The Little Picture About Libraries

Library-quote-by-Anne-Herbert from
Yesterday the government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced the closure of 54 libraries, more than half of the libraries in this province. I work, on-call, in the library system so I admit I have a horse in this race but it is because I have worked there that I feel so angry and sad about this decision. Because while others may have heard the announcements and thought of the big picture–the thousands of users who won’t get to go to the library or the 64 people who lost their jobs or the idea that maybe no one uses libraries any more–I saw the little picture, the individuals who use the library and the ones that work in them.

I pictured the small child who walks into the library, full of excitement at all these possibilities in all these books. Most libraries loan out DVDs now but I haven’t seen a lot of children borrow them. The children are all about the books. I picture little arms, barely able to hold onto the pile they bring Continue reading

Writing in My Brain

A couple of months ago now I started a new novel on the drive back to CBS from Aspen Cove. It was a story that had been in my brain for a couple of years now and I had lots of first pages. But it never seemed to click with me. Then, that day we were driving past Carmanville when what the story needed hit me and I jotted down the first couple of pages. All the way back, I wrote and wrote until I knew my character well enough and I learned something quite surprising about her. I could see it all unfolding before me.

But when we got back I had edits to finish for my agent and then got back to revising something else I’d already finished (two something elses, actually). But I felt okay with not getting back to New Novel because I knew what it was going to be. And besides, I had already written so much on that drive.

So yesterday, when I decided to type up all I had already written of New Novel, I got out my current notebook to look for the pages. I was shocked to find Continue reading

Rest in Peace, Dear, Beautiful, Brilliant Dr. Maya Angelou

I just heard that Dr. Maya Angelou has died at age 86. I am often saddened by the death of celebrities but for this one, I cried. Her light, her grace, her courage, her brilliance, the way she carried herself through the world, all made her such a force and now this world is absent all that. It seems a sadder, lonelier place for a bit.

The only spoken word CD I ever bought was her poem, On the Pulse of Morning, from Bill Clinton’s inauguration. I listened to it countless times. I read so many of her poems, as well but, as powerful as her words are upon the page, there is nothing like hearing her read them. Her voice matched the words so well and she made them come alive. She made them rise up from the page, like she rose up. It’s hard to pick a favourite poem of hers. I think I love them all. Of course, And Still I Rise is a favourite, Phenomenal Woman is up there and On the Pulse of Morning (Courtesy; William J. Clinton Presidential Library), the one that introduced me to her work must be there. But I’ve been listening to her words again today and found a brief clip, not of a poem but of her telling us about being human. And it shows how even when she is just speaking, her way with words makes poetry happen. She says brilliant things like “I am aware that I’m child of God. It’s such an amazing understanding. To think that the IT which made fleas and mountains, rivers and stars, made me.” Or “I have to know that the brute, the bigot and the batterer are all children of God, whether they know it or not. And I’m supposed to treat them accordingly. It’s hard and I blow it all the time.”

People like Maya Angelou make me believe there is something after this life. Surely, a presence so powerful cannot be stopped by the cessation of a beating heart. All that force, all that light must go somewhere and cannot be contained in a coffin. I don’t know where it goes, but I cannot believe it disappears with the dying of a breath. So, to her body, I say rest in peace and to her soul, I say rise, rise up to the highest heights.

We Need to Demand More for Our Veterans

I am livid. I mean it. I’m disgusted and angry. Not the first time I felt this way about the Harper government but this is a whole new level of outrage. I’m talking about Julian Fantino and his so called meeting with veterans yesterday. One man broke down while talking about it. These men who served their country and only asked for time and an open mind from the man who is supposed to be responsible for the affairs of veterans. Instead, the veterans waited and waited for their meeting, only to be told that the minister couldn’t meet with them. Three other people were sent to meet with the veterans. But Fantino managed to show up just in time for a meeting with the press. And when things got heated, what did Fantino do? He walked out of the meeting. Continue reading

Newfoundland’s (No) Power Problem

I’m tired of it. Tired of people accusing Newfoundlanders of being weak, nish, of people like Trevor Taylor, who I respect in many ways, telling us to stop complaining. I’m sick of people telling us to shut up about the trees when we’re all complaining about the forest. Although some people were impacted in terrible ways over the last few days of what people on twitter call #darknl, we aren’t complaining about a power outage or a storm. At least most of the people I know aren’t. Storms and power outages are not new to us. Certainly not to me. Where I grew up, power outages were common and there were several Christmases in a row where we had snow storms and power outages at Christmas time. You deal. Maybe moan a bit but you deal. What’s happening now in Newfoundland is a totally different matter and worthy of complaint. This is complete incompetence and a lack of preparedness on the part of the organizations and people who are supposed to provide us power.


