Here are two writing opportunities I’d like to take part in. The first comes up in just a week or so. It’s a course being offered by Rebelight a Winnipeg publishing company. The course targets teen writers. I know some authors who have published with Rebelight and they would be great mentors for those just entering the field. If I was a teen I’d love to take this course. As a high school English teacher I discovered first hand how developing writing skills and gaining confidence as a writer can inspire and empower teens. Writing gives kids a voice. If I had a teenager I would certainly be encouraging them to try this course. You can get more information about the workshop here.
I recently entered a contest to win free tution for a writing course at Book House on Pelee Island. I’d love to be able to attend one of these session, first of all because my husband’s family has many connections with Pelee Island. Two generations have spent a considerable number of years living on the island. But attending the workshop would also provide an amazing opportunity to work on a variety of writing projects while receiving professional advice. I’ve known for a long time that writer Margaret Atwood had property on Pelee Island. It’s great to see she is being so generous about using it to encourage other writers. You can learn more about the workshop here.
A Quick Five
Why Pigs Bark
I’m So Excited
I know this is one day late because yesterday was International Women’s Day, but here are ten strong women I have featured in recent blog posts.
Oviloo Tunille was an accomplished and talented Inuit sculptor who supported generations of her family with her work. She provides a highly personal glimpse into life in Canada’s most northern communities. A sketching trip to Winnipeg’s railroad museum introduced me to the Countess of Dufferin a politically savvy Canadian woman who used her connections to provide health care for women in Pakistan and India.
On a trip to Jamaica I met Claudette Brown. She has defied all odds and obstacles to provide quality childcare for hundreds of kids in Runaway Bay Jamaica.
I have come to realize grandmothers are often taking the lead in providing acceptance to members of the LGBTQ community.
Sarah Silverman is a comedian who has used her notoriety to gain equal rights for women who come to pray at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.
Audrey Hepburn was a stellar actress who devoted the last years of her life to helping children through UNICEF. I learned she is the source of a significant quote about turning the impossible into the possible.
I was preparing to teach a Sunday School lesson when I learned more about Abigail a biblical character who served as a rational peacemaker between two headstrong men.
Veronica is another character from the Biblical narrative that inspires us with her compassion and care. I have been finding images of her all over the world.
On a visit to the citadel in Quebec City I learned how portrayals of women in military history have changed from them being portrayed as pale and weak to being seen as strong, caring, inspirational leaders.
Frances Perkins stands behind President Roosevelt as he signs the social security act in 1935 a lasting legacy of Frances Perkins
Francis Perkins was the first American female cabinet minister. In her role as Roosevelt’s Minister of Labor she introduced legislation that improved the lives of millions of people.
Happy belated International Women’s Day.
I need to stop ‘googling’ Donald Trump. I admit I do it several times a day. I am so worried about the changes his government might make to our world that I can’t help myself. But it really isn’t healthy. I can find out enough about what he is doing just from reading the Winnipeg Free Press and listening to the CBC. These are media habits that are part of my regular routine. There is no reason to look for more information. I admit I sometimes even watch Fox news on my computer and read more conservative newspapers because they seem to normalize Trump’s character and the things his government will do to destroy the environment, cause global instability and further hurt the disenfranchised. If these news sources aren’t terrified maybe I shouldn’t be either.
But it would be healthier just to stop looking for so much information. It is taking up too much of my time and worrying about what Trump can and might do is taking up too much of my energy. I could use that time and energy to focus on things I can do to make the world a more compassionate and caring place. I am going to stop ‘googling’ Donald Trump and I will not click on articles about him on my Facebook page. There! Telling you about my resolution makes it a little more likely I will carry it out.
The Trump Silver Lining
Three Lessons From the Movie Arrival
Sunset Walk in America the Beautiful
I was reminded of this photo as I read From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon. Harmon tells the story of the Nazi occupation of Italy. One of the events described in the book happened on my birthday October 16, just ten years before I was born. Two thousand of the Jews living in Rome were rounded up and taken to Auschwitz. Only a hundred of them would survive the war. We did a Jewish history tour of Rome when we visited in 2010 and Dave took my picture at a sign just outside the Jewish ghetto commemorating the deportation of the Jews to Auschwitz. The positive side of this story was that some four thousand Jews were not taken that October day in 1943 because they were hidden in various Catholic institutions in Rome. That is exactly what happens to Eva the main character in From Sand and Ash who is sheltered in a convent. Many other places we toured were featured in the novel. It was interesting to revisit our ten days in Rome as I read the book.
Other recent posts about books…….
A Novel So Long It Took Us Through Eight States
No Lesson Required
When my husband Dave encounters someone on the street asking for money he almost always stops to chat with them and then gives them some cash. This is exactly what the Pope recently recommended we do during Lent. The pontiff urges us to smile and talk to beggars and homeless people and then give them money. He says we are not to worry what the needy person spends the money on. He stresses the importance of making a personal connection with them.
