Thursday, October 23, 2014

Anita Shreve/ Northwest Angle/ digital version

Oct. 12 Anita Shreve: I cut out this Globe and Mail article “You don’t sit waiting for the muse to come” by Kate Taylor on Dec. 4, 2010.  She interviews the author Anita Shreve:

A book editor once had the gall to tell the popular American novelist Anita Shreve that literary fiction is written by men. What women write is women's fiction. Her retort started with Alice Munro and went on from there.

"My books at times have been classified as women's fiction," Shreve said on a recent visit to Toronto to talk about her new novel Rescue. "I find [the category] very offensive - and dismissive. It's meant to be dismissive." Still, Shreve acknowledges that, like many novelists, her audience is almost exclusively female while her publishers always put a woman on the cover and favour pastel colours. "They categorize things so they know what they are trying to sell … I have lobbied very hard for grittier covers."

Truth is that Shreve's work, which ranges from the Oprah's Book Club pick The Pilot's Wife to the Orange Prize nominee The Weight of Water, is unusually positioned somewhere between literature and less lofty fare. It's not a difficult spot for Shreve or her publisher (her sales are in the millions) but awkward for anyone who wants to pigeonhole her books. Her admirably unadorned prose once led a critic to speculate that the mighty E.B. White, co-author of that classic primer The Elements of Style, would approve; her plots, meanwhile, are driven by life-changing tragedies - a fatal plane crash, a climbing accident, a teenager's coma - and remarkable second chances. And she produces a book every 18 months.

On the other hand, Shreve doesn't do happy endings, sometimes tells her story from a male perspective and avoids those damaged women so favoured by Oprah's club.
"It's not all smiles and hugs at the end," she says of Rescue and the hopeful way it leaves its main characters. "I didn't think they were all going to go home and live together. They might make it, they might not."

Rescue's cover does show a young woman, her head turned to look out the rear window of a car. She is wearing a pale green floral print that stands out nicely on a background of soft yellows. But the novel's protagonist is actually a man, Peter Webster, who is raising a teenage daughter on his own after he banished an alcoholic wife when their child was just a toddler. The narration is in the third person, but the reader is only privy to Webster's thoughts as he tries to understand his daughter's rebellion and his wife's drinking, depicted in scenes set 18 years earlier.

Webster is a paramedic - hence the book's title - and the novel gets its structure from highly realistic scenes describing him on the job, defibrillating hearts and slipping bodies onto backboards.

"I was determined to write something about somebody who had a real job, not an artist, a gallery owner, a failed writer - there is so much of that," Shreve says. "And if you want to have someone who has a real job, you have to show them at that job." Shreve researched the profession by reading manuals and interviewing a paramedic who also vetted sections of the book. She originally created the Webster character to write a literary thriller, figuring a paramedic was less of a cliché than a police officer or private detective but would have access to his whole community. Her plan, however, did not work out.

"A) I didn't know how to write a thriller; and B) it was going to be a domestic tragedy, which is what all my books are," says Shreve, who answers questions with the same efficiency that drives her writing.

Where Rescue departs from much of her previous work is in the harshness of its milieu. Shreve's work is often set on the picturesque New England coastline where she lives, with a house in Maine and a condo in Boston. But this book takes the action inland to impoverished rural Vermont. Webster lives in a fictional, downtrodden town called Hartstone, while Sheila, the drunk driver who becomes his wife, is on the run from some nastiness in Chelsea, a small, real and violent city on the outskirts of Boston.

"Nobody gets out of Chelsea unscathed," Shreve says. "She is risky and you can't trust her as far as you can throw her." In short, Sheila is not the kind of woman who turns up in a pastel floral print.

Shreve once wrote a book ( Where or When) seemingly inspired by the unusual story of how she met her current husband (her fourth) - they had only known each other as kids at camp when he saw her photo in the newspaper years later and began a correspondence - but she says any autobiographical content in her books is unconscious and largely limited to the metaphoric. Her characters and their stories are mainly a product of her ever-active imagination.

"A large part of writing is daydreaming. We all do it," says Shreve, who confesses to occasionally missing her exit when driving. "You are rehearsing a conversation you had last night, and you are going to change the dialogue a bit so it comes out right, or you imagine what you are going to say when you get home. The only difference with a writer is a writer loves the challenge of structure and crafting sentences."

