! This, That and
The Other Thing .............. 2
! Paeans ................................ 3
! Anthology Submissions ..... 3
! Challenge Winners ........... 5
! If I Do Say So Myself..........7
A newsletter for writers and editors
The Writers’ Circle of Durham Region
April/May 2002 Vol. 8 No. 2
Spring Brings Words Ode to Gwynn
to Whitby By Philippa Schmiegelow
Oh Gwynn you have done such a wonderful
In getting our Word Weaver out as decreed;
This is the week you’ve been waiting ACTRA and Juno award-winning audi-
Without a complaint, or a sigh, or a sob
for! Lovers of all things literary come ence favourite takes to carrying on about You have gone right ahead
together this week at Words in Whitby, culture, health care, drugs and many of and got on with the job
the celebrated reading series. Canada’s most volatile “isms” — region-
Perennial favourite Ted Barris plays alism, nationalism, socialism — as well as Now this may be painting the picture too rosy
host to the annual event, which kicks off our national obsession, hockey. By making it sound altogether too cosy;
Friday, April 6, with a reception at his- Words in Whitby made a smart move But from my perspective (and I’ve been in the
toric Trafalgar Castle School featuring booking Broadfoot. How else can you get You have always delivered
Governor General’s Award-winning nov- a cast of many — Big Bobby Clobber, While making it grow
elist Richard B. Wright, author of the Sergeant-Major Renfrew and The
Giller prize-winning Clara Callan. Member from Kicking Horse Pass — all Into something worth reading:
Barris and son Alex then play off one for the price of one? We turn to it quick
another as the consummate broadcasters Start nurturing your angst now for To discover the dates
And the deals and the trick
flex their interviewing muscles together Saturday’s Q & A session with this Order Of writing a journal that’s never too heavy
in a discussion of their recent collabora- of Canada recipient. But somehow miraculously always is ready
tion, Making Music. After lunch, Whitby’s own Susanna
Two of Canada’s best and brightest Kearsley, the internationally known You’ve set a hard standard for others to follow;
authors, London’s Joan Barfoot and author whose novels include Named of the That retreat dished up more than memories so
Regina’s Sandra Birdsell, are featured in Dragon, Season of Storms and Shadowy mellow
the morning reading section on Saturday. Horses, appears, followed by Canada’s For Annette came along and
Liked what she saw —
Barfoot’s novels include the Books in eminent historian, Pierre Berton. And now you have handed her
Canada First Novel Award-winning The Whitehorse-born Berton is widely Over the store!
Abra, Dancing in the Dark, which became regarded as the premier popularizer of
an award-winning entry in the Cannes Canadian history. His newspaper career So to both of you women so beautifully tressed
and Toronto film festivals, and, most included stints at the Vancouver News- I deliver this randomly wandering address;
recently, Critical Injuries. She also writes Herald (where, at 21, he was the My apologies for daring to call myself Poet
But Annette dished out deadlines
a weekly column for the London Free youngest city editor on any Canadian
Press. daily), the Vancouver Sun and the And wouldn’t you know it
Birdsell was born and raised in Toronto Star. He has also worked at I couldn’t resist rhyming off
Manitoba, the fifth of 10 children, and Maclean’s magazine and has long been a This short ditty;
began publishing at the age of 40. Her staple on Canadian television, both on Perhaps there’ll be those
works The Two-Headed Calf and The his own shows and as a panelist, perhaps Who will say “what a pity”,
Chrome Suite were short-listed for the most notably on CBC’s Front Page But thank you, dear Gwynn,
Governor General’s Award. The Missing Challenge. His books include Klondike, For those days and those nights
Child was awarded the Books in Canada The Promised Land and the hugely suc- When you toiled for us all
First Novel Award. cessful Vimy. Yet stayed gracious and bright
At Saturday’s gala luncheon, Dave Berton has won numerous awards and
Broadfoot, an original cast member of distinctions, including three Governor And welcome Annette,
the Royal Canadian Air Farce and a gen- General’s Awards and the Stephen May you never regret it,
As the Sun and the Moon
uine original, takes centre stage. Prepare Leacock Medal for Humour. Turn to blood —
to roll in the aisles while Broadfoot gets He is a Companion of the Order of
on a roll. Nothing is sacred when this Canada. And you sweat it!
