Tuesday, December 1, 2015


dreaming of the sky
just a few rungs higher up
my infinity

Thursday, November 19, 2015


wind blows snows follow
wan November furlough
winter foreshadow

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Remember Them

Children's voices 
raised in song.
No words uttered
to interrupt the psalm.

Poppies placed
row upon row.
Honour, respect;
all remembered by those.

The men and women
who gave their lives,
a fight for freedom
with battle cries.

My children's voices
I proudly hear,
today remember
and hold your memories dear.

We thank you all
who have served in courage
without sacrifices bold
our world discouraged.

our children 
solemn sing
to you a gift
their offering.

Thank you
We Remember

Friday, October 9, 2015

Ghost Boy

Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius, ©2013, Thomas Nelson Publishers

Every parent's worst fear is to have their child fall ill. When you cannot diagnose the illness, it is that much more frustrating. When that illness leaves your child without the ability to walk, freely move their limbs, or even talk, it reaches nightmare proportions. That was the reality for Martin Pistorius' parents.

Martin had a normal childhood. He liked legos, loved riding his bike and was a quiet, but conscientious boy. At the age of 12 though, he fell mysteriously ill. Doctors ran test upon test, but came up with no conclusive diagnosis for a little boy who was rapidly fading away from his family and life. They advised his parents to prepare for the worst and to move him into a medical center, so they would not have to be burdened with his care. With that, they washed their hands of him, telling his distraught parents there was nothing more they could do.

Miraculously, Martin woke up. Unfortunately for him, no one recognized that he was conscious behind the shell of a body that drooled, spasmodically moved and remained silent. Slowly, Martin became aware of his world again, but without the ability to communicate, wished that he hadn't. He still couldn't speak, had no control over his limbs, and even less control over what the people around him did to him. And some of the things done to him were atrocious.

Ghost Boy recounts the true story of Martin Pistorius' reawakening and the struggle he went through to regain his life. He chronicles the abuse he suffered, the pain at his lack of communication, and the frustration he struggled with at feeling removed from the world. When one caring woman recognizes there is more to Martin than a vacant body and mind, his life is transformed, but the struggle to find the words to fit in are harder than he could ever imagine. For it is communication which opens the door to enter the world which he craved for so long. Having been denied the words and the power to even think of himself as a man, walking through that door is a learning curve. Faith and determination are the crutches that get him there and beyond.

Can you imagine living in a world where people look through you, make all your decisions for you, and regulate every moment of your day? That was Martin's world. And it should make quite the topic of conversation for the ladies in my book club when we meet later this week. Ghost Boy is a quick read, but intensively powerful. And it will make you appreciate your life just a little bit more.

Thursday, October 8, 2015


Autumn's tender rays
whisper of summer's last days
fleeting memory

Monday, September 21, 2015

Rich Habits, Rich Life

Rich Habits, Rich Life: The Power of "Me We Do Be" Habits Rituals and Routines, by Randall Bell, PhD, © 2016, Owners Manual Press

Randall Bell has travelled the world and seen many things, good and bad. He has a PhD in Human Organizational Systems and an MBA from UCLA, not to mention 25 years worth of experience consulting on tragedies around the world, like the 9/11 World Trade Center disaster, the Bikini Atoll nuclear testing, the Heaven's Gate mass suicides and the OJ Simpson case. He is also an avid volunteer with youth groups and homeless people, not to mention a married father of four. All of these experiences add up to a life that could leave a man jaded about people and the world. That is not the case with Bell though.

In Rich Habits, Rich Life, Bell sets out the four cornerstones of positive thoughts and actions which make for a rich life. He labels them; Me, We, Do Be—but they more than just simple words. These cornerstones underpin a way of thinking which can help to transform a life and bring a greater sense of joy to it.

Me: something to believe - personal habits
We: something to love - relationship building
Do: something to do - improve productivity
Be: someone to become - work towards the future

Throughout Bell's book he offers examples of how people he has come across have made choices in their lives. These personal choices have often lead to positive thinking and action, and in turn, a better place for the individual in the world, frequently despite huge hardships. Many sidebars site statistics highlighting rich habits and how they benefit a life. For example, Rich Habit #14 is Be Kind and bar graphs back up his words "Those who tend to smile and speak positively are 43.5% more likely to be happy. If that doesn't cut it, they are also up to 46% more likely to be millionaires." Seems like an easy thing to do to move your life in a more positive direction, doesn't it?

At the end of each cornerstone chapter he gives concrete examples of things you can do to improve your own Me We Do Be habits to connect you to a higher power. Many of them are easy steps, like "When a negative thought comes, think of something positive" for a Me habit, "Sit down to a family dinner _ times per week" for a We habit, "Make the bed every morning" for a Do habit, and "Spend _ minutes planning out your day" for a Be habit. None of the tasks are especially onerous, but Bell suggests that taking the time to add positive thoughts and actions can make all the difference to giving you a richer and more fulfilling life.

Heck, I already eat dinner with my children every night, get a physical every year, and am working on writing a book. That means I might be on my way to a decent life already. Of course, there are a few areas that could still use some work and Bell has some persuasive arguments to that end. I might have to keep this book handy to keep my inspiration up when spirits flag.

Thank you to Ascot Media for sending me a copy of Bell's forthcoming book to review.

