Celebrating Sagors

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. ~~~Buddha 

I don’t pretend to have life figured out. Like everyone else, I make my share of mistakes. Sometimes it feels more like I’m stumbling about instead of walking a straight and steady path. As soon as  I think I’m on the right path, I end up distracted, detouring to the point where I finally have to say “enough is enough—-sure things got interesting there for a time, but it’s back to serious business.” That’s when I get back on my original path. The truth is I don’t think life was meant to go in a straight line. The detours that happen along the way is what helps us learn and certainly makes for some interesting travels.

What I do think is that life is not just a series of random events, and random people showing up. I think it is finely orchestrated and calculated, that people and events happen into our lives for a purpose.

It also seems to me that life is not about acquiring material things, although who can deny that material things are nice but, to me, it seems that life is more about acquiring relations, interacting with one another, sharing our gifts and talents, lending a helping hand.. Wouldn’t life be wonderful if, instead of valuing material things, we valued the laughter we’ve given, the smiles we’ve brought on, the joy, the kind words we have offered to others, and love we’ve given and received, even more? For me, the most that life has ever had to offer me was not something that could be held or owned, but rather the things I have felt in my heart. I know that sounds overly sentimental, but that’s what happens to us when we age.

Saturday a large number of people turned out to thank Ron and Sue for the many years they operated Sagors’ bookstore in Bridgewater. I blogged about the closing of their store in January  in a post titled Bye, Bye Sagors‘ and was so sad to see it go.

But Saturday turned out to be anything but a sad day. For sure there were a few tears shed, but that’s to be expected. With change comes the thought of what all will be missed instead of the important thing—what has already been gained. Those of us who frequented Sagor’s over the years know how much richer our lives were because of this little bookstore on King Street.

I met some wonderful new people. A lady, Elaine (Lanie)Porter, who made these wonderful origami ornaments for decorations. I fell in love with the cranes and she so kindly gave me one. Another lady, Carol, and I had a wonderful conversation before the crowd arrived. She’s a letter writer she told me—-letter writing, another wonderful art. Everyone I spoke to at the gathering was warm and welcoming. We also spoke with author, Laurie Lacey. Laurie’s book Micmac Medicines is due to be released again in April.

We sang some songs in honour of Sue and Ron, email exchanges were read, sent by the first owners and others who could not be present. Even the Nova Scotia government sent along a certificate.

Author friend, Syr Ruus read a poem she wrote for the occasion. Here she is taking the mike. Not sure how she managed to write a poem for Ron and Sue and promote my book all at the same time, but I’m thinking of hiring her to do the publicity for my next book.  😉 What a gal!

There were refreshments, decorations, a band and even a little photo taking. Afterward there was time for chat. Since Ron and Sue sold books for the launching of both Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart and Bitter, Sweet, I thought this was my chance to get a photo with all of us. Should have squeezed us all in at the same time but, ah well, you get the picture. Here’s Syr, Sue and I. In the tree behind us, if you look closely, you can see Lanie’s handiwork.

I warned Ron that he’d likely make an appearance on my blog. Good thing he and Sue are good sports. For me, Saturday only went to prove that life is all about the laughter we give to others, the friendships we make, the smiles and kind words we offer one another. I am so happy to have been a part of this wonderful day for two very special people. I’m not going to spend time dwelling on the past because I’d much rather concentrate on the present moment.  🙂

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Sunset and Champagne

Margaret Atwood is coming to the Best Western in Bridgewater on the 23rd. I had a conversation with my daughter a few weeks ago where I remember saying that, although I’d like to go, I didn’t think I’d pay $100 dollars for a ticket. Now that also includes a signed book, “The Year of the Flood,” and the money is going to support the South Shore Library—a good cause and yet I could think of many more things to do with that money.

So today, my middle daughter a.k.a Grub (don’t ask because no one in the family even remembers where the name came from) surprised B and I with two tickets to see Margaret Atwood. The tickets say, “Sunset and Champagne with Margaret Atwood.” Sweet! My three wonderful kids chipped in for the tickets—a birthday present for B and I; maybe Christmas too. It also came with a poem that I won’t post on account of the fact that when Margaret Atwood reads this post she might be insulted. (Okay, so that’s a joke.)

We’d been to the Pearl Theatre in Lunenburg a few years back to see her, which had ended up being one of those family stories when the photos I had taken of Margaret and I got deleted from my camera. Poof! Gone! No proof that I was actually there. No one took the blame. I ‘ve had my suspicions but….. The truth is, had I learned how to remove photos from my camera it never would have happened.

So on August 23, B and I will be chatting it up with Margaret Atwood. Hopefully, I’ll have photos to share.

So thanks, Mel, Grub, Skippy! You really are the Best kids!