Shreve, who will turn 65 next year, thrives on that challenge and has produced her 16 books in the space of a mere 21 years. "It's embarrassing," she says of her prolificacy, noting her publisher places no particular demands on her. When she is writing, she works from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. seven days a week. Her only explanation is that her early years as a journalist - a former high-school teacher, she worked as a magazine writer as she tried to launch her literary career - built her work ethic and showed her the connection between what you can produce to deadline and what you get paid.
"It taught me that writing is work. There is nothing precious about it. You don't sit waiting for the muse to come."

After Christmas, which she and her husband will spend with their combined family of five adult children, Shreve will sit down at her desk and begin work on her 17th novel.

My opinion: What stood out to me was that the main character’s job is a real job like a paramedic and not an art gallery owner or private detective.  Also there is nothing wrong with being a prolific writer.  I write a lot of emails, but I pace myself in sending them.  I only send 3 emails/ weekly blog posts a week.

Northwest Angle: I cut out this Edmonton Examiner book review "Oh, baby, this is good" by Terri Schlichenmeyer on Sept. 7, 2011.   She reviews Northwest Angle by William Kent Krueger.  I can’t find the article on the internet so I’ll have to type up a few excerpts:

“Corocan (Cork) O’Connor rented a houseboat and gathered his in-law and his children on a trip to Minnesota’s Boundry Waters Canoe Area.”

“And then the storm hit.”

“Dazed, Jenny went looking for Cork and stumbled upon a cabin.  Inside it was the body of a woman who had obviously been tortured, and a hidden baby.”

“Staying where they were wasn’t an option, a notion underscored by the sudden, unwelcome presence of a man with a high-powered rifle who seemed to want nothing but the baby.”

“Local officials surmised that the baby was the son of Noah Smalldog, a Ojibwe native, Others say the child belonged to Sonny Chickaway, Smalldog’s friend.”

My opinion: It sounds like an interesting thriller.

Oct. 23  Digital version:

Why I’m putting up these book reviews and author interviews:
1.      I’m clearing clutter.  I don’t need to keep all these news articles.  This will be the digital version on my blog.

2.      I want to show all these good articles to my friends and blog readers because they are really good to read.

3.      I want to be inspired and motivated by reading all these book reviews and author interviews.  These are good books, and I like to read the creative process of the writers.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How you can protect 10-year-old rape survivor from "honor" killing

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Save 10-year-old rape 
survivor from "honor" 
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Act Now

10-year-old Brishna is a rape survivor who is now facing death threats from her family and community following her assault.

Rape survivors - and women who are perceived to have otherwise offended customs - are deemed to have brought deep shame upon their families. In response, they face the threat of "honor" killings to restore the family's name.

The Afghan Penal Code carries reduced sentences for murder on the basis of "honor" as a motivation.

Urge the Afghan authorities to provide full protection for Brishna and those who are working to protect her.
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Dear Tracy,

10-year-old Brishna was raped last May.

Instead of being comforted by those closest to her following the attack, Brishna's life is now at even greater risk.

The women's rights defender who was assisting Brishna reported being told that Brishna's male relatives want to "kill her and dump her in the river."

In Afghanistan, where Brishna lives, women are still seen to be the embodiments of family honor.

Rape survivors - and women who are perceived to have otherwise offended customs - are deemed to have brought deep shame upon their families. In response, they face the threat of "honor" killings to restore the family's name.

The Afghan Penal Code carries reduced sentences for murder on the basis of "honor" as a motivation.

Demand that Afghan authorities ensure that Brishna - and those who are trying to protect her - receive full protection from the state.

The local mullah, or religious leader, who is accused of raping Brishna has since been arrested and charged with rape of a minor. He was transferred to a prison in Kabul.

Despite the risk to her life and the continued death threats she still faces, local police returned Brishna to her family in July, while her doctor, Dr. Hassina Sarwari, also faces death threats for protecting Brishna.

Stand up for Brishna and other women and girls like her.

Call on authorities to repeal these harmful laws and end discrimination against survivors of sexual violence.

Help ensure the suspected perpetrator is brought to justice with a prompt and fair trial, and that the threats against Brishna and Dr. Sarwari are fully investigated.

Protecting women and girls from sexual violence is every government's obligation - not an option.

