November 19th was Mom’s sendoff party. Five out of six grandchildren attended, six great grandchildren and my brother and I, with our spouses, plus many friends and some Condo mates. Mom would have loved it. One thing I learned is how much a person is remembered
and loved for their idiosyncrasies for example: feeding kids Smarties so they get smarter (wink-wink), sending postcards with birds on it to a granddaughter because she is named Robin, paying quarters for correct Jeopardy answers, dressing in cleavage displaying leopard fabrics, and sewing/weaving through calves liver with bacon. Mom loved to swim and called on all the Condo ladies every morning to head off to the pool. She also enjoyed the Sound of Music Festival in Burlington every year, playing Rummy Cubes,
reading, big family dinners with lots of kids running around. She would have loved the rouladen, red cabbage, cabbage rolls, spaezle, Schnizel, potato salad, and cheese cake served at her sendoff. She would have liked hearing her granddaughter singing You are my Sunshine. Most of all she would have loved all her great and grand children. Happy trails Mom. Auf wiedersehen.
The biggest win wasn’t the cheque, although thank you very much to Reliable Life Insurance for sponsoring my groceries for a week. (We eat a lot too and there may be crabs’ legs this week) The amazing gift was that Ron Ulrich, Managing Artistic Director of Theatre Aquarius, read chapter six from Last Chance from Paris. Imagine listening to seven minutes of a readingof your own work as you’re standing in front of an audience. He originally trained as an actor with the National Theatre School of Canada and
his rendition was nothing short of spectacular. You could feel the level of respect for children’s literature and my book rising as he continued. It’s difficult for writers to appreciate their own work when they’ve written and rewritten a piece and they’ve received all the reviews or (sometimes not received enough reviews) and gone through “recessionary” royalty statements. But his reading made me appreciate my own talent. It also made me think that literature needs to make use of every platform, whether electronic or auditory, to keep up the passion for the original medium: pages.
I enjoyed listing to all the readings but especially a surprise performance by Burlington Slam Poetry http://burlingtonslam.wordpress.com/. Apparently they host poetry readings every third Thursday of the month at Philthy McNasty’s, cover charge of $5 goes to the winning poet. I will definitely make a point of going.
The end of the evening featured a reading of the winning adult fiction, Trevor Cole’s Practical Jean, another book I must acquire. Life is never better than when you have a stack of books at your bedside ready for your enjoyment. Thank you Hamilton Arts Council and Ron Ulrich!
The sound of pencils scratching against paper and silence,
The warm minced beef taste of a soft taco lunch to end the writing experience.
On October 14 two sets of students headed out to share new writing inspirations with a) Hugh Brewster at Dundurn Castle and b) me at Royal Botanical Gardens. I enjoyed our tropical garden atmosphere for walking and writing in. The at-home challenge was for the students to write a five sense poem about their own favourite sensations. The poems all came in now and because I didn’t ask permission to post, I’ve created one myself to remind them of our time together.
In English I’ve titled this story Dying to Go Viral. In Norwegian, it appears to be Tur-Retur evigheten. Fourteen-year old Jade dies “skitching”, skateboarding hitched to the back of a car. She promised her dad she would wear a helmet at all times but her boy crush wanted to video her with her long hair blowing in the wind. She awakes in a beautiful Japanese garden and meets her long dead mom. Jade begs for another chance at life but is only able to secure a retake of her
last week. Still no one will be able to make her perform that stupid stunt again. Jade manages to change all kinds of destiny in a positive way but can she evade her death? You have to hope an English speaking publisher picks up the title so you can read the end.