Thursday, February 26, 2009

Middle Lake Manana

Morning through the woods ... no better way to begin my day.

And off we go to see my favourite postal\liquor board\Sears catalogue outlet guy ... the one, the only .... Roger Zimmer!

(Hey, Roger wants to sell his business and retire, so if you or anyone you know is interested in checking into this -- and living a laidback, country lifestyle in our gorgeous village beside Lucien Lake -- let me know.)

Time to cheque the mail ... could there possibly be anything but bills?

(Bingo ... there was ... thank you Public Lending Right)

The all-important bulletin board ...
always loads of events in the village.

Then back home through the woods.
(It's frost, people, not white hair).

Ever more snow-admiration.

And I'm back at Ye Olde Homestead ...

where it's high time I got to work.


Winter is a big stick.

-32 or some such nonsense this morning, but hey, the sun's shining, and that's all I need.

I want to say something about friends: they are hugely important to me. Always have been, always will be. I'm the girl from Meadow Lake's Carpenter High School, class of 1981, who still keeps in touch with the old gang, scattered now, as they are, across the country.

I'm still on a "call anytime" basis with my first love, Robbie Hayashi. Hi Rob! Hope the hand's healing.

I still connect with travellers met in the Dominican Republic in 1987 (hello Martens family, in Massachusetts), and in Venezuela in 1993 (howdy to Ron and Jean Koopman in Ottawa), and those met just recently (selamat pagi to Donna Conrad in Sanur, Bali ... and Mowgli in Kuta, Bali ... Sami Rashidi in East Malaysia .... and the BC'ers (ie: Flo in Sechelt ... a crazy-funny body piercer).

Did I meet you at a writers\artists' retreat? Work in retail with you in the 1980s or early 1990s?
Meet you in a church, in a bar, on a beach, in some small town I lived in as a kid (Kyle, Turtleford, Wilkie, Meadow Lake), on a volleyball court, or in university? Did we live on the same block once upon a time? Hey, I still think about you.

Similarly, I try to keep track of my family (hello Ron Meetoos, and hugs to Susanna and Kyara, in Aarau, Switzerland; hey sisters Crystal Herrod and Heather Rutz in Meadow Lake, SK; hi brother Kirby and lovely Laurel in High River, AB; and hello to my parents, Jim and Helen Herr, in Watrous,SK, a mere 1.5 hours down the highway.

It's a big job. It eats up time. I'm not one to let an e-mail sit unanswered. And it's damn straight one of the most important things I do.

Today I want to say hola to a few friends in particular:

Hello, Jeff Reid in Fort McMurray, AB. Can't wait to go for a few runs again this summer.

Hiya to Lynn Cecil in St. Catherine's, ON. Thanks for catching me up on your life.

Hi five to Jeanne Marie deMoissac, in Biggar, SK. I see they've charged the killer.

Rosemary Nixon, in Calgary, how's it going? You work too hard, girlfriend.

Lonnie Starnes, in Saskatoon; it's getting to be too long, my friend (since we were five).

Olga Montes, in Montreal. Beautiful actress and mother, I look forward to raising a glass with you and Johnny soon.

And I'm looking forward to meeting a whole whack of new friends at the Fundacion Valparaiso retreat in Mojacar, Almeria, Spain.

Greetings, American filmmaker Corrie Francis.
Salaam, Hagit Bodankin, Israeli playwright.

Ah, dear friends. You're better than bowl of fresh berries
on a cold winter day.

(These ones are from mein own garden and the local woods:
I'm working on a berry picking\production article for
the Western Producer .. . spent a good hour photographing these beauties yesterday)

To borrow a phrase from a bad American movie: Friends ... "you complete me."

Over and outside (in numerous layers).


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Parallel-parking the croutons.

This is the kind of day any writer would want. Well, this writer, at least, wishes she had more of them.

My god, an idea for a story setting off sparks in my head at 5 a.m., so up gets I to the dining room where I last left my laptop, and giddy-up, away we go. I wrote for hours, and think I've got a new, weird children's story coming together. I haven't written anything in that department since The Bone Talker, which came out way back in 2000.

All day writing ... including a 6 page fan letter to Alix Hawley, a Kelowna, BC writer whose first book of short stories, The Old Familiar, blew me out of my slippers. And Thistledown Press published it. Good on them, I say. Good on them!

Did I really have time to write a six page fan letter? No. Was it important to do it anyway? Damn straight. Writers get such scarce attention, and the review situation in this country is deplorable.

Plus, I believe in this writer (and don't even hold the fact that she was born in 1975 (!) against her). How great is she? Well, here's an example. It seems some of her characters have aversions to food. She write of pickles as being "shiny, glandular." There "a scab of roast potato ... a wodge of pie." The turkey smell "attacked." Pastry pinwheels come out looking like swastikas. And one character parallel parks her croutons. I love that.

Okay, back to the article I'm currently writing for The Western Producer. (Who, I wonder, first called it The Western Seducer"?) Berry picking, that's my topic. Kinda fun. Everyone's got a story ...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Gulp. Someone read this.

Yep. Someone knows I'm out here, or in here. Cybercized.

Sure, she's an old friend (Hi, Nadia) and all, but to know that anyone has actually taken the time to read this makes me feel ... responsible.

So, I haven't paid any attention to this blog dealy. I'll try harder. That's become my motto in life: I'll try harder.

That said, I'm in a tiny bit of a panic these days. I was home for Indonesia for a week when I learned that I'd received a Fellowship to attend a retreat -- Fundacion Valparaiso -- in Mojacar, Almeria, Spain. I'm flipping excited, sure, but the retreat is April 2009 ... so soon. I'm leaving next month for Montreal, then Paris ... where my brother, Ron, lives with his Latvian fiancee, and they're promising a whirlwind tour of Paris "with a bunch of crazy musicans, by torchlight". (I just know this is going to be too cool.) Plus, I've signed up for a cycling tour.

Four nights in Paris, then to Granada. Gotta see the Alhambra, right? I "took it" in Art History. And now I'm going. A friend recommended a super hostel in the Albaicin (alt. written Albayzin) the old Moorish 'warren.' Can you say "Turkish bath?"

Then onward to the retreat, with other writers artists writers from around the world, where I'll work on my poetry manuscript, The Blue Notebook, and my short story manuscript, Scenes From A Family On Fire. After that: Switzerland, and Latvia, and probably Estonia and\or Finland. We'll see where the wind blows me.

This all seems impossibly far from my real life, which has its own charms. ie) at the post office\coffee row this morning, a few people expressed an interest in seeing my Bali slideshow ... I said sure, this weekend ... let me know which night, so I have time to vacuum ... conversation turns to vacuuming, I explain about the shitey machine I have (requires two hands, one to "steer" and the other to keep the broken hose plugged in the canister thing), and a coffee-drinking friend says: "Would you like a perfectly working Electrolux, for free?"

And I bowled today. Now I used to be a fairly decent 5-pin bowler, with a few 325 games notched in my belt, but I can't do anything anymore. I threw four consecutive frames like this: 5 points, 5 points, 5 points, 4 points. A person could be blind and legless and bowl better than this. The only good thing is that one woman, bless you, R.H., had an even worse game. Oh, god, but we do cackle.

Anyway, more when I can. Have a book review to write. Over and out.

Oh, and photos are from Bali. Trip of a lifetime, as they say.