Saturday, February 27, 2010

W2 Real Vancouver Writers' and Culture Finale

What a night it was!

Sean Cranbury wrapped up his month-long hat-tip to Vancouver writers on Wednesday night, and from the opening remarks of artist and writer Michael Nichol Yahgulanaas to the last lyrical words of Vancouver Poet Laureate Brad Cran's it was a huge success.

The place was on fire with amazing talent. Michael Nichol Yahgulanaas opened the evening with a look at the deforestation of Haida Gwaii and then treated the audience to a taste of his art combined with the magic of a cello.

A Most Excellent selection of writers and poets followed including Rhonda Waterfall, Weldon Hunter, Leilah Nadir, Alex Leslie and McKinley Hellenes [right, in red].

Once my own reading was over [I did a short, hopefully humorous bit from my satirical mystery novel SEVEN DAYS], I was really able to sit back and enjoy.

A couple of CanLit guys [and also SiWC alums!] graced the stage.

Steven Galloway [right] read the very end of his story THE CELLIST OF SARAJEVO, and Timothy Taylor read a lovely little selection from an upcoming novel. 

CWILL BC sister Caroline Adderson read a selection from one of her adult stories, and strove to set herself apart in the eyes of the audience by offering the shortest selection of the night. [I wanted more -- she was wonderful!]

YARN BOMBING authors Mandy Moore and Leanne Prain shared a few of their quirky and wonderful ideas for making the world better one skein of yarn at a time. And the evening was most ably and wonderfully co-hosted by Vancouver Reader & Writers Festival head Hal Wake. I'm hoping he found his lost pen...!

A highlight of the night for me was meeting young Toby -- [you can see him sitting on his mum's lap in the shot here of Hal Wake]. He was a delightful addition to the audience, listening carefully to all the writers and clearly enjoying himself. He high-fived me after my presentation and offered his theories as to the location of a mysteriously disappearing cell phone in the excerpt I read.

Writer, SiWC conference coordinator and all-round cool chick Kathy Chung came with me and we had a riot listening to all the readings and then enjoying a city celebrating the hockey win of Team Canada over Russia.

It was quite a night.

Next up -- a peek at the CANSCAIP element of the Ontario Library Association Superconference. I've spent the last couple of days storming Vancouver with author Kari-Lynn Winters. Wild times!


Thursday, February 25, 2010


Made it!

It's been a busy day, but as you can see, I've ended up in a very zen hotel. I also got to spend time tonight with my dear friend [and whirlwind] Kari-Lynn Winters.

Tomorrow, along with Kari and a group of other fantastic authors, I present A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW at the Ontario Library Association Superconference. I'm hoping to connect with as many writers, librarians, readers and friends as I can here over the course of my brief stay in this snowy province. [What are you thinking, Ontario? SNOW in FEBRUARY? Haven't you heard of cherry blossoms?]

If you're at the conference, come up and say hi!

And to finish, if you really feel like a taste of true zen, have a look HERE....and then HERE...

to see some of the world's most beautiful libraries, via The Huffington Post.

Tomorrow I'll do a proper post about the brilliance that was the W2 Real Writers of Vancouver finale last night on the downtown east side.

Short version: It rocked.

Long version: Tomorrow. [with pictures!]

See you then.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Next up: W2 Real Vancouver Writers Gig Grand Finale

This Wednesday.
7 pm

You can see a couple of pix I took at the event two weeks ago HERE.
As you can see, it's been standing room only every week. This Wednesday, with writers like Tim Taylor, Steven Galloway, Carolyn Adderson and [controversial!] Poet Laureate Brad Cran...well, I suggest you get there early.

Details, via Sean Cranbury:

Date: Wednesday February 24th
Location: W2 Culture + Media House 112 West Hastings Street across from the refurbed Woodwards Building.

Doors open at 630
First Reader 710ish
Hosted by Sean Cranbury & Hal Wake


Opening Remarks: Sean Cranbury

Introducing Honoured Special Guest Michael Nichol Yahgulanaas who will showcase a video/interactive discussion abt his work.

From there we will go to a streamlined line-up of 5-7 minute readings from our writers including two breaks.  Like this:

Rhonda Waterfall
Weldon Hunter
kc dyer


Steven Galloway
Leilah Nadir
Alex Leslie
Caroline Adderson


Leanne Prain & Mandy Moore aka The Yarn Bombers
McKinley M Hellenes
Timothy Taylor
Brad Cran

Here's a great video from week 2 about the series:

We will be giving away some amazing prizes during the evening.  There's a cash bar, too and great art and photography on the walls. 

