Friday, 30 June 2017

Writing Quotation

A well-composed book is a magic carpet on which we are wafted to a world that we cannot enter in any other way. - Caroline Gordon

Thursday, 29 June 2017

TRC Call to Action #4

We call upon the federal government to enact Aboriginal child-welfare legislation that establishes national standards for Aboriginal child apprehension and custody cases and includes principles that:

i. Affirm the right of Aboriginal governments to establish and maintain their own child-welfare agencies.

ii. Require all child-welfare agencies and courts to take the residential school legacy into account in their decision making.

iii. Establish, as an important priority, a requirement that placements of Aboriginal children into temporary and permanent care be culturally appropriate.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017


Today falls a few days before Canada's Canada Day on July 1 and the American 4th of July -- both days celebrated by millions of people....but not by everyone.

So, as I did last week, I am just letting words float in as they come to mind. My words for today are: patriot, colonization, deceive, friendship, betrayal, pride, shame, flag, immigrant, racism, gratitude, growth, union, division, fireworks, guns, peace, war, red & white, red-white-blue, waterways, survival, prejudice, acceptance, bomb, intolerance, genders, laws, customs, food, disease, health....and on and on the list can go, of course. 

What are you thinking about your nation this week?

TRC Call to Action #3

3. We call upon all levels of government to fully implement Jordan’s Principle. 

[Excerpt from The Manitoulin Expositor 
OTTAWA—On Friday, May 26, 2017 the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) has again ruled that Canada has yet to comply with previous orders to implement Jordan’s Principle, which is a child-first principle that every First Nation child should have access to the same government services as all Canadian children….In addition, the CHRT has ruled that Jordan’s Principle applies to all children on and off-reserve; it is not limited to children with disabilities; and it is not limited to health services, but also includes dental and mental health, physiotherapy, special education, speech therapy, and so on…To date, despite the Tribunal’s rulings, the Government of Canada has been applying Jordan’s Principle only to children with disabilities living on reserve....]

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

TRC Call to Action #2

2. We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with the provinces and territories, to prepare and publish annual reports on the number of Aboriginal children (First Nations, Inuit, and M├ętis) who are in care, compared with non-Aboriginal children, as well as the reasons for apprehension, the total spending on preventive and care services by child-welfare agencies, and the effectiveness of various interventions.

Monday, 26 June 2017

TRC Call to Action #1

1. We call upon the federal, provincial, territorial, and Aboriginal governments to commit to reducing the number of Aboriginal children in care by:

i. Monitoring and assessing neglect investigations.

ii. Providing adequate resources to enable Aboriginal communities and child-welfare organizations to keep Aboriginal families together where it is safe to do so, and to keep children in culturally appropriate environments, regardless of where they reside.

iii. Ensuring that social workers and others who conduct child-welfare investigations are properly educated and trained about the history and impacts of residential schools.

iv. Ensuring that social workers and others who conduct child-welfare investigations are properly educated and trained about the potential for Aboriginal communities and families to provide more appropriate solutions to family healing.

v. Requiring that all child-welfare decision makers consider the impact of the residential school experience on children and their caregivers.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

TRC Calls to Action

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action – "This report is in the public domain. Anyone may, without charge or request for permission, reproduce all or part of this report."

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Truth and my own sphere

Two years ago this month, June 2015, I went to Ottawa to celebrate the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) six years of work and final report; to walk and listen with thousands of others; to hear then-Justice Murray Sinclair speak.

But what else could I do? The problems are so huge, the challenges so deep that I felt useless to achieve anything helpful. Finally, I printed and read the 94 Calls to Action in the TRC's final report. I realized that if I felt immobilized and insignificant, maybe others did, too. However, maybe I could take a small step within my own sphere of influence.

So today I decided to act on one of the 94 Calls to Action. Though I am no media outlet, I lifted wording from the Media and Reconciliation section, 84.iii, in an effort to help: "…provide dedicated…online public information on issues of concern to Aboriginal peoples and all Canadians…"

My commitment is to post at least five of the Calls to Action per week on my social media sites until I have posted all 94. I believe that together we can learn and act on the myriad ways to reconcile and heal.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Writing Quotation

As a child, I read because books–violent and not, blasphemous and not, terrifying and not–were the most loving and trustworthy things in my life. I read widely, and loved plenty of the classics so, yes, I recognized the domestic terrors faced by Louisa May Alcott’s March sisters. But I became the kid chased by werewolves, vampires, and evil clowns in Stephen King’s books. I read books about monsters and monstrous things, often written with monstrous language, because they taught me how to battle the real monsters in my life. 

