Lectio

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!

Re-entry.

By Heather Clitheroe - November 14, 2014

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The vacation is well and truly over. I’m back at work, I caught a bit of a cold, and it started to snow. I’m feeling reflective about the Banff Centre residency. It was amazing and productive, and I truly miss my little cabin in the woods and the unstructured writing time. The studio’s creaky floors, too…I miss the sound of them.

I haven’t been writing much these last couple of weeks. I came home and decided to take a week ‘off’ writing. Towards the end of that week, I started working on a longish short story in the ‘to revise’ folder on my drive. It’s been there for a while, and the revisions on that are going well. I’m expanding it out to see if it can become a novella, and it’s going well.

The novel revisions are waiting for me, but I haven’t felt ready to start.

The idea of a novel sitting and waiting for revisions is at once exciting and a little bit terrifying. I know there are some major fixes needed, and I’ll settle down to work on them soon. I tell myself that. I need to prune and trim, go back and tighten (well, and overhaul) up a major plot line, think carefully about the motivations of characters. I think I know the feel I want for the book, but I’m worried about achieving it. So the novel sit and waits while I think about all of these things, and in my head, I’m designating December to be revision month. I think so.

For now, I’ll finish up revisions on the piece I’m working on now. I’m enjoying the change in the season. The beginning of winter is always so lovely: the first really cold weather, the first snow, the ice fog in the evenings. Admittedly, I’m not quite ready for the Christmas decorations to be up, but I like those, too.

They shall not grow old.

By Heather Clitheroe - November 11, 2014

My great-uncle Victor Clitheroe (KIA May 5, 1943)

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

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Great Uncle Victor (KIA 1943)