Posted in about archie, archie fiction, archie wins

by archie nicholson (where to read what archie writes)

I am pleased to say I am officially a paid published writer!!!

Before I share my successes, let me preface with something I learned along the way.
I started this blog in 2017 (five years ago?), and had been writing for longer than that.
There are ups-and-downs with writing, but so are there with life too.
Part of the job as a writer is dealing with rejection.
I am not ashamed to say I am regularly rejected by publishers and lose my fair share of writing contests too. Sometimes there are good reasons to have your story rejected – looking back, I agree with their decision as editors! And sometimes there might not be any better reason than to remember art is subjective, and maybe your work is not yet ready to be shared, still needs to find the right reader…
What I mean simply is it’s all about how many times you get back up.

Alright then, here is everywhere that has published my writings, so far:

BABBLEby archie nicholson
in Building Community: Select Stories and Poems from the 34th Annual NCWC (Paperback) – March 2021.
by CAA-NCR, Edited by Sherrill Wark
100th Year CAA Writing Contest!
~ First Place Short Story ~
What if a small town became illiterate overnight?

THE NIGHT BEFOREby archie nicholson
in 6 Good Things About 2020: Collective Folk Fiction Short Story Competition (Kindle) — March 2021
by Greater Grander
~ Runner Up Short Story ~
What if slaves of the Red Wizard tried to escape their snowy prison camp?

I write (and read) in a variety of fiction genres, depending on my mood and inspirations, because a good story is a good story however it’s told.
I write short stories, sometimes as science fiction, or fantasy fiction, children’s fiction, YA fiction, mystery fiction, romance fiction, horror fiction, literary fiction and occasionally even non-fiction.

Of my published writing, everything so far qualifies as short story fiction.
I am currently writing longer novels, but they remain still works in progress for me – stay tuned by subscribing!

As always, thanks for reading.

archie.

Posted in archie fiction, archie wins, awards, Canadian Authors Association (CAA), writing contest

archie won a writing contest – not clickbait

Hi hello!
I am so pleased to report that a story I wrote received FIRST PLACE in the 34th Annual National Capital Writing Contest (NCWC)!

AND this year coincided with the 100th Anniversary of the Canadian Authors Association (CAA).

AMAZING! I am really grateful and honored to be included in this with so many others.

SHORT STORY
First Place: “Babble” by Archie Nicholson, Stratford ON
Second Place: “Still Life” by Anna Rumin, Ottawa ON
Third Place: “Will Destroy for Food” by Adam Jarvis, Ottawa ON

From their website:

Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Canadian Authors Association (CAA)

The National Capital Region Branch of the Canadian Authors Association honoured the winners of the 34th Annual NCWC on Friday, March 12 during an online gathering.

March 12 was the 100th anniversary of the first time the founding members of the Canadian Authors Association met in 1921.

We are pleased to celebrate the talents of these writers. Their work is published in the contest anthology:

Building Community Anthology
https://www.amazon.ca/dp/0986903132/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=building+community+caa-ncr&qid=1615598932&sr=8-1

FIRST PLACE: $300
SECOND PLACE: $200
THIRD PLACE: $100

POETRY
First Place: “The Curved Twigs” by John Morris, Ottawa ON
Second Place: “recital” by Bob MacKenzie, Kingston ON
Third Place: “A New Skin” by John Morris, Ottawa ON

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:
“Fear” by David M Black, Wendover ON
“Our Childhood Smelled of Lilacs” by LG Pomerleau, Nanton AB
“Ground Down—Down Underground” by Kathy O’Grady Bose, Ottawa ON
“Seeking Grace” by LG Pomorleau, Nanton AB
“On Writing” by Adam Jarvis, Ottawa ON

SHORT STORY
First Place: “Babble” by Archie Nicholson, Stratford ON
Second Place: “Still Life” by Anna Rumin, Ottawa ON
Third Place: “Will Destroy for Food” by Adam Jarvis, Ottawa ON

HONOURABLE MENTIONS
“Hungerbitten” by Laura Wang Arseneau, Fort Erie ON
“Bodies in Trouble” by Diane Carley, St. John’s NL
“Whose Turf Is It Anyway?” by Iris Winston, Almonte ON

FINALISTS
“Mine” by Jason Boudreau, Ottawa ON
“Flickering Lights” by Alicia Maini, Toronto ON
“Transformation” by Donna McDougall, Perth ON
“The Gentleman Hermit” by Russell Wardell, Carleton Place ON

Congratulations to everyone.