Friday, August 28, 2015


Fire burns bright
in anticipation
of future

I fan the flames
of my intended success
with hope and 

the challenge;
to keep adding the fuel,
to believe in

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Talent for Humanity

Talent for Humanity: Stories of Creativity, Compassion, and Courage to Inspire You on Your Journey, edited by Patrick Gaffney, © 2015, Greenleaf Book Group Press

It should be no secret that I support the arts. I have worked with teachers and artists to share their creativity and message with a wider audience. I promote other writers so that their words can find homes farther afield than their own heads. And I work with small businesses who strive every day to make their own small corner of the world a better place, one day at a time.

So when Marissa Madill contacted me wondering if I would be interested in reviewing Talent for Humanity, and I read the brief book blurb, I immediately agreed. It is a book filled with inspiration from a variety of creative minds who strive to change their own corners of the world, and in so doing have created positive ripples far beyond their own backyards. This collection of stories highlights seven people and their courage to transform the world. From photojournalists to musicians, clowns to teachers, these people felt a raw need for peace in the world. Injustice was often at the heart of it. Whether they were the ones to feel the sting of it themselves or just incapable of ignoring it any longer, all of the contributors to this book took the step to do something about it. And an organization by the name of Talent for Humanity, under the helm of Thierry Sanchez, gathered those inspiring stories together.

The thread that runs through the book is what the talented individuals featured within its pages have done. The point of the book is bigger than those stories though. Each of the people featured in the book have taken steps to transform the world with their own individual talents. Their stories are told and a letter to humanity written by them is shared at the end of each chapter. At the end of the book, a request for the reader's stories is extended. Talent for Humanity wants to know what you do to make the world a better place, how you transform your small piece of it in big or little ways. It doesn't have to be as big as starting a company or raising millions of dollars. It can be as little as one simple act of kindness, like shovelling a neighbour's driveway in the winter. They want you to share though, so that those kindnesses can radiate throughout the universe and make us all vibrate a little brighter.

As for me, I volunteer at my children's school, so that welcome activities can be added, like hot lunches, book sales and field trips. I do my best to work with companies that I admire for their ability to give back to the community and the world in small ways. I try to raise my children to be honest, caring individuals, who value the arts, their community, and the people who comprise them. Everyone has an inherent value and I cannot help but see that and try to instill that compassion in my children as well. These are little things, but they radiate out into the world and small pebbles of compassion come back to me in unexpected forms and moments. When they do, I try to recognize them and give thanks. Just like I am doing right now.

Thank you for sharing these powerful tales with me Marissa. The stories were inspiring and beautifully told. May more stories flow your way.

*If you want to share your own tales of humanity, go to Talent for Humanity and add your voice.


Friday, July 31, 2015

The Children's Crusade

The Children's Crusade, by Ann Packer, © 2015, Scribner

Oak trees are well known symbols of power and strength. Whatever culture you look at resonates that thought in some manner or other. So when Bill Blair stumbles across a magnificent oak tree in California after his discharge from the navy, he makes the decision to purchase the land with visions of a family in mind.

Several years later, the oak tree is the central grounding space for the Blair family. Bill marries Penny and they quickly have four children. But Penny's vision had always been three and when James shakes up her plan, life will never be the same. Robert, Rebecca and Ryan were all she thought she wanted, but once motherhood surrounds her, she finds she cannot breath. And slowly she disconnects from it to follow a passion for art, leaving Bill and the children behind.

As Ann Packer weaves the tale of the Blair family, the perspective jumps between the children's views of the world they were raised in. They all take turns analyzing their relationship with their doting father and a mother whom they had strived to interest in them to no avail. Packer shows a family growing up, finding their ways into adulthood and encourages her readers to question how those years mold us into who we might become. Does an ambivalent mother account for James' chaotic behaviour in his youth and into an adulthood fraught with bad decisions and questionable actions? Would Bill's methodical parenting have been the reason for Rebecca's always analytical take on life? Where did Robert's anger stem from—being first-born and infused with the sense he had to be first/best at everything, yet not measuring up to those expectations? And sensitive Ryan; how did his quiet, loving soul get formed in the midst of the oft-times chaos that was their family life growing up?

This book will be the first novel discussed when my book club resumes this fall and I believe it will spark interesting dialogue. I suspect different people will associate with one or another characters. And the role of mothering versus following one's own personal goals might be a hot-button conversation amongst our members, who consist of both mothers and those whom have not had children for one reason and another. Where is the fine line between finding one's personal joy and being responsible for the children you have chosen to bring into the world?

If you have read the book, what is your take on it? The novel is a compelling read and has found its way onto the favourite lists of many people. Is it that we can all relate to Packer's dysfunctional family in one way or another? Perhaps. Life is never perfect, but it is entertaining. And if you haven't read it, this novel is too.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


I  am
the beautiful girl
that people look back 
on  remembering
the sweet pieces
of a heart 
only by 
being tucked 
behind a windowless wall
they don't remember 
helping to build
but i do

Friday, July 24, 2015


Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, © 2012, Vintage Books

Grief can lead people on extreme and complicated paths. People often question who they are, what their purpose is and how they should continue on when a loved one dies. That was the case for 22-year-old Cheryl Strayed when her mother died from cancer. Her relationship with her siblings, step-father and husband fell apart and she made life choices which seemed to mark her on a dark and downward spiralling path. Until she came across a guide book in a store one day on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and made the decision to spend three months hiking its arduous length. Those 1,100+ miles changed her, but the journey was far from easy.

