Saturday, April 30, 2011

Merry, merry month of May

Anyone who knows me well enough is aware that May is my favourite month.  It has perfect weather for cleaning one's home, for outdoor activities, for moving and stretching your body and ... planting seeds. 

You may already know this but May 1st is the date of Beltane, a Pagan celebration"In the old Celtic times, young people would spend the entire night in the woods "A-Maying," and then dance around the phallic Maypole the next morning."  Fun times!  Well, except if it ends up with an unexpected teen pregnancy which is what happens in my novel "The Year of the Rabbit".  

Picture the month of May with greening woods and blossoming trees.  It provides perfect outdoor weather for children and young lovers.  Handsome Daniel Fletcher has returned from his first year at military college with hopes of a carefree summer vacation.  Family and friends gather for a barbecue on the Fletcher property. 

Read an excerpt called:  Hide and Seek - Childhood games and Lovers' Initiation

You will notice reference to the Pin cherry tree that is featured throughout the story - until its sad, symbolic demise.  I wanted to include reference to the Japanese tradition of Sakura where they celebrate the beauty of cherry blossoms.  This year, it provides a time of reflection.


Monday, April 25, 2011

I don't own a cell phone

There was a time when I had to carry around a cell phone at the insistence of my then spouse.  He bought it for me shortly after 9/11.  We were touched by stories of people contacting their loved ones via cell phone shortly before their demise.  My reserved opinion during our own troubled times was that if I was in a life-threatening situation, he would not be the first person I would want to call.  I would not want him to call me.  I would find a call like that disturbing and trauma-inducing due to the feeling of helplessness for the person on the receiving end.  Why put that stress on someone if only to tell them how much you loved them?  Can you not show that in your daily actions and resist to let parting words be angry ones?

I use a cell phone for work purposes but still cannot see the benefit of having one in my personal life.  I am either puttering happily around home, on my way to work, volunteering, running errands or on my way back home.  I will leave a note listing my whereabouts and any number where my loved ones can contact me.  I make sure I have access to a phone, either a friend's or one of those endangered pay phone breeds. 

Cell phone technology has evolved over the past 25 years - so much that now your smart phone can track you.  That has caused concern for the paranoid types.  It is disappointing that there are people who rudely insist on checking their phone in-between real-space conversations and thumb-typing onto the little keypad. Good gawd! We even have to create laws to stop people from using them while driving vehicles

What have we become? 

It is comforting in a way to hear that some youth are not fond of a heavy reliance on technology.  They are beginning to question the widespread proliferation of technology and the role it can play in their lives. A group of performing artists came together in Vancouver to address the decline in face-to-face communication.  They admit they already have to update the content of the performance so that it reflects current technology.

When you read the novel The Year of the Rabbit, you will be brought back to a simpler era (the early 1970's) when there were no smart phones,  cell phones - not even computers.  You can purchase the book through a Print on Demand service.  Since one of the themes is the respect for trees and our natural world, I didn't think it right to print hundreds of copies.  I am hoping that the word will spread about this bittersweet story and enough people will be interested in reading it. You can start by reading the PDF version of Chapter 1

Ironically, I am fiddling with tools to publish the novel to a digital format, to have available on the Kindle, other eReaders and yes... even mobile devices.  And yes, I will need to test it out at some time ;-)

Thanks for reading this far.  Have a nice, distraction-less day :o)


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Is Church Bingo the Gateway to Gambling?

This is a tongue in cheek question, of course.  

I have some sympathy for the Ottawa priest whose credit card statements were stolen from his home and who disclosed to his own parishioners about his battles with depression.  I was impressed to hear on CBC Radio One about last night's healing ceremony and support from his congregation.  

We're only human.  Yet... we would expect better from those who represent pillars of our community.  

In my novel The Year of the Rabbit, a novice priest had faced depression and thoughts of suicide until he met an alluring, convincing woman.  Years later - by fate or by coincidence - he is stationed in the same town and parish where she lives with her husband and five children. It is the discovery of the youngest girl that alters his path once again. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Planting a seed at the crossroads

Last night I enjoyed another quality lecture hosted by New Acropolis Ottawa

This one was titled "Confucius, A Leader in Times of Chaos". A snippet from the event page: "Confucianism is interested in developing a social order based upon the cultivation of the individual. It seeks political harmony by trying to achieve a perfect moral harmony in man himself."  

The lecturer stated that although the word "man" is used throughout the verses, the wisdom applies also to women and to all humankind.  I recall years ago while working in a library, I sorted, shelved and borrowed many books - including those on Confucianism.  Some of the wisdom stayed with me; some of it escaped my pretty blonde head - pushed out by growing demands of daily life, working full time and raising a family. 

Isn't that typical of many noble interests we have at some time in our lives?  I can observe that it is easy to become distracted by consumerism, fashion, gadgetry, competition and... survival.  Every once in a while, we are presented with an event that makes us think about what is REALLY important in our lives.  As we get older and wiser we finally accept that not all things can go as we have carefully laid out.  Life is what happens when you're making plans.  Family takes priority - even when you're writing about Fate, Family and Forgiveness

Writing this book over the past four years has provided me with good therapy.  I have met and learned from knowledgeable people.  I even made some great new friends

So here I am planting the seed for this bittersweet story and giving it a little boost before I focus on a few life changes. 

Empty boxes, anyone?