Review by Alex Kosoris
The more I read, the more I seem to catch while reading. It wasn’t until my second read-through of Naked Lunch that I really feel I began to appreciate it, and even the recent rereading of Animal Farm really made me feel that at least some of my study of literature is sticking with me. And then I encounter something like As I Lay Dying, which I emerged from misunderstanding large portions. Perhaps it has more to do with not yet reading it a second time, but I think I can attribute at least some of this to the story’s ambiguous narrative and the rich symbolism the author employs.
As I Lay Dying is an account of the Bundren family as they attempt to withhold the final wish of their newly deceased wife and mother, Addie, by bringing her remains to her hometown as a final resting place. A different character acts as narrator by each chapter, and that gives this story a great deal of its charm. Everyone has a very clear and unique voice that Faulkner is careful to maintain as the story progresses, and we get a good picture of how each sees the others and the world around them, as well as how they deal with the numerous harrowing situations they’re forced to cope with. Description is clearly another of Faulkner’s strengths; he provides specific details that appeal to all the senses, making the world vividly come alive. Add in a great profundity delivered through some of the most elegant prose I have ever had the pleasure of reading, and it’s clear to see the beauty in Faulkner’s work, even if I walk away with some lack of understanding.
In short, As I Lay Dying is a wonderful novel and it’s unsurprising, to me, that Faulkner should be so highly regarded. If you have yet to experience it, it comes with my highest recommendation.
Frostgrave - the first few games
Guest post by Dahl Botterill from "Rats East"
Our third and final guest blog by one of our Write NOWW: Web Compositions panelists.
Today's post is from Dahl Botterill from "Rats East": www.ratseast.ca
Write NOWW: Web Compositions
Friday, March 18th, 7pm
CommuniTea & Coffee
108 Frederica St. E
Tyler and I were joined last week by a mutual friend. With only one game under our campaign belts, we opted to use our previously fielded warbands while Chris brought a fresh list he’d put together for his first game. Tyler’s Illusionist, my Chronomancer, and Chris’ Illusionist prepared to go treasure hunting…
Lots of ups and downs here. Chris was at a bit of a disadvantage, although it seemed to be less the fact that we were a game ahead and more the fact that it was his first game ever (and his first miniatures game in a very long time). He also wound up on the third side, between us, and we hadn’t really considered pincer issues.
Still, lots of fun for everybody, and we were all looking forward to our next game…
… And that next game would follow only a week later.
One Week Later...
Over the course of the week, we all built new warbands with level 0 wizards. This way we’d be on the same foot starting out. We also tweaked the deployment zones a little to try and provide the middle squad with some breathing room.
Definitely helped. With three of us on a 3×3 battlefield, we also increased the ‘seedable’ portion, allowing treasures within 7″ of the edge. With telekinesis in play, though, we may have to try playing that as written next time.
I brought a Necromancer this time around, and had a rough go of it. I missed a few rolls where I really needed them, and came away a bit of a mess. The early game was going okay, but it started to fall apart after the first few turns.
My dog Tannhauser was first to go, cut down in his very first round of combat. I did manage to get a fog up to interfere with some of Tyler’s archers, but his wizard was still able to see a fair bit, and the fog wasn’t high enough to block the apprentice and archer he’d put on a tower. My lone archer, Wren the halfling, started trading arrows with Chris’ crew early, so my energies were split across two ends of the board.
She (WWNBN) managed to cast Bones of the Earth on a fleeing treasure-laden thief (they almost killed her, but she escaped on her second attempt), and a fairly effective Plague of Insects on the archer in the tower, but was then hit by a devastating Grenade spell from Joey the Apprentice (Tyler’s children named his warband members). My apprentice Morrigan did less well, successfully casting Crumble once and falling at everything else. She died shortly after She, also in turn three.
I was also unfortunate enough to have every creature we rolled turn up right next to me.
The above ghoul and spider tore into my already overwhelmed thief, and later a pair of ice spiders would stumble directly onto an Infantryman of mine (Jaeger) as he moved to escape with a treasure.
Mostly I think I just overextended myself. My forces were very split up, and I would eventually lose a bunch of soldiers to multiple combats and overwhelming odds. Beatrice was taken out while surrounded by enemy soldiers (I tried to lock Tyler’s wizard in combat while preventing two other soldiers from claiming a nearby treasure); I’d have been better off letting some treasure get picked up by others and regrouping, rather than trying to keep the pressure on after I was already significantly reduced in manpower.
Finally, I decided at the end not to run Jaeger off the board with his treasure, instead trying to claim everything by dropping that treasure and attacking Chris’ remaining soldiers. With two archers all on the board, he was a little too strong for me to attempt that tactic.
I ended the game with one treasure and only four spells cast. And Tannhauser the dog died.
Definitely my worst game.
