a mosaic in montreal

quaint quebec harbours a collage of cultures and faces.
my sister and i stumbled upon this collage in our trip to montreal… a city of cobblestone paths, ever rising then falling with the gentle breathing of the mountain on which it’s built… a city of skyscrapers and cathedrals, of colour and class, of art and fine wines…
i remember a small, thin faced boy bouncing a yo-yo in the air as he walked along, never once taking his eyes off that swirling round toy
i remember a middle-aged asian woman selling coffee pots and other wares on the street, her gaping smile leaving nothing to hide
i remember students shoving past one another to get into the bookshop which offered them quiet secrets of life at 10 pm
i remember l’amour in the eyes of men and women arm and arm, neck in neck along the harbour and
i remember bras strung for miles along that same harbour, challenging men to remember women for… who they are?
small men in big shoes,
a passed out native american with his bottle of rye singing him lullabies beside an old church building, and teenagers row upon row giggling, staring glassy eyed at the opposite gender.
montreal: a mosaic, a sheet of music, a moment scribbled in french for the world to see.

Advertisements

half marathon

Today I ran the Ottawa Half Marathon in 2 1/4 hours. I was one of 9,000 running the half. In total, 33,000 individuals ran this weekend (5 km, 10 km, full marathon etc.). It was a challenging, wonderful experience. I’ve never felt so unified with complete strangers. We were all shooting for the same goal. We’d all trained for months to get here, and we were all seeing the fruition of that training unroll in front of us as we trailed through the scenic streets of Ottawa. Equally special was the affirmation complete strangers gave us from the sidelines, cheering us on by name (as evident on our number bibs) and holding out numerous signs like “You guys are awesome!” and “Nice legs sexy!” I will never ever forget today. More important than all those strangers rooting for me, however, was having my family around to cheer me on. Mum, Dad and Trent as well as both my sisters came up to Ottawa especially to root me on. There was no shortage of love this weekend. I’m forever grateful.

drew marshall interview

here’s the link to my interview on The Drew Marshall Show (May 17):

http://www.drewmarshall.ca/listen2008.html#080517

mother nature’s bedside

The other day I was driving through Waterloo Country. I saw rolling hills and blossoming trees. I watched the river ribbon its blue way round hereabouts and thereabouts and saw the sun sprinkle gold onto ponds and puddles. The sky was azure blue, the clouds like giant cotton puffs and the flowers were gently yawning their yellow red and purple ways into existence.

There’s no questioning: creation is beautiful. Yet that’s merely a side factor. Creation is valuable because it sustains us—and I think we’ve forgotten that in past centuries of exploring the insides of our ego.

The world for us has become a storefront, a stage upon which to display wealth and beauty. We’ve forgotten that we are not God, nor were we ever God, and our frail attempts at sustaining ourselves will ultimately fail because we’ve cut down one too many trees and treated creation like a recyclable postcard.

Recently I’ve come home to care for a mother who was sick long before I took notice. Now I’m quickly scrambling to make up for lost years, to cram in as many ‘I love you’s’ and ‘Thank you’s’ before time runs out. The problem is, her memory already has. While this is good in that she doesn’t remember our hard times, there is no possible way I can force her to remember the good. Nor can I step back in time and give her the affirmation she needed way back then. In other words, it’s too late. All I can do now is help make her final days on earth some of her best ones.

The Native Americans have it right when they call Earth our Mother. God created the earth to nurture and care for us, to give us oxygen, shade, to provide a firm foundation for us to walk on, to feed, inspire, and to provide healing elements through plants and minerals when we’re sick. Much like our aging parents, we take creation for granted. We assume it will always be here. But the earth is tired; the soil is weeping, craving rest; the trees are drooped and weary, lonely and spent, having to supply a world-full of oxygen with very few workers. We need to stop and notice Creation. We need to love it, to give back to it. There’s no way we can make up for past mistakes; but we can try and give the world some of its best final years.

Because before too long, the earth will utter its last sigh and pass away, and it will be too late to say ‘Thank You.’

