brittni in ink

a writer's blog

interviews

A couple weeks ago, I put out a call for people interested in discussing topics around body and gender. The response was immediate and more than I could have hoped for.

I was actually pretty nervous about this part of my novel project (Phase Two: Conduct Interviews), but it’s six interviews in now, and I never want it to end.

Whether with people I barely know or with good friends I’ve known for years, each conversation has given me new insight and understanding about the complex intersections of body and gender.

Already I’ve had to rethink concepts and language I’d planned to incorporate in the manuscript. Thanks to the openness of the people I’ve interviewed so far, I’ve learned more in the past two weeks than I did in a month trying to research body and gender on my own (Phase One: Read materials on body and gender).

Oh right, I forgot to explain what my project even is! I’m working on a speculative fiction novel around the topics of body and gender. I have a working concept and a start to the manuscript, and I have until mid-July to finish a first draft.

After a few more interviews, I’ll be jumping into Phase Three: Review interview notes and ruminate on them for a while. This will involve lots of walking and reading, probably some journaling.

Come the first week of June, I’ll be diving into the manuscript with a lot of new ideas, and a better understanding of what I’m writing about (hopefully!).

So that’s the plan!  Thanks so much to everyone I’ve sat down with so far to talk about this project with and to everyone I will sit down with, whether in interview form or not. Talking about body and gender is important, we need to be talking about these topics, creating safe spaces for these conversations.

 

 

 

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(This project is possible thanks to the support of the Arts, Culture and Heritage Fund.)

 

 

 

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a good secret

So I’ve been keeping a secret from you all, which is why I’ve not been posting here very much over the past little while. It’s a good secret, which made it even more difficult to keep.

But now that the period of silence is at its end, I can happily announce that I am one of the recipients of the Windsor Arts, Culture, and Heritage Fund!

The ACHF is a grant given to local artists in all kinds of mediums working on all kinds of amazing projects. (You can find a full list of the recipients on their website.) I never thought I would actually receive funding – applying for it was kind of a long shot. I’m super grateful for this opportunity to work on a novel with the support of this grant.

If you’re a writer, artist, creator, or community builder, you should check out the next round of applications (in August/September, I believe). Once applications open, you can apply online, which I found super convenient.

I’ll write more about my project next week. For now, I’ll just say that I’m excited to be starting a new novel!

Also, I have to remember to add this to all posts related to this project:

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Windsor’s a pretty cool place. Just saying.

 

wonderful authors

The Windsor Small Press Book Fair was this past Saturday! I had a great time sharing a table with fellow authors Elizabeth J.M. Walker and Alexander Zelenyj!

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If you haven’t come across Alex or Elizabeth’s work before, you should definitely look them up. Not only are they super chill and thoughtful people, they are wonderful authors.

Alexander Zelenyj’s newest collection, Blacker Against the Deep Dark, weaves together terrifying melodies, counterbalanced by the distant note of a better world. His books are for adult readers and blend literary, horror, and science fiction styles into his weird and wonderful stories.

Elizabeth J.M. Walker’s new book, The Boy Who Owned the Forest, is a collection of illustrated short stories about many magical places, incorporating thoughtful reflections on creativity and belonging. Nicholas Beckett’s illustrations are whimsical and striking, and add another layer of the fantastic to each story. Her books range from middle grade to older YA fiction.

The Book Fair was super fun overall – I met a couple of new authors, visited my author friends at their tables, and picked up a few neat things – including The Neon Heart by Ben Van Dongen!

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Thanks to everyone who came out to support on Saturday, and thanks to ZED Press for organizing the event!

windsor small press book fair

Hello Windsor-Essex/ Detroit friends! Are you looking for something to do this coming Saturday, April 13, 2019 (besides Record Store Day at Dr. Disc of course)?

Check out Windsor Small Press Book Fair! From 11:00 am-4:00pm at 2320 Wyandotte St. W., this annual gathering of local publishers, authors, and creatives is a great place to find new books and chat with writers in a casual atmosphere.

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Pick up a coffee or tea from the Green Bean Cafe and head on upstairs to enjoy the event!

I’ll be there with fellow authors Alexander Zelenyj and Elizabeth J.M. Walker, so come by and say hello! I’ll have new information cards (designed by Peter Brinn) and The Patch Project pins available. Hope to see you there!

 

 

 

runaway projects

Some of you may remember the stage play that I wrote a while back called Runaway. Produced as part of The Windsor Writers Series in 2017, the play is a surreal family drama that reached people in a way I didn’t anticipate. I still get asked about it by friends and audience members. Is the play going on tour? Is there another performance planned?

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I am excited to say that although there aren’t any plans to put on a stage production of Runaway, there are plans in motion to make the play into a feature film.

