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Archives | Sylvia McNicoll

Exercising Creativity



This wasn’t my idea. As far as I know Arthur Slade (author of The Hunchback Assignments) first started the trend and I wanted to get on board immediately. Only treadmills cost money and Arthur is ten years younger than I am. But then Gillian Chan (author of The Turning) appeared on CBC also using a treadmill while writing. She’s the same age as I am and has similar joint issues.

Coincidentally Canadian Tire had a sale offering about 50% off on a Temp 621 T which I knew would work as Art had done all the research on the model. It also had the 90 degree handles required to mount a shelf/desk.
Still it took me a week of agonizing to decide. The day I went to purchase the treadmill, to my horror the sale was over. A more expensive model without the right handles was on sale instead. I used my persuasive language (begging and whining) and got them to sell me the Tempo at the past due price.
Then I borrowed a truck from Gisela Sherman (author of Grave Secrets)
My husband took the day to put it together. The screws are hard to fit properly. He bungee corded the shelf to the treadmill.
It’s only been a week, but I love it. Even if I don’t lose weight, I think it keeps me more alert and certainly I’m getting more exercise. I usually walk my Jackapoo Mortie about 5 times a day. I know what you’re thinking. But Mortie can’t have a treadmill of his own unless he starts writing books too.

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Exercising Creativity

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Digital Camera–my favourite writing tool

For Today’s Parent Toronto, I was invited to a photo tutorial at Riverdale and then given the camera to keep! Hurray! These two photos are taken on my year old Sony. I love digitals for taking notes on fiction and non fiction projects. Helps my description immensely. I take photos of food,menus, and decor, for restaurant reviews. It’s my visual memory.

I went mostly because I’d never been to Riverdale Farm before. I’ve written about it which always feels slightly fraudulent. We were encouraged to bring a child-subject so three year old William and I were off on an adventure.
Negin Sairafi gave us tips on the features of our new Kodak plus general hints in exporing our photographic creativity. I enjoyed the tutorial very much.
I loved the animals and the idea that here was this green and organic oasis in the middle of the hustle bustle city. I would post a lot more photos of horses and goat and donkey bottoms (that’s how they faced us) except I accidentally deleted ALL instead of PICTURE. Maybe Kodak makes it too easy?

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One of my favourite writing tools

On behalf of Today’s Parent Toronto, I was invited to a photo workshop designed to help you photograph children. The idea was that I could write about this for moms but the subtext was Kodak was showcasing its new products. Every writer there received a new camera (see below) to work with and (hurray) keep. Negrin Sairafi gave us helpful hints and demonstrated the new prezzie. I loved it. I used digital cameras as note takers for all my fiction and nonfiction writing projects.

We were at Riverdale farm, see the crazy flower horse, and I brought three year old William as we were encouraged to bring subjects.
These pictures were taken with my year old Sony. I haven’t uploaded any new photos from the Kodak because, ironically, I accidentally deleted them all. A little glitch in the ease in which you can do everything with this new model. I was sure I pressed “Picture” not “All” but maybe the red was highlighting All. Usually computers asked you incessantly if you’re sure, not Kodak I’m afraid.

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Recouping from the holiday.

The first few days back from Alaska and in between blowing my nose from an airplane cold, I wrote like crazy trying to sort out the sites of Toronto. I checked websites, talked to people, looked over event calendars, asked Today’s Parent people for some KidSummer sites, double checked neighborhoods and hours and prices, cut hours and prices because of space issues.

Readers don’t realize how much work is behind an article, sadly publishers don’t either. You only see the end result, you don’t see the mass of info that got sculpted into a slant.

Now I feel better and I’m onto writing a feature on Art Slade. It’s how I began my published career, writing about authors. First off I’m rereading as many of his books as I can get my hands on. A joy, really, no problem there. I’m also reading everything written on him. I’ve already been to one of his presentations with kids at a school in Newmarket, I’ve also seen him speak at launch and interact with a fan. Friday I will skype with him. I present in Saskatchewan all the time but just not conveniently in time for this piece. I’ll meet his new daughter( just arrived from China ) on a computer screen.
Then will come the hard part, sculpting it all into a slant. Watch for it in the Canadian Children’s Book Centre Magazine.

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