Tag Archives: WANAFriday

WANA Friday: Figure Skating Memories

It’s time for another edition of WANA Friday! This week’s common topic:

Tell us about something you used to be into but aren’t anymore — a hobby, an activity, a band, a TV show, etc.

Earlier this evening I happened to catch a bit of figure skating on TV and it reminded me…back in the ’90s I was a huge fan.

(Here’s another thing I used to be into: power ballads!)

More videos below the cut…

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WANA Friday: Childhood Home

Welcome to another edition of WANA Saturday, er, Friday, where you’re invited to join us in blogging on a common topic and going on a blog-hop to read everyone’s takes.

This week’s prompt is:

Tatiana de Rosnay has written a book called The House I Loved about Rose Bazelet in France in the 1860s when her house was to be destroyed in the reconstruction of Paris into a modern city. This book made me think of the houses that I have lived in and loved. What house, or place, have you lived in that you loved? Tell us about it.

I grew up in suburbia, so I can’t say I loved my childhood house exactly. Yes, it was home, but my heart belongs to old houses, like my grandmother’s house in Vancouver or the house I’m lucky enough to live in now.

And I don’t miss the suburban lifestyle — my current home has a good balance of public transit accessibility, nearby amenities, and backyard and other green space.

But I did move across Canada when I left home.

I miss Alberta.

(If you’re not Canadian, think “American midwest” and you won’t be far off.)

The Rocky Mountains west of Calgary, Alberta.

The Rocky Mountains west of Calgary, Alberta.

I miss the huge prairie skies, with their ever-changing clouds, their pure deep blue, and their spectacular sunsets.

I miss the fields of wheat and oat and barley, the sparse rows of trees set up as windbreaks, the big red barns all made in a particular style.

I miss the Rocky Mountains — but that’s a post for another day.

I even miss winter. Sure, it’s longer and colder and darker than winter in Toronto, where I live now. But it’s a lot sunnier — in fact, the colder it is, the more likely it is to be sunny. It’s drier and less windy. And the snow stays crisp and frozen, rather than turning into ankle-deep slush that must be waded through. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of the -30 C weather Alberta gets in the winter, but I really hate slush.

When I was growing up in Alberta, we used to pretend we were Arctic explorers (thank you, Arthur Ransome). We built forts and made snow paths with our toboggans (one benefit of having a big suburban backyard!) and slid down hills and went cross-country skiing and skating outdoors and climbed snow mountains. Even shovelling was fun…for a while!

Other WANA Friday participants this week

Janice Heck shares memories of her childhood home

Your turn! If you’ve moved from one climate to another, what do you miss?

WANA Friday: What’s Stuck in Your Head?

Welcome to another edition of #WANAFriday! Participants post on a common topic and share posts so you can read everyone’s take. This week’s topic is:

What song is stuck in your head these days (or is on permanent rotation in your music collection) and what draws you to it?

As it happens, I do have a song stuck in my head. Last week, the folk dance community I’m part of held a brief memorial for a member who had died suddenly over the summer. Another member taught us this song:

Much like in the video, our rendition was a little rough at first, resolving — as we went through it multiple times — into a thing of beauty.

And it’s been running through my head all week.

I have a couple of thoughts about why:

1. I was very impressed by how quickly the group picked it up — granted, there’s not much to the words, but there is a three-part harmony! Some of us (not me) had sung it before, but not most of us, I think. It didn’t occur to me until later that, of course, many of the dancers in the folk dance community are also musical in some way.

2. I’ve been involved in making music on and off for most of my life — piano lessons, band, Girl Guides, choirs. Right now I’m “off”. The closest I come is dancing to live music in this community. I don’t have time for anything more at this point. I don’t think about music a lot, but I do miss it. So singing harmony again was literally music for the soul.

3. And, of course, the song is just that pretty.

Other #WANAFriday Participants This Week

Dianna Bell puts a twist on her favourite artists

Ellen Gregory gets addicted to harmony

Kim Griffin goes acoustic

Liv Rancourt gets inspired by Sleepy Hollow

Tami Clayton comes out of the musical closet (go, Tami!)

