Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Writing

Anne Lamott Is Right

This is the second time I’ve heard Anne Lamott mentioned today. That must be a sign of something. This writer seems to have it right. Writing can and should be enough.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

zz shriner Ellen Shriner

By Ellen Shriner

Whenever I tell people I’m a writer, they always ask, “Are you published?” For years, being published was my primary writing goal. So when I first saw Anne Lamott’s advice in Bird by Bird, my reaction was, “Yeah, right”—

I still encourage anyone who feels at all compelled to write to do so. I just try to warn people who hope to get published that publication is not all it is cracked up to be. But writing is. Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to dothe actual act of writingturns out to be the best part. It’s like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be…

View original post 616 more words

Standard
Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights

8 Reasons Why I’ll Never Be Your Favorite Blogger

I relate to several of these. I’m not a mother. I am bad at social media. I like the connections in the blogging world, but I’m first and foremost a writer. I admire this blogger though, for writing about the hard things, the uncomfortable parts of life that most would prefer not to think about.

Sidereal Catalyst

Let’s be honest guys, more than likely I am not your favorite blogger and that’s ok.  I know you like me, you show me love and I appreciate it so much.  However, I’ve identified eight reasons why I’ll never be your favorite blogger.  This way we can eradicate that elephant in my little corner of this beautiful world between the wires  😉
I have no hard feelings over it and neither should you!  Let me explain myself…

View original post 1,210 more words

Standard
Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, SoCS, Special Occasions, Spotlight Saturday, This Day In Literature, Writing

September Streams and Dreams Come True, #SoCS

SoCS

September almost qualifies for this week’s prompt, but not quite. So, instead, I will write about how my September is going, so far.

Not bad. Not bad at all.

***

I am watching only the fourth episode of the new Late Show with Stephen Colbert. His guest is writer and author Stephen King. I am listening to these two brilliant guys, Stephen speaking with Stephen, as they discuss writing. I am left to contemplate writing: Stephen’s and my own.

Now, what makes me think I should even bother with the contemplation of my name and his in the same sentence?

This week I can finally refer to myself as an author.

I have read many things about writer VS. author. What makes someone a writer? What makes them, me an author? When is it okay to call myself the first or the second?

King has written dozens of books. His newest book of short stories is being released in November. What an astounding catalog of writing the man has produced. He writes. He is an author.

My first short story to be published is out now, in print. It was finally placed in my hands just the other day.

I will never forget the feeling. I wonder how that feeling has changed, for Mr. King, from the first time to all these stories and years later.

I contemplate what being a writer means to me. It means that I write. I don’t just talk about it, but I put my money (words) where my mouth is/are.

I can string sentences together, words, correctly spelled…you get my drift.

It doesn’t yet feel natural to me, fiction that is. Writing comes very naturally. All so uncomfortable, unnatural, even though it feels, at the same time, like I’ve been doing it all my life.

I contemplate with confusion.

I hold the book in my hands, flip through the pages, turning to where I perceive my words to be, as I’ve been told how many pages in, my story can be found. I can’t see my own writing. I am told it is there, but any book could be handed to me, anyone telling me the words are mine. I would never know if it were true or not.

So it’s only there when I believe them, when I believe it and let the reality wash over my heart and my mind.

I don’t know, can’t possibly stop contemplating what it must be like to have the kind of creative and artistic success that Stephen King has had.

I don’t know how many more times I will experience my own publication, as I did in the month of September, in the year 2015, but I will never forget this week. Never, as long as I live.

***

September and this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday, inspired by:

http://lindaghill.com/2015/09/11/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-sept-1215/

Linda’s blog and the writing prompt, “temp”.

Standard
Fiction Friday, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, TGIF

Mamarazzi Cover Reveal

img_8272pcpv-2015-08-14-02-59.jpg
mamarazzicover-2015-08-14-02-59.jpg

Welcome to another instalment of Fiction Friday.

Last year I had a friend of mine, whom I’d met through Facebook (Author Brooke Williams) here to celebrate a book release.

Well, she’s back again this summer. Check it out.

***

Release Date: September 11, 2015 from

Prism Book Group

Pre-Order

HERE

Join the Sept. 15th Release Day Party on Facebook HERE

Enjoy giveaways with a dozen different authors!

