Lectio

By Heather Clitheroe - February 19, 2015

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We’ve been having an incredibly mild winter in Calgary — to the point where I was able to get my bike out and go for a ride this Sunday. And Monday. And Tuesday. And would have yesterday, if I’d been home. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, and the forty-below temperatures to come in with it, but so far…so lovely.

Meanwhile? I’m reading my way through a sci-fi novel I picked up in the States: Clean by Alex Hughes. It’s got a gritty feel to it — a police procedural, but with telepathy. I’m only a little way in, but I like the voice and the worldbuilding is interesting. I’ve got Barchester Towers on the go in the evenings, before bed. I’ve discovered a liking for Anthony Trollope. And I’m still lovingly making my way through Among the Selkirk Glaciers by William Spotswood Green. I picked it up in Banff a couple of years ago, and it’s such a delightful book that I’m having a very slow, deliberate read of it. Spotswood Green strikes me as somebody who would have been really fun to know.

Back from the desert.

By Heather Clitheroe - February 9, 2015

I took a trip down to the American southwest recently — the first time I’ve headed somewhere warm during the winter. Talk about a change of pace. The smells, the weather, the sky — it was incredible.

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I’m slowly and painstakingly trying to rewrite the book. It’s been a much slower process than I thought. No small amount of hubris in thinking I’d be done with revisions and sending it out, I suppose. But the longer the writing sits since that made dash to the ending in October, the more time there is to think about intentional choices in narrative, where the plot should go, what I want to do with the characters. It strikes me as being a good thing.

It’s been an interesting process. Blog writing dropped off. I’ve been reading less. Thinking more. And it doesn’t strike me as being a bad thing — not after a summer of writing as if it were a sprint. Last year was my most productive for publishing, but I have a feeling 2015 is going to be a slower, more methodical approach to my work. New season, I suppose, and it feels like it could be a very good thing.

By Heather Clitheroe - January 25, 2015

The new year is rolling on — and on, and on. It’s been very busy at work. All good things, but I’ve been kept hopping! I’ve started a certificate program in adult and community education for work, as well. Back to the books for me.

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At work, we’ve started skating at lunch every other week. The ice is in at the Olympic Oval until the end of March, I think, and then we’ll switch over to walking.

Meanwhile? The city is enjoying a long and glorious chinook: warm and windy days. It’s been so lovely, though I can’t help but think that when the chinook blows out and the cold weather comes roaring back in we’ll suffer all the more for it. It’s been pleasant enough to feel like a false spring, and the real thing is months and months away!

Life is good. The writing has been going slowly lately, but it’s coming back on board. I have a story coming out in Beneath Ceaseless Skies later this spring, and I’m working on edits for the Genius Loci story. Novel revisions…well, those are slower, though I think the last few months have been a period of mulling and thinking, letting it settle as I try to work out what I want to do with the characters. I’ve got a vacation week coming up; the book is coming with me!

Things learned while skiing.

By Heather Clitheroe - December 29, 2014

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Happy holidays to you, and your family! Mine was spent quite happily; a really lovely Christmas eve perogy night at one household, turkey dinner at mine the next day. And then off to the mountains to learn to ski! We had beautiful weather for it, and I managed to get down a run at Sunshine Village after a day of lessons, and then worked on more lessons at Lake Louise.

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Funny thing, the skiing. There comes a point when you have to stop trying to think about what you’re doing — you know that you need to put weight on this foot, turn your toes, try to keep the skis flat…all kinds of little thoughts and mental reminders. And it works for a little while — you can keep yourself going with this internal narrative of ‘do this, do that, okay now…’ And then you find yourself overthinking it. Scaring yourself about what you’re doing, second-guessing the effort. That’s when you start to fall. A lot.

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There comes that point when you have to let go of that internal narrative and trust your body, trust the physics and the gravity, believe that the skis will turn themselves as you come around, and let your muscles work out what you need to do. Give over to what’s happening.

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Huh. Funny little life lesson there, in between the wobbling around on the beginner’s slope and riding the chairlift. Trust and faith — and the moment when you have to let go of that sense of needing to be in control and thinking through everything: that’s when the three come together to begin to work on something new.

By Heather Clitheroe - December 14, 2014

The work on the novel revisions are going slowly. As expected, I suppose — it sure took a while to write the first draft, not quite as long to write the second, and these revisions would represent a third draft. It’s harder than I thought it would be. Short stories are easier to fix: the plot holes stand out, and flipping back and forth through what you’ve written is a heck of a lot easier.

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But it’s also pretty nifty — exciting, too — to work on something so long. I have a feeling the revisions will keep rolling for some time, but with luck, the third draft will be done before the end of the winter. Though in Calgary, that’s not necessarily saying much!

Women Destroy Science Fiction makes NPR’s 2014 Great Reads list!

By Heather Clitheroe - December 4, 2014

I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am by this:

Women Destroy Science Fiction made NPR’s 2014 Best Reads list for the science fiction and fantasy category.

And get this…alongside Margaret Atwood and William Gibson!!!

What a great year it’s been…so amazing. Thank you for being a part of it. :)

New fiction and a Pushcart Prize nomination!

By Heather Clitheroe - November 25, 2014

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Bartleby Snopes has published my latest science fiction short story, Culpability. And! They’ve nominated it for a Pushcart Prize!

Banff doesn’t change. Everywhere else does—so quickly that I feel bewildered and lost almost on a daily basis. But in Banff, the stores are still crammed with the moose-themed souvenirs and little bottles of maple syrup. The mountains surrounding the town are the same, and when I look at them, it’s not limestone and calcareous shale, but memories of years ago. The ghosts of childhoods and ski trips, hot summers and damp autumn days. While Jaywant sleeps in, I sit alone in a booth in the hotel restaurant and watch the tourists taking pictures of the sunrise. They painstakingly crop out the parking lot and the bear-proof dumpsters, carefully editing out what they don’t want to see. As if it’s that easy.

It was my suggestion that we take a small trip and spend some time together before he has to go back to Paris for the inquest. He did not want to go. “People will recognize me,” he said.

“But I got you a window seat on the train,” I said. “And I booked a hotel room.”

He made a face that I remember him making as a boy: wrinkling his forehead, his nose scrunched up. “I’m not sharing with my mother.”

“You get your own,” I told him, but I didn’t add that it was adjoining.

He huffed and sighed. He agreed because I gave him the pained expression that is the weapon of all mothers everywhere. “You need to get away,” I tell him. His doctors agree with me, but I do not say this. “It’ll be good for you.”

If you like the story, you can vote for it for story of the month here. Thanks!