When The Gap Grows Too Wide

Hello! Let me apologize for the nearly year-long break I’ve taken from this website.

Anything I say will seem like an excuse, nevertheless, I am going to fill in a bit of that blank by saying I was busy, I kid you not. I wrote blog posts for a friend’s website, wrote essays, wrote poetry and wrote short stories. I hosted a lovely launch for a book that I am extremely proud to be a part of. Titled Against Death—35 Essays on Living, this book was edited by Elee Kraljii Gardiner and published in 2019 by Anvil Press of Vancouver. Against Death went on to be nominated for several awards. What a great feeling to have a small toehold in a success story such as this book.

I took a university course for the first time in my life and learned much. The course, How to Edit and Rewrite Your Novel, was offered online through UBC and led by Annabelle Lyons and Nancy Lee. Have I put my new-found knowledge to use? No, and do you know why? I was busy.

One of the personal essays I wrote years ago that was published in Women’s World Weekly came back around at the end of 2019 when it was republished in a special limited holiday production called Angels Among Us.  

I spent some time learning how to write a new form of Japanese writing called haibun. In essence, haibun is a prose piece of writing with enhanced thought added in the form of a haiku. My first published haibun was in The Haibun Journal of Ireland. Have I done others? Well, yes, I’ve written more of them because they combine two things I love, short prose and haiku. Have I pushed to publish more? No, did I mention I’ve been busy?

In March of this year I was chosen to fill the shoes of previous poet laureates, Roger Nash, Daniel Aubin, Thomas Leduc, Kim Fahner and Chloe La Duchesse. As Greater Sudbury’s Sixth Poet Laureate, I made a game plan and was thinking ahead when Covid19 stopped the forward movement. I know what you’re thinking, I wasn’t so busy then, was I? You’d be right. But then there was all that isolation to contend with.

So, I got busy writing Covid19 poetry, isolation poetry, and questionable future poetry. Where will all of this end? With a vaccine, of course. We just need to social distance, wear our masks, use our noodles and good things will come, as they do, to those who wait.

My circle of ten, includes members of the Copper Cliff group of writers who used to meet at the library. The other day we had a socially distant gathering in my side yard. It was great.

Now that my website is secure, my motivation has been found, my garden is planted and growing, I will be more likely to keep up to date. Unless I get busy, because we’ve seen what happens then, the gap between posts widens and widens.

Enjoy the sun and enjoy the photo spread!      Vera

Sitting Like Peking Duck

Out in the Open

I’m sitting with a friend at an outdoor event and this guy comes over, butts in to our conversation.

We don’t know him, but he starts telling us his life story. Like how he was retired and got bored. Got himself a job delivering Chinese food. Sometimes an eight-hour shift, sometimes a four-hour shift. Says the four-hour supper shifts are the worst. Says after four hours of Chinese food deliveries all he wants to do is go home and relax.

You know I had to ask.

“When you get home after that four-hour shift delivering Chinese, do you ever, like an hour later, ever want to go for a ride in your car?”

He says, “Nah. I’m good.”

…And Here’s Why

Yesterday I was cruising the parking lot at a retail outlet looking for a spot to (obviously) park. I passed a car in the handicap section a couple of times and I noticed that the driver was sitting in it.

Never mind that, if you are going to sit outside the store you don’t need to take up a spot, you can park elsewhere leaving that dedicated space for someone who really needs it, but that could just be me.

Actually, this person had put their seat back a smidgen and was fast asleep. At least, for the first two passed I assumed asleep. On the third pass I began to worry. The number of times I’d seen this person, it was with a mouth wide open and zero movement on their part. I was considering my 911 option when I lucked out. A car pulled into the space in front and to the right of the open mouthed recliner.

He moved! So, not dead.

In my opinion, you should think twice before grabbing your forty winks in the handicapped parking section and here’s why. People (that would be me) will at some point think you are dead. That’s some scary stuff. I think you should do your napping at home.

IF I’D KNOWN THEN

I just spent an hour in the kitchen buffing the tarnish off the silver tea set. We bought it (with the best of intentions and love) for my sister-in-law and brother-in-law on their 25th wedding anniversary. If I’d known it was going to be returned to us after their deaths, I might have gone for the china set instead.

Similarly, writing. I might have decided on another path if I’d known what a lot of work and metal angst writing was going to give me. I have come to terms with the rejection, you have to have a tough skin in this business. I’ve also conquered my demons when it comes to confidence. I know how much I like my writing, but there’s a whole other world of people out there who may have a different opinion on every single word I write. I’m okay with that too. After all, mostly I write to entertain myself, why not? When I pull off a short fiction or a poem that works, I feel great. That’s why I write. Word inspired dopamine. If you write, it’s highly likely you know what I mean. There are just those times when things are clicking along and you know you’ve hit the right tone.

I’d like to say that I’m inspired by the arrival of Spring, but I can be inspired any old day of the year. I hope it’s the same for others.

