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A DIFFERENT KIND OF DATE (FOR ME)

I have endured way too many excruciating dates over the years – the wired (or should that be spelled weird) lawyer who took me to a huge event and dropped me into the crowd, where I didn’t know a soul, and disappeared(the fact that he nearly rear ended several vehicles in the parking lot didn’t much for the evening, either) the aspiring director who I invited as my date to a big party, and who, amazingly, ended up necking with my best friend in a side room. This is the sort of stuff that makes memoirs a great read, when I get around to writing them. Hey, it is all grist for the mill, fodder for the future, whatever. All I know is that eventually, even if it takes a few decades, I can roar with laughter over the mishaps of the past. Thank goodness I don’t date any more, although I suppose I am missing out on some great subject matter by not doing so.

A week or so ago, I had an entirely different sort of date. A Writing Date with my friend Shelley. We met at a coffee house with our laptops. (Well, okay, she brought her laptop, but I couldn’t find the flash drive for mine, so ended up working in a notebook by longhand, which was fine ….) It was companionable, fun, mutually sustaining, and ultimately productive. Now this is the sort of dating I could get into bigtime!

I worked on the structuring of my next Lulu Malone mystery, which is basically written, but needs a structural overhaul. (As in, why exactly does Lulu do the incredibly crazy things she does, unless there is a major plot point involved? Everybody loves Lulu, especially me, so I just need to get her to the next level in Trashing the Trailer.)

Natalie Goldberg (Writing Down the Bones) has advocated writing dates for years, and now I know why. Away from the household chores, the phone, the office mess that keeps snarling at you ‘Clean up, clean up’ it is very freeing to simply sit somewhere else and do nothing but write.

I have done so in the past at writing salons at the Banff Centre (courtesy of fabulous Wordfest) and even, in my travels, in hotel bars across the country, sitting with a good chardonnay, a good fountain pen, and a beautiful notebook, in solitude and creativity. (I highly recommend the Hotel McDonald in Edmonton, and the Hotel Vancouver for this.)

So, now I am all for the dating game again! As long as it requires a good friend, a quiet place and a story to write.

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