Cheryl Strayed paints a picture of herself as a lost and destructive young woman, trying to hold a family together, while simultaneously making bad decision after dangerous choice. When she decides to hike the PCT, she does so on a whim and with minimal preparation. Her boots don't fit properly, she doesn't allot enough money for expenses, she over-packs her backpack to an almost insurmountable weight and sets off from the Mojave desert with her sights set on Oregon. Impetuous by nature, she stubbornly struggles on under the actual weight of her pack, but the larger weight of her emotional baggage is what almost hobbles her on more than one occasion. And that is what keeps the reader rapidly flipping pages through the 315-page book.

I know only too well the struggles to wade through grief and can understand how Strayed tried to banish her demons via this adventure. Loss is a powerful motivator and it can change the strongest of souls under its weight. Through her iron will and sometimes lack of other options, she struggled through the challenges of the trail and found a strength in herself which obviously still shines forth today. Her telling of this transformational journey comes in an easy-to-read package and reminds her readers that sometimes despite yourself, you can find your way back home to you.

We'll see what my fellow book club members think of this book in the fall, as it is on our list of books to read. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Everybody Shut Up

How appropriate;
Weird Al's encore - The Saga Begins

It's official. I am white and nerdy. There is no denying my Jedi status, so I feel I have to share. I may not have committed any word crimes (hopefully), but I can't get away from being tacky. We all have cell phones, so let's get real. Yeah...

There will never be another concert quite like the one I attended last night. Weird Al Yankovic waltzed through the front doors of Centennial Hall in London, Ontario and drove all his weird fans mad over the next two+ hours. From his entrance singing Tacky, to classic tunes like Eat It, Amish Paradise and Smells Like Nirvana, Weird Al regaled young and old with his quirky brand of ridiculous wit. I don't think my children will ever be the same...

I have been to plenty of concerts over the years, but nothing compared to Al and the band's quick costume changes between almost every song. He sported a purple octopus costume with tie dye/rainbow legwarmers and an upside down ice cream cone hat dripping into his trademark frizzy hair while singing 'Perform this Way'. This was in addition to a suit and tie, a white jacket covered in red maple leaves (Canadian Idiot), a flame suit, devo-esque yellow plastic suits, a fat suit, a Jedi costume, an Amish outfit and of course an aluminum foil hat. The costume budget alone must be huge for the Mandatory Fun tour!

Don't forget the aluminum foil
It wasn't all about the creative costumes though. To give Al and the boys in the band time to change, a video show entertained the audience in between songs. The lights would dim and the screen at the back of the stage came to life. Snippets of Weird Al videos, interviews, cameo appearances on shows ranging from Jeopardy to the Simpsons and more blasted our cortexs with crazy content which only Weird Al could conjure up. One such mocked up interview with Michael Stipe saw Al and Michael collaborating. And Weird Al brought it back in his encore when he sang the song they created (or at least the lyric "We all have cellphones... ") and the audience duly co-operated by pulling out their cellphones and waving them in the air for the torch song. Oh yeah, I was right there baby. I'm real.

Hilarious does not quite capture the experience, but awesome isn't the right word either. It was weird, wacky and completely Al. Mandatory Fun was expected and I'm pretty sure the audience would agree that was what we got. Polka on Mr. Yankovic. There is a new generation of fans at my house.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

missing home

Until we parted
I didn't know what home was
the feel
rhythm, sway and dance
of us two
moving as one
thoughts started by you
and caught in my head
shared as only we can.
A gift.

Do you think ...
oh yes!
Should we try ...
always worth it, aye.

two sets of eyes
in unison
capture the world
as one

I didn't know I missed your
jokes, jaunts and joy
til the pauses
filled up with your breath
no longer embraced me
with your glance 

you are home

I need no roof to tell me that
you are where my comfort lies
you are where I smile and cry
you are all up to the skies
I wish the world could compromise
and give us a bigger piece of it

the only answer is 
to hold out
for our tomorrows
and hope
that our hearts survive

I will see you soon

sunset on the road

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

July and the Single Heart

July and the Single Heart by Vi Zetterwall, © 2015, CC Productions

Many books make their way to my TBR pile. Some are irresistible classics and others are monthly picks from my book club. I can't resist used book stores or garage sales either. Of course, I'm lucky to have promoters and publishers send me books to review on occasion as well. The last was how Vi Zetterwall's book made its way into my hands. The coin that came with it was a special perk which I am waiting to see do its magic...

July Harris is the youngest of six sisters in a wealthy family. All her siblings have gotten married and as she rapidly nears her thirtieth birthday, they are anxiously waiting for her to follow in their footsteps. The trick is that most of them don't care a heartbeat about her happiness. If July, the last of the sisters, marries by her thirtieth birthday, they are all set to inherit millions as set out by their grandfather's will. July's problem is that she doesn't have a boyfriend, let alone had a date in years. So as the clock ticks down, her father steps in.

July and the Single Heart is a quick read. It is one of twelve books/novellas which Zetterwall wrote over the course of a year. While the story isn't exactly spellbinding—Daddy forces her to choose between the five suitors he has selected, for a price—I do recognize the talent and dedication it takes to produce that many books in such a short time. Writing them is one thing, but then promoting them afterwards is another herculean task that is almost more work than the writing itself. So if the simple romance plot—girl is duped by many suitors and almost lets the right one get away—it can be excused by the fact that Zetterwall churned out 12 reasonable books in short order. That in itself is a laudable effort.

All of the books are stand-alone, but for the coin that materializes in all of them to magically help the main heroine along in life and love. Once the coin's task is met, it is then passed along into other needy hands.

