Tag Archives: happy things

Pushing Daisies Around

I just want to know what the deal is with the damned daisies.

The summer heat came at last and they popped up, bright masses lolling all over my yard, so stupidly cheerful it made me giddy. I defy anyone to lie down in a sunny patch of daisies and not feel ecstatic.

So of course I wanted to pick some for my table. It was only when I tried to untangle them that I realized daisies have no structural integrity whatsoever. Unable to stand on their own, they lean drunkenly on their neighbours until everyone falls down.

Their lack of spinal fortitude is only enhanced in a vase: the stem flops, the head flops, each individual petal flops. My daisies were either engaged in some kind of work-to-rule strike or they are just naturally, intrinsically on vacation. Forever.

I kept pushing them around, to no avail. And I don’t think I was asking for too much, I wasn’t expecting the moral rectitude of a flipping Gerbera for heaven’s sake. All I wanted was a haphazard jumble of joyful blossoms, but they absolutely refused to cooperate. It was like trying to sculpt with pudding.

Does their uselessness make them happy? Or does being happy make them useless?

Is life just so good that they can’t stand up? Is succumbing to gravity the last surrender of the truly content?

If there was nothing to push against in the world – hardship, strife, pain – would we all just melt into a puddle of bliss?

Enough. I must go now and shake my finger at the flowers of the field, the birds of the air, and those irritating, dilly-dallying clouds…

“Shape up, everyone, do you hear me? Shape up!”

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Ode to a Volvo: 2

Voluminous Volvo!
Accommodating to a fault,
You swallowed up everything –
Couches, tables, Ikea flatpacks,
Hockey bags, camping gear,
Chairs, coolers, firewood,
Garbage and recycling,
Bikes, children, groceries.

Accepting all without question

Almighty Deliverer!

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Ode to a Volvo: 1

O handsome automobile!
Cross-country chariot
Sweat-box

Your AC was an unfounded rumour,
A mirage.
During the heatwave you blew hot air in my face and I had to spend seven hundred dollars to make you stop.

Cross-country trip with the windows rolled down,
So loud we couldn’t hear each other
Your loose bones rattling beneath us.

And yet we loved you.

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Debate Club, Elementary School style!

The kids at my daughter’s elementary school are keen on starting clubs. Handwritten notices show up all the time on the main bulletin board.

Last fall a Debate Club started in this way. A group of grade 4 and 5 girls began meeting in the library during lunchtime recess. They were inspired by the CBC Radio show “The Debaters”, in which comedians debate topics for laughs. Not all the girls had heard the show, but the few who had were in possession of the basic format: you have a topic, you are assigned a position ‘for’ or ‘against’, and you take turns stating your views. At the end the audience applauds and picks a winner.

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More Eldritch To Come…

So true! (Bill Watterson)

So true! (Bill Watterson)

Okay, I think I can finally make it official… I have signed with Dundurn for two (yes, two!) Eldritch Manor sequels. I am nearly finished writing Book 2, actually sprinting/stumbling to the finish as we speak. Which would be why I’ve been neglecting this blog and not leading a writing club at the library this fall. Must… focus…

(Obviously on the to-do list: come up with a title!)

Thanks to everyone who urged me to write more about Willa and her friends, and thanks of course to Dundurn, for agreeing to more of this creepy foolishness!

Stay tuned for more details about release dates! I’ll pass them along as soon as I know more.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must get back to work.

 

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Forest of Reading Trip: the final chapter

The day after the Harbourfront hoopla (or was it more of a hootenanny?), I hopped on the GO train to meet more students in Ajax… Another fun day with wonderful authors and fabulous readers.

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Forest of Reading trip: On to Toronto!

After London we all traipsed into Toronto. I visited a couple of libraries and chatted with students… a very lively group at the Danforth/Coxwell branch had a ton of great questions for me, grilling me mercilessly about how I wrote my book, and about the cartoon shows I’ve worked on.

Then it was time for the Main Event – the big big big Festival of Trees at Harbourfront.

IMG_6687A total zoo. In a good way. And here was the most astonishing thing of all… Continue reading

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We Have a Winner! Eldritch Contest Results

IMG_0156 - Version 2Thanks to everyone who entered the Eldritch Contest! The winner of the contest is… drum roll please…

Sarah (Gr 6) from Lackner Woods Public School in Kitchener, Ontario! Sarah sent me a wildly imaginative story called “The Curse of Agatha’s Knife”. Congratulations, Sarah!

Among other prize items, Sarah will have a character named after her in the sequel to Eldritch Manor!  More details on that to follow…

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A Quiet Moment of Writerly Bliss

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So my progress on the Eldritch sequel has been halted for the moment as I put together an outline proposal on another project. More on that to come, but it’s a novel and after much gnashing of teeth I finally came up with my Act III! Nothing like breaking through a mental barrier and solving plot problems all at once!

The secret to my breakthrough was both taking a break and indulging in a research-related movie. The story is to have a historical setting and watching newsreel footage from the time suddenly filled in the gaps for me. There is nothing more useful than being able to picture the setting, the people, the events…

A fresh blanket of snow outside, peace and quiet, and a roaring fire did their bit to contribute as well.

Yay me!

(Moments of satisfaction for writers are solitary and rather fleeting, therefore they must be enjoyed. I shall celebrate with egg nog and then take the garbage out.)

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The Anxiety of Reviews

obt logo_2Okay, so reviews of my book make me anxious. Really anxious. Wincing, cringing, whinging anxious. I mean who likes being criticized for something you worked really hard on?! I prefer my days to be serene and content, so I don’t go out of my way to hunt down reviews, but if someone sends me a link to one I summon all my courage and take a look. (I also figure that if someone sends it to me, it won’t be terrible.)

So I was glad to read the lovely Open Book Toronto review of Eldritch this morning. The only complaint the reviewer had was with how sudden the reveal at the end is, a criticism I’ve heard from others. It’s a valid point, but I don’t regret ending that way, really. I just didn’t want the book to trail on and go out with a whimper, so I saved a bit of a bang for the last page.

What I especially loved in this review was the fact that the reviewer, YA author Kim Firmston, and her daughter both liked the book and found it kept them guessing. I think it’s fantastic whenever parents and kids can share enthusiasm for a book, and discuss it together.

“…this was an awesome read — when I was finally able to read it. My twelve-year-old daughter snatched the book away after reading the first chapter over my shoulder. I didn’t see it again for a while.

So if you have a fantasy lover, put a little Eldritch Manor in their stocking this Christmas, and when they are done reading have a crack at it yourself.”
(Kim Firmston, Open Book Toronto, Nov 13/2013)

(Phew!)

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