An itty-bitty Tuesday tidbits this week! (Say that three times fast. On second thought, don’t…just don’t).
On Christmas Day of last year, I heard an absolutely breathtakingly beautiful instrumental version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” on CBC Radio and after some hunting on the ‘net to find out more about the artist, it turned out he was from Didsbury, a small town here in southern Alberta. I promptly ordered Jake Peters’ CD “First Christmas: A Musical Journey,” and the musician himself sent it straightaway to me. It is not only a musical journey, but a magical one! Peters’ website features the album in its entirety so you can enjoy it as well…and perhaps order a copy if you love it as much as I do.
Although I pumped out more non-fiction work than I ever have before, 2018 wasn’t the best year for me as far as my fiction-writing goals were concerned: I had exactly one story published (and only two new ones were written and are currently sitting in reading queues somewhere). I am delighted that Canadian speculative fiction publisher Polar Borealis took on my SF work “The Heir” for their 8th issue. If you’re interested, you can read the entire publication online here.
A gratuitous photo of Smudge and her BFF, the printer.
Waaaaaay back in March of last year, I claimed I was going to amalgamate my blogs The Door is Ajar and Flowery Prose and I did just as I said I would…well, insofar as my recent pretty much nonexistent posting schedule has allowed. But now I’m going to separate them again! It probably seems a bit arbitrary but it comes down to content and I likely shouldn’t have made the change in the first place. So…if you want to read my book reviews (aside from the select few I will still write here on FP), please head over to The Door is Ajarand subscribe…I’d love to see you there as well! Thanks so much!
Finally, from the files of WHAT I OVERHEARD AT THE LIBRARY, PART 358: It’s mid-afternoon; I’m working in the picture book aisles. A young boy of about five years old is announcing with bold authority to anyone who will listen, “I am Batman!” He captures the attention of another boy his age, and jumps up on the nearest chair so he towers over his new friend. He squints down at him and points gleefully. “Sucks to be you!” he shouts. Someone’s clearly filled with holiday spirit…. 😉
Tell me something fun (or funny) or exciting or wonderful that’s going on in your life!
Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d – Alan Bradley (2016, Doubleday Canada)
The eighth book in the Flavia de Luce mystery series packs a right-between-the-eyes knockout punch – and no, I won’t spoil it for you, other than to say this is an even bigger deal than her temporary “exile” in Canada, where she attended a private boarding school, solved a weird murder involving a body stuffed up a chimney, and learned more about her family’s connection to a secret organization which I shouldn’t discuss further. (Go get book seven, As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust, and read it right now. It’s a ragged and uneven go, but it serves as a decent set up for the new book). In Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d, Flavia returns home to her beloved Buckshaw just before Christmas, to find that her father is ill and the household is unsettled and cold. The accidental finding of the body of a wood carver while running an errand cheers Flavia up immensely, as she goes to great lengths and concocts elaborate lies to uncover the murderer. Despite remaining endearingly irrepressible, Flavia is definitely taking on a more mature, experienced voice (if that can even be possible) as the series develops and she approaches her teenage years.
A few years ago, I set out all eager and full of abundant ideas and started oh about five blogs on WordPress, nearly all of which have, over time, become encapsulated within Flowery Prose. I’ve hung onto The Door is Ajar, which, for those of you who haven’t subscribed to it, is an ongoing list of books I’ve been reading and a super brief commentary about them – not usually what I would consider entire reviews, because that requires more time than I have. At any rate, I have finally made the decision to amalgamate the two blogs here. After all, books and writing and reading are a big part of Flowery Prose…and while I’m a bit afraid that some of you may be put off by my eclectic reading tastes, who knows? – this might just go over nicely in the end. I just really feel the need to streamline the whole blogging process and get everything (bad pun alert) on one page. I won’t completely shutter the site of The Door is Ajar, but I won’t make any new entries for the foreseeable future – click here if you want to pop over and see what I was doing.
(The good stuff).
Yes – Rosemary Griebel (2011 Frontenac House Ltd., Calgary)
I’m not sure how many of these poems from Rosemary Griebel are autobiographical but her incredibly powerful portraits of parents, lovers, and friends, the prairie landscape of childhood, and journeys to Europe and other regions of Canada (as well as some interesting and bold reimaginings of history) feel so personal and intimate I don’t want to believe otherwise. I first selected this collection because Griebel is from Calgary, and although many of the poems were attractive to me due to that shared geography, I became far more emotionally engaged than I had anticipated – these are lines and stanzas that will bring tears to your eyes and make your stomach twist over, more than once. Unexpected and absolutely beautiful work.