Saturday, 30 June 2012


My copy of "Voices" arrived in the mail today. Ever since the debacle with "A Word", I anxiously await every published piece to check it for accuracy. In this case my worries were unfounded. The fine people of the LWWG got it letter-perfect...until I came to the contributors bios at the end of the book. Under my name it just said that I entered Baggage in their contest, that it placed third and that it was included in this issue. I could've swore that I sent them something a little more detailed than that. But oh well, they got the story right, and that's the main thing.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

We Love an Audience, But...

I've finally figured out how check to see if anyone has actually been reading any of this, and found that there have been, far more than expected (although who would be following these pages from South Korea I couldn't hazard a guess). Writers love an audience. For the most part we toil away in seclusion, reluctant to speak of our work lest it be born premature. But when it's finally deemed ready, we send it out into the world, much like an anxious parent sends their child, eager for it to find acceptance. So yes, we love an audience, probably more than most. Now that I find that I have one, however, I'm somewhat at a loss as to what to do next. After all, it's not realistic to expect to have a steady stream of published work to post, or even to be able to name stories that have received recognition. There are often long stretches of time without any word of success, and only the lonely process of what goes on between myself and the naked page to sustain me. And with that, I'll let you in on a little secret:

What if...?

By now, after my having listed just about every least little success my work has earned to date, you may be aware that a) I'm tremendously proud of it, b) my ego knows no bounds, and c) I take none of it for granted.

I had mentioned earlier that writers can be both egotistical and eccentric. The more I think about it, though, the more I'm convinced that I should add 'obsessive' and 'paranoid' to that list. After every success, the experience is so sweet that I obsess over acquiring the next one, and soon become paranoid that there won't be a 'next one' if it doesn't arrive, say, within forty-eight hours or so. After all, the only thing that allows me to be who I am is that tenuous link to the River. What if it should be severed? What if I can't find my way back to the water? What if I wake up one morning to find that, what I had always considered as a gift, had suddenly left as mysteriously as it had arrived? These are serious and perfidious questions that prey on my mind, requiring calm assurance of the highest degree in order to overcome them. When I find myself in that state, when niggling doubt begins to nefariously entrench itself in my psyche, I regret to say that I am neither calm nor assured. I do, however, have the presence of mind to pour out my misgivings to that long-suffering soul, Heartless Editor.

Now, here is a worthy of the sagest wisdom that ever was - a person who I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, will find, through sweet reason, the words to sustain me - to keep me centred and on track for the road ahead. As always, she hears me out with perfect calm. She listens in silence, like a rock, as I rail away in a storm of doubt and uncertainty until, finally, I sit before her, exhausted by my fear. Then come the words, spoken quietly, but with the utmost conviction - words that have sustained me through thick and through thin, that time and time again, have rescued me from the abyss, and brought me back to myself. Words, in fact, that have become my mainstay through my darkest hours, and kept me afloat when all the shadows are doing their utmost to pull me down into the deepest depths of despair:

"Don't be stupid."

See what I mean? Money can't buy that sort of encouragement. Like if that doesn't give you wings, nothing will.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

On Genre

I've often been asked what kind of stories I write. It's a question that I've always found difficult to answer.
I think that what you've read so far is a fair sample of my work, although by no means all. The old adage is "write what you know," and I think I'm faithful to that. I write about what interests me, about the human condition, but in no particular genre. I'm not ready to get pigeonholed that way. I'm having too much fun running without any boundaries. I love writing humour, but not all the time. I can't think of anything more arduous than sitting at the computer, knowing that today I have to crank out a thousand words of really funny stuff when I don't feel the least bit like laughing. Sensitive soul that I am, I love writing about love, but the same goes for that, also. I don't believe in the necessity of a happy ending, but I don't preclude them, either. And too, after a few initial attempts, I tend to steer away from trying to be deliberately profound, because I'm not. In fact, if there is one area where I would feel comfortable being labeled, it would be that I am not a 'thinking' writer, but rather an 'instinctive' one. I do my best to allow the story to write itself, so if there is any profundity in my work (and I believe that there is) it was already there, when it found me in the River.

So, to make a long story short, in reply to what kind of stories I write: don't ask me - ask them.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Just Had One of Those Moments

I ran into, Mrs. Tanguay, my high school typing teacher today. I thought that it was kinda cool, getting the chance to thank her for teaching me something that I've put to good use over the years...although not quite the way she taught, but at least my fingers start out in the right place before they all go their separate ways. I hope that she found the conversation as satisfying as I did, knowing that, at least in this one case, her efforts hadn't been in vain.

I wish I could have a similar accidental run-in with my English teacher, Mrs. Oberlin, and let her know that I write, but she's long since passed away. Maybe it's just as well. Odds are she just would've cracked me across the knuckles with a ruler, and demand to know why it took me so long.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

It's Surprising What You Come Up With Sometimes

Just did the ol' Google-my-name thing again, and found this under the April issue of the Global Short story Competition out of England, who published my very first story, "Tin Whistle". Didn't win anything this time, but, I'd be lying if I said that it didn't give me a rush to be there with all those other names from all over the world. 

I'd like to add that The Mathematics of Fate is my latest story of that particular length (2000 words) and The Icon is the oldest, written way back in 1993. If you've been following this blog, you'll know that the Icon was short-listed in the Arts Hamilton award in 2010, and The Mathematics of Fate in 2011 in the same competition.

