Four Years of Blogging

What is it about blogging that keeps me going despite the fact that I never went in for journal writing, or ever kept a diary? Is it the audience? Has to be, I think. I’ve had a lot of fun getting into blogging, and the people that I’ve met, who have commented on my posts or linked to me, are a great part of that. And I’m looking forward to keeping this up for as long as my interest remains.

It’s interesting how much has changed since I made my first post, and how much hasn’t. We’ve had considerable tragedy and great joy, and that’s only in the last year. Reading through my old blogs, it’s interesting watching The Unwritten Girl take shape, along with its two potential sequels, and I’m pleased at how much of a potential audience this blog has built for the novel.

And, of course, there are the political posts that threatened to take over this blog. I’m frankly surprised at how long winded I can be, and how I never run out of things to say about this subject. I guess I’d do all right in the Tim Hortons, speaking with other Canadians. I met a lot of good bloggers here too, from all sides of the political spectrum, and I helped to build the Blogging Alliance of Non-Partisan Canadians, which received some recognition from the mainstream media during the last election.

Over the past four years, I’ve come to realize that writing is what I like to do and a writer is what I want to be, and this blog has helped me to that end. I’ve said there’s nothing magical about blogging, no more so than there’s anything magical about the Internet, but the Internet is a powerful tool, and a vibrant and growing community, and it’s not going away. Blogging is the same, and I’m not going away either.

New Carnival of Children’s Literature

Blog carnivals are one of the unique features of the blogosphere. They’re something else that’s not going to go away either. Melissa Wiley has started a carnival of children’s literature over at her website. My post from Saturday featured, despite the fact that Melissa misnames me James Watson. You should check it out and see what other kids-lit goodness are available via the blogosphere.

Revising the Haunting of Rosemary Watson

And speaking of that blog post, Erin and I had a chance to head out with Vivian for coffee yesterday, and we spent some time revising the scene I’d written a few days before. We focused on correcting the voice of the characters, and we managed to shorten things slightly. Here’s what we’ve come up with now; I hope you agree it’s an improvement:

The fog seemed to follow Rosemary into the school, greying her mood. She gave her history presentation, droning on Laura Secord’s cow and their heroic trek through the swamps, but her eyes were on Peter’s empty desk. She thought she’d covered her unease well, but at the end of period, Mr. Hunter pulled her aside.

“Nice presentation, Miss Watson,” he said. “Could have used a bit more ‘umph’.”

“Oh,” she said. “Sorry.”

“Something on your mind?”

She shrugged.

“About Peter?”

She felt herself blush. The feeling made her blush even more.

His frown deepened. “Want to talk about it?”

“Um… thanks,” she said. Silence stretched. She swallowed. Then the bell saved her. “Gotta go!” She pulled herself from Hunter’s look and walked out into the hall faster than she’d walked all day.

It was bright out here. For a minute, she blinked, and wondered if lights had flickered on, but the cloud on her mind returned and everything dimmed again.

Rosemary slogged through French, then fled into the girls’ washroom. She splashed her face and cleaned her glasses. It didn’t help. Her reflection looked unfocused, her brown hair frizzy, her skin tinged grey. She rubbed her eyes and wondered why she was so tired. Last night she’d been restless, but she’d slept. This morning she’d been so keyed up about talking to Peter about their — she swallowed — relationship, that she could hardly sit still. It wasn’t until she’d come in from the fog that the fog surrounded her.

Where was he? How dare he not be here when she so needed to talk to him?

Rosemary felt the hairs prickle at the back of her neck, and she whirled around. Nobody stood behind her. Still the feeling of being watched didn’t go away. She strained her ears to listen over the hum of the fluorescent lights, and she scanned the floor beneath the stall doors. “Is somebody there?” Silence.

She picked up her knapsack and made to go, but something brushed against the back of her neck and she whirled around again.

She found herself staring at the mirror. She was sure something had been there, behind her, reaching for her throat. But looking hard, all she saw was her reflection. Looking behind her, all she saw was empty air.

The washroom door burst open. “I’m going to kill Peter McAllister!” Brittney snapped, stomping past Rosemary as if she wasn’t there. “I’m going to murder him! They’re going to find his body in the bay!”

Veronica strode in behind. The two girls began touching up their makeup in front of the mirror. “I thought Mr. Simmons would pop a vein when Peter didn’t show.”

“What about me?” Brittney yelled, looking up from her lipstick. “I had to give the presentation on my own!”

Rosemary’s brow furrowed. Peter wouldn’t miss a deadline like this. Not without calling in sick.

Her heart lurched. Maybe he was sick?

“Hey, Rosemary,” Veronica called. “You didn’t do anything to distract Peter, did you—” She turned from the mirror, but Rosemary was already gone, the door swinging shut behind her.

In the office, the administrative assistant looked up from her computer manual. “Rosemary? Is something wrong?”

Rosemary shifted on her feet in front of Miss Stevens’ desk, feeling foolish and paranoid. She took a deep breath. “Could I use the phone? I got to make a call.”

“You sick or something? You need to call your folks?”

“No, not sick,” said Rosemary. She touched her stomach. “I just got to call… home. Yeah. To arrange… things. Okay?”

Miss Stevens shrugged and nodded at the phone on the wall. “Hit nine to get an outside line.” Then she returned to her manual and tapped tentatively at her keyboard.

The phone was on the wall beside the door to Principal Jenkins’ office, and she had to reach to pull the receiver off the hook. She was certain they hung it deliberately to make her feel small. She started to key in Peter’s number, then stopped. She heard Peter’s name through the Principal’s door.

“I’m worried about Peter McAllister.” It was Mr. Hunter’s voice.

“What’s wrong?” asked Mr. Jenkins.

“His marks are dropping,” Hunter replied. “He’s showing less and less interest in class. He’s isolating himself from others.”

“Teenagers. There’s no cure,” said Jenkins.

“Something’s different,” said Hunter. “If he’d been like this after coming to Clarksbury, I’d expect it, but not now. It’s been too long. Rosemary Watson is worried about him too.”

“I’m sure you’re overreacting,” said Jenkins. “Have you talked to him?”

“He ditched school today,” said Mr. Hunter. “I tried calling him, but nobody’s answering the phone.”

Rosemary put the phone on the hook and slipped out, more on her mind than ever.

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