In solidarity,

Jasmine Heiss
Amnesty International USA

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Matter of Life and Death or Something/ Richard Ford

Oct. 5 A Matter of Life and Death or Something: I cut out this National Post book review “A quest inspired by a found notebook…or whatever” by Raymond Beauchemin.  He reviews the book A Matter of Life and Death or Something by Ben Stephenson.  Here’s the article: 

While walking in the woods near his home one day, a 10-year-old boy named Arthur finds a notebook, which he reads through to the end. The notebook was written by someone named Phil, a lost soul hopelessly in love with a woman named E, who likes him but doesn’t want to Be With Him. After reading the notebook — which is only 43 pages long, but they do go on — it’s understandable. It’s hard to empathize with the guy.
But Arthur does.

The majority of A Matter of Life and Death or Something, a debut novel by a New Brunswick-born artist and writer, is told from the perspective of Arthur, a homeschooled child whose wide-ranging, though peculiar, vocabulary and interests suggest scattershot teaching. Scattershot parenting, too: Having a 10-year-old boy discover the notebook in the woods serves the purpose of the narrative; in the real world, it would suggest irresponsible parenting — “Come back before dark,” his father, Simon, tells him. (Arthur insists Simon is not his father and makes up occupations and adventures for his “real” parents. By the end, there’s a hint of the truth.)

The book also includes excerpts from the mournful Phil’s notebook. Something “really bad” happens in the diary, which I can’t reveal, though it’s likely the reader will surmise what it is within pages, if not paragraphs, of its discovery. It’s sad that a 10-year-old should have to read about the things that happen on page 43, sadder still that there’s something in him that propels him to try to remedy the irremediable. But try he does. The narrative push of the novel is Arthur’s attempt to find out who Phil is. To do so, he does the rounds of the neighbourhood, tape recorder in hand, asking residents if they know Phil.

For an author’s literary device to work — and how many times have we read about someone finding a diary, a notebook, a ring or a key and then embarking on a quest of some sort? Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close comes to mind — the reader has to be as emotionally engaged by its contents as the character who finds it. Arthur may care about Phil’s notebook and fate, but I didn’t. The ambivalence, I’m afraid, starts with the title; the “something” feels like Stephenson can’t commit to the life and death underpinnings of his novel. He may as well have titled it A Matter of Life and Death or Whatever.

The notebook is but one device in Stephenson’s utility chest. There are references to The New Yorker’s “20 Under 40” crowd, of which Foer is a member. There are also nods to J.D. Salinger and Harper Lee, who Stephenson counts among his influences. To Kill a Mockingbird is mentioned by a character named Finch, Arthur’s down-the-street playmate, and a Boo Radley-like hermit who plays a didactic role in the denouement. But these references don’t go anywhere or deepen any understanding of the book. The book includes pencil and ink drawings, too (Stephenson studied at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design). And trees. I don’t want to forget the trees, who narrate their own chapters. These not very Ent-like creatures speak in poeticisms bordering on the floral, which I suppose is appropriate, but the chapters they narrate — watching Phil, Arthur and the notebook in the woods — feel tacked on, as if Stephenson doesn’t trust the reader will make the leap between chapters. I wanted to cut the trees.

The novel, sadly, feels “written,” a long exercise in multiple voices and alternative storytelling, which is a shame because the storyline is compelling: Arthur is a smart, sensitive boy on the cusp of adolescence, with all its physical, mental and emotional changes, facing a new life situation and full of deep questions about himself and that self’s place in the world. He deserved better.

My opinion: What stood out to me was about the story device about finding a notebook and going on a quest.  Another part that stood out was that the book feels “written.”

Richard Ford: I cut out this essay “Rich Writer, Poor Writer” by Pulitzer Prize- winner Richard Ford in the Globe and Mail on Oct. 22, 2011.  He talks about being published and being a paid writer.  Here’s the whole essay:

Money is an odd and complex subject to a writer. In America, at least, probably few people get into the writing racket because of the money – I'll bet not even John Grisham,  And for the guys I've always hung around with, we got into it because we wanted to write a really good book that people would read and be changed by for the better. If that occurred possibly money would follow along – although how that would happen wasn't very clear, and probably it wouldn't happen no matter what we did. The old adage of Samuel Johnson’s that says anybody who writes for any reason other than money is a nitwit, was a status I had to hope would become true of me, before which time I had to try not minding being a nitwit.

