Full tilt into month three/four as the PARL writer in residence.


Here's a zoom in lens of some of what 's been happening in 2014. 

Long stormy January days are bliss for me. I'm a Hermit. A grandmama bear in hibernation. I sit by the fire and write longhand. I'm grateful for the time this PARL residency provides. 

Then it's time to emerge from the snow-wrapped cocoon. Not a butterfly but a writerfly. Writer flying or maybe &buzzing around. 

I've given workshops/readings in Antigonish, New Glascow, Pictou.  Breathe, Stretch, Write, Listening, Wordplay, Characters, JOY! 

Mentorships sessions are filled--- back to back and wonderful.
So many stories, and so many writers and storytellers.

One week was especially "busy". 

It began here: 

January 25th--  I talked at the closing celebration of Childcare Connections, an organization that has been advocating for children and child care workers in our province for 25 years.  

January 27 – Family Literacy Day, 2014.  One of my favourite days of the year.


Alarm rings.
Hearty breakfast. Note: Blueberries in porridge mixed with yogurt look purple. POIPLE!Wearing purple. Listening to CBC. Radio. Trying to do something with my bed head so I will not scare the students. Books packed. Check. Directions to school. Check. Check. Check e-mails. Wow--- look what's in my e-mail box. Send tweets, Facebook post. Scratch dog. Check. Play with dog. Check. Tell the dog you really really love him even though you are both leaving him for the whole day. Check. And were off – wait – forgot my books forgot my MapQuest! Chapstick, too! Peppermints, too! Off again! 

Listen to CBC radio all the way to Antigonish. It's sobering. Changes our mood. 

We talk about the fire in L’Isle Verte. 

Send some prayers to them.

( Most writers write because they care about the world and what happens in it.)

Arrive Antigonish.

Go to Tall And Small café! Love their coffee and muffins. Surprise meeting with friend Jamie.  

 It's kind of purple-ish!  

 Blue mood lifted by friends, food and purple. Drive to St. Andrew's Junior School.

Where we see this : 

 And inside: 


A huger purple banner and a row of purple people greet me. 

Dozens of purple Chinese lanterns hang throughout the foyer of the school. 

 Go into the office. Meet the principal and the vice principal and of all people Ms. Argyle! 


Well Argyle is her first name --- and she really is the inspiration for the school secretary in book The Hullaballoo Bugaboo Day. I met her years ago at another school and here she is here! She is again! I  can’t believe it. Note: send new Hullabaloo Bugaboo Day to the real Argyle at St. Andrews Junior School.

 Go to the gym. Clapping. Hooting. Helloooos!

 Grade 7's and 8's rock! Loved the questions. 




Have a break. 

Eat wonderful  homemade Cherry Blossom chocolates compliments of Ms. Vautour who invited me here.  




 By the way, she’s dressed in purple. Most of the teachers and students are purplishous!  

How could you not love school with a teacher like this?  

Go to the gym meet another couple hundred students-- Grades Five and Six. They are rockin' too! They ask so many questions we don't have enough time to answer all of them. What a school.


Meet Dan Leblanc.  Art teacher extraordinaire. He gives me the Mabel Marple on the wall. He drew it--as close as he could to wonderful Sydney Smith's. 

I ask him if I can take Mabel home and he says yes! ( She is now in her bedroom)  

 SO………………..that’s the morning.

 Leave the school. Go to lunch. Great bowl of clam chowder. Say goodbye to DDFM at the corner.


 I get to go to Aphrodite’s! Love love love this place named after a goddess. In there, I see a picture of one of  my favorite singers EVER. Laura Smith is the PATRON goddess of Aphrodites.

I bought myself a cool Desigual top!

Go back to library. Meet with one of my workshop participants going over his writing. After 40 years of working in public health around the world with mothers and children--- he has amazing, fascinating stories. I hope someday I will be at the launch of his book. 

As Brenda Ueland says "everyone is talented, original and has something important to say." 

 Immediately after the mentorship session, I attend the family literacy day event planned by ACALA, the Antigoinsh County Adult Learning Association.   

 The room is packed to the rafters and I'm delighted to meet Honorable Randy Delorey, the Nova Scotia Minister of Environment. He's also a Dad who reads to his children and did a reading blitz today all day, going into schools talking about family literacy. He read The Lorax by Dr. Seuss and another book about the environment ( en francais!) Talking to him for only a few minutes I sensed a genuine committment and believe he's one who sees how education, literacy, environment, and economics are all connected. A connect the dot kind of person. I couldn't help thinking what a great role model for our students.  (I say that even though I'm more purple and green and orange than red.)   

Minister Delorey awards the ACALA family literacy contest writing prizes to winners.  

I read Mabel Murple and some poems and we do a family writing activity. This is my favourite picture of the day.

I wish people could see what I see and meet who I meet:  front line literacy workers like Kathryn Collicott who work tirelessly for the learners and their families.

 We all had fun and even to have some cake and eat it too!  

So, what a day.  What a wonderful day.  

Tuesday : I'm in Pictou for mentorships in the afternoon, a family read at six and then a workshop. It's ten at night when I packed and caught up with emails. 

Wednesday: I fly to Toronto and have a great supper with Amy Black, my editor at Doubleday Canada.

Thursday:  I meet with my publisher Mary Macchussi (Pembroke Publishing) for breakfast and then meet Terry Lee Bulger-- Nimbus Publisher who was nice enough to bring me there. It's been too long since we've seen each other face to face and we both live in NS!  

We go to the luncheon at Ontario Library Asssociation conference. I saw a lot of  author freinds like Lisa Dalrymple and Deb Ellis and meet new ones. (I'll be writing about their books in months ahead but I can't say where or why just yet!) I was especially glad to see Charlotte Teeple the Executive Director of The Canadian Children's Book Centre. Last time we saw each other was 18 years ago in Mexico. That's where I turned 40.    

Friday:  I travel to Amherst and have a girlfriend day and pajama party with Deanne Fitzpatrick, rug hooker, knitter and artist of Singily Skipping Along.  

Saturday: Deanne and I went to Amherst Literacy Family Fun day sposered by Maggie's Place and CANU and read from and sign our book. Deanne drew and showed how she gets ideas.  

What a week that was! 

 And blink : March 10th now! 

The last month and a bit has been more peaceful a pace, mentorship and workshops in River John, Flag Day At River John School and I even got a week off for good behaviour. On Saturday, (see my post from the weekend)  I celebrated  International Women's Day at Celtic Circle in New Glasgow with performer/singer Doris Mason. She sang one of my poems --made me laugh and cry.   

 On March 9th and 10th, I'll be back in Antigonish and New Glasgow giving teen and tween workshops!

 Actually, I'm on my way! 

 Thank you PARL! 

 Not much time left ... before my time as Writer in Residence is over. 

 Until the next page....and museletter