Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Celebrating the Winter Solstice

My banana tree finally succumbed to the cold weather. Until a couple days ago it held out, still standing tall, large dark leaves stretching skyward, as if in prayer. Overnight the leaves grew limp and drooped down. Now it looks forlorn, but I know, come spring, new leaves will push through and unravel where the old ones have died off.

The rest of the garden lies dormant now too and the days are so short. I got caught walking the dog along a forest trail yesterday, in the dark. It seemed the daylight disappeared suddenly. Light enough to see the trail one minute, pitch dark the next. Thank goodness for all the Christmas lights at this time of year to brighten the long nights. And this week's full moon in the clear, cold skies ~ spectacular!

The shortest day of the year is fast approaching and then, thank goodness, the days will gradually start to grow longer again. In just weeks, in this part of the world, the magic will begin. The crocuses will stir, under the soil, and soon their heads will poke through the earth, followed by daffodils and other early spring flowers. The natural world has needed these long nights and cold days to rest, to rejuvenate, before we are once again blessed with spring, which happens so gradually we hardly notice until it is upon us. Suddenly the cherry blossoms burst into bloom, shiny new leaves will flutter in the breeze and we sigh with relief, enjoying longer daylight hours again.

To mark the solstice one year a group of us hiked out to Quarry Rock to watch the sunrise. Another group did the same thing and then sang songs that had to do with sunshine... Here Comes The Sun, Sunshine on my Shoulders, Morning Has Broken etc. Very fitting, I thought.

In some quiet but significant way, I'll mark the occassion again this year. To me the Solstice feels more significant than Christmas, or birthdays. Without these short days/long nights, we wouldn't appreciate the next season, the bountiful, lush, light one. How grateful I am for that.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Dear Anonymous ~

~ you left a comment for me on my last post, suggesting it was time for a new one.

Thank you for that. It's nice to think someone wants to read anything I have to say.

I've been doing some thinking about this blogging business, Anonymous, and I realize that my motivation for posting has changed since I first began in July 2007. At that time I'd was advised to keep a blog, mainly for self-promotion purposes. It seemed like a good plan as my website is always years out of date so I decided to give it a whirl. I kept it light at first, thinking that it would be read by teen readers who would find it. Not so. It seems that those of us who blog read each other's posts, and occasionally I receive comments from complete strangers, but most of us don't have large readerships. I then began to use this blog as more of a journal, writing only when I had something on my mind. It's been good practise, and cathartic for me to write short pieces that try to make some sense of a subject. I sort things out best when I write about them, and I've really enjoyed it, but lately I've wondered about the point in all this navel-gazing...

Each of the blogs I follow has a different purpose. Some are to keep family members updated about growing children. Others are used by travellers to share their journey as they go. Some have a publishing focus, others are like mine, random thoughts about life and some are mostly self-promotion. I enjoy them all, and especially like the ones with lots of photos. (A picture tells a thousand words.)

I realize that my blog, Anonymous, is mostly navel-gazing. Admittedly, one of the blogs I follow and love is by Jann Arden, who is such a funny lady onstage, but her blog posts are really stream of consciousness navel-gazing too. Yet she is so poetic, so profound at times. She sucks me right into her prose.

I like my posts to have a point, to share something that I've learned on my journey. Problem is, Anonymous, life has been slow this past month. No new insights, or none that I'm ready to articulate yet. Oh, I know they're coming, life always throws new challenges our way, but the latest battles haven't moved into the arena of 'wisdom' yet. They will, and no doubt I'll be moved to write about them, but as far as the point of this post, Anonymous,well, I don't think there is one.

So Anonymous, thank you for checking in occasionally. The time will come when I feel I have something to say and I'll enjoy articulating it here. I hope I don't keep you waiting too long, and that you don't find my musings too self-absorbed. I'll try to keep my eye on that fine line....

Until then, warm hugs, whoever you are ~

(The above photo comes from logotreedesigns.blogspot.com/)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

In the fall of our lives....

I'm not sure why, but for some reason I've enjoyed this season more than I ever remember enjoying fall before. Perhaps it's because I have a new waterproof raincoat and I'm out on the mountain trails more regularly, but I have found the colours, the smells and the light to be especially remarkable this year. Today, for example, Winston, my loyal canine companion and I hit the trails late in the afternoon. It had rained most of the day, but now the sun was low in the sky and the way the light slanted through the branches and captured the colours of the remaining leaves on the trees ~ well, it was simply breathtaking. I had to stop dead in my tracks and just stare at the wondrous shimmer and slashes of light. The trail was covered in a thick blanket of leaves, you could not see the ground beneath it, and the musty, earthy smell was intoxicating. As we wandered along I gave a silent thanks to Mother Nature for giving us such a spectacular afternoon. Even on the rainiest of days Winston and I have headed out, and after the first few minutes we stop noticing the wet and simply enjoy the stillness and beauty of the forest.

Many years ago a beloved Unitarian minister helped me discover the beauty in the winter months, too, when the fall colours have long turned to a dull brown and the branches of the trees are stark. He reminded me that Mother Nature is simply resting, gaining strength, preparing for spring when the world will once again be blessed with a burst of new life/energy. The winter forest may look bare, but beneath the surface new life is already stirring, preparing for the longer days and warmth of the new season. Like the forest, the minister said, we too need downtime, to rest and recharge. Our inner seasons may not coincide with the outer seasons, but there is much to learn from the cycle of Mother Nature.

A friend recently suggested that we are in the 'fall' of our lives. This notion didn't sit well with me as I realized the truth of her words, but today's walk was a reminder of what a beautiful season this is. As well, my dear friend Leslie pointed out that there has been a sudden flutter of posts on my blog. Could it be that my biological season is fall, but my internal rhythm is now in early spring, where the writing juices are beginning to flow again, waiting to burst into a flurry of novel chapters? I have two mini-writing retreats planned for the next month so I hope this blogging is simply a warm-up to the bigger work that's waiting.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Jane Goodall or Madonna?

There were 2 shows in town tonight. Jane Goodall at The Centre and Madonna at GM Place. You could not find two women who are more disparate in what they represent.

I went to see Jane Goodall. It was a most inspirational night.

The moment Dr. Goodall walked onto the stage the entire audience stood and gave her a standing ovation. She hadn’t said a word. Goosebumps ran down my spine. I imagine Madonna also received a standing ovation upon her entrance. Hmmm.

