by Rusti Lehay
It might have been me with a book deal …
I well remember Cynthia Dusseault, head of Pitch Camp at the Get Publishing Communications Society (GPCS) “At the Edge of Print” 2011 conference, ask me, “Do you want to take a Pitch Camp slot with Rose Scollard from Frontenac House? I chose to set aside my poetic aspirations and instead pitched to Darren Boisvert, editor of community newspaper the Rat Creek Press. Deborah Lawson, a fellow PWAC member, took the slot with Rose Scollard and landed a contract with Frontenac House.
Although it may have been a missed opportunity, I also believe all things are meant to be. I now live in Darren Boisvert’s editorial community for the Rat Creek Press. He offers incredible mentoring, editorial guidance, thorough feedback and respectful editing for writers open to the process. He is super appreciative of professional writers and offers whatever he can to compensate for … yes … low pay. Generous with his praise, he says, “You have wicked interviewing skills. You spend six months with us, and I promise, you will be able to freelance to any newspaper in Canada.” Priceless. Best editor relationship I have ever enjoyed and I owe it to Pitch Camp at the GPCS conference.
I am having a blast writing a feature article a month and doing the monthly restaurant review. We call my reviews the Food Quest. The first quest was for great pub food and the best poutine. The second quest was to learn about Ethiopian food with Edmonton’s Habesha the unknowing teacher. More than fun, the quest is proving to be quite edible.
The best part? The Rat Creek Press and Boisvert gave me my first shot at an article that mattered and free reign to present the issue as I saw fit. It felt like the first time I wrote something of import. My article on Idle No More made the front page in March.
So while it might have been me signing a poetry book deal with Frontenac House, I am thrilled it is Deborah Lawson. I have long admired her poetry and will be first in line to buy her book when it comes out.
This year’s GPCS conference on May 24-26th is a three-way collaboration, thus the “Words in 3D” theme. GPCS is partnering with the Writers’ Guild of Alberta and the Editors’ Association of Canada-Prairie Provinces Branch to host Words in 3 Dimensions. There are a number of PWAC members on the organizing committee including Deborah Lawson, Cynthia Dusseault and me.
What a conference it is going to be! Registration is rapidly filling up so register soon. We will see you there!