Thank You, Ontario

As our publisher, Douglas Arthur Brown, says, we came, we read, we conquered. And we had a blast. Here is a group of people who barely knew each other, but by the end of the week, we were so fiercely bonded it was practically heartbreak to say goodbye.

Meet the gang.

Les Troupe

We are (L-R) Mona Knight, Sally Barnes, Simone Georges (Event Coordinator), Douglas Arthur Brown (Publisher – Boulardarie Island Press), Bill Conall, and T.E. Tim Wilson. This shot was taken on our final night at The Theatre on King in Peterborough.

I like this shot of Sally and me. We were roomies on the tour. Sally was also chauffeur for me and Tim. What a wonderful lady.

Mona & Sally Peterborough

Sally was our Emcee at all three shows – Kingston, Cobourg and Peterborough. She gave me such an incredible introduction here in Peterborough, it’s a miracle I got through my reading at all.

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Ontario Tour – November 1, 2 & 3

Our publisher, Boulardarie Island Press, is taking us on a book tour in Ontario. There are four of us, authors all, Bill Conall, Tim T.E. Wilson, Sally Barnes, and myself. We will be appearing in Kingston, Cobourg, and Peterborough.

If you are in the neighbourhood, drop by. We’d love to see you.

OR, you can reserve a seat on EVENTBRITE. Admission is FREE.

Here are all three posters with times, dates, and places.

November 1st – KINGSTON – EVENTBRITE – REGISTER HERE

Kingston

November 2nd – COBOURG – EVENBRITE – REGISTER HERE

Cobourg

November 3rd – PETERBOROUGH – EVENTBRITE – REGISTER HERE

Peterborough

Bring the Children

It was the last day before the run to the border and papa had not told anyone of his plan.

              Bring the children he said to mama. We’ll make a little party. Mama argued. It’s been too hot and the children are restless in the heat and we’ll have to cook extra and we have not enough money. And Papa looked a little sad because of her tone, the accusation that hung in the air. She stopped abruptly realizing the sting of her words too late.

               Bring the children he said again and she patted his arm. Yes. We’ll make a piñata and we’ll fill it with candy like on festival day. My sister will make the candy. We can have a little party. There’s always enough for a little party. And mama started to feel better. Making a plan for a gathering always cheered her. Everyone would help and there would be enough and there would be laughter and music. Bring the children he had said. She didn’t ask him why. She knew why.

               It was dangerous crossing the river, and the fences, avoiding the dogs and the guards. He had made it to California safely many times before and made it back again. It was the same every year. He would work hard and return home with American dollars in the pockets of his jeans and they would be together again and things would be easier. She tried not to worry he might not make it back. There was always someone who didn’t make it back. That why it was so important to him to see the children before he left. And so they said no more about it.

               The family would gather and then he would go. It was a strange time; such happiness linked to such danger. She watched him sleeping and wept for him because he was so brave. They did not speak of this either.

               But late that September, when the sun was falling down the western sky, he washed up on the rocks of the Rio Matamoros only a few miles from his home. He was pale and battered from his journey in the river and there was a great silence about him as they carried his body home. He had a bullet in his shoulder and two more in his chest. There was no money in his pockets and he had lost his shoes.

               Bring the children mama said. Bring the children. Papa has come home.

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monathewriter

 

 

 

I am not a Nutbar

The world stands out in sharp relief against the winter sky. The cold has penetrated the trees. They stand stiff and shudder when the wind blows over the mountain. The cat is fed up. His feet are frostbitten and there is no grass to eat but a few dry sticks at the edge of the frozen walkway, like my brain, no humidity, no frothy bubbles.1

The heels are out of my socks. I have missing buttons and threadbare elbows. Smudges on my glasses make the world look vague and out of focus. A catalogue from LL Bean has just arrived in the post promising warmer days. Well yes, eventually, but I don’t need a bathing suit right now, or a new pair of shorts. I need a warm woollen hat to pull down over my ears.

The chickadees are calling because they think the squirrel has emptied the feeder again. No, my dears, it was the wind. Don’t you remember? How it blew and blew over the top of the mountain, sending the plastic canister flailing over the wire, shaking the precious black seeds onto the ground, then covered them up with snow so you couldn’t find them.

Never mind, I’ll dig them out for you and bring you more. I wish you didn’t have to try so hard to stay alive so I could lose this haunted feeling that I have so much and you so little. The cold is seeping into the house now, along the baseboards and the edges of the windows. There is no snow to bank the house against the drafts, and still, the wind blows.

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The grass in frozen sticks pokes through the thin white layer of frost on the field as though it has been electrocuted. The stakes that mark the driveway for the plowman stand like icy sentinels. This is not a pretty winter. It is messy and hard and spills its bitterness in too much rain, more salt, more sand, making dirty frozen slush-piles along the roadsides while the frost eats into the tree trunks and the blown away fields have no coverlet to protect them.

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I am not a nutbar. I am an almond, and I am raw.

 

 

monathewriter

My Workspace

Patience, as it turns out, is a staple of life. It’s something I have never had an abundance of.  Lacking this essential ingredient causes all sorts of problems from getting through the day, the project, the job, the conversation, and learning new things, to name a few.

My friend Wolfcoug and I were talking about patience just the other day, something he is very good at. And something he feels is important to his overall well being.

I agreed with him. And I realized I have never truly cultivated the art of patience and it could serve me very well. So I made up this little sign and stuck it on the bottom right corner of my computer screen,  watched over by a small quiet rabbit. It’s not a very big sign, but I look at it frequently as I’m working and find it’s having a good effect.

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It’s enough to slow me down just before I have a mini-meltdown. It reminds me that it takes a long time to write a really good story. It also reminds me to have patience with myself. That’s probably the most important thing.  I try my own patience on a daily basis.

I have a few other helpful things around my desk, that keep me busy when I’m bored or stuck. That’s a stress ball in the fishbowl for when patience isn’t quite getting me through.

 

I like my workspace. I spend a lot of time here.