Arrrrrggggg

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I like magazines and newspapers. I really do. I like reading them, I like being informed, I like knowing that someone, somewhere, is making sure that I can stay posted on what’s going on in the world.

What I don’t like is writing formal articles. The writing part is what gets to me.

Funny, you might think that that wouldn’t happen to an English major. But it does. And, anyway, it’s done now (the article I wrote about SWEET), and sent off to The Record for publication (I think sometime this week). So that’s over with. Thank God.
I think the reason I feel weird about writing articles is cause whenever other people write articles, they sound informative and brilliant and genuine. Whenever I’m writing an article, no matter how much I care about what I’m saying, I feel like it always comes out kitchy. I hate that. I think that’s why I like writing my little blog entries for you guys: here, when I write to you, it feels like a conversation. It sounds more honest. Like we’re just chillin somewhere sipping tea and eating muffins and talking about what we’re doing.

Except that I’m hogging all the conversation space, but other than that, the comparison is totally legit.

So this is what I wanted to say in the article that I didn’t say: I think SWEET is going to be crazy. Awesome crazy. We have soo many cool people coming in; I’ve interviewed half of them already and they all sound like the coolest, chillest people. Like the kind of people you would totally talk to if you were working on a story, just to see what they thought. And they would tell you what parts sucked and what parts were awesome, but in a down-to-earth kind of way that is the exact opposite of Canadian Idol (or American Idol, or any other Idol or reality TV show for that matter). Just a chill, honest conversation.

SWEET makes me think of this time when I was ten or something, and there was this thing called The Young Authors Conference, and I have no idea how I ended up going or who decided I should go or how I signed up in the first place. But I know that being there, with all these other kids who loved writing, and all these fun authors who wanted to teach us how to write… it felt like home. Like I wasn’t just some strange kid who read all the time. There were others that did it too (some of them stranger than me).

That’s what I think of when I think of SWEET. I think of people that love the same thing- the exact same thing- and how this is a chance for them to hang out and be who they are. And offer tips on how to make money doing it.

I think writers are born. I don’t know if accountants are born, but I think writers are. My playwriting prof, George Rideout, once told me that a writer doesn’t stop writing. Maybe sometimes, but something inside of them pushes and pushes and they just can’t keep it in. Writers have to write. Writers want to write. And as a writer, I am really, really looking forward to meeting and talking to other writers.

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Interviews, Radio Stations, and Pokémon Battles

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It’s midterm season everyone! (not that I need to remind y’all, I’m pretty sure you could figure that one for yourselves)

Not only is it midterm time, but SWEET is in little more than two weeks. Thank god we’re on break right now. Reading week, so inappropriately named: I’ll be writing the whole time.

Aaaaaaaaaaaah

My laptop also picked this exact time to turn off, never to turn back on again.

But all that aside, today was absolutely wonderful. “How,” you might ask, “could you possibly be having a good day, nay, a wonderful day during this foul, foul time?” (I also decided that you’re all British for the day, you can thank me later). Well, I’m having a wonderful, fantastic, amazing day because… Here, I’ll just recap it for ya.

So last night I sent out two emails: one to Donna Morrissey and one to Alison Garwood-Jones. I wanted to see if maybe I could interview them (I seem to always be interviewing people these days). I figured they’d get back to me in a day or so, and schedule an interview sometime later this week next week. Then I woke up this morning to two replys, saying that they would love to and that I could call them later today. I’m going to describe this next bit as a Pokémon battle, cause that’s kind of what it felt like.

Isabelle encounters two wild interviews.

Interviews use “call me.”

Isabelle has no phone that can make long distance calls.

Isabelle has no laptop.

Isabelle is confused.

Interviews use busy schedules.

Interviews must happen today.

Isabelle uses CJMQ.

CJMQ is super effective.

For those of you who don’t know, CJMQ is the local English-language community radio station for the Eastern Townships. But if you want to think that it’s some kind of awesome kung fu move, that’s cool too. I’m pretty okay with you guys thinking I know kung fu.

So my buddies down at CJMQ (huge shout out to you guys! You are amazing!) set me up with all the phone and recording equipment I needed. The interviews were nothing short of amazing; Donna Morrissey and Alison Garwood-Jones are both so eloquent, so lovely, and so friendly.

I’m just waiting for an email back confirming the time they’re going to air. So tune in to CJMQ folks!

Anne Michaels!

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Anne Michaels is coming to Bishop’s! I assume you guys already know this, because it’s been on our website for the last few months (and I’m sure you all check our website regularly). I didn’t know this, but Dr. Morra just told me that Anne Michaels hasn’t given a reading in a long time. And although she was told she was invited to give a reading in Montreal too, she just chose us. We managed to nab her for this one.
Awwww yeah!
Makes me feel pretty special.

Also, I’ve just been given the green light to interview her. So stay tuned for some pre-reading scoop!

Who is Pascal Girard?

