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Small Town Blues

There’s a lot going on in the big cities these days when it comes to children’s literature.

A finalist for the TD Award

I just received an invitation from the Canadian Children’s Book Centre to attend the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award Celebration in Montreal on November 2nd. There are cocktails and hors d’oeuvres before the award ceremony, and coffee and dessert after. There’s even free valet parking. But it’s in Montreal and I am not. And much as I’d like to hobnob with the finalists (check them out here) and eat free dessert, it’s too far away. I’ll be recovering from Halloween weekend.

Walking Backward book cover

A finalist for the QWF Prize

I am also invited to the Quebec Writers’ Federation Gala in Montreal on November 23rd. That one I’ll go to because my book, Walking Backward, is a finalist for the QWF 2010 Prize for Children’s and Young Adults’ Literature! Not only do I get free coffee but I get to buy a new dress beforehand, so it’s definitely worth the drive. (Plus I get to meet fellow finalist and Orca-author Monique Polak, and she seems lovely.)

QWF would like me and the finalists for all of their awards to come for a reading in Montreal on the evening of November 11th.

Driving with my children

I would love to go. But that’s Remembrance Day and my husband has commitments so I have the kids, and the idea of driving four hours in the dark to and from a city of unfamiliar one-way streets — I’m tensing up as I imagine it — that’s just not worth a five-minute reading for me. So I’m not going. Bummer.

If I lived in Montreal, I could go without a second thought. I could do it all. AND I could eat authentic Mexican food at Casa de Mateo every weekend!

But then I’d be ever farther from Toronto, which is another happening city that I’m nowhere near.

If I lived in Toronto, I could go to the “Packaging Your Imagination” workshops from CANSCAIP, the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators, and Performers, on November 6. I could learn so much — I’d take a workshop on picture books, one on teen novels, one on graphic novels. Great speakers and good value: $150.00 for an entire day of workshops plus lunch! But when you add a train ticket and a hotel, the value dips a tad. (Plus it’s my husband’s birthday weekend, and that’ll cost me.) Too steep for me.

My choices are clear:

(a) Move back to a big city. (No way.)

(b) Break the bank zipping from Montreal to Toronto and back while leaving my kids with a nanny. (Unfortunately, no.)

(c) Choose one event only (the QWF gala) and try not to think of the fun I’m missing in the meantime.

I’ll go with (c). And I won’t whine about it — honestly, I get to go to a gala! Just saying the word “gala” is fun. Going will be a blast.

For today, I’ll bake my own dessert, brew my own coffee, take advantage of the free parking in my driveway, and slog it out on a new book — which is a great pursuit for a small-town writer like me.

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