2 April/May The Word Weaver
This, That and The Other Thing
Nominations for the WCDR advisory Victoria Times Colonist. See www.island- Contact Trish McGrath, executive
board are now being accepted. Three net.com/vicwrite/infofair/postcard.html or director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
directors are needed for the 2002-2003 ses- e-mail email@example.com. Deadline: " " "
sion. Nomination forms outlining the May 1. Durham Life, a local weekly publication,
guidelines are now available. For informa- " " " has requested that WCDR members send
tion contact the secretary at 905-259-6520 CPA Annual Poetry Contest. Up to 50 short book press releases if you have pub-
or firstname.lastname@example.org. lines. Six cash prizes up to $50. Prize win- lished or self-published a book. Please sub-
" " " ners will be published in Poemata. See mit a 60-word press release about you, your
TWUC 6th Annual Writing for Children http://www.mirror.org/cpa. Deadline: book and its availability to Lynda Allison
Contest. Up to 1,500 words. Call 416-703- June 30. at the WCDR address on back page or by
8982; visit the TWUC Web site or e-mail " " " e-mail to email@example.com.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline: April 23. Fiction publisher Bollix Playhouse is seek- " " "
" " " ing to add to its roster of literary, quirky and CBC Radio One continues to offer oppor-
2002 Great Canadian Short Story unusual children’s picture books, epics and tunities for writers who love radio. Visit
Contest from Storyteller, Canada’s Short chapter books. For more information call http://todmaffin.com/reallife for details.
Story Magazine. Length 2,000 to 6,000 309-676-6522, send a fax to 309-676-6557 or " " "
words. Stories must contain a uniquely e-mail email@example.com. Signal, a bi-annual literary arts maga-
C a n a d i a n " " " zine is looking for submissions for its spring
element (theme, setting, history, institution, The editor of The New Life Times, pro- issue. Signal wants work that pushes for
politics, social phenomenon, etc.). Prizes up duced by The New Life Christian Centre artistic excellence and that is well crafted,
to $400. All stories that appear in the issue in England is looking for testimonies, imaginative and original.
will receive a copy of Corel WordPerfect poetry or stories (fiction or non). Non- Send poetry and prose (limit 2,500
2002 Suite (worth about $500.) Get details paying. Contact editor Debbie Paddock at words, non-fiction okay) by April 15 to
at www.storytellermagazine.com. Deadline: firstname.lastname@example.org. Milan Parab, Signal, 371 Blackmarsh Rd.,
April 30. " " " St. John’s, Nfld., A1E 1T3 or to signal-
" " " The Toronto Book & Magazine Festival email@example.com.
Victoria School of Writing Postcard is seeking a contract festival co-ordinator " " "
Story Competition. Fiction up to 300 for Word on the Street, Toronto’s annual The Toronto Sun is looking for community-
words; up to two entries per person. Prizes one-day book and magazine festival. oriented columns about Durham Region for
are full and partial scholarships to the July The festival co-ordinator works closely monthly section. Pays $100.
15 to 20 Victoria School of Writing. with festival suppliers, exhibitors, book Get details from Sharon Aschaiek via e-
Winning stories will be published in the and magazine publishers, and volunteers. mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
News From The zation that now numbers close to 300 initiate a Writer in Residence programme to
members. But that’s only housekeeping help you polish that anthology submission,
compared with what she’ll help us accom- or any other piece you may have in the
plish in the near future. works. (If you don’t have something in the
You’ll soon be receiving information on works, it sounds like a very good time to get
Aprille Janes, president how you and your writing business can be something started.)
