Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Year Spent with You - -2017 in review

"On Mayne Island amidst the Holiday lights at the Japanese Gardens" by ldyck

At the end of each section, I leave hints on how to use the information I provide.

Most Popular Posts Published in 2017

Canadian Literary Prizes:  write and read (380 page views)
in which I list the winners of the Rogers' Trust, GG, and the Giller

A Star (short story) (368 page views)
inspired by my experiences as a dyslexic elementary school student

Quilt Diva (a true story) (290 page views)
how a knitter wound up walking in a parade as a quilter

After 7 years, why keep writing? (250 page views)
I created this blog 7 years ago. I explain why I'm still writing.

Byron did:  in praise of poetry (220 page views)
further explanation not required

About dyslexia (211 page views)
further explanation not required

Bloggers: take inspiration from my most popular posts to write your own web content.

Books Reviewed in 2017

(This slow reader reviewed 15 books this year. Wow! I doubt I'll repeat that number in 2018)

All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner 
an alcoholic's story

Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis
Speculative Fiction
The Greek Gods give human intelligence to fifteen dogs

Note to Self by Laurie Buchanan
Self Help
Unpack your baggage and become your best self

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
Historical Fiction
A girl is reported to be exciting on manna alone--but how

The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue
Middle Grade Fiction
A happy family of misfits

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time 
by Mark Haddon
A character sketch of a person with a neurological disorder.

Are You Seeing Me? by Darren Groth
Middle Grade Fiction
After their father's death, twins travel from Australia to Canada. One of the twins has a neurological disorder.

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad
further explanation not required

Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Middle Grade Fiction
an exploration of being short in stature

Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger
Short Story Collection
further explanation not required

The Break by Katherena Vermette
exploration of the victim -- the abuser

Nation by Terry Pratchatt
Young Adult reads like Speculative Fiction
exploration of building community

The Only Child by Andrew Pyper
which is worse -- the evil "other" or the evil inside us?

Pride by Robin Stevenson
A celebration of the gay community

Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson
Magical Realism
the effect of the residential school system on three generations of Aboriginal Canadians

Readers:  If you click the link for each book you'll be able to read the reviews--including where to buy the book.

Guest Posts

This year I interviewed four children's authors--Linda Marshall (Rainbow Weaver), Dr. Sigal Haber (Chuck the Rooster Loses his Voice), Pam Withers (Tracker's Canyon), and Maxine Sylvester (Ronaldo:  The Reindeer Flying Academy)--and author of the popular blog Tuesdays with Laurie, Laurie Buchanan (Self Note). I also shared some of my dad's--A. J. Willetts--writing with you. (I'm thrilled that my dad's post drew a "wopping" 481 page views.)

Writers:  Reading the guest posts will give you helpful tips on how to kickstart your author career. 

Thank you for spending 2017 with me. I hope you enjoyed our time together. I look forward to sharing 2018 with you.

Next post:  

Published on Sunday, January 7, 2017 2018
at approximately 5 PM PST
Writing:  right foot forward
if you like me need a little pep talk to start your year here it is.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Report from the Yule Log

Where was my head this last week? What message do I want to carry into the light of a new year?

"Yule Log" ldyck

I used to think that I was a
British Columbian

But now I know beyond any label I claim I am a world citizen. It is my only home.
I stand hand-in-hand with my sisters,
with my brothers
Respecting our differences
Celebrating our similarities
The world, our only home, is a very fragile place

'gently hold the world in the palm of your hand' ldyck

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one
-John Lennon (Imagine)

"Abby playing in the snow" ldyck
We got it a few days ago and it's almost gone

Next post:
Published on Sunday, December 31 (New Year's Eve)
at approximately 5 PM PST
A Year Spent With You--Reviewing 2017

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Supper Guest by Leanne Dyck (middle grade short fiction)

"Good morning, Mayne Island!" ldyck

This is one of my first attempts at writing for 9 to 12-year-olds.

Spoon and knife on the left side of the plate; fork on the right. I add a glass to my plate setting--mugs for my brother and my parents. 

"I set the table," I tell Mom.

She stops chopping carrots just long enough to say, "Add a plate. Your brother's bringing a guest."

I slid his placemat over, making room. "Another girl?"

I walk over to the cluttery drawer and pull out a knife, fork, and spoon.

"No, a boy from work."

A boy...?

Over to the cupboard for a glass and plate. 

"He's about your age."

It hits me like a punch. "Jeff Goodridge?" He's in the cool group. And he's way too cute--all the girls are crazy about him. He can't come here! I'll say the wrong thing, spill my milk, drink my milk. He'll think I'm a kid.

"Yes, that's his name."

"I'm not hungry." I throw over my shoulder as I bolt for the door.