Danica Bennett isn’t sure what she hates more…her job or the fact that she’s good at it.  As one of the many Hollywood paparazzi, she lives her life incognito and sneaks around trying to get the best shot of the latest star.  When she is mistaken for an extra on a new, up and coming TV show, her own star rises and she becomes the one being photographed.  Add that to the fact that she’s falling for her co-star, Eliot Lane, and Danica is in a whole heap of trouble.

Add (Mamarazzi) to your Goodreads list

HERE

About the Author:

Brooke Williams writes in a sleep-deprived state while her daughters nap. Her romantic comedy is best read in the same state. Brooke has twelve years of radio in her background, both behind the scenes and on the air. She was also a television traffic reporter for a short time despite the fact that she could care less about hair and make-up. Today, Brooke stays at home with her daughters and works as a freelance writer for a variety of companies. When she isn’t working for paying clients, she makes things up, which results in books like “Accept this Dandelion.” 

Brooke is also the author of

“Accept this Dandelion,”

“Wrong Place, Right Time,”

“Someone Always Loved You,”

“Beyond the Bars.”

She plans to continue the Dandelion story into a series and looks forward to her first children’s book release “Baby Sheep Gets a Haircut” in June 2016. Brooke and her husband Sean have been married since 2002 and have two beautiful daughters, Kaelyn (5) and Sadie (nearly 2).
 

Connect with Brooke:

Facebook

Website

Blog

***

Note: Stay tuned for an upcoming guest post from Brooke, here on Her Headache, next month.

Standard
Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Memoir Monday, The Blind Reviewer, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

Reviewing Blindness

July is moving along.

Okay, well I could always complain, but I won’t. Not now. Maybe later.

🙂

Last week, I wrote about how:

Men Are From Mars, Women From Venus, and Then There’s Jupiter.

This week is a free post week.

I have freely chosen to go back seven or so years, to write a movie review of sorts.

***

I was randomly watching television the other day and suddenly I got this yucky, icky feeling.

It’s a feeling I get anytime I happen to think about one particular movie that I saw when it came out in theatres back in 2008.

It was only a commercial, announcing the airing of a film on television, coming up this weekend.

I had never heard of the novel: “Blindness”, before seeing the film.

Sure, the title intrigued me and my brothers. We chose to see it, but I had no idea, going in, what to expect.

What would happen if an entire city lost their sight?

This film, developed from the Jose Saramago novel of the same name, is a social commentary of sorts. It examines a very good question, but i did not like the results of this particular examination.

I did not like the answer to the question and I was not alone.

NFB Protests Opening of Blindness in 37 States

Several US organizations and groups protested the film on its release. They said it painted blind people in the most horrible of lights. I agree, but I know, deep down, that it is only a story.

It is a question that I have wondered myself. I know just how terrified most people become at the very thought of going blind. It is society’s worst fear, but that’s because it is so very possible. Losts of people lose their sight, mostly due to old age, but not always. What if it were to happen, as some sort of epidemic that began to spread, mysteriously?

The city in this film is not named. Most of the characters aren’t named either. It’s the boy or the woman with the dark glasses or the King of Ward 3, receptionist or the accountant or the man with the eye patch. We don’t learn about these characters as people, who they are or who they were, before they lost the most important of all the senses, the one most people could never ever imagine living without.

It has been several years since I saw it, so this review may be vague in some spots, but others are burned into my brain.

There is loyalty and compassion, but there is mostly chaos, disorder, and the sudden White Blindness seems to be the reason for a total breakdown of law and order, of civilization.

The doctor (Mark) he treats a patient who has suddenly and mysteriously lost his sight. Several car accidents are going on around this unnamed city, because the drivers simply lose their sight and crash into each other.

I remember the entire film sounding quite muted. There is a lot of silence, even behind the traffic noises, the dialogue, and eventually there is yelling and danger.

The doctor’s wife (Julianne) is the only one who is spared, for whatever reason, but pretends just so she can accompany her husband, so they will not be separated. This puts her in danger, but she shows her courage.