My wizard was badly wounded, but I had a little luck in the end. My treasure included an Orb of Power I could sell and the Treasury I moved into netted me a grimoire and some extra gold, so I was able to get She patched up and hire a couple of extra soldiers. Hopefully I can get caught up in the next game (Chris’ six treasures and three levels means a commanding lead). If I’d had more money to pay with I’d have given Wren a promotion (he was a brilliant maniac with that now), but that will have to wait. The cost of an archer is just to much to toss away buying a ranger, so instead I upgraded Skrixx Aeon ‘k to a Knight and hired a Barbarian. Undecided at the moment whether to get another dog right away or wait until I have kennels…
Guest post by Bry Kotyk from "Welcome to Hereafter"
Our second guest blog by one of our Write NOWW: Web Compositions panelists.
Today's post is from Bry Kotyk from Welcome to Hereafter: www.welcometohereafter.com
Write NOWW: Web Compositions
Friday, March 18th, 7pm
CommuniTea & Coffee
108 Frederica St. E
Comics were a learn-by-doing exercise for me. Outside of some high school art classes, and countless hours of doodling during all of my other non-art classes, I never really studied drawing in a formal way. I always thought of myself as a writer, and I pursued that creative drive in some filmmaking, blogging, and scripting over the years. I had an image of myself writing movies and creating animated series, and when that path proved much more difficult than my naive, younger self realized, I figured out that the best outlet to give my ideas some kind of form was my childhood “first love”: comics. The beauty of comics is that you’re only limited by what you can do with your own hands. The beauty of the Internet is that anyone can have a voice and put their work out there for all to see without a lot of expense. (And there are more webcomics than you could count online for that very reason!)
So six years ago, I finally started work on a long-brewing idea: “Welcome to Hereafter,” sitcom-ish ongoing series about all the world’s gods, deities, and demons living together in a contemporary afterlife-city called Hereafter, with the world’s religions represented as corporations that trade in souls rather than shares. The story begins when God loses his job, and things spun out from there. Since then, there have been hundreds of pages online (nearly three books’ worth and counting), a recent self-published print volume, and, I hope, some serious improvement.
And now, a quick run-down of how a typical page of the comic goes from idea to digital reality:
This is my version of a script: bare-bones. I’m collaborating with myself, so thankfully it’s usually pretty easy to guess my own visual intent. Usually.
I’ll share a secret with you: I don’t always write scripts ahead of time. That probably sounds bad! But creating comics, for me at least, begins visually. An idea for a page will brew, and all too often, whenever it’s done, it’ll just pop into my head fully formed — and often while I’m out walking my dog or having a shower or driving to work, unable to write anything down. The visuals stick in my memory more than the words do, but the process of drawing the page will often bring out better dialogue as it all comes together. I’ve learned that everyone’s method is different, so I’m going to be very kind to myself and call this my “method.”
I do try to plan out my panelling first, though. The most recent comic is a pretty straightforward example, with eight panels of varying sizes making up the page. I also draw purely traditional, which less and less comic creators do these days. I can’t explain why, but the idea of drawing digitally scares me a little.
Then there’s the fun part: pencilling. I draw with a light blue mechanical pencil — non-photo blue — that gets completely edited out of the final product. So in this stage I get to be as rough and sloppy as I want to be, drawing poses and expressions, hating them, erasing them, and drawing new ones in their place. (This tends to repeat a few times.)
And next, the sheer terror called inking. This was probably my longest learning process, and also the easiest to screw up. Corrective fluid and tape have saved me more times than I’d like to admit. Look closely and you’ll see some on this very page!
Finally, I go digital. Which means scanning the 11x17” page in bits and pieces on my standard-size scanner, then cobbling them all back together. I publish the comic in pure black-and-white (at least partially because colouring is a very time-consuming process and, y’know, creators tend to have day jobs), so it’s a simple matter of editing out the blue pencil lines and adjusting the levels of the black inks and the white page to the ideal contrast. Digital lettering is the last step, and then it’s ready to be resized and posted online.
And that’s how a self-taught amateur web-cartoonist gets it done. Just repeat this process 379 times (and counting).
Awkward Slang Definitions
Guest post by Leah Wellwood from Eating Dirt
Over the next week or so we will be featuring the work of our three Write NOWW: Web Composition panelists.
Today's post is from Leah Wellwood from Eating Dirt: https://eatingdirt83.wordpress.com/
Last night, after reading bedtime stories, R1 asked me, “Whats a cock?”
I was a little shocked, but I said, “It’s another word for rooster.”
I wasn’t about to get into the slang meanings right at bedtime so I took the easy way out.
This kid just learned that some boys (hilariously) call their penis a wiener; we don’t need to move on to cocks just yet.
I added that, “some people use the word cock as an insult so don’t ever let me catch you calling someone a cock, ok?”