POETRY JUDGE

Asa Boxer’s debut book, The Mechanical Bird (2007), won the Canadian Authors Association Prize for Poetry, and his cycle of poems entitled “The Workshop” won first prize in the 2004 CBC Literary Awards. His poems and essays have since been anthologized in various collections and have appeared in various magazines internationally. Boxer is also a founder of the Montreal International Poetry Prize.


SHORT STORY JUDGE

Kaarina Stiff is a freelance writer and editor who has been consuming, creating, and polishing stories since she learned how to read. She has published stories in Room and Cargo Literary Magazine, and she twice won the Toronto Novel Marathon in the young adult fiction category. Kaarina has served on the national executive of the Canadian Authors Association, as the branch chair of Editors Ottawa-Gatineau, and as president of the Ottawa chapter of the Professional Writers Association of Canada. In 2018, she received a President’s Award for Volunteer Service from Editors Canada. She lives in Ottawa.

Painting by Brian Turner
Painting by Brian Turner https://www.brianturnerart.com/

Any questions or concerns? Contact us at NCRadmin@canadianauthors.org

Posted in advice, artist life, change, fear, goals, honesty, hope, inspiration, living life, self help, writing

it’s no use going back to before 2020, because I was a different person then

You know the the story: a hero goes to rescue someone from a dangerous land, and they are told one explicit rule to follow: don’t look back.
So, of course, they look back.

Orpheus Leading Eurydice from the Underworld Painting by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot 1861

Orpheus rescues Eurydice from the dead but looks back and she vanishes forever.
Lot’s wife (unnamed, so let’s call her Lottie why not?) looks back on the doomed town she is fleeing and turns to salt.
And so many other parallel myths from the Japanese, Mayan, Indian and Sumerian legends.

Well that is how a lot of us are probably relating to this calendar year called 2020.
Move on and don’t ever talk about it again, right?
Or at least we all agree this is the botched timeline borne from time travel hijinks right?

Let me ask something outrageous:  Continue reading “it’s no use going back to before 2020, because I was a different person then”

Posted in archie reads, archie reviews, books, fantasy fiction, reading, science fiction, speculative fiction, Ursula K LeGuin, visionary fiction

archie reviews a book…. The Left Hand of Darkness (1969)

My third book review! YAY. The Office Andy Critic

Same disclaimer as before: I have never thought of myself as much of an art critic – I sort of always thought it wasn’t my place to disagree with the storyteller. As in, if I didn’t enjoy a book or movie, then it probably says more about me not being the intended audience for it.
But I don’t think that need stop me from doing just that: sharing my thoughts on my experience reading such-and-such a book.

So here I go…

Continue reading “archie reviews a book…. The Left Hand of Darkness (1969)”

Posted in change, life updates, living life, reality, travel, writing

not even home is like home, and other things behind the curtain (life update #5)

Hey stranger,
It’s been a little while since my last update, so let me catch you up.

  • What I’ve been Reading: I am keeping busy offline, trying to match my reading pace with the rate I’ve been collecting books from little-free-libraries around town. These have consisted mostly of more short story collections, including old SFF treasures like The Many Worlds of Andre Norton (by Andre Norton of course) and new SFF gems like How Long ’til Black Future Month? (by N.K. Jemisin) as well as some of the non-fiction variety like Henry and June (the diary of the incomparable Anaïs Nin).
  • What I’ve been Writing: Despite accomplishing huge leaps and bounds with my online research as a writer and a writer of specific genres, I had to spend a few months completing an online math course (yes, dreadful, I know!) for a credit requirement that I hope will qualify me into teacher’s college someday soon. Since passing that (yay!), I’ve made some serious headway on one of my novel-in-progress, which I had been referring to as Animals but have since begun calling Woods. I am thick into the world-building as well as the scene-ordering, so I expect to be completing draft number two before the end of this calendar year. 
  • What I’ve been Watching: With travel on an indefinite hiatus, I’ve found some relief in the form of binging seasons of The Amazing Race. The U.S. version started in 2001 (imagine, travelling pre-9/11 and pre-pandemic!) but I skipped to season 5 which so far has been mostly entertaining. I’ve already finished the 7 seasons of the Canada version, which was actually more enjoyable (beginning after 2010) maybe because with a lower budget the contestants travel more locally – including my home town!

