Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Freedom to Write

I was moved in many ways at the opening gala of the International Festival of Authors last night.

Hearing Dubliner Roddy Doyle speak in his lovely lilt made me want to jump on the next plane and fly back to the green Isle. He reminded me too, how culturally rich a nation Ireland is.

How humour plays a role in almost everything they do. How some of the world's best story tellers come from there.

How I'm not sure I could ever replicate - even just a little - the experience I had in the Irish publishing industry. And maybe that's okay.

I was also privileged to speak to the talented Canadian director, writer and actor Don McKellar and let him know IN PERSON just how deeply his movie Last Night affected me.

But most importantly, I found a charity that I want to actually work with. Not to say that there are charities that I WOULDN'T work with, just that this organisation has got me mobilized in a way I've not thought of before.

"PEN Canada assists writers around the world who are persecuted for the peaceful expression of their ideas".

There are people, just like me, more powerful and courageous then me, all over the globe, who every day have to choose freedom over their written words.

Considering how often I am voicing my opinion in this way, I can't imagine worrying about my life for saying that I don't like a government policy, a religious idea or hell even the shirt someone was wearing today.

So I encourage you to read about them. And do whatever you can to help keep words alive.

Someone once said knowledge is power. If you can't write about it, how will anyone know?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Have Your Say!

There is a lot I want to say and should say and WILL say but today I just want to say ONE THING...

Get out and vote!!

There are millions of people all over this world that risk their lives in order to make a choice for leadership.

No matter what you think of the Canadian candidates, it's important to remember today that this is bigger than the politicians who are running.

It may actually matter more that you cast a vote then who you vote for at all.


Monday, October 06, 2008

A Bit O a Plunge

National Novel Writing Month

I heard about this from a woman I work with and thought it would be fun to see publishing from the other side of the fence.

I'm currently trying to think of interesting characters and scenarios and mostly, following the golden rule, write what you know.

So, please don't be surprised if you end up hearing of a backpacking Irish girl who goes to teach English in Korea. Hmmm...original?

Friday, October 03, 2008

No Show Me Da Money

I'm doing some training for work and came across an interesting statement in regards to technical information:

"..If the quality isn't acceptable to end users, no drop in cost will matter."

In the course of the last few months, I've been soaking up information from this world of technical information and usability.

I suppose the main reason companies do anything is to save money, purely because they make money, fuel the economy and allow me to live comfortably.

So I find it interesting that even though there may be a consideration when building documentation to budget it appropriately, it's also very important to remember that to the end user, it's not the quality of the paper or the colour vs black&white in the materials, it is truly about the quality of the content.

And even if you can say well, we used to charge you $20 and now we only charge you $10, it actually STILL won't make them a happier or more satisfied customer if the content does not help them.

It's an interesting shift - and also a fine line - between usability thinking and marketing thinking.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A Wordy Evening

One of the most exciting aspects of living in a big city is the opportunity to have an abundance of things to do...right outside your doorstep.

Stating the obvious, I suppose, but when we live in TO before, we didn't take advantage as much as I now feel we should have. Bonus is? Being back is like being able to do it all over again.

In Belfast, we were fortunate to attend lots of arts events because of my line work. I was just luck to be in the know and felt quite at home amongst those that took part in these events. (NOT Harper's rich rendition, I assure you)

So, tonight, we're going to take advantage of our geography and head to a book reading. Everyone probably remembers Irvine Welsh mostly for his crazy druggies in Trainspotting and I got to know a bit more of his work while at Blackstaff as we had an author with a similar style.

His latest novel, Crime, is out and lucky for us he's promoting it. Seems a bit funny to go see a Scot in Toronto when I could have seen him in Scotland but perhaps I'll feel transported back to a life that seems so very far away these days.