When Jane began to speak the entire audience leaned forward, captivated by her stories of living among the chimpanzees in Gombe. In her soft British accent she spoke of the destruction of the habitat in Africa, as well as around the world. She said, “We have lost our wisdom… there has been a disconnect between the head and the heart.”

A disconnect. How profoundly true.

Perhaps there has been a disconnect in the values of society. When a glitzy yet ultimately shallow ‘superstar’ like Madonna draws a much larger crowd (and hence, personal riches) than an inspirational speaker whose work and love for the planet and the creatures on it are tireless, and the money she earns goes back to the planet and creatures on it … well, yes, we have lost our wisdom. There has been a disconnect.

Jane’s presentation was serious but not gloomy. She feels that when humans have their back up against the wall, as we do right now where the health of Mother Earth is concerned, we will be forced to think creatively, and we will find the means to implement those creative solutions needed to restore the planet. She says the environment is ultimately forgiving, and although it will never be the pristine planet it once was, it can be restored to a healthy place. She feels that each and every one of us can make a difference by making informed choices…ie. the food that we purchase… could we have made a better choice for the environment? She believes that if each of us continues to make more and more choices in the planet’s favour, we will turn things around. All the small things add up to make a big difference.

As she spoke I wondered what was happening at the Madonna concert. I thought about how Madonna represents nothing of value to me and how Jane Goodall represents so much. I thought about the media attention that Madonna received compared to what Jane’s visit received. Yet what will each of these women ultimately contribute to the future of mankind?

Disconnect. I couldn’t have said it better.

Celebrating Life

At my father's memorial service (about 17 years ago) I remember being jarred when the minister commenced the service by saying that we were gathered to celebrate the life of Robert Frampton. I'm sure my head snapped up in horror. I wasn't there to celebrate anything! I was there to grieve my father's death.

Since then I've discovered that many memorial services start the same way and now I better understand the spirit of a memorial. Often the people gathered are asked to share memories or stories of our deceased friend/relative. As I listen to the reflections, I often wish that the person who has passed away could hear these stories. I feel that somehow we are sharing them too late.

I've heard of terminally ill people who help plan their own service, requesting certain pieces of music, deciding who should speak, even what kind of flowers they'd like there. They may even leave a letter that they wish read to their gathered friends. This really appeals to me. Just recently I heard of a women who is very ill with cancer. She decided to throw herself a big birthday bash, and her friends and family were determined to make it an especially meaningful event. One of her daughters performed a dance for her mother. Another read a poem she'd written for and about her. Many of the guests told stories of special times they'd had together. In the end, it was like a memorial service but the woman was actually able to hear the wonderful things people had to say about her. What a beautiful way to take your leave.

Another friend recently shared with me a letter she'd written to her daughter who was celebrating a significant birthday. In the letter the mother outlined the many lessons she'd gleaned from her own life, and wanted to pass on. It was almost like a personal philosophy. I was allowed to read the letter, and was very touched by the gift that it was. How many of us get to know our parents that way? And how often do we, as parents, sit down and write out what we feel are the most important values to live by, and give them to our children and yet, what better gift could we give them? They don't have to agree with the values, but at least they would know what they are, and who we are.

Once, when I was going through a difficult time with one of my own daughters, I told a friend that I was going to give up lecturing, and that I was simply going to live the best life that I could, and hope that my children would learn through example. I've discovered that that's a tough pedestal to balance on. Now I think it's more important to let our children know, clearly, what we value in life. When we're gone, they won't be able to ask us. As well, I'm going to engage them in sharing family stories, swapping memories of things we've experienced together, and possibly what we learned from those occassions. I've discovered that often our memories of the same occassion can be quite different. What I take away from an event is often very different from what they take away from it. Discovering what the other remembers can be very revealing.

I am setting myself the task of telling all the wonderful people in my life that I love them and why they are special to me. They might as well know now. It may take awhile to get to them all, but better late than never. I'd rather celebrate life and the people in mine while they are living.

The picture is of my mother and my daughters who are all very much alive!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Working on the Cruise Ship

After 2 1/2 months we've finally received some pictures of daughter #2's adventures on the cruise ship where she is working for 8 months as an entertainer.

It looks like fun!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Sister Wife is officially out! Not officially launched, that will take place in November, but it is now available. I received my copies last week and I'm very pleased with the way it looks.

The most heartwarming part of this publishing process was the reaction to the book by my friend, Sue Gordon. I've 'blogged' about Sue previously, and how she's 'true-blue'. Although we rarely get together or even talk on the phone, it's like no time has passed when we do finally connect. She has stuck with me through thick and thin, always celebrating my new books in a meaningful way, and because her friendship is so special to me, I dedicated Sister Wife to her. In true Sue fashion, she was over-joyed with the gesture, which made me feel good all over again. I had hoped that Sue would see the dedication for what it is, a testimony to her friendship, but she totally surpassed my expectation! Thank you Sue!

Dave Jenkinson, editor of Canadian Materials Magazine read a review copy of Sister Wife and wrote to to me to say he thought it was a "wonderful read!" It's always nice when the first review is a good one, especially coming from someone as well respected in the field as him.Thank you, Dave!

And more about celebrations ~ at the end of August Rebecca Wigod of the Vancouver Sun wrote a fabulous column about my writing group as we celebrated our group's 20+ published books. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/arts/story.html?id=93e6a443-815c-41bf-aa8b-3eecd42f5224 Thank you, Rebecca! As well, BC Bookworld featured the above picture with a brief note about our success as a group. Thank you, Alan Twigg.

It has been a good fall. I feel blessed.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Retreating ~

Going on a retreat is one of those things that I've both yearned to do and feared simultaneously. I know that by their very nature - no matter what kind of retreat it is - you'll come back changed. Like typical holidays, retreats offer escape from your daily routine, but unlike most holidays, there is a focus, and time, lots of time, to really delve into your relationship with that focus, usually with like-minded people. Retreats are journeys of self-discovery.

I have faced many personal challenges in the past year, so in that spirit I decided to take the plunge and face those fears of self-discovery. In the last week of August I travelled by road and on 3 ferries for a total of 8 hours to participate in a writing retreat. I knew to expect wonderful organic vegetarian food, most of which was grown right on the the property. I knew yoga and meditation was offered daily. But it was the unknown factors that I feared and which I shared with my travel companion on our journey there.