Me again. Gonna be tons of fun! Hope to see you there!


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hockey Night in Vancouver

Got a chance to watch the only ticketed event I'll make it to for these games...but what an event! The Canada-US hockey game.

High excitement in the air, unbelievable crowds,

[this was on the street, walking to the stadium]

 [this was taken in line to get in...]

terrible officiating over the first period and a half and a less than fairy-tale ending...but still a breath-taking experience.

So much fun! So much noise!

The press corps is in the bank of blue seats you can see in this shot. Essentially 3 full bunks of seats -- a huge chunk of the stadium.

I'm kind of curious just exactly what percentage of the blood volume of the average hockey fan at the game tonight was beer...? Guesses?

Back to the edits in the morning.

And, as an early birthday present for my friend Pamela, HERE and HERE are some words of wisdom for writers, from writers, via...what else? The Guardian. Pam-- I expect you to adhere especially closely to Anne Enright's Rule #8.

Hoping to be able to tell you fer sure fer sure what the actual title of Darby, Too will be later in the week!


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Carving, molding, shaping...

...the new story s-l-o-w-l-y into shape. Got a goodly chunk done today and need to get as much done tomorrow, though I will have half the time.

But feel no pain for me, for I pause in my herculean labours merely to take in a [whispering] hockey game. Canada vs US. Woo-HOO! Expect a few play-by-play tweets from me... [sweetly tweeting @kcdyer, of course].

In the meantime, twitter has brought me this via the Most Wonderful @JannArden, and so I thought I would share it with you. I've probably listened to it ten times today, and though I like to watch the whole family singing in the kitchen vibe, the harmonies hold up so beautifully without video that I've just been listening to it as I write.

Hope you enjoy. {And someone PLEASE get this family to make a CD!]


Friday, February 19, 2010

We interrupt this posting... bring you a still shot taken from a downhill mountain bike movie my boy is shooting at the moment. He's documenting a number of his friends riding, and the footage is taken from all around the North Shore. He and his friend Nick evaded the heavy security presence on Cypress last week to take some footage of a huge gap jump they had built. Peter got a few stills as well.

Anyway ... I love this shot, so thought I'd share.

You can find it on Peter Dyer's flickr page, too.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Darby, Too...

I have a new book coming out this fall. I'm deep in the middle of edits right now, torn to ribbons between slipping sideways through time, and making it back in order to see the speedskating. Oh, the woes of editing whilst the Games are on!

So perhaps this goes a way toward explaining my hysteria in watching, yet again, another version of my favourite Hitler meme. This time, the first few minutes are devoted to NBC's coverage of the games, but when Adolph moves on to analysis of CTV's coverage, well... I just lose it.
Language is NSFMMOTC [Not safe for most members of the clergy...]

PS...He's speaking metaphorically...


[HT to @dbarefoot for the link]

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Creation of Hope Event

My fellow writer [and friend] Eric Walters is holding a special magic show to raise money for his Creation of Hope water projects in Africa. The event, as you can see from this poster, will be at Erindale Secondary School in Missassauga on Thursday, February 25th, 2010.

If you are in the area -- please consider attending this special evening. And if you can't make it, please send a donation to this incredibly worthy cause.

I've blogged about Eric Walters before. He is the closest thing I know to a living whirlwind and an incredibly successful author. But he is also a caring and compassionate individual -- one who is NOT afraid to step out and take action. Creation of Hope is an example [and only one example -- Eric is involved in many endeavours...] of that action made manifest.

I hope you'll take part in whatever way you can.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Quick Catch-up

A speedy one tonight, as Duty Calls.

First, in the spirit of All Things Olympique: If you are around town [and by that I mean Rain City] for the festivities these days, you could do worse than catching a concert at Holland Park in Surrey. They are running every night, with a collection of GREAT bands. Find out more HERE.

Came across this the other day, and thought it Quite Cool...

And to finish, here is an action shot of my Canine Boys. It seems, on a hike, I can only get the rear view...

More soon!


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Olympic Update


That was the sound of Canadians breathing a collective sigh of relief. A gold medal safely won on home soil. Actually, the last 24 hours have brought a medal of each colour, so good news all around. Billions spent now justified.