And now I have one of my own. Could I use help in life or love? Maybe a pinch, so I'll keep rubbing mine. Hopefully soon enough it will pass into another's hands who needs a leg up in that department though. In the interim, I give a nod to Vi for sharing her 235-page novella with me. Good luck with your own life and love. ❤

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Anger Meridian

The Anger Meridian by Kaylie Jones, © 2015, Akashic Books

Akashic Books has sent me several books, including a few from their Kaylie Jones Books imprint. When The Anger Meridian arrived in the mail, I was excited to read a novel by the woman who inspired this offset; Kaylie Jones herself. Knowing she already has several books under her belt, one of which was adapted for a Merchant Ivory film (A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries - 1998), I dove right in.

At 3:35am Merryn Huntley is awakened by the doorbell. Assuming her husband is drunk again and not able to manage the lock, she steels herself and casually opens the door. What she finds is two police officers there to tell her her husband has died in a car accident. A much younger woman was in the car with him and it looks like his pre-occupation led him to slam headlong into a tree, killing them both instantly. While this frees Merryn from a loveless marriage, the circumstances around the death will be scandalous and she doesn't want her 9-year-old daughter Tenney to suffer through the indignity.

At least that's what Merryn tells herself as she hastily packs a bag and flees to her mother's home in San Miguel, Mexico. The truth is far more complicated.

Anxiety attack after anxiety attack plague Merryn as she braces herself for her mother's disapproving stare. Despite being a grown woman, and mother herself, Merryn falls back into being kowtowed by overbearing Bibi. But a life spent ignoring the truth and walking the fine line of stability unravels as the FBI arrives at her mother's doorstep in Mexico examining her husband's questionable business dealings. Fearing even more disapproval from her mother, she desperately tries to please everyone around her, but is spiralling out of control. And now it is finally time to face the truth she has never let herself see, or lose the respect of her daughter and herself forever.

The Anger Meridian moves along at a good clip and entices the reader to keep pace. Hemmed in at every turn, Merryn can no longer rely on old coping methods to get by, but finally learns to stand up for herself. Along the way, her daughter is there to give her the strength it takes to break free from old habits that don't serve her. Tenney is really the shining star of the novel, with wisdom beyond her years and a maturity her mother is hard-pressed to match. I have to admit that Merryn's weak will makes her not exactly the most compelling leading lady, but once she finally faces her fear of the truth and accepts it, she can finally breathe for the first time in her life. With a loveless mother, weak-willed father and philandering husband, it's amazing she gets there at all, but Jones gave me just enough hope to read through to the end.

This novel has a nice mix of drama, romance, and mystery that will keep you turning the pages through to the end. Thanks for the read Akashic Press!

Monday, June 15, 2015


You know it's going to be a good day when you get this in the mail—a good luck coin. It came with a book too. Next up on the TBR pile is July and the Single Heart by Vi Zetterwall.

rub for luck
in life and love
soon great riches
will fall from above

I've got my fingers crossed and will keep my new talisman close by,
just in case...

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Sepia Memories

no matter 
the words, deeds 
or other valiant efforts
yesterday will always be 
this old tattered snapshot
that keeps fading into sepia memories
which only I can see

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Little Beasts

Little Beasts by Matthew McGevna, © 2015, Akashic Books

I am grateful to the folks at Akashic Books for allowing me the chance to get a sneak peek at some of their newest titles. They recently sent me another book from their Kaylie Jones Books series for me to review. And while the topic held dark and sometimes violent images, I flew through the pages.

The twitch of violence is in every whiff of breeze in the hot July air of Turnbull. For three 8-year-old boys looking for distractions from summer boredom, the forest behind their working-class homes is the perfect retreat. Close enough to hear their mother's call, but far enough away to find mischief. And when they stumble upon a treehouse-in-the-making, that distraction becomes an obsession for Dallas, which ultimately changes the course of their summer and the rest of their lives.

The boys aren't the only kids in the poor neighbourhood who are listless though. When they come across three 15-year-old boys fraught with teen-angst—think girls, bullying, ambition—the mix becomes deadly. After an incident goes too far, the consequences are extreme and everyone involved has to reassess their lives and their places in the world.

McGevna loosely based his book on actual events that happened in Long Island in 1979. The pent-up emotions that run throughout the characters are scary in the innocence that they have of the consequences. Actions beget reactions and sometimes there is no coming back from them. But is there a way to forestall them in the first place? In the poor town of Turnbull, it seems like the events were inevitable.

While the story touched on unpleasant events and emotions, it left me wondering how people fall through the cracks and whether with a little pause and foresight, some of these events could be prevented. Because even though it is a work of fiction, I am only too aware that hot tempers do exist in real life and often amount to regretted violence that can't be taken back.

Perhaps we could all use a moment to stop and breathe sometimes, before we say or do something we regret. You might find yourself thinking back to this book, long after it's done. And that is a mark of a good book to me.

Monday, May 25, 2015

LadyBug Lunch

Lady Bug Caprese Salad - cherry tomatoes, black olives, basil leaves, and mozzarella
  Omg, these are the cutest things! Take salad to new heights with these scrumptious little ladies. I just might have to make these for a summer salad or to a backyard barbeque...
"Who invited the ladybugs to lunch?"

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Back of the Turtle

The Back of the Turtle by Thomas King, © 2014, Harper Collins

I first came across Thomas King in a Canadian Lit class in university. We read 'Green Grass, Running Water' and I loved our discussions that unfolded the many layers of the story. I have returned to the book several times and am enamoured with the tale every time I revisit it. So when I heard tell that King had a new book out, it immediately went on my TBR list. When I spied it at my local library, I couldn't resist picking it up, despite having 2-3 other books on the go. As soon as I cracked it, the other books fell neglected on my bedside table.

