silly and serious

This is somewhat “columncentric” and local, but you might still enjoy…..


It is Monday morning and time for some silliness to start the week, although I am totally aware that you probably won’t be reading this until mid-week or later. There is always time for silliness. Yesterday I went to a Book Launch at the Woodbridge Farm Writers’ Retreat put on by Grant Munroe and friends and the bookstore, Biblioasis. This is not a news article, so I may be fleeting in my details as I want to get on to the main announcement.

The announcement is predicated by one of the authors/poets at the Launch, Marty Gervais, who is the Poet Laureate of Windsor. A multi-talented guy (I once stalked at the Windsor Bookfest to get him to sign a book of poetry I had purchased), Marty read us some poetry and then an excerpt from his upcoming book, “The Disappeared: Five Days Walking the Five Towns” (of what makes up Windsor now).  It will be published by Biblioasis and out in the fall—and that is just about all I will tell you now as the author, poet, professor, photographer, past newspaperman, and mentor of many has too many accomplishments to list in my precious little space).

What we are going to concentrate on in this column is that he is the Poet Laureate of Windsor. A distinguished title, and one that I will not take away from him (as if I could). But I have decided to be the Poet Laureate of Kingsville, until I am unseated by a proper poet. I told him this and we laughed and laughed. And laughed. But wouldn’t it be cool to have a Poet Laureate in Kingsville? I know that I am self-appointed, and there are many in the area who deserve the title and would not have the audacity to appoint themselves.

I read somewhere that “all poetry is political”. I am here to tell you that is not true—most of my poetry is written, what did my dear youngest son say, “like I was in grade 5”. I tend to write a lot of haiku (which I found out is both the singular and plural of the word by some haughty haiku observers I encountered on my blog—and deleted promptly) as it is a form that I find both attractive and short—though sometimes I do have trouble counting syllables.

Haiku for anyone who does not know (or really care) is a form of poetry which can be quite exacting—but all true haiku does not have to be. I follow the 5-7-5 syllable count because it is something my simple mind can handle—but rather than go into it, if you are interested, you can Google it and find out a myriad of information, most of which I tend to ignore. I also write longer poetry—but none of it is very deep—or if it is, I did not intend it to be.

Anyway—this is a rather long-winded way of telling you that I am the new, first, and only, self proclaimed Poet Laureate. Of Kingsville. If you are real poet and want to take my title away, I will not be offended. I will understand. It will be okay. I will, though, cry a little in my beer. Not my wine, because I do not want it to be sullied by my tears.

Now For the More Serious

I will probably report on this in a bit more detail, but as this is my column and thus opinion, I will merely mention that I had one of the best weekends ever—first at the writers’ workshop run by Governor General award-winning author, Diane Schoemperlen at the Retreat. She has become my new bff. At least in my mind. I loved the workshop based on her memoir “This Is Not my Life”, I love her writing, and she is just a wonderful person. (Am I gushing here?) I would like to point out that the best friend forever moniker is merely a figment of my imagination, but it makes me happy, so who is it hurting?

Second, on Sunday I went to the Lawn Party and Book Launch of Diane’s latest book, “First Things First” (published by Biblioasis). That is also where Marty gave his reading, as well as poet and author D.A. Lockhart. Lockhart was charming and talented, and after I save up my pennies I will be buying some of his works too. (Must win that lottery).

I am now in a very “cultured” mood. And I am so happy that this little town and environs of ours is taking reading, writing, art, and music so seriously now. There are all types of venues on tap for those of us who want to feed our creative selves, and I for one, am thrilled.

Published in: on June 22, 2017 at 7:07 pm  Comments (6)  



“Find out what is wrong with you and fix it”. This is advice my husband is forever giving. It is advice he gives when someone complains about some malady or other and it is always medical in nature. It is, on the surface, good advice. It falls apart for a number of reasons: sometimes people just want to complain; sometimes you can’t fix it; and sometimes people just don’t want advice, no matter how practical and kind-hearted.

I have just found out what is wrong with me, and it is not easily “fixed”. It is called “summerphobia” and I learned about it just this morning from an article by Ellen Himelfarb in the daily newspaper—reprinted from the London Daily Telegraph. I knew though that I suffered from it, but I did not know that it had an “official name”.

Summerphobia, according to Himelfarb, is “a rare but potent form of anxiety that intensifies when social lives heat up and work conversations revolve around holiday plans or the “amazing” barbeque last weekend.” I define it a little more precisely. Summerphobia for me is a dislike of extreme heat and humidity, although I do suffer from the “instability” of summer, when all bets are off, and we are supposed to be carefree, and have fun without a set schedule.

Let us be real here for a minute though. Unless you are filthy rich, or a young kid, summers still need to be regimented to some extent. Most of us still have to work, though we may not feel like it when the sun is shining and the beach is beckoning. We have to put our “big pants” on and be adult about summer. I remember the summers before I started working (babysitting and detassling corn) when I was free to play and read (after I had finished my chores, which mostly involved cleaning my room and dusting). I spent an inordinate amount of time in the backyard in my tree, which once I had climbed, was my refuge for hours. The branches were substantial, and arranged in just the right way for me to stretch out on one branch, while my back was cradled by another.

Even back then I suffered from the effects of “summerphobia” which included time off from school and away from my friends. Himelfarb says that she too suffered from the malaise when she was a kid. She said that “as school ended…I braced myself for the exodus of certainty, routine and friends” and yearned for September and a return to normalcy.

On Facebook, I follow “I Love Autumn” and all their posts about the wonders of fall. It is not news to anyone who knows me that fall is my favorite time of year. I repost or “share” some of the pics and quotes about fall to the chagrin of a couple of my Facebook friends, who think I am just baiting them. And maybe I am. Just a little. But I really do love the fall—the cooler temps, the turning leaves, a return to routine, pumpkins, and yes, there is a bit of magic in the season. It doesn’t hurt that Christmas follows close on its heels.

But I am trying to learn to embrace summer. And when it is not too hot or too humid, it really is not a bad time of year. I am not a complete “summerphobic”. I took the quiz at the end of the article and because most of my answers were (b), I have, according to the results “nothing to worry about, but… could do with relaxing a bit.” And it left me with a bit of cheeky advice: “It’s just a bit of sun.” Those who chose (a) for their answers were prime candidates for summerphobia, but were comforted with the statement that “it’s more common than you think”. Those who answered (c) were summer lovers. Apparently, they buy disposable barbeques and are the first to throw around frisbees; they leave photos around of the beach resort they’ve booked; are overcome with fear of missing out (on fun); and despise the end of summer. They are only made fearful by the words “winter is coming”.

Summerphobia at its worst is the “fear of ambiguity, and the loss of clarity and security”. My advice: It’s just a bit of sun. Enjoy your picnics and barbeques, a little time off, not having to don outerwear, and remember “this too will pass”. And for those of you who love summer—well, you don’t need any advice—just keep that frisbee in the air.

Published in: on June 22, 2017 at 7:03 pm  Comments (5)