"I'm afraid the workshop leader will assign those basic writing exercises that I was doing years ago in creative writing classes," I fretted. "Like... choose a character and write everything you know about him. What colour are his socks? Is he right or left handed?" I knew that those kinds of exercises would have little value for me at this point in my writing career. I also worried that we'd all have to sit in the same room and write for long periods of time. For some reason I thought that all that confinement would stifle me.

On the night of our arrival our group met and the leader outlined what we'd be doing for the next 5 days. There would be writing exercises and writing - altogether- in the same room, she told us. My heart sank. I may have packed up and gone home except that I didn't want to abandon my friend who was in a different workshop.

So.... with reluctance, I attended the first morning of the writing retreat. At least the location was magnificently spiritual, I thought. We met in a tee-pee shaped wooden building with stunning floor to ceiling windows and skylights at the top. This unique structure (a yurt?) was tucked in the forest, far off the beaten track.

And then the instructor assigned the 1st writing exercise. My previous fears were instantly assuaged, but I now had to confront some new ones. We were asked to share, in writing, the most dramatic moments of our lives. I almost chickened out, choosing instead to write about something less significant, but at the last moment I decided to go for it. After writing for 10 minutes we shared our stories. The next two writing exercises were just as revealing. By the end of the morning I'd shared the lowest and highest moments of my life with 8 complete strangers. And I'd heard their stories. We'd each opened our hearts and placed our trust in the group. The leader had the amazing skills necessary to keep this from becoming a therapy session, and helped us take those emotions we'd unearthed and use them in our writing.

Wow. From then on the workshop galloped ahead. We'd learned that the most powerful writing comes when you dig deep. And writing, all at the same time in that sacred-feeling building felt wonderful.

So yes, it was scary. But it was also one of the most enriching weeks of my life.
Will the next retreat be any less scary? No. It will be all new people, a different focus, a different setting. Will I take the next retreat opportunity that comes my way?


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sister Wife

It's done. I sent the proof pages for Sister Wife back to the publisher today. Next week it will go to the printer. There's no turning back now. It's going to get published and my name will be on the cover. I've written a story about polygamy. Am I out of my mind?

This is the 8th time I've been through this process. You'd think it would get easier with each book. It doesn't. Looking back at the issues in my books I have to wonder at myself. I've written about teen pregnancy, peer pressure, the dangers of the internet, self-inflicted injuries, dysfunctional families, abduction, adoption, abuse, divorce, cancer, ... I could go on. In fact I've probably tackled an issue for every letter of the alphabet. Why do I choose these topics? I have no answer, except that I always know that by writing these stories I will find myself pondering ideas in ways that I never would have if I hadn't tackled the subject matter.

Writing this book, as always, was a journey of discovery. I don't like to tell new writers this, but I was 3/4's of the way through the first draft, maybe more, before I knew how it was going to end. Actually, I knew exactly how it had to end, I just didn't know how to get my protagonist there.

I remember the exact moment it came to me. I was on a retreat with my writing group. We'd been brainstorming ideas. None of them felt right. Then we took a break from brainstorming to actually write.

That's when it came to me, fully formed. The protagonist could only reach that final destination one way. It was so obvious, but I hadn't seen it until I was almost there. She couldn't make the final leap for herself, but she could do it for someone else. It's a lesson I've learned in my own life, and I was able to apply that lesson to my character. It was a most satisfying writing experience.

That's all I can say without ruining the ending for prospective readers.

I think that I've treated the subject of polygamy fairly. By using three voices I've tried to show the various perspectives of a controversial religious principle. Nothing is ever black and white. I hope I've shown the grey.

Monday, July 28, 2008

If nothing ever changed there'd be no butterflies

As parents we know that our children are only 'ours' for a short time. Our job is to do our best to guide them through their childhood, helping them learn the skills they'll need to live satisfying, productive lives as adults.

Khalil Gibran says it best:

Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

Two of my three children have grown beautiful butterfly wings and have fluttered off in recent days and months. I am extremely proud of them both. I am also excited for them both. Their futures are bright and shiny. What more could a parent wish for a child?

And yet... change is hard for the ones left behind. My girls' chairs are noticeably empty at the dinner table. The chatter and banter of 3 young people living under one roof has disappeared. Brian Kiely, in a long-ago Unitarian sermon on "Centering" said, "... change may be exciting, but it may not always be entirely welcome, even when the change is for the better..... In spiritual terms, this yearning for the familiar translates into a desire for centeredness. It has many names: balance, groundedness, a sense of place, a sense of self, a sense of purpose, an ability to cope. What these terms all try to describe in their inadequate and merely human language is a feeling of well being, that all is right with the world, that we will, with no question at all, come through the latest challenge alright. Change may be exciting, but I believe that in the face of an uncertain world, most of us long for certainty. In the raging of the whirlwind we wish for the calm of the storm's center."

Daughter #3 and I have brainstormed ideas to adapt to these changes. There is now even more room at our table for interesting guests. Eating at restaurants is more affordable with just the two of us. Being vegetarians, we no longer need to cook meat for the others and can put more energy into cooking creative vegetarian meals. We've talked about offering up the empty bedrooms to young people who may temporarily be without a home. Perhaps we will find a new home where we can start new routines, new family rituals. The missing family members will always be missed, but we will make the most of our new situation. In fact, we will try to make our new situation one that will be an enriching one for us as well.

Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights. ~Pauline R. Kezer

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Leslie says it's time to post...

...and from what I can tell, Leslie always gets what she wants. Trouble is, she may regret it this time for today's topic is the riveting one of Composting.

I can already hear Leslie yawning.

Okay Leslie, before you pass on reading this post, let me tell you that there is a very important lesson for writers hidden in the words, and you're a writer, whether you refer to yourself as one or not. So please, bear with me.

Once upon a time, in what seems like a previous life, my family was seriously into composting. By the time my children were preschoolers, they knew how to sort all our household recyclables, including compostable items. We took it so seriously that the girls, on their own initiative, brought home their apple cores and orange peels from kindergarten to put in the compost bin. They got as excited as I did about watching our kitchen scraps turn (magically) into beautiful soil. (Quit rolling your eyes, Leslie.)