The newly blind citizens are locked up in an insane asylum, to keep them safe, but soon they are trapped and cut off from the rest of the world, from any possible help.

This is where the blind community has protested. The situation declines rapidly into madness. Sanitation becomes a problem. There is nobody cleaning the facility and soon there is filth and faeces in the halls. Food becomes scarce. People turn on each other and survival is their only goal. Mob rules is the way of it. Those in favour would claim that this is more a display of how humanity would break down, not blind people specifically, that this is no real reflection of blind people.

The Federation of the Blind would say it still paints blind people as unclean, violent, crazy and dangerous.

I know, logically, it is just a story. I knew that as I sat there, in the theatre, watching the events of Blindness play out on the screen in front of me.

I still reacted the way I reacted. It was a reaction I could not help, that I did not expect.

Are Protesters of Blindness Missing the Point?

As conditions decline, a gang of thugs holds food hostage from the starving prisoners, and then there was the rape scene. I was horrified by what I saw, a mass rape scene, which made me want to get up and leave the theatre then and there.

That, paired with the fact that the people were locked up in an asylum, both made me angry and wishing I had never went to see Blindness.

I guess the idea that any government would lock up its citizens, after they started to go blind, this is more drastic, but it made me picture segregation. I don’t even like the schools for the blind that do exist, but this was a fictional horror that I knew wasn’t real, and still I felt sick.

I will never be able to truly enjoy either Julianne Moore or Mark Ruffalo again, in any other role, after seeing them portray a couple who must survive and take care of each other and others in such a scenario.

I don’t know if I can or will ever read this novel. I don’t know, but maybe seeing it as a movie first is the reason, but watching it disturbed me so much, deep down. I don’t know, but books are often more detailed than movies.

Of course, the author of this book had feelings when he heard how blind people were reacting. He used blindness allegorically, to make his point about the humanity (or lack thereof) and breakdown of our society.

Everyone had their own right to feel the way they felt: whether it was the writer of the novel or the people with the disability he wrote about.

Author decries Blindness protests as misguided – Arts … – CBC

My reaction had nothing to do with the quality of the book, as I have never read it, but my physical reaction to seeing the story come to life on screen.

As for Blindness, the novel: I don’t think I will get to it. So many books; so little time.

🙂

I don’t think I could stomach it, but, then again, never say never.

But perhaps I’m missing out on something brilliant, a marvellous piece of fiction.

He was described as a pessimist.

No way!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blindness_(film)

So, upon entering the theatre, when they took our tickets…

Movie employee: Enjoy Blindness.

My blind brother and myself: We always do.

***

At what age were you or your loved ones diagnosed?

That is the question I will be answering, one week from now, for

The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

And…

Check out the

Redefining Disability Awareness Project On Facebook,

for all this and more.

Standard
History, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Special Occasions

Reconciling The Truth About Canada

On the Eve of my country’s birthday I listened to the words of a young man who spoke the truth of the experience he has had, growing up in Canada – an experience totally different from my own.

He had a turbulent childhood and youth, to put it mildly; whereas, I had stability, support, and safety.

He faced violence and gangs; whereas, I faced a disability and illness.

We are both around the same age and are Canadian, but is that all we have in common?

I don’t know very much at all about this particular guy’s culture or customs, but this video moved me and made me want to bridge that gap.

He spoke of breaking cycles and chains of abuse and neglect in his family and community, but he spoke of all these things with humour and humility.

Twenty-four hours later I stood with my own family, on my own front lawn, for a spectacular fireworks show. The lights and the bangs were all around us. I thought about the celebration we put on, to celebrate Canada, and what that really means.

I believe it’s fair to say that when the rest of the world thinks of Canada, they think polite, friendly, warm.

We live in a cold climate. We are passive. We are where the Underground Railroad ended up and where deserters fled to in protest of the Vietnam War.

We are the safe place and the non-judgmental refuge from danger and persecution, right?

Well, not always.

Are these truth or myth or a bit of both?

History books might tell a different story. If they don’t, they should and they haven’t, not nearly enough, but we shall see what history says about the time we’re now living in over the generations to come.

Canada turns 148 this year and our flag is celebrating its 50th birthday.