Those members who missed the last few included in our first services directory. This It also sounds like a great time to be a
breakfasts also missed some of the most little booklet will list members who write, edit, member of The Writers’ Circle of Durham
wonderful news I’ve presented in quite a speak, teach — and probably other things I Region!
while. The Ontario Trillium Foundation haven’t even thought of yet. These directo- In addition, we are acquiring a profes-
approved our application for a grant to help ries will be made available to organizations sional display unit for Word on the Street
with administration needs and expanding such as school boards, libraries, service and other events, plus two laptops to keep
our presence in the community. There are groups and other writers’ groups to let them everything (and everyone!) organised. The
exciting plans being put into action even as know what we have to offer. plan is to have one at the breakfast meet-
you read this. Another new initiative will be an anthology ings to update memberships, register new
First, we welcomed Anna Therien as our of our members’ works. See opposite page for members and even print nametags and
administrative assistant. Anna’s job will be to guidelines on how your work can be included. membership cards once we acquire a
help the board carry out regular WCDR busi- We want to show the world the talent of portable printer.
ness and the new initiatives we have out- WCDR writers. This is your chance to shine. Again, a big thank you to Trillium.
lined. Only one month into the job and I can’t On top of this, we will be hiring an expe- Because of their belief in us we have an
imagine how we ever got along without her. rienced editor to work with the anthology exciting future ahead of us. Make plans
She has already helped Kathleen organ- team. This means there will be an opportu- now to be part of it.
ise and bring our membership records up nity for members to learn about and gain
to date. She is assisting Sue with the book- real knowledge in putting together a publi-
keeping. And she’s a huge help to me with cation such as this.
the day-to-day affairs of running an organi- At the same time, plans are being laid to
The Word Weaver April/May 3
Congrats to Laura Suchan on the publi- Anna Therien, our administrative assis-
An Anthology By
Any Other Name
The WCDR is on the brink of putting out
cation of her article in the Toronto Star on tant at WCDR, had her first two articles its first-ever anthology. All it needs is a
Feb. 16. The piece, which was about mem- published recently: in Lives Lived in The name, a cover design and some content!
oirs and centred on June Duffy-Smith and Globe and Mail and the spring issue of At But first things first — the name.
her self-published book, The Duffy’s, Home in York Region magazine. That’s We know you already can’t wait to get
appeared in the Life section. Both Laura and quite a debut, Anna! your hands on a copy, but think how much
June are WCDR members. " " "
more you’ll cherish it if it has a credit inside
" " " Jo Sorrill has an article in the that says you came up with the title.
The fall/winter 2001 issue of Signal mag- March/April issue of Fifty-Five Plus maga- Fill out the form below and send it no
azine, a literary arts journal out of St. zine, including a throw on the cover no later than May 31, 2002.
John’s, Nfld., features poetry by lichen lit- less! You’ll find Fifty-Five Plus The winning entry will be announced on
erary journal board members Steven free on racks around town, the WCDR Web site on or about June 15.
Laird, Ingrid Ruthig and Ruth E. including at pharmacies. Way Cover contest
Walker. Our hats are off to all. to go, Jo! Once it’s been christened, we’ll be call-
" " " " " "
ing all artists to submit cover designs. So
It’s a double-whammy for Ingrid, Lois Gordon and Gwynn call on your muse and watch the Word
two of whose poems are appear- Scheltema have articles in the Weaver and the Web for details.
ing in an upcoming issue of the spring issue of At Home in York Call for submissions
Windsor Review. Region magazine and have both This is your chance to be a part of
" " " become regular contributors, along WCDR history. Prose, poetry, essays,
Looking In: Portraits of the with Aprille Janes. What a memoirs — anything that sparked enough
Canadian Soul, an anthology team! passion in you to write it down.
of original stories by " " "
Entries must be no longer than 2,500
Canadian e-authors, features a Dorothea Helms knocks our socks words. Deadline for submissions is July 31,
short story by WCDR member — or is that suits? — off yet again in the 2002. Submissions must be made by mail
Judy Bagshaw. You can download it May issue of Chatelaine. “Speaking of to address on coupon below. Standard
free of charge at http://ceauthors.com/ Bespoke” takes a look at women having mms format. Excellent advice for standard
ceanthology.htm. That’s e-terrific, Judy! clothing custom tailored. mms format is available at http://www-
" " " Dorothea asks that we all take heart in 2 . c s . c m u . e d u / ~ m s l e e /
Frank Young’s First Person Singular her experience — the woman who sends format.html — although we can’t help but
segment aired on CBC March 6th, and out the rejection letters knew her by name. point out that it’s an asteriSK, not an
Aprille Janes, our own beloved prez, asteriX.
