Archives for category: Equality of the Sexes

Prospects for selling my book at the Byward Market in Ottawa when I arrived at 10 a.m. Wednesday looked as dim as the thunderstorm forecast. Still, I bet myself I could sell enough copies (five) in the next six hours to buy tickets for a big treat. I defied the skies to clear in time for a picnic with our granddaughters and their parents before watching the preview performance of theater under the stars on the banks of the Rideau River that night. mmarket.jpgWork crews carrying partitions, shopkeepers rushing with arms full to set up for the day, twosomes and threesomes speaking languages other than English brushed past. Where were my buyers?

  • The atmosphere enlivened at lunch time, with music and dancing in the adjacent square attracting a noisy, lively crowd. A quarrel between someone not quite in his right senses and a big truck disrupted the self improvement, creative atmosphere I was trying to inject.
  • A dreary-eyed, homeless man with his bundles and bags slouched up against the bricks, heritage plaque and sesquicentennial posters on the market building facing me. Where were my readers?

It was discouraging and my devoted hubby of 61 years decided I was crazy and he might as well abandon ship and go home.  While he hesitated, I was ready with my elevator pitch to summarize my book in two sentences.

  • Anyone drawn to the table for a closer look at my framed newspaper article headlined “Call of Love in the Wilderness” got it. An old toothless man mesmerized by a 1904 picture of my mother as a child in a sailor outfit stayed because he wanted to hear her full story.
  • With a cheery “Hi Margaret!” up strode author Stevie Szabad, eager to buy two of my books and pick up advice from someone she perceived as having accomplished things she wanted to do. We plotted to sell together at the Galeries Aylmer Christmas market. 

Hubby stayed when I reminded him I was there to get my parents’ exemplary story out, not just sell the product. A take-out lunch of chicken sandwiches and smoothies fortified us both. 

  • Then a ray of sunshine, a tourist from Vancouver, suddenly appeared. He wanted to know more about why I called my book “A Book of Kells” and gave me advice on genealogy. He bought a signed copy as a gift and souvenir of Canada’s 150th.
  • A particularly friendly face came to the table confidently and I was able to engage her in conversation. For the next twenty minutes Tom and I found we had much to share with her and vice versa. Gale O’Brien is a lovely, avid reader who lives in Britannia by the Ottawa river. She now owns one copy of A Book of Kells and one of  Kathleen’s Cariole Ride which I hope she will enjoy reading.
  • When Kelly Buell turned up because she had been following me online, Tom was getting the car because it was 4 p.m., time for us to pack up. Kelly and I chatted and hope to help each other in future as writers so often do.

When I first met her, the organizer of the Byward marketing team told me she is a ‘Kell’ on her mother’s side. I was able to tell her that, in fact, we are second cousins twice removed. That was my final sale of the day.  It is a good omen for my much-anticipated return stints at the Byward Market on August 2 and 3.

By the way, the outdoor performance in Strathcona Park was superb. The Amorous Servant by Carl Goldoni staged by Odyssey theater plays until late August. My granddaughters, aged 10 to 16 were absolutely thrilled with it. Grandpa and Grandma enjoyed its humor and sensible advice for all ages, too.

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Happy Reading & Writing from Cozy Book Basics until We Meet Again!

 

With the infallible timing of a playful fairy-tale eager to update us with all-time savvy, the romantic family fantasy musical film Beauty & the Beast opens this March. Everybody recognizes this exciting title but with each revival the details of plot and setting change.

Audiences interpret the message in their own minds according to what they need to know to cope with universal truths under current circumstances. In 2011, novelist Alex Flinn’s Beastly gave the plot a new high school/narcissistic twist. In 1994 it was a Broadway musical based on the animated film released by Walt Disney studios in 1991. Earlier in the fifties and thirties Disney failed at two adaptations  but Jean Cocteau succeeded with his 1946 film. Many people think the whole story is based on two 18th century French fairy tales, one by Villeneuve and one by Beaumont, but this is not true. It goes ‘way back to the Roman writer, Lucius Apuleius, who created it in the second century. It was a very long story called Cupid & Psyche inserted in the middle of his Metamorphoses (aka The Golden Ass.)