Last year I spoke of the ten things I love about my country, in a post I titled:

Oh Canada

This year I thought I would change directions because I can’t only highlight the things that make Canada great, without speaking up on others that are just as important, even if they aren’t quite so pleasant to think or to talk about.

None of what I have to say today means I love this country any less. It is beautiful and splendid. I love my home, but that is precisely why I believe it is necessary to bring attention to what’s been in the news and on the minds of many Canadians, including myself.

My heart has been heavy recently, as I’ve listened to the media speak about something known as The Truth and Reconciliation Commission or TRC.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

At times such as Canada Day and the recent anniversary of our first prime minister’s birth, we celebrate the man and his accomplishments. It’s known as a sign of respect for the history and the leader that he was.

Steven Harper Celebrates 200th Anniversary of Sir John A. McDonald’s Birth

Then I hear something he said:

“Take the Indian out of the child.”

These were McDonald’s words. I don’t feel quite as up to celebrating him when I let it sink in that this was his plan for a population of the country he considered a problem, an issue to be dealt with, a plan being decided on.

Possibly more than 150,000 Aboriginal children (First Nations, Inuit, and Metis) were torn away from their families and placed in residential schools. This was a way to remove most traces of their culture and make them conform to what the churches believed a child in Canada should be.

It’s being termed “Cultural Genocide”.

Of course, on automatically hearing the word genocide, the first thing that springs to mind is the Holocaust or Rwanda, 1994.

You put the word “Cultural” in front of it, of course, to slightly shift the meaning and lighten it just a bit..

An entire minority in society, considered undesirable, was not murdered, but here in Canada, for more than 100 years, a culture was destroyed, or at least a pretty damn good effort was made.

These schools were harsh and cold places. In any place like this, there are those who take advantage of their positions of authority and much sexual, physical, and psychological and emotional abuse was perpetrated on a highly vulnerable population of innocent children.

I find the common thread, which I believe every person should do, when relating to the troubles of others.

In this case, I admit I feel very strongly about the effect segregation can have. I don’t know how closely it can be compared, but for hundreds of years, children with disabilities such as blindness and deafness have been sent away, removed from their families and most of the rest of society and placed in residential schools.

Of course, there are boarding schools all over the world, and sometimes this can be a part of a successful education, but I don’t believe it is a healthy thing to send a child away from their home. In the case of a child with a disability, it seemed like the answer. If you get a bunch of children with disabilities of the same sort in one educational facility, you can then teach them all and help the students get the special support they all require.

This, however, hides them away from the rest of the world. For so long, the rest of society did not want to see these children and it made sense to keep them separate. This touches a particular nerve. I was never sent to one of these schools and I have always been grateful for that. I don’t believe segregation is the answer to anything.

I am continuously baffled by the history of the white man coming in and taking over land, territory, and whole continents from Native people.

Aboriginal, original people who inhabited the North American continent, and all the nasty things that would take place back and forth.

History class was interesting enough to me in school, but I don’t know much about treaties and rulings. I tried to educate myself on the past. Now we have arrived in 2015 and the commission is being discussed everywhere.

I hesitated because, as I say, I wasn’t sure today was the day to talk about this. Then, I worried I knew very little and do not wish to offend, but this is such a divisive subject anyway.

I’ve heard from those who suffered and from educators and scholars.

Should there be more separation and division?

Reserves. Cycles of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. A chain of poverty, drugs and alcohol.

This has existed. Something unhealthy has been allowed to continue and of which was allowed to persist because of the silences surrounding such horrifying things.

I would like to see less segregation. With the closing of the schools, I would like to think we could all share the beautiful place that is this country.

Is this reasonable, practical, or even possible?

Is it enough to say you’re sorry? Should there be forgiveness? Is that enough?

I recently came across a blog post, written by Canadian writer and blogger Carrie Snyder:

Truth and Reconciliation in Canada

What she wrote moved me into wanting to write my thoughts down, to try to speak up. That is because the silence needs to end.

Whatever any of us think, wherever we come down on our country’s role, at least we’re talking now. I don’t have to be so afraid to speak about this because I care and want to understand.

