Writing Time and Ottawa Reading

So far, November has provided me with lots of writing time. I’m esconced in the second novel, still untitled (although in a couple of grant applications, I’m calling it Mistake, which doesn’t really bode well).

The great thing about having plenty of writing time is that it’s possible to really delve into the characters’ moods and quirks. The story begins to have more continuity, and a little detail mentioned on page 9 is able to return on page 99. On some days, my head remains inside the novel, which feels like a decadent and fortunate place to be because ideas come much easier than if I’m less involved. It also means that I’ve got to work harder to pull myself out of it when I have to switch gears and work on other things or with other people (or risk exposing poor social etiquette). These things might be consulting work, psychotherapy or promoting Stealing Nasreen.

Speaking of which…

I’ll be reading in Ottawa at the Collected Works Bookstore next Friday, November 30th, at 7:30pm. I love going to Ottawa; I went to school there and still have some friends living there. If you are in the area, please come and say hello.

Poetry Slam Virgin

I attended my first ever Toronto Poetry Slam last night. I went because one of my friends, Emily, was going to compete, and I thought it might be interesting enough.

I’m someone who goes to lots of literary-type events: book launches, readings, and the odd spoken word performance. But what happened last night felt so different from anything I’ve experienced before.

The night started with a call-and-response anthem (a “slamthem”)  and then the 10 poets, diverse in their styles and identities, performed in 3 minute installments (go over the time limit and lose points!) , and then were cheered and scored. Those with the highest scores went on in the competition.  The crowd snapped their fingers when something resonated with them, or clapped to the beat, caught up with the rhythm of a poet’s voice. Judges were jeered if thought to be low scorers.

This just doesn’t happen at the staid literary readings I’ve been to (polite applause and articulate Q &As are about it). Later a spoken word/folk group, The Fugitives, performed, bringing people to their feet. I left feeling very inspired. 

WIN a copy of Stealing Nasreen!

WIN a copy of Stealing Nasreen!

Search for the answer to this skill-testing question (you’ll find the answer somewhere on this blog): which fabulous bookstore hosted one of my Vancouver readings?  

E-mail your answer to farzanadoctor@rogers.com

 Contest closes on November 20th. Correct replies will be entered into a draw for one of 3 free copies of Stealing Nasreen donated by Inanna Publications.  

Good luck! Tell your friends! A novel makes a great gift!      

Frightening the neighbourhood children


I adore Hallowe’en and always have. It’s the one Western mainstream holiday that I plan and prepare for (and probably spend too much money on). My costumes have been very elaborate (I recall a Pepper and Salt outfit that my friend Kim and I took days to make when we were 9, and then there was the perfect angel costume a friend made for me when I was 12 years old). Some have also been fairly simple. Dead, scary, monstery outfits are my favourites.

What’s been really fun the last couple of years is making Hallowe’en fun for the neighbourhood kids (and by extension, me too). We play scary music, and decorate the house a little and I wore ugly, monster teeth that  frightened the little ones and offered fodder for parents wanting to teach their children about the consequences of poor oral hygeine. Above is a photo taken by my neighbour, Emily.

The neighbourhood has been on my mind a lot lately. I wrote a piece about it for NOW Magazine this week. Have a look