Tag Archives: books matter

A Dragoness Made Me Cry

Yesterday, I made the trek into CBC Toronto to watch the Canada Reads final debates. (Yup, that sure is me right behind Jian Ghomeshi’s shoulder.) Although this year’s debate has not been without controversy, specifically the incendiary comments made by Anne-France Goldwater, I am so glad I made the trip into town to catch the debate live.

I’ve never been a very political person. I know little about Iranian or Chilean politics so am completely unqualified to comment on what Ms Goldwater said about Prisoner of Tehran or Something Fierce. However, I do agree with the panelist, Shad, (who is this amazing guy?) that if the debate had been shutdown, the message would be sent to Canadians that it isn’t okay to disagree or to voice certain opinions in this country.

The most moving moment of the week for me came in the final few minutes of the Q & A section of yesterday’s debate when Arlene Dickson, star of Dragon’s Den, spoke about why Canadians ought to read books.

“People who haven’t read and aren’t considering picking up a book again because they live in that short text world, need to understand that when they get up in Canada, that they are living in the best country of the world, and that we stand on the shoulders of giants. And that’s why we live in the best country in the world. And the giants are the people who are willing to put themselves out there and share with us the journeys they’ve been on so that we can become better as a nation. To me that’s what Canada is about. We are about listening and understanding and learning as a multi-cultural unit and taking the voices of the individual and making it into something amazing. So read books. It is so important.”

Arlene’s passion brought me to tears.

The experience of being in a studio for a live taping was fun, but what I take away from this past week and indeed, the weeks leading up to the debates, is that books matter and I’ve been reminded of the power of the written word. Fellow writers, it can’t be overstated; as storytellers we have a responsibility to tell stories, stories that shine mirrors back at ourselves and our world, stories that move and motivate and resonate.  Books are relevant.

Write On!

Each of the four debates, Q & A sessions, and panelist confessionals can be found at the Canada Reads website. Whether you agree with what the panelist say, I promise they will make you think.

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I Walked Into a Cow Once!

True story. I was at the cottage, probably fifteen or sixteen-years-old, walking the gravel road to our country store, my face buried in a book. I’m sure bringing said book on a solitary three-quarter of a mile walk was my attempt at stealing a few moments of quiet from the usual cottage related shenanigans that were a constant at the McRobb Mob Inn.

Next door to the store was a century old farmhouse that had seen no home improvements since the original carpenters tucked their tool belts away –the floors were still dirt and there was no indoor plumbing. The farmer, Old Camack (his family name was Camack and he was extremely old) kept his one cow leashed to a fence post at the end of his driveway.

Bet you know where this is going.

Have you ever tried walking with your eyes closed? If so, you’ll know that it’s almost impossible to walk a straight line. Well, I can assure you walking with your nose buried in a book amounts to exactly the same thing. I can only imagine what that cow must have been thinking as she watched a skinny girl with a paper foldie thing clutched in her hands aiming straight for her. Bidding her time, that crafty old cow waited for our noses to almost touch before she let out a moo that sent me skyward. Once I recovered, I do seem to remember a hint of a smile curling around her lips.

I loved reading books then and l love reading books now! Reading brought me to writing. I know, I’m preaching to the choir, but it bears repeating; writers you have to READ. Okay I’ll get off my soapbox. You writers get it, right?

I’m a firm believer that you can tell a lot about a person by how they keep their personal space? (No you can’t come over to my house.) On a recent visit to a writer friend’s home, I was thrilled to see every inch of wall space in her sitting room was covered with bookshelves. Now that’s a writer for you. My house looks the same, except I could add; every flat surface in my bedroom and office is also covered with books.

Currently, I’m working my way through the 2012 Canada Reads shortlisted books. The Game – Ken Dryden, On the Cold Road – Dave Bidini, Prisoner of Tehran – Marina Nemat, Something Fierce – Carmen Acquire, The Tiger – John Vaillant. Although I’m only on the third of five, I highly recommend Prisoner of Tehran, but be warned—you won’t come out the other side the same person you went in. It’s a life changer!

I’m always looking for new books to read so let me know your current favourites and I’ll tell you mine.

I’ve attached a short video wherein Ian McEwan discusses showing up at your desk to write and schedule reading into your day.

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