Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Two Grand Pianos to Go?!


I’m sitting in a cluttered study at 3:34 a.m. of August 1, 2012. Have been working odd hours day and night and sleeping in between as I prepare spaces for the arrival of various items from my mother-in-law’s (Jean Turnbull Elford) estate. You may remember her humorous piece in #Grandmothers’ Necklace. (“No Exceptions”) Never asked her, but suspect it really happened to her.

The family had a big celebration for Jean’s 100th birthday on a very hot Sarnia Day in September, 2011. It was held in her home, where she still was living. As usual, Jean had all her wits about her, and despite the extreme heat, obviously enjoyed the large crowd of family, neighbours, friends and honoured guests who came and went, greeted and congratulated, ate and drank and entertained.

In January 2012, during a stay in hospital, Jean died. She was ready; she wondered aloud why it was taking so long. We’re glad for her, but we certainly miss her. In addition to her professional writing, she was a family letter writer without parallel. Each one contained tongue-in-cheek humour and was geared to the age and interests of the recipient—Treasures to keep. Am also hoping to create a book of the writing she had published for children. Her tear-sheets and contributor’s copies are stored upstairs.

Now, after things were gradually sorted out, my late father-in-law’s Steinway grand piano is to arrive here by the end of the week, along with a few other treasured items. The piano has been coddled for many years. Its new environment will be a bit of a shock. Wait! Don’t we already have a 100-year-old Nordheimer grand piano? How many grand pianos does a family need?

A great deal of prayer went into plans. Our own grand is to be adopted by a local Presbyterian church, where a talented pianist will use it well. Later this week— as we are both reassured and threatened by the movers— our house will be invaded, a huge dresser, handcrafted by Jean’s ancestor, will be sweated up and around and up our stairs, to sit in what I call Grandmothers’ Room, where the remaining copies of Grandmothers’ Necklace and all materials related to it and Petawawa Grannies’ events are already saved. (+ Jean’s materials…she was a proud great-grandmother, after all.)

The newer piano and some boxes and a few smaller furniture items will be carted in. The old piano will be transported to the church. The piano tuner said he can fit in caring for our new addition on August 13th. Then, for as long as his emphysema allows, my husband can then enjoy playing his father’s piano, the one which Robert played as a young music student, and later, taking favourite music with him, played every time we visited Sarnia. Gradually, we will assign the new items to locations, but I must also get back to some Grandmothers’ Necklace bookkeeping work and promotion, to editing a client’s book manuscript and, to my own writing projects.

Anatole warms up the piano

Am I writing? Oh, yes! I’m writing and submitting liturgical materials to two publishers. My Cuddle of Cats manuscript has been sent to the agent I met at the Write!Canada 2012 conference. For excerpts, please see , pp.15-17. Two other projects are partially finished, soon to be sent away, God-willing. Two poems won in recent Pembroke Public Library monthly competitions: “Cocktail Party See-Saw”, re. male-female relations, for June (posted during July) and “Press Pass”, of particular interest to writers, (to be posted for most of August)

Back to Grandmothers’ Necklace. It is still selling. The important thing is that people are exposed to it. Then, it usually sells itself. Unfortunately, two independent bookstores which carried Grandmothers’ Necklace are closing or changing owners, one in Ottawa and one in North Bay. They have been stores of good quality, with warm and enthusiastic long-term owners. Please Support your local independent bookstore!!

GN will be featured at various Petawawa Grannies’ Fall and Winter fundraising events. Our Grandmothers’ Tea and African Dinner are particularly popular.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Won't You Come Along With Me

1) Bagheera, regal, in indignity

2)Earlier Stittsville Artists & Writers GN display

(Eileen watching the shop).

Once more I step into the world of the bogged blog.

For any who haven’t given up on visiting this site, if you haven’t already read it, during this past week the interview with me that was conducted by Jayne Self was posted. It can be found at and . There are a few photos you won’t have seen before.

If you’ve already read it, you’ll know that when asked, I talked about preparing sermons and various liturgical components as being my favourite writing activity. What I couldn’t know when I was interviewed is that during the very week the interview was posted, I would be thoroughly enjoying gathering those very materials of many years, organizing and shaping them to meet the needs of two responsive publishers who have expressed interest and specific encouragement.

I’m certainly not guaranteed that all will be published, but there is the joy of preparing and the hope of publishing and payment. If any pieces are published, I’ll have the added joy of serving the wider church in this capacity, AND I can do this work without leaving my husband at home for long periods of time, something I’ve less and less inclination to do as he deals with his emphysema. We’ve been separated enough over time with each of us obtaining our theological education in different provinces and at different times, with minimal overlap.

You’re wondering about GRANDMOTHERS' NECKLACE Necklace? Sales have slowed, but certainly not died. We hope to sell some more copies at an upcoming AFRICAN DINNER, Wednesday, March 28th, that the Petawawa Grannies are presenting for an area group called WIN (Women’s Initiative Network) and interested friends, though many of those persons will already have bought copies at last year’s dinner. In other parts of Canada, sales continue. People tend to forward the money to me when they’ve gathered a $100.00. I wait until I have $100.00 or more before I submit each month. I wonder what it is like for the African grandmothers and children waiting, while we wait for $100.00? Which projects are on hold?

On Wednesday, April 25th, I’m invited to have a display at the Pembroke Library Book Fair, ENTITLED, to help more people become aware of the book’s existence, value, purpose and contributors. (Though our mailing address is Pembroke, we actually live in Petawawa and persons from either of these two communities, busy with their own lives, are often unaware of what is happening in the other.)

We’ll have some contributors to the book present for signing copies, always more fun. On one-third of the table I will also do a little self-promotion as writer-editor with samples of work done, to help catch up on time that was put aside for preparation and promotion of Grandmothers’ Necklace. There are to be publishers, authors, other types of writers and editors and other related displayers there. Whether or not there will be readings is uncertain at the moment. We’ll be ready, just in case.
Also hope to go again to the ARTISTS AND WRITERS IN THE PARK and on Sunday, May 27th, in Stittsville, near Ottawa. This time we’ll be able to refer interested persons to two popular independent Ottawa bookstores carrying GN, in case purchasers wish to buy copies for friends and relatives after reading their own books. This often happens, thank goodness. Exposure to the book's contents is the key.

If I participate in WRITE!CANADA on June 14-16th, a The Word Guild conference for Christians who are writers and editors of all types and levels, some of the books will go with me. Our son Daniel and wife would care for the cats and house here. Robert would be happily visiting with our daughter and family not far from the Guelph site, where I would join them after the conference for Father’s Day activities and a rest before returning.
Had intended to post some related photos but another thunder storm appears to be starting and can't take a chance, despite the "safe-guards".
One fried computer since we arrived here is more than enough!

B-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l country! BUT some "i-n-t-e-r-e-s-t-i-n-g storms!

Edited version: Above is one related photo and one because I thought you might like it. Still very new at this and don't do it frequently enough to be sophisticated about it.