Saturday, 18 April 2015

Richard Wagamese

This morning I was fortunate enough to attend a Grit Lit event in Hamilton, Ontario. Numerous workshops and readings were available to the public for a small price. I was lucky to spend an hour and a half listening to the Canadian author Richard Wagamese.

Richard is an amazing, brilliant, and special author. His background is truly disturbing. He was taken away from his family at a young age and then placed with an adoptive family who consistently abused him. At 16, he left those terrible people and headed out to make a life for himself. He succeeded in obtaining some of the most menial jobs because he only had a grade 9 education and no work experience.

Yet, he discovered the library. He had never experienced a silence such as the quiet he heard at the library. Voraciously, he read every book he could lay his hands on. He kept a small note pad to record pieces of knowledge he gleaned from overheard conversations. He would take these simple queries to the librarian to learn everything he could.

Not only did he learn to write from the books he read, he also obtained a position with a local newspaper. From there, he achieved many writing opportunities from all over Canada. He admitted to still reading widely as evidenced by the number of books scattered throughout his house. Truly amazing. Most authors tell would-be authors to read as much as possible.

Since one of my characters in That Truthful Place is Ojibway, I provided Richard with a copy. I look forward to any comments he may have.

Check out a new Review from Jaylan Salah who I met through Twitter. Have you read the reviews from HollySisson or R.D. Hale for That Truthful Place.

have fun,

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Looking out my Window

I live in my black leather recliner in my living room. Here I do everything. I sit with my laptop, feet up and everything I need at arm's length. To my right is a large window leading to my backyard through which I can see Sumac trees and bushes covering a small, steep hill. Beyond the hill are million dollar estates. There is a metal link fence at the top of the hill leading into their backyards so you can't see any buildings and I rarely see anyone. Mostly cats wander the hill but saw a possum the other day.

My backyard is fenced-in. It's not a big backyard but big enough for Kira, my terrier mutt dog. Birds love my Sumac trees especially Blue Jays. I also see Cardinals, Sparrows, Robins and other small birds. Once in a while, hummingbirds (my favourite bird) hover by my window. Squirrels run all over the fence and enjoy teasing the dog and cat.

I have turned off the furnace and am leaving the backdoor open. Now my pets can go in and out at their pleasure. What a relief! Kira has me up and down out of my chair often to go outside and then to let her back in. She doesn't spend much time in the backyard. It's also great to have some fresh air. I love airing out the house. I like keeping all the windows open.

My poor Kira. Two weeks ago, I had to go out of town for a couple of days so left her with my parents who love looking after her. I kept Emma, my cat, at home and a neighbour came over and fed her.

While Kira was in my parents' fenced-in backyard, a vicious neighbour's dog who had been let off leash broke into the backyard and attacked Kira. The skin on her back had been ripped from her body. She had three operations. The final operation made an incision from shoulder to shoulder. She is recuperating well and is back to her old self.

That neighbour's dog, as well as the second one these people own, killed a neighbour's dog four years ago. In the past year, the dogs have attacked two other women out walking their dogs. We understand from Animal Control that these dogs must wear a muzzle all the time while on a walk. My parents have seen them walk by recently and the dogs aren't wearing muzzles.

I don't know what is the matter with these people. Kira's bills came to over $2,000. I guess they like hurting other people's dogs and they have lots of money to throw away. Really? It's terrible what they are doing. No one wants to walk their dog in my parents' neighbourhood because of these dogs. My parents wrote Animal Control about the dogs being muzzle-less. We'll see what happens.

Kira had the stitches out last week. We saw the vet today for a check-up. She's pleased that Kira is healing so well. This vet is brilliant and did a wonderful job. Kira is back to her usual routine which means walks in this now beautiful spring.

have fun,

Thursday, 9 April 2015


All my life, I've volunteered somewhere. Growing up, I worked with the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind). The school/residence lay close to my home. It was a wonderful experience and I learned much about disabilities. These kids were not only blind but also developmentally delayed. Whenever I returned to Hamilton, I would spend time with the residents. My last job with them was being in charge of their Pet Corner. I would teach the children about animals and how to look after a pet.

When I was at the Tel Aviv University in Israel, I helped a blind woman record her school books and assignments into Braille. I would spend hours reading into a tape recorder so she could write them out. I also typed out her essays. It was wonderful being able to help her. I don't remember her name, but she was lovely and so smart. She did well in her studies.

In 1992, she travelled to Long Island, New York, to receive a seeing eye dog. Along with seven other people, she attended a guide dog school. She spent a few weeks with them learning how to work with her guide dog. I travelled there and stayed a few days. She was so happy to have me there so I could help translate when needed. I also took her shopping. Try explaining colours to a blind person.

The guide dog school was truly amazing. It was brilliant to watch the blind people who would normally walk hunched over and head down transformed with the dog to walking erect, head up and smiling. What a wonderful transformation. All of the people changed dramatically with a dog at their side. It made me cry numerous times.

I itched to pat and play with these guide dogs. I had never seen more beautiful dogs. Six were labs both yellow and black. There was a standard poodle and a golden retriever. Of course, I was not allowed to touch them since they were in work mode. But every evening, after the trainers had left for the day, everyone would bring their dog to me so I could finally lay my hands on them. I was in heaven.

From April to June, I have scheduled five signings. If you will be at the Burlington Indigo on Brant Street on Saturday, April 11th, come and say hello. I will be at Chapters in Meadowlands, Ancaster, on Saturday, May 9th, from 1 to 4 pm. On Saturday, May 16th, I will be at the Chapters in Guelph on Stone Road. I have two signings in June. On the 6th, I will be in Stoney Creek and on the 20th, I will be at the Chapters in Erin Mills, Power Centre.

have fun,