And another Muskoka Novel Marathon is over. My seventh!
I had an interesting challenge from one of my sponsors this year. EAT MAPLE SYRUP AND I WILL SPONSOR YOU FOR $50. Sounds easy enough. Everybody likes maple syrup, right? I mean, isn’t it a law in Canada that all citizens are required to love the shit?
I hate it. I hate the syrup itself, and I particularly hate anything maple flavoured. Donuts, cookies, candy, what have you. When Mel Cober threw down the villainous challenge, I terrifyingly took her up on it. And, wonder of wonders, she actually trusted that I would go through with it. She fronted me the donation before I left for the marathon. So, I had no choice. I arranged to have a maple syrup chow-down at the marathon. Check out the video here:
Why do we do these silly things we do? Because we believe everyone has the right to literacy. I’m willing to eat maple syrup to make that happen. The marathon is all about raising funds and awareness for the literacy programs of YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka Literacy Services.
This year, we were given an almost final tally of $23,000 raised. THAT is amazing! That alone makes the whole sleepless marathon worth it. But we also benefit from having a whole 72hr period where we don’t have to worry about anything else in the world but writing. I LOVE that part of the deal. We get to WRITE.
My word count was low this year, but it doesn’t matter. I have a work in progress now. Something to work on and flesh out. I am happy with that. What more can I ask for!
We didn’t have to ask for more, but we definitely got it! Saturday night was NUIT BLANCHE NORTH. Some of the 40 writers present cut loose and walked down into downtown Huntsville to take in the sights of the event, myself included.
It’s always interesting to see what’s what at Nuit Blanche North. And it always takes place mid-marathon. (-:
And that wasn’t all. There was more. I got to see my Camino mentor, Sue Kenney! She led some of the readers through a barefoot creative walk on the Sunday morning of the marathon. Watching my fellow writers discover Sue and her all-round wonderfulness was so great. I’ve known her for a few years and I walked the Camino with her this past May…I knew they were in for a treat.
That walk transported me back to the Camino. Such a great way to begin our Sunday!
Sometime over the course of the weekend I spotted four writers in the food line-up wearing t-shirts from four different MNM marathons. I had to take a pic…
Another great marathon was had by all. I so love this event. It’s not just about raising money for literacy programs. It isn’t just about getting a whole weekend to do nothing but write. It isn’t just about the amazing camaraderie of spending a weekend with 40 writers. It’s all those things and more. I honestly can’t say enough about the event. I think all writers should have the writing marathon experience. But not just any writing marathon. This particular one is exceptional. Thanks for another great year, MNM!
Oh, and here’s something to put a smile on your face. Charlie is extraordinary!
- Dream up an idea that is bigger than the spot in your brain that contains it.
- Transfer the idea from your brain to your heart.
- Knead idea with the milkblood of your heart.
- Push the idea out of your heart and into the highways and byways of your veins.
- Allow the idea to float through your body for as long as you can contain the excitement.
- When exhausted from the anticipation of giving birth to the idea, allow it to float to the ends of your arms and down into your fingers.
- Send the idea through the ends of your finger tips down into your keyboard.
- Watch the idea come to life on the computer screen in front of you.
- Be amazed! You are creator.
- Once idea has been fully purged, type THE END into the same keyboard you allowed the idea to escape into.
- Sit back and be well pleased with yourself.
Enjoy some SHADOW STABBING from Cake. (-:
The Muskoka Novel Marathon is a fundraiser in support of Adult Literacy initiatives in Huntsville, Ontario. But more than that, it’s an opportunity for writers to come together in a supportive environment and spend an entire, (mostly) uninterrupted weekend writing. Friends are made, stories are shared, and the occasional midnight desk chair race breaks up the late-night silence. ~ From the Muskoka Novel Marathon Website
If you have been reading my blog, you will know by now that I am passionate about the Muskoka Novel Marathon. And extremely passionate about literacy.
Two out of every five Canadians struggles with basic reading and writing. It affects their jobs, their health and their family. Funds raised at the Muskoka Novel Marathon are donated to YMCA Muskoka Literacy Services (part of YMCA of Simcoe Muskoka) and help keep the doors open to those in the community that want to overcome literacy challenges for a better life. ~ From the Muskoka Novel Marathon Website
In the world of reading, I firmly believe that nobody should be left behind. To be illiterate in today’s society is to live every day with a dark monster at your heels…eating away at your potential, your light, your self-esteem. When you are unable to read, it negatively impacts every single aspect of your day to day life.
I could ask you to try to live in this world for an hour as though you cannot read. You might even think you would be able to do it…to grasp the concept…to walk (or drive) down the street and pretend to be unable to read all the words that come your way inside of that hour. You would be able to imagine some form of empathy…as you would think that not seeing the words would be a reasonable facsimile to illiteracy. You could pretend to be unable to read traffic signs, directions, a cereal box, an ingredient list for possible allergy foods, advertisements, your mail, you name it. But the bottom line is that reading is something you can’t be unfamiliar with once you have a grasp of how to do it. You can’t put yourself in the shoes of someone who struggles with literacy. It’s impossible. The closest you can get to experiencing it would be for me to pick you up and plant you down in the middle of a country where all the signs are in a language you’ve never seen before. How quickly would you feel lost? Alone? Scared? Judged? Segregated? Marginalized? Disoriented? Angry? Sad? Disillusioned? Incompetent?
So, I can’t ask you to imagine the struggles you would face if you were illiterate. I can only ask you to sympathize with those who do struggle with literacy.
On July 11th, I head up to Huntsville, Ontario, for my 7th Muskoka Novel Marathon. Yes…I will have a hell of a lot of fun at the novel writing marathon. I will write my face off. Hopefully I will walk away from the weekend with a new completed novel under my belt. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. One never knows going in if they’re going to achieve their goal. It’s a lot of fun to be locked in with a room full of writers. A LOT OF FUN. But it’s also a hell of a hard thing to do…write a novel in one sitting. At any rate, I get a great weekend of writing out of this commitment. A gift you couldn’t imagine!
I can’t arrive to the marathon empty-handed. I need sponsors. I need for people to see the value in donating money to literacy efforts in Simcoe County/Muskoka. Your donations can help chase away that dark monster that bites at the heels of those who struggle with literacy. The programs in place to assist them are designed to get them on their feet and fully integrated into the world currently beyond their comprehension. Your donations can turn on the light and make the darkness vanish. What say you? I will sit on my keister for 72 hours and write non-stop and hope that the media spotlight that hits the marathon brings in some much needed funds and awareness. That’s the easy part (and as mentioned above, a lot of fun). Will you make a small donation to help me to help them?
Click on the image below to go directly to my CANADA HELPS GIVING PAGE, where you can donate online:
If you would rather donate to a literacy program in your own community, please do so. If we inspire anyone to donate money to literacy anywhere, we have won.
Thank you in advance!
Let’s break it down, shall we?
She climbs a tree and scrapes her knee, her dress has got a tear
She waltzes on her way to Mass and whistles on the stair
And underneath her wimple she has curlers in her hair
I even heard her singing in the abbey
She’s always late for chapel, but her penitence is real
She’s always late for everything, except for every meal
I hate to have to say it, but I very firmly feel Maria’s not an asset to the abbey
I’d like to say a word in her behalf
Maria makes me laugh
How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
How do you find the word that means Maria?
A flibbertijibbet! A will-o’-the wisp! A clown!