recently had her piece accepted. Editor’s note: Sincere apologies to anyone (For those online: Bearing in mind that
Colour us impressed. Doesn’t that bring whose news got overlooked in our editorial hard copy entries are necessary to the
the total to five? We’re thinking The transition. reading process, but eventually must be
WCDR Show has potential! Please write to me and toot your own horn retyped, simultaneous submission of iden-
at email@example.com. tical electronic file is much appreciated.
Send to: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
BUILDING I think the anthology should be called:
L Think about a country to
which you’ve never been. Think
about life there: the sounds, the
architecture, the standard of liv-
ing, the government, etc. Now
write a diary entry as if it were
the end of a typical day — and
you’d been born and raised there.
What is your life like? How
much does where you live affect
how you live? Mail to: Anthology Name Contest, WCDR, P.O. Box 323,
Do a little research if you’ve Ajax, Ont. L1S 3C5 no later than May 31, 2002
got the time, so you’ll get the
details exactly right.
4 April/May The Word Weaver
Odds and Eds April/May Challenge
As my first order of business as the new
Word Weaver editor, I’d like to thank Aprille
Janes and the board of the WCDR for giving Who doesn’t love a limerick? Okay, not everyone loves them, but you have
me this opportunity. I understand my quali- to admit they’re fun to write. And after all, serious writers can elevate any
fications were second to none. Also, that genre. Send your entries by May 15 to email@example.com or by regu-
mine was the only application. lar mail to the editor at address on last page.
I invite you to join me over my tenure
as we shape the Word Weaver together. It’s In this spirit, we hail to the season
my hope that it will continue to be the Your poem needs rhyme, but not reason
one envelope for which we can check the The object is fun
mail box eagerly and without fear. As we welcome the sun
Thanks, too, to the inestimable Gwynn And say “Hurry up, Spring, we’re freezin’!”
Scheltema on behalf of the group for
doing a stellar job on the Word Weaver.
On a personal note, thank you for your
For those who don’t know me, I’m a
fairly recent member, a Leo, a would-be
novelist and a long-time staffer at the To register for workshops, contact Lois Gordon by e-mail at
Toronto Sun. firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 905-259-6520
But don’t hold that against me.
As you can see, the look of the Word The workshop calendar is posted on www.wcdr.org
Weaver has changed some. When I sat
down to begin my first issue, I discovered
this newsletter is the best toy anybody Outrageous I Do Different
ever gave me — it’s a chance for me to
trot my literary paces on turf untouched
by advertising; to read and write about
writing and reading, and to put a piece of
myself into something that is an honour to Workshop: Dorothea Helms Workshop: Rachelle Lerner, PhD
mould. And once I sat down at the com- Saturday, April 27, 2002 Saturday, May 4, 2002
puter and started playing with it, I just 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
played and played until it turned into this.
You can tell me if you hate it, just please
Location: Pickering Library Location: Pickering Library
be gentle. Members: $45 Members: $45
Along with the new look, you’ll find a Non-members: $50 Non-members: $50
couple of new features, including “If I Do
Say So Myself ...”, a fun chance to get the If your writing needs a creative shot in Whether a budding or experienced poet,
answers to a few quirky questions from one the arm, you’ll find yourself jolted into you’ll enjoy this fascinating one-day poet-
of your fellow members. Each issue’s vic- uncharted fiction and non-fiction territory ry workshop, which offers participants
tim, er, I mean subject, will interview the in this all-day workshop. hands-on exploration of a variety of poet-
next issue’s. Based on Dorothea’s popular eight-week ic forms such as the lyric, dramatic mono-
For its inauguration, I asked the ques- Advanced Creative Writing course, this logue, confession, haiku and sonnet.