Long Weekend

It was truly a long weekend. Now I feel I need another. 🙂 Saturday I drove down to Oakville where I met Drew Marshall and was interviewed on his Talk Show. Afterwards he took my sister and I out for red wine and a captivating talk. It was such an honour to meet with him. He’s bringing reality to faith in Canada.

Then we drove home to catch Prince Caspian which sadly, was disappointing. Moments in the movie expired long before they ended. I think the awe of Narnia was best captured in the first, and perhaps cannot be repeated.

After that I returned home to find my husband had built us a campfire at midnight and poured me a glass of peach wine. Then we watched an episode of Lost.

Early the next morning I arose to drive to Waterloo where I painted a piece called ‘Creation’s Offering’ as pastor Steve Tulloch spoke (art during a church service is a unique and inspiring form of worship which I love) and then shared some of my poetry and writings with the congregation. Steve was talking about the role of creation and the earth in our lives as believers.

Then I met up with my friend Sandy who was launching her book at Chapters, and we had bubble tea. After that I drove home to welcome our friends up from Toronto. They stayed overnight and we played poker and bocce ball and drank beer and fellowshipped. I feel full and tired. This coming week I’m completing my training for the half marathon on Sunday May 24th in Ottawa, as well as finishing up news stories for the Record. I am thankful for my life.

(Picture taken of my friend Sacha and I in my backyard; we had a campfire with her and her husband)

moments that matter

Yesterday I stopped, looked outside and noticed the sun setting. And it dawned on me: Life is so very temporary. Suddenly the applesauce I was making seemed utterly trivial, as did the complaints which were, up until then, buzzing around in my head. All that really matters, I realized, is relationships. Over the past year that knowledge has definitely been sinking in, in light of Mum’s illness, but it’s startling how sidetracked we can become over things which won’t even enter the equation when we’re standing before the Maker of the Universe. I dropped the spoon I was holding and went to find my husband. He was sitting in our orange chair reading a book. I bent down, gave him a hug and a kiss and whispered ‘I love you.’ His face lit up like I’m sure God’s will when finally we get to be with Him–forever. Yes, those are the moments that matter.

96-year-old love

today i learned of a 96-year-old man named Peter who died.

Peter had a girlfriend. She stood leaning on her walker at the funeral, bent and wizened, crying her eyes out.

it struck me: the need for love will never leave us. we continually long to belong. the funny thing is, even when we do find that special someone, the craving remains.

it’s an empty hole which can never be filled–yet we never give up hope that one day it will be.

old man Ernst

Trent and I are driving home from Burlington after I appear on TV. My feet are pressed up against the car window and I’m staring lazily outside as country fields zip by mixed with clothes lines and cows mooing in their pastures. We see a sign that says “Honey for sale.” Turn down the gravel road which ribbons into nowhere, follow it until reaching a brick house which boasts the same sign in its front yard.

We like to buy locally. Trent eats honey every morning for breakfast. Hence we climb out of the car, and Trent goes to the door while I stretch my legs. Soon I hear a booming voice: “Ahh hello, you want honey? Come in, come in!”

And Trent disappears with the brushstroke of a moment and I follow, curious to see the face that accompanies this thickly accented voice.

“Vell hello!” booms the round faced old man in suspenders upon seeing me.

He looks at Trenton. “You marry her? She your wife? Wow.”

His wrinkles deepen. “Come in come in!”

Takes us down cement stairs into his basement where he not only sells honey but wine sweetened by honey.

Soon he’s pouring us glasses of wine and spilling his story through broken English and we drink and listen with round eyes, not sure if we’re more surprised to learn he fought with the Germans or that we’re sitting in a basement drinking honey wine with an 84-year-old Czech immigrant.

Ernst is his name. Ernst believes women were made to have babies and he’s appalled to find out I’m wasting my “fine figure” by not having children. “We will, we’re trying,” Trent and I assure the poor man who’s nearly in despair.

He goes on to tell us he took a second woman later on in his life when the other one lost her looks. “Agh yes then you have two wives, you know? One for cooking meals and one for looking pretty,” he says chuckling at our horrified expressions. “And you can make more babies with her!”

