Wednesday, August 29, 2012



You know, what I dislike about blogging is that ZIP! suddenly it's almost three months since I've posted and you know that thing about getting back on the horse? Well, it's hard when you haven't been riding for that length of time. I'm kind of stiff, the ground doesn't feel like it did when last I rode, and I'm not sure I even LIKE the horse.

Nevertheless, here I am. Where have I been, you may ask. At home, mostly. I've been working on a book project for my dear, long-suffering friend, Jan de Bruyn, who spearheads a memoir-writing group called Lifewriters at Castle Wood Village, the seniors' home in Castlegar. Finally delivered some 84 copies of Swan Song which is to be their last collection. We've done eight altogether, and this one was a whopping 265 pages.

My friend Martha died a couple of weeks ago, another friend's daughter died a month before that.

Martha and Laney, both RIP 2012, in Thornhill, about 1980

And in June, I was privileged to be with Aunt Nancy when she made her exit from this world. She was 102. All these passages have had me contemplating my own mortality. I remember when my mother was the age I am now. The "will you still feed me" age. I was living in Toronto then and it seemed that every time I spoke with her on the phone another one of her friends or acquaintances had died or was about to. Thankfully, Mom wasn't one of them so now I can apologize to her for the times I changed the subject or rolled my eyes without her seeing, because now, boy do I get it.

Nancy Lee on her 99th birthday, meeting little Enid Jupiter Nancy

We had a wet start to summer. July broke records for rainfall, but when it finally got hot it stayed that way. It's not as brutal as it was, but it's still pretty warm, although one night last week it went down to 3C. Fingers crossed our bountiful tomato crop will get to ripen before there's a frost.

I've not been writing, apart from participating in the 6th annual August postcard poem exchange and I'm happy to say I have now sent cards to everyone on my list plus a few more. And this year I followed the guidelines and didn't sketch the poems first. Nope, this year's poems were all written on the postcard, no practice runs whatsoever, complete with scratch-outs and some eye-rolling on my part when I transcribed them later.

One of the cards I sent
No, not been writing. Had a couple of rejections, what is the bloody point, that whole thing. This blog is one thing, but when I don't write poetry I get more and more crazy, more and more depressed and then it's hard to get back on that horse, too. Seems there's a whole stable of horses out there, just waiting for me to get on and go somewhere.

Ah well. The black dog makes his rounds and even though you try to remember to lock the door sometimes he manages to get in even though you do your best not to feed him or encourage him in any way.

But I have been reading poetry. Lots of good poetry. Sometimes I listen to poems read online, often by the poets who wrote them. I've signed up for a 10-week course in Modern and Contemporary American Poetry through the University of Pennsylvania. It's free and if you get serious about it it'll ask for five to eight hours a week. I figure this is the coming wave of teaching so I might as well see if my horse can navigate these waters, too! Aside from some babysitting commitments and working on Jan's next book job (not merely content to be encouraging others to write their stories, Jan has taken to producing a mystery novel or two every year and I produce those for him, too), I think I can do it. The write-up of the course interests me. If you are, there's still time to register. You can watch a introduction to the course here.

I have a review of a poetry chapbook forthcoming in the Pacific Rim Review of Books, and writing it (okay, okay, I did some writing) was a lot of fun. And if you care one whit about books in the Pacific Northwest today, you really should subscribe to PRRB. You can click your way to the information you need to do that from the link above.

More soon. Really.


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