Thursday, November 10, 2005

Why don't People Read?

Well, I never.... Actually, I usually... am surprised by how little of what people read they actually understand and how much they let their emotions get away with them.

A letter I wrote was published in our local newspaper. The subject was twofold: that homosexulaity and heterosexuality (and everything in between, I think) have existed since time eternal; and that the bible, being an oral history that was finally written down many years after the characters in question had passed, is probably missing a bunch of stuff.

This is the text of the original letter, not the edited version that appeared:

"I am confused to see a professed Christian writing that acceptance and tolerance are new age precepts, and then in the same letter quote a passage about acceptance and tolerance. Is the writer saying that acceptance and tolerance only apply for Christians when the issue does not concern same sex intimacy?

Homosexuality has existed along side heterosexuality from the beginning of time, whether people like it or not. Men in Spartan society were removed from their family at the age of 9 and grew up rarely seeing women. Sexual intimacy between Spartan men was the norm, where sexual intimacy between men and women was a difficult and unfortunate necessity for those men. There are many more recent examples of societies wherein homosexuality is the norm.

For the record, the four gospels, which record sayings and quotes attributed to Christ, were written many years after Christ had purportedly died at the age of 33. The gospel of Matthew was written fully sixty years after Christ’s death and the other three gospels after that yet. It is more accurate to say “It is believed that Christ said …”

The bible is the record of an oral history later committed to paper long after the players in question had departed this life. It may have been inspired by some people’s understanding of God, but it was written by fallible humans.

It is entirely probable that much of what Christ said was never recorded and probable that some of what he said was edited out of the record by people who didn’t agree with everything they heard. It is worthwhile considering what might be missing from the texts."

The fellow who rebutted me intimated that I'd made statements, rather than suggestions. He did not, however, respond to the two core items in the letter, being the whole acceptance thing and the realities of the human condition. So I hope, that by trying to discredit what I'd written, the rebutter managed to call some further interest to my letter and to show up his core intolerance and that of those who think like him.

Re the whole Sparta thing, it seems that Spartan society was very focused on military and strength (overpowerment) pursuits that their society became quite segregated in some ways. There's a link here to some information BUT CAUTION IS ADVISED because the word Spartan, combined with homosexual will get you all SORTS of weird and wonderful gay and transvestite sex sites. I make no comment on whether those are good or bad, so please police yourself and engage in whatever censorship you feel is appropriate to your own sensibilities.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

This is a photo that my daughter, Alex, took sometime during the last week or so. It was taken in a lovely home in south eastern England, in a village called Up Nately, which is very famous for its old canals and what's left of the old brickworks, among other things.

Up Nately is also home to a huge colony of bats, the largest in England, which are protected by the crown. Nice, hey?

Alex is my bohemian child. She's completely and utterly a creative force unto herself. She takes great photos and makes great art. Remember this page, so you can say "I knew her when..."

Clarification: Illogical Statements

Just to clarify and reinforce some of my opinion in "Illogical Statements," here's a bit of further comment.

1. In North America, there is no prohibition on access to birth control information

2. There is also no prohibition on access to actual birth control

3. Unless a person is living in the woods, there is always a way to get hold of birth control

4. In most places, there are agencies that provide free birth control to people who can't afford it

5. Most schools teach some form of sex education- which should not substitute for parents telling their children the truth and calling the parts by their correct names

6. With rare exceptions, people know how pregnancy happens

In light of the above facts, THERE IS NO EXCUSE for becoming pregnant if a person doesn't want to become pregnant.

Abortion is NOT birth control. It is an after-the-fact reaction.

Women DO have the right to choose
Women DO have the right to control their bodies.

Women who do little or NOTHING to prevent a pregnancy (No, the withdrawal method is NOT reliable) are NOT controlling their bodies or exercising their right to choose. They are ABDICATING both.

Women cannot have it both ways: they cannot bitch and moan about having choices but then not make every effort to act on those choices.