Pamphlets available at various downtown Winnipeg businesses suggest a different strategy. They say we should donate to local charities like Siloam Mission and the Salvation Army and then refer panhandlers to those places.
I often encounter four or five people asking for money on my way to work downtown. Since I’m usually in a hurry I give the first one I encounter coins and then say ‘sorry’ to the others.
My husband’s strategy and the one the Pope suggests are probably more compassionate and in keeping with Christ’s example. Perhaps I should try it during Lent. If I make sure I leave in plenty of time for work I’d have enough minutes to stop and say hello to each person I meet who is asking for money. It certainly wouldn’t hurt me financially to give everyone I meet some change. I could even make sure I have change in my pocket each time I leave the house to facilitate this. I’m going to try and get on the same page as my husband and the pope.
Questions at the Vatican
My Former Church and the Pope
“I held you before your mother did,” my aunt reminded as she hugged me goodbye.
On our way home from Arizona we stopped in Kansas to spend time with my Auntie Mary. I love visiting with Auntie Mary. She is such a good listener and interesting conversationalist. She is also a veracious reader. When I visit her I always leave with a stack of books she has already read and thinks I would enjoy. This visit was no exception. My nightstand is now piled high with books from Auntie Mary. Auntie Mary is an artist as well and one of her watercolors which was a wedding gift from her decorates our home. Auntie Mary is also a memory maker and creates the most beautiful books of photos and memorabilia that document the history of her family. She did extensive interviews with my grandparents before they passed away and her notes along with family photos she collected were such a valuable resource when we made our trip to Ukraine to discover our family roots.
I learned some new things about my aunt on this visit. She follows NBA basketball! She and my husband Dave had a great discussion about the various teams and players. She is right up to date. She says some of her grandchildren are basketball fans and following the sport makes it fun to text with her grandkids during games. Auntie Mary is also very tech savvy for someone in her eighties. She texts and e-mails and shops online.
Her comment that she held me before my mother did refers to the fact that Auntie Mary was in the delivery room with my mother. This was in the days before fathers were allowed in the delivery room and my aunt was a nurse at the hospital where Mom was having me. She provided Mom with support during the birth. While the doctors finished caring for Mom, Auntie Mary held me in her arms in the delivery room. My mother was so appreciative of Mary she named me MaryLou and told me the ‘Mary’ was for my Auntie Mary.
I was so glad I got to visit Auntie Mary. Like my other aunts she has always been caring and supportive.
I’m Her Namesake
Great Aunt Marie’s Books
High Drama at the Christmas Family Gathering
Dave and I have been listening to Jodi Picoult’s novel Small Great Things on our drive back to Manitoba from Arizona. It is a loooooooooong book! Nearly sixteen hours of listening. Jodi always addresses a social issue in her novels and presents ethical dilemmas for her readers to consider. The issue in Small Great Things is racism and the ethical dilemma is faced by a black labor and delivery nurse named Ruth. She has been told by her supervisor not to touch the baby of a white supremacist couple Britt and Turk Bauer after they complain about having a black woman care for their baby. But the newborn goes into cardiac arrest when Ruth happens to be the only staff person in the nursery. She must decide whether to try to save the baby’s life or follow the orders she has been given not to touch the child. Due to her decision she is fired and charged with murder in the baby’s death.
Jodi Picoult is known for her meticulous research and this book helps you learn almost too much about how newborns are cared for in hospitals, how court cases are researched, the incredibly scary world of white supremacists in America, and the effects of racism on communities, society and individuals. Jodi says in an afterword she did not write this book so much to show the burden African-Americans carry because of the color of their skin, but rather to show white Americans how racist they are, even if they think they aren’t.
I was concerned about how the book would end because Jodi can sometimes give you a surprise ending that is troubling and unsatisfying. I kept telling Dave what I was worried would happen. This book did not end the way I predicted and left some of my questions unanswered but I was satisfied with it.
Jodi’s books always have multiple narrators and this story is told by Ruth the nurse, Turk Bauer the white supremacist and Kennedy McQuarrie Ruth’s lawyer. Perhaps because I was listening to it rather than reading it, I sometimes felt that Jodi repeated too many things in her consecutive narratives instead of always moving the story ahead as quickly as she might have. I did think the novel could have used a good edit and as I listened kept thinking of parts I would have slashed.
Still this was a good story that kept us engaged as we drove through eight different states. In fact listening to this story set in America while driving through America added to its appeal and made it even more thought-provoking.
Note: The title comes from a quote by Martin Luther King
If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way
Sing You Home- A Book Set to Music
My brother-in-law and sister in law’s time in Phoenix overlapped with ours by a couple of weeks. Although their rented home is over an hour away from ours we have still managed to get together for two games of golf, a lunch and supper that included our children and grandchildren, a night at the Handlebar restaurant and dinner at Arrivedercis a family owned and operated Italian place with fabulous food. We also managed to fit in a few games of euchre. We always have a great time with Paul and Shirley!
Showing Off Our City
Trilliums Food For the Soul
Filed under Arizona, Family