Boundbytheword Blog

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Falling for Fallis… October 17, 2011

Yesterday was our second official luncheon with the Writers’ Community of Simcoe County. Our guest speaker was Terry Fallis – who may be best known for his novel, The Best Laid Plans. It was crafted with such wit and wordsmith genius that it won the 2008 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour and was chosen as the Canada Reads 2011 winner.  Terry has now published the sequel and following in his debut novel’s footsteps, his new political satire The High Road  was no disappointment to his loyal readers or reviewers– in fact it was a finalist for the 2011 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. Terry Fallis knows how to tickle your funny bone and get you to think. Who doesn’t love a man who can do that? 

Terry Fallis & WCSC Board

Our event went off without a hitch. He owned the room and had everyone in stitches, giving eager writers tangible advice about what worked for him. Lunch was great, and our crowd was double that of last month. I even managed to pronounce Terry’s last name correctly. Fall-is….not phallus. Believe it or not – I’ve struggled with that for the last few weeks. Seems it’s difficult for me to keep someone’s name away from any symbol that might raise eyebrows. Who knows why, but for some reason I’ve always pronounced it wrong. My husband corrected me once – if not one hundred times this weekend, in hopes that I didn’t stand in front of a crowd – and the speaker himself – and humiliate myself with the blunder. FALL- is. I know..I know. Only once did it start to slip out wrong and I fixed it before anyone noticed – I think. Anyway, nobody laughed out loud or threw tomatoes at me, so it turned out pretty well. I did make a weird comment in front of Terry and the WCSC board about slipping into the bath to read his book later. That was slightly creepy of me, but what can I say? I did great right up until the end.

As for our speaker and what resonated – I think the strongest element of his message was that of tenacity, humility and faith in yourself (and a blend of perfection and impatience). These character strengths are essential in a writer’s survival. If I could only bottle his recipe and take a daily swig, I’d be in good form. I took notes though, so I’ll do what I can.

If you haven’t read a Terry Fallis novel yet (where have you been?) you can get them at your local bookseller, or check out his link:  

Tenacity, humility and faith in yourself…not a bad way to live life as well.


Do the crime, pay the time October 5, 2011

Everyone loves a quiet night to veg out, right? Last night I let Sugar in around midnight. She was late coming in, but I hadn’t heard the coyotes so I guess she was taking advantage of the night out. Everyone here was in long since in bed, and I convinced myself that I was going to make like Cinderella and be to bed by midnight. Sugar came running in as soon as I opened the door – I was tickled I didn’t have to go out and get chilled as I called for her. So, in she ran, and as I locked up she sat sort of hunched over in the corner. When I went over to her she sat pleased as punch with a plumb sparrow between her paws. In my house…my living room actually.

“Argh! Drop it!” I yelled. She didn’t drop it, or move. She stayed firmly in place as I squirmed and ran for a towel and my golden retriever Maalik came over to investigate. I poked Sugar a few times and she got up and circled around as I tried to shoo her from the dead bird.

Except it wasn’t dead.

It flew up and whipped around my living room. Sugar leapt over the couch and into the window sill, up on the bookcase trying to catch the escapee. Maalik stood  dumbfounded as I screeched and danced around the room. He watched the chaos between me and Sugar and the bird who had now hidden behind my husband’s suit that had been waiting for new buttons to be sewn on it all week.

I grabbed the cat – who moaned and complained about the injustice of her playtime coming to an end and put her behind a closed-door. I grabbed the towel and joined Maalik who stood guard at the suit. I opened the front door and readied my towel and slowly moved the sleeve of the jacket as the bird darted out and spun around my living room and landed on a chair. Readying the towel again, I took a few steps towards chair when the bird took flight and ended up back behind the suit. After two attempts and three screams (none of which woke ANY of my family members – good thing it was a bird not a bear!) I decided to wake my husband and pull the “you’re the man” card.

It took William three attempts (though no screams) to finally get the bird into the towel and outside where he released her. She flew off, high up into the giant Willow where she should have been all along.

By the time we got up to bed it was almost 1am. By the time I sunk my head into the pillow I was beat. My dog was beat. My husband was beat. But my cat had a tickle in her throat and spent the next 10 minutes trying to cough up what I can only assume were feathers. I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say – GROSS.

I guess one might say she got what she deserved, but I’m not quite sure what I was being punished for yesterday. My biggest crime that night was that I cooked a mediocre dinner, put the kids to bed early and watched two back-to-back episodes of Hoarders instead of writing or working on grant proposals.

Just desserts for such a minor crime? I think not.