July 09, 2011

Moving Day

After eight years of blogging in this little corner of cyberspace, I'm packing up my posts and moving to a new campsite. I hope you'll come along for the ride!

My thoughts, dreams and musings can now be found at : AmiMcKay.com


April 19, 2011

the powerful play goes on

I'm here, although a bit late.
I said spring, didn't I?

As you know, I shut most of my online-self down around the first of the year, figuring the wild, wonderful Canada Reads ride would give you enough to read, hear and see of me without my endlessly chirping along in the blogosphere as well. :-) It seems so long ago now, but please know that I am forever grateful for your support and enthusiasm during that amazing, busy time!

In turning down the volume on the non-stop buzz of the Internet, I also hoped to find balance between creativity and the webby corners of my brain. There's lots of talk these days about the value of the net vs. the net's ability to drive a wedge into the creative process. Only speaking for myself, I can say with confidence that my long-term projects tend to thrive when I limit (and strategically halt) my "connectivity."

"And so we ask the Internet to keep interrupting us in ever more varied ways. We willingly accept the loss of concentration and focus, the fragmentation of our attention, and the thinning of our thoughts in return for the wealth of compelling, or at least diverting, information we receive.
What we're experiencing is, in a metaphorical sense, a reversal of the early trajectory of civilization: We are evolving from cultivators of personal knowledge into hunters and gatherers in the electronic data forest. in the process, we seem fated to sacrifice much of what makes our minds so interesting."
 - Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains.

In recent days, I've also been struggling to find a new kind of balance in my life after the sudden loss of my father. When I started writing my second novel, both my parents were still alive. I had no idea that I would be without both of them as this process came to a close.

It's too soon for details, too fresh in the heart. (Except to say that cancer has done many terrible things to far too many people in my life (and in every one's lives.)

These are days of wandering, of the sun coming up far too early.
I've yet to understand what it means to be an orphan.
Thank heavens for family, friends and poetry. I have turned to the arms of loved ones, and the words of T.S. Eliot ("April is the cruelest month,") and Auden's Funeral Blues, and again and again to Whitman, who always manages to see me through.

I'll write more soon, but until then, I wish you a better today than yesterday, and a heart that beats with hope (even when it frets) towards tomorrow.


166. O Me! O Life! (Walt Whitman from Leaves of Grass)

O Me! O Life! ...of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless - of critics fill'd with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light - of the objects mean- of the struggle ever renew'd;
Of the poor results of all- of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest-with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring-What good amid these, O me, O life?


That you are here-that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

December 21, 2010

until spring

Dear Internet,
It's not you, it's me.

I've been online since 1993. It started with Gopher, The English Server, and a little cyber hole-in-the-wall called D-Con. I loved that geeky, text-only frontier and the sense of freedom that came along with it. It was filled with other nerds like me, conversing, MUDing, and searching through library holdings into the wee hours of the night. I was a grad student as well as a new mother, and my online existence helped me to hang on to my mind and my dreams when everything else seemed to be falling apart.

Fast forward to today...
 Facebook, YouTube and Twitter dominate cyberspace. While their respective contributions to the net have been society-changing, I find I'm feeling much less "connected" today than I did seventeen years ago. Thankfully, the convergence of a recent extended power outage, an infected tooth, and a laundry list of holiday preparations has given me the chance to step back and re-evaluate my relationship to the net. (It says a lot when I look forward to a root canal more than checking faceBook.)

My conclusion...
I'm tired. 

I spend a lot of time thinking about what to put "out there," what to share with all of you - in fact, I've come to think of the time I spend online as "curating the net," rather than simply browsing. I don't tweet, or post, or share links lightly. To me, the most important goals of my online life should be the same as IRL - honesty and authenticity.

To that end, I'm pulling the plug (for a bit.)
I'll still be available via email to those who really need to reach me, but by-and-large I'm going offline until spring. You may see a fan page update or tweet now and then (thanks to my DH, Ian) and of course there will be a few tid-bits rolling out on the Canada Reads site between now and February. 

I'm wishing you a beautiful winter and I hope to see you in the spring, when I'll have a rested soul and a whole new collection of curiosities to share!


November 25, 2010

Canada Reads 2011 Launch

Whew...what a crazy couple of days it's been. I'm still not quite caught up on sleep yet, but I thought I'd post a little behind the scenes slide show of the Canada Reads 2011 launch in Toronto. I'm still pinching myself over the fact that The Birth House was chosen by Debbie Travis for the CBC's 10th anniversary "battle of the books!"

Thanks so much to everyone who nominated and voted for my book. Wow, wow, and wow. I am grateful.

Congratulations to all the authors and best wishes to the panelists!

Canada Reads 2011 Launch on PhotoPeach

photos 9, 10, and 12 were taken by Nicola Makoway. photos 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 were courtesy of Ryan Couldrey of the CBC and Canada Reads.

November 15, 2010

"another day in the life of the arts"

The news came at 7:15 am - Gaspereau Press co-owner Andrew Steeves announced to Don Connolly on CBC Nova Scotia's Information Morning that a deal has been made to get more copies of the Sentimentalists on bookstore shelves. (You can read their official press release here.)

According to Steeves, plans for an alliance with BC publisher Douglas & McIntyre and Friesens in Manitoba began Wednesday morning, "as soon as I walked into the office." The partnership will begin with Douglas & McIntyre printing 30,000 copies of the Giller Prize winner to help meet initial demand. This will take place alongside Gaspereau Press continuing to print their original edition of the book at approximately 1000 copies per week.

When asked if the two editions will be different, Steeves answered, "Yes, it will be very different, but our partner has the same passion and commitment to the book as we do." He went on to speak of Douglas & McIntyre's track record of being consistently recognized by the Alcuin Society for their excellence in publishing and design. "Douglas & McIntyre are always right there."

"You have to pay attention to the exceptions."

Steeves also made it clear in the interview that he's learned much from the entire process, praising the Giller Prize for choosing judges who "looked at books more broadly" this year.

In a statement to this writer Steeves also said -
"My one regret is that "Toronto" gets uttered to mean bad, when that could never be the whole truth, and even that "Random House" gets used as a shorthand for all that is wrong with the world, when they do many good books, employ many bright people, and have a place in the ecosystem alongside Gaspereau. It just gets out of balance and celebrated as the one and only way, the main show, when even the people there, in their best moments, know that's not so. "
 Congratulations to Johanna, Gaspereau Press, Douglas and McIntyre and Friesens!