Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wood Roads, Toronto, and Contentment

I just returned from a place that I am sure is among the most beautiful in the world; in my world anyway. I took a few minutes from writing to take my old dog, my two adorable grand dogs and myself for a walk up the wood road behind my house. I can not even begin to explain how standing partway up that hill on my way to what we call the park and gazing through snow covered trees at the vast blue sky above fills me with contentment.I heard someone talking on CBC yesterday about contentment being the key to happiness. I believe that to my core, although I sometimes stray from the confidence of that knowledge and let worry and concern take the forefront. Usually my very wise husband reminds me that there is no value in worry and the walk up the wood road always serves to reinforce that and bring me back to my senses. I have certainly over the last few years while on this walk given lots of thought to the difficulties I must face and the challenges faced by the people I love, but as I walk that winding road and as each turn brings more beauty, by the time I reach the top and then make my way back down the thoughts that take over are always of gratefulness and an overall glass certainly half full or perhaps even flowing over perspective . Perhaps there is magic on this wood road which explains why Burton who rarely goes a day without taking his tractor and chainsaw up this road can remain so grounded in what really matters. I also am always given on this walk a clear look at where I am going in my writing and I got lots of help today. I can't wait to get home next week and get back to work.That brings me to the Toronto part.I leave tomorrow and on Friday I am participating in the OLA Super Conference Mass Book Launch. I know I've already mentioned that but this time tomorrow I will be in Toronto and getting ready to meet some fellow authors for supper. Part of me will still be here on the Walton Lake Road . For sure I will be happy to be at the events in Toronto but I will be happier still when I get back home and am given another afternoon to take another walk up the wood road behind my house.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Fog Lit Writers' Awards

There is a lovely dusting of snow on the ground and when I look out the windows I have that fleeting feeling of Christmas excitement that I always feel after the first snow. I am thinking it may be because I was away for Christmas and didn't follow the usual traditions that complete the Christmas cycle for me. It may be because I still have Christmas decorations everywhere. So today I will put them away. Yesterday, I was pleased to participate in the Fog Lit Writers' Awards.In October, the first Fog Lit Festival was held. As part of the Festival's mandate they conducted a writing competition and the awards were handed out yesterday. Congratulations to all the participants and all the winners.Congratulations to two MCS students, Gywneth Moir and Jilly Richard on their winning entry. I was invited to read, as was Gerard Collins, author of Finton's Moon and Moonlight Sketches.Gerard is on tour and has been maintaining a very busy schedule. He conducted a writing workshop at the library in the morning.Mary Barlow from Indigo was the master of ceremonies.Mary is such an advocate of local authors and good books of every kind. Riel Nason introduced Gerard.Wayne Hansen provided two beautiful musical performances . The winners read from their winning entries. My friend and fellow writer Rosalyn Hyslop has been instrumental in the creation of the Fog Lit Festival and works tirelessly with the Fog Lit board to plan and carry out the events. There is no doubt that Fog Lit will continue to be a major force in the literary life of Saint John and surrounding areas.Watch for what comes next as they forge their way. Thank you again Rosalyn for inviting me to be a part of yesterday's celebration. To all the winners,keep writing and believing that your voice matters.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Where is Winter Hiding?

What a lot of weather we have had in the last few weeks. We have had days of bitter cold, a major ice storm, heavy snow, heavy rain,and mild temperatures. Today it feels like Spring. The snow is mostly gone and the fields are bare.There is mud everywhere and the driveway already has the deep ruts that the spring thaw always brings.I know winter is just hiding ,not gone for good. Saturday, I have a reading with NFLD author Gerard Collins at the Fog Lit awards. Winter is predicted to return that day.We will see. I am a chicken when it comes to driving in bad weather (just ask my daughter )and have already enlisted Burton to drive me into the city for the event if the weather is bad, but not bad enough to cancel. I do love the fact that I don't have to drive in bad weather if I don't want to but haven't figured out how to keep all my loved ones at home when the roads are bad. Enough of my over-obsessive worrying. I am moving along nicely with the book I am writing right now . I see clearly my way to the end although my characters sometimes veer me in different directions when I least expect it. (Like black ice ,if I stay with the weather/driving theme)I have a very busy schedule ahead that makes actually finding time to write a bit of a challenge. At the end of this month I go to Toronto to participate in the OLA Super Conference in a Mass Book Launch with The Sewing Basket. In February I have three WISP visits and a library Mother /Daughter book club visit.So today I will get to work. It is Christmas in my book and I am contemplating giving them a power outage that lasts for a week or throwing in a huge storm that forces them all together for a few days.Nothing like being storm-stayed to work out some major family issues.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Let 2014 Begin!

We are back home and the calendars have been changed. We have begun 2014.We left on Christmas Eve leaving our cold dark house in my sister in law Mary's care. We thought as many others did that the power would come back on soon . I left her instructions on how to use the washer and the dishwasher thinking that within hours she could get everything back to normal, turn on the electric heat to free her up from constantly attending the kitchen wood stove and the small furnace fire that was barely keeping our house warm and get back to her own house.The power did not come back on for an entire week. The Christmas of 2013 for most residents on the Kingston Peninsula was one to remember. Lots of generators kicked in as did the good neighbourly acts of a strong and caring community.Our community also felt the loss of four residents that will be missed and their passing also makes Christmas 2013 a memorable one.RIP Bessie, Paul,Mary and Joyce. I also am saddened by the passing of a dear friend Dorothy who was such a support to so many. She fought valiantly to overcome the cancer that invaded her body and sidetracked her life for the last two years. She continually showed such a positive attitude and faced each kick it gave her with bravery and strength. She daily gave an account of her journey and in her postings always gave words of encouragement to others. I will keep her beautiful smile in my minds eye and attempt to keep her spirit and courage forefront in my thoughts as we suffer her loss. So we move ahead into 2014 not knowing what this year will bring. May we all find the true power not in the lines that run into our homes and give us the many luxuries we have come to expect and rely on but in our hearts, our relationships with family , friends and our communities far and wide.