But then we moved to a new community, one where bears, skunks, raccoons and yes, rats and mice frequented our backyard and I felt it was no longer wise to engage in backyard composting.
Well, last week I changed my mind. I miss composting. (Leslie, I said to quit rolling your eyes.) A little research convinced me that done properly, I could backyard compost without attracting the unwanted wildlife.

So, I brought home a compost bin made out of recycled plastic. Trouble is, it needed assembling and there were about 200 pieces. I asked my youngest daughter ~ the straight 'A' student ~ to build it for me as I have never been good at that sort of thing. She was indignant and asked why it was that her father and I always treat her like a boy, giving her the boy-type jobs. Clearly I've failed in my effort to raise a non-sexist daughter, but I swallowed and suggested we build it together. She agreed, reluctantly.

It was even harder than I imagined, but eventually we'd snapped all the plastic pieces together. All that was left to attach was the sliding door, but when we went to slide it into place we discovered that one of the very first pieces we'd assembled had been put in backwards, preventing the door from sliding shut. The entire thing had to be taken apart in order to correct the problem.

Well, disassembling the unit was even harder than assembling it, and very quickly my daughter bailed. I was left standing in the garden, gnashing my teeth, trying to pry apart the pieces, but they held fast. Daughter #1 made a surprise visit and found me there, cursing loudly as I tried to snap it apart. Building the composter had turned me into a monster. "Why can't anything be simple?" I wailed.

She advised me to take some deep breaths, and together, with a lot of effort, we disassembled and reassembled it. The composter was ready to start doing it's work.

Now to start retraining my daughters. Yesterday I found a banana skin in the garbage. THE GARBAGE! That delinquent daughter won't soon forget that we are now putting our compostables into a separate bucket.

Okay, Leslie, now that you've finished gagging, I'll tell you where the lesson for writers comes in. I'd like you to think of your brain as a compost bin. Hang on. It's not so bad. You see, just as our kitchen and yard scraps get thrown together on the heap, eventually turning into a beautiful rich garden material , so do all the random thoughts and ideas that we put into our brains turn into rich story material. One little idea alone does not turn into a beautiful, multi-layered story but the combination of ideas that we've been collecting for years do compost and turn into something new and fresh. When you begin to write your story, you don't need to worry about where the original ideas will come from because they've been composting in your brain for years, ready and waiting to nourish a new story.

So Leslie... pick up that pen and start writing.

With love,

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Practising What We Preach

In my effort to become better acquainted with many of the classic movies that I missed or simply don't remember I recently watched Guess Who's Coming To Dinner starring Sidney Portier, Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. In it, Spencer Tracy plays an upper-class liberal publisher who has raised his daughter to be 'colour-blind'. This comes back to haunt him when she falls desperately in love with a black man (Sydney Poitier) in a time when interracial marriage is still taboo. We watch as Spencer Tracy's character struggles to align his heart with what he preaches and what is happening in his own home.

It was, of course, a fabulous film and I identified with each of the characters: the smitten young woman, the mother who wants her daughter to be happy, but most of all, the parent whose child reminds us that we need to practise what we preach.

For me, recently, the lesson I preached that has come back to haunt me is how we treat homeless people. I taught my daughters that these are not people to be scorned, despised or feared. We have no idea of the circumstances that brought them to this place, and it could just as easily be us. They deserve our compassion and we need to be part of the effort to help them lead productive lives.

That said, a few years ago, my daughter, Cara, began taking dance classes at a studio downtown. She is often there until late at night, and I worried for her safety as she returned to her car which was parked in a dark lot in a back alley. On one of her first nights there she was struggling with the pay-parking meter. A homeless man approached her and showed her how it worked. She thanked him, and he promised to watch her car for her while she was dancing. Sure enough, when she returned to her car hours later, he was still there, keeping watch. She thanked him, a little unnerved, not sure what he was expecting in return, got into her car, and drove away.

The next night, the same man was there, and once again he offered to keep watch over her car. He introduced himself as Johnny. This went on week after week, and Cara learned she had nothing to fear from Johnny. He'd simply adopted this car lot as his own terrain, and he protected the cars parked there from car thieves. Cara began giving him loonies, and bringing him snacks. He was grateful for any little thing she gave him, but never actually asked for compensation. One time she gifted him with an umbrella as so many nights he patrolled the lot in the pouring rain. He was overjoyed with the gift. In the two years Cara has parked in that lot, 4-5 times a week, nothing has ever happened to her car. On the other hand, parked in safer neighbourhoods, like on our own street, at the local Superstore, and outside Cactus Club where she works, her car has been vandalized, trashed and backed into. Johnny really is doing a wonderful service for her.

At first I was skeptical of Johnny and worried that he might harm Cara but I grew to be grateful to him, even though we've never met. In this way I learned to practise what I preached

Last night Cara and her sister Dani were working at a charity event. At the end of the evening there was all kinds of food left over. They are both used to seeing food wasted as they each work in the restaurant business, but this time they decided to do something about it. They wrapped up a bunch of sandwiches and desserts and drove downtown to Johnny's parking lot. At first they couldn't find him so they distributed the food to other homeless people, but eventually Johnny showed up and to show his appreciation, he danced a dance of joy at their gift of food, knowing full well that dancing is Cara's passion. I was so proud of my daughters and their thoughtfulness. On the one hand I'd rather they stayed away from dark alleys and the people who lurk there, and yet I'm glad that they show compassion and generosity when it's safe to do so.

Cara may be leaving home soon to work as a dancer on a cruise ship. She will meet many many kinds of people on her travels. Not all of them will be the gentle souls that Johnny turned out to be, but I will pray that her heart remains open and compassionate while her brain remains alert to possible danger and trickery.

In rereading this post, I realize that Johnny, though homeless, is leading a productive life. Another lesson learned.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Blue Box Mystery

I'm a radio talk-show junkie, but only once have I come close to actually phoning in to a program. On that occassion my very favourite talk-show host was complaining about the people who were driving down her street on garbage/recycling day and rummaging through her blue box to take the recyclables that could be returned for the deposit money. She felt it was some kind of impingement on her privacy or maybe - though I don't quite remember - she was bothered by the noise of the rummaging.

I was really bugged by this. First of all, I can't understand why anyone would put bottles and cans that can be returned for a deposit into the blue box in the first place. Granted, I have the space, but I always save these things for those kids who are doing bottle-drives and who come around to collect them. And besides, I think the 'rummagers' are industrious, hard-working people. They must really need the money so why would those who are recycling their returnables be bothered by this?