WANA Friday: Your Favourite Word

Yes, yes, I know it’s Saturday, moving on…

This week’s #WANAFriday topic is:

Share your favourite (or merely an interesting) WORD — what does it mean for you?

My favourite word is Serendipity.

FreeDictionary.com defines it thus:

1. The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.
2. The fact or occurrence of such discoveries.
3. An instance of making such a discovery.

Or in plainer language, a happy accident. Wikipedia says the word was coined by Horace Walpole, whose definition included the idea that one must be wise enough to recognize and make use of this “fortunate discovery” — think of all the scientific breakthroughs that were made by accident. (For values of “by accident” that include lots of hard work beforehand and rigorous experiments, of course.)

So why is this word my favourite? Partly because of the definition. Partly because it’s just so much fun to say (hello, I’m a writer).

Serendipity logo

And partly because of these books, featuring a pink dragon named Serendipity and similar whimsical creatures. Yeah, why are you not surprised that books would come into the, er, story somewhere? Though I think even back then, I liked the word better than the actual book.

(There was also a romantic comedy called Serendipity, which was cute but rather forgettable.)

Other #WANAFriday Participants

Di Bell digs deep and finds some wonderful lost words

Ellen Gregory shares some animal-love

Julie Farrar uses her word as a jumping-off point

Kim Griffin goes nostalgic (hey, Kim, I remember your word!)


Your turn! What’s your favourite word?


#WANAFriday: Fall Bucket List

maple leaf

Copyright Siri Paulson, 2011

Welcome to another edition of #WANAFriday! This week’s topic is:

Fall bucket list — what experiences do you want to have / what do you want to spend time doing this fall?

A quick preface is in order here. I hate being cold, and my body knows that the arrival of fall means winter is not far behind. Add to that the fact that I grew up on the Canadian prairies, where fall was only about six weeks long. Now I live in Toronto, where it lasts at least two months, and often longer. Yet I still spend fall thinking about the cold days ahead, instead of enjoying the glorious days of the season I’m in.

So every year about this time, I remind myself to dig in and enjoy fall. Some things I plan to do:

  1. Pay attention as the leaves change colour.
  2. Drink pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin soup and…all things pumpkin, really. And apple cider.
  3. Revel in the crisp — but not yet cold — air after the long, hot summer.
  4. Savour the tomatoes and other vegetables from my garden.
  5. Go for some long walks before the weather turns cold and I start my winter hibernation.

As far as concrete goals for this season, I’m going to:

1. Figure out what I’m doing for NaNoWriMo.

I’ll probably write a brand-new novel — which means picking an idea first — but there’s a chance I’ll do a complete rewrite of a previous NaNo. Either way, I’ve got lots of planning to do.

(See my post Should You Do NaNoWriMo?)

2. Get as far as I can on the novel I’m editing before NaNo.

I don’t want to say “finish this draft”, because I’m feeling my way through this edit and I don’t know how long it will take. But I will give it my best shot.

Other #WANAfriday participants this week

Ellen Gregory (who, being Australian, is talking about spring)

Kim Griffin

Liv Rancourt

Your turn! What’s on your bucket list this season?


#WANAFriday: What Did You Love About Going Back to School?

I’m late for this week’s installment of #WANAFriday — forgive me! But I couldn’t pass up the current topic:

What was your favorite thing about going back to school?

Since I’m a writer, my answer will come as no surprise. I loved getting new school supplies. I had my favourite brand of lined paper. I was very picky about pens — they had to write just so, the smoother the better, although I made an exception for the pens that came with four colours in one (perfect for colour-coded Social Studies notes, you see). I loved just about any kind of highlighters and Post-It notes, even though I didn’t use them much.

Of course, this love has carried on. I’ve never gotten into high-end pens, like some writers, but I still have favourite pens. I’ve developed a definite preference for certain kinds of notebooks (while I drool over fancy bound diaries, the kind I prefer for story notes is a 9X7″ Mead brand — coil-bound, stiff cardboard back, thick lined paper that feels nice to write on). And in my day job I get to use Post-It notes all the time, which makes my inner 12-year-old very happy.

