The first time I remember seeing an Inukshuk in person was on a trip to Vancouver in 2007. It was the inukshuk that overlooks English Bay off Vancouver's west coast to be exact. Possibly I'd seen an inukshuk before that but somehow failed to register the fact, but anyway, since that 07 trip I've always found the sight of them comforting.

In recent years I've noticed that someone near our bit of Lake Ontario likes to build inukshuks. I never see them at it, mind you, just spy the evidence of their efforts. The below inukshuk was standing by the rocky shore of the lake late this afternoon. It was fairly large (although I don't think you can tell that from the below photo I snapped of it) and, as usual, it gave me a good feeling. According to my research, "The traditional meaning of the inukshuk is 'Someone was here' or 'You are on the right path.'" I especially like the idea of being assured you're on the right path and wish there were more tangible signs of this sort in our lives. Sometimes it's really tough to know if you're doing the right thing — in relationships, in your career, and in so many different realms. Like in the poem The Road Not Taken, we always seem to be coming to forks in the road. Choices.

inukshuk, on the beach, Lake Ontario, September 24

I admit I've wondered, sometimes, if in becoming a writer I've allowed myself to travel too far down a rocky road that's only destined to get rockier or even disappear entirely. I can't imagine not writing but am I delusional to think I can make enough money to support myself by writing novels at a time when bookstores are disappearing, piracy is a chronic problem and the big publishers seem ever more like Hollywood studios in their choice of blockbuster material? I wrote that in past tense—wondered—as though I've finished turning the question over in my mind, but no, I still wonder. I wondered during the writing of My Beating Teenage and again during the novels I wrote after it. No doubt I will wonder again in the future (possibly even again and again and again) but I'm glad I didn't let that stop me from writing My Beating Teenage Heart and glad that very soon now it'll be finding its way out into the world. It's the most emotionally draining book I've ever written and while I think all my novels are both what people would term edgy while simultaneously wearing their hearts on their sleeves I believe that's most true of My Beating Teenage Heart.

I'm expecting revisions for my fifth book to arrive sometime Monday so I probably won't be posting on My Beating Teenage Heart's release day (the 27th) or the next little while, but you can catch up with the second week of my blog tour:

 Sunday, September 25: Hannah at Paperback Treasures (Character Book Picks)

 Monday, September 26: Cyndi M at Dog Eared and Bookmarked (Author Interview w/ Music Line

 Tuesday, September 27: Kari at A Good Addiction (Character Interview: Breckon)

 Wednesday, September 28: Jen D at What's On the Bookshelf (Review)

 Thursday, September 29: Bailey at IB Book Blogging (Multicharacter Interview)

 Friday, September 30: Ashley B at Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing (Review)

If you're interested in checking out the songs I'd include on a playlist for My Beating Teenage Heart I have them posted here but the one I want to highlight today is one of my favourite songs from 2009—Geraldine by Glasvegas. I love this song to bits and, really, how many passionate rock songs about social workers do we hear? The lyrics absolutely fit the role Ashlyn comes to play in Breckon's life in My Beating Teenage Heart. I think many (if not most) of us need some kind of guiding and understanding voice/voices in our lives to get us through the hardest times. Sometimes we might be surprised who those people turn out to be. Sometimes they'll be close friends and family, other times teachers, social workers, therapists, religious figures, fellow members of support groups. And sometimes, we will be that voice for others.

I discovered this absolutely fantastic product online the other day. Simply spray in and around your office, workspace, place of residence, vehicle, or any other location you frequent. The refreshing smell of reason in Con B-Gone quickly acts to drive irrational ultra conservatives of all nationalities, ages and genders from the immediate vicinity. Can safely be used against climate change deniers, creationists, reactionary politicians at all levels of government, sexists, racists, homophobes and those who believe in punishing the lower and middle classes with austerity measures while shielding corporations and wealthy individuals. Retails for $4.99 plus shipping and handling. What a steal!

Con B-Gone

Con B-Gone UltraNo longer must we endure the pesky presence of unwanted Cons! For especially tough ultra Conservative infestation problems (such as those currently being experienced in Toronto's City Hall and the British national government), try the deep penetrating foam of Con B-Gone Ultra.
TIFF sign, lining up for Page Eight. Front of the line, September 17thSomehow it's been a whole two weeks since I last blogged! My sole excuse isn't a very good one because I ran into folks in downtown Toronto this past week who were watching 32 to 50 movies at the Toronto International Film Festival and I only saw five. FIVE! But between the travel time from the burbs to downtown, queing to pick up tickets from the Metro Centre on several occasions, queuing hours to get our pick of seats at the theatres, waking up early on certain days to attempt to score the freshly released tickets that become available on the day of screenings, well, those things seemed to be enough to throw off my schedule. Not that I'm complaining, because I love film fest time and I wish I had the stamina and $ to see more movies! I'm always sad when TIFF is over and the mad film/celebrity buzz around town disappears and we all have to return to real life and the fact that yes, it'll officially be fall in five days.