As for feminists who continue to make this an issue of "bad men," and patriarchy, I wish they would SHUT UP and start putting some teeth into their assertions that their bodies are their own.

On the issue of whether a foetus is human, there is absolutely NO question it is. There is no possible way for a woman to become pregnant by anything other than another human; therefore, the resulting foetus is a human. Not a potential human; a human, just a really little one. I don't care if it looks like a chicken or a duck or a monkey, it is a human because it was created by two humans, even if those humans never meet.

Anyway, that part doesn't really matter. What matters is how bloody willing some people are to hide their laziness behind their rights.

I also can't stand the retorical "backroom abortion" crap. Way back in time, when birth control information was not only limited but illegal, yes there were back room abortions. WE don't live in those times. Using that kind of fear mongering is total bullshit.

Here's the bottom line. You're an adult! Be responsible.

- If you don't want a child this year, go on the pill.
- If you don't want one in the next 5 years, get Norplant or something like it.
- If you are sure you never want one, go have your tubes tied. It is a 20 minute operation and guarantees, with rare exceptions, that no child will be conceived.

If you lay yourself down and have unprotected sex, you've abdicated your right to choose and to control your body. End of Story. And NO, the man is not as responsible for the act as you are. It is YOUR body. If you say you have the right to choose and you say it is your body to control, then don't worry about his body; follow through. It isn't the guy's fault.

It is YOUR body. Protect it BEFORE the FACT.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Evangeline's Shoes

Evangeline. She is the personification of exodus and, although I know her history and the history of her people, my connection with her, what she represents for me, is exodus from childhood. My exodus was just as forced as hers.

The year I was 13, my familiy travelled to Nova Scotia, this time with the intent of really visiting, as we children were old enough to appreciate learning about the province. Just prior to our visit east, I had committed the great sin of using my own cash to purchase several new things, and particularly a pair of clogs that I loved but my mother detested. They were, to my 13 year old eyes, quite the fashion of the time. They were black with multicoloured polka-dots. I loved them for a variety of reasons, not he least of which was simply that I had bought them myself.

But the clogs were the source of unending friction from the moment I brought them home. My mother detested clogs in general, but worse, this pair were gaudy, in my mother’s perception, and not what ‘nice girls’ wore. She railed at me every time I put them on and loudly protested their inclusion on the trip.

Regardless that they were on my feet, they were somehow a reflection of her parenting abilities and that she was ‘just a farm kid’--I think they reminded her in some way of poverty and farm life: people wear them in the fields because the are durable--as she put it. And she wasn’t budging. It didn’t matter that I liked them or that they were in fashion. They were offensive to her and that was the end of the argument.In the end, the clogs made the trip with me and, perhaps to be perverse, I wore them everywhere.

On one of our day trips, we visited Grand Pré, the site of the ‘war’ against the Acadians. As we walked around Grand Pre that day, my mother explained parts of history and interest, placing particular emphasis on the statue of Evangeline, set in the forecourt of the church there. As one walks around the statue, Evangeline ages. She is a young woman on her ocean side and ancient away from the water.

Finally, my mother loosed us from the history lesson to gambol on the rocky beach. Not much of a beach if compared to the sandy coastlines of most travel brochures; it was strewn with large rocks, a few boulders that wash up from who knows where, broken shells, dead crabs wrapped in dry seaweed, all laid over a hidden, but probably lovely layer of sand. It bears noting too, that the waters of the Atlantic and Bay of Fundy rarely are warmer than 36 degrees Fahrenheit. Damn cold by any definition.

Undaunted, as children are by heat and cold and rocks, I headed off to the water after carefully placing my beloved clogs above the tide line. Clogs may be wonderful for fieldwork, but they are decidedly unsuited to walking on what passes for beaches in Nova Scotia.