Speaking of my home town, let’s get on with the main event, shall we?

Continue reading “not even home is like home, and other things behind the curtain (life update #5)”

Posted in about archie, artist life, depression, fear, honesty, inspiration, living life, mental health, practice, self-care, writing, writing community, writing help

when archie writes – writing depressed af

I think I’ve only spent about ten percent of my energies on writing…
The other ninety percent went to keeping my head above water.

Katherine Anne Porter

I have already answered why, as well as where, so let me unpack when I write.

I write when not too worn out by my mental illness.
I write when my chronic depression isn’t so overwhelming that I struggle to function.
I write when I can, in irregular spurts, writing through and in spite of my sickness.

I’ve struggled since early youth with depression.
I remember as early as middle-school feeling at specific times especially anti-social and mournful, without any clear reason or cause. Highschool was a hostile environment for me where I felt plagued by insecurities, actively seeking out bathroom stalls and library cubbies to hide day after day. University saw me continue to try unsuccessfully to cope with self-harming as well as self-medicating with drugs and alcohol.

It was easy in my adolescence to dismiss these spells of moody ’emo’ sadness as just stereotypical teenage angst. In my twenties, however, with my depression still undiagnosed, I felt ashamed for failing to have moved past an ‘infantile’ stage of dramatic mood swings.

Not until after completing a Master’s program, surviving a series of mental breaks and acute depressive episodes, was I hospitalized and finally diagnosed. It came as a surprise that I was actually so relieved to have a name, clinical depression, to explain these problems weren’t an inherent defect of my person but symptoms of an illness.
Suddenly a light switched on for me to see that help through medication and therapy were not character weaknesses but necessary choices for my survival, demonstrations of courage in the face of social stigma.

Soon after I became a writer.

Before committing to writing as a career,
make sure you’re not simply agoraphobic or depressed.

Nell Zink

Continue reading “when archie writes – writing depressed af”

Posted in archie reads, archie reviews, books, fantasy fiction, reading, reading list

archie reviews a book…. The Sword of Shannara (1977)

My second book review! YAY. The Office Andy Critic

Same disclaimer as before: I have never thought of myself as much of an art critic – I sort of always thought it wasn’t my place to disagree with the storyteller.
As in, if I didn’t enjoy a book or movie, then it probably says more about me not being the intended audience for it, right?

But I don’t think that need stop me from doing just that: sharing my thoughts and experience after reading such-and-such a book.

So here I go…

Continue reading “archie reviews a book…. The Sword of Shannara (1977)”

Posted in advice, artist life, craft, fear, free writing, goals, habits, inspiration, practice, procrastination, writing, writing community, writing help

how archie wrote words every day of 2020 (so far, anyway)

Hey, thanks for clicking!
So yea, I’ve been following my own advice – and thus far in this strange year of twenty-twenty, I have been writing every single fucking day.
Imagine that?
Well, I’ve been journaling every day (3 pages, written by hand) and also writing fiction every day but Sundays (750 words minimum, written on a computer).
And no, I haven’t had an easy year either, what with global pandemics to family matters to my own personal struggles inside my head. 
Allow me to explain some changes I’ve been practising that help me be a bonafide writer.
Onwards… Continue reading “how archie wrote words every day of 2020 (so far, anyway)”

Posted in artists, free, lists, writing community

hi, this might help, bye

Hi – will write more soon – until then, enjoy these helpful lists of helpful things…

  1. Resources for Canadian artists, writers, media workers during COVID-19 shutdowns
  2. Help for Canadian artists and freelancers during COVID-19 shutdowns
  3. COVID-19 Crisis Resources for Creatives (A Giant List of Helpful Links for Artists)
  4. Resources for Artists in COVID-19 Crisis (Grants, freelance resources, legal aid, etc.)
  5. Bored Solutions (A list of small challenges for creative people)

archie.

Posted in advice, change, dystopias, fear, fiction, hope, inspiration, other, reading

how reading fiction helps us hope

I really enjoyed this sentiment here, and so wanted to share:

“What novels tell us is not that it’s going to be OK, or that it is all for the best, because it’s not. People will go on drowning as they try to flee Syria, climate change will get worse, and Trump could do massive damage to the world causing an upsurge in the worst kinds of prejudice.

But novels and stories tell us that this has all happened before, in a different time, with different names but similar narratives. They tell us that it’s OK to be scared, to have complicated feelings, to feel a bit lost, and they remind us that we are human.