Be sure to check out what other #WANAFriday participants have to say about this week’s topic:

Dianna Bell

Kim Griffin

Liv Rancourt

Your turn! What was your favourite thing about going back to school?

WANA Friday: Reading

I’m combining two blog memes today.

First, there’s #WANAFriday, where a group of bloggers post on the same topic and share links to facilitate blog-hopping to read everyone’s takes on the subject. This week’s assignment is:

Take this first line from Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani and run with it: “This will be a good weekend for reading.”

Second, there’s WWW Wednesday, stolen from Erin Zarro (okay, it’s not Wednesday, but I’m stealing it anyway). The meme consists of three questions about what you’re reading. So here we go…

1) What book (s) are you reading right now?

I’m reading a fantasy novel called A Companion to Wolves by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear. I’ll have to do a proper review later, but for now I’ll just say that this is, hands-down, the best novel I’ve read this year. In fact, I just finished it last week…but I loved it so much that I started over at the beginning. I’m halfway through the second read.

(Fun fact: The only other book I’ve done that with, at least in recent years, is Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.)

2) What book (s) have you finished recently?

Besides A Companion to Wolves? *grins*

  • Airborn by Kenneth Oppel. YA steampunk adventure story featuring an airship cabin boy, a girl scientist, and air pirates. You might recognize the author — he’s better known for Silverwing.
  • Specials by Scott Westerfeld. The third book in Westerfeld’s Uglies series (YA SF), and a most satisfying installment. More about that here.
  • The Steel Seraglio by Mike Carey, Linda Carey, and Louise Carey. A multi-stranded, lyrically written fantasy story about a harem of women exiled to the desert.

3) What books will you be reading soon?

I’ve got about 30 books on my TBR shelf (well, two of them are ebooks), but here are a few of the most likely candidates for “next up”:

    • Darwin’s Radio by Greg Bear (SF)
    • A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (YA fantasy)
    • Cetaganda by Lois Mcmaster Bujold (SF — Vorkosigan Saga)
    • Mainspring by Jay Lake (steampunk)

(My shelf also has plenty of adult fantasy, but I like to mix it up, and since I’m reading fantasy right now, some other subgenre will get its turn next. Probably.)

Chances are pretty good you’ll hear about one or more of these on the blog.

Other WANA Friday participants this week:

Ellen Gregory

Kim Griffin

Janice Heck

ETA: Cora Ramos

Your turn! What are you reading?

Happy Friday, and I’ll see you back here on Monday!

WANA Friday: Hide-and-Seek and a Turtleduck Press Announcement

Welcome to another installment of WANA Friday! It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, so just to refresh your memory, here’s how it works. Participating bloggers all do a post on a common topic, keeping it short and sweet so readers can go blog-hopping and read everyone’s different takes. You can read my previous WANA Friday posts here.

This week’s topic is:

Share an early childhood memory, or a photo that brings back a memory of childhood or family.

But before we get there, I have a special Turtleduck Press announcement…

Best of Turtleduck Press, Vol. 1

This summer marks three years since the inception of Turtleduck Press. To celebrate, we’ve put together a sampler anthology featuring our very best stories (and one poem) from our first three years.

Because TDP is a co-op press, “best” was determined by voting from our members, and arranged by the head editor — me. So we have three SF&F short stories (one by yours truly!), one poem, and a teaser from our next novel, coming in December.

More info, including BUY links, can be found here.

If you like what you see, and you write SF or F, won’t you think about joining us?

Now, back to your (ir)regularly scheduled programming.

I had to really wrack my brain for a childhood memory. Not that I couldn’t think of any! I wanted one as early as possible, but a lot of what I could recall came from my tween years, or was too vague to date, or was a conglomeration of a lot of different times — like all the family camping trips we took to the Rockies…I have a pretty good sense of what they were like generally, but precious few specific memories from a single incident.

But here’s a specific event that I know happened around age 6, give or take a year.

My younger sister and I are playing hide-and-seek with our dad in a treed area behind our house. It’s not exactly wild, just an urban park with a small area of bush, but to us it’s a forest.