Not that I'm complaining about fall either because autumn is a perfectly lovely season; it's the thing that happens after it that I'm not too psyched about. The thing that involves a heavy coat, lined boots, hats with ear flaps and woolly mittens. But anyway, back to the more cheerful subject of 2011 TIFF. We started out with the following list of movies we hoped to see

Albert Nobbs
Page Eight
Peace, Love & Misunderstanding
Take Shelter
The Deep Blue Sea
The Ides of March
The Other Side of Sleep
The Woman in the Fifth
Violet and Daisy
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Wuthering Heights
Your Sister's Sister

and according to schedules and interest whittled the list down to the five bolded titles. My favourite was Page Eight, the festival's closing film which was written and directed by David Hare (writer of The Hours, The Reader and Plenty) and was shot in five weeks for British television on a budget of just three million dollars. Bill Nighy gives an outstanding performance as a veteran MI5 officer in possession of a secret document that asserts the British Prime Minister knew about incidences and locations of torture camps by the American government.

Page Eight's dialogue is crisply intelligent in a way that most blockbuster films seem to have forgotten is even possible. While at the festival David Hare remarked, "It's very, very difficult to make films at the moment that are about human beings," adding that anything that isn't a blockbuster spectacle seems to be a tough sell. "One of the challenges was to make a suspense film in which there are not implausible killings. The death rate in modern movies is just absolutely unbelievable, if life were like the movies there'd be nobody left on this planet at all."

If you weren't able to catch Page Eight at the festival and are into smart movies about smart people embroiled in political intrigue you might want to look out for it on PBS where it will air on November 6th. You can also check out the Roger Ebert review of Page Eight here.

That brings us up to today's date which is eight short days until my new book, My Beating Teenage Heart, is released. I'm ever so happy to report that Omnivoracious, the Amazon blog has such nice things to say about the book including the following, "In the vein of some of my favorite novels of the past few years, namely Gayle Forman’s If I Stay and Jenny Downham’s Before I Die, Martins’ latest is the type of novel that will remain with you long after you’ve read the last page." Whoah. Thank you, Amazon!

With the release date of My Beating Teenage Heart almost upon us I'm on blog tour starting tomorrow (an enormous thanks to Teen Book Scene for putting the tour together!) and running through to the end of the month. Here's the schedule and I'd be glad to see you stop by somewhere along the way to say hello! If you'd like to read My Beating teenage Heart be sure to enter the two tour giveaways.

* Monday, September 19: Yani at The Secret Life of an Avid Reader (Author Interview w/ Book Line Answers)

* Tuesday, September 20: Deborah K at Books, Movies, and Chinese Food (Character Interview: Ashlyn)

* Wednesday, September 21: Cyndi M at Dog Eared and Bookmarked (Review)

* Thursday, September 22: Jen D at What's On the Bookshelf (Author Book Picks)

* Friday, September 23: Ashley B at Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing (This or That List)

* Saturday, September 24: Bailey at IB Book Blogging (Review)

* Sunday, September 25: Hannah at Paperback Treasures (Character Book Picks)

* Monday, September 26: Cyndi M at Dog Eared and Bookmarked (Author Interview w/ Music
Line Answers)

* Tuesday, September 27: Kari at A Good Addiction (Character Interview: Breckon)

* Wednesday, September 28: Jen D at What's On the Bookshelf (Review)

* Thursday, September 29: Bailey at IB Book Blogging (Multicharacter Interview)

* Friday, September 30: Ashley B at Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing (Review)

Jim Cuddy, Skyscraper SoulThis year I happen to share a release date with Jim Cuddy's new album, Skyscraper Soul which is a big thrill. As a major Blue Rodeo and Jim Cuddy fan I won't fault you if you buy Skyscraper Soul instead of My Beating Teenage Heart but I'm sincerely hoping you'll pick up both!

I'd like to end this entry with one of the songs that I think of as being part of the playlist for My Beating Teenage Heart the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, singing I Say a Little Prayer.

Happy September and Happy Labour Day Weekend! Though it still feels like mid-July to me in the Greater Toronto area today and I'm glad for that.

I want to give Kelly at Stacked Books a huge thank you, both for this beautiful review of My Beating Teenage Heart and for having me over for a Twitterview. I hope you'll scoot over there and check out the entries because she's giving away two copies of My Beating Teenage Heart!

movie reelI also want to wish everyone who's trying for single TIFF tickets tomorrow the best of luck. I'm setting my alarm to wake me up bright and early. Then, no doubt, I will spend hours on the computer battling with the TIFF ticketing system while simultaneously hitting redial on my phone. But it'll all be worth it in the end, right? Movies. Movies. Movies.
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