The first book I ever wrote sold to its New York publisher for the sum of $3,500 – which didn't seem like a lot of money, even in 1975. It mattered a great deal more to me that my novel would be published and possibly read than that somebody paid me for it. My wife and I felt like the money was more of a one-time windfall than anything resembling real "earnings". We certainly had no thought that it portended more money would ever come our way. Although, we knew what to do with it. We drove to Mexico and lived off of it as long as we could (which wasn't long), and tried to feel as much as possible like Hemingway and Hadley in Pamplona or wherever they'd been – eating and drinking cheap, having a good time, picking up cheques at the American Express office – while I factored up the fantasy of myself being a "working writer", which wasn't very persuasive. The money felt like what we Americans call "funny money": cash you find in a shoe box inside the closet of a house you rented, and promptly blew on drugs or a vintage Porsche or a new sound system – knowing you'd never get it again so why save it? It was real money, okay. But it wasn't "serious money". That, you got from a job. And writing wasn't really a job. It was more of a lark. It was art for art's sake. Not art for money's sake.

This idyll of my youth still affects me as being sweet and true. And during the 35 years of my writing life it has lain at the origin of how I feel about money, and specifically about money I've made writing novels and short stories and essays. In my estimation, I've made quite a lot of money being a writer. (I don't want to total it up; I might be wrong.) And that's over a writing career that's never been meteoric – although I'm happy with all of it, since I've gotten to do what I've wanted, unimpeded. I'm fairly sure I've made more money from my books than all my publishers – which doesn't seem right, or even explicable.

 I've made enough to keep from having to work at other jobs, or from becoming a college-professor-who-also-writes, or a slave to cruelly pointless magazine assignments. (It should be said that my wife has always had a "real career", and has brought home money fairly regularly – although never a king's ransom. And it should also be said that we didn't have children, those non-essential creatures who make money disappear in a way that can only be described as "viral".)
Professional athletes are sometimes quoted in interviews as saying, "I can't believe someone's paying me to do this. I'd do it for nothing." I've never quite believed that. But I've occasionally felt vaguely that way about writing. It isn't very hard to do, and it can sometimes feel pleasurable. This was a feeling I had when I was younger, of course. At 67, I'm not sure I'd do it now if somebody wasn't paying me (although no one's paying me very much for writing this – which is probably reasonable). But with less time lying out in front of me these days, other activities have begun to seem more attractive.

In truth, I don't know what I'd do differently if I had a lot more money. My house is paid for and so is my car. I don't owe anybody anything. I don't even want a vintage Porsche anymore. As a son of depression-era parents, I don't mind saying that these prosaic facts of life make me uncommonly happy – as happy as writing makes me. My wife, who's a great beauty and a former model, likes nice clothes; but we have money enough for that. I have a really wonderful motorcycle, but it's 23 years old. And my car that's paid for, I bought "used".

Oh, when I read about writers being picked by Oprah or winning an Oscar when they've tried their hand at screenwriting – and I find out that a big truck has backed into their driveway and unloaded millions – I admit I'd like to know what that feels like. (It probably feels like going sky-diving knowing god's promised you're going to land safely.) I'm happy for those writers – my good colleagues. I'm happy if they're happy, and I hope they are, and that all that money doesn't ruin their lives and cause them to get divorced and be miserable. Of course, the thing about writing is that you can't ever count yourself out. And I don't. That big truck may be looking for my address right now – which would be wonderful. I'll leave the light on. I'm sure it wouldn't ruin me.

So, as I said, it's an odd and complicated old business – money. I've always liked the adage that Samuel Johnson apparently didn't say (Louis B Mayer, that old scamp, probably said it): "If anybody ever says it's not the money, it's the money." Which means nobody much tells the truth about money – not the whole truth, anyway. Which is why it's both the source of so much giddy fun and also the root of all evil. We both love and hate it enough to lie about it. What could be more human? More … well … writerly?

Monday, October 20, 2014

You did it - Ángel Colón is free

Ángel Colón has been released from prison thanks to you!

Dear Tracy,

Ángel Colón has been released from prison thanks to you! THANK YOU!  It worked: more than 20,000 messages were sent last week by Amnesty International urging Mexico for the 
immediate and unconditional release of activist Ángel Colón, and on Thursday he was set free!

