On the interconnectedness between living and breathing, moving and writing, creating. Riffs, wordplay, book reviews + writing prompts.
June 2017! Published by beautiful Running the Goat Press. Inspired by the community I live in, Lismore Sheep farm, storytellers everywhere, artist Deanne Fitzpatrick and—of course—baby lambs. So grateful for this team and the art of amazing Darka Edjeli.
I was unpacking the boxes marked kitchen, arranging juice glasses onto the shelves when Gilles called and asked could I start to pack a bag—he had to rush home, fly out at once to New York: a plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers. I'd had my first visit to New York City only the week before. New York had never been on my dream destination list but I seriously and unexpectedly fell head over heels in love. I'd caught New York Fever, a New Yorker told me.
From the notebooks of Lynnie Lucette Eliza MacGinnis, 1968. Yesterday all I worried about was the overpopulation of the planet, babies starving in Biafra, nuclear bombs, radiation, pollution, the extinction of the bald headed eagle, ignoring Jesus, going to hell and the possible invasion of freaky aliens who hover around our neighbourhood in spaceships called U. F. O’s or Youafoes, as my brother Fen says.
Sometimes characters are hard to get to know. They play hide and seek, especially if you've been not paying attention to them—but when they do emerge, they can just jump up from the page and knock you over. Lynnie Evans has been one those characters. The novel is almost over. She's still surprising me. I never saw the french kissing part coming. It's taken me so long to write this book, she's entered puberty!
Do you know it really happened?
As wild as it might seem
The youngest was the wisest
And peace was not a dream
Here, take my child.
She has written a poem:
“dandy lions are golden buttons in the grass”
Smell those dandelions, see the image,
Before you tell her dandelions are weeds or
Dandelions is not spelled correctly.
Here, take my child
but... TAKE CARE.
As doors close at River John Consolidated School and summer begins, the RJSOS wait for word and confirmation and time when Premier MacNeil will meet with them. We still believe, if all the facts are fully known, Premier MacNeil will help this community find a way to pilot their creative HUB School. The community will continue to rally.
Like so many of her readers, however, I'd "met" her, or felt like I already had, in the pages of her books. To me, everything she's ever written is a wake up call to action. Meeting her changed my life the same way her books did. I discovered more about what I thought and believed or rather what I didn't know that I didn't know and knew more about who I was or could be—as a result. I still read—love and/or wrestle with—her work.
For now, this made me stop and gasp. Almost thirty years later, I'm at work on Majorly Weird and Freak/wently Wonderful, a Doubleday title. I've never made it rich or famous. (But I got to meet Mr. Dressup and that's way cool.) I've worked with amazing editors. I've told the stories I needed to tell the way I needed to tell them.
Little did I ever imagine I'd end up living in a community and become part of a team fighting for their school. But it's a much bigger fight than that. It is about justice and finding a new way for rural communities. It's about sanity-making in a system so top heavy it's forgotten—is disconnected.
Such beauty exists
in the midst of mist
and broken open ness ..
Echoes of many, but said by a former politician it is refreshing. Nova Scotian or not, if you are unhappy about provincial GOVERNMENT or baffled by it, a r-e-a-d of this book is a good idea for a rainy afternoon. Ignoring the never talk religion or politics rule today. (Okay, when have I kept that rule?) Here's a Book review of sorts.
I refused a interview at Chatelaine, there was too much I was being asked I did not want to share. Discretion was still a good idea unless a woman wanted to be labelled as "Ex-battered ... or welfare mother or angry feminist." So I was always careful to say that book of poetry was not me, it may be parts of my experience and women I've met and known. I am all the women in this book and none of them. And Yes, I've been to the Moon and back.
What is the difference
Between your experience of Existence
And that of a saint?
The saint knows
That the spiritual path
Is a sublime chess game with God
And that the Beloved
Has just made such a Fantastic Move
That the saint is now continually
Tripping over Joy
A non-fiction book for adults called Jump Over Yourself!—lessons I keep on learning—is getting there. But I'll never be done learning or get there (where is there) 'til I'm done. And I hope to be jumping/flying at 104 like the oldest woman ever to tandem paraglide.
My sons' teenage years and manhood taught me more about myself than I probably ever wanted to know. They are 33 and 39 now. These men still occupy most of the depth of the chambers of my whole cracked open heart. I am still learning to be the mother of men. They are still my greatest teachers. And now, I am experencing Oma-hood. Again, in such an unconventional way, I want to change that tired phrase, "It's complicated", to "It's simple—my only job is to love. No matter what."
So we have hens, the sheep summered here (now back to their friend's the big barn) and we were getting ready—well it started out at least—for a horse and a donkey. I took lessons and had great teachers, but not enough time on the back of a horse for this slow learner. I wasn't ready at all for that particular horse, not enough time in that saddle and he was BIG (But so sweet). I think I secretly just hoped I would learn once he was here. So we adjusted, slowed down on plans, but then—donkeys! We could still have donkeys! Build a loafing shed! Well, turns out we are still not ready—enough.
Those who attended the open house held by the River John Support Our School committee on September 24th know the summer was busy. From painting buildings, circulating petitions, talking with media to the weekly meetings we held to clarify our strategy for our way forward—it was hardly a vacation. The months that follow will be even busier.
Sometimes, I'm for sale. Parents buy me. Or librarians. Or other purple peoples. Then, we have a parties. Usually, there are children. A lot of them. The DDFM—deeply-dimpled Frenchman—is a VERY patient man.
If you wonder why that bothers me a little, look here. An artist of colour and vision. I've never met him and he lives in my home a bit. I'm working on a new book with artist Deanne Fitzpatrick who just offered a workshop with Kaffe Fassett where people came from all over. Then he was in Sandy Cove! Okay, the next time.
I used to tell my mother I felt guilty for complaining whenever I thought of the lives mothers had had in the past. My mother told me her mother had an expression: I’m not complain’, I’m just explainin’.
There aren’t any whiners in Kerry Clare’s The M Word. The conversations are many and varied in this stunning new anthology, which explores the ambiguity of motherhood and offers more than just predictable small talk. You can, and will need to, dip in and out of the collection and breathe deeply.
This feels kind of fool kind of cool
in a word
in a stupour
Mudder Goose Dr Suess—fine company to keep. Another Fitch and Fitzpatrick underway. So: Good Buy?
Linda Little’s latest novel, Grist, is set against the landscape of North Shore Nova Scotia over one hundred years ago. In classic storytelling tradition, the tale traces the arc of one woman’s life and through the minutiae of that life, we are invited into a memorable story of work and home, men and women, family and war. Little’s is that kind of fiction where a deeply personal telling leads readers to universal questions and no easy answers.
The recent CBC report on spiny dogfish is no laughing matter, but reminded me it's not the first time dogfish have caused problems in our Atlantic fishing industry. There was a huge dogfish problem in 1930s in Newfoundland. I recently got to read and review this delightful VERY topical Children's book in The Salon in the Saint John Telegraph Journal.
River John is a community who cares about a little School that wants to stay open. River John has children to educate right here. Here are the words of one passionate, hardworking parent: Jill Munro.
For my father, now gone, the Mountie. My sister, outstanding police officer. The fallen police officers of Moncton and their families. The city, the place of my childhood. I lit these a few years back in the country of Bhutan. Light for grief. Porch lights on ...
For anyone following the River John challenge to stay open. Here was the presentation on May 20th to the Board. I watched hardworking members of this community spend hours trying to create a document that would speak to the members of the CCRSB. The Board votes on June 11th whether or not to grant an extra year as requested by the Minister.