Not only was 'The Back of the Turtle' nominated for the coveted Governor General's award for Fiction in 2014, but King walked away a winner. And I can understand why. He created another thought-provoking tale filled with humour, multi-layered depth, serious contemplations of genetically modified products and their potential environmental ramifications, and a study in human relationships. All that squeezed into 518 pages, but reading like a much shorter book.

King introduces Gabriel, a brilliant scientist, but socially awkward individual who doesn't seem to fit in anywhere. He creates an incredibly devastating defoliant, akin to Agent Orange, which inadvertently gets spread in a small BC town, killing people, wildlife and pretty much anything in its path. As the story progresses, we discover that a nearby Indian Reserve has also been affected, which just so happens to be where his estranged mother and sister live. In guilt and remorse, he returns to the town to commit suicide, but some of the inhabitants of Samaritan Bay throw his plan off-kilter.

One can't help but read into characters and the deeper meanings scattered throughout this tale. Gabriel as messenger? As right-hand man to God or destroyer of Jerusalem? He certainly brought devastation to Samaritan Bay. And Samaritan Bay; is it a place of salvation, where people in distress can find help? After devastation, there is rebirth. Even Mara is more than just a returned resident; is she not akin to the Buddhist Mara who is herself a temptress? There are also many Native tales which weave and pull the story together in King's trademark magical realistic way, of which I for one am a fan. And while I'm sure I missed some of the significations of bits and pieces of the tale, that only means I will need to revisit the story again in the future.

As for you, I highly recommend King's most recent novel. It will make you contemplate corporate greed, debate the merits of genetic modifications, question your relationship with the past and how you can come to peace with it, but most importantly, you should enjoy this read. Two thumbs up from me!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Ghost Town

The Last of Duncrief

Untold history
languishing into ruin
only ghosts remain

Not far from where I live, an old ghost town has almost disappeared back into the realms of history. Only a decrepit house stands where once hope flourished. No mill left to mark settler's dreams. No plaque planted to tell its tale. Just broken glass, battered boards and a hint of what could have been in small-town Ontario...

Friday, May 1, 2015


soft petals tinged by
past breezes, freezes, memories
forever noted
yet beauty amidst the scars
show strength in our tomorrows

Friday, April 24, 2015


11 - the number of years we would have had
what would have happened?
where would we be?
would it have been deserving of steel?
or would we have survived babies?

7 - the number of years you've been gone
so many moments
lost before their time
I've stumbled and reworked them
a life that should have been our prime

3 - the number of years we had
marriage was a gift
one I didn't quite  foresee
you gave me all your everything
your love for eternity

I never will forget
the days when you were mine
I still live them every day
our hearts will always twine

Happy Anniversary my love. We would have been married 11 years today. While our days were stolen early, I'll always celebrate the time I had with you and take joy in your living memory left to me in our children. Blessings to you sweet man.

We've got mizpah...

Thursday, April 23, 2015


walking down the street
April air 
into wisps
of thought that
on naked knees
thrown down
in challenge of the
that were right 
all along

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


I dwell behind flash-
ing cursors
so as not 
to upset 
space in
an uncertain
universe of married
thoughts, ideas,
that rock
after fractious
flings in the netherworld
of love, restrained and drained

no more

Monday, April 13, 2015


thoughts, ideas
gathering, forming, flowing
oh to edit the perfect sentence

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Couplet Challenge

It's National Poetry Month. 
What lines are you penning?
Get your juices flowing
and start the couplets spinning.

If you are looking for a way to kick-start some poetic thoughts, why not check out the CBC's Couplet challenge today (April 7th). They will be sharing a rhyming couplet from a Canadian poet every hour starting at 9am. Complete the next line and you could win...

Here's my entry from the 10am prompt from A.F. Moritz

"Wisdom's invisible in children's eyes;"
Akin to not seeing the blue in summer skies

What would you write?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Call and Response

electric response
too fast to catch, hold back
as fire races through my mind


and I calmly
erase ~ ~ ~
carefully edit
my politely worded
everyone on the stringer
can hear the strident tone


and are clapping,
applauding the words
that they too held
but only I released
for us all

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Love Maps

Love Maps, by Eliza Factor, © 2015, Akashic Books

Sarah receives a phone call in the middle of the night from her godmother Tori. Her long-term partner Conningsby has died. His family had reeled him back into their lives as his days waned, but she can't bring herself to attend the funeral. But someone needs to pick up the portion of ashes that have been willed to her. Can Sarah?

When Sarah's sister Maya hears of Sarah's plan to attend the funeral, she tells her of a dream she had where Sarah is taken away by a man from the west. She begs her not to go, fearful it is a fateful prophecy. Sarah insists though and meets Philip. And he does indeed revolutionize her life.

Never one to believe in love, Sarah spends her days painting and dabbling in short-lived affairs. After meeting Philip, she is inexplicably drawn to him. It drives her to compulsively paint, confounding Maya and her friends. Nothing can expunge Philip from her mind though. Is it love or obsession? The line becomes a moot point. And that obsession changes everything.

Love Maps is Eliza Factor's second book and she creates vibrant characters who struggle against love. Sarah has never been interested in anything more than satisfying her urges, but she is irrationally drawn to Philip, even while she tries to avoid him. Philip has always been a loner, but can't help letting Sarah in. Despite coming from vastly different worlds, neither of them can shake their magnetic pull to one another. But Maya is a force to be reckoned with and she doesn't like Philip. Can she succeed in driving a wedge between them and force Sarah to choose which direction to take her life in?

