Monday, July 27, 2009


Reading May Sarton's Journal of a Solitude, I am realizing how peaceful the house is when Caitie is out (she is newly returned from Italy and a cooking class), and Julien is out (away in Europe too, for 3 weeks with his backpacking buddies), and Jacques is at work.....

We spent a lovely week on vacation together, at home, not going anywhere special, at least during the day. Filling our evenings with suppers with friends, a singalong with chorus friends, an evening out at the Just for Laughs gala with his office partners, afternoon wine with friends, and supper at a golf course restaurant with J's parents. It was not 'that' quiet, since for me it was a very social week.

So back to the peace and quiet of the house alone.

And how the mind gets silted up when there is no silence in which to turn over the thoughts, impressions, people we meet, things that occur. There is a need in some of us to capture it in writing, to examine and behold a thing, even if it's a cloud at sunset, from all angles.

Nourishment for the soul, being alone during the day and having the space to do the homely tasks, water the plants, feed the cats, walk the dog, wash sheets, and yet also do the reading and writing and reflecting that are so needed too, like water or food.

Speaking of food, the least favourite activity of mine is preparing food for myself. I have a quick toast with something on it and coffee in the morning, and often reheat a frozen Indian meal for lunch - it's got the protein, carbs and vegetables all there in one plate. Taking time to prepare a meal during the 'work' hours is too intrusive.

So, although I am not living alone or in total solitude, I have the luxury of my days with the computer, with my blog, or diary, with my books to read and thoughts to think. Of course, I don't allow myself recreational books or fiction, during 'office hours' - except for last week, while on a home vacation, I got two historical fiction books read by Sarah Dunant. The Birth of Venus and IN the company of the Courtesan, set in Florence and Venice respectively, in the 16th century, and both full of great story lines and fascinating details about the period.

I have not written every day in my journal, and am only writing once a week on the blog, but since I am doing more reading the thirst for writing is returning, and I have done some revising of stories - which I realize I've kept in draft form on the computer for years without editing or attempting to send out anywhere.

Perhaps there is a short story writer slumbering in me.....given more solitude, it may just awaken.

Solitude is the water, the nourishment, the balm and lotion needed for a writer, to soothe and provide the space to work in.

have a great summer day,

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mothers and Sons

OK so I've never written a blog about my son yet. but here's a good reason to for one:

A letter to my son who is heading off to Europe with his buddies for 3 weeks.

We know you are a responsible, wonderful almost 19 year old, and don't need advice from your parents, but here goes anyway:

Don't keep all your money on you, even in the money belt. Either lock it in a locker, or keep it at home in your bank account and use your Visa card or interac card to access it through a bank machine. They're everywhere.

Do keep your wits about you, and have a map so you can find your way home, even if your faculties are slightly impaired (you know what I'm talking about!)

It is a myth that 5 guys stoned or drunk are equal to one guy sober and aware. Travel in groups is wise, but being conscious of one's surroundings is even more useful.

Don't pack the beer bong.

Mom and Dad would love to come rescue you, but you pay our flight costs if we do!

Enjoy some museums and cultural stuff too, it's not all about the open drug laws in Amsterdam.

Explore, enjoy, and come back home safe and sound, that's all we ask!

This is a trip you will remember all your life, with memories galore, pictures on facebook, but don't forget to email us when you change cities. We are still attached at the umbilical cord, until you leave home for good (and even then....)

your loving parents,
mom and dad
ps I packed some condoms with your toothpaste - don't leave home without it

Monday, July 13, 2009

Menopause blog and link

Happy Monday! after scary thunderstorms and full lightshows of lightning, after rain that overflwoed the gutters and poured all the earth from my rock garden down to the grass below, we are back to sunny skies, albeit with clouds. My sister and I and our kids had a free show Saturday night right on our deck, watching the lightning crack and zap the sky over the lake.

Back to the blog, it's a good thing I can reread the promises I make to myself here - have to admit my 100 Days of Solitude has barely begun and already I'm losing track of what my goal was - to re-read my stories and journal about them, to get at the truth behind the lies I may tell myself about who I was, the masks I wear to cover whatever feelings are leftover from childhhood, teenage years, shame about my past - the first writing project I did back in Creative Writing 101 was a Taboo Journal, which led to a book ten years later called Little Mother. In it I addressed part of my childhood shame - having an alcoholic mother, and being the eldest of eight children. I was thrust into a role of 'mothering' at a young age, with no power or authority but lots of responsibility. (Had a chance to chat about this with my sister this weekend, so it came back to memory.)

Naturally, when I hit 13, I began acting out - I think my mom must have been pre-menopausal when I was 16 or so, (I got my period at age 15) but in any case, whether there were hormones in the mix or not, there was definitely lots of attitude and bad behaviour on my part. Some of the stories deal with the wild stuff that happened before I left home at 18. Definitely time for me to work on these stories. It takes courage.....