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My Opinion on Newfoundland’s New Target Store

I went shopping at Target for the first time this morning. Finding a place to park wasn’t too hard, even though I’d heard about long line-ups. There was a huge line-up for the checkout inside but it wasn’t crazy busy. I did leave without purchasing anything. And I was disappointed. I’m obsessed with getting good deals and thought Target would be a great place to do that. Maybe things will change but for now, here’s what I think are the pros and cons of our new Target store.

-Price: where are the good prices I was expecting?
-Stock (or lack thereof): many, many hooks and shelves were empty. Maybe there were good prices on things but they must have sold out fast. And I did check some of the empty shelves and didn’t think the deals were that special at all.
-Line-up at cash: hahahahahahahahaha. Maybe if there was an awesome deal somewhere but not for the $1 slipper socks I saw there and were the only thing in my cart when I dumped it. It went back the one side of the store and then around the corner a bit.

-Walked right up to the counter at Starbucks and got my latte. Expensive yes, but extra satisfying without the wait.
-On a whim, went to Michaels instead of staying at Target and got the last Rainbow Loom I’ve been searching for everywhere but sells out too fast. It is sooooo hard to find and was sold out at Michael’s within the hour. Don’t ask me why Sam and his male friends are all so excited about making bracelets with this thing. I talked to a grandmother and mother in the line-up who were buying them for 8 and 9 year old boys. They were baffled too. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It just seems to be so something they wouldn’t be into. Sam has never shown the least bit of interest in crafting and now he wants to make bracelets. Go figure. But it ain’t a video game and I’m all for it!
-No temptation to drive all the way out to the east end to shop at Target. Costco is still the only thing to drag me out to Stavanger and that isn’t a very frequent visit. Oh and maybe Future Shop and Michaels if I’m already there or there’s a good deal on.

Right now, I’d have to give a thumbs down to Target but maybe it’s just growing pains. I’ll probably try again sometime when things have calmed down a bit.

NOT The Hard Work of Writing Part 2

See, the problem with being away from a blog for so long is the idea of writing this post explaining why I’ve been away for so long. This is especially true if your last post is called “Part One” of something. The weird thing is that I finished writing part two the day after I posted part one. But I have to admit I’m a little nervous posting these proclamations about writing. Unless I’m angry and on a rant like I was in part one. I’ve calmed down. Things have happened. But I still stand by my assertions and will post part two later this week.

It’s not just my nervousness about telling fellow writers, most of them waaaaaay better than me, that I think writing is not hard that’s kept me away from my blog. It’s not even just procrastination or trying to enjoy some of the great summer we had. Nope, the thing that’s been keeping me busy is that we Continue reading

The Hard Work of Writing Part 1

The wonderful Trudy Morgan Cole tagged me when she posted a link to an article on facebook. The article was from Elizabeth Gilbert, she of Eat, Pray, Love and took a poke at Philip Roth for trying to discourage a young writer from his profession. Trudy knew I’d love what Gilbert said and I did. I really did. Because I’d said it so many times before. To Trudy, had heard it from Trudy, ranted to others about it. Gilbert said it much better than I ever could but that won’t stop me. Because I like to rant, especially about something I rant about so often.

Pity the poor writer, slaving away in her basement or chained to his keyboard. Hunched over, fingers aching, brain reeling. I often hear, or read about, writers complaining how tough it is to write. How they agonize over a paragraph for hours and then finally, fretfully, after wrestling with their commas and periods and which synonym of the word ‘bend’ they should use, get that paragraph done. Only to cut it out in a couple of months when they revise the work again. How they torture over each syllable and every word.

Bah, humbug. Continue reading