Now I'm gonna Google my name again, and go over that list with a fine tooth comb. Who knows what else is in there!

The writers on the shortlist (from nine countries) are:
Aleksandra Drzaic, Vukovar, Croatia
Yuzra Amjad, Lahore, Pakistan
Jen Knox, San Antonio, Texas, United States
Fiona McNeil, Edinburgh, Scotland (for All Those Girls and Your Funeral)
Rocky Magana, Kansas City, United States
Chuck Lovatt, Manitoba, Canada (for The Mathematics of Fate and The Icon)
Clinton Bell, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
Stephen O’Sullivan, Dublin, Ireland
Alan Chandler, Brighton, Victoria, Australia
Thomas O’Mara, London, England
Winning stories will be posted on in the next few days.
Well done to our successful writers.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Story - Baggage

Baggage is a happy accident that became my first foray into flash-fiction (250 words or less), and was published in the Lake Winnipeg Writers' Group magazine, Voices, at the end of May, 2012. After being recognized across the country, and across the Atlantic in England, this was the first time my work was ever published in Manitoba.

Actually 'work' might be too grandiose a word with regard to Baggage. I was just goofing around at the computer when I decided to see that, if I wrote nothing but pure dialogue, how far could I go without any narrative whatsoever - not even any 'he said' or 'she replied', or anything of the sort. So I set my mind in neutral, and wrote down the first thing that popped up, and then replied, and continued on in a progression of what I felt was logic. When I was finished a page and a half later, I could see that I had a complete story, with a beginning and an end, and an admittedly very little bit in between. Okay, maybe it wasn't the sort of thing I would usually write, but there it was, literally in black and white. From start to finish might have taken ten minutes - add maybe another half hour for editing.

Still, I'm a creature of habit, conservative by nature, and this, if anything, was an anomaly. I was more bemused than anything when I set it aside and returned to what I was supposed to have been working on all along, if I hadn't given in to my natural tendency to procrastinate. When the LWWG's competition came out about a day later in the Guild's newsletter, stating that it had a venue for something so short, I included it on a whim with what I considered to be my serious entry - which just goes to show, never underestimate the power of a whim.

A word of caution for the faint of heart: there is language.


                                                                             CW Lovatt – 23/12/2011 – 24/12/2011

“Why would you do this?”
 “Do what?”
“Take my heart and break it into a million pieces.”
“What’s so special about your heart? People get hurt, it’s just the way of the world.”
“But I love you!”
“Love! Is that what that was? How can you stand to be so pathetic?”
“I would have done anything for you!”
“Exactly my point!”
 “But what about all those times we spent together? I thought you were happy.”
 “Look, I’m not that person anymore, okay? Things change. I change – you change – everybody changes. What’s so difficult to understand about that?”
“I don’t believe you.”
“You better believe it, buster; we’re done!”
“I hate it when you use that tone!”
“Yeah? Well, I guess you’re in luck then, ‘cause you’ll never have to hear it again, will you?”
“How can you be so flippant about this…so fucking cold?”
“Am I? Maybe I am at that. Maybe I’m the coldest, cruelest bitch that you’ll ever meet. Why would you want anything to do with someone like that?”
“Because it’s not you, that’s why.”
“Oh, but it is, mister. You’d better believe that it is! Oh God! Now what are you doing? Are those tears? You gotta be kidding me!”
“Heartless cunt!”
 “Look, this has been real, but there’s somewhere I have to be.”
“No, wait!”
“Now what?”
“You’re forcing me to do this, you know?”
“Hey, is that a knife?”
“You don’t have the balls!”
“You said it yourself – people change.”

                         The End

Sunday, 10 June 2012

'A' Happy Discovery

I see that it's been over a month since I've last posted, but it hasn't been uneventful. Rather, my 20th century brain has been struggling with the ins and outs of this 21st century blog. Finally, with the help of my friend, Jodi Ann Hanson (who, as she patiently guides my anxious self through the maze is becoming ever dearer) I am once more on track, and able to post.

First: An update on Baggage. 
LWWG's magazine, "Voices", is due to be launched the 16th of June, so watch for Baggage to appear here on the 17th.

Second: 'A' Rather Unusual Tale

One day, near the end of May, my ego and I were browsing through items listed under my name on Google. I confess, it's become a habit, a reliving of past achievements, which is their unifying factor - they are all in the past. By now I know them all virtually by heart, so I was surprised when I came across one from the Elora Writers' Festival, a competition that I'd entered in April. Curious, I clicked on it, and found that my story, 'A', had placed second in the top category (20+). My first reaction was to be suspicious because, although there is no collective protocol for literary competitions, in my experience it's unheard of not to be informed by the contest organizer before posting the results online. So I clicked on the email address under Contact Us and sent a query, and received this reply the following morning: 

Good morning, Chuck!

Yes, Google does not lie. You did win second place in our contest, congratulations!

The judge said this about your story:  "an unusual piece; very poetic".

So there you go. I mailed your prize $$ on Tuesday, so hopefully you'll get it soon and be able to celebrate.

Thanks for entering our contest, and please look us up next year - it's our tenth annual writing competition, and our twentieth festival.

Best wishes,


My cheque arrived in the mail within the hour.

Yes, all-in-all it was very unusual. Mind you, I'm not complaining.