Factor jumps between Sarah's present day less-than satisfying, single parent world and the story of her past volatile relationship with Philip which brought her there. She looks at the decisions we make in life and whether they are the right ones or not. Should we follow our dreams or forsake them for love? And where does family come into the picture? How do you choose your loyalties? And will those choices bring you happiness in the end?

We all have choices to make when it comes to love. Factor reminds her readers that love isn't always easy. We experience romantic love, parental love and familial love, but when they don't gel, what do you do? How do you map it out? Whether Sarah successfully navigates it or not seems less the point than how we perceive the journey. And for Sarah, that map is nothing like how she imagined her life to evolve.

So the question you might be asking after reading this is "That's great Katherine, but did you like it? And should I bother picking up a copy of it?". After my longer description of the book, I will leave you with a simple answer—yes.

Monday, March 23, 2015


slowly receding snowline
pulls back to reveal 
last year's forgotten
last week's promise
and a tease of 
tomorrow's sun


There's hope yet

Monday, March 16, 2015

Strangely, Incredibly Good

Strangely, Incredibly Good by Heather Grace Stewart, © 2014, Morning Rain Publishing

The late 30's are a difficult time for many. It seems like just when you are getting over having babies, relationships start to fall apart. The rest of life can come tumbling down right after, if we don't have the strength to put it back together again.

This is where we find Cat at the beginning of Strangely, Incredibly Good. She is 38-years-old, divorced, living with her feisty 91-year-old Grandmother, and two daughters who are quickly losing faith in Cat's parenting abilities. Who can blame them, as she doesn't have any faith left in herself. She's overweight, works at Walmart, and can't get beyond being the butt of everyone's high school pranks twenty years on. Her motivation doesn't seem strong enough to kick-start her life back onto a better track and depression keeps leading her back to the fridge—a vicious never-ending cycle.

That is until she finds a used Wii Fit machine at a garage sale on the way home from another failed start at the gym. To her surprise, and delight, a gorgeous genie emerges when she turns it on, with three wishes to grant. As they struggle through Cat's muddled wishes, romance sparks between Cat and Gene. Can he help Cat find happiness, but more importantly a measure of self-esteem? And does romance have a chance between a 2000+ year-old genie and a middle-aged, overweight, divorcee with a huge chip on her shoulder? If she can see beyond the past, just maybe...

Strangely, Incredibly Good is Heather Grace Stewart's first novel, but far from her first book. With four poetry books, two nonfiction educational books and numerous other poems and other essays in print, she figured it was about time to add this easy-to-read novel to her repertoire. You can't help but like bumbling Gene and laugh at Cat's antics that seem to do more harm than good. To find out if they have a chance at happiness or turning either of their lives around, you'll have to get a copy of Heather's newest book.

You can be sure it won't be her last though.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Pack

My last assignment from my creative writing class. We were to analyze one of eight artworks and write how we might use them in a story. I chose Joseph Beuys and his art installation - Das Rudel (The Pack). What do you think of his piece? How would you grade my interpretation?

24 wooden sleds equipped with flashlights, felt rolls, belts, and fat tumbling out of the back of a 1961 Volkswagen bus. How mysterious.

That is until you delve a little deeper. In 1944, Joseph Beuys was shot down in battle. He was rescued by Nomadic Tartars, who dug him out of the snow and wrapped him in fat and felt to warm and insulate him, before they returned him to a German field hospital.

Felt and fat took on lifesaving imagery for him. But what of the other items in this installation? The belts also held significance. In that same crash, the pilot was killed on impact. Beuys swore that by not using safety belts he was saved, as he was thrown from the plane, versus his compatriot who died on impact, still strapped in place.

By the time Beuys was 24, the war ended. After being interned by the British for two months, he was released. Sweet liberty and a return to his first love; the arts. Is that what is captured here? Do the torches light his way to freedom and creativity?

Or is this all just symbolism aggrandized for the observer? Beuys was known to embellish his history and the story of his rescue could have been one of those fictions. Perhaps we need to see the healing elements in this installation, as a means for us to see our own light and direction more clearly?

How long will it take you to slide out of the box and find your path?


This installation is fascinating, with so much room for interpretation. The symbolism of the elements are key and that is where the story lies. While a biography of Beuys would be interesting, as he made up his own version of his life, perhaps fiction would be a better way to go with this piece. We create our own truths and that is what Beuys was getting at. It reminds me of Pink Floyd’s The Wall and other dystopian novels that lean heavily on symbolism. I think that direction would hold the most impact with the flashlight peering into the future paired with the life-saving fat and felt images pulling you forward either away from or with the pack. Don’t leave behind the tools from your past, your memories that help you survive, but know which ones to take. The story would have to start with that image and tie those reflections in along the way.

Monday, March 9, 2015


frozen winter dreams
blanket the world in snowbanks
tough job for spring sun

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

sunset dreaming


searing eyes
your light fades in the sky
sets on a weekend
saturated in 
and a promise
of more tomorrows
for me, us, and more.
bring on another

Friday, February 20, 2015

One Native Life

One Native Life, by Richard Wagamese, © 2008, Douglas & McIntyre

This book. it filled me. So many delicate weavings. Heartbreak painted in healing by the gift of time. And wisdom. So much wisdom. How can one man have gone through so many challenges and found so many truths along the way.

The gift is his book to us.