He calls young men lazy and stupid and thinks girls should marry men much older than them. “How old are you?” he asks Trent, who stumbles over his words while saying he’s a month older than I.

Ernst shakes his round head. His eyes sparkle. Then he pours us more wine and spills more stories until we insist we have to leave and then he takes my face in his hands and says, “This, you don’t need this,” pointing to the piercing in my chin. “You too beautiful for this. This is sign of inferiority complex. No one else will tell you this, but you’re my adopted daughter. I tell you.”

I thank him, assure him we’ll be back and as we’re backing out of his driveway with our 20 pounds of honey he says “Come back soon! I love visitors!”

For the next two days Trent and I can’t stop laughing over Ernst and his honey wine stories. We’re definitely going back. After all, we’re apparently his adopted children.

my interview on 100 Huntley St.

hey guys!

just wanted to share a link where you can watch my interview today on 100 Huntley Street: (it requires Real Player, which can be downloaded for free)

http://204.187.63.130/huntley/2008may/100hs080506c.ram.

God bless you.

e.

The agent process

For those of you desiring a literary agent or curious about the process I’ve recently gone through, I’m going to post here an excerpt from my agent’s blog which explains it all:

The Agent Process

Some of you may wonder exactly how this process of submitting to an agent works. It varies from agent to agent, but here’s how it looks if you submit to me.

You send a query. I send you an email acknowledging receipt. Then it sits in my inbox until I’m able to get to it.

Eventually I read it, and make a decision as to whether I think it might be right for our agency to represent. If not, I send a “thanks but no thanks” letter. If I’m interested, I send a request for a proposal and/or 40 to 50 pages of the manuscript (this is known as a “partial.”)

You send your requested materials, and again it sits in my inbox until it gets to the top of the queue. Finally I read your partial. Again I make a decision.

If I don’t think it’s going to work, I send a pass letter. If it shows potential, I request the entire manuscript (a “full”) and possibly more information about you so I can get a good handle on platform. Since reading a manuscript is a serious investment in time, I only request it if the potential is very strong.

I’ll read and evaluate the manuscript and additional information. Is your writing professional level? I’ll study the marketplace and try to ascertain where your projects fits. I’ll determine if it fills a need, or if the market is already saturated with the topic. I’ll decide if I personally can get behind it; I’ll evaluate whether I think I have the right publishing contacts to get this book sold. This is the hardest part of the process for me, because if I say “yes” and offer representation, it will be a big commitment on both our parts. It takes time to make this decision.

When I’ve gone through this process, I’ll either send you a very apologetic pass letter (obviously I liked your project and I’m probably disappointed that it’s not going to be a good fit for me) or I’m going to call you and offer representation.

During that phone call (or email exchange), we’ll discuss the project, the submission process and publishing process, and our ideas for moving forward. You’ll have the opportunity to ask all the questions you want. Then it will be YOUR turn to make a decision.

You’ll hang up the phone and think about it. Pray about it. Talk with your spouse or best friend about it. You want to make an informed and wise decision.

If you’ve sent your project to other agents, at this point you’ll want to let them know you have an offer of representation and ask if they’d like a chance to respond before you make a decision.

After all of this, OF COURSE you’ll call me and accept my offer of representation. (wink)

If we decide to work together, the next step will be editing and revisions to the proposal and manuscript. I’ll guide you through this process until I believe your materials are ready for submission. Meanwhile, I’ll be putting together the list of publishing houses I plan to submit to, and I’ll be composing a (hopefully) killer pitch letter introducing your project to editors.

When everything is ready, I may make some phone calls to editors, depending on the project. I’ll tell them about you and convey my excitement for the book. The next step is sending your proposal and manuscript to the editors I’ve targeted (via email). That’s the first-round submission process.

With hot projects, I might hear back from editors right away. Others will take a little longer. How things progress from here varies depending on how much excitement your book is generating. A sale could happen within a few weeks (although this is less likely) or could take a few months or more. Once we agree to accept an offer from a publisher, the work of negotiating your contract begins. I’ll do that… you can sit back and enjoy your glass of bubbly. For a little while anyway.

Next week, I’ll tell you what happens after THAT, when your proposal finds a home at a publishing house.