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Who is Pascal Girard? I’ll give you 2 hints: 

Hint #1: I interviewed him. 

Hint #2: He’s coming to Bishop’s for SWEET.

Read on to hear a little more of his story.

I was hoping you could tell us a bit of your story and how you came to be a graphic novelist.

I would say that I’m a cartoonist more than graphic novelist. I only did one long story. All my other work is short.

I’m always been interest in comic books. I studied cinema in university, but I didn’t like the team work aspect of it (I prefer to work alone). After I got my degree, I began to draw comics. I showed  them to Jimmy Beaulieu, another cartoonist who was a publisher too at the time, he liked them and told me to do more so he could publish a book. That’s what I did, and since then I do books.

You mentioned that you’ve always loved comic books. Which comics did you read? Which ones inspired you the most?

I read a lot of Archie comics. Mostly that. And Peanuts, Garfield, Astérix, that kind of thing. I think Peanuts inspired me the most. Especially the character of Charlie Brown. My book, “Bigfoot,” is kind of an Archie story.

Now that I think of it, I was reminded of Peanuts comics when I saw your graphic novel (I was only able to see a few sample pages, so if I’m completely off on this, please let me know). Let’s talk a little bit about your graphic novels; for people out there who don’t know it, can you tell us what it’s about and why you chose to write it?

I see “Bigfoot” as kind of like an Archie story. The main character is also a bit of a teenage version of Charlie Brown. Bad things happen to him but he doesn’t let it get him down (too much). It’s a book mostly about a teenager and new technologies. It’s the story of a teenager who is a “celebrity” on YouTube because of a video of himself that someone put on the website without asking him.

Reunion is just a comedy about my high school reunion that happened 2 or 3 years ago. I was mostly inspired by “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and Larry David. It’s a book where awkward situations happen one after another after another.

If I understand correctly, Reunion is very much based on your life.

Not really. I would say it’s half-half. Half true, half fiction. Mostly it’s like all my books. I’m inspired by real life events, but I build a story with them. For reunion, I just used myself as a character, but the character is not me. Kind of like a comedian.

 You also mentioned that it’s inspired by “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. Do you mix fiction with nonfiction then?

Yes. Mostly. But most of the writers I know do that. (I think.)

What’s Next?

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So our second reading of the year is now done. “What’s next?” you might ask (I know you’re asking it, don’t lie). I’ll tell you what’s next.

Okay, so some of you might remember rumours last year about a creative writing weekend here at Bishop’s. Authors coming and giving Bishop’s students advice about their writing and how to make it in the industry.

Weeeeell, those rumours are true. (you might have already gathered this from the posters on campus, BUT if you hadn’t, I’m glad I was the one to announce it).

This writing weekend is called SWEET (the Student Writing Weekend in the Eastern Townships). I think it’s an appropriate name because this weekend is like candy. Glorious, delicious, literary candy.

The Morris House Reading Series is partnering up  on this one, so Anne Michaels is going to kick off the weekend with her reading. Then, we’re also going to be bringing in John Moss, Jeramy Dodds, and Jeffrey Moore for you guys. And that’s just the Morris House portion. We also have professional bloggers (you know I’m going to see that one), graphic novelists, mystery authors, poets, and critics coming in. It’s going to be a kick-ass weekend.

This is how I imagine Morris House and Sweet.

So from now on, I’m going to be writing about Morris House, but I’m also going to be writing about SWEET. Stay tuned, I have more interviews coming your way!

My Life Is Awesome

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Okay, so one really cool thing about being an intern is that you get to get experience in your field and grow as a person… We also get dinner!

As a student, nice meals are kind of a big deal. Nice meals with one of my favourite profs, one of my great friends Alexis, our SWEET intern, and Kateri freakin Akiwenzie-Damm.

Yeah, dinner was pretty sweet.

We usually go to Shalimar, cause Shalimar is delicious.

And then we have massively intellectually conversations about deeply complex social issues of the utmost importance (translation: we crack jokes and talk about 9Gag).

Fun fact: both Dr. Morra and Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm did not know about 9Gag. My “like a sir” reference was completely lost on them (although Kateri was saying “like a sir” by the end of the night).

We also talked about, geez, I’m trying to remember. You know those conversations you have about the world and what we think might happen in the next few years since oil is running out and we’re over-populated and Europe andAmericaare so overwhelmed with debt? And you talk about the food industry and preservatives, and about how crazy everything is and it’s not totally demoralizing cause you’re all trying to anticipate what’s going to happen next. Like, are we going to collapse? Pull out in time (sexy joke!)? Or become a magical utopia? Those conversations about all kinds of things that just kind of meld into each other in between mouthfuls of deliciously spicy food.

That’s what dinner was like.

If I could bring you all there and share that moment with you, I would. Some authors are prima donnas, but I’ve been fortunate enough to have hit some great ones. Kateri and Tess Fragoulis (back in October) have been a pleasure.