Since hearing the news I have been thinking a lot about our remarkable and very touching visit last month and how Angel was truly an inspiration to all of us; with his grace, dignity and sense of compassion. To have spent time with a survivor of torture who has been through all the injustice he has endured, deep inside a high security Mexican prison, and still come out feeling uplifted and hopefully was something quite incredible. 
alex_sig.gif Alex Neve, Secretary General,
Amnesty International Canada 

Ángel Colón has been released! 
Ángel Colón, tortured into "confessing" to crimes he did not commit and unjustly imprisoned for 5 years, has been released from jail!

Never doubt that raising our voices for rights and justice can make a difference! 

A delegation from Amnesty International met Ángel in prison during a human rights research mission to Mexico in September 2014. His story was captured on film and shared with Amnesty supporters around the world, leading to thousands to respond and urge Mexican authorities for his release.

Read about the good news and watch a video 

A grateful Hamid-Ghassemi Shall sends a letter to Amnesty supporters one year after his joyous return to Canada
Hamid_airport_300.jpg A year after returning to Canada following 5 1/2 years in an Iranian prison, Hamid writes:

"With the shadow of execution over my head I felt I had been forgotten. I felt hopeless, I felt that I had reached the end of my life and had given up hope to see my family again. Then one day, a kind person brought several photographs to me that completely changed my outlook.

They all featured my wife Antonella. In one of them she was with Amnesty International wishing me Happy Birthday. I didn’t recognize anyone except Antonella. A rush of emotion came across me --  people who didn’t know me were advocating for me.  It was then that I realized that I was not alone."  

Good news! Reyhaneh Jabbari has not been executed and pardon discussions are underway
reyhaneh_300.jpgThank you to everyone who mobilized so quickly to take action for Reyhaneh Jabbari!  The swift campaigning helped Reyhaneh’s case and has reached the ear of the Iranian authorities.
Reyhaneh has been in prison for seven years and was to be executed last.

At just 19, she was charged with murder after stabbing a man she says was trying to rape her. Reyhaneh admits to stabbing the man once, but maintains a third person was involved in his killing. These claims, which could clear Reyhaneh’s name, have never been properly investigated.

Hip hop musician and former child soldier Emmanuel Jal is spreading the human rights message across Canada 
Musician Emmanuel Jal is thrilling packed auditoriums in a cross Canada tour, challenging students to take action and be a part of change in the world.

Jal escaped as a 7 year-old from war in South Sudan along 400 other children, only to be recruited as a child soldier.

Read about his most recent stop on the tour

10+ years in prison for criticizing the government? Free them now!


Take Action

Viet Nam: Release two bloggers unjustly jailed for criticizing the government

Featured in

This petition is featured in the Amnesty International Book Club alongside this month's book selection, Ru by Kim Thúy, which tells the story of one family's journey from war-torn Viet Nam to a new life in Montreal.

Join the Amnesty International Book Club today.

Each month the Amnesty International Book Club features a best-selling book  with a connection to current human rights issues including books by Joseph Boyden, Anne Michaels, Lawrence Hill and others.

It's free to join and each month you'll receive an email introducing the book selection along with a downloadable discussion guide.

Join the Book Club

Sign up by clicking the button above, or by selecting the "Yes sign me up" checkbox when you add your name to this petition.


Take action to help secure the release of two bloggers sentenced to long prison terms in Vietnam after an unfair trial.vietnam_detainees.jpg
Two prominent Vietnamese bloggers, Nguyen Van Hai and Ta Phong Tan, were tried on September 24, 2012 and sentenced to 12 and 10 years’ imprisonment respectively. They were charged with “conducting propaganda” against the state and are considered prisoners of conscience.

Their trial, which only lasted a few hours, did not meet international fair trial standards. Only three witnesses out of nine summoned were present and the lawyers’ speeches were cut short so they were not able to provide a proper defence.

Nguyen Van Hai is reported to have insisted strongly on his innocence and the right to freedom of expression, before being cut off. Friends and supporters of the bloggers, including family members, were harassed, detained and assaulted to prevent them from attending the trial. Extracts of the trial were shown on national television.


Please take action now to help secure the release of Nguyen Van Hai and Ta Phong Tan.

We are targeting our action to the Canadian government, as we believe pressure from countries with a large ex-patriate Vietnamese community may have more influence than directly targeting the Vietnamese authorities. We hope Canada will take note of, and respond to, human rights abuses in Viet Nam.

> Send a message to Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Hon. John Baird expressing your concern at the harsh sentences imposed on Nguyen Van Hai and Ta Phong Tan and at prison conditions in Vietnam.

