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