Friday, May 29, 2009

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

"From where I am," the sun said, "I can see the Soul of the World. It communicates with my soul, and together we cause the plants to grow and the sheep to seek out shade. From where I am – and I’m a long way from the earth- I learned how to love. I know that if I came even a little bit closer to the earth, everything there would die, and the Soul of the World would no longer exist. So we contemplate each other, and we want each other, and I give it life and warmth, and it gives me my reason for living.”

“So you know about love,” the boy said.




Photo courtesy of Claire McNeilly


Lovingly,
Janet

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Excerpt from the introduction;


Oscar Wilde said: “Each man kills the thing he loves.” And it’s true. The mere possibility of getting what we want fills the soul of the ordinary person with guilt. We look around at all those who have failed to get what they want and feel that we do not deserve to get what we want either. We forget about all of the obstacles we overcame, all the suffering we endured, all the things we had to give up in order to get this far…

…But if you believe yourself worthy of the thing you fought so hard to get, then you become an instrument of God, you help the Soul of the World, and you understand why you are here.

Paulo Coelho
Rio de Janeiro
November 2002
Translated by Margaret Jull Costa

…”and you understand why you are here.”

Yes.
Janet

Monday, May 25, 2009

Writer's Festival a Success

So, there I sat in the beautiful, open space upstairs at Books & Co. in Picton, Ontario surrounded by many familiar faces. The faces did not belong to friends or family, (well some were friends) but were familiar because they were pictured in the pamphlet we were all given to peruse at the beginning of the night.

I was quite excited about the evening’s readings. We began with Lisa Gabriele reading from her new novel The Archer Sisters. She was fabulous to listen to with a very engaging voice full of energy. Her reading left us laughing and clapping in appreciation.




Next on the docket was Shani Mootoo. I was most eager to hear her read as I have read her writing before. In particular, I have read an excerpt published in a recent issue of ROOM magazine from her upcoming memoir. Shani read from Valmiki’s Daughter and it was at this point in the evening when I told myself I would like to work harder at my writing. She left me feeling both inspired and humbled.


The evening readings finished with a very honest Andrew Pyper reading from The Killing Circle. I say Andrew is honest because he sees and writes the honest feelings in people, good, bad and ugly.

After the readings, we all went downstairs to mingle and have a chat with the authors. The authors were very receptive to meeting everyone. I noticed other authors scheduled for the rest of the weekend were there meeting their colleagues, encouraging one another, and sharing stories. I’d say the evening was a success.

I'd like to again encourage you to see your local listings and attend readings in your area. It is well worth it. A few more coming up are listed below. Thank you to Divawrites over at http://lisamaccoll.blogspot.com/ for passing these along.

The Elora Writers' Festival, June 7
http://www.artscouncil.elora.on.ca/

Eden Mills Writers' Festival Sept 18029, 2009
http://www.edenmillswritersfestival.ca/

Keep writing,
Janet

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Learning from Fellow Writers

Writing can get complicated.

It is one of those professions that Canadian society would like to consider a hobby. It carries with it a cloud of mystery, a reputation of late sleepers who rebel against the working class and drink a lot. Admittedly some of that may be true to an extent, but considering this attitude an absolute can have a peculiar way of playing on writer’s insecurities. Should one admit to being a writer, they may find themselves being questioned on their ‘real’ job. My suggestion, hang out with more like minded people, i.e. writers.

Check your local listings for writing festivals; you may be quite surprised at the variety of the events and the quality of the information. It is a great chance to meet other authors and muse over what is out there for you to explore.

PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY AUTHORS FESTIVAL 2009
All readings will be held in the loft space above Books and Company Bookstore, 289 Main Street, Picton. Book-lovers can buy a Festival Pass for $15 to attend any and all events, or pay $5 for individual events. With the current economy in mind, prices have not been raised.

Friday May 22 Friday Night Fiction
Features three exciting novelists: NYT best-selling author Andrew Pyper [The Killing Circle, Lost Girls], Giller Prize nominee Shani Mootoo [Valmiki’s Daughter] and comedic writer/TV producer Lisa Gabriele [The Almost Archer Sisters]. 7:30 p.m. Generously sponsored by Mathers Law Office, Picton.

Saturday May 23 Author Breakfast Panel
Coffee, pastries, conversation! Join writers Zoe Whittall and Lisa Gabriele in moderated discussion with writer and publicity maverick Julie Wilson [http://www.seenreading.com/] about the impact of technology and on good old once-upon-a-time creativity. A candid glimpse into the lives of working writers. 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

More Fiction and Poetry
is a dazzling quintet of poets and fiction writers: local literary light Andrew Binks [The Summer Between], poet Zoe Whittall [Precordial Thump], Giller nominee Anthony de Sa [Barnacle Love], poet Ronna Bloom with her new collection [Permiso] and Sherri Vanderveen with her critically acclaimed second novel [Absent]. Generously sponsored by Slickers Ice Cream, Bloomfield. 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Just The Facts: Non-fiction is hot.
Kingston author Susan Olding brings us thought-provoking life lessons from her essay collection Pathologies; Elizabeth Abbott, nominated for the Lionel Gelber non-fiction prize, shares Sugar: A Bittersweet History and Eric Silbin [ former music critic for The Montreal Gazette] tells us all about rediscovering Bach’s suites for cello. Generously sponsored by Portabella Restaurant, Picton. 2:00- 4:00 p.m.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What Every Woman Should Have

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ...
Enough money within her control to move out and rent a place of her own, even if she never wants to or needs to...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ...
Something perfect to wear if the employer, or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ...
A youth she's content to leave behind....