Lately I've noticed there are fewer and fewer bottle-drives being organized (in my neighbourhood anyway) so I tend to acquire a lot of 'returnables'. I've begun taking beer cans and wine bottles back to the liquor store when I am going there anyway and I give the deposit money to whatever charity is outide looking for donations. It's a win-win situations. I am, however, too lazy to haul back the juice/soft drink containers which collect as fast as the dust bunnies in this house yet I still won't put them in the blue box or, even worse, the garbage. Someone wants/needs the money that they can get by returning them. I decided to try a small experiment. A few months ago, on recycling day, I put a small, clear plastic bag with cans and bottles beside my blue box in hopes that one of the 'rummagers' would pass by and collect them before the recycling truck did. I hoped that because they weren't in the blue box, the truck wouldn't take them if they were still there.

It worked. At some point before the recycling truck arrived, I noted that the bag had disappeared.

For quite a few weeks now I've left a bag of returnable items next to my blue box. Each week they've disappeared before the truck arrives. Last week I got confused and put my garbage/recyclables out on the wrong day. The bag of returnables STILL disappeared! Hmmm. I began wondering if it was one of my neighbours that was taking them, but that would surprise me. Tonight I took the blue box out accompanied by a very large bag of returnables. I went back into the house to collect up the newspapers and by the time I made it back to the curb, the bag of returnables was already gone! 99% of me finds huge joy in this. The system is working. Those people who need the returnables are actually finding them before the recycling truck hauls them away. But tonight, 1% of me feels a little creeped out. Who is watching my curb so closely??

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Book Club With the Shopping Problem

I've never been a good shopper. Oh, I've tried. As the mother of 3 daughters who all LOVE to shop, I've wanted to get into the spirit. I really have. But 5 or 10 minutes into the shopping adventure it always becomes an ordeal and I remember what I hate about the whole thing. Too many choices. Pushy salespeople. Loud, obnoxious music. Nothing that fits. Rampant commercialism. Ahhhh! Get me outta here a voice screams in my head.

In November I went to New York with The Book Club With The Shopping Problem. (TBCWTSP) I had The Most Wonderful Time but I was not converted. Fortunately there are a few other things to do in New York, people watching being my favourite.

Last week TBCWTSP were invited to spend the weekend in Birch Bay at the beautiful home of LT. When I accepted the invitation I had visions of long hours spent wandering the beach, cozy afternoons in front of the fire discussing books, evenings filled with games and laughter.

The evenings filled with games and laughter happened but Saturday dawned grey and drizzly. Beachcombing lost its appeal. The ladies of TBCWTSP split into groups, and somehow (I must have been abducted) I ended up in a car heading into Bellingham for a full day of shopping. I think it was a conspiracy. They wanted to turn me into one of them: a shopper.

Looking back on it, I realize their strategy was well thought out. Our first stop was at one of those horrific outlet stores. We walked in and all I could see were thousands of racks of clothes, all jammed together. There so many people and they were all rifling through the mishmash of merchandise. I tried to join in, but it was too much. I finally hid in a back corner (with a lot of lost husbands) until my friends had had their fill. Wanting to show that I was a good sport, I purchased 10 washcloths. I was hoping we could go home.

But oh no. We hadn't even hit Bellis Fair Mall yet. As we pulled up I noticed that the mall appeared to go on for miles and miles. I wondered how much cab fare back to Birch Bay would cost me. I figured I was in for the longest day of my life.

We started at Macy's. CN suggested that we meet in one hour. One hour?? For one store? Heavy sigh. I stepped into the store, and immediately my mood improved. The racks were spaced far apart. The store was mostly empty. There were no line-ups for the changerooms. The music was soft and sweet. The salepeople were present but not pushy. Each item of clothing came in a full range of sizes, and they were neatly organized from smallest to largest. I felt like I'd somehow ricocheted out of hell and landed in heaven!

I took stacks of clothes into the changeroom. One hour was not nearly enough! I needed a second hour! Before the afternoon was over I'd bought clothes at Macy's, kitchen dishes at Target and a lot of odds and sods in-between. And I was just getting started! This was fun! We agreed to come back to the mall and carry on the next day. I was ecstatic

After some tearful farewells in the morning, (we knew how blessed we were with such wonderful friendships and hated to go our separate ways) the 4 of us headed back to the mall, but the euphoria was gone. After 5-10 minutes I wanted to get the hell out. What had happened to me just the day before?? The only explanation I had was that the transition from the outlet store to Macy's was such a relief that I actually thought I was having a good time!!

Nonetheless, I love the ladies of TBCWTSP. All of them. Not everyone can make it on the trips but everyone is equally beloved in the group. And I'm grateful to the ladies who turned me into a shopper for one day. Man, was that fun! It may never happen again, but for 8 hours or so, I got it.

Love you all ~

postscript: the reason LT appears to be tottering on the edge and about to fall over in the picture is not because she's had too many Margarita's. The truth is, she set the camera on a timer and then had to jog across the yard on her new hip to get in the picture. Hurray for LT!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

True-blue friends

I have been blessed with wonderful friendships throughout my adult life. There are the women that I met when my children were small. We formed a babysitting co-op and propped each other up through the many challenges of child-rearing. Then there are my friends in the writing community. The three of us in my small writing critique group are especially close, but I've also developed friendships in the larger community. The women in both my book groups are very special to me, and the friends I've made here in Deep Cove, through the school, children's activities and my own activities are like rare birds - I treasure each one. I only wish I had the time and energy to be the kind of friend I'd like to be - all of the time. I have wonderful men friends too, but the vast majority of my circle are women.

"I believe that these circles of women around us weave invisible nets of love that carry us when we are weak and sing with us when we are strong. Let's lean back and let the arms of women's friendships carry us and help us to know ourselves better, and live our lives together." Sark

There is one friend that has stuck by me since my early 20's. We met during her first year of teaching, I was in my second. We looked alike so the kids often mistook us for each other. We became fast friends, as did our husbands. We each gave birth to our first child within 3 weeks of each other - totally unplanned. Sue went back to teaching when her maternity leave was up, and I decided to leave teaching to pursue my passion for writing.