I read this book slowly to savour it. The pages are filled with poignant vignettes of a life lived, of a life becoming. Richard Wagamese survived many hardships, but they shaved off his rough edges til he found his voice, a beautiful soul redeemed and shared with the reader.

He doesn't ask us to walk his path, as he knows we all have our own, strewn with our own personal stumbling blocks and boulders. And despite fighting to reclaim his Native roots, the peace he now lives surpasses any label he thought he needed. The beauty in his stories is that Wagamese knows the beauty in all things; Nature, Aboriginal, Joy and Sorrow. We all own these things no matter the colour of our skin or blood in our veins.

I want to pick this book up again and let Wagamese's magic lure me to a better place again. His healing is our own. I cannot praise it more. It is a beautiful, touching memoir that I will read again. And probably again and again when I need to be reminded that we can all move through our troubles if we take the time to listen, and understand the why of life.

Thursday, February 19, 2015


little feet running
squeals and giggly fun
squeaky clean faces
tubside grunge
soft gurgles fade
to water drop

you can't outrun bedtime


Wednesday, February 11, 2015


On July 18, 1918 in Mvezo, South Africa, a child was born. He was named Rolihlahla, which means “pulling the branch of a tree” in Xhosa. More commonly it is translated as “Troublemaker”. Rolihlahla earned that appellation many times over. 

Rolihlahla was the first in his family to go to school and, typical of the time, was given a Christian name there - Nelson. After completing his primary and secondary education, he went to Fort Hare, the only university that admitted blacks at the time. True to his moniker, it didn’t take long for trouble to find him. He was expelled for taking part in student protests and fled to Johannesburg. It was there that he was initiated into the life of politics that would consume him for the rest of his days.

By 1942, Nelson joined the African National Congress (ANC). He studied law and took every opportunity to speak for the rights of blacks. When the National Party formerly ushered in Apartheid (racial classification and separation) in 1948, he organized protests and strikes. The government noticed. They issued bans, arrests and jail time, but it didn’t stop him. 

In 1964, Nelson was sent to prison on Robben Island. He steadfastly believed in his cause and touted it until his release in 1990. Undeterred by the long years in prison, he commenced talks to end white-minority rule with President F.W. de Klerk. They earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. By 1994, Nelson Mandela was elected South Africa’s first black president. 

The troublemaker finally made good.


This was my historical fiction submission for my creative writing class this week, I felt compelled to share it today, as it was a momentous day in Nelson Mandela's life; he was finally released from prison on February 11th, 1990 after spending 27 years behind bars.

Nelson Mandela believed in the equality of people, no matter their skin colour, and made enormous sacrifices for those beliefs. In so doing, he realized his goals, as Apartheid was struck down in theory by 1991. The multi-racial elections in 1994 were the true celebrations of its end though, as Mandela himself was elected President. What a reward for everything he had done. He was truly a brave and noble figure and accomplished all without inciting racism to battle racism, or bloodshed to vindicate shed blood.

South Africa, and indeed the world, is richer for having had Madiba in it.

- 46664 -

Nelson Mandela, Speech from the Dock, 20 April 1964
“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Flying Free

I stood in the yard and gazed up into the sky. The cerulean heavens held puffs of gauzy white clouds drifting through it. I longed to be one with the endless expanse beyond my grasp. If only I could just reach up and touch it…

Thick air slid between my fingers as I stretched up into the ethers. With a thrust, I pushed my hands towards the earth. Again and again I reached, shoving the earth away from me. Slowly my feet slipped away from their earthly bounds. I was free.

With huge shoves and sweeps I propelled upwards. Rooftops approached, then passed as treetops were left below. A leaf fluttered as I soared by. My aerial breaststroke broke the confines of gravity and it seemed I’d always been capable of this freedom, just unaware of how to attain it.

With a kick I leveled off. My arms stretched out beside me, the wings I always knew I had. I was higher than the birds. Far below me people pointed skyward, jabbing fingers into the sky, their words lost on the wind behind me.

Out of the corner of my eye, my gaze caught a glint of light. I tilted into the wind. Unseen rudders pointed me in its direction. Drifting, I sailed towards the unseen object.

As the ground approached, I was assailed by a loud woof. I vigorously flailed my arms once more and jetted out of the dog’s reach.

I was safe, for now...


Assignment #2 for my Creative Writing class;
   - Theme: vivid dream

Anyone else have flying dreams? Have you had a dream that stuck with you long after you woke? 

What would you rate mine out of 15?

touch the clouds
as they pass you by
there's power in them dreams

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Love Book

The Love Book, by Nina Solomon, © 2014, Akashic Books

Care for a light-hearted romp through the messy world of "love"? Join Nina Solomon in her funny tale of soul mates gone awry.

Four women go on a bike trip through Normandy. They all have their own reasons, but none of them find what they are looking for on the "Tour de Flaubert". What they do find is an unlikely friendship that grows despite their differences.

Emily is a recently separated single mother not quite ready to let go of her ex. Max is a tough-minded trainer who isn't willing to let anyone in, let alone anything close to "love". Beatrice is a free-spirited senior who doesn't have "commitment" in her vocabulary, but isn't afraid to whoop it up with whomever comes along. And Cathy, the flighty captain of their crew intent on making sure that they all find their soul mates by Valentine's Day.

Solomon's easy-to-read novel won't strain your brain, but is entertaining. She pokes fun at love gurus and find-love-quick recipes that all end in disaster. But what she does do is remind readers that sometimes you really do have to be open to love before it will find you. And it isn't always what you thought you were looking for, but that's okay.

