can make happen.

I hope to hear from you all soon, whether it’s to hook me up with some gently-used jerseys or to tell me that my writing is less like Michael Palin’s and more like, well… Sarah Palin’s.

Must dash now – the kettle is whistling.

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Eight days out

The intimidating list of to-dos is steadily being whittled down, leaving only the chores I am avoiding (meningitis shot), and the trivial things (update housesitting document with a paragraph about Mendoza’s frequent barfing). I leave in eight days.

I spent some time this morning reading documents sent by the Loaves and Fishes Network. They paint a grim picture of the living conditions in the Eastern Cape, the poorest province in the country. Poverty, AIDS and HIV, unemployment, inadequate infrastructure, high number of child-headed households, high suicide rates, drug and alcohol abuse, violent crime… The LAFN states that these factors are preventing children from enjoying normal childhoods (enough food, care, stimulation, guidance, safety), and the organization is trying to remedy that through the development of a sustainable and cost effective model to respond to the needs of these kids. The “loaves and fishes” idea is that there is enough for everyone.

“We need to elevate all children to the entitlement of a full, stimulated, normal childhood. It’s a birth right, and if their parents fail, we as a community must step in.”
– Dr Trudy Thomas, Chairperson

This just seems so basic and on-point. I am really excited to meet these folks and to be able to contribute to the work.

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