Thank you.
Alex Neve
Secretary General
Amnesty International Canada

Sunday, October 19, 2014

mom- son reunion/ Rob Ford dancing

Sept. 21 Mom-son reunion: I found this on Yahoo “N.L. mom reunited with Alberta son she thought was dead.”  This is a really good and happy article that I want to share with you: 

 A Newfoundland woman has been reunited with the son she put up for adoption, 46 years after she was told he had died.

"It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life," said Marion Coombs, who gave birth to a boy when she was 19 and living in Alberta.

Unable to provide the life for him that she wanted, she agreed to adoption — her pain compounded by the fact that soon after making her decision, hospital staff told her he had not survived.

"I used to think, 'if only I could have held him. If only I could have had a picture of him,' " Coombs told CBC News.

Allan had a happy childhood, but had always felt something was missing.

"[I had been] wondering who I was, and not understanding and feeling like I was lost. I dreamt that someone was going to come and find me, that it was a mistake," he said in an interview.

Now 46 and engaged, Allan, who lives in St. Albert, had been eager to know his roots. His fiancée, Heidi-Ann Wild, encouraged him to do something about it.

"Heidi-Ann put me on to the adoption agency. We filled out some paper work and at that point decided we'll take it as it comes," he said.

Letter arrived out the blue

He found out about Coombs, who had moved to the small community of Heart's Desire, in eastern Newfoundland, a few years ago.

When Allan's letter arrived at her home — it had only been sent to her name, with no address other than the name of the town — Coombs was shocked.

Her grief lingered for almost five decades — until Alberta opened up its adoption records, and she received a letter from Andrew Allan, who had gone searching for his mother.

"I thought, 'Oh my God, somebody is playing such a cruel joke on me.' It was just mind-boggling. This can't be," she said.

Relieved to learn it was no prank, Coombs made contact with Allan. They were reunited in person on the Labour Day weekend, when her son came to her home.

"For the first time in my life, I got to hold my son on my knee," she said. "It was like a burden was lifted off me, and I could not let him go."

Another reunion planned

They speak each Thursday by phone, and plan another reunion later this fall, this time in Alberta.

Coombs said she marvels at the fact that she and her son had lived for years in the same province, and not that far away from each other.

"To think when I was in Alberta, he was maybe 10 kilometres away from me," she said. "We must have crossed paths hundreds of times."

Allan said the reunion was the moment of a lifetime.

"I felt like I was complete again, you know. I finally felt right," he said.

Coombs said she thinks back to her initial sorrow, of not having had the chance to hold her infant son and then being told that he had died.

"Sometimes I get angry [about] what happened," she said.

"But, I got to put all that in the past now and live for the future and live for my sons and grandchildren," she said. "Don't even look back. It's too painful. At least I got him now."

Here is a comment:

Rougue: In Manitoba, my now wife had our first son in 1968. She was 17 years old at the time. We were not living together but had planned on moving together after his birth. While at the hospital, Manitoba Child and Family Services came and took our son away. They told us all kinds of lies. My now wife went into a depression and has never recovered from it till this day. We had 2 more daughters after this but still she missed our son. We finally met our son 10 years ago and started to get to know each other. One day he disappeared and we have not heard from him since. He told me he was going to Europe to further his studies.

Bottom line to this story, my wife turned to alcohol and we are now separated. She still can't get over that her son was taken away from her and she has a deep emptiness inside her that can't be filled. Our family has been devastated by this and we are struggling each day because of the Child and Family Services policy back in 1968. Yes we tried therapy, but only worked for so long till my wife starts getting those flash backs.
CFS has put her in hell and I don't wish that on anyone. How many other women are going through hell because of CFS.

My opinion: It kind of reminds me of this one Maury episode with a maternity test.  This 50 yr old woman gave her son up for adoption.  They found a 30 yr old guy and they did a maternity test on the show and it proves she is the mother.  So that was really good. 

Cee- lo Green: I read this in Metro and found it on the internet:

On Aug. 31 over a series of since-deleted tweets, Green implied that a woman has to remember being raped in order for rape to actually occur. "If someone is passed out they're not even WITH you consciously! so WITH Implies consent," he wrote, referencing the felony charges he faces over furnishing ecstasy to a woman during a 2012 dinner in Los Angeles. To those charges, Green pleaded no contest.

Since then, his television series The Good Life was canceled by TBS, though the network insists it was pulled due to poor ratings.