tions of Dorothea Helms, to whom I’m down-and-dirty writing day is not for the Sharpen your poetic tools through practi-
forever indebted for introducing me to the timid. Come prepared to participate in cal exercises using imagery, simile and
WCDR and who is, let’s face it, a pretty bold, courageous on-the-spot writing exer- metaphor. Turn prose into poetry, poetry
quirky gal. cises and pry open your mind with a liter- into prose. Bring your own poems to recre-
Enjoy Words in Whitby; it’s sure to be an ary crowbar. ate in a different form. Additional poems
awe-inspiring event. When it’s all over, send Workshop leader Dorothea Helms is will be available for use during the work-
me your impressions for the next issue. owner of Write Stuff Writing Servies, a shop.
If you read my limerick, you’ll guess how thriving home-based writing/editing Facilitator Rachelle Lerner, PhD, has been
much I detest the cold, so it gives me business. published in literary journals, and served as
enormous pleasure to say good-bye for She is also a college-level creative writ- co-ordinator of Descant for several years. She
now with the words, “See you in the sum- ing instructor, and has inspired numerous has taught poetry, narrative, drama and
mer!” students to go on to get published and win other literary courses at the University of
Annette McLeod, email@example.com writing contests. Toronto and Trent University.
Thanks to those who have opted to receive the Word Weaver by e-mail. This helps the WCDR
save printing and mailing costs. If you’d like to give it a try, contact Dorothea Helms to try the test
PDF file, then let her know if you’d like your name added to the E-Word Weaver list.
The Word Weaver April/May 5
February/March Challenge Winners
Last issue’s challenge was to write a short story or poem about
ending or leaving. All these submissions share a common thread Untitled
— that ending something is always a beginning too. There were By Barkley Fletcher
many beautiful and thought-provoking submissions — no one Leaving is not ending
told me the hardest part of this job would be leaving some out! But I want it to end
Thank you all. The beginning was good
The middle fair
But the end
The Finishing Line Will be unfriendly
But I do not care
By Pat Skene
I sit and wait Let it end
Alone Then I’ll leave
Cold cement seeps through my linen pants
Arms hold quivering flesh together
Court House noises with vacant detached faces Graduation
Clacking feet pound a hollow beat through the halls By susana gomes
Echoes of divorce It’s over. Four years. Twenty courses. One degree. Sixty-
On graffitti-grey walls of stone two books — forty-eight second-hand. One dog-eared
Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Eight poems read at the pub on
Mahogany groans at the hinges Friday’s Open Mike. Thirty or so friends - three good ones.
Ceremonious announcements Five lovers. Two one-night stands. Four words of wisdom.
At the finishing line One Pontiac Sunbird — used, but red. Five macaroni and
I walk the aisle cheese lunches per week. One roast beef dinner each
Alone Sunday. Twenty-one days no dinner at all. Six weeks tree
A chancel of black robes await planting near Dryden each summer for three years. God
I remove my ring knows how many trees. Two black bears in the middle of the
night. One native hunter. No bears at all. One summer
Promising shadows fade in sun blistered paint cruise on the Ottawa River at sunset. One airplane ride to
I was always Portugal. One grandmother’s funeral. One long flight back
Alone home. Eight weeks job hunting and eight weeks considering
He never had the time a second degree. Eleven job interviews. Three-hundred and
Not even today nineteen dollars in my bank account. Eight thousand dollar
To celebrate the wreckage limit on Dad’s credit card. Fourteen boxes stacked in the
Of his victory corner of my dorm room. Two narrow beds. One look back
at me, over your shoulder, your golden hair loose and shim-
mering in the summer morning sun against the black of your
Leaving graduation gown. It’s over. It will never be like this again.
