Friday, May 27, 2016

Out with the old - In with the new

The other day, our granddaughter came home from school and asked my husband to ask her to spell I cup. He obliged. “I see you pee.” She giggled. This was apparently the height of grade one humor that day. My husband retaliated with this. “I got a new book from the library. It’s called Rusty Bed Springs by I. P. Nightly.”

Of course she didn’t get it. She didn’t have a clue about bedsprings—in fact, neither did our daughter. Only we elderly can bring up a mental picture of an old cot we had when we were kids and see the springs the joke refers to.

This exchange got me thinking about the circumstances that determine each generations’ experiences and the memories they will have of their childhoods. And it’s not just jokes and mental pictures of what we grew up with.

Without getting into the whole sphere of technology that has dramatically changed how we live and interact, I’d like to focus on books. I read to my granddaughter daily, and she reads to me, Slinky Malinki and Stickybeak SydTake Away the A, The Day the Crayons Quit, OH NO! (or how my science project destroyed the world), The Girl Who Hated Books….

Her bookshelves are full of wonderful tales, but there’s nary a “Once upon a time” to be found. And if you’re looking for a prince to rescue the damsel in distress—forget it. At the bookstore the other day, I looked, out of curiosity, for some of the fairy tales of my youth. Were the stores still stocking them? Were people still buying them? I found one, but that was it.

That’s not to say, my granddaughter has no classics, for on her shelves you’ll find Madeline, The Pokey Little Puppy, Corduroy, and a few Dr. Seuss which she loves and—is it sacrilege to say?—that I can’t stand

I sometimes feel nostalgic for those fairy tales of my youth and the memories I cherish. Back then, I loved the “Once upon a time…” opening for it meant a journey into magic and adventure.

But, for my granddaughter’s sake, I’m glad they are not on her shelves. I’m glad she’s reading about independent girls who can fend for themselves. I’m glad she’ll have different memories to cherish, stories of strong and self-reliant girls for that, I believe, is the greatest gift we adults can give our daughters and granddaughters.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Would you, if you could, live with aliens?

Would you, if you could, live with aliens?

One of the joys of writing fiction is the freedom to imagine and create something beyond the realities that we know. I’ve always believed that there have to be other life forms in the vastness of our universe. Heck, there probably are ghosts too. I’m sure I saw the ghost of our dog after she died. Then again it could have been an hallucination.

But, back to my question. In my Em and Yves series, aliens toy with Em, use her to “fix” Earth, play with her emotions and her sanity. None of it fair, of course, but then every novel needs some spice. Of course, I had to give her a chance for a bit of revenge so I let her wild emotions impact the aliens, much to their horror.

As I wrote books 2, 3 and 4, I wondered if Em or any human could or would leave Earth,
leave everything they held dear, likely forever, to go live on another planet with other beings. What would it take to tempt a person to do such a thing? What reassurances would they need? A promise to be able to return home, the opportunity to bring their family with them…?

Would I? Could I? What circumstances would lead me to make that kind of decision, to go into the unknown?

I don’t have answers for myself and so I ask, would you, if you could, live with aliens?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Worth a 1000 words

Photo hanging in a hotel gift shop in small town Mexico. Despair seeps from the paper into your heart. I hate looking at this picture, but at the same time I'm mesmerized by it.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Bring Azer kids home

On Saturday, my family and I traveled to Vancouver to attend a vigil for the four Azer children who were abducted by their father and illegally taken from Canada in August of 2015. Their mother, Alison Azer, searched desperately and located them in Northern Iraq. They are now in Iran.
I cannot fathom her pain and anguish as her battle to have them returned to Canada continues.
Mother’s Day, must have been unbearable for her. My heart goes out to Alison and my greatest wish is that she be reunited with her children long before another Mother’s Day comes to pass.
For those of us lucky enough to celebrate with our mother’s and our children today, let us truly understand what we have. As Alison said so eloquently—”appreciate every little moment.”
For more information:
National Post April 28, 2016
CHEK News April 28, 2016

Memories of Mom

I grew up with a mother who had a saying for everything. They were always prefaced with the words, “As my mother used to say….” Her mother was Belgian and my mother claimed that the sayings rhymed in Flemish and sounded so much better. I have to doubt that, for what kid would like hearing these even in rhyme?

When we were playing too rough:
“Someone will end up crying.” Of course someone did run to Mom in tears and then it was:
“If you live long, you’ll get hurt lots yet.” Which wasn’t as callous as it sounds for she always had sympathy for true hurts.

If we stubbed a toe or banged a knee:
“It’s the badness coming out in you.”

If we were upset about something, depending on the situation it would be:
“It’s a great life if you don’t weaken.”
“Live and learn.”
“It could happen to anyone, but the dumbest first.”

If we were swamped with work:
“There’s no rest for the wicked.”
“Never leave till tomorrow what you can do today.”

When something needed to be done:
“If you want something done, give it to the busiest person.”
“If you want a job done right, do it yourself.”

I hated the sayings and swore I would never use them with my own children. And then came the day I heard myself say, “As my mother used to say, ‘It’ll be in the last place you look for it.’”
As an adult, I’ve come to appreciate the bits of wisdom contained in these sayings. One in particular, strikes me—especially when I’m watching the news.
“It takes all kinds to make a world, but some we could do without.”

But, perhaps the wisest of all:
“Believe half of what you read and nothing of what you hear.”