On Sept. 2, Green attempted to apologize for the tweets: "I truly and deeply apologize for the comments attributed to me on Twitter," he wrote. "Those comments were idiotic, untrue and not what I believe."

My opinion: I thought Cee-lo Green was stupid with those tweets.  However, he did apologize so that’s good.

Joan Rivers: She has passed away and I’m kind of sad.  I’m not really surprised because she’s really old and she was in the hospital earlier.  It wasn’t very sudden.

Sept. 22 Rob Ford dancing: On Aug. 29, 2014, there is Rob Ford dancing at his last council session.  It’s kind of funny to see him dancing.  He has been recently diagnosed with cancer so I hope he gets well soon.  Here are some comments about the dancing:
A yahoo user: Clearly staged, to appeal to the young, the hip, the unemployed and others who unfortunately make up a significant part of the electorate. He needs to fade into the sunset, but I am not confident this will occur. Hell Ontario, well about 20% of eligible voters only voted a Wynne majority, so I am not real confident that Toronto voters will oust this buffoon. Speaking of Wynne, how in hell's name did she get a majority. Ahh right the bozo said yep cutting 100,000 public servants, yep no money for Phase 2 of LRT in Ottawa, and no doubt so many other screw ups. Wake up Ontarians, we owe close to 300 billion and this is money that must be paid. Close to 11 billion on interest alone (our combined tax dollars), and with interest rates at historic lows. Wake up and smell the coffee, and stop sniffing the Koolaid

JohnM: People lighten up, that was a great motivational singer who did what is expected of him, he got everyone in a good positive mood. As a former businessman we used to attend numerous seminars to help us put problems in a positive light, so we could learn from them and move on.

Rob Ford musicals: Here is a Globe and Mail review of two Rob Ford musicals. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Iain Reid/ Young- Adult Frankenstein

Oct. 5 Iain Reid: I cut out this article “Unanticipated Opportunity” by Iain Reid in the National Post on Jan. 14, 2012.   He talks about the sophomore slump.  He gets one book published and writes another.  Here are some excerpts.  I have to type them up myself because I can’t find the article on the internet to copy and paste:

“It would arrive in the form of my recklessly following the same steps I’d taken with my first book.  I didn’t want the progress of a potential book to become predictable or formulaic in any way.”

“I heard an interview with a novelist I admire.  He said he had no interest in writing a memoir because he wouldn’t want to start writing a book he already knows the ending.  He might use some elements of non-fiction in his work, but ultimately he wants to write fiction for the opportunity to go somewhere unanticipated.

But I think that’s where we all want to go.  Writing non-fiction doesn’t inherently sully the process of creative discovery that oxygenates all writers.   It doesn’t intrinsically provide an author with a known ending prior to the writing.  It’s the individual ingredients that have been tasted, not the finished dish.

With my first book, and now second, I’ve lived and interacted with actual people, reflected on this reality and then started writing.  But I’m not a reporter.  The techniques and tools used are the same as if I’d been writing a novel.  So is the process of exploration and advancement- what all writers (and readers covet.)”

The Code: Also on the same National Post page “A crime game played on thin ice.”  It’s a book review of The Code by G. B. Joyce.”  The review is by Sarah Weinman.  What stood out in the article was this:

“What we do to each other on the ice would be criminal in any jurisdiction if it were to take place on the street.  Even the cleanest bodycheck would be an assault…a team is just a gang by any other name, playing hard, partying hard, living hard.”

Young- Adult Frankenstein: I cut out this National Post article called “Young- Adult Frankenstein” by Mark Medley.    He interviews Kenneth Oppel. Here’s the whole article: 

Mary Shelley published Frankenstein, her first and best-known novel, when she was only 21 — an age when most people are still in university. Impressed? Well, Kenneth Oppel was still in high school when he published Colin’s Fantastic Video Adventure, a novel he’d begun at the age of 14.

Now, 25 years after the start of his writing career, Oppel has mined Shelley’s masterpiece for his latest book, This Dark Endeavour: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, one of the most talked-about young-adult novels of the fall.

“I think any time you use a classic as a springboard, you might be asking for a bit of trouble,” says Oppel, sitting on a patio near his Toronto home earlier this week. “You’re begging for a comparison. And it would be pretty tough to come out on the winning end.”