Happy writing.

Rainy Days, Haiku and Teacups

This display consists of haiku journals, haiku poetry and teacups and can be seen at the Copper Cliff Public Library for the next while. Each of the cups came from my own collection and are gifts from friends and relatives. I have an emotional attachment to each and know the history of the cups. It is the same with the poetry, each of these poems has been published in the past, every publishing opportunity feels like acceptance of what I do. I am inspired to write mostly senryu, human haiku, however, I also write nature haiku. If you are in the Copper Cliff neighborhood, please stop by the library and see what  you think.

CBC and Daisy Chained

I had the best time talking to Markus Schwabe on CBC Sudbury’s Morning North broadcast. As a relative newby to the online/website situation, I have no idea how to give you the link to listen to the interview.  However, I know people who know things and when I get the proper info, the link above will work, I promise.

I so enjoy radio, please listen to what went down 🙂

 

Life’s Firsts

Eventually, for all of us, those lovely ‘first times’ grow hard to come by. During the past month, however, when it comes to firsts, I’ve had way too many. Granted, some of them were great.

On my to-do list was, get my first book of short fiction, Daisy Chained, published, check. Sell a book, because nothing in life is guaranteed, check. Celebrate writing in a big way, check.

The not-so-great firsts were a lot less pleasant. Health scares for both my husband and myself, mostly resolved now, thankfully, gave me and my husband a kind of radical downtime. Now, we are in the rest and healing portion of that exercise. Not going to lie, that was some scary stuff.

I honestly thought the firsts were over. That I would start this new year, a first of another sort, without any surprises. Nuh-uh! There was another surprise in store.

Today I got an envelope from the Guv. and inside was the receipt from Library and Archives Canada. I sent copies of my book in weeks ago and today, it’s official, my book is high on a shelf in the government of Canada’s library. Another freaking first and a very happy one.

Woohoo for me! Too much? Sorry, can’t help it, this is exciting.

#DaisyChained #shortfiction #firsts #writing

 

 

 

 

 

Aftermath

Last post, I was deep in technical troubles, that’s history now. In fact, it was such an easy fix that my husband and I went out to dinner with friends to celebrate.

This was not the first time, we’ve dined with this couple several times. In spite of her quirk. We arrived at the restaurant and were seated right away. The order was taken and our food arrived in good time. It was delicious. My friend and I waffled on whether we wanted to eat dessert. When we’d protested just the right amount of time, fooling no one, we both ordered lemon Meringue pie, with two extra forks, to share the pie with our husbands.

The pie was delicious, I ate my part and passed the plate over. At this time we noticed that my friend was apparently not ready to give up the pie, in fact she had eaten away at the lemon part until all that was left was a fringe of lemon next to the back crust. The Meringue held firm above, hiding the lack of pie filling from her husband. When she noticed that we’d noticed, she slid the pie plate and clean fork over to her husband, hiding her devious deed by giving him the back crust of the pie to look at.

We laughed. We couldn’t help it. This is the same friend who, when we were out for dinner years ago, ordered the last piece of cheesecake in the restaurant knowing it was my favourite. She’s generous, she asked me if I wanted to taste it, I said yes, please. She took her fork and dug out a piece of cheesecake the size of a pea. And here, I may be being generous. I couldn’t believe it, I had to ask.

“Are you sure you can spare that?” I said.

She began to laugh, embarrassed? No, not at all, A lover of dessert and unwilling to part with a full bite? That was closer to the truth.

When her husband finished his portion of the pie my husband asked him if he enjoyed his pie crust. He said he did. I guess he’s used to being shafted when it comes to dessert.

Another fun story from my Cast of 1ooo players.

 

How I Spent My Morning

Waiting is not something I do well. I’m way better than I used to be, but I’m still not expert material. This has been a waiting kind of day, I am frustrated.

Today, as I do daily, I opened my e-mail. The first thing I discovered was a long list of people, I assume spammers, trying to help me make myself a web page. Is this not what I have? And look at that, I did it with the help of someone who did not spam me.

The phone started ringing around eleven, same deal, people from goodness knows where, all wanting to make me a web page. Obviously something was rotten in the Denmark of my new web page.

I guess this would be a good place to state the obvious, just as you should never drink and drive, text and drive, text and cross a street, you should never try to fix something when you are frustrated, somewhat angry and, let’s face it, supremely incompetent with technical matters. When I successfully got myself locked out of my own site, I had to call for help.

I went online and accessed the host support team, they shot up a chat window that said I was first in the queue, all good, and they said someone would be with me in two minutes. Half an hour later I stepped away for a moment, came back and discovered that, yes indeedy, that was the moment the chat window went active. Now I had to enter all over again. This time the waiting time was less.

I explained the problem and the lovely person typed out a few instructions. Nothing helped. Now, somewhere in the universe a ‘ticket’ is waiting for expert attention.

And here in my office, I continue to wait.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, the sun…