I waded in the freezing water until my feet and legs were numb stumps, the upper parts of my body warmed by the brilliant sun that day. Eventually, child or not, I had to leave the water or risk temporary paralysis below the knees, regardless of the heat of the day. As my blue legs slowly warmed to pink, I scanned the beach where I had left my clogs. I was so looking forward to slipping my frozen toes over the warm wood.

Tidal shifts alter the beach, lengthening or shortening it, depending on time of day. The water had moved up and down the shoreline, and swept it into delicate new curves enhanced by filigrees of glistening kelp. My shoes were not where I had laid them but then I thought I was looking too near the water and headed towards the grassy edge of the beach. However, moving my search shoreward and then up and down the beach in every direction, produced no footwear. When my mother called ‘time’, I still had not found my shoes. I was devastated and confused. The water had never come high enough to swallow the shoes and, being midweek, the area was deserted except for my family; no one would have taken them, surely. My tears and yelps of upset had little effect on my mother, beyond frustrating her. No amount or volume of protest made an impact. She was on a timeline. Dinner would be on the table back at home. We had to leave. I could get another pair of shoes, wouldn’t I just grow up.

We left Grand Pré, me bawling and my mother steaming and my shoes, my wonderful, city girl fashion shoes, lost and now left behind leaving me treading over the hot pavement. Like Evangeline, I was young when I had first faced the water but was older and sadder, if not wiser, facing inland—leaving something precious behind. Every day for the remainder of our holiday, I begged my mother to take me back to the beach. It didn’t happen.

Many years later, and during the worst times of my relationship with my mother, I remembered this incident. I don’t know what thing provoked the memory – likely some frustrating unreasonableness of my mother’s (such unreasonableness became more and more pronounced as my mother aged and as the world changed). In a flash, a visceral, physical moment of shock, I discovered the long-lost clogs. Not literally, but by realization. A missing—or ignored—piece of the puzzle suddenly fell into place.

My mother had tossed my lovely clogs into the trash at the beach.

My memories rushed at me, running back in time, exposing such details and forgotten moments of that day that I had the desperate, childish wish to turn back the clock, as if wishing hard could make it so. I flashed back to that day at the beach, remembering the cold of the water and the warm day; the moment I placed my clogs securely between two large rocks, well away from the water; the hour spent in the frigid ocean and my mother’s then inexplicable, hushed conversations with my aunt. Suddenly, I understood the undertones and conspiratorial gestures. If I felt betrayed by the sea in my youth, I felt doubly sad to know I had mistrusted he innocent water and ignored, or maybe simply not noticed, my mother’s obvious guilt. Such is the trust of a child. Such is the end of childhood.

To this day, I have shoe issues. It takes me ages to find the ‘right’ pair, and once I find them, I either wear the shoes to death or leave them, untouched and pristine, in the back of my closet or a dark drawer somewhere, for years. I still fear losing my shoes. I make sure, if ever I must remove them, that they are in sight. A hallway crowded with footwear always provokes a small panic, especially if there are other shoes that look like mine, that I will lose my own in the chaos or that someone will take them, however inadvertently. And it raises the hairs on my neck when my mother, however innocently mentions my footwear for any reason.

Clogs of any colour or type, whether simple brown work shoes, elaborate Dutch not-to-be-worn souvenir shoes, department store versions or plastic garden clogs, always and immediately provoke the memory of that day at the beach, sometimes stopping my movement for a second as I contemplate that day. My memories are clear as photographs.

I have never spoken to my mother about those clogs. She is a much different person now. Although she is still rigid and dogmatic, she is old and she has finished raising her children. She still tells us what she thinks about every subject, any style of dress or speech or thought, but it is more opinion than direction now. And, she is much more prone to being embarrassed or saddened by memories of incidents in the past. So I remember and have a little private hurt but I keep it to myself. For now. Still, I think the real way to turn back time and really find those shoes—and to get back to a time before the storm of our relationship—will be to ask her about the clogs on the day I faced away from the water, like Evangeline, and walked inland.