Okay, okay -- I'll drop the cynicism now. I have NO use for the protesters yesterday who broke and smashed things to prove...what? The decisons have already been made, people. The money spent. No use setting fire to the barn once the horse has left the building. Unless...maybe you're looking for attention of a different sort? I fully support everyone's right to peaceful protest -- and I hope those who choose to do so continue.

HUGE congratulations to all the athletes who have made it here, are at the pinnacle of their respective sports, and show themselves to be true Olympians. 

The cynic in me was quieted still more last night, after a tour around downtown Vancouver. This is the part of the Games I love.

I was surprised by how much the atmosphere felt like it had back in Calgary -- very family-friendly, lots of celebration and good sports. I was in the beer tent beside the Canada Pavilion in Live City
Downtown when the women's moguls was on, and the cheering for Jenn Heil was electric. When she was ousted at the very end by Hannah Keirney, though, everyone cheered for her, too.

Sadly, I ended up carrying a dead camera around with me all night, so the pix here are of sorry iPhone quality, but I have to say that the rain didn't deter the enthusiasm of the crowds who roamed Vancouver's streets on the first full day of the Olympic Games...and a great deal of fun was had by all.

[A quick pic summary from top to bottom: Crowds dance to bands at the LiveCity stage in Yaletown, Yahoo's FANcouver site in Yaletown [free internet!], a brilliant tree underneath the free zipline in Robson Square, the crowd celebrates Jenn Heil's silver near the Canada pavilion at LiveCity Downtown, the Four Host First Nations Pavilion on Georgia St by the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Canada Post celebrates the flag above the crowds on Hamilton Street, and the Hockey Night in Canada guys brave the rain outside the CBC and go live.]

We walked for around seven hours, and made it to a ton of the free sites and pavilions around downtown. If you are in the area, I highly recommend you lace on your good walking shoes and go out to take part.

You'll find a great summary of all the open sites in the Lower Mainland HERE. Tons to do. Enjoy a side of Vancouver rarely seen -- SO much fun to be had.

And to finish, a very beautiful poem I have permission to share with you from writer Dee-Ann LeBlanc. Dee-Ann is a naturalized Canadian-citizen, born in the US, and she is an avid and enthusiastic volunteer for the Games. She and I have shared the many tribulations of the lead-up to the Games, as we also share the same drive-way...the Sea to Sky highway. Her portion of it is longer and more dangerous than my own, since she lives near Squamish.

I'm thrilled she has allowed me to air her poetic thoughts here...

The Games
by Dee-Ann LeBlanc

Sometimes I feel too much.

Everything ugly in this world
everything ugly wrought by man
famine, sickness,
bigotry, war
and the endless droning
of cynical voices
incapable of any kind of joy

Weighs down on me
until I can only
curl around the
sputtering spark
that's left of my
once bright spirit

I think that's what drew me
to the flame of the games

Not the literal flame
of the real world,
with its human flaws
so easily listed

But to the ideal of the games

To the bright flame
of love, courage,
peace, strength, and dedication
that draws people together
in a world seemed determined
to tear us apart

So while cynics protest
just for the attention
and politicians manipulate
for selfish gains
I'll rest my sputtering spark
for a while
in the arms of the flame

And find warmth
in the hopes of the games

Thank you, Dee!


Friday, February 12, 2010

Olympian Ambivilence

I've got this little knee issue that's stealing much of my sleep for the moment, so I found myself up at 3 this morning, watching the news, having given up the sleep ghost for a while. By 5 the pre-torch run show was on, and at 6 I watched the throngs begin the final day's surge across the Lions Gate Bridge.

I was at the Olympics in 1988, and it was quite a show. The day I rode up the chair lift just ahead of Eddie the Eagle, they had to shut down the luge run due to the chinook that blew through, spraying prairie dust all along the icy surface. Low snow seems to be a theme with our Canadian Winter Olympics, it seems.

I've felt far more ambivalent about the approach of these games. Even in this post-9/11 world, the billion dollars the IOC and VANOC have allotted to security seems like an unthinkable amount. Last night as I drove home along the Sea to Sky there were six police cars who had pulled drivers over in the course of the fifteen minute drive.

While the television coverage doesn't really show it, most of the torch-bearers had the ubiquitous Coca-Cola truck running interference for them, replete with go-go dancers for that special little commercial touch.