Then we talked about the day, talked about the upcoming weekend and March Break, and talked about the story we just read (it was a children’s chapter book of the first Toy Story movie).
Then I told R1 it was time to sleep and we laid quietly beside one another in the dark.
After a few minutes, R1 quietly asked, “How come they used the word cock in the story?”
What? When? Where?
Buzz Lightyear. The book said he cocked his eyebrow.
Well, in that case, the word cock is used as a verb. And a verb is an action word. Buzz moved his eyebrow a certain way (I'm demonstrating) so in other words, he cocked his eyebrow. You can use the word in other ways too. Like, the curious dog cocked his head to the side (demonstrating). Do you understand?
Time for sleep now ok?
*thirty seconds of silence*
If I see a rooster walking down the street, can I call him a cock?
Sure. Ok, goodnight now.
The lesson: If your kid asks you a strange question, ask him for clarification first before you start explaining. He may just be looking for a grammar and vocabulary lesson as opposed to awkward slang definitions.
By Sarah Mendek
On February 16th for the first time in many years, I read my poetry at the NOWW monthly reading.
Considering my education background in Theatre Arts, I was excitedly nervous. I know you are probably thinking that’s an interesting way to put it. But, it is true. I’ve always enjoyed writing and performing, but it is a little different when you are writing and reading something personal.
I really did feel like the newbie!
The great thing about the night was that it felt very warm and welcoming. It is always an encouragement when everyone around you is so positive. I felt honoured to read my work. It sparked a light of encouragement in me that had been dimmed for so long, as other life adventures presented themselves.
The NOWW organization is something everyone should consider, especially if you want to be a writer and you consider Northwestern Ontario your home. NOWW finds ways to welcome every writer, no matter what stage you are at in your works of writing.
It’s never too late to put the pen to the paper; it’s never too late to shine.
Two people, stand corners opposite from one another.
They lock eyes studying each other,
Mysteriously wondering if their eyes had met before.
They slowly meet in the middle of the room.
Dazed, confused, but certain they continue to stare.
They touch hand in hand, it’s intense and warm, and their embrace is familiar.
But still, their eyes don’t recognize the mirror they are looking through.
There is a passion within their pulses.
A rhythm, their heart beats sync in unison,
As a melody is heard from inside the walls timing their moves as they slowly drift and weave closer together.
The melodies and harmonies of each other’s bodies keep them distant from the chaos in the room.
There is a trust unexplained, a language not spoken.
Yet some how it is completely translated through each other.
They are dancing.
They are loving.
They are whole.
They are stranger and no one knew.
Review by Alex Kosoris
I hate talking about books I didn’t like, especially those that thoroughly disappointed me, like The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty. It’s a difficult task to express such a thing effectively without being mean or, at least, discouraging, while remaining honest. It’s not even that this was necessarily the worst of the worst that I’ve read, but my expectations were held high wandering into this story, and it most definitely failed to meet them. I mean, the book sounded interesting and the reviews I read ahead of time were glowing. I then heard that Vida wrote with the uncommon second-person narrative, which I’ve only experienced in Bright Lights, Big City, a book that I loved; I felt that, perhaps, this one could be just as wonderful, because writing in such an unusual way comes across as a gimmick if the author doesn’t have an exceptional reason to do so and if it’s used to prop anything less than a strong plot. We can muse on Vida’s reasons for writing this way, but her story at least failed to impress me.
The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty starts off with “you” travelling to Morocco, where her belongings – including her money, credit card, and passport – are stolen. In trying to recover them, she is given the belongings of another woman, and decides to take on her identity. She ends up getting spotted by a film crew and offered a job as the famous American actress lead’s body double, and, I suppose, starts getting in over her head as she keeps lying about who she is. The story, at its heart, appears to be about coming to terms with terrible things from “your” past. We, unfortunately, get thrown into things too quickly, not getting a good idea about who “you” is when the story starts, and, as a result, I found it hard to care about her. “You” also didn’t make decisions in any relatable way. You may be able to blame this on my unfamiliarity with her situation, but compare this to a novel like Birdie, where the author made me understand; failing to do so highlights a failure of storytelling. As well, the book was written very matter-of-factly, without much visual flair to the descriptions. People have said that the second-person style makes this hard to read, but I’d attribute it more to the dullness of the prose. (Of course, as “your” past becomes apparent, when “you” becomes an emotional wreck while praying in a mosque was probably my favourite moment in the book due to the richness of the description, but this proves to be the exception rather than the rule.)
For a book whose synopsis on Goodreads boasts to be “a riveting, entrancing novel that explores freedom, power and the mutability of identity,” I think I can safely say that The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty is nothing of the sort. As such, I think I can just as safely escape this review without offering it as a recommendation.
Welcome to our NOWW Blog, made up of a collection of stories, reviews and articles written by our NOWW Members.