It’s in its very early stages – I haven’t even finished adapting the script into a screenplay yet – but I’ll keep you updated on the project. For now, I’ll just say that adapting the story to fit the medium of film has been really interesting so far.

I’m also going to be working on a new novel starting next month. I also can’t say too much about this one, but it’s going to be something entirely different from The Patch Project. More to come on that as well!

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Something I can tell you about is the return of the Windsor Small Press Book Fair! It’s on Saturday, April 13th, 2019 at UCC (upstairs from The Green Bean Cafe). Local publishers and authors will be hawking their wares, and will also be available to chat with you about writing! It’s a great opportunity to meet some local creators, ask questions about the industry, and discover new books! Hope to see you there!

 

 

starting a full-time job and how it’s affected my creative life

A month ago, I started a full-time job. Up until this point in my life, I’ve mostly worked part-time, fitting in shifts around my university studies and creative projects. Since moving to Windsor, I’d avoided even considering positions that required over 25 hours of my time per week. I thought full-time work would be a drain my creative life. Now that I’m in a full-time position, my ideas on this are changing.

This picture is currently the lock screen on my phone:

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The Diggers by Vincent Van Gogh

I set it as a joke after my first week at the new job. Kind of like a “hey, this is my life now lol.” When I consider the image today, I think about it a bit differently. The figures in the painting are working, and the work is hard and time-consuming, that’s true. But there are also fields and trees and birds to enjoy in the midst of it. They’re working to accomplish something. And they don’t work alone. I find that my shifting attitudes towards this painting reflect some changes in perspective I’ve been experiencing since starting a full-time job.

I appreciate the sense of routine. Eventually, it may become tedious to get up in the morning and make breakfast and catch the bus, but right now, it’s invigorating. I’m sleeping better and eating better. I like that I know what to expect when I show up, and I also really like being able to leave at 5.

Leaving work at work is maybe the best part of the job so far. I’m used to jobs where people can reach me anytime, either through email or social media. Convenient, yes, but  also a constant energy drain. With this job, I’m not expected to do any work outside of office hours (emotional work included) and that is incredibly freeing.

And as much as I was worried about losing my creative energy, I find that I’m more intentional with my time after work. I don’t have swaths of free time to clutter with unnecessary Facebook scrolling or other forms of procrastinating. Once I get into writing a new novel my restricted schedule may prove to be a problem, but for now I find that I value my creative time all the more.

I know that I’ve only been at this job for a month, but so far, full-time work doesn’t seem to be all of the soul-crushing things I thought it would be. It definitely helps that the people I work with have been welcoming and supportive. Having less stress about finances is also huge. I’m thinking about attending a few conventions this year, which I would not have been able to even consider a month ago.

All that being said, I realize that every workplace is different, and that full-time work legit sucks for some creatives out there. Finding a job that fits can be really tough – I’ll have to find out if full-time work is the best fit for me. It’s a new season.

Now that I’ve settled into this new routine, I’m going to be getting back to weekly blog posts. Next week, I’ll have some news about my current projects, and the Windsor Small Press Book Fair!

 

 

turn out well

It’s been a full week of events, editing, and interviews!

Friday, I was happy to be a part of the “Amazing Adventures in Strange Lands” reading at Biblioasis. I got to meet Elly Blake, a best-selling YA author who also happens to be super nice! Christian Laforet and Ben Van Dongen, the superstar organizers of the event, also read! I always enjoy the human tension in Christian’s short stories, and Ben read one of my favourite parts of his cyberpunk novella, The Thinking Machine. The event was MC’d by Vanessa Shields, who added a lot of insight and humor to the evening. The Q and A following the readings involved the audience and brought up some interesting questions for all of us readers to speak to. All around a great event!

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Photo by Janine Marley

At the event, I met a couple of people who were there to record the readings for their podcast, All Write in Sin City.  They invited me out for an interview! Yesterday, we recorded some segments, also featuring Elly Blake and Alexander Zelenyj! It was a bizarre experience, in that I’m used to being on the other side of table. I co-hosted Hardcover: A Literary Podcast for two years, so answering questions instead of asking them was a mind-twister for sure! I enjoyed hearing Elly and Alex’s insights on writing and fiction, and was impressed by Sarah and Irene’s interview skills – Not an easy thing to compile a bunch of information and research into conversational questions!

And today is the day (I hope!) where I finally finish my final draft of my work in progress. Editing this book has been a nourishing creative experience. Taking my rough ideas and smoothing them out brings a sense of satisfaction and wholeness that I didn’t feel with my first book. So it’s new and exciting and I’m hopeful that it’ll turn out well.