More On Writing and Still Apologies to Steven King


After returning to school in September,2000 in the Freelance Writing program, this journalist wondered whether the term “writer”, the title I had so glibly used, really applied.

I had been out of school, and more importantly, writing nothing approximating journalistic pieces for over three years, when I took on the job of covering the Calgary International Film Festival as my first foray back into the world of interviewing and reporting.

The day of the interview began uneventfully enough; my daily newspaper was on time and there was a normalcy to the usual flurried chaos of my children readying themselves for their studies and heading off to three different schools.

That morning, my ritual of reading the newspaper cover to cover – yes, including the obits and various classifieds -- was interrupted by my puppy Charlie’s strange breathing and dry heaves. A minute later, the dog deposited the obviously annoying contents of his stomach beside the back door of the house. The inside of the back door, I should say, as I hadn’t got up from my chair fast enough to let him outside.

Cautiously, I approached the mustard-yellow mass he had ejected, immediately realising that the sock my youngest daughter had frantically searched for that morning had been eaten whole by my curious canine, and now lay in a steaming, drippy pile at the foot of my kitchen stairs.

I briefly considered washing the sock but quickly rejected that idea for the more rational and easily executed dump into our outdoor fire pit. The dry pile of twigs and pine needles was a suitably discouraging cover for the sock, and would later be the fodder for its immolation.

The last of my day’s disruptions over, I hoped, I descended to my basement office to collect the necessary items for an afternoon interview with the president of the film festival. I was proud of my preparations, and congratulated myself on being well organized. I hadn’t lost it, I thought, as I rifled through my limited wardrobe for the power suit.

Dressed professionally and having left myself ample time, I made a quick stop at the local drug-store to purchase a pristine cassette tape and a pair of gutsy batteries, both of which I inserted in my long neglected hand-held, reporter-babe recorder.


Poke, slap, shake.


Damn, it wasn’t the batteries after all. My trusty tape had given up the ghost. Not a problem, thought I; I am a professional, I’ll resort to taking good notes. I was still in plenty of time to scoop my daughter from school and head down town.

After dropping my eleven year old off with the instructions to not answer the phone or the door until her older sister arrived fifteen minutes later, I headed off. Happily armed with my notepad and camera, I arrived at Penny Lane mall and the festival office with 10 minutes to spare, only to be accosted again by faulty low technology. Impark’s coin op ticket dispenser ate my money but would not give up my pass. Thinking the little metal monster could take regurgitation lessons from my dog, I fed more quarters into its mouth, to no avail.

Frustrated and with time slipping by, I frantically looked around for assistance. The gods smiled upon me! There, approaching cautiously, probably due to the very large dark cloud hovering over me, came the parking lot monitor, ready to do battle. The surrender flag was raised in record time when the pitch of my now anxious voice threatened to puncture his eardrums. Desperate to escape, he hastily passed me an envelope with half an hour’s free time allowance scribbled beside the Impark address.

Excellent, I thought, as I raced back to my truck to retrieve my bag. But a final quick check revealed my notebook was nowhere to be found. Gasp! With seven minutes to spare, I raced west down 8th Avenue to a print shop, where I would beg for any type of paper. Minutes later, with a ratty pile of scraps in my hand, I arrived at the film office for my interview.

The interview itself went well and, and hour later, as I walked across the parking lot towards my truck, I congratulated myself again for handling the contingencies of the day. Suddenly, my knees buckled with the realisation that the one item I had remembered to bring, my camera, was laying at the bottom of my bag, unused. My interview subject was now in his fourth interview of the afternoon and would hardly welcome an interruption. I decided to return a day or two later for picture and headed for home.

Arriving home nearly two hours after I had left, I called for my children. To my horror I realised that I had left my youngest at home alone; her elder sister was babysitting the neighbour’s kids, I suddenly remembered. Not to worry, she said, she was fine and had Charlie the sock-eater to protect her.

