Tag Archives: Red Planet Prize

More milestones

Sometimes it feels like we’ve been living in Canada for decades, and other times I’m surprised to find an anniversary arriving. This week it’s Canada Day that has crept up. To be fair, it’s hard to miss the fact that it’s Canada Day, especially since The World’s Largest Home Improvement Retail Store is having a huge sale, but I only really thought about it recently in terms of last year.

Last year we were still living in the rental house in Birch Grove. We had a bundle of friends around us and the weather was so hot the kids had been sleeping in the basement because it was cooler down there. This year we’re out on our own in our crumbly new house, and we’ve had to buy a heater for the basement because it can get chilly. Oh, and ours is the only house for miles around with any Canadian flags hanging out. We’re hoping the sun will come out in a little while so we can go and visit our Birch Grove friends and share a little Canada Day cheer.

On the home front, it’s nice to have some progress to report. The IN-Laws have been working their socks off on our behalf, putting up archetrave around the doors, using baseboard (skirting board to you UK types) to cover the dreadful mess Mrs Dim and I made of the lino laying and rehanging doors downstairs to make it look nicer. Look: This is what is was like when we moved in…

What a mess....

And then we repainted and set to work tidying, and got this far:

Looking better already.

And then we got the lino and tiles done and it’s a useful playroom and laundry at last:

You're welcome to come and visit...

And with such improvements downstairs, we’ve been inspired to work on the rest of the house, putting up pictures, pinboards, shaving doors to make them close. All good stuff.

That, in turn, has inspired me to put a bit more effort into the other work. I picked up the Sinbad script again and bashed out another page and a half, and actually enjoyed it. I turned out a three-minute screenplay for a competition I’m entering as part of TLC (Because it’s a UK based writers competition, and Canada is just outside the UK these days…) I’m hoping to have enough of my old “Tribute to Myself” screenplay complete by the deadline for the Red Planet prize, and of course, I got the e-book finished. Tomorrow I’m going to the local printers to get a real print copy of the e-book to show around my writery friends over here, try and build up some interest.

The biggest surprise of all is that the Summer Holidays have begun and there’s been no panic. We haven’t even done the traditional “Summer Wish List” poster to help keep us on track because this year the Weasels are all off to various camps, entertainments and being babysat by grandparents while Mrs Dim and I go off to work. More than any other, this year will be the blueprint for the ones to come, so I’m hoping it will go well. I doubt we’ll ever again have the volume of visitors that we’re having this year, so we’ll be certain to make the most of it.

Still juggling after all these years

Juggling responsibilities....

Keep it all in the air, and don't worry about what happens when you stop...

So I’m still fighting the battle of three fronts, but it feels like the domestic reno fight is being won. We have a beautiful guest bedroom now, with a luxurious carpet, bed, wardrobe and new armchair. Yesterday I took my life in my hands and wired in the new light fitting. I don’t do electrical or plumbing normally. Plumbing has the nasty habit of flooding the house in the time it takes to get the plumber to answer the emergency hotline, and electricity gets you dead before you have time to think “Did I switch off the BZZZZT!” However this was a special case – if we kept the old fitting, people would bang their heads on the shade as they crossed the room, and I wasn’t going to call the electrician out AGAIN…They’ve done brilliantly with the various assigned tasks, but we’ve paid generously for the privilege and the reno fund is dribbling away fast enough already. Anyway, despite spending twenty minutes stood on a chair with my arms above my head, I managed to complete the job and reset the breaker. Then I flipped the light switch and nothing happened. I had time to mutter the rudest word I know, then the light came on. Of course, energy saving bulbs! Ha ha!

The next challenge is going to be the roofing and guttering. A nice man from the local company came out to check over the roof and admitted that it could last another couple of years, but he wouldn’t swear to it. Sadly, the fascias and soffits (my favourite word of the week! Say it three times to yourself and try not to smile…) are almost all rotting and need replacing. Some of these we could *gulp* try to sort ourselves. So, today’s question to consider – should we purchase two very long ladders and twenty metres of soffits and fascias, write off a couple of free days and spend them cursing and swearing because the one sodding screwdriver I need is back on the ground AGAIN and I’m at the top of the ladder holding fifteen screws and a length of soffit….Or should we pay most of the remaining reno fund to the nice man and his company, get the roof and soffits done professionally and admit that the deck was just a lovely dream? Answers on the back of a twenty dollar bill please….

On the work front, I have three whole weekdays off. One I squandered yesterday in catching up on reviewing and buying the new armchair, but since the sun was shining I also walked Moose and got a haircut (I only get haircuts in the sunshine. It’s like not buying a car in the rain.) Today (Day Two) I’m returning stuff to Ikea, doing more reviewing and maybe some writing. I have a screenplay I have resurrected in order to enter it for the wonderful Red Planet Prize (http://www.redplanetpictures.co.uk/prize.php ), since it was co-founded by the brilliant Danny Stack ( http://dannystack.blogspot.com/ ) who I met during our time in Bournemouth. As a Canadian, I’m outside the entry requirements, but once I’ve got the first draft into shape, it’ll go through TLC Creative, who are officially based in the UK and we’ll enter it when we all like it. This is a pet project that I’ve already had rejected by the BBC – it was a proposal for an hour-long comedy drama, then it became a stage musical, now it’s back to the standalone tv piece again. It’s one of the few things I’ve written that has a complete outline for me to work from, but it keeps wriggling and changing while I’m typing, so it may emerge from the process as something different to the piece I originally imagined. As long as it makes me laugh, I’ll be happy. Although a big fat paycheck would be welcome too, obviously.

Speaking of which, the e-book is creeping closer to production. This week I received a full draft version – if we were printing it on paper, this would have been the Galley copy. There are very few typos, and only a few points that need changing. Since it’s coming out as a pdf file, we can include fun stuff like hyperlinks to the plays online so people can read about the play, then follow the link to read the play itself. And since it’s a pdf, you don’t need a dedicated e-book reader to read it. David and Steve have done a brilliant job, adding a series of great comedy pictures and captions to the text, breaking it up and rasing the laugh level considerably. Now we have to sort out the various ways we’re going to sell it : through Lazy bee Scripts (www.lazybeescripts.co.uk ) obviously, but we may host some of the sales direct from the TLC site too (www.tlc-creative.co.uk ).

In more local news, I heard that there was a sale of one of my short plays to a group in Burnaby, just down the road from where I live. I got in touch with them and hope to receive tickets for the show fairly soon. They’re called “Third degree Theatre” (http://bradtones.webs.com/shows.htm ) and their current show is a really good one. I’m jealous! With luck, I should be able to join the group and get them to work with me on some of my more recalcitrant plays, like the wretched Holocaust piece that won’t BEHAVE ITSELF AND STICK TO THE PAGE!

Mrs Dim was suggesting that I revisit the idea of being a playwriting guru, running classes at the local Adult Ed centre, something I’ve always shied away from. I’ve written a lot of plays, most of which have sold and been performed, but do I really have anything to teach? Well, the e-book was part of that experiment. I wrote a book about playwriting, so I must know something about it. Maybe the next stage is setting up a teaching programme.