June 7, 2016
Here’s part of an email I sent to my friend, Sally, when the writing group I belong to sprang back into life:
“…we 4 ladies are doing writhing exercises again. Here’s my first one — been thinking how to do it for a while. b”
Sally’s return e-mail
“Dearest Barbara…. first I thought I would write something funny back about the Freudian nature of you having typed ‘writhing’ and not ‘writing’ exercises… but then I read on.”
April 26, 2016
Three photographs called out from the jumble of photos dumped into old satin-covered chocolate boxes, wooden cigar boxes and carousels holding almost a thousand 35mm slides. Don’t look—toss? Just a quick peek? No such thing. Not after Aunt Rose blurted The Family Secret to me.
“Hey, guess what Aunt Rose told me when I was in England,” I said to my father, months later. If you can throw scowls, he threw me his scowl, silently got up, and left the dinner table. End of story—for him maybe.Read More...
March 24, 2016
There’s my mother again. On the left she’s wearing her snappy sunglasses circa 1940. On the right, it’s the 1950s and she’s on our first dock at the cottage. Smokin’ ‘n fishin’. I found these in a stack of family photos…at the bottom of a huge Wal-Mart storage container…in my late sister’s jam cupboard…that used to contain my family’s individual ashes…including my sister’s cat George.Read More...
February 19, 2016
The first thing I tried to write for real was an interview assignment for a U. of T. writing course. My subject was Louise Wolfenden, the woman who lived in the flat downstairs from me. Louise was a Quaker and family friend of my friend Sue. At that time, Louise was really old — maybe 68 — and had gone from being a pampered rich wife to a divorced in-your-face political firebrand, speaking out — no, shouting out — about the injustices heaped on Japanese Canadians during WWII. Louise was a candid and forthright Quaker. No thees and thous for her.Read More...
December 2, 2015
Of course anyone can read my BLOG but in this case, you might think you have to be Tom. You don’t. I wrote this to show how you can always find a common subject to comment on – even if you know nothing about that subject.
In this case, the above photo may or may not be the subject.
Stick with it, even if your name isn’t Tom.
October 6, 2015
To be honest, my grandmother was not a gramma. Grammas are found in storybooks. My grandmother was found in the Masonic Temple in Detroit where she worked for the Shriners. Guys in silly hats. Margaret was a party girl – always had been. She married a scallywag at 18 years of age, produced my mother, fooled around…and got caught and then divorced.
September 7, 2015
The sleeping snake behind that rock over there is forcing me to stay in the screened porch at the cottage. I can’t even glance at the thing in case it slithers.
Being inside is OK. I watch puffy clouds of swarming mosquitos on the outside of the screens and tell myself it’s not an especially bad year for mosquitos, in spite of all the rain. But my mosquito bites do seem to be infected. And of course the remaining black flies are still feeding.
I’ve already given up swimming in the lake. Waiting for me under the dock is the-mother-of-all-snapping turtles. Years ago — (before refrigerators) — we left a string of fresh caught fish hanging over the dock into the water. By morning, only the chain remained. Turtles never forget. Did you know that? I live my cottage life as if all the turtles on our lake know our dock.Read More...
August 24, 2015
Well. It did well. It did spectacularly well. All performances sold out. Music was fabulous. Choreography was amazing. Performers, designers, every one involved outdid themselves. Audiences loved it. Lots of hootin’ ‘n hollerin’. Nicole Brooks: Writer/Librettist/Performer/Producer (couldn’t stop her) was outstanding. Even bigger time producers are interested in furthering it. Thanks to all.
Racheal McCaig – Now Magazine
Karen Burthwright (left) Nicole Brooks, Singing Sandra, Divine Brown & Deidrey Francois.
July 22, 2015
I had no idea my friend Nicole had all this inside her head. I knew she was smart. And I knew she could sing. But write an opera? Stand up to naysayers? Refuse to be cut down by hesitant big time financial supporters? Nicole took them all on and won.Read More...
June 24, 2015
I am the Angel of Death. In September, my husband Jon and I went to the south of France to lighten up after a few years thick with deaths – family, friends, hopes-and-dreams. I’m a Francophile who can’t speak French.