Life became busy with small children, careers, family and the daily grind. Long months would pass and we wouldn't see each other, but Sue never forgot a birthday, not mine, my husband's or one of the girls. There was always a card in the mail (on time) and/or a cheery phone call on the special day. I was not nearly as good at reciprocating, but Sue never pointed it out.

When we moved to North Vancouver it became even harder to connect as the distance was greater, but that didn't deter Sue. She is always willing to drive across town to have a visit. She supports my children with her presence at their special events, even though her own life is full to over-flowing.

As each one of my books has been launched, Sue has made a homemade, symbolic gift to mark the occasion. Last week she arrived at the book launch for Gotcha! with yet another thoughtful and beautiful keepsake to mark the occasion. On the way home from the launch my girls were discussing how special Sue's gifts are. I told them that Sue is a true-blue friend. "What's true-blue?" they asked. I told them true-blue is, " loyal, trustworthy, forgiving (very forgiving!), steadfast, honest, and there for the long-haul." I have been blessed to have Sue in my life. The posted pictures are of the gifts Sue's honoured me with, as well as the newest piece to my collection. The photos are by Cara Hrdlitschka (for some reason I have trouble posting pictures to this blog, and they never appear as wonderful as they are.)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


We did a breathing exercise in yoga today and the teacher suggested we imagine the deep inhale as breathing in new life, and the exhale as a cleansing, or a shedding of the old skin, as a snake does. In shedding the old skin we are reborn.

I hung on to this image all day. I've never before identified with snakes, (primates being my current obsession) but I like the image of shedding the old skin, of becoming new and fresh again. Snakes do it to allow for growth. I feel poised on the threshold of shedding my old skin, my old self, allowing for personal growth.

I did a little research and discovered that humans actually shed 1.5 million skin cells every hour with a new skin surface regenerating every 28 days (kinda gross when you think about all those skin cells floating around... sort of like the millions of dust mites that live on our mattress... okay, don't get me started.) So, we are shedding too, but this image of flaking skin isn't nearly as powerful as that of that snake, who loses the skin in one entire piece.

Apparently the stresses associated with shedding can be substantial. Sick snakes experience delayed and incomplete sheds. Also, shedding is a slow process, and I imagine there must be some discomfort. So it is with humans embarking on a rebirth. First we have to shed the old skin. Unhealthy humans, people who are emotionally, spiritually or physically ill will struggle more with the shedding. The changing of old routines, adjusting to losses, these are uncomfortable, but by maintaining our health and embracing new opportunities we can aid the shedding process that leads to our own rebirth.

Maybe I can identify with the snake afterall.


Monday, April 7, 2008

How shall I live, knowing I shall die....

Random Thoughts on my Spiritual Journey

I've recently returned to the Unitarian church after a 3-4 year absence. There is a new minister there, and he is everything I would hope for in a minister: wise, reflective, funny, humble, human, laid-back, well-rounded/grounded ... I could go on on on. I feel like I have found my way home after an extended trip away. It was at yesterday's service that someone (not the minister) posed the question ~ How shall I live, knowing that I shall die. I jotted the phrase down, realizing that it was extremely relevant to where I'm at in my life right now.

No no no, I'm not facing a life-threatening illness (that I know of) but I'm trying to become more fully aware of how I am living, and whether it's a meaningful life.

By coincidence, or maybe not, I walked into an art gallery in San Diego last month and found a book by Jane Goodall: Reason For Hope, A Spiritual Journey. Even though my to-read stack of books is a mile high, this book went to the top and I'm now half-way through it.

I've always known of Jane Goodall and her work with chimpanzee's and I've held her in the highest regard, but I've never actually read anything she's written. Now I feel like I've discovered a soul-mate. The questions she poses, the thoughts she's had... they speak directly to my own soul. I know I don't have the hardiness or character to do the kind of scientific work that she has done, but what she has learned from her life in the African wilderness speaks directly to me, and millions of others, I'm sure.

In the following passage, she reflects on her first trip to Gombe, when she was totally alone in the forest in Africa.

"Together the chimpanzees and the baboons and monkeys, the birds and insects, the teeming life of the vibrant forest, the stirrings of the never still waters of the great lake, and the uncountable stars and planets of the solar system formed one whole. All one, all part of the great mystery."

Ahhh. Lovely.

I haven't had the opportunity to be alone in the African wilderness, but I understand this feeling of being one part of the whole, of the great mystery.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I fell in love during Spring Break

Cinta, a young orangutan and Little Lucu, a siamang ape, have stolen my heart, lock, stock and barrel. My daughters had to drag me away from their exhibit at the San Diego Zoo. They were behaving - yes - just like little monkeys! Or small children. I was captivated by their antics - the teasing, the tackling, the swinging, the swaggering. Watching these magnificent young apes was like sitting on a bench at a playground, watching preschoolers romp. They were absolutely delightful, and seeing the patience and affection that the older apes had for the younger ones - well - it was simply stunning. Human parents could learn from them. One of my daughters, standing beside me at the glass wall that was all that separated us from the animals, commented... "I don't understand why some people don't believe in evolution."
My thoughts exactly.

Photos by the the enormously talented Cara Lee Hrdlitschka

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Making way for the new...

In the past I've complained about the way my daughters rarely listen to an entire piece of music. They switch radio stations or press 'forward' on their ipods after about 30 seconds of listening to a song. Until recently I couldn't understand this jumping about. Now I do.

As my life undergoes some major changes I'm learning to recreate my sense of self. I can no longer identify with the same labels that I did just 6 months ago.

I know this can be a healthy process if I remember to celebrate the opportunity for personal growth at the same time that I grieve the changes.

Julia Cameron, in her book The Artist's Way says, "Shifts in taste and perception frequently accompany shifts in identity. One of the clearest signals that something healthy is afoot is the impulse to weed out, sort through, and discard old clothes, papers, and belongings.... By tossing out the old and unworkable, we make way for the new and suitable. A closet stuffed with ratty old clothes does not invite new ones. A house overflowing with odds and ends and tidbits you've held on to for someday has no space for the things that might truly enhance today."

This I understand. I do feel the need to clean out the old to make way for the new, even though I have no idea of what that 'new' will look like.