One of us girls is It. The other sister is found quickly. But we can’t find our dad anywhere, no matter how we search.

When our confusion starts to turn to panic, we hear his voice calling out to us. But we still can’t find him…until he says, “Look up here.”

He’s in a tree, a thick-trunked leafy tree with almost a platform between the branches, above the level of our heads. We’d never thought to look up.

He helps us climb up and sit in the tree with him, exhilarated at having found a secret spot.

And that marks the beginning of our tree-climbing phase. Not long after, we move away, but our new neighbourhood has other parks and other trees to hide in and to climb. Much later, we discover rock-climbing…but that’s another story.

Other childhood memories shared this week (check back for new additions to this list!):

That’s it for now. See you next week!

WANA Friday: If You Could Have One Magical Item…

Welcome to another installment of WANA Friday, where a bunch of bloggers all post on the same topic and share links so you can see everyone’s answers.

This week’s question:

If you could have one magical item, what would it be and why?

My answer:

I would love to have a portal. You know, a thing you conjure up and step through to get somewhere far away, sometimes even another world.

It would save me more than an hour on my daily commute, and long airplane flights would be a thing of the past. Plus maybe I could get to some of those fictional worlds I mentioned last week….

(In science fictional terms, I’d take a transporter, the Guardian of Forever, or the TARDIS if a portal wasn’t available!)

Other participants this week:

Cora Ramos

Ellen Gregory

Kim Griffin

Tami Clayton

Your turn! What magical item would you want?


WANA Friday: Your Favourite Place

Welcome to another edition of WANA Friday, where bloggers respond to a common topic — briefly, so you can go blog-hopping and read everyone’s answers.

In this installment, the question for the participating bloggers is:

What’s your favourite place in the whole world? Why?

Full disclosure — I was the one who came up with this question. And to be honest, I didn’t think answering it would be so hard. I’ve been struggling with it all week.

I’ve been lucky enough to travel a fair bit. But the more places I travel, the more places I find to love. And trying to rate them against each other is like comparing spaceships to tall ships. How do I compare an entire mountain range or two (the Canadian Rockies, the Himalayas) to a city (London, Copenhagen, Vancouver) or even a building, no matter how breathtaking (the Taj Mahal; any of the forts in Rajasthan, India; the great cathedral in Trondheim, Norway)?

Some places felt like home (the Norwegian fjords, western Ireland, the Canadian prairies where I really did grow up); others felt very foreign but no less wondrous (the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia, the Annapurna Sanctuary in Nepal). People make a difference too — I have fond memories of road-tripping with friends in the Canadian Maritimes, writing at cottages on Ontario lakes with my writers’ group, getting lost in the English Cotswolds with my significant other, hiking the Rockies with my family.

For now, here’s my answer:

Picture a fjord in Norway — not Geiranger, but that will do for an image. At the end of the fjord is a little steep-sided valley surrounded by mountains so close that in the depths of winter, the sun does not rise far enough to cast its light down into the valley. The valley is home to a little village on the fjord, and farms raising dairy cattle and sheep. In summer the livestock is taken up to a higher valley to graze in the meadows, a centuries-old tradition.

Many of the inhabitants are my kin, great-aunts and their descendents. Though they are related to me through my mother’s side, they remind me strongly of my father’s family running a farm on the Canadian prairie. They are gentle and reserved, but quick to laugh at themselves, and with a quiet pride, self-sufficiency and resilience.

The moment I saw the valley, I knew, and meeting my relatives only confirmed: I had come home.

That’s just one story of many. I look forward to sharing some of those other stories and places with you….

Other WANA Friday participants this week (check back later for more!):

  • Julie Farrar shares 5 reasons why she chose her home-away-from-home
  • Ellen Gregory struggles with the answer, as I did, and comes up with a unique response
  • Kim Griffin channels Dorothy and remembers the place where she grew up
  • Cora Ramos found her chosen place so inspiring, she wrote a novel about it, Dance the Dream Awake (out now — congratulations, Cora!)

Your turn! What’s your favourite place in the whole world?