Ahhh -- that's the sound a writer makes when she gets to spend the afternoon at home WRITING.

This week, I get to concentrate on teaching and writing -- and I get to reflect on Montreal's Blue Metropolis Literary Festival, which ended yesterday. Besides participating, I went to 10 talks and readings, so I have lots to reflect about.

Yesterday, I went to a panel discussion on writing about childhood. During the Q&A period, I asked all three authors whether they could share any tricks for "accessing" the world of childhood. (Of course, if you're a young person reading this, you don't need tricks -- lucky you, you are IN the world of childhood and you'd better write about it NOW!!)

Montreal author Ann Charney said solitude -- alone time at the computer -- helps her access the childhood world. Montreal author and Blue Metropolis founder and director Linda Leith said she uses memory to return to childhood. "I recreate memory by focusing on details," Leith explained. And Patrick McCloskey, author of the non-fiction book The Street Stops Here, talked a little about how he got young people (the subjects of his book) to open up. McCloskey said his tricks were: "being there and patience." All three writers' words have stayed with me... especially since so much of my writing life requires me to step back into the world of childhood. 

I have finished the final draft of Junkyard Dog. Am taking a short break to meet up with a friend -- then I'll start the final revision of The Middle of Everywhere (both these books will be out next fall with Orca Book Publishers). Soon, I'll have marking to do, too... then after that's done, I'll start a new manuscript. The prospect makes me a little nervous, but also VERY HAPPY. Talk to you later this week!