Book Hippo

Thursday, May 31, 2012


Sometimes memories disappear, only to suddenly be found, like a photo that you've put in a book. You read the book and come across the postcard and there is the memory again.

It's like that with me about the trip my family took to Barkerville in the 1960s. I have no recollection of the drive up there but my brother and I stumbling about in the Barkerville graveyard is a postcard I don't think I'll forget. There were newborn babies, which I found sad and one Prime Minister's son, who had committed suicide over a girl.

Then there was the day it rained so hard that a bird came and perched under our tent flap to wait out the storm. We watched the little thing and when the rain ended, it flew off.

People walking around in costumes of the past is another postcard as is the rock candy for a dime and the gold panning. We went to a show one night. It had dance halls girls and music hall singers and a Don Rickles-like comedian who embarrassed me in front of everyone. All in fun.

But the rest of the trip has faded. I don't even remember what the area was like. I don't know if it was mountainous or flat. I remember trees so there was forest somewhere.

My brother hated Barkerville, while I thought it was great. I liked the courtroom where Franklin Johnston an actor who lived in my hometown of White Rock played Hanging Judge Begby. He was a local legend in White Rock for this role and when a group of kids would pass by his house, they'd inevitably point it out and say, "Franklin Johnston lives there."

He has become even more legendary since he's died and it's rumored his ghost haunted the White Rock Little Theatre. Which was well known also because of it's fame for lights crashing to the floor during a performance or scenery falling over.

I set my e-book, The Mountain City Bronzes in northern British Columbia but on the western edge, the part that has Alaska on it's border, mainly because, even though I'd been to Barkerville in northern BC, I hadn't noticed the scenery. It's on sale now at Coffeetime Romance:

You can highlight and paste this link to get there. It's only 59 cents. Cheers all.

Monday, May 28, 2012

My Trusty Notebook

I do like to write. I find it very satisfying to take an ordinary day and turn it into a crime or mystery. Let me explain. Coffee shops are profuse in downtown Ottawa. I like to go and sit there with my notebook. I watch people going by and describe them physically and make up little plots about them. This amuses me, although I hope nobody catches me.

You see, a man walking who is bulky could become a savior or a creep, depending on which way me plotting mind is working that day. I like to twist things sometimes because although I do the usual evaluating other people do. "Oh, that looks like a typical man. Family. Twenty years on the job." Suppose I had a story about someone who fools people into thinking he's good.

It is true that you can see people on the street you don't think well of, someone walking around without his shirt on, or long, stringy hair. But these people, as repellent as they seem are actually great characters when you twist them.

It's not all about making white black or black white, but rather about the unexpected, which I find is necessary to writing. The big man with dirty hair? He could be just off from some kind of work, like undercover policeman.

So I enjoy my daily outings to jot down the crowd of the downtown, there's so many interesting people and language is another thing to pick out. A conversation in Polish could be about anything on the page, two people knowing that no one can speak that difficult language and feel they're safe. But wait! The person walking behind them. The older lady with the Maltese Terrier, spent two years in Poland, she knows they're trying to cover up an insurance scam.

Well, that's all for now, my notebook is ready. It's a nice, hot day and that should bring out all the sun seekers. Just right for a plot about an older woman who gets heatstroke and....

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hero Worship Now

Well, I wrote about how I wanted to be a hero, now I want to reveal who my heroes were. I suppose as a baby, my hero would have been my family but that's too far back to remember, so I'll start with Shirley Temple.

As an under six year old, I watched every Shirley Temple movie I could. I didn't know that Shirley had done those movies in the 1930s, to me, she was a little girl at the time, which would be early 1960s. I can still remember watching one movie on television and there was a close-up of Shirley's face. Suddenly, the tv shut off. A power failure. I was crushed. I have never seen the end of that movie and can't remember the title but I can still remember how I used to adore that special child.

Later, when I was older, I developed a hero-worship of Leonardo da Vinci. I thought that he was the most marvelous man and felt sad that he'd been dead for so long. I would never get to meet him. I had the erroneous idea that he created his inventions in a vacuum. We now know better. Leonardo actually never invented anything. He took existing ideas and improved them.

Historians now know that a lot of people were interested in human flight a long time before Leonardo. Daedalus and Icarus is one story about such a wish. There was actually a monk in the thirteenth century who did fly. He made himself a contraption somewhat similar to a hang glider and jumped off the roof of his monastery with it. He did fly about 100 yards before crashing. He was crippled for life. But surely Leonardo knew of his flight.

Another thing. It is now thought that the Chinese came to Italy in the fifteenth century and Leonardo surely got some of his ideas from them. Like the parachute. As for his submarine, people had been making plans for them for centuries. Even the ancient Greeks had an underwater breathing apparatus which allowed sailors to go underwater to attach mines to enemy ships. Yes, mines. They had them in ancient Greece.

Leonardo stayed my hero for years, that is until I came to Ottawa and met a man I have hero-worshipped ever since. I won't say his name but he is now my room mate and he is so helpful to me. I have also found that I'm not too impressed with athletic talent but am impressed by hard work to get somewhere. It's the doing something with what you have that is real impressive to me now and more deserving of hero worship than someone born with great talent. Don't get me wrong, a lot of them work hard, too, but it's the work, not the talent that impressed me now and I find more conducive, for me, of admiration.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


I always like to think of the time I wanted to be a hero.

There were six of us girl, my older sister and her friend. Me and my friend, and the two girls who lived in the house we were playing at. We were there all day and around 4:30 a boy we all knew came walking up the street. We called out to him and he seemed surprised, he said, "aren't you afraid of the monster?"
We asked what monster only to be told that there was a monster who ate girls in the backyard of the house where we were. He would eat us up and then after 20 minutes our heads would pop out his stomach. He was walking around with heads on his stomach.

We were terrified, especially after he left us there to stew in our fears. I was thinking, though, of how to solve the problem and be a hero. I wanted to be the one who figured out how to get home without the monster seeing us. My sister and her friend wondered if we would have to stay overnight on the porch. They decided
to go down and see if they could see the  monster.

As they braved the danger and walked down the stairs, I felt hero-hood slipping away, I was too afraid to do anything. The smallest girl, who lived at the house, was only two and began to cry. Her mother came out and harshly said, "what are you kids doing to Sherry?" We told her about the monster. She brought her daughter into the house but we weren't allowed, she said we should be able to figure it out.

I was angry and felt betrayed, especially when Sherry began making faces at us from the front window.

My sister began to disparage the idea of a monster and how we'd been taken in by that boy. She declared we were being silly.

After a while, the older daughter was called in and it was just the four of us. The father opened the door and ordered us off his porch, I was still angry. My sister said that she didn't think there was any monster, that she wasn't afraid and that she was leaving, going home, and not afraid, her friend went with her. They were strolling down the hill when my friend said she had to go. She only had to the end of the block and then one house up, I had to go down the hill and down the block.

We ran and split and the end of the block.

I began to run down the hill and passed my sister and her friend. "I'll be home before you." I taunted, even though I knew I had found out one thing. My sister was the hero.

Speaking of things that happen to children: try downloading my e-book: The Mountain City Bronzes

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