Chagrined, but with the interview fresh in my mind and anxious to put it to paper, I headed to my office, broke out my brand-new copy of QuarkXpress – a free demo – and laid out my story. Two 17-inch tabloid column lengths later, I surveyed my work, making small edits here and there. A slight twitch of my hand and instantly the story was gone, at which time I remembered that Quark’s demo version was the full meal deal, with the exception of the SAVE function, which was disabled….

Cowed and frustrated by my futile writing efforts, and with my ego in tatters, I dragged myself upstairs, the site of the bleak, grey computer screen still dancing before my eyes. I am not a writer, I said to myself: I am a waitress; I am a truck driver; I am a house cleaner, but I am not a writer, I muttered with each heavy step up the stairs.

Paying no attention to where my feet were falling, and as my bare toes slid through a slimy, squishy pile at the landing, I learned the final, hard lesson of the day. Puppies are curious people and more, they will eat anything they deem delicious over and over again for as long as they can. As it had begun, my day ended with no article, no photo and an intact but semi-digested sock gracing the entrance to my kitchen.

On Writing, with apologies to Steven King

How to become a writer in under 30 years….

First, be born to and grow up in a strictly religious -- not to be confused with spiritual -- family. Realise at an early age that dogma is not your bag.

In your formative, contrary teen years, move in with your father, who is stoic, traditional and authoritarian and with whom you haven’t lived since you were five years old. Realise that conservatism isn’t your gig either.

Experience a life-altering event when, at age seventeen, you move to Montreal – read: new language, alien culture and cosmetology school – with no money and few contacts, following being kicked out of your home for working two jobs. Realise that challenge is your “It” deal.

Follow up two years spent learning language, culture and freedom by moving to England for school, which requires acquisition of a third language and a complete shift in culture and food. Confirm that taking risks is great fun. Take a big one….

Return to Canada with a “souvenir;” a daughter who is born the following June. Realise you have more strength than you realised and far more than people give you credit for. Understand that your family thinks you’re crazy.

Make a choice between getting an education and incurring massive student loans and being a welfare Mom. Do hair at home to support the education and reduce the debt.

Begin dating and eventually marry a “safe” man you meet a church, a choice that ultimately proves some risks may not be worth taking. Produce two more children. After eight years, realise you are absolutely married to the wrong person but, next to writing, mothering is the best, scariest, hardest, funniest thing you’ve ever done. Confirm your niggling sensation that life is a huge roller coaster, upon which you are poised at the largest crest, in a car equipped with failing brakes and that you are an adrenaline junkie.

One night, call a good friend at 2:00 a.m. because you can’t sleep. Receive the advice that getting thoughts out of your head and on to paper will help you sleep. After several months, let the friend read your journal, at which point he pronounces you a writer. Make every effort to prove him wrong, including applying for a writing degree program, which you are entirely sure you will neither qualify for nor be accepted to. Receive acceptance three weeks later. Eat crow.

Take on any writing assignment available. Take advantage of writing assignments that are NOT available and write them anyway. Drive the letters column editor nuts with submissions. Meanwhile, write erotic literature and controversial pieces on abortion, politics and crime. Realise you love to stir up trouble. Wish to become an editorialist.

In the middle of your studies, happen onto a fabulous job, one you never imagined having, with a nationally known entertainer. Live the dream. When the dream ends, take another job with a social service agency where the truth of human nature (dark, nasty and deceitful) becomes icy clear, thanks not to the clients but to the staff. Leave in disgust. Revel in yet another transforming experience; depression.

During this time, learn all about marital law by enduring a seven-year long divorce process. Write about it and laugh at it constantly. Reconfirm to your parents, family and friends that you are indeed crazy. Take a job with a national legal organisation in revenge.

Come full circle and infuriate your frugal father, by returning to school for the fourth time, in another writing program. Plan to finally make a home in this niche.

For Steven King, whose title I stole...

