View From The Glen

Monday, February 27, 2012

Story Time

Three things today.

I. Fairytales

Fairytales are making headlines again today and I had the above conversation on Twitter. You can find the original article referred to in the tweet here. And here is the link to a rebuttal entitled 8 reasons why Fairy Tales are essential. Finally, the whole conversation reminded me of a blog post I wrote in 2010, which you can find here.

II. Public Speaking

Anna participated in and won the local school public speaking competition and is off to Peterborough to compete in the provincials sometime in May (date TBD). Last year she came in second locally and competed in Kingston, so she was chuffed to be getting another chance this year. As you can see from the picture, Grace is very proud of her big sister, as are we all.

III. Lambs

You asked for it. Here he is. The house lamb. In a 16 sec movie. Thanks to all of you who sent him good wishes. He is thriving and happy and funny and noisy. And still soooo cute!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Yes, Milady

Got this text from Anna last week:

Would you like your slippers warmed too? And hot crumpets, perhaps?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Blog Link

I am blogging about Gothic stories today on the Carina Press website. Drop by and say hello!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

An Image in the Snow

The woman's winters are long and bright and silent. Just before nightfall the landscape blossoms into various shades of blue. Few events interrupt the tranquility; a storm, maybe, or the delivery of supplies,  or her own infrequent journeys over ice...
Outside her door she reaches for the skis leaning against the outer log wall, places them side by side on the paper-dry snow...
Just before she passes...she turns to look the house she is leaving behind her. There is no differentiation in this season  between water and land. A delicate wisp of smoke is escaping from her chimney, although she has added no wood at all to her fire this morning.
                                                              ~from The Underpainter, by Jane Urquhart

On weekends, I take my own skis out into the miles of field and forest behind the house. Sometimes with one or all of the kids, occasionally with Andrew, often alone except for the silent companionship of my faithful dog.

We travel west, following the river that bends and twists along the edge of the property and then turn north towards the copse of trees that divides the fields. You can go for miles out here, up and down, cross country, through an old cornfield on the western border that still has some stray corn husks, clinging grey and colourless now.

Many years ago, many now, I read The Underpainter by Jane Urquhart, a writer I loved. I was underwhelmed by the book and finished it only out of that strange reader sense of honour one has sometimes to an author or a series. And yet, every time I ski away from my house, that one image with which the book opens of a woman strapping on her father's skis and skiing twenty miles across a frozen lake to meet a man who....well, I won't spoil it...every time, that image is driven into my mind and I look back at the smoke which comes from my own chimney and feel...sad? relieved? emotional? I'm not even sure. 

That image is so powerful that tonight, after an afternoon skiing in a pristine world after a fresh snowfall, I pulled my now dusty copy of the book down once more and am going to read it again.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

All fired up about...Poetry

You heard it here first. Poetry is making a comeback.

I'm convinced of it for a couple of reasons. First, that I've seen any number of new poetry books that interest me of late. That, of course, may not be a good enough reason as I've always liked poetry, and maybe it's pure coincidence.

Secondly though, I've had three discussions in as many days about this. One writer friend and one editor friend both said, out of the blue, that they felt poetry was on the verge of becoming more popular again. And at an academic dinner meeting it turned out that all four of us were fired up about poetry. Surely their reinforcing of something I was already seeing has to be more than just coincidence?

I have my own reasons as to why I think poetry could be popular. People are busy. Poetry is short. That's one thing it has going for it. But more than that, poetry is expressive, unique, and very much a voice of the moment (even if that voice is eternal). It fits right in with Facebook and Twitter and soundbites. It captures and freeze-frames the essential things. It is also powerful and passionate, and above all, beautiful.

The real reason I thing poetry is poised for popular appeal is this. I introduced poetry to my students the other day as part of my Enjoying the Short Story course. We looked at poetry and then I had them playing with words, with images, creating their own poetry. And I was overwhelmed by the response.

Poetry, it would seem, has captured the imagination of many young people.

Classic poetry. Haiku. Modern. Beat. Slam.

A poem by any other name still smells as sweet.

What do you think? Have a favourite poem or style of poetry? Leave a comment here or on Twitter.