We had some proud Canadian moments while on our annual writing retreat in Port Joli last week. While on a working holiday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau paid a visit to Keji Seaside, part of Kejimkujik National Park, and we got to meet them (and take lots of pictures.)
the security cavalcade appears
Since the house we were renting is owned by Americans, there was nary a Canadian flag to be found. Being creative types, we concocted one from a Rubbermaid lid, a towel and a red paper napkin.
JT (as we like to call him) and Sophie chatted with the Parks Canada people and two women of the First Nations, then hiked down to the beach, possibly the most beautiful in all of Nova Scotia. A small group of us went along for the stroll (plus a few dozen security people and paparazzi).
On the beach, he approached us to shake hands and exchange pleasantries (he’s taller in real life than I’d thought and has a super-firm handshake), and we got to chat with Sophie for about 10 minutes while he talked to the Parks Canada people. She’s not only naturally beautiful, but very warm and friendly, including asking what we’d written when she found out we’re writers. I was sure to mention THE KING OF KEJI, wishing I had a copy on hand to give her kids.
Back at the house we were renting, we sat by the roadside to wave as the stream of black vehicles rolled past. We didn’t think much of it when a guy jogged past – we’d seen him on the beach and assumed he lived up the road. Then we looked again, and the PM was right behind him! “Nice to see you again ladies,” he said as he jogged past (in very colourful shorts), a female security person and two RCMP officers on bikes flanking him. I couldn’t help but point out our flag and tell him we’d made it (like he couldn’t tell…). Sadly, we couldn’t collect ourselves enough to get a picture. Only in Canada (and on an extremely rural NS road). Gave us lots to giggle about on the final evening of our retreat!
With Sophie Gregoire Trudeau
May has been a busy month for me. I was a judge in the Truro Library’s 8th annual teen writing competition, named after my late mum, Ada Mingo – pictured here in her bookstore, The Book Nook. It’s hard to believe she’s been gone for 8 years already, but it’s a lovely occasion to remember and honour her. I was so impressed by some of the writing submitted by teens this year!
During Canadian Children’s Book Week, Anne Murray tweeted and “facebooked” about THE POWER OF HARMONY, so I sent her some Mayflowers by way of thanks:)
Then, my copies of ROCKET MAN arrived – early! I don’t think it’s widely available yet, but I did find it on the shelves of Bookmark in Charlottetown while I was there for the Atlantic Book Awards last week.I got to spend the Victoria Day weekend at one of my favourite places, Port Joli, with some of my favourite people as we celebrated Shannon’s graduation from Dalhousie on May 20th. There’s nothing like family time!
While I was in Charlottetown, I got to spend time in the sunshine with two of my best writer friends, Jackie Halsey and Jill MacLean.
All in all, it’s been a great month, although Don and I are true empty nesters, now. Birthdays are funny in that you’re always left shaking your head, wondering how you got to be so old when you still feel like an eleven-year-old (at least inside your head:) I’m feeling grateful for having people who like me and love me in my life, and for the great privilege of getting up most mornings anticipating working at something I adore! Thanks for being part of my journey …
BOOK GIVE-AWAY (ENTER TODAY!)
Woozles Pink Day
The nicest people seem to hang out at book stores! Woozles had this wonderful window display for anti-bullying/pink day a couple of weeks ago – I was happy to see Harmony as part of that display. The Woozles women were also working hard at Word on the Street on Sunday, and they’re always so happy to see you!
http://www.slj.com/2013/09/books-media/collection-development/focus-on-collection-development/children-of-war-tales-of-child-refugees-and-safe-havens-focus-on/ Nice to see HARE included on this comprehensive list compiled in School Library Journal (SLJ) today.
I was part of a middle grade authors’ panel at WOTS, along with writer friends JoAnn Yhard and Jill MacLean – we had a great chat on the topic of “Food For Thought – the role of novels in encouraging empathy,” and we actually had a decent crowd there to listen to us. Thanks to all the volunteers, including our friend, Jackie Halsey, who agreed to moderate the panel at the last minute.
Wednesday night, I went down to the Irving Centre and met the people in the intro to writing for kids workshop I’ll be facilitating through Acadia’s Lifelong Learning (ALL) program for the next six weeks. They’re a dynamic group, with lots of writing/editing experience, and it’ll be interesting to hear what they bring to share each evening. I typed out the text of Kathy Stinson’s new picture book, THE MAN WITH THE VIOLIN (Annick), based on the Joshua Bell/subway story that went viral on the internet a year or two ago, and read it to the group. The 440-word text is a brilliant example of a picture book text standing perfectly on its own without the enhancement of illustrations – but they’re brilliant too (Dusan Petricic – I think he’s an editorial cartoonist as well as an illustrator).
We couldn’t have asked for better weather for our writing retreat to Port Joli last week. This was my fifth year retreating to PJ for a writing week, and we got lots of writing done, but managed to fit in some beach time every day, too, plus long chats about writing and a million other topics. Thanks Marcia and Jackie:)
- Port Joli, 2013