"Amanda, you can't--"

I slam the door on the rest of Mom's sentence. A red flash of paint turns off the highway onto our driveway--my brother's ragtop.  I'm trapped. There's nowhere to go, except maybe...up. Branch after branch, I climb the tree. But it's spring. There are no leaves to hide behind.

"Hi, Mandy," my brother says, walking past.

Jeff looks around but can't find me.

The kitchen window slides open. "Young lady get down from there, right now!"

Now Jeff sees me. Our eyes connect for the first time since elementary. And I could die. Seriously, I feel like letting go and falling. I'd lose nothing, my life is already over. But I don't fall. I suck it up, Buttercup. My face as hot as fire, I climb down.

How did I do?

Abby and Me cuddling on the chesterfield--photo by b dyck

Next post:  Sunday, December 24 (Christmas Eve)
Published around 5 PM PST
It's the time for introspection. 
Each year this season arrives with a gift. What will I receive this year?

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Book Review: Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson (magical realism)

Happy Jolabokaflod (Yule Book Flood), everyone.

In this article by Sue Carter written for Quill and Quire, Eden Robinson reveals that she started working on a follow-up to Blood Sports but lost interest in that project and then in writing altogether. But writing Son of a Trickster rekindled her passion for the craft. And on November 7, 2017, at the Writers' Trust of Canada's black-tie gala, Eden Robinson was awarded $50, 000. So in Son of a Trickster, you read the work of an author at the height of her game sharing what she loves.

Publisher:  Knopf Canada
Published in 2017

Son of a Trickster is about the effect the residential school system has on three generations. The first generation turns their back on their culture. The second generation is angry and destructive. The third generation is lost but struggles to reclaim their culture.

Son of a Trickster is...


Jared's mom and her boyfriend 'took turns firing into the trunk of one of the target trees, which quivered until it creaked, cracked, then fell over.
"Tim-ber!" they yelled together.
"Normal people buy their trees from the Boy Scouts," Jared said, "Normal people don't hunt their Christmas tree down and kill them." ' (p. 66)


'In the sudden silence, the trees shushed in the breeze, a thousand small whispers.' (p. 237)

At times, dark

'His tiny, tightly permed maternal grandmother, Anita Moody, had never liked him... "Wee git," she'd say if his parents left them alone. "If you hurt her, I will kill you and bury you where no one can resurrect you. Get, you dirty dog's arse."
"I'm Jared," he'd said.
"Trickster," she'd said. "You still smell like lightning."' (p. 1)

The mystery of why Jared's grandmother thinks he is a trickster is solved on page 68 when Jared's mom tells him, ' "The nuns messed her up. They made her think everything Indian was evil. And that includes you and me." '

Thank you for this haunting book, Eden Robinson. So glad that it's the first in a trilogy. (I wonder will Jared grow older or will minor characters--such as his girlfriend and his parental grandmother--have their stories expanded?)

David Stouck writing for BC BookWorld concludes his review with:  '[W]hat this novel does for the non-Indigenous reader is to make totem poles, masks, and legends come alive. This remarkable novel accordingly takes Indigenous writing to a new level.' 


Click this link to listen to Shelagh Rogers (Host of The Next Chapter on CBC radio) interviewing Eden Robinson about Son of a Trickster.

'Abby on a walk' by ldyck

Next post:  Sunday, December 17
at approximately 5 PM PST
Supper Guest (short story)
I try my hand at writing middle grade fiction. 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Dyslexia--what's your problem?

'kelp' by ldyck

When I hear that someone has lost a limb or lost their health to cancer I aim for empathy but sometimes fall short at sympathy. But those of us who are born with disabilities haven't lost anything. We'd rather have your understanding. 

You've probably been told that dyslexia is a reading problem that some kids face. You may think that once they learn how to read they overcome this disability. 

But reading difficulties can persist into adulthood. I'm an adult with dyslexia.

I have difficulties with...
(problem spelling challenging words as well as everyone, ordinary words. I had to ask my husband how to write challenge, for example.)
-understanding what I've read
-pronouncing words when reading aloud
-learning a foreign language
-reading quickly and still understanding what I've read
-"sounding out" words in my head
I think this list is long enough 

You may think:  Okay, so if dyslexia is a problem with reading I'll just communicate verbally. 

And this strategy could work for some, but not for me.

I can get lost in verbal communication. Instead of focusing on your words I try to read you. Are you losing patience with me? What's your body language saying? Are you stiff? Am I frustrating you? Are you shifting your weight from one foot to another? Am I making you uncomfortable? What are you think?

Definitions such as...

What is Dyslexia

are helpful introductions. But the challenges a person with dyslexia faces vary. Are all people with physical, visual, hearing, and... impairments the same? We are individuals facing unique challenges. You need to get to know us before you can figure out how to help.

'Abby content' by ldyck
Next post:
Sunday, December 10th
Book Review:  Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson
A Scotiabank Giller finalist