I want others, who may not be aware of what happened in my country, to hear about these things from one whom a more inclusive future in her country is hoped for.

I know what it must feel like to be a part of a population society has historically preferred be hidden away from everyone else. It’s a feeling of being unwanted and ashamed of.

The last residential school for Aboriginals was closed, more recently than most people might think. The year 1996 is not all that long ago still.

We can shy away from hearing about such troublesome things, or remain unaware as I was until recently, or we can all become aware and work toward something better.

Canada is not this safe, timid, perfect little country we’ve been portrayed as in the media. We are not the goodie-two-shoes little neighbour to the north of the United States.

We made our share of mistakes or more than that word can ever say.

I want us all to be fully Canadian, while still holding onto those parts of our unique cultures and histories that make us who we are and always have been.

I would like to think that young man I first spoke of and I can and are both doing our parts to make a future country of Canada as great a country as we claim to be and have always been.

I know, from listening to him speak, that is what we both can and will do. That is what we have in common. I love my country and he loves his. I want it to go forward, having every reason in the world for every one of its citizens to be proud of the Canada we are, the best Canada we can possibly be.

Standard
Fiction Friday, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Interviews, TGIF, Writing

Not My Interview With Robert Munsch

Hi Kerry:

Thank you for writing. I am sorry but Mr. Munsch is not available for
interviews. He had a stroke a couple of years ago and more recently a heart
attack. He is no longer visiting schools, touring or doing interviews. He
is concentrating on his over 200 unpublished stories.

I have copied below an interview he did. I hope it answers some of your
questions.

***

Lunch with Munsch

Canada’s most beloved children’s writer goes nuts with story-telling but
takes kids seriously

by Barb Williamson

Journal Staff Writer

Edmonton

When Robert Munsch tells a story, kids listen.

Perhaps it’s the animation in his face or his booming voice or the way he
waves his arms wildly to illustrate a point.

Munsch has kids captivated.  At 54 he has sold over 30 million children’s
stories.  About 20,000 letters from fans reach him in Guelph, Ontario every
year.

Munsch made a stop in Edmonton last week on tour to promote his latest
book, Up, Up, Down, a story about a girl named Anna who loves to climb.

Set all expectations aside when sitting down for lunch with Munsch.  His
best-seller status has not turned him into a snob. What you see is who he
is, not who he pretends to be.  Mild-mannered and soft-spoken, Munsch is
surprisingly the exact opposite of his boisterous stage persona.

He smiles a lot.

Sitting down to lunch, he begs the waitress for black coffee and orders a
tropical fruit plate with two croissants.  It comes with banana bread.  No
complaints from Munsch.

Throughout the interview he is honest and direct, and most refreshing,
seemingly untouched by his success.

*What were you like as a kid?*

There were nine kids.  I was in the middle. There was no individuality.  And
I was a kind of very smiley nutcase.  The older kids had all the sane
family roles.  I guess I tried to be a clown.

*What intrigues you most about children?*

Kids are so new.  They’re so open-ended.  I can look at a kid and wonder
what they’ll be. The job of children is to be professionally appealing to
adults.  That’s how they get what they need.

*Tell me how Up, Up, Down came about.*

This is an old story that started in 1978 as just a finger play with
two-year-olds.  I gradually turned it into a book for older kids.

*What’s the best way to read to a child?*

People do it a lot of different ways and they’re all right.  But I have a
few general rules.  If the book isn’t working, say “The end” and get
another one.  Feel free to change the text.  That’s what I do when I tell
stories. Reading can be an interactive game.  It can be more than just
decoding the text.

*What do kids really want in stories?*

They want to be able to identify.  To kids there’s only one character in a
story and that’s themselves.

*Is there anything you won’t write?*

I won’t write stuff that kids don’t like.  A lot of kids’ books are
actually adult books in disguise.

*How do you define your success?*

I guess sales or recognition or something like that.  One of the nice
things about audiences of little children is they’re not impressed by my
reputation.  They don’t care.  Here’s a man who’s going to tell stories.  If
they like the stories they’ll be nice and if they don’t like the stories
they’ll be brats. Their impression is not filtered through some idea of
reputation, which it might be with adults.  They’re sort of like, what has
he done for me in the last five seconds?