And, how our premier can beam fondly over at the well-protected, torch-bearing Arnold Schwartznegger this morning and at the same time make cuts to education [800 teaching jobs on the line in Vancouver alone next year] and health care -- well, it leads one to want to turn one's back on the spectacle entirely.

And yet...

There's THIS -- a look at our beautiful country through the eyes of others who may never have seen it if not for the torch run. Or the pictures here, which I took the other night at the downtown branch of the Vancouver Public Library. They depict a collection of twinkling dreams made corporeal, shot high through the air into a web of hope by those who see the Games as a peaceful way for countries to gather together.

So for all those athletes and volunteers and well-wishers -- let the games begin. I'll fire high my twinkling hopes for great competition, good sportsmanship and increased understanding among nations. And I'll save the worries for my city and province for when the post-Olympocalypse descends.

[Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to head out onto the Sea-to-Sky and remember to drive with due care and attention, UNDER the speed limit...]


Thursday, February 11, 2010

W2 Real Vancouver Writers' and Culture Series

Just read THIS on Bookninja this morning, stating that Vancouver Poet Laureate Brad Cran is declining to participate in the Cultural Olympiad, mostly [if I understand his argument] because it is only paying lip-service to Canadian writers.

Yay for Brad Cran! I love a poet who sticks to his metaphorical guns. But Mr. Cran WILL be appearing at the W2 Real Vancouver Writers series finale on February 24h, and I look forward to meeting him there. [I'll be reading there, too, that night...] This event is, in fact, antithetical to all things commercial, and is the best way I can think of to spend that 5 bucks that is burning a hole in your pocket.

Speaking of W2, I went to the second event [of four]  last night. It was held at 112 West Hastings on the downtown east side, and the place was HAPPENING, man.

[That's the big W, floating in the dark above the new building.] From a distance, the new site looks as though it is on fire, with projected images of flames dancing in the windows.

Now, as I understand it, the W2 facility is not quite ready yet, so for now, this series of events is being held across the street from the not-quite-finished Woodwards building. Behind a corrugated metal door, just down the block from Victory Square -- it is a hyper-cool venue, and there was a selection of readers last night that more than did the venue justice.

I was invited to participate by the effervescent Sean Cranbury, whom you can see orchestrating things in the picture above. I'm actually quite, quite thrilled with this shot, as it shows Sean doing his thing on stage, the screen to one side reflecting photos of the downtown east side [taken by Emmanuel Buenviajje] from a book called 'Vancouver Special' by Charles Demers AND the guys working upstairs in the booth to live-stream and tape the readings. kc rocks the meta-media photo...!!


This is Charles, who co-hosted the evening, making a sock puppet hand, just to show that young writers don't discriminate against low-tech, either.

It was a great evening, with loads of amazing talent. The line-up included: Kevin Chong, Jen Sookfong Lee, Ian Weir, Chris Walter, Peter Darbyshire, Jenn Farrell, Jane Sayers, Shay Wilson, Larissa Lai, Anne Stone.

I particularly enjoyed hearing Jen Sookfong Lee [whom it was nice to put a face to, after hearing her so often on CBC]. Here's a shot of Jen, followed by shots of Chris Walter and Ian Weir. [For more pix, check out my Flickr page.]

All the writers gave wonderful readings -- and Sean has rassled up a bunch of raffle prizes, to add to the fun. There was even a bar in the back.

So, if you're hanging around Vancouver in the next couple of weeks, and if you feel like raising a fist of protest in the air to all the commercial elements of the Olympic Games, there's no better way to do it then to come on out to these W2 Real Vancouver Writer events.

I'll be there, as promised, on February 24th, along with Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, Steven Galloway, Timothy Taylor, Rhonda Waterfall, Yarnbombers Leann Prain and Mandy Moore, Weldon Hunter, McKinley M Hellenes, Alex Leslie, Leilah Nadir, Caroline Adderson, Brad Cran, and ably hosted by the marvellous Hal Wake.

With a line-up like that -- I'd suggest arriving early. It was standing room only, last night.


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Dis and Dat....a

Hmm. Lotsa news. Let's take it one item at a time, shall we?

One: My Five Fave things about Vancouver appeared on the Raincoast Blog today, courtesy of my once-publicist, the most-awesome Dan Wagstaff. I realized after I posted my answers off to him that pretty much all of the favourites revolved around my stomach and the satisfactory filling thereof.

