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October 16, 2019

Writing On My Mind

By Maryanna Gabriel


Just because you've decided I'm worth hanging around...
doesn't mean I feel the same way."
-Author Unknown


     Quince Jelly is sublime. Who knew? I plan to leave some in the same bag as the person who left all of the fruit out on the roadside. "Dear Quince Person - Please find within a jar of Quince Jelly. Yours with gratitude". More good news. The rafters are quiet. No more happy scampering of little feet. Sigh. Thank you. Please stay away.

     I was so silent when I came home from the Camino. Almost a whole year of integration. Now I
am Miss Chatty Pants. It is these courses I am taking. Writing is on my mind. It is starting to be a constant. These blogs feel like exercises and little teeny tiny novels. There is a term for it now that I am getting the lingo - "flash writing". When the ideas  come through I am going with it in the hopes it transfers to the other projects I am working on.

     I take it as a good sign that owls swooped around the house last night calling and and hooting. I think it was a family of Barred Owls. I always feel so honoured when owls come close. I turned out all of the lights, wrapped myself in a blanket and listened, totally enthralled. Maybe they found dinner. What a happy thought.

     Meeting with some friends very soon who I almost died with. That was quite a sentence, wasn't it? Well not just me, a number of us. We got into trouble up in the mountains long ago. We are very excited about seeing each other again. It should be a lot of fun.

October 14, 2019

Quince Conundrum

By Maryanna Gabriel

"They dined on mince and slices of quince
Which they ate with a runcible spoon."
- Edward Lear 


     The affront of it all. My cheeks puffed in and out. A line has been crossed. It's a security breach. I stared at an avocado with bite marks taken out of it. That's it. The game is on. The fiesta is over. Buckle up, fellas. The Thanksgiving Guacamole Special has sold out. We're closed.

     A quick survey of the trap lines reveal the bait taken but the spring not depressed. Clever. Very clever. Like something out of the movie "Jaws" I see the missing trap has resurfaced on the outside
kitchen deck, regurgitated without the wire that attached it. Consoling myself I went for a walk down a quiet country road. There by a mail box was a bag with a sign on it. The sign said "Free Quince." In a moment of spontaneity and feeling militant already, I took the sign at its word and liberated it.

     I once picked quince in Greece for about 25 drachmas. They were fuzzy, peculiar, yellow things at the time and I realized as I stared at them now that I had  no idea what to do next. I cut into one. Rather unyielding, I thought. A quick internet search gave me to understand one has to cook them. I tried frying one with butter, brown sugar and rose water. Hmm. Tasted like honey. I was beginning to see the attraction. Motivated now, I realized that if I was going to live through the day the quince needed to be boiled and the juice extracted, this peeling business being an unenjoyable way to spend one's life. The resulting pinkish nectar is so pretty. I understand now why I saw so much Membrillo, or quince paste, in Spain while walking the Camino.

October 11, 2019

Thanksgiving Visitor

By Maryanna Gabriel

     There has been a scrabbling of late high up in the walls and the sound is turning my blood to ice. A rat. A happy relay across the ceiling in broad daylight has given me to understand that something has to be done. Everyday now I have been out checking the trap lines. One trap was broken and
Holly Before Thanksgiving
although the other was wired to the porch it has completely vanished. I peer through the darkness beyond the porch lattice and notice the poison I had laid down is nibbled into. I wire a new trap to the collection with hope in my heart. Last night did the scrabbling sound fainter possibly less enthusiastic I wondered? I have to be ruthless. Damage can be done to wiring. My neighbour once had to replace the piping for his washing machine which involved ripping open a wall. For now the birds have to look elsewhere for their treats.

     The season has turned a sharp cold as nights have been below zero. The holly is blooming which is a little strange as it is before Thanksgiving. I have picked some and brought it into the house feeling a dissonance with the season. Merry Christmas I say to myself. I am  wondering if this is going to be a cold winter and have been grateful for the crackling fire in the evenings. Reading at night is new for me. I am taking a Children's Writing course and am into a book called "Zellig" by British author, Adam Pullman, written for middle readers. It is tons of fun. It is about a boy who finds a strange creature in an old abandoned garage where rats dwell.

October 6, 2019

Nurturing The Inner Fire

By Maryanna Gabriel
"Fertile solitude..."  
- Adam Phillips


     This year has involved some drastic changes in order to accommodate what now needs to be done and the heart-stopping costs of tuition. There is
Me Nurturing My Inner Fire
(Portrait by Sebastian, 3 yrs old)
opportunity here for growth and it isn't to be thrown away. I just can't. Too much is at stake. Certain activities of yesteryear have had to be crossed off the list. 
I am hoping that those that know and love me will forgive me as I sink more deeply into this learning process. Fortunately, I never feel lonely. It isn't like when one is younger when being alone was more difficult. Time is needed for the right brain process and for some reason the dial on the clock seems to rotate like something out of a cartoon as one day whirls madly into the next and weeks are impossibly gone.

     The funny thing about writing is that one actually has to do it. It is rather astonishing how life poses such a rich array of distraction and from what is supposedly a primary focus. Somewhere I have read that our creative specialty needs to be at the top of the list of the day, perhaps Julia Cameron wrote this, in order to nurture our inner fire.

     Sebastian is my grandson and I believe I have either three arms in his splendid depiction of me or else it is five legs. I'll take them all.   

October 2, 2019

Writing Like A Mad Thing

By Maryanna Gabriel



"Child, to say the thing you
really mean, the whole of it,
nothing more or nothing less,
or other than you really mean,
that's the whole art and joy of words."
 - CS Lewis


     I am in the thick of it now. No more waxing on and being prosaic about this place or that to you as I scramble with hearth and home trying keeping up with
Writing Like A Mad Thing

courses from two universities. I thought it would be a good idea, you see, to improve.

     Last night was brutal. We sat in an online session for just under three hours- I was the first to get critiqued by ten other people who I have never met or talked to - a creative cross-fire hazing that at one point brought me to tears in the nicest of ways. So this is how we are meant to grow and prune our creative endeavours. I had no idea. It is an honour I suppose to have so many people wanting to move me forward. I will be doing the same for them. 


     Since I walked the Camino there is a solid resolute core that is holding fast - a surprise to me when I find it within. I am not sure what to attribute it to specifically. I was writing about the Camino with a story I shared with the class. I had a lot of positive feedback. A hopeful indicator. 

October 1, 2019

Texada Island

By Maryanna Gabriel
Landing in Van Anda
    Disturbed and dredged - that is what this island is, I thought to myself. As the ferry docked in Van Anda  mountain high piles of tailings greeted us. Heaps of gravel were everywhere. It started to become a joke between Sarah and I. Texada Island is huge, larger than Salt Spring Island with 150 year history of mining and logging behind it. In addition to limestone, copper, iron, Texada also had gold.The gold rush apparently even brought the construction of an opera house but I saw no traces of former glory but rather the opposite. 



     Our accommodation was mildly
Gillies Bay
disappointing but we did have a fantastic view so we set about to do what we do really well which was explore. We drove to Bob's Lake, I was worried about my car. The road was bad. The temperature dropped and a wind came up but we made the best of it. We decided to head to the Texada Market. It was from noon to 2:00 pm and there were about six tables with a couple packing up. I wasn't sure what to think. 


     We were happy to leave Texada and back on the Sunshine Coast we found a park with a lake to enjoy. Sarah had been regaling me with travelling tales of Newfoundland where she had just been and her stories of Gros Morne National Park were fascinating. We are old chums who met in the Yukon at age fifteen. We walked and chatted along a well kept path that bordered the lake and enjoyed the day.