And now I write books for teenagers because I vividly remember what it felt like to be a teen facing everyday and epic dangers. I don’t write to protect them. It’s far too late for that. I write to give them weapons–in the form of words and ideas-that will help them fight their monsters. I write in blood because I remember what it felt like to bleed. -- Sherman Alexie

Wednesday, 21 June 2017


Today is National Aboriginal Day in Canada.

These are some of the words on my mind today: reconciliation, truth, pain, friend, heal, ally, honour, respect, betrayal, meet, love, listen, death, hear, think, remember, shake hands, laugh, dance, sing, speak, ask, share, loss, theft, help, annihilate, feel, treaty, abuse, neglect, action, ignore, weep, rage, harm, spirit, starve, land, meet, ceremony, anger, gifts, 7 Grandfathers, 4 directions, courage, strength....hope.......

Friday, 16 June 2017

Writing Quotation

Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.      -- Franz Kafka

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

#WordWednesday: motherism

A motherism is something one's mother said often or which is worth remembering (or hard to forget, even if you'd like to). One of my mother's motherisms was, "Be nice." Everything was nice or was supposed to be or whatever. I grew to really dislike that word because it seemed so shallow and artificial. Of course, it isn't completely those things, but I rarely use the word myself.

On the other hand, like many mothers (how about yours?), my mother had smart and useful things to say, too. Here's a little story about one of them. 

Mom was an artist, and she painted her last painting at the age of 93, just a few months before she died. She’d been painting since long before I came on the scene 65 years ago, so that’s a lot of painting. Not so many years ago, she told me that one of the hardest things about painting is knowing when to stop. All it takes, she said, is one or two strokes too many, and you’ve either ruined the painting completely, or you have to fix it, which obviously takes a lot more time and effort than stopping would have.

Lately I’ve been applying that motherism to various aspects of my life. For example, I’m learning in my middle years that sometimes the best contribution I can make to a situation or to a piece of writing is to stop.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Writing Quotation

Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers. - Isaac Asimov

Wednesday, 7 June 2017


You didn't really think I was done with alliteration, did you?

Many years ago one of my brothers wrote an entire story in which every word began with "s." I'm not kidding. Every single word. It was a miracle of genius because it also made sense.

Here's my (much shorter) attempt at a petite, punchy "p" story:

Paul packed pineapples purposefully per Paulina's plans. Paul postulated, "Perhaps, Paulina, people prefer pears." Paulina paused. Perambulated. Paused. "Perhaps, Paul, placating people preferring pears pays. Perhaps." Paul peered. Paused. Peered. Paulina's peregrinations perplexed Paul. Pears? Pineapples? Perhaps potatoes? Peas? Plentiful possibilities proliferated. "Paul," Paulina posited, "Perchance people's preferences permit possibilities previously passed. Please place plenteous possible provisions per palette."

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Clean sweep...?

I've recently been organizing my past writings to see what's there, decide whether or not to keep it, and then sorting it all into a spreadsheet. Here's a snippet about my writing process that I found from 2006. It still holds true.

Sometimes, right in the middle of a sentence or paragraph, I’ll click the Save icon, push out my rolling chair, and go grab the broom, putting paid to the dirt that’s been sticking to my bare feet since yesterday. Now, it might look like I’m not writing when I sweep that crumby floor, but that’s not necessarily the case. I often find I need to take a break from the work in order to let an idea or new awareness “float around” and sort itself out within me. Sometimes I’m searching for the word or feeling or memory needed for the work at hand, and performing a familiar, simple task can help me enter the meditative sort of space where I’ll find what I need.

On the other hand, it is also possible that those simple, repetitive tasks are serving a very different role. They might be the distraction that allows me to avoid the work when I don’t want to make myself focus on digging and thinking to find the words and meanings the work demands. And I have to admit that even writing a little snippet like this essayette can serve the same evil dastardly purpose.

The trick is to continue learning the difference. The broom or laundry basket could be either the angel or the devil on my shoulder. It’s up to me to figure out which it is at any given moment.