By Kathleen M. Martin
When I emigrated from Scotland, I left behind a feeling
of belonging; a belonging where my name, heritage, family, The End
friends, culture, work and dialect all declared my identity. I By Judy Bagshaw
left with a sense of loss of the known, where my space and Shari sat filled with apprehension, and surveyed the boun-
place with its familiar boundaries meant security. I left a city ty before her. It had been Edward’s suggestion to come here,
built on a hill overlooking the river Tay, an industrial city to celebrate their anniversary in high style at their favourite
with foundries and jute mills with rackety machines, jam place, a place filled with warm memories of happy times. She
factories, narrow laneways, tenements and double-decked had balked at first but then, seeing how much it meant to
buses. I left with images etched in my mind where buskers him, relented. How could she explain to him that she need-
entertained at street corners, vendors sold whelks, mani- ed to forego these small pleasures, that she needed to be
cured parks beckoned long Sunday walks, purple heather strong? He wouldn’t understand, not really. He never did. At
carpeted distant hills, pipe bands stirred up pride, and where these times when she fought so hard against her own weak
dancing at the Palais fulfilled my spirit. I left savouring the nature, he merely expressed how much he loved her, how
smells and tastes of sweeties in paper bags, Macintosh toffee, beautiful he still found her. He didn’t understand that it was-
fish and chips soaked in malt vinegar and wrapped in news- n’t enough. And now, here she sat, the moment of truth
paper, currant dumpling with money hidden inside and arrived, when she must make the decision forced upon her.
scones with marmalade. Slowly, with shaking hand, she lifted the fork to her mouth
Newly wed, with my new identity recorded in my pass- and tasted the succulent richness of the Alfredo sauce. There
port, I left the land of my birth with mixed feelings. it was, the end of another diet.
6 April/May The Word Weaver
To join one of the circles below, please call the
contact person indicated
For general information, write to Sherry Loeffler
May 11, 2002 at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 905-640-6315
Featured Guest: Carol Anne O’Brien
O’Brien will cover the captivating sub- Group leaders, please notify editor of changes to
ject of copyrighting, along with other dates, times or locations
interesting tidbits about the legal aspect of Circle for Children’s Writers Richard Ferrier Writers’ Circle
writing and publishing, as well as use of First Wednesday of each month Formerly Volume Two
work on the Internet, a topic on which May 1; June 5 Third Tuesday of each month
she has published numerous papers. 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. April 16; May 21; June 18
O’Brien graduated from Queen’s Oshawa Library, Northview Branch 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
University in 1982, and received her 250 Beatrice St. E., Oshawa History Room at Pickering Central
Master’s degree from the University of Mike Ward, email@example.com Library
Toronto in 1984. She has worked as a uni- Tina Ivany, 905-427-1270 or tdivany@sym-
versity librarian, a business information Durham Write-On patico.ca
analyst and a library manager, and graduat- Tuesdays, every other week Ron Dixon, 416-284-5673 or
ed from the University of Ottawa’s law April 16, 30; May 14, 28 firstname.lastname@example.org
school in 1996. She articled with a boutique 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
communications and administrative law Call for location Senior Scribes of Uxbridge
firm and was called to the bar, and joined Ruth Walker, 905-728-7823 Second and fourth Friday of each month
Cassels Brock in 1998. April 12, 26; May 10, 24; June 14, 28
Inkwell 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
June 8, 2002 Formerly Bowmanville Writers’ Group Township Hall, Uxbridge
Featured Guest: Neil Crone Third Tuesday of each month Joyce Whitney, 905-852-3414
Join us in June for our annual general April 16; May 21; June 18
meeting and then a real treat, Neil Crone. 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Word Players
Crone is an actor and writer who lives Boardroom, Hamilton and Mutton Newcastle Writing Group
