Monday, May 26, 2014

Seeds for Sowing and Food for Thought

Tomorrow is my last writing day before garden season. I am writing my entry this evening after a day of writing so that I don't have to take any time away from my day tomorrow. I am really having a hard time thinking of letting go of my fall, winter and most of spring routine when I can go to my office four days a week and get to spend time doing what I have waited all my life to do. I miss lots about teaching but not at this time of the year, when with summer holidays in sight students and teachers struggle to keep focused. I loved the last day of school feeling but the lead up was always challenging and while I was teaching and raising my kids every bit as busy as Christmastime. So this feels much different. I will stop writing tomorrow and put my energies elsewhere. Firstly, Burton and I will travel to the TWUC On Words Conference in St. John's, Newfoundland. When we come back we will set about sowing seeds. Lots of seeds, in five large sections of ground. Two more sections than last year. Burton is expanding our garden now that he is fully retired. We are happy to be planting more and will try to supply Dave Wolpin at Kredl's Corner Market with whatever excess we produce. He has a very impressive policy of taking produce from local non chemical- using farmers and I applaud his vision. We will sow the seeds and then tend to the gardens every day. I will spend long hours of weeding, hoeing and harvesting. In June I will take some time away from the garden to go to Alberta for two family weddings and to visit Meg, Cody and the girls. At the end of that month I will bring the girls back to the farm for the month of July. Garden in the morning, beach in the afternoon is the plan. What fun we will have! While I am away from my desk I will not be far from the story I am currently working on or from thoughts of the one to follow. I will let my mind wander as I grow the food to feed us , our family ,some friends and some Kredl's customers and to see us through the winter. When I get insight or the characters push through while I am gardening and show me something that belongs in the story, I will run in and jot those thoughts down. I will return to my office in September and get back to it. In the meantime I look forward to taking my books to the market most Saturdays throughout the summer , to meet readers and talk about this wonderful thing I get to do called- being a writer.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

On Friends and Family

My last blog entry was on the topic of being a mother. Today on my woods road walk I pondered the topic of friends and family. The more I thought about it the more complicated it seemed. The book I am working on right now is basically about a family that has had some severe dysfunction which resulted in estrangement and separation mostly caused by misunderstandings, feelings of betrayal and years of pride and stubbornness preventing anyone from getting to the root of it all. I realized on my walk that I had in the five hours of standing at the market and talking to several people been witness to a lot of situations in which friends or family are living that same scenario. Boy it's hard maintaining healthy, active and positive relationships with family and friends. Mothers /daughters, sons/ parents, daughters/ fathers, sisters, friends ; all types of relationships that have unravelled. Without giving any details, in talking to people yesterday, I saw and heard of them all. For myself I spoke to a friend that over the years I have drifted apart from. It makes me sad that our friendship is not what it once was. Maintaining relationships with friends and family takes a lot of work. Relationships change of course and distance plays a part in that change. Sometimes the distance is geographic and sometimes it is emotional. It is all very complicated. Sometimes family is not even anyone that is related to you. Sometimes the best father or mother ,sister or brother is one you find, not one that shares your DNA. We can not be all things to all people. When hearing ,seeing or sensing some of the pain or in some cases the pain they so carefully protect anyone from seeing, I wanted to be able to say something that could fix things. In the book I am writing I am trying to do that. I can dig deep and see the causes and manipulate my characters into situations that might bring about healing. In real life it is not so easy and I realize that I can only try to do my best with the relationships that I have. I fall short in so many cases, but I will keep trying.

Monday, May 12, 2014

On Being the Mother

I am writing this morning on the day after Mother's Day. I probably can offer nothing more about being a mother than what has already been said a million different ways on cards , and Facebook quotes but here is my take on being a mother. Having children is not for the faint of heart, but who really understands that when they decide to have a baby. I try not to be the voice of doom when I congratulate the newly pregnant, who are happily awaiting the birth of their first child. " Do you know what you are getting yourself into? " does not seem like a supportive and congratulatory comment. Don't get me wrong , I wouldn't change my choice to have kids but I did not know how heart wrenching being a mother is. Of course the heartbreak of loosing a child is an agony beyond explanation and telling new parents of that is not something I would ever do. I am talking more generally of a mother's heart and the burden or privilege of being a mother and holding that child in your heart forever. Each bump in their journey is a bump you take right along with them. From rushing to pick them up when they fall on their first bike ride to giving them comfort when they have their first broken heart, the job of being the mother never goes away. This morning I acknowledge that role and think of the mothers that I know right now dealing with difficult situations in their children's lives. A close friend of mine is watching as her strong and vibrant son is debilitated ,suffering from a terrifying brain ailment. I am watching someone I love trying her best to support her daughter through a difficult time .I am hearing of a childhood friend now travelling to another province to claim the body of her son and discover the circumstances of his death. I did not intend to make this entry so dark and overshadow the sunny and flowery greetings that yesterday's Mother's Day brought to many .Happy Mother's Day and to mothers everywhere I say Stay Strong, Stay Well, and Stay Thankful for each joy motherhood brings and be proud of the job you do, being the mother.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

To Market, To Market

Yesterday another season opened for the Kingston Farmer's market. The market has long been a part of my May to December weekends. I also launched all three books at the market. The top picture was taken on the day of the launch of The Year Mrs. Montague Cried and the other picture of Alida and me was taken at the launch of Ten Thousand Truths. Years ago I sold quilted items at the old market , now known as the Original Kingston Farmer's Market. The Original tries very hard each year to stay open and viable. The new market has certainly taken most of the vendors and shoppers and continues to grow every year. Market loyalties and politics are a long and changing story. For years Burton and I faithfully had our breakfast at the old market. Every Saturday we looked forward to a hug from Alida and a delicious Al and Alida cooked breakfast. The change came when Al passed away suddenly on a Thanksgiving weekend. I now spend my May to December Saturdays at the new market. Their breakfasts will never measure up to breakfasts that the Nutters served for many years. But I got my hug from Alida yesterday. She now walks through the new market as a shopper, greeting her friends and neighbours and many people that will never forget her dedication to a market and her love for her community. I am so thrilled to be able to stand at a table and offer three books that I have written. After years of my life being consumed with teaching and raising my children I now have the time to dedicate to my writing. I love sharing that writing and meeting the people face to face that will read my books. Yesterday I sold books to a wide range of people. I often get asked which one is my favorite or if they were just to buy one which one should it be. It is a difficult question to answer. Yesterday more people bought The Year Mrs. Montague Cried , close to the same number of people bought Ten Thousand Truths and two people bought The Sewing Basket. This morning I had two lovely messages from two of the buyers, who had already finished reading the book they had bought from me yesterday. It is this interaction that will continue to get me up early on Saturday morning and stand for 5 hours. See you at the market!