It is the third oldest fairy tale in the history of western literature and influenced many other stories, such as Cinderella and Gulliver’s Travels. Florida resident and researcher Mari Ness studied it and advises that it is much too complex and long to read. She decided that Apuleius’ theme, in the end, was about woman’s survival. Apuleius wrote at a time when the Roman empire was in upheaval due to the influx of Barbarians and the proliferation of new religions that appealed directly to the public.

The promo for the ’17 variety of Beauty & the Beast says, “It looks behind the Beast’s hideous exterior, allowing Beauty to recognize the kind heart and soul of the true prince that hides on the inside. A hunter named Gaston is on the loose to take Beauty for himself and hunt down the Beast at any cost.”

Let’s return to real life and this week’s presidential inauguration.

Donald Trump’s verbal monstrosities proliferate in a rabid echo chamber. But his authentic core explains the infallibility of the passionate voter guts that got him where he is. mary-trump-hairHe blew in as the brash, gigantic, orange-haired son of an immigrant pattern-maker mom and her rich Manhattan husband. Mary had been raised in a God-fearing Calvinist village on a literate peat-bog isle in the Outer Hebrides. Donald spent his formative years identifying with his father’s survival instincts as a real estate owner who stood off to the side after knocking on a door to collect rent, in case a tenant shot first through the door. Donald boarded at New York Military Academy for his eighth grade and high school education because only they could discipline his out-size make-up. In the 1980’s, his older brother died from alcoholism, first making Donald promise never to touch a drop of drink.

He worked ’round the clock, vowed to abstain from alcohol, tobacco, drugs and coffee, made a fortune and drilled the same habits into his four children. He settled into a good, stress-free marriage (his third) in 2005 with the wise and beautiful Melania who bore him a third son. She put him through the scrutiny of her family and village in Slovenia before determining he was a gentleman and accepting his proposal. Now Donald’s self-declared challenge was to become as good a husband as he was a father.

At election-campaign time 2015 he declared himself the hero with the best vision for the future of country and expressed the confidence only he could make it great again. He said he had been greedy for himself all his life but now wanted to be greedy for America. He vowed to repeal Obamacare with the caveat, “We can’t let people die in the streets.” He tempered his Mexican immigrant remarks by saying many of them were good people. He  told the Gold Star father he was sorry for the death of his son and was trying to make sure such a thing couldn’t happen again.

He accepted the surprise news he had won by saying he would “unite the country” and be the “president of all the people”.  He said on 60 Minutes he would drop his business because it was not important, “only real estate”, and the people deserved a “full-time president”. Henry Kissinger briefed the president-elect and gave the verdict he was serious, wanted to be a good president and was the only man who had ever come into the office without any “baggage”. That is, he was the most free to act in the individual voters’ interests because of his financial independence. Kissinger warned the people not to hold Trump too strictly to things he had said in the campaign because, after learning more about the job, he should be given leeway to change his positions.

The part of America which sees nothing authentic in Trump and doesn’t comprehend how anyone else could is in shock, hysterics, recoiling and denying. They saw and heard the worst of him repeated and dissected too many times on TV and the internet. On the other side, it was impossible for the people who had gotten poorer and couldn’t find jobs to genuinely, passionately, spontaneously want to prolong the mandate of the party that had been at the helm for eight years. Especially not when they had such a charismatic alternative! Many felt they had seen this very same Clinton picture before. Wasn’t this the woman who had already lived in the White House for eight years in the nineties?

Gaston, the hunter who is determined to take Beauty back from Beast no matter what is the real threat. That would create a revolution and destroy all our liberties. Such a cloud of dim prospects is spoiling the inauguration this weekend.