with his wife, two small boys, two psycho 1 Division St., Bowmanville Call for dates
cats and one very patient dog. Crone has Lynda Allison, 905-623-0365 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
performed in dozens of television and 261 Mill St. S., Newcastle
radio commercials and TV shows, and is Markham Village Writers’ Group Philippa Schmiegelow, 905-987-4856
the voice of numerous cartoon characters Monthly
every Saturday morning, He has also done Send e-mail for times and dates Write in Whitby
a number of feature films including the Donna Marrin, email@example.com Second and fourth Tuesday of each
soon-to-be-released Red Sneakers, with month
Gregory Hinds. Newcastle Poetry Club April 9, 23; May 14, 28; June 11, 25
You can catch him on YTV’s kids’ series Third Monday of each month 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Screech Owls, on CTV’s Power Play, the hit April 15, May 20, June 17 Whitby Public Library
children’s show Noddy, and as the weirdly 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Lloyd Blair, 905-430-0075
friendly Mr. Crawford on Eerie Indiana. Philippa Schmiegelow, 905-987-4856
A Second City veteran improviser, host Write Now
and stand up comic, Crone also loves to Northword Edition A group for on-the-spot writing
write poems and stories for “big and little Every two weeks Every second Thursday
kids.” His first book, I Am Dead at Recess, is April 16, 30; May 14, 28; June 11, 25 April 11, 25; May 9, 23; June 6, 20
currently published on the Internet. He 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
writes a weekly humour column for the Uxbridge Public Library Uxbridge Public Library
Metroland papers and is a contributing writer Dorothea Helms, 905-852-9294 Sue Reynolds, 905-985-1962
for CBC Radio’s new Real Life Chronicles pro- Actively seeking new members
gramme. Once he meets Don Knotts and Writers’ and Editors’ Network
Dick Van Dyke, he figures he can die. Oshawa Scribes Breakfast meeting
First and third Tuesday of each month Third Saturday of each month
April 16; May 7, 21; June 4, 18 April 20; May 18; June 15
See opposite 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
page for Oshawa Library, Northview Branch Stemms Eatery
breakfast 250 Beatrice St. E., Oshawa 3300 Bloor St. W., Etobicoke
details. Grace Stevenson, 905-725-0760 Mickey Turnbull, 905-824-5035
The Word Weaver April/May 7
If I Do Say So Myself ...
Q: Annette McLeod " A: Dorothea Helms
I recently ran across this quote from that carry the reader through The Shipping I admire Barbara Kingsolver’s style and
George Orwell’s 1946 essay, Politics and the News, or Margaret Atwood’s bold omission her versatility. She writes stunning fiction
English Language: “A man may take to of quotation marks in Alias Grace? and creative non-fiction that leaves me
drink because he feels himself to be a fail- Both ugly and beautiful ideas have been awash in awe. When I read her work, I
ure, and then fail all the more completely expressed using the same language for cen- often stop and sigh, thinking, “I wish I’d
because he drinks. It is rather the same turies. As clichéd as it seems, I refer you to written that.”
thing that is happening to the English lan- author Margaret Wolfe Hungerford’s Kingsolver’s writing is soft and edgy;
guage. It becomes ugly and inaccurate famous quote, “Beauty is in the eye of the kind and tough; subtle and blunt; inven-
because our thoughts are foolish, but the beholder.” tive and solid; serious and funny. I find the
slovenliness of our language makes it easi- But there’s a limit to my open-minded- stark originality of her metaphors refresh-
er for us to have foolish thoughts. The ness. Despite the political correctness ing.
point is that the process is reversible.” trend, I do not accept sentences with sin- I’d have to answer Mark Twain for the
Does that resonate with you? In what way? gular nouns and plural pronouns. To me, author whose ideas I most admire. The
“Each graduate must provide their own man was brilliant, and way ahead of his
As much as I love all things grammatical, cap and gown” sounds ignorant. time. Twain had the courage to challenge
I find Orwell’s quote unnecessarily nega- I’ll rewrite a sentence before resorting to accepted societal norms, and he managed
tive. In his essay, he misuses the word that technique. to do it through humour.