What I didn't expect was a shift in my music tastes. On hikes with my own ipod I find myself behaving just like my daughters. My thumb is on the 'forward' switch as I skip past all the 'oldies' that once brought me such pleasure. Yesterday I found I couldn't even listen to old Beatles tunes, which I didn't think I'd ever tire of. I'm yearning for something new, music that that speaks to my heart and soul the way the old favourites used to. I know that as I open my mind to new artists, or artists that I never noticed before, I will discover the kind of music that fulfils the new me.


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Kill 'em with kindness

I consider myself a good dog owner. I always scoop poop. I buy a dog license each year. I exercise my dog daily to keep him healthy and happy.

I also consider myself to be a good law-abiding citizen. My friends and family will vouch for me when I say that I am a lousy liar and that I always follow rules, sometimes to the extreme.

However, there is one bylaw I do occassionally break, and as a result there are some who would consider me to be an irresponsible dog-owner.

You see, I sometimes allow my dog to run off-leash.

(There, I've said it. What a relief.)

In the six years I've been breaking this bylaw I had yet to meet up with the dreaded 'dog police'. All that good luck came to an end last week.

It was one of those remarkably crisp, clear, early spring days. Winston and I headed down to the beach to stretch our legs and enjoy the break in the weather. We were wandering down the beach when we ran into another springer spaniel and her owner, who was an acquaintance from the neighbourhood.

The other dog-owner and I quickly engaged in conversation about the joys of owning springer spaniels. So engrossed were we in conversation that we didn't notice the dog police until after our dogs had run up and greeted them. Off-leash, of course.

I sighed deeply and reached out my hand to accept my ticket. I knew that we weren't allowed on the beach and that being off-leash was a no-no. I figured that I'd been lucky for 6 years, and that if I amortized all our leash-less walks over that time - well, it really only cost me pennies per walk.

My dog-walking friend, however, had a different take on the situation. He immediately started talking. "I'm so glad we ran into you," he said.

I tried not to look as startled as I felt. I waited to see where he was going with this.

"You see," he continued. "I've often wondered what the rules were for walking dogs on the beach."

I kept my eyes glued to the ground. Hadn't he noticed the signs all over the park telling us that dogs weren't allowed on the beach?

One of the dog-police patiently began to recite the law to him, while the other began filling out our tickets.

"Ohhh," my friend said, after having the law explained to him. "Thank you so much for letting me know! You guys are doing the community such a service. There are so many irresponsible dog-owners out here. I don't know what this park would look like if it weren't for you keeping all us dog-owners in line."

At this point I noticed the puzzled glance that the two dog-police exchanged. Then one reached over and checked the tag on Winston's collar. "2006," he noted.

"I have a 2008 tag, honestly," I told him, sheepishly. And I do. "But it's still sitting on my desk. Right beside the 2007 one."

The dog-police person turned to my friend with raised eyebrows. "And you?" he asked, his nod noting Ruby's lack of any tag.

"Oh dear," my friend says, shoulders sagging. "You see, we have four collars for Ruby. Every time she gets wet we change her collar. But we only have one dog license. Hey," he says, looking brighter, "do you think I could order extra dog licenses next year?"

"No," Dog Police #1 says. "May I suggest you keep Ruby's license with your car keys from now on. Then you will always have it with you."

"Great idea!" my friend says.

The dog-police turned to me again. "Please put your dog on leash," one of them says. As I lean over to clip Winston to his leash I wonder what my friend will do. I'd noted that he didn't even have a leash with him, but when I stood back up, I saw that Ruby was now attached to the end of a leather leash.

As I pondered the miraculous appearance of the leash, my friend continued to chat away about how wonderful the dog-police were, and how he appreciated how hard they worked. He might even have mentioned how good-looking they were. Eventually the one with the pad of tickets stuck them in his back pocket. "We're going to let you off with just a warning today," he said. "But please remember not to allow your dogs to run free on the beach again. And get those dog licenses on them."

"Thank you so much," my friend says, shaking their hands effusively. As we walk away, he says, quietly, "My pants are about to fall down."


It's then that I notice that Ruby's leash is not really a leash at all. It's her owner's belt. I hadn't even noticed my friend slide it off, and clearly the dog-police hadn't either. Between bellows of laughter I asked whether Ruby really had 4 collars. "Are you kidding?" he said. "Ruby's never even been licensed."

"You just have to kill 'em with kindness," he explained. It works every time."


Postscript ~ the moral of this story is not that lying and breaking laws is recommended but in this incident, everyone got what they wanted. My dog now proudly wears his 2008 license. I will no longer be walking him on the beach, on or off-leash. But it could have ended a lot uglier, with harsh words and expensive fines. The kind words made all the difference.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Fan Mail

Today I opened my email and found not one, but THREE letters from young people who have been reading my books. Pasted below is one of them, but all three were equally wonderful.

hi.I am obsessed with your books. i just finished kats fall and it was the best book i have ever read. not many books keep me entertained through out the whole book but this one did. i loved it so much and now i am reading dancing naked and so far i love it. my mom and brother went to one of your workshop things and bought some of your books so when im done dancing naked i will read sun sighns. i just thought you should know that i loved you book and you should never ever stop writing because you have an amazing talent as a writer.from your #1 fan

I wish I could reach out and hug these girls. These letters mean SO much to me. As authors, we send our new books out into the world without any idea of how they will be received. Even in fiction we feel that we are exposing our souls to the world through our writing, and we wonder how the world will respond. There is always a long, painful 'nothingness' when they are first launched, and we think.... is anyone reading it? Do they hate it? And then the professional reviews start dribbling in. When they're good you want to scream Hallelujah! and dance naked in the moonlight. When they're bad you feel practically suicidal. There's nothing like waiting for reviews to expose your every insecurity. Anne Lamott describes the feeling perfectly in her book, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. It's a 'must read' for all new writers.

It wasn't until I took up writing myself that it ever occurred to me to write and tell an author what their book meant to me. I have now written about a dozen fan-mail type letters to authors. I should have written dozens more. The professional reviews tell us what professional critics think of our stories, but hearing from our actual targeted audience is SO much better. I have a binder full of letters similar to the one above, and on those days when the writing is not going well and I wonder why I even bother... I just have to pull out the binder, read the letters, and I find the inspiration to continue writing.