Thanks to Akashic Books for sending me an advance copy to read! And as Valentine's approaches, may you find love too.  

Sunday, February 1, 2015

It Was Me All Along

It Was Me All Along, by Andie Mitchell, © 2015, Clarkson Potter Publishers

Back in November I found myself a winner to one of Read it Forward's book giveaways. I enter their contests most weeks and this is the second book I have won. What with Christmas slowing down transport, I didn't receive the book until into January, but I was pleased to receive it nonetheless. As nonfiction has been tempting me as of late, I decided to move Andie Mitchell's book to the top of my TBR pile.

It didn't stay there long.

I cracked the book last week and finished it this morning over coffee. And as much as I have never personally struggled with weight issues, I really enjoyed this book. Mitchell draws in the reader with her candid stories and uncompromising accounts of her struggles with obesity. By the time she was 20-years-old, she weighed a staggering 268 pounds. It was her tipping point.

What she didn't realize though was that weight loss was far more than just losing a few pounds. Well, over a hundred points is more than the average dieter, but there was more to it than that. For her, the journey was about looking at the patterns of her eating and the why of it. We all have skeletons in our closets and hers turned her to food to comfort herself from them.

I couldn't help but think back to high school as I devoured this book. I was the skinny girl in my group of friends, surrounded by several overweight girls. I bet three of them were over 200 lbs and a few more were also big girls. We all went out for coffee, fried food, and other unhealthy options that didn't make a dent on me, but certainly didn't help my friends. Listening to Mitchell's tale, I suspect that her struggles were possibly similar to theirs.

The similarities didn't end there. When Mitchell decided to tackle her weight, she didn't anticipate her new struggle with food and her new image of herself. I remember one of my friends who lost a similar amount of weight trying to wrap her head around people all of a sudden "seeing" her for the first time. She was no longer the "fat" girl, but didn't know how to react to the way people treated the new person she turned into. Transformations can be incredibly hard, especially when you don't know who you will be at the end. Mitchell's story gives hope to anyone facing weight loss issues, but even more so to almost anyone who has struggled to figure out who they are, where they belong and how to get from here to there intact.

A great first novel and a story that reminds us we are all in control of our destiny. Thanks again to RIF for sending me a copy!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Silly Sausage

He approached us with a squint in his eye and a low growl. My eyes darted left and right, looking for escape. I ran right to freedom. My sister veered left, right into his path. He sprang towards her, as she shrieked. There was no way to outrun his grasp.

He wrapped his big arms around her and lifted her into the air. I looked on, unable to react. She was at his mercy.

A blanket lay draped over the nearby couch. He grasped it and threw it on the ground, followed closely by my poor sister. She wriggled in his grasp, but was doomed to her fate. A chortle escaped him.

He laid her at the edge of the fringed blanket and tucked the end underneath her. Then he proceeded to roll her into its soft embrace. It was too much. I cried out and lunged at him, but his laughter drowned out all noise. I was no match for his strength. I watched helpless as she was spun into the blanket’s hold.

When he reached the end of the roll, he stood up. Her head and little stumps of legs stuck out either end. It was hopeless to even attempt escape.

With a snicker he tickled her little bare feet until she screamed with laughter.

A belly laugh erupted from his frame as my uncle chucked her under the chin.

“My silly sausage,” he remarked to our delight.

 “My turn,” I cried!


To challenge myself and work on improving my writing I have enrolled in an online creative writing class. Our first assignment was to write a 250-word piece on a childhood memory. The class has commented and offered their two-cents worth.

Now it is your turn. Bring on the constructive criticism. How would you grade me?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Museum of Extraordinary Things

The Museum of Extraordinary Things, by Alice Hoffman, © 2014, Scribner

Here is a book right up my alley. We have turn of the century freak shows on Coney Island, mermaids, love at first sight, and true historical tragedies interwoven into a quick fictionalized tale.

Meet Coralie, our resident mermaid, or at least that is how her father would like to present her to the world. Professor Sardie, her father, is far from the warm and fuzzy type. He runs 'The Museum of Extraordinary Things', where he exhibits the likes of a 100-year-old turtle, a butterfly girl (a girl with no arms), a wolfman, fire breathers and when she turns 10, Coralie, his star attraction - the human mermaid.

Coralie is a shy girl, but far from a mermaid. Her webbed fingers are an oddity that Professor Sardie is intent on exploiting, along with his other freaks. But he fails to see the human side of his employers and that is where the story lies. We are more than a sum of our parts.

While I enjoyed Hoffman's book and the images she created, I do have issue with the story. There is so much going on in the book, that characters fail to breathe to life in the pages. Coralie meets Eddie in the woods one day after one of her training swims in the Hudson River. They barely spy each other through the trees, but both fall instantly in love and cannot get each other out of their heads. No rhyme or reason. They never even spoke. Yet that spontaneous love carries them through the turmoil ahead, despite neither of them ever having had much trust or faith in a world that hasn't done them any favours in the past.

Am I jaded in that? Perhaps, but I think that Hoffman could have given more details to help the reader fall in love too.

Hoffman goes on to describe the true events of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and the devastation that it wreaked. I love when authors weave true events into a tale, as I feel like I am expanding my knowledge. But again, events are given short shrift and I was left wanting more. The tale felt rushed towards its conclusion, which I won't spoil for you.

Did I enjoy the book? Yes and it is worth the read. But it has been compared to The Night Circus and in my opinion that is a far superior novel.

On to my next book!


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