A Short, True, Story

Unfinished Works

Thanks to Gail on the Web for the great photo

The road ahead is wetly obscured, not by rain or snow or any expectable encrustation normally applied by winter weather, but by tears.

She is afraid. Many years before, she drove down this same road to bring news that would rend the carefully laid foundations of her mother’s home. Little of the passing streetscape has changed since that other time. But everything changed with that last drive and everything would change again with this one.

Her home growing up was not the peaceful refuge described in the novels she read in her childhood or romanticized in films she watched every Sunday night on The World of Disney. On the surface, and to most observers, home of then looked warm and inviting – a carefully cultivated façade, created for the benefit of church friends and members of the Baptist Ladies Auxiliary. But home hid many secrets and skeletons. She was about to rip open the family closet and reveal a specimen long forgot.

She spends only a few minutes in the car, driving home. In literal terms, it isn’t far away from where she now lives. In another sense, the drive covers many years, many changes, much pain and not a little joy. This drive represents a life path between the then and now, the what was, what could have been and what now is.

She could not have imagined how, 18 years before, a chance meeting in a nearby C-Train station would radically alter her life, or how, 16 years after than meeting, the same person would again, unintentionally and unknowingly cause another seismic shift in her life.

Houses flash by in the electric dark. She slips backward in time as the streetlights flash by.


It is fall in Calgary -- still on the warm side of coat weather. She is hurrying to catch the C-train that will take her to a job interview, the first she has had since returning to Calgary after two years in Montreal. Rushing into the station, she glances briefly at a shock of spiky platinum blond hair bobbing above a broom, wielded by a tall, wiry young man. Her momentary interest dissolves quickly, making room for the issue at hand; the interview and potential job. As she races up the terra cotta tiled stairs, he speaks. Startled to be addressed by this odd stranger, and curious because she did not understand his question, she stops in mid-stride.

“Sorry?” she says

He speaks again and his brow begins to crease in frustration.

“I’m sorry,” she says again, “I can’t understand you. What did you say?” she asks, sheepishly. She thinks perhaps she’s having a momentary lapse. Perhaps her ear is still adjusting to English after so long hearing only French.

“A-R-E Y-O-U- E-N-G-L-I-S-H,” he says slowly, deliberately, in a thick, British accent.

“English? Yes, no, not British, I’m from here,” she says in a rush, laughing nervously. Who is this weirdo, she wonders.

“Oi, I thought you were English,” he says, pointing rudely to the blond streak in her hair. “Your hair is all the fashion in England.”

She laughs, forgets about her job interview and in a handful of minutes, they become friends and agree to meet for beer later that night.

They become fast friends, she because he is interesting and exotic and he, because his accent is so thick – he has only arrived from England two months before – that he cannot make himself understood. Their worlds expand by miles. Several months later, his friends “Gonk” and “Ratty” arrive from England.

More friendships are forged and an invitation to visit England sends her world spinning on a new axis, although none of them, in their blind youth, feel the tilt.

In the spring, she travels to England, partially for holiday, partially with a the purpose of gaining an overseas education. More friendships are made and she promises to return in September. She does, with a friend, taking lodging in a local pub’s bed and breakfast.

Hastily unpacking only the essentials – makeup and some fancy clothes, she and her friend rush to get ready. She is buzzing with excitement and impatient to see her English friends and to introduce her companion, Vicki. The pub owner knocks at the door of their rented room, admonishing them to get along; she is busy, patrons are waiting for their pints and wouldn’t the girls please go out.

“You’re welcome back any time after 6:00 tonight, but not before,” she states in a voice that stops any question.

They don’t care. They are more impatient that she to be out and about. Flinging their partially closed suitcases in the general direction of the room’s two sagging single beds, they rush out into the gray English afternoon and flag a cab.