B. The pix are from an Exceedingly Fun Fieldtrip I took with fellow SiWC folks and friends Kathy Chung, Dale McGladdery and Ingrid Roeske last weekend to the Victoria Film Festival.

We hit the road to see the new documentary called ANNE PERRY: INTERIORS which had been filmed at the conference a couple of years ago. Well worth the trip. [Plus we had lotsa good food. Have I mentioned before that I enjoy that aspect at all...?]

The first shot is at Tswwassen, just ready to float across the Strait. Second is the film festival desk, and third is a sign I spotted on the door of a Very Funky Victoria store, as we were searching for ... food. 

III. Make sure you check out the W2 Real Vancouver Writers' and Culture series blog HERE.

This series runs all through February on Wednesday nights -- with a really incredible line-up of local writers.

I'll be reading at the closing night of the series, with a stellar group: Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, Steven Galloway, Timothy Taylor, Rhonda Waterfall, The Yarnbombers Leann Prain and Mandy Moore, Weldon Hunter, McKinley M Hellenes, Alex Leslie, Leilah Nadir, Caroline Adderson, Brad Cran and possibly a few others I don't even know of as yet.

Am having major fits of trepidation as to what I should read when presenting with such a list of luminaries. Right now am leaning towards a snippet of my post-Olympocalyptic satire set here in Vancouver. I'm not sure if I have a scene set in Stanley Park as an homage to Tim Taylor... the Wreck Beach scene might have to do.  I'll be sure to wear my fingerless gloves in honour of Leanne and Mandy, as they were knitted by one of their Biggest Fans. But -- can I play the cello for Steven Galloway? I don't see that happening. I think I may have to sneak into tomorrow night's performance to get a feel for the standard I'll be expected to uphold. I'll be the one in the back wearing fingerless gloves...

4. New website design is coming along swimmingly. Have decided to move to a new server as Telus [company name redacted to protect the guilty] is all about the fail lately. With the site upgrade [spooky houses! glowing lights!] will hopefully come an integrated blog. More news as it happens.

And finally -- I was hoping to embed this, but no luck. Granny O'Grimm is nominated for Best Oscar short -- and, well...I'm telling you to judge for yourself.

TOTALLY worth the 5 minutes of viewing time:  

[Hat tip to @dale42 aka the SiWC webwizard Dale McGladdery for this gem.]

More soon!


Friday, February 05, 2010

The Road to the Games...

...[which also happens to be my driveway] is blocked today, due to torch-trotting. It's all-Olympics all the time these days, with lots and lots of police and military support for Those Who May Not Be Good Sports.

However, along with all the police cars and helicopters, there ARE a few cool things happening, most of them to do with the Cultural Olympiad. Down at the brand spanking new W2 building, an incredible space has opened up for the arts and technology. I am VERY excited to see it...and you can see it, too!

The W2 Real Vancouver Writers and Culture series runs every Wednesday in February at 112 West Hastings Street in the new old iconic Woodwards building, at 7pm. Here's a summary:

February 3rd – Hosted by Sean Cranbury

Richard Van Camp, John Burns, Brendan McLeod, Bruce Grenville, Cathleen With, Jennica Harper, Robert Chaplin
February 10th – Hosted by Charlie Demers
Kevin Chong, Jen Sookfong Lee, Ian Weir, Chris Walter, Peter Darbyshire, Jenn Farrell, Jane Sayers, Shay Wilson, Larissa Lai, Anne Stone.
February 17th – Hosted by Elizabeth Bachinsky
Teresa McWhirter, Lee Henderson, Elizabeth Bachinsky, Heather Susan Haley, Nikki Reimer, Chris Hutchinson, Dina Del Bucchia, Amber Dawn, Donato Mancini, Sonnet L’Abbe, Jonathon Wilcke, Catherine Owen.
February 24th – Hosted by Hal Wake

Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, Steven Galloway, Timothy Taylor, Rhonda Waterfall, The Yarnbombers Leann Prain and Mandy Moore, Weldon Hunter, McKinley M Hellenes, Alex Leslie, kc dyer, Leilah Nadir, Caroline Adderson, Brad Cran.

I'll be there on closing night -- SO looking forward to being a part of this event. It's going to be live-streamed, on You-tube -- the whole shebang. Find out more HERE.