Originally posted on Vast Imaginations:
I read a non-fiction manuscript at my writers’ group meeting last week. I’d been working on the piece for a long time and had already submitted it to some publishers. I had debated whether I should read it, since a number of the group members had already critiqued an earlier draft. I’m so glad I did. There were new people in the group, and everyone, including the people who’d heard my earlier draft, had valuable advice to offer. They made excellent suggestions.
Would it be good to add more sensory detail to some of the descriptions? Of course it would.
Could I organize the examples in my text in chronological order? Why hadn’t I thought of that?
Might I include more varied examples age wise and gender wise? Absolutely! Why hadn’t I noticed that the examples I’d used were often similar?
Was the first paragraph really necessary? Reading the manuscript…
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We spent some time at the nursing home in Leamington yesterday visiting Dave’s Dad who is 93. We chatted with Dad at the lunch table and met the women who share it. Two of them are new since the last time we visited. Gertrude is 101 years old and told us about her granddaughter who is a doctor. Margaret has a nephew who lived in Hong Kong just like we did. Later we went to Dad’s room to visit some more. When it was time to go we said good-bye promising to return the next day. Just as the elevator doors were about to close we saw Dad coming down the hall heading our way with his walker. He joined us in the elevator. He was going down to the lobby to sit there for a bit to look out the big windows and observe the people going by. My sister-in-law Linda said to him, “I thought you would take a nap.”
Dad got a big grin on his face. “Naps are for old people,” he said.
Other posts about my father-in-law….
Another Grandma Moses?
Autograph Book of a Conscientious Objector
Leise Rieselt Der Schnee
Filed under Art, Retirement
Salvador Dali is coming to the Winnipeg Art Gallery! September 27 marks the debut of two exhibits that will feature some of his major works. I think the famous Spanish artist will hold unique appeal for the children I take on tours of the gallery.
Dali was very open about including the things that scared him in his work. Children will identify with that. Dali was petrified of ants. As a small child he had a pet bat and one day he discovered its dead body covered in ants. He also saw a number of dead birds and a dead lizard being eaten by ants. He never forgot those experiences. One way he confronted his fear of ants was to include them in his paintings. Dali’s Ace of Diamonds will be in the upcoming exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. In Dali’s surreal rendition of the playing card there is an ant crawling across the face of the clock between the numbers eleven and twelve.
Dali coming out of the a metro station in Paris in 1969 with his pet anteater
Another way Dali dealt with his fear of ants was to have an anteater as a pet. TV host Dick Cavett recalls the time Dali brought his pet anteater onto his talk show in this interview.
Children all have fears. I was scared of dogs as a child. My son was petrified of spiders. I have a friend who found clowns at a circus terrifying and most children have nightmares that frighten them. I think children will appreciate being introduced to an artist who had fears just like them and admitted them via his artwork. After we look at some of Dali’s fears on canvas and I ask children who come to the gallery, “What are you scared of?” I may not have enough time to hear all their answers.
Other posts about Dali…….
A Personal Dali
Other posts about Spanish artists and art…..
Is It Art?
Guernica Still Not Explained
Jesus is Born
Visit to the MOMA
What am I doing kneeling down in a pile of sand? I’m in Petershagen Ukraine on the grounds of a church attended by my husband Dave’s grandparents and father in the early 1920s. I notice a pile of beautiful white sand that Victor our guide says has been hauled to the church yard for a building project. He tells me there are many sand pits all around the former Mennonite settlement of Petershagen with this nice white sand. I am excited because my Grandma Peters has talked about this sand in an interview with my Aunt Mary. Grandma is describing her paternal grandmother – Grandma Sawatzky. ” My Grandma was a very neat housekeeper- and her clay floors, carefully swept were always sprinkled with sand- very white sand. The sand which was swept together during the week would be washed and used to spray a pattern on the sidewalk from the house to the street. The sand sprinkled on the floors in the house was dry, but the sand on the sidewalk was wet. The sand added to the beauty of the house. Once the whole house and yard was swept and adorned with the white sand it was just lovely!! “ Victor is very familiar with this custom and says decorating the sidewalks with sand patterns was especially common in Mennonite homes in the Ukraine for holidays like Easter.But we have come to Petershagen not to see sand but to see the village which provided salvation to Dave’s grandparents and his father, when they were sure they were all about to die of starvation. Dave is pointing to the date near the roof top of the Mennonite Church in Petersagen which informs us it was built in 1892. Dave’s Oma and Opa Driedger moved to Petershagen in February of 1922 and lived there for two and a half years until they left for Canada in 1924. Dave’s Dad was born in February of 1921 so he will have attended this church with his parents as a little boy.
Victor our guide has a map of how Petershagen would have looked at the time Dave’s Dad and grandparents lived there. Across the street from the church is the property of some Friesens. Could it be Dave’s Great Grandma and Grandpa Friesen? We know that Dave’s Oma’s parents, the Friesens, fled to Petershagen when they had to leave their home in Schoenfeld, because it was too dangerous there with all the gangs of bandits roving the countryside and terrorizing the outlying Mennonite villages. Victor tells us that the Schoenfeld church was a daughter church of the Petershagen Church so the fact that Dave’s Friesen great grandparents took refuge there makes sense.
Oma and Opa Driedger
Oma and Opa Driedger didn’t join Oma’s parents immediately but tried to make it on their own after they fled from Schoenfeld. They had jobs in various places but the famine of 1921 came and their oldest child, Dave’s Aunt Kaethe had died of pneumonia and little Cornelius, Dave’s Dad was sickly and weak. So they went to live with Oma’s parents, the Friesens in Petershagen. Oma says in the notes of an interview with Dave’s cousin John Braun that if her parents had not taken them in at Petershagen she thinks all three of them would have died of starvation.
Our guide Victor with the plaque indicating this was a Mennonite Church built in 1892
The Mennonite Church in Petershagen is still an active congregation. Nine elderly women from the village who have no one to look after them live there and are cared for by the congregation members. We peek into the church and the pastor’s wife comes to talk to Victor. Some of the church members are planning a summer camp experience they are going to offer to the children of the village. It appears a form of salvation for the very old and very young is still being offered in Petershagen.
Other posts about our family history in Ukraine……
The Station of Tears
Enns Family History
Filed under Family, Ukraine
Dave’s birthday was on Monday but instead of having a celebration of his own he chose to go to a party for our friends’ Tom and Sylvia’s new grandson. It is a Chinese custom to have a big celebration when a baby is one month old and Tom and Sylvia hosted a party for friends and family at The Golden Terrace Restaurant so we could all meet their grandson Thomas Alexander, the new little son of their children Will and Violet.
The food was amazing! Lobster, chicken, pork, scallops, beef, shrimp, vegetables, soup, rice, and taro soup for dessert. There were also eggs dyed red to symbolize happiness and new life. Little Thomas was a contented sweetheart throughout the party and I got to enjoy holding him for a nice long time.
When they brought out the cake for Thomas his Grandpa Tom insisted Dave pose with the baby and the cake since it was Dave’s birthday too.
Although Dave throughly enjoyed his party with Thomas his favorite part of the day was coming home and listening to the “Happy Birthday Grandpa” message on his phone from our two year old grandson. He listened to it two times that night and then another two times the next morning.
Other posts about birthdays……
Happy Birthday Dave
Children’s Party With Aunt Olly
My Dad’s Birthday
Filed under China, Family, Food