Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Back at School

Yesterday I spent the day back in a building that I know so well and that was such a huge part of my life. In 1969 I walked through the doors of Macdonald Consolidated as a scared, grade seven kid going to a new school and living in a new community. I had summered on the Kingston Peninsula all my life but now we were living here year round. I have lots of memories of the three years I spent as a student there,some that involve the tall, gangly boy that became my husband .I can vividly remember the way the school was before the new addition was built in the late 70's. Only my generation and before remember the steps that led to the boy's bathroom that were off of the landing half way up the stairs and all the many other things that changed when the new part was built. Zac started school there in 1984 and the other kids followed, the last one leaving in 2004. In 1986 I came to MCS as a teacher after teaching six years in Rothesay and taught there for 23 years.So when I enter that building it is filled with so many memories .I visited the Grade 5 class first. Those kids were in kindergarten the last year I taught. Next I went to the grade 4 class. Several of those kids were kids of Zac's friends and that always brings tears to my eyes when I think of the children my son did not get to have. I stand before those kids reading from and talking about a book that holds the memory of a boy that their Dads grew up with,played Lego with,built treehouses with, had sleepovers with, partied with. I stop there with my thinking as thinking too deeply about it would render me unable to finish this post.Grade 3 was delightful. They were reading Ten Thousand Truths. I read them the last two chapters.I had some concerns when I heard they were reading it and perhaps their understanding of some parts is different than an older reader might have but they certainly brought an insightful and compassionate perspective to it.So overall ,I spent the day in a familiar place, stood in classrooms where I had taught, sat in a staff room with some of the staff that still remembers me,shared my three books with 60 kids who now eagerly wait to sign them out of a library that happens to be named after my father, in recognition to his years of dedication on the local school board.My friend Alice would say that's how I got my job. Macdonald Consolidated School , a special part of my life as a mom, a teacher and now an author.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Mid November Days

November has a distinctive feel. It's days are often grey, cold, windy and somewhat bleak. I remember a November a few years ago when my journal recorded that every day was wet and dark with no sunny days for the entire month.Whether the sun shines or not November is a month that serves to prepare us for the winter that is coming. But just as every season and every month does, November has it's gifts and blessings to give if we are open to receive them. As November reaches it's mid point this year I reflect on those blessings. First of all I have my husband home as he begins his retirement years. He has so enthusiastically embraced his at-home days. The garden has been harvested and he has begun the fall ploughing to clean up this year's garden and prepare for next year's planting.He has been filling the basement with the winter's wood.He has taken over my daily chores of feeding and watering the pigs, turkeys and chickens. I must admit I miss those chores a bit but love the extra time it gives me in the morning. He keeps the house lovely and warm and I rarely have to go to the furnace.I have enjoyed my writing time getting started on book # 5.I had an enjoyable shopping trip with my daughter-in-law and her mom , sisters, cousins and aunts.Yesterday I spent the day at Island View School. I presented to all the students from kindergarten to grade 5. What wonderful, interested, bright and eager kids they were and I enjoyed each session.The students and staff welcomed me warmly. It was such a joy to see principal Mark Blucher doing all his principal things throughout the day. A joy especially because I was Mark's Grade four teacher. I joked that I was responsible for him wanting to be a teacher. He very nicely told the kids that he remembered me as a wonderful teacher.(Really what else could he say?)I look forward to the rest of the month with three book signings,another school visit and more days in my office. As I have stated so many times before , I loved being a teacher but these days I am so happy to be a writer. Bring on the dark, deary days of November ,and the long winter. I am very content to be right here at my computer, in my nice warm house.

Friday, November 1, 2013

News as November Starts

Another month begins and I look back at the busy month that was October. Yesterday I had another school visit and met with a Family Dynamics class at KV High School. It was a quick hour but I enjoyed sharing some parts of Ten Thousand Truths with the very attentive (and it was Halloween) class.Tuesday I finished book # 4 (before editing of course) and sent it off to be considered for publication.After months of work I let it go and hope for the best.I got an e-mail this week telling me that I was chosen to launch The Sewing Basket in the OLA Mass Book Launch in Toronto in January. That's great news and I look forward to the trip and being a part of the OLA Super Conference. The Sewing Basket also made it into the Fall edition of Best Books for kids and teens. Yesterday I got an envelope filled with wonderfully written and supportive letters from the Grade 5 students at Lakewood Heights. I enjoyed reading every letter. I will read them again whenever my confidence is low. Those sentences that say things like "you are truly an amazing writer" are nice to re read.I started book # 5 yesterday afternoon and look forward to some consistent writing time in November and December before Christmas interferes with my writing days.