Saturday, November 16, 2013

Getting to 40 below

For those of you who live in the greater Edmonton area but don't own a snow blower, I sympathize.
I spent a lot of my time on Kijiji this summer noticing just how many people had snow blowers for sale. Many of the sellers included the phrase "used only once" in their description, which blinded me into thinking that, if we purchased a snow blower ourselves, it probably wouldn't get much use and we'd just be back on Kijiji next summer, trying to sell it to someone else.
What a fool I was.
It's funny how summer tricks you into thinking that winters here aren't so bad after all. We don't get much snowfall anyway, right? And it hardly ever blows back in our faces when we try to shovel a clear path to get out of the house.
Though it's not officially winter yet, it definitely feels like it now that we've had our first winter storm of the season. It certainly is beautiful out, but it's not much fun to drive in, and I'm not exactly a fan of shovelling either.
But, this storm is hardly a surprise to anyone, which means we can't just hermit ourselves in the house.... well, not for too long anyway.
Free sleigh rides today at a local community hall's Christmas craft sale. That's my kid in the purple jacket, freezing her arse and admiring the horses from afar.
Late last year I heard about something called the 40 Below Project, in which local writers were encouraged to come forth and submit their best poems and/or short stories about winter in Edmonton.
And, though we're not exactly fans of winter, my husband and I each submitted an original short story with the hopes of maybe being published in the anthology, which was released just a few weeks ago.
Sadly, we were rejected.
And, to add salt in my already gaping wound, one of the authors who did end up having a piece published is a local writer who also rejected another piece of my writing, which I had submitted to her for a separate (non-winter-related) anthology.
So now when I think of the 40 Below anthology, I feel as though I'm being slapped in the face with a double dose of YOUR WRITING SUCKS AND DOESN'T DESERVE TO BE PUBLISHED.
Ahem. But I'm okay, honest.
Regardless of my hurt feelings for being rejected by two separate anthologies, I still went out and purchased 40 Below. And then I proceeded to read it from cover-to-cover in less than 24 hours.
This is the perfect book for anyone who has ever had to endure a frosty Edmonton winter.
My favourite aspect of many of the stories in here is just about how personal they are. The writers really do open up and share a piece of their lives with the readers, and the great thing is that we can all relate to much of what they're describing.
One of my favourite stories in here was written by an immigrant who described his first time seeing snow in our frozen city. His account is both breathtakingly beautiful and devastatingly heartbreaking at the same time.
And I know there are thousands of other immigrant families in the city who can sympathize with every scenario he described.
So, even though I truly do dislike the extremes of winter.... and even though my writing just didn't fit in with this particular anthology..... I still believe, without a doubt, that no Edmonton home should be without this book on their coffee table.
After all, today is the perfect day to stay indoors and do some reading.
Once you're done with all that shovelling, that is.

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