Involving a Library with No Books

Old Radio by tungphoto at FreeDigitalPhotos.netI want to share this funny podcast with all of my American friends celebrating Independence Day.

Canadians will get a chuckle out of it, too.

It’s from Stuart McLean on the CBC Radio at The Vinyl Cafe.

The podcast download is Border Town.

Before you begin, swallow your coffee, tea, muffin, whatever. If you’re at work, plug in your headphones.

Enjoy!

Text, © Joan Leacott, 2013
Photo credit, tungphoto at freedigitalphotos.net

Cloak of Invisibility

My father has recently moved to a long-term care facility. He’s 85 and suffering from a nasty collection of age-related problems. I visit him on Thursday mornings and, weather permitting, we go for a spin around the neighbourhood. By “spin” I mean, he sits in his wheelchair and I push him past pretty gardens, a park under construction, busy city streets and quiet residential neighbourhoods.

We live in big city, 3.2 million strong, so we generally encounter lots of people. One time, we met a baby buggy coming in the opposite direction on a narrow sidewalk. The mom and I exchanged questioning glances. Which vehicle hits the grass? Dad’s heavier, the baby buggy obliged. We smiled. Thank you!

The beginning of life and the end of life. Both on wheels. Both pushed by women.

On the wide commercial street, we donned a cloak of invisibility. No, people didn’t smack into us or fail to give way. They looked right through us. Well, right through my dad.

He’s old. He’s bent. He’s invisible.

I got looks ranging from pitying to supportive. People felt sorry for me because my dad is still with us. I know he’d rather be with Mom, but it’s not his time. I preferred the people who understood why I was the engine to Dad’s wheels.

But Dad was still invisible.

The next time you encounter an old person, grant them visibility. Look into their faces and acknowledge their existence. Maybe even smile or say “Hello”. Make my dad’s day.

© Joan Leacott,2013

The 3,000 Year Old Woman

Once upon a time, three thousand years ago, a girl child was born. She grew to maturity in the same way her friends did.

For some magical mystical reason, she never died.

As she grew older and older, she traveled far and wide. She witnessed deeds marvelous and mad, saintly and sad. She never revealed what she saw, heard, and learned.

Until a curious journalist discovered her and begged her to reveal the wisdom she had accrued through her long long life. After a long struggle and many conditions, the journalist gained her consent.

The wisest people on the planet gathered together to meet the old woman. People around the globe, connected through the modern wonder of technology,  hovered with bated breath by their video screens.

The old woman shuffled to her high seat on a dais and eased her weary bones into the soft cushions.With gnarled hands, she sipped at the honeyed mead made from her own ancient recipe. The old woman sighed, closed her eyes, and leaned back.

The world gasped, fearing she had died before she could speak the wisdom of the ages.

The old woman’s mouth twisted and she made a rude, mocking noise. “I told Henry VIII that his second wife was no better than she should be. But did he listen? Of course not. The poor thing…

“If only I’d know about Botox when I was 1500. And fake nails, and tooth veneers…

“I taught Shakespeare how to read and write. But did I get any credit?

“And the Gray woman who wrote that Shades book should have spoken to me first. You learn things after 3,000 years… ”

On and on and on she gossiped, back and forth through history. The disillusioned sages melted away. The grouchy muttering world disconnected.

Only one young woman remained to hear the final tale.

How would you finish this story? Is there a lesson to be learned?

© Joan Leacott 2013

My Next Big Thing

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday Break.

Did you know that 2013 will be the Chinese Year of the Water Snake? Ancient Chinese wisdom says a Snake in the house means your family will not starve. Pretty snake!

To kick off my New Year, I’m jumping into the ongoing game of The Next Big Thing!

Thanks to Kelsey Browning, author of Sass–Kickin’ Love Stories and the Brain Candy Blog for inviting me to participate!

I answer ten questions about my Work-in-Progress and let you into my head space. C’mon in! But watch your toes; it’s crowded in here!

1) What is the working title of your book?

Sight for Sore Eyes

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

From the occupation of my hero and the hobby of my heroine. Asher is an ophthalmologist. Emma works in the china shop she inherited from her grandmother. She’s a photographer in her spare time. Her favourite subject is lightning storms.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Sexy small-town contemporary romance.

4) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Ben Affleck for Asher as they share the same dark colouring and they way Ben cares about his family is perfect for the role of Asher. I can’t think who’s a match for Emma. Some lovely Irish girl, for sure. 

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Ophthalmologist Asher Stockdale wants Emma Finn to dust off her old dream of globe-trotting photographer, no matter the cost to his new dream of home, family and small-town life. Carpenter ants, cream pies, and a pair of scheming seniors help Emma and Asher to see what really lies before their eyes.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m seeking agency representation for my Chronicles of Clarence Bay series. But I’m also taking two courses on self-publishing in January, so things may change. 

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

107 days. Yes, I keep track. 🙂 It’s all part of my goal-setting.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I can’t think of a specific book, only authors who share the readers I hope to appeal to. They would be Robyn Carr, Susan Mallery, Susan Anderson. These are readers who love an intimate emotional experience of authentic character growth in modern real-life relationships without save-the-world melodrama or make-believe creatures.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

These characters were introduced in Above Scandal, the first book in my Chronicles of Clarence Bay series. I was so charmed by them, that I had to write their story. 

10) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It’s set in Ontario Canada on the eastern shores of Georgian Bay, smack in the middle of cottage country. Though Clarence Bay is fictional, it’s modeled on the real town of Parry Sound which has a long history of lumbering, railways, and tourism. 

Do you have any questions for me about my stories?

To continue the fun, I’ve invited the following writers to build their link in the chain of The Next Big Thing. Their posts will be out next Wednesday, January 9th.

Gina X Grant, author of the fun and quirky Young Adult series, The Reluctant Reaper. 

Bonnie Staring, writer of Paranormal Young Adult, winner of fabulous writing awards, and awesome cheerleader. Nobody can squee like Bonnie—nobody.

Jessica Aspen, author of the Twisted Tales: Come Into the Woods series.

Mona Risk, author of sexy romance stories in settings around the world.

© Joan Leacott 2013

How do I love thee…

Bread and Wheat by Grant Cochrane via freedigitalphotos.netLet me count the raise.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My yeast can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the heel of Loaf and ideal Taste.

Did you guess from my mangled paraphrasing of Elizabeth Barrett Browning‘s poem that I love bread? Yes, earlier, I confessed to a love of kitchen gadgets. Call me multi-faceted. Besides, you can’t eat a gadget.

Anyway, the DH had been to this bakery with his brother who’d been taken by his friend.  Almost sounds like a secret society.

We have plenty of other bakeries within walking distance of our house, ranging from adequate to excellent. And I really did not need the extra temptation with Christmas in sixteen (ack!) days.

“But this bakery is special, Joan! You won’t believe your eyes!” said DH.

So we hauled butt a whole 11.32 kilometers through city traffic. Ugh. The squat brick warehouse had lots of parking. It had overflow parking. Both lots were FULL.

I began to doubt my doubts.

Before we got anywhere near the  scrupulously clean enclosed awning and automatic doors, the scent of fresh-baked bread wafted our way. Mmmmm.

Upon entering the premises my unassuming husband transformed into six feet of goody monster. His usually twinkly brown eyes darkened, a slight froth appeared at the right corner of his mouth.

No, I had not removed a single garment. Get your mind out of the gutter.

It was all for the cakes. All those cakes. Those incredible cakes.

Where was I?

Oh, yes. Bread.

The loaves were to the right. Racks, bins, trays of loaves.  Bauern schnitten, klosterbrot, holspfen art brot, volkornbrot! And stollen, strudel, spitzkuchen, and pfeffernüsse!

OMG! Gotta have it! Got have it all!!!

If you guessed this is a German bakery, you’d been right. 😉 It’s Dimpflmeier’s Bakery in Toronto. If you’re ever anywhere in the area, it’s a must-see. Bring money, surprisingly not that much, as they’re cash only.

We shopped ’til our mouths ran dry, refreshed ourselves with fresh-pressed coffee and… your guessed it… DH and I had our cake, and our bread, too.

Do you have a must-see place in your neighbourhood?

© Joan Leacott 2012

Listen to Your Gut

One day, my mother-in-law decided to go to the bank.

Her gut told her, “No, don’t go today. Go tomorrow.”

She scoffed at her fears. What harm could come to a little old lady on a beautiful sunny day in a safe neighbourhood?

She donned her coat, put her purse over her arm, and set out at a brisk pace up the broad street. Strangers smiled at her. She stopped to say “Hello” to the neighbours and make friends with the newest kids on the block. My mom-in-law loved children. The friendly tellers paid her bills one-by-one and gave her cash in her specific denominations. You know how old people are about their money.

But still, her gut nagged at her.

Almost home, she got tired and walked a little slower.

Suddenly, a man ran up from behind her, brutally snatched her purse from her arm, and vanished.

She screamed and screamed.

Neighbours came running to help and comfort her. The police were called.

“How much money did they get, ma’am?” the nice young officer asked.

My mom-in-law stood stock still on the sidewalk. Then she laughed and laughed. The poor officer thought she’d been made hysterical by the violence done her.

Finally my mom-in-law pulled herself together.

“My gut warned me, so I put my money in my pocket. All the man got was an empty purse with a handkerchief in it!”

Has your gut talked to you? Did you listen?

© Joan Leacott 2012

I Confess

There are things out there.

They call to me from crowded spaces.

They take over my private places.

They multiply without care.

Oh no! They’re coming! Help me! Save me!

Um, yeah, well.

Okay. I confess.

I have a sort of thing for kitchen gadgets. The DH would call it an obsession. It’s not that bad. I swear!

I recently succumbed to the dark urgings and went to the most awesome gadget store on the planet. If you’re looking for a food prep tool and they don’t have it, it probably doesn’t exist. The aisles are narrow. You have to sidle sideways past the other customers and staff. But, the shelves are stuffed full of goodies. You’ll find gadget heaven at Placewares in the St. Lawrence Market in downtown Toronto.

My most recent purchases were on offset spatula and #20 scoop. I have more whisks than you can shake a spatula at, pie weights, a butter curler, a melon baller, even a Microplane. All right—I have two and I want more.

But you know what the most awesome gadget is?

My apple peeler/corer/slicer—it does all three things at once. It brings a tear to my eye.

I own all these gadgets and more. But beware, I’m not afraid to use them.

Are there things out there calling to you?