*What’s the best thing about being a writer?*

Being able to construct my own life.  It gives me a lot of freedom.

*When people ask you how to become a writer, how do you answer that
question?*

When people say I want to be a writer, the first thing I say is get a
job.  First
get a job, make sure you’ve got a job to make money.  Adults will say,
“Well, I’ve decided to become a writer” and I’ll say “Well, what have you
written?”   They say, “Well I haven’t written anything yet but I’ve decided
to become a writer.” There’s something wrong with that.

*Do you still climb trees?*

I still climb trees.  I take my dog on walks out in the country.  There’s a
couple of really big white pine trees.  First I have to climb up a spruce
tree, go across at about 10 m up, then I climb a white pine tree so I get
really high and deathly scared because the tree is swaying in the wind.
Yes, I still climb.  I’m the only 54-year-old I know that still climbs
trees.

*What did you do before you wrote children’s stories?*

In high school I was a dweeb who just read.  I went off to study to be a
Catholic priest for seven years.  That didn’t work massively.  I left that
job, moved to Ontario, went into day care because I wanted a year off to
figure out what to do with my life.  I thought, “What could I do with a
degree in philosophy?” But I decided I liked day care.

*How did you become an author?*

I started telling stories in day care because it was just something I was
good at.  I actually started, and this is what I still do, I make up
stories in front of kids and see how they do.  In day care I was making up
one story new every day and then they’d ask for one old one.  So the kids
were a filter.  A lot of my first books were in my head in day care but I
didn’t know they were books.  I thought they were just stories.

*You have a reputation as an amazing storyteller.  Where does that talent
come from?*

I don’t know.  I used to think anybody could do it. Then I tried teaching
it to people and I found out they couldn’t do it.  I’m not sure where it
comes from.  Maybe a little bit that I’m a bit of an obsessive compulsive
manic depressive who goes nuts with stories.

*What’s your favourite colour?*

Black, because nobody else has the favourite colour black.

*What’s your favourite food?*

Hot, hot, hot, hot, hot chicken wings or Indonesian coconut and lemongrass
soup.

*Favourite book?*

Of mine?  I Have To Go.  I also love The Cypresses Believe in God, by Jose
Maria Gironella.

*What kind of dreams do you have?*

I have a lot of dreams where I’ve lost something and I’m trying to find it
and I can’t.  It’s just sort of those panic sort of dreams.

*What are you most scared of?*

Getting burned.  Flames.  I love fires and I like to build fires but I’m
deathly afraid of getting burned.

*What do you find most comforting?*

Pancakes with real maple syrup.  That’s my big comfort food. I make my own
pancakes from scratch with real maple syrup and black coffee and the world
is just fine.

*Why do you write children’s stories?*

I don’t know.  Why are carpenters carpenters?  Because it’s something
they’re good at.  I’m good at this.  Why not do something I’m good at
instead of something I’m lousy at?

*Do you have children?*

I have three kids: Julie who was the kid in David’s Father AND Makeup Mess,
Andrew who is the kid in Andrew’s Loose Tooth; and Tyya who is the kid in
Something Good. All three of my kids are in the book Finding Christmas.

*And what kind of a father are you?*

I was lucky because I didn’t have a regular job by the time my kids were
growing up.  My kids just got used to the idea that daddy was always around
to play with or to come and talk.  I really liked having kids.

*Do you consider yourself a big kid?*

No, I just take kids seriously.  If you look at my books they’re mostly
about apparently trivial situations.  They’re everyday events in kids’
lives.

*What was your favourite book as a child?*

The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins by Dr. Seuss.  The little kid kept
getting in trouble no matter what he did. That seemed to be my role in my
family.

***

On this Fiction Friday I decided, if I couldn’t get an interview with the man himself, I’d at least share one done by someone who had.

🙂

I have sent email requests for interviews to three writers since I started this blog: Alice Munro, Jean Little, and Robert Munsch.

Thanks to:

Sharon Bruder, Assistant

I at least received a response back this time.

http://robertmunsch.com)

Looking forward to hearing more about some of the 200 previously unfinished stories, mentioned above.

Standard