Saturday, October 7, 2023

What the Dickens?


I'm chewing through this abridged (!) biography of the great novelist. It's a secondhand book which caught my eye because I'm considering putting up episodes of my latest work-in-progress 'The Marvellous Adventures of the Widow's Son" on a regular basis. Maybe monthly if I can manage. But not quite yet...

Reading this somewhat fanciful account I'm absolutely astonished at the energy of the man, not to mention how driven he was. How he managed to keep up with his writing, socializing, travelling, giving readings and much else, I simply can't imagine!

But I was fascinated to read how he was taunted for his surname. This, because of a Shakespeare quote 'What the dickens?' Who knew?

Saturday, April 9, 2022


Like the creek not far from my home, the poems have been flowing! Not that they're always welcome, say if it's early morning and words fly into my head. Must I really wake enough, reach for my notebook and write them down? Oh well. I suppose so. Seeing as another couple of lines are now ringing — a Musey alarm clock??

As dear daughter who claims to be 'powered by poetry' gifted me with this notebook, 

saying I was unlikely to mislay it (!), I reach for the pen, click it, and start to write:



Bare branches, gilded by the risen sun, 

sway in the freezing breeze, and wonder: 

when will spring come?


Budding catkins, tinged with red,

await the seasons’ change to warmth. 

Then at last they’ll celebrate— 

hang dangly earrings

to decorate and demonstrate

the sweet, surging sap of resurrected maple.

Sunday, February 21, 2021


 This morning when I turned on the radio (Ici musique), the soft strains of Ravel's Pavane wafted through the room... the very piece which plays a fairly significant role in my companion novel to 'Cape Town'. I considered it a sweet reminder to work further on my revisions this week. You'll see the notes from my editor peeking out from under the notebook I'm using for said revisions.

Also, I decided to change the title of Charmaine's story from 'Some Dance to Remember', to 'Reasons to Dance'. Please comment below if you disagree. (I don't offend easily... a gift my writing has brought via critiques and rejections!!)

The other tune I heard? Well, that's to do with my saga-in-progress and I'm reluctant to share too much about that for the time being. Suffice it to say, it's also set in the Cape, South Africa. I'm relishing warm sunshine and beach sand!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2021


 Dear Reader, 

Hallo! I discovered recently that the moon can have an influence on creativity... two weeks of inspiration, two of assessment. So I decided to do an experiment, and am marking days when ideas and words fly into my head. My wall calendar this year, bought from the Musee de Beaux Arts de Montreal, is Degas. I'm looking at a close up of a young woman wearing a hat. A bit like me when I go out, except for the adjective, of course!😏

Early morning brought me a poem. Nothing particularly profound, but you might enjoy it nevertheless. The accompanying photo was taken through my bedroom window and, unfortunately, doesn't reveal the special quality of the light. 



The world is white.

Clinging, shrunken maple leaves

reflect the golden

morning light and tremble,

oh so slightly,

in the breeze —


A dazzling day 

but bitter with 

mid-winter’s cold.  


There’ll be no

peeking my nose 

outside today,

and that’s for certain sure.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020


 My Corona tidy-up so far has consisted in going through many of my notebooks. Wow! What riches! What treasures! (Yes, sometimes I surprise myself ;-) Plenty of words, ideas and inspirations dwell therein.

Also, many poems, not all of which are in my 'Poems' folder on my computer. A while back I abandoned work on these in despair at the on-going revision work i.e. they're hardly ever finished, or brought to a satisfying realization. But they keep coming, so I gave in.

In order to switch away from typing, I decided to pick up my long-neglected water-colour painting. What emerged was an image that works as an illustration to a not-so-recent poem. But now, do you think I can find those lines?? Disappeared into the ether, friends.

Writing wisdom proclaims one has to write Xmany thousands of words before one finds one's voice. I'm sure I've written waaaay more than that. Result? I've found several different voices. No, I don't have a split personality. No more than other people born under the sign of Gemini anyhow.

But my notebooks are a mess. So now my task is to go through them again and make sure I add the words I've written to the relevant project. Hmm. Thinks... that'll be a good goal for the winter. Meanwhile, it's back to two on-going story discoveries! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The ending dilemma.

Here's an old photo of me sitting at my desk in our old home in Richmond Hill. What remains the same are my desk, the chair and the pen/pencil holder. One of these fine days I'll get someone to snap a new, up to date pic.

All those words, just by way of explanation :-)

A fair amount of my writing time goes into composing emails — such an efficient and easy way to communicate with no fear of intrusion as for a phone call, a WhatsApp message etc. The recipient can open at leisure... or never, if so inclined.

My problem is with signing off. What a dilemma! What delays to my day!! I find myself expending an unreasonable amount of brain power choosing one or two appropriate words. It's simpler when replying to a received note with maybe only an initial or nothing at all. Okay with me, seeing as I already know who's hit 'send'. But that's kind of unfriendly, non?

Soooooo, many of my friends end with 'warmly'. Nothing wrong with that, but for some unknown reason I'm reluctant to follow suit. And just imagine if I typed 'coolly'!!! (might be good on a steaming hot day).

How and where to find an appealing alternative? Oh for the old days when I worked as a shorthand-typist. Matters were clear. When the letter was addressed Dear Sir or Madam, you typed 'Yours faithfully'. If you started with Mr. Mrs. Miss or Messrs and a name you typed 'Your sincerely', no matter what.

I do have a range. For e.g. love, love and blessings, till later, chat soon and so on. Also, depending on weather or state of mind, I can be Brrrrrrenda or Blenda.

Lastly, yet another dilemma: to include a signature line or not. And if yes, which one? Who would appreciate a peek at my cat blog, who my author website, who my writing life blog, who my parenting blog???? Or nothing might be better?

Oh my. Way too many choices. That's a Gemini for you!!

Saturday, April 11, 2020


Authors are often asked what advice they'd give to aspiring writers. I'd say: keep a notebook and write down whatever comes to you in the way of inspiration. RIGHT AWAY.

Some day I might even heed this advice myself. Only this morning I thought of something good to add to one of my on-going projects. "I'll remember that," I thought.

Ummm, no. It's gone. Completely flown out of my. head.

Next question:

What's next for me?

That's the question I'm asking myself, now that the never-going-to-get-finished revision of Charmaine's story, provisionally titled 'Some Dance to Remember' i.e. my companion novel to 'Cape Town' is finally done!! Not dusted, yet though. That, hopefully, will be up to a good editor.

Nevertheless, I've been busy. Before diving into my newish project, or taking up a revision of my set-aside women's fiction manuscript, I've been going through my notebooks. Here's a sampling:

It's true. I'm a notebook junkie, especially as I still do a lot of my creating the old-fashioned way i.e. with pen and paper. Some of these pretty things were gifts. Thanks to those kind souls! But I do have enough for the present, and am determined to use up all blank pages. With this in mind, as I already wrote, I've been going through all old unfinished notebooks. What riches reside within! What treasures!!!

Yes, sometimes I surprise myself. This has everything to do with the image below:

Art work courtesy of step-granddaughter Isabella!