Raising Charles Joseph’s Totem in Montreal

'Residential School Totem Pole' carved by artist Charles Joseph from Kwakwaka'wakw Nation, BC, being raised at the Montréal Musée des Beaux Arts 2017
I happened to be passing as the ‘Residential School Totem,’ carved by artist Charles Joseph from Kwakwaka’wakw Nation, BC, was being raised outside the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Of course I had to stop and watch even though it was Continue reading

The Challenges of Judging a Children’s Writing Competition

Even though I’ve graded any number of school and university students’ papers, exams and projects, I’ve never enjoyed it. That’s an understatement. I loathe grading!

So why did I volunteer to join a judging committee for a children’s writing competition?

I suppose I felt it was a small way to give back to the larger writing community. I’ve been so lucky to have wonderful generous mentors and friends who’ve taken the time to give me advice and feedback.

In any case, what could be so hard about helping judge a children’s writing competition?

Plenty, as it turned out! Continue reading

Opening the Door to Backstory

Backstories are always fascinating to a fiction writer. How can you know the characters in your story if you don’t know what’s happened in their past and how that’s affected them?

Is that why I feel so sad when I see yet another of Montreal’s beautiful old mansions bite the dust? Because when we’ve lost Montreal’s old buildings, we won’t know Montreal?

I couldn’t help but wonder what the story was of this building Continue reading

If Only This Were My Secret Door To Writing

near Beaver Lake, Mount Royal, Montreal

Just looking at these quirky little lopsided buildings in the trees to one side of Beaver Lake on “the mountain” (Montreal’s Mount Royal) makes me want to sit down and write.

I’m sure I’d finish my next story collection so much faster if I had one of these as my private writing nook.

Unfortunately that little sticker says Continue reading

Doors to the Past – Open or Leave Closed?

Mulroney-Reagan Trade Deal 1988 - Warren Allmand MP ReportLast week I wimped out of my Time Capsule project (my door to the past).

The booklet I pulled out was distributed by our Member of Parliament in 1988 detailing the reasons why the Mulroney-Reagan Trade Deal was not a good idea.

Quite the coincidence that I should find it now, given that President Trump has just opened the door to renegotiating the trade deal (now NAFTA)….

I did try to make a blackout poem with a page of the text but it just didn’t work.

This week the Time Capsule produced the Continue reading

Finding the Right Door

Ethiopia

It’s taken me years to finish my collection of short stories. Now I’m in that lovely but frustrating floaty ‘what-next?’ phase.

EthiopiaIt’s not that I don’t have plenty of projects to work on (two other story collections are in the pipeline) but I’d really like to sink my teeth into something totally new.

EthiopiaAnd I feel there’s some idea lurking out there, not so far away, waiting for me… Something important.

Ethiopia

It’s just a matter of finding the right door….

Ethiopia

Doors to hermit caves in Ethiopia

Inspired by Norm’s Thursday Doors

Security – For Thirty-Seven Days

Weekly Photo Challenge: Security

In the Middle Ages anyone who had committed a serious crime would be given security for thirty-seven days if they used The Sanctuary Knocker on the door of Durham Cathedral.

In that time they had to decide whether they would stand trial or leave the country – or (according to the site I’ve linked below the photo) try to reconcile with those who had suffered from their wrongdoing.

I found The Sanctuary Knocker quite mesmerizing and ominous. Was it looking into my innermost soul to see if I was guilty? It’s actually a replica but obviously imbued with the right aura!

For more about the Knocker and the Sanctuary Seekers.

Durham Cathedral

Not So Easy Being Green!

Weekly Photo Challenge: It IS Easy Being Green!

Well, actually it’s not so easy to be green in March in Montreal!

Easier in England where I’ve spent the last few weeks. It was a very stressful and sad time. But every morning during the 45 minute drive to the hospital I would soak in the colours of daffodils, primroses, and the blossoming trees…

In particular I found the sight of the green, green fields spreading out each side of the road very comforting.

When you see something green you know it is alive, right? It also means balance, calm and harmony. So it is a great color to have around when you are trying to restart yourself after a hard day. It is the reason we feel so great when we are out in the open. Color Psychology

I arrived back in Montreal just in time for the biggest snow storm of the winter so it was back to white. It snowed again all day yesterday (Friday). No green in sight….

Montreal Musée des Beaux Arts

..until I came across the photo below as I was cleaning up my desktop. I had to use it!

frog - Montreal Botanical Gardens

The frog was in the reeds at the edge of a lake in the Montreal Botanical Gardens (2013 Montreal International Mosaïcultures).

Atop the High Wire

Weekly Photo Challenge: Atop
Atop

I’ve always had trouble watching artists take daring risks, such as this tightrope walker crossing St. Denis Street during Montreal’s Cirque Festival in 2016. Usually I cover my eyes and ask my husband to tell me when it’s over!

Montreal Cirque Festival 2016

But he was having so much fun that I couldn’t not watch! Even though there was nothing between him and the hard street below.

Montreal Cirque Festival 2016

We Are…

black bear, Spirit Bear Lodge, Great Bear Rainforest, BC

“We are all wildlife”  seen on WWF poster

pansy

“…we are not in control. We are a part of this planet, and must learn to live within in it. Attempts to bend it to our will, ultimately, won’t work. Every place yearns to be wild. Weeds push through asphalt. Roots tap into underground piping. I think it’s time we honour our place within a living planet, and work hard to ensure that our impact doesn’t stifle the beauty and vibrancy of the wild world.” 2016 Governor General’s Award Winners Jon Erik Lappano and Kellen Hatanaka

spotted salamander, Eastern Townships, QC

“After all, we all came from water.” Big guy lifting weights at the gym last week to his trainer

Thanks to settleinelpaso for including me in the networking activity Three Days, Three Quotes.  I’m not sure if I’ll manage another quotations post but appreciate the idea as a way to reflect on the beginning of a new year!  Go check out the fun posts in Settle in El Paso, a family blog.