It’s time we all went out for a good night of magic spells, mirrors, romance and comedy at the theater. As story-telling apes at heart, we don’t personally eat or love empire-building strategies. We thrive amid family, arts, culture, history and villages where everyone knows everybody else. In this helpful atmosphere, society comes to its senses. So let’s take a deep breath and try to get things back into balance. As the old 1940’s hit-parade song goes, “You gotta accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative. Latch on to the affirmative. Don’t mess with Mr. In-between.”

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Here are my word offerings to help solve world dilemmas with a little perspective, humor and reminder of how basic the rules of grammar are. My brilliant Hungarian-born mate jokes that the English always run to the Oxford dictionary when they get into trouble. As a writer I am frustrated and dissatisfied if I can’t find the right word. That’s my job.

  • Why should I call a ‘he’ or ‘she’ a ‘they’ when that’s not what I mean and you, Dear Reader, are no fool?
  • Who am I to insult an LGBT by referring back with a word whose
    meaning we all agree ‘it’ doesn’t convey?
  • I am tired of having to drag the flow of my prose along with the reins of static punctuation marks.
  • I must have a precise word in my tool kit when I need it.

My new word is ‘shey’ (pronounced ‘shay’), a combination of she, he and they (no it) and an alternative to trying to singularize the plural ‘they.’
obamaboxing

Tip #1, to Mr. Obama: Until you pinpoint the name of our enemy, you
are not urgent. Make up your own word for it: ‘Mislam’ or some such. Step up. Get into the ring. Let supporters cheer. Mobilize the home front so we civilians will want to help police by telling them what we see, hear or know.
Tip #2 , to you: If there’s no word in the dictionary to express your meaning, make one up. Shakespeare did it all the time. Otherwise, what you write will not be forceful.

I will introduce ‘shey’ in my novel about the journey of a 60-year-marriage but, remember, I said it here to you first! The parents believed in bringing up their children with equality, regardless of sex. This was a modern idea in the 1960’s.

Quotations

“The pen is mightier than the sword.” Novelist and playwright Edward
Bulwer-Lytton
“In the beginning was the Word…” John the Evangelist

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Murder Reminders on Main Street. Aylmer Bulletin Photo.

‘Murdered,’ ‘Missing’ or ‘Abused’ Reminders along Main St. in Aylmer, QC. Le Bulletin Photo

Last week the residents of Aylmer were treated to a flashy display of 40 red dresses flapping from the lamp posts lining Main Street. Or was it such a treat? The dresses were hung up to honor attractive, lively young spirits who filled them in happier times. A recent RCMP report shows that 1,181 Canadian aboriginal women were victims of homicide between 1980 and 2012. Currently 225 cases of missing or murdered aboriginal women are unsolved.

The used red dresses were tossed into a box at the Aylmer Bulletin after a local charity sent out an appeal. The exposition moved on to Parliament Hill and will go on to other locations to raise awareness.

The novella, Nirmala the Mud Blossom by Fiza Pathan, and the prehistoric novel, Eyo, the People, by Donella Dunlop, both record facts of the tragic treatment of women and girls. The first is set in today’s slums of  Mumbai, India; the second is about the first people who crossed the Bering Strait land bridge into North America in 12,000 B.C.

If more of us even do a little something about it, like reading a report, a book or donating a dress, it will be faced up to more, brought out into the open and reduced. That will make life a lot safer for attractive, lively women and young girls we all like to see in red dresses.

See Patricia Cassidy’s photographs of the dresses on Main Street 

Thank you for dropping by. This blog for all lovers of life and language aims to be useful and entertaining. Topics vary from how to build a canoe to how my mom moved from “prince to preacher and fog to bog” as a war bride after world war one. Writing advice is squeezed in between. Find out more about A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void, Kathleen’s Cariole Ride and Eating at Church on Amazon, Goodreads or my website.

Happy Reading from Cozy Book Basics!