Continue reading “how reading fiction helps us hope”

Posted in advice, artist life, artists, goals, habits, imagination, self-care, social media

archie’s 2020 advice for writers

And now we welcome the new year,
full of things that have never been.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Greetings!

I will keep this short & sweet because the new year is nearly upon us.

There are a gazillion and one different things happening out there, offline and online.
Some of it is fascinating, some of it is terrible, and lots of it is rubbish.
Yet all of it is doing one thing: trying to distract you.
Even me with this blog is distracting.

Distraction this is Continue reading “archie’s 2020 advice for writers”

Posted in advice, artist life, artists, habits, honesty, inspiration, living life, practice, procrastination, writing, writing help

what archie means when they talk about writing [and not writing]

Life is … complicated.
Or perhaps ‘life’ is simple, and it is the ‘living’ of life that complicates things.
Complicates, as in, making things a hellofa lot more stressful and tiresome than needed.
I am skilled at that kind of living, through years of practice.

Yet I am also learning new ways to live, to be me, a writer.

A writer is someone who puts words together, tells stories, creates people and places.
To do that, you need to make the effort of literally writing, whether on paper or screen. Ideally, writing should happen regularly, not only to build the creative muscles but to improve at the craft of words and to also write more than a page per year.

For some time, as I tried to become and live as a writer, I would go through spells of productivity – writing regularly, meeting my goals and making good progress – followed by spells of anti-productivity – actively avoiding my stories, procrastinating with every conceivable excuse and committing increasing energy to feel like a failure for it.

Metronome pendulum scares cat

Always, inevitably, back and forth.
A pendulum of extremes.
Alls-or-nothings.
Blacks-and-whites.
Writing like a true bonafide artist one day, then the next day not writing like a wannabe/has-been artist, scared of seeing my own shadow.

“I put off another day of writing, so clearly I am self-sabotaging and should stop calling myself a writer…”

For SO LONG this was my routine, feeling like a champ for writing today or else feeling like my own worst enemy thwarting my growth as a writer.

When suddenly it occurs to me:
all of it – the writing and the not writing – is the practice.

Tim Gunn gif shocked Continue reading “what archie means when they talk about writing [and not writing]”

Posted in advice, egos, fear, honesty, reality, self-care, zen

starting with the mask in the mirror

Hey hi hello – thanks for clicking!

I’m going to try to keep this post concise – weird, right? – and so I will get right to it…

As a writer, I tend to ponder over how some things in life are so common, so every day, that we can forget how interesting, how unusual, and how influential it is for us.

Matrix sticky mirror

Take the average mirror, once upon a time known as a “looking-glass”.

Continue reading “starting with the mask in the mirror”

Posted in archie reads, archie reviews, books, dystopias, fantasy fiction, Frank Herbert, reading list, science fiction

archie reviews a book…. Dune (1965)

My very first book review! YAY.

The Office Andy CriticI have never thought of myself as much of an art critic – I sort of always thought it wasn’t my place to disagree with the storyteller.
As in, if I didn’t enjoy a book or movie, then it probably says more about me not being the intended audience for it, right?
But I don’t think that need stop me from doing just that: sharing my thoughts and experience after reading such-and-such a book.

So here I go…

Continue reading “archie reviews a book…. Dune (1965)”

Posted in about archie, artist life, artists, hermits, honesty, writing, writing community

where archie writes – hermit hiding in a hobbit hole

In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude.
One must overcome the fear of being alone…

Rollo May

Having answered why I write (and blog and read), allow me to unpack where I write. 

Short answer?
I write outside.
As in, I write on the outsides.
I write as someone who regularly feels out of place, out of touch, out on the fringes – sometimes literally and oftentimes figuratively.

I write there, on the outsides, because that is where I spent most of my life.
Long before becoming a writer, I carried a sense of nervousness and unease that was there inside me wherever I went…
Home, school, church, sleepovers – everywhere I went, there I was.
It was a kind of vague anxious energy that gave me an agitated temperament because I was perpetually in fear-of-missing-out or else afraid of being included – confusing I know, and which was why I could only assume there was some inherent defect within myself.
Only once I began to write did I slowly realize this frustration and discomfort was not something simply to be avoided but could actually be an important part of myself.

Before we get there, though, let’s explore my wonder years some more… Continue reading “where archie writes – hermit hiding in a hobbit hole”