Anyway, today's G&M Life Section has a great article about the clash of menopause and puberty, for moms and teens:

I've blogged about it over at ms menopause's blog:

Check out the weekly blogs there including The Art Of Napping, creating your own Menopause Party, Menopause poems and jokes, different approaches to healthcare such as Ayurvedic approach to menopause, Self-Care, and much more.

namaste, peace to you,

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

On Women and Men

The lake is oddly still this morning, a grey and silver palette of moving light, no waves but large ripples coursing towards shore, one after the other, repetitive patterns, while white black-tipped gulls wing over head. One boat leaves a wake of silver behind it, ruffling the softness. Clouds hang low, and the tree tops emanate humidity. The new dock is luminous too with its aluminum legs and bright new cedar planks , hosting its two teak Adironack chairs, a perfect cottage picture.

Large white bellied fish leap in an arc out of the lake and return, wiggling off the parasites on their backs, I am told. We are patiently waiting for the rain to stop, and for the hot sunshine to dry us out. But it will be another grey, humid, possibly rainy day.

But enough of the landscape. I am eager to engage with a question brought up by an article I read yesterday.

What is woman’s work? Anne Southam, a well-known contemporary minimalist composer has been described in the G&M as “proud to call her work women’s music, or at least to point out that there’s something in what she does that is deeply grounded in women’s experience.

“’In the very workings of the music there’s a reflection of the work that women traditionally do, like weaving and mending and washing dishes...the kind of work you have to do over and over again.’” from an interview with Robert Everett-Green.

She describes how she creates a tonal centre, by taking a 12 tone row of notes and spinning it out one note at a time...

Although I have not heard her music, I like her description of the attraction of repetitive tones like bagpipes and drones, that can induce a trance-like state in the listener. It reminds me of what Blood Bread and Roses author Judy Grahn, says about women’s menstrual cycles and women’s work: spinning wool, weaving, knitting, crocheting demand a total concentration from part of the mind, while the other part is left free to dream or create something from the imagination. Early women’s rituals around the menstrual cycle seem to dig into this needful repetition of sound or activity, whether through chanting, drumming, knitting or watching the breath in meditation. They are linked through repetition with the cycles of life that repeat in a woman’s body, flowing monthly, repeating like the phases of the moon, in recognizable patterns for those who pay attention.

Women’s work long ago was of planting, weeding, bending, gathering, washing, lifting, nursing, sweeping, pounding cloth on rock to clean it. Since ancient times women have aligned themselves with natural patterns of nature when they want to find themselves, restore their own rhythms, become attuned to life’s pulse.

Of course, it is a human thing, and men can attune to these rhythms too, but their world is more ‘outer’, less inner minded, by their physical design. Women's bodies through menstruating are naturally aligned with the rhythms of tide and moon.

Of course, all this is open for debate. Some will argue there is no difference between men and women, between male and female brain, psyche, intelligence, spirit, and so of course, there is no such thing as women’s work. Have we left some power or magic behind in our rush to embrace the masculine work-style? Have we left our creative imagination behind in our disdain of repetitive homely tasks? Is there such a thing as women’s writing, women’s music?

I leave it to you, to puzzle on this,

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Michael Jackson farewell

Farewell Micheal, may the angels keep you safe.
You came from heaven, to heaven you return.
You came from earth, to earth you return.
You are of the elements, to the elements you return.
May your soul journey onwards into the light.


Thursday, July 02, 2009

Embrace Writer's Block

and overcome it....

this is what I plan to do, and here is the quote that inspired me:

Embrace your writer's block. It's nature's way of saving trees and your reputation. Listen to it and try to understand its source. Often, writer's block happens to you because somewhere in your work you've lied to yourself and your subconscious won't let you go any further until you've gone back, erased the lie, stated the truth and started over.

taken from 36 Assumptions About Writing Plays, by Jose Rivera on the internet somewhere

My plan appears simple on the surface. I am going to write in my journal every morning for a minimum of 10 minutes for 100 Days. call it, 100 Days of Solitude (instead of 100 years).

On my computer I have a file called Fiction and Stories, with material in draft form for a whole book length manuscript. I thank my sister Sue for nudging me towards writing the story of my life - but I have already started years ago in classes taken on-line and various Autobiographical writing workshops. The problem is I hate editing them. I get mad at myself for the lousy writing, I lose interest in my own bleeping adventures, no matter how exotic they seemed at the time.

The material is there, and yes, I may have lied to myself many times about the 'me' in some of those stories; to find out where the 'lie' is, I'm going to re-read all of them and write in my journal till I get at the nugget of truth. (It helps that my kids are not here so no-one is even figuratively reading over my shoulder. The censor always kicks in when I get to about age 16....)

This great project idea just occurred to me five minutes ago, as I was considering spending $347 US dollars on a publishing reset course, supposed to give me tools to approach an agent or publisher with a Hook of a Book. (along with 6 CD's and a huge workbook). The thing is, I know a little about publishing, and I know a little about how to find an agent, and how to have a web presence (this blog). What I really need is to sit down and Just Do It (as my scented candle reminds me from my desk top), just bust my shoulders by typing the thing. (oh yeah and buy a wireless keyboard so I don't hurt myself)

So, as part of the adventure, I will blog a little about how the stories are coming along and maybe 'publish' a few extracts, as they come up.

Stay tuned for the life and times of,

(yes, she was a little mother once, but was she ever little?)