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ...
A past juicy enough that she's looking forward to retelling it in her old age....

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .....
A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ...
One friend who always makes her laugh...
and one who lets her cry...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ....
A good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ...
Eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems, and a recipe for a meal, that will make her guests feel honored...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ...
A feeling of control over her destiny...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
How to fall in love without losing herself..

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
How to quit a job, break up with a lover, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
When to try harder... and WHEN TO WALK AWAY...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
That she can't change the length of her calves, the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents..

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
that her childhood may not have been perfect...but it's over...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
What she would and wouldn't do for love or more...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
How to live alone... even if she doesn't like it...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
whom she can trust, whom she can't, and why she shouldn't take it personally...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
Where to go...be it to her best friend's kitchen table...or a charming inn in the woods...when her soul needs soothing...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
What she can and can't accomplish in a day...a month...and a year...

by Pamela Redmond Satran


I may not completely want to have all of these things, but I am working on that too!

Janet

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Meeting Mr. Walk This Way

Downtown the other day, after dropping my daughter off to her piano lesson, I headed for my favourite café. Seated in front of the café at one of the outside tables, I noticed the tall lanky man, alone. He was wearing sunglasses.

As I walked by, he nodded a hello and I returned an audible one. I continued on, I heard him speak to me as his gaze remained on the busy vehicle and pedestrian traffic. I turned back “Pardon me?” I asked with extreme politeness, the kind you use when you are terribly uncertain. I am an expert extrovert, thus, quite socialable and have no trouble approaching people and conversation. Nonetheless, I am not accustomed to speaking with homeless people and found myself a bit careful and edgy - out of my element.

“You wear your class right here” he said as he gently and deliberately moved his enormous hand across his protruding forehead. I had no idea what he meant. I asked him “Is that a good thing or bad?” He began an intellectual pursuit explaining class and its purpose and how we all struggle to attain it. But it appears easy to me…

I went in for clarity and said poignantly “Do I appear as a snob?” He shook his head. “No, far from it, far from it.” he repeated and smiled. I thanked him for the apparent compliment, although I still did not really know what he meant. I went into the café. I got myself a juice and headed back outside - it was a beautiful afternoon.

I decided to sit with this man. He was a bit surprised but welcomed me. I told him I wrote about him. He was embarrassed and yet flattered at the same time. He lifted his glasses off of his face as if in an effort to better see me. After listening to me awhile, really listening and nodding his understanding, he explained that should I really write about him, most people would not believe what would be said. I believed him, though I do not know him.

His eyes looked young, free of age lines, and closed pensively when he spoke. His voice remained calm as it filled with passion, and, deep in thought, he rubbed the crease between his eyes with his large thumb. His words were delivered slowly, softly, and with purpose through rotting and rather filthy teeth. His hands did show age - weathered and also quite dirty. His smell was that of the elderly I have spent time with. All combined, it was rather difficult to decide how old this man really was. He could very well have been my age. Then it is my turn to listen. He spoke of spirituality, independent thinking and the right to express one's opinion freely. He spoke of war, oppression and most of all, truth. “It is all a journey; this is my journey.”

It was time for me to go. I stood to say goodbye and in a backwards sort of way, I began by offering my hand and introducing myself. He took my hand, looked me in the eye, paused and then said “Sleep deep in the crease; you are a Mother- the Mother of all Mothers.”




Janet Jarrell

Sunday, May 3, 2009

John Milton on Freedom of Expression

'Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.'

In 1644 at the height of the English Civil War, John Milton penned Areopagitica, which is now known as one of history’s first impassioned defences to freedom of expression. Ironically, Milton never delivered this argument verbally, however there was no need, the message was clear; to allow freedom of speech in written form. John Milton may have been more concerned about religion and less with the politics of war; unfortunately, history has seen these two go hand in hand.

Thanks to John Milton, and all who followed and fought for the right to freedom of expression. Thank you to all who exercise this right and provide the poetry, novels and the daily news which combined help to map out our history.




On Time
By John Milton

Fly, envious Time, till thou run out thy race,
Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours,
Whose speed is but the heavy plummet's pace;
And glut thyself with what thy womb devours,
Which is no more than what is false and vain,
And merely mortal dross;
So little is our loss,
So little is thy gain.
For when as each thing bad thou hast intombed,
And last of all thy greedy self consumed,
Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss
With an individual kiss,
And Joy shall overtake us as a flood;
When every thing that is sincerely good
And perfectly divine,
With truth, and peace, and love, shall ever shine
About the supreme throne
Of Him, t' whose happy-making sight alone
When once our heav'nly-guided soul shall climb,
Then, all this earthly grossness quit,
Attired with stars, we shall for ever sit,
Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee, O Time.