Boundbytheword Blog

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Exhale…no wait…ok, now. June 22, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Noelle Bickle / Abby Brooks @ 8:48 AM

Join me in my happy dance! The Humber School of Writers has welcomed me into the writer’s workshop in July, and has assigned me Wayson Choy as my mentor!

I am excited, relieved, nervous, and slightly ecstatic. Okay, a little more than slightly. I am hoping the week will be life changing, but I’ll settle for inspiring and motivating. Is it too early to pack?

So, for now I can exhale; a goal has been set and met. I have just over two weeks to ready myself for the what comes with the vulnerability of displaying your writing for critique. I’ll be working on novel #2 when I am there – new characters that are just taking shape. I’m hoping I’ll be in fine form to take it all in and lay it all out. Quite the picture isn’t it?

Should be fun kids! I’m sure you’ll hear a rant or two before I leave…my anxiety induced verbal twitches coming out on the blog. It won’t be long before I’m loading up the laptop and heading to writers land. I’m packing broad shoulders and extra humble pie…


The F-Word June 9, 2010

Filed under: What's Up? — Noelle Bickle / Abby Brooks @ 11:41 AM

Fear rules me, lately. That balance between living through fear, and living through love – it should be a no brainer; but fear is a powerful force. It’s easy to get sucked into that deep ‘fraidy-cat hole.

Yesterday, just minutes down the road in Oro, a bear chased a woman on a bike. She was unharmed, but understandably, she was afraid. In turn, I walked my dog this morning and got my daily dose of fright when a tiny magpie fluttered out of the long grass two feet away from me, disguised as a bear. Or at least it looked like a bear in my pre-tea stupor.

I screamed loud enough to wake the neighbouring cows; and my golden retriever, Maalik, came running towards me in record speed – my hero!

As he stood behind me, all 90 pounds of him, bewildered and trembling at the monster magpie who’d long flown away; I decided fear is a sneaky beast. Out of nowhere – unexpected and all together irrational; fear had stopped me in my tracks.

It isn’t the first time this week I’ve been momentarily paralyzed by the F-word. This morning, it was more physical or instinctual; earlier this week the fear was psychological. Twisted roots of uncertainty tangled all around my ego and esteem, almost holding me back…almost.

The source of my trepidation? I applied for the Humber School for Writers Summer Workshop; a week long writer’s symposium that incorporates seminars, workshops, lectures and readings. You’re placed in small groups with a mentor – who just happens to be an accomplished author. The top two facilitators on my wish list? Miriam Toews and Wayson Choy. What an opportunity – to have my work critiqued, and my ideas for my new novel shaped by authors I admire. Could anything be more exciting than that?

So I wait – as writers often do – for my work to be evaluated, for my sweat and tears to be analyzed; and for acceptance into a world that has its share of barriers.

I’ll have try to pass the time gracefully between now and the week of June 21st, when I’ll find out if it’s all a go. If I’m in. If I’ll get to sneak away from my regular life for 7 whole nights, basking in the abundance of creative energy that comes with sitting in groups of other writers.

During times of stress, I bite my nails, so I painted them. I eat chocolate, so I threw it in the garbage (ok, I wet it, then threw it in the garbage, to hinder any regret-ski dumpster digging); and I write, which I’m doing now. Exposing the monster under the bed, flipping on the lights in hopes that the shadows will disappear, and a sunny day will stand in its place.

Here’s hoping, with fingers crossed, that my writing cuts the mustard, and I am accepted into the 2010 program. Maybe you can bite a nail or down a chocolate bar for me. I’ll let you know how it goes. You might just want to cross a finger, too.


Older = Wiser? June 1, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Noelle Bickle / Abby Brooks @ 9:29 AM

Today is my birthday. My 42nd birthday, to be precise. Which in terms of years, seems really old, but I don’t feel long in the tooth at all. Though, my back hurt like heck after 2 days of gardening, and my knees cracked getting out of bed this morning, so I guess some days my body does feel 42. And some days it might look 42, although I would like to think it looked 32, or 22, but most days…it rings true at 42. But young at heart, yes. Young in spirit, you betcha.

Another year of living and learning has passed; and as I sit here eating birthday cake for breakfast, I have to ask myself – does older = wiser?

One would hope that with the injustice of the body deteriorating little by little, that other parts would benefit. Like, when they say – blind people hear better. With every creak in your bones, and every crease on your face, you should become wiser than you were the day before. That’s only fair.

I feel settled and content. Which is boring…but glorious. I like sitting under my willow tree and writing while the breeze blows. I like pulling together a great meal, or curling up on my front porch with a good book, and a hot tea or cold cooler. It’s not the carefree days of dancing until the wee hours in a club, or the nonchalant lifestyle of throwing away a perfectly good relationship because he wears bad shoes….but it is freedom all the same.

Life in my 20’s was deciding who I wanted to be. Life in my 30’s was striving to get there. Life in my 40’s seems to be, so far, enjoying the ride and exhaling just a little. I realize I’m 42, not 82; I’m not saying I sit around playing canasta and talking about my many ailments. I’m just sayin’, you get to breathe a little easier in your 40’s, and I like it.

I wouldn’t go back to being 25 again, even though it would mean I could wear my size 2 jeans, and get it on with young smokin’ hot men. Apparently with some effort, I could still do those things, but it seems like so much work, doesn’t it? I know I don’t want the downsides life hands you in your 20’s – the inconsistencies of lovers and friends, the obscurities of finding your path, the insecurities of who you are vs. who you want to be. Ugh – those days could be horrid, couldn’t they?

But…the smokin’ men and size 2 jeans sure were nice.