Oppel was rereading Frankenstein a few years ago when he was struck by descriptions of the scientist’s childhood. “No human being could have passed a happier childhood than myself,” Frankenstein says in an early chapter, before chronicling carefree days spent seeking the elixir of life, searching for the philosopher’s stone and raising demons.

“What kind of happy kid spends his time trying to raise the dead and commune with devils?” Oppel asks. “But, as a writer, I looked at that stuff and I thought, ‘Hmm. It’s pretty interesting kernels for stories.’ ”

Although he jotted down some ideas, Oppel was hesitant to write an origin story. The market was already flooded with prequels — Young Sherlock Holmes, Young James Bond — and Oppel didn’t want to be seen as jumping on a bandwagon, however lucrative it might be. Eventually, after finally deciding to explore Frankenstein’s childhood in a novel, Oppel typed up a couple of pages and sent them to his agent, who “flipped” for the idea. He then wrote two sample scenes, which his agent sent to publishers around the world. “There was a bidding war for the book based on the idea,” Oppel says.

In This Dark Endeavour, a 16-year-old Victor Frankenstein, with the aid of his pseudo-sister Elizabeth and friend Henry Clerval, set out to find the Elixir of Life, which Victor hopes will save his twin brother, Konrad, who has been afflicted with a strange malady. Oppel describes it as an alternative history of the Frankenstein family.

“I’m just trying to capture the flavour of the book,” he says. “It’s not supposed to be a total simulation of what Mary Shelley might have written had she gone back further in the chronology of the story.”

Those familiar with Shelley’s life or her 1818 novel will spot elements Oppel has borrowed for his own work, but readers needn’t be familiar with Shelley’s book to enjoy Oppel’s offering, though he hopes young readers will seek out the original afterwards.

“What’s exceptional is the story and the subject matter,” he says of the original. “It’s mythological. It’s a cautionary tale about science and religion and early technologies — our relationship to the things we create on the planet and the other creatures on the planet. So it’s a very moral and ethical book. I think that’s one of the reasons I like it — it’s got everything: it’s a page-turner, it’s a great story, it’s got a monster for God’s sake! It’s sci-fi! It’s horror! It’s everything! But as a writer, it’s all material. I look at it as, what a great story. I’d like to dig around in that and see where I can go with it.”

Oppel, who says he’s drawn to “heroes with huge cracks in their character,” sees some similarities between his own work and the scientist with the Lazarus complex.

“We’re grave robbers,” he says of writers. “We dig stuff up. We chop it up. We sew it back together. We do our best. Sometimes it’s ugly. Sometimes the suturing isn’t good. Actually, when I think about it, it’s a pretty excellent metaphor for the creative process. Because there is theft — subconsciously if not consciously. My imagination is informed and made up with all my favourite books, everything I saw, every comic I read, every movie, every video game I played, every theme park ride I was on. Every experience that I had is somewhere in there. And you pilfer, and you poach, and you try to recreate these amazing moments you had as a kid — these perfect, amazing, moments — and create this world.”

The 44-year-old Oppel has been creating worlds since 1985, when his first novel was published. Since then, he’s written more than 20 books for children, young adults and adults, including 1997’s Silverwing, which has sold almost a million copies around the world, and 2004’s Airborn, which won the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature.

This Dark Endeavour may prove to be his most popular book yet. It has already been sold to 13 territories around the world, and optioned for film by Summit Entertainment, the powerhouse behind the Twilight franchise. Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) has been tapped to direct. Although Oppel is realistic about the movie’s chances of being made — he says seven Frankenstein features are currently in development — This Dark Endeavour has one thing going for it: “Mine … is the only one with hot teens.”

Whatever happens with the movie, Oppel is not leaving Shelley’s world behind just yet — a sequel called Such Wicked Intent will be released next year.

Midway through our interview, I ask Oppel if he’d mind it if another writer used his work for their own fiction.

“After I’m dead, I don’t imagine I’ll have any say in it anyway,” he says with a laugh. “It’s an interesting question. Sure, if they did a good job, all power to them. Go for it. I don’t mind that, it’s really quite flattering. Too bad I wouldn’t be around to get some of the residuals.”

This Dark Endeavour: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein by Kenneth Oppel is published by HarperCollins Publishers ($19.99).

My opinion: That was a really good and strong article.  It kind of inspired me.  I did read Frankenstein in Eng. 101 when I was in Professional Writing.  The book was average to me.