Let's not stop at just telling authors how much we enjoyed their books. Let's tell our neighbours how much we enjoy gazing at their gardens, or the check-out clerk at the grocery store how we always choose their aisle because of their great smile or a special teacher how they inspire us. So often we assume that other people know what their strengths are, but we all need reminders. Go on. Do it. Make someone's day.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

A True Story

The above photos were taken by my daughter, Cara. (Isn't she clever? The black background in the 2nd picture is simply a black t-shirt. Brilliant.) The top one is of a hemp bead bracelet that my publisher is distributing with review copies of my new book, Gotcha!. The bottom one is of the actual book. As I've said before in this blog, I am so pleased with this cover art. Orca Books could not have done a better job of packaging my story. Now I just have to worry about whether the story is worthy of the packaging.

That leads me into the true story part of this post.

An artist, a musician and a writer were relaxing over cups of coffee after their yoga class. They were discussing 'completed projects'.

The artist said, "When I look at my completed paintings, I always want to reach for a paintbrush and rework parts of the painting."

The writer said, "As I do readings from my books, I realize how stupid the story is, and how badly written!"

The musician said, "When I put out a CD, I have to perfom the songs on it over and over again. With each performance I can only hear all the mistakes and wish I could redo the original tracks."

Okay, I'm paraphrasing. But the conversation did go something like that.

I guess it's human nature. I have never hosted a dinner party where, after the guests have all gone home, I didn't dwell on the meal's shortcoming rather than on what was good about it. In my garden I can only see where something is lacking, rather than what looks fabulous. Even in my author presentations, when all is said and done, it's what I forgot to include in the presentation that haunts me, not what went well.

The exception to this rule is with my daughters. When I look at them I can only see their strengths. They are each so close to perfection that sometimes it takes my breath away. Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, their messy bedrooms drive me CRAZY, the 'borrowing' of each others things borders on 'theft' but these things are minor in the big picture. They really are amazing young women.

There is a huge difference in being proud of our art and of our children. Our children are creating themselves. We can only guide them. In some ways that is true of our art. I'm sure that both my artist and musician friends would claim that their art guides them, just as my writing takes me to places I never expected. What we set out to paint, write, compose is not anything like the final product. However, I do believe we have more control over our artistic creations than we do our children. No, I don't think we do, I know we do.

I'm not even sure why I'm comparing the two. Maybe because it's Valentine's Day and public expressions of love are in order. I hope my girls each know how much they are cherished. I also hope that all my artist, musician and writer friends can learn to be satisfied and proud of their creations. I know I'm working on it.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Celebrating Teachers

Last week I had the honour of speaking to two classes at Handsworth Secondary School in North Vancouver. What a treat it was!

I have done hundreds of presentations over the past 10 years and I have enjoyed them all, but some stand out as better than others. My presentation at Handsworth was one of my most enjoyable ever and I believe that was due to the prep work done by the Librarian and English teachers before my arrival. Many of the students had read my books and they all knew I was coming to the school. The librarian had gone to the extra trouble of making sure there were additional copies of my books available, borrowed from neighbouring schools. Many of the students came armed with great questions, and I knew immediately that their English teachers were exemplary.

At the end of my presentation a couple students stayed behind to chat with me about my books. I always appreciate speaking with students one on one. The last person to leave the room was a young man who told me he also attends the Unitarian Church. I could tell he'd been listening carefully because I'd only mentioned in passing my connection with that church, but I'm so glad he hung back to say hello to a fellow Unitarian.

As I walked away from the school at the end of my session, I realized that I'd forgotten to clarify to the students the point of my presentation. I know it's unlikely that many of them will pursue careers in writing, but I hope the message of perseverance came through loud and clear. My path to becoming a published author was often discouraging, filled with rejection letters, but I persevered, continuing to practise my craft until I finally found success. It's the same with any dream. If you chip away at it long enough, you, too, will find success.

The Handsworth group clearly had a great sense of humour, too. One student asked if I found it 'creepy' that his teacher had researched my books and stumbled across my blog. Just to reiterate, no, I don't think it's creepy. I think it's wonderful! And I haven't forgotten the promised dinner out, either. :)


* The picture of Sir Winston by Cara is dedicated to the Handworth students who liked the last picture of him.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Christmas Aftermath

(photo by Cara)

I've always wished that the spirit of generosity and goodwill that surrounds us at Christmas could somehow be harnessed and spread out over the whole year. I love the following poem.

The Work of Christmas

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers,
To make music in the heart

(Howard Thurman)

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Finding joy in a Safeway lineup

The smallest things always bring me the greatest joy.

Today at Safeway I noticed that both the person in front of me AND the person behind me were each carrying their own shopping bags.

Then I looked at the check-out counters on either side of me and the customers there had also brought their own bags.

I know it sounds silly, but I felt a surge of happiness rush through me. A year ago I rarely saw anyone else with their own bags and many of the cashiers groaned when they saw mine as they are a little more difficult to pack. (They don't fit over the hooks that hold the plastic bags open.)

I have a long way to go to reach environmental sainthood, but it's nice to feel less alone in my efforts.

A few days ago I read of a New Year's Poll that was taken this year, asking people about their resolutions. The most common answer was that people were going to try to be more environmentally aware when shopping this year. This came BEFORE losing weight, quitting smoking, working out etc. The greatest percentage of people were looking outside themselves. Halleluah!

Earlier today I was at my mom's apartment, visiting. She told me she saw a story on the news that said if each person used one less paper napkin each day there would be a significant positive impact on our forests. I reminded her that I'd been harping on this for years. She knew that but thought I'd be interested to know that it was finally 'newsworthy'.

The picture above is of Winston, my dog, frollicking in the snow over Christmas. He finds joy in small things too.


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Cover Art - Yahoo!

Here's a sneak preview of the cover art for my spring book, Gotcha. Isn't it gorgeous??!! I didn't know it was even completed, but Kim Denman from my writing group accidentally stumbled across it when she was looking for something on the Orca Books website. What is especially exciting is that all three of us from our writing group have spring books coming out, and she discovered the cover art for each of them. It was exciting to see our new 'babies' at the same time. (For some reason I can't expand the size of the photo for this post but I'll post it again when I can.)

Seeing the cover art for my books is always such a thrill. The book suddenly becomes real. Until now it was just a story, a stack of manuscript pages, but now I can see that it really is going to become a book. And I especially like this cover. It is perfect. I have no input into what goes onto the covers of my book, so it's always a relief when I like them.

This feels like a good omen for 2008.

To all my friends ~ I you wish loving connections, creative inspiration and meaningful work for 2008.