“which,” among other grammatical trans- Fact is, I care about grammar, but I’m He was Stephen Leacock’s favourite
gressions. By today’s standards, taking learning to loosen up about it. After taking writer, as well as being mine. He’s my lit-
advice on grammar from him would be like courses through the Editors’ Association of erary idol, and if the Humber School for
taking advice on weight loss from me. Canada, I’ve found out how much I still Writers could have found a way to get in
Language changes, even for the British. have to learn. Who’s “right,” anyway? Even touch with him in Heaven, I’d have him as
(When’s the last time you heard a Brit say in Canada, publications use numerous a mentor in a flash.
the word “forsooth”?) There are George styles whose grammar rules conflict. Add
Orwell thinkers in each generation who to that the fact that I grew up in the U.S. What was the most memorable movie
subscribe to the, “We learned language this and still prefer to place a comma before the line you ever heard?
way, so it must be the right way” school of “and” in a series — and, well, you see why
thought. I was one when I took creative my feelings are mixed.
writing in 1992. Teacher Marge Green As an editor, I appreciate it when writers I have three. The first is from the James
opened my mind to the fluidity of language, go to the trouble to use good grammar. I Bond classic Thunderball: “Jettison
and encouraged me to start a sentence with hope, however, that the propensity for lan- cocoon!” Whoever designed Largo’s yacht
“But” for the first time in my life. guage to make it easier for us to have fool- was a natural-born lateral thinker!
Ouch! But once I did it, I admit it ish thoughts is irreversible. If no one ever The second is from Caddyshack, when
became easier a second time. Now I start dangled participles, humour writers would Rodney Dangerfield meets the judge’s wife
sentences with conjunctions when I feel it lose a lot of fodder for jokes. and says, “You musta been somethin’
helps the flow of a piece. before electricity!”
Plus, I find it liberating to break grammar Oh, oh, and there’s Young Frankenstein,
rules for effect. Would you fill a Michael Whose writing do you most admire for when Inga gets caught behind the book-
Ondaatje book with red marks for the liber- their style? For their ideas? case after freeing Freidrick and says, “Put
ties he takes with language? How about ... ze candle ... beck!”
Annie Proux and the sentence fragments
Time flies when we are having fun
By Kathleen Wilkins Lunn
“They paddle. You steer.” Caught up with family and our friends
Time drags and crawls with certainty
Hamlin Grange, at the March breakfast meeting, When work-day’s end is hours away
on the dynamics of a good interview Time for you, time for me, time for us
A moment, a flicker, a heartbeat,
Breakfast meetings run from 8:30 a.m. to Eternity, tempo, timing, precious.
11 a.m. at Iroquois Park Sports Complex Time is restless; rushing to be gone
50 Victoria St. W. If only we could hold it still,
(at Henry Street) in Whitby For when we need it; pin it down
For us, forevermore.
Members, $12; guests, $15 Time turns and twists away from us
Your place must be reserved no later than Teasing, flirting, touching us
the Tuesday prior with Until we think we have caught
Nancy Rogers at 905-259-6520 Elusive time
Only to find, that wickedly,
or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Time has run out on us!
8 April/May The Word Weaver
Calendar events April 5 and 6, 2002
Words in Whitby
May 11, 2002
Featured Guest: Pierre Berton Featured Guest: Carol Anne O’Brien
Writer, Broadcaster and Historian Copyright Lawyer
April 27, 2002 June 8, 2002
Outrageous Writing Breakfast Meeting
Leader: Dorothea Helms Featured Guest: Neil Crone
Workshop Actor and Author
May 4, 2002 To register for breakfasts
I Do Different Voices see page 7
Leader: Rachelle Lerner For workshops
Workshop see page 4
WCDR Board of Directors
Aprille Janes Kathleen M. Martin Lois Gordon
President Secretary Workshops
905-985-6453 905-905-259-6520 905-259-6520
email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Ruth E. Walker Sue Reynolds Dorothea Helms
Past President Treasurer/Memberships Public Relations (Electronic Media)
905-728-7823 905-985-1962/Fax: 905-985-9338 905-852-9294 or 905-852-0551
firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Fax: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alexandra Savage-Ferr Nancy Rogers Lynda Allison
Vice-President/Events Co-ordinator Breakfast Co-ordinator Public Relations (Print Media)
905-430-3540 905-259-6520 905-623-0365
email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Administration: Anna Therien, firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor ! Annette McLeod
Copy Editor ! Philippa Schmiegelow
We welcome your input
www.wcdr.org Send comments and submissions to
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Famous Last Words
Which is better — to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill? Piggy, Lord of the Flies