And It Burns, Burns, Burns

There are people who come up with great ideas all the time. They see something in the news that moves them and they want to do something to help. Many times great ideas are born, but quickly fizzle out when people lose that initial enthusiasm.

Last evening came the news that the Fairview Inn in Bridgewater had was on fire.It was a beautiful structure said to be the oldest operating inn in the province. A sad loss for the town.

Imagine the loss of one building to a town. Now imagine the loss of 40% of your town which is exactly what has happened out at Slave Lake, Alberta.

Writer, blogger, reviewer, Colleen McKie is one of those people I mentioned earlier who saw the devastation in this town and came up with an idea of how to help. Did her idea fizzle out? Not for a moment.

When Colleen saw that the town’s library had been lost she wanted to do something to help. Colleen is holding an online auction to raise funds to help rebuild the library. Hey, our libraries are important. Check out Colleen’s site here SLAVE LAKE BOOK AUCTION to see what’s up for grabs and just what whole thing is all about.

You’ll find that there are signed copies of books, free ebooks to be downloaded just for putting in a bid, and even manuscript critiques.

Now, if you’re like me, and you aren’t really the auction type there’s still a way you can help. The library is taking donations of new and slightly used books and if you want to make a donation by cheque there’s an address on the Slave Lake Library site.

So head on over and see what’s it all about. And as for Colleen, people like her make things happen in this world. I think she’s marvelous! 🙂

Witchcraft

Just in time for Halloween, too! Here’s a look at the cover of Clary Croft’s new book, out from Nimbus this October. Clary Croft is a folklorist, writer, and entertainer. He is the author of several books, including Helen Creighton: Canada’s First Lady of Folklore, A Maritimer’s Miscellany, and Celebrate: The History and Folklore of Holidays in Nova Scotia. Clary lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Okay, so I totally got the bio from the Nimbus fall catalogue, but at least now ya know a bit about him.

Thursday night we attended a reading and talk by Clary at the Desbrisay Museum in Bridgewater. I was so taken by his speaking abilities that I even emailed my editor at Nimbus to say so. Seems like a silly thing to have done now, but I’ve got to say the man gives a good talk. He’s got a pretty good sense of humour, too. When asked if he learned any spells while researching this book, his answer was, “If I did do you think I’d still be bald headed?”

I’ve been interested in the topic of Witchcraft for a long time now. Lunenburg County is filled with stories of people who believed in witchcraft and I’m not talking about centuries ago, either. My grandmother actually believed that one of her neighbours was a witch, and would make my mum and her siblings wear dogwood crossed pinned to their undershirts whenever they had to walk past this woman’s house. To say this peaked my interest is an understatement. I only wish now my grandmother was alive so that I could ask her a few questions about some of her beliefs. But it seems these opportunities often slip through our fingertips, and far too often it is too late. Of course, to get this out of my system I did write an novel on the subject. So yes, you could say I was pretty excited to hear Clary speak the other night.

Witchcraft is in stores now and also available at Amazon.ca.

The Moments That Make It All Worthwhile

I have to say that every day there seems to be some highlight that brightens my day, an email or phone call that brings a smile to my face and lets me know that this whole book publishing experience is definitely worthwhile. From having my book given away for prizes last week on the local radio station, friendly email from people telling me they enjoyed the book, to people dropping into the house to get a copy of the book signed. I’ve been very busy and enjoying it all immensely.

Today I had another book signing— this time in Bridgewater. A lot of people dropped by to chat, some of them had already bought books earlier and wanted them signed, some had heard about it on the radio earlier in the week and a few friends from Dalhousie even showed up purposely because they knew I was there and wanted to show their support. One lady came by to have four books signed for Christmas presents. She has connections to Dalhousie and she said the book reminded her of certain things. She mentioned a particular passage that touched her heart. As usual some people will stop by and chat but don’t end up buying a book but as far as I’m concerned they are every bit as important as those who do. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a little talk and forget for the moment what you’re there for. And who knows these very same people may decide to pick up a copy some other time.

My favourite story for the day is of a little boy, maybe eight or nine, who was sitting on a bench beside his mother, perhaps twenty feet from the book store. He watched me for a bit and before I knew it he ran up and asked me how much the book was. I told him and he ran back to his seat beside his mother. Some time later another lady showed up and she, along with the little boy, approached the table where I was sitting. The woman and I chatted for a bit and then she told me that her grandson wanted to buy the book for his mother but she was sitting not far away. Once he decided he wanted the book for sure he ran back toward his mom and sat beside her. I saw her take some money out of her purse and give it to him. He came back and got me to sign the book and proudly walked up to the cash register to pay for it—a Christmas present for his mom. How utterly sweet. I bet she’ll sure be surprised come Christmas morning!

I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.

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