Rackstraws. The local pub. The home base, center of the world, location of every friend that ever was and ever would be. Dragging her companion by one arm, she bursts into the dim, crowded warmth, eyes searching and finding familiar faces. Towering above the group, she sees the curly, ginger-haired head of the only quiet one among them. She doesn’t know him well – he rarely speaks – but she remembers the slow smile that is spreading across his features now.

At six feet, one inch, he sees the girls first, over the heads of the group members, whose heads turn to follow his gaze towards the door. She and Vicki are shortly engulfed in shouts of welcome and hugs. He stands back, watching, maybe waiting, not inclined to move or speak. She is surprised later, when his long legs carry him to their crowded table and even more surprised when he speaks, asking where they are staying.

“We’re at the pub down the road, which is to say, we’re there to 9:00 in the morning and not again till 6:00 at night, but not in between. And,” she adds, “We’re paying 16 quid a night for that privilege.”

“That’s very dear for a B&B,” he comments. “Will you stay on there?”

“We don’t have any plans except to travel around and see as much as we can.” She replies. “We’ll probably be out most of the time and up in London for two weeks anyway.”

“It is too dear, he comments, scuffing the floor with his worn loafers. “Why don’t you and Vicki come stay in my place? It’s only up the road. You’ll only have groceries to pay, right?”


Sitting on the double bed in his room six weeks later, holding her working visa and passport with shaky hands, she is crying.

“Michael, I’m pregnant.”

His already pale English skin blanches to alabaster, She hears his breathing become ragged and rough. She watches him, his back to her, his shoulders rising slowly, knotted with tension.

“You know a lot of people here….”

“Maybe, but I’m been sleeping with you, she retorts harshly.

“Are you sure? Have you seen a doctor?

“Positive! Yes! No, I haven’t seen a doctor. I know I’m pregnant.”

She hears her voice rising, becoming thin and strident with panic.

“You find out for sure. Go to the doctor,” he says, quietly, striding from the room. She sits, shocked, listening to the muffled but rapid thumps of his feet running down the carpeted stairs. Downstairs, The kitchen door slams and his grandmother, startled, croaks “Micky!” frightened by his haste.

The plans she had made, to stay and work and live in England, had been replaced with no design and no fathomable path. She had called once, before she left the country, trying to find some sense of how they could go forward, but the phone, needing a constant supply of coins, went dead in her hand as she spoke. She had left England a week after that bleak night, without seeing Michael again, nothing solved, friendships ruined and a child on the way.

It had taken her weeks to find the courage to tell her mother about why she had left England. Such a revelation had battered her mother’s fragile belief that she had raised good Christian daughters, regardless of, or in spite of, the truths she lived with but was blind to. Her mother had been hysterical for weeks after.


Fifteen years after that first meeting in the C-Train station, the blond Englishman returned to Canada. During a brief lunch, they caught up on friends and life and love and hesitantly broached the subject of her daughter’s unknown English family. A week later, she sat before her computer composing a letter to Michael, at first having no intention of even saving it. But her daughter is curious about her father, and more so since she has had recent news. He is no longer a story, much less a complete unknown. They decide to send the brief letter.

After receiving the letter from the daughter he has never known, Michael travels across time and the unknown to meet her and her family.

It was a wonderful week. A stranger no longer, he provided a precious missing piece of their daughter’s life. He has given himself as a father, when he could easily have continued in silent anonymity.


She is terrified. As she travels along towards her childhood home, she wonders how she will tell her mother that the unwritten chapter had now been completed and a lifetime of stories would now be written? Her mother has spent years hating the stranger who is the father of her grandchild. Would this opening of a book closed and lost bring on weeks of anger and oceans of tears?

The light ahead flashes to amber. As she pulls slowly to a stop, she draws a ragged breath, wiping tears and dripping makeup from her chin. A deep breath. The light changes from red to green and she inches ahead. Rounding the next corner, her mother’s house comes into view and life shifts again.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Writer's Block

"Writer's block isn't a lack of anything to write about, it results when there's so much to say that you can't imagine where to start!"