Saturday, October 30, 2010

Some sacrifices

We all have to make sacrifices sometimes.  Today is one for me, and maybe for you too, at least for a little while.

In Toronto today, while visiting my wonderful family physician who never spends less than an hour and a half on my visits to her, to say nothing of all the work she's done in between, I've learned that I'm not well enough to  be able to write in my blog for a couple of months.  This makes me unhappy, because I have been quite loving the connections I've been making with you all.  On the other hand, I have to take as much time as I can to rest before the specialists decide what to do with me, and I can only hope that what I've given you so far will be enough for you to carry on for a couple of months until (say, January, or whenever the specialists let me come back to my work here on this blog.)  I hope you will forgive me for abandoning you for a while.  But you know, I think you will find that you have really got a lot to do on your own, just to get caught up with all the tips and ideas we've been talking about for the last few months.

I don't want to lose you as friends and colleagues.  That's the truth.  But I have a feeling you are such devoted writers that you'll keep an eye on my blog site, here, and will knowwhen I've come back, and then will come back, yourselves.

Deb will be the first person whose story will be discussed in our next WORKSHOP MEETING on this blog, after I give Jessica some pointers, and leave her to try a few things, and then ask me anything she wants to in January, or whenever I can come back. 

Jessica, I would ordinarily write a great deal more than I'm going to today.  But I know that you will pick out what you need from the advice I offer here.  Also, don't forget that you still have all of the others here to communicate with.  Please do feel free to make comments to one another through my blog.  If you do that, and help each other, you will take my place until I can come back.  I'm sure you won't have that many questions to ask me, because from what I've seen from all of your comments, you're all very astute readers and will be extremely good at communicating along the lines that we've been trying to focus on in this blog from the beginning.    So, here are just a few comments for you for NOW, Jessica.  I would really like you to take them into your mind and heart and do what you can to help the reader relax into your book, just a little more.

I would ordinarily spend the next couple of days writing up what to say to you,  but instead, to you (speaking both for myself and for all the others in the workshop who have read and responded to me with their feelings about your work),  I will simply say that you are a smooth, clean, articulate writer with a good mystery and lots of hooks to keep us interested.  The only problem that I (and your fellow writers) see in your Chapter One (which I can now tell the others was one you had written early on and then discarded as "unnecessary backstory") is that while your dialog is extremely natural and relaxed, especially the joking around between the characters, there is something tight and almost uncomfortable about your narration.  My sense is that you need to be more "loose" in the telling of this story.  Let go, a little.  Be more leisurely. 

The whole of your quite short Chapter One is incredibly complex: you have a character who doesn't know she is half-alien, she is pregnant, she has a broken bone, and she's getting married, as well as having a subtle attraction to another man, all of which we either must deduce from your dialog (which lets us in on more than most writers can manage) or be told by your narration.  This is a lot of information for your reader to take in (and yes, I do know that the half-alien part isn't all that clear until your - now - Chapter Two).  It isn't too much information.  Don't worry at all about that.  It just needs to be spread out a little. 

The main thing that will help you is to use space breaks to divide basic sections of your novel into parts where you want the reader to learn something.  1.  The gunshot.  2.  The pregnancy.  3.  The webbed toes.  4.  Where is this place called London, hey?  (grin.)

I live in London, ONTARIO, so I'm probably the only one besides Jessica who knows this setting very well, but one of your fellow writers would like to know a little more.  I think she is right.  Take a leaf from Kathy Reichs's later books (not her early ones) and see how she describes her own job and location in Montreal and the islands.  It's important to the reader to understant in Reichs's books the jurisdictional separation between police on the island and police in the rest of Quebec.  For you, it will be just as important to clarify which jurisdiction your main characters belong to in the police, and use a little description to make her particular job clear.  Also, the setting.  Setting is best handled by having something exciting or unusual or interesting happening in the location that you want us to know.

As for as the other difficulties with things happening just a little too quickly, I would offer you a suggestion to think about.  If you start the novel with a really loving and kind of hot sex scene between your two soon-to-be-married characters, a leisurely, gentle and loving discovery of each other's bodies.... Don't do more than you feel comfortable with, but remember that all your readers have likely had sex of some sort, and won't be embarrassed if YOU AREN'T. 

If you do take my advice, I would wind within the opening sex scene both dialog and actions that show us more about your characters, rather than telling us about them or summarizing who they are and telling us what they are thinking.  Let us feel them.  Let us BE at least one of them.  People do talk during sex, not necessarily seriously, and not too philosophically or politically, but if you use dialog very carefully in that first sexual encounter between them, you will be able to introduce everything through her feelings, emotions, sudden memories of Burly, etc.,... And then, while things are going perfectly, you should SHOW us the moment where they discover their common physical abnormality.  It should really be quite a shock to them, when they discover that seen from underneath, each of them have webbing between their toes.  You can choose which one of them would try to make light of it.  Maybe one of them will say that thing about "it's not all that unusual, you know" (which will send some of your readers straight for the internet to check, sorry but it will), and then maybe you can have the other one decide NOT to run to the internet to check.  Up until now this has been a thing that they both have rather taken for granted.  But would their parents?  Would their pediatricians, when they were newborns?  The first thing new parents and grandparents do is count the fingers and toes...  So figure out in your mind how this thing has been dealt with by your heroes' families, while they were growing up...  Your heroes must have been able to see it in their own families somewhere  to accept it so casually.  The older ones would have talked to them about it, and maybe given them hints on how to handle it (no sandals, right? what kid wants to be different from his friends?) .  Decide how they chose to deal with their "deformities" when they were young, and who they let in to the "secret" or if they just treated it as casually as they do in chapter one... because to discover someone not in their own family but with the same kind of feet must depend on how they chose to deal with it in themselves.

The love triangle you present virtually at the altar is something we all are concerned a bit about (not a lot, just a bit.)  We all want to know why she is marrying one man while having feelings for the other.  This is something that your heroine would need to really ask herself deeply, perhaps after the first sexual meeting of the two (happening in the first chapter), especially if you allow some time to happen between that encounter and the next Chapter, which might be a few ordinary work weeks later.  Let us watch her at work, let us see her ordinary reactions to her fiance and to Burly, let us think with her, now here, now there, struggling to find out her own feelings.  And then let her find out she's pregnant, and let us live with her feelings as she tells him and is practically pushed into marriage? or wants to get married because something in her tells her it will be vital for her to do this?  or whatever...  Doing this: showing to your readers this big decision to be made with pressures of all sorts both from within her and from various other people, will help your readers understand that she doesn't make this decision to marry lightly, and that perhaps she's even chosen not to quite acknowledge her feelings for Burly, for the sake of her unborn child.   I think this will ease the slight discomfort people have mentioned to me about her feelings for two men on her wedding day. 

I have to say that I disagree with your writing circle's desire to see this exact Chapter One come back, if I understand correctly that that is what happened.   I liked your Chapter Two better than Chapter One as an initial chapter (sorry to those of you who didn't get to see it; it was more or less a brain bomb that came to me late this week that this Chapter One wasn't maybe the Chapter One Jessica had intended.).  Nevertheless, even in your Chapter Two I feel a tension in your narration.  You do need all the information in this chapter, of course, and as one of your colleagues in our workshop said, it's natural to want to quickly get across information that is needed if the rest of the book is going to work.   But to do it as quickly as you do risks confusion in the reader, and perhaps even having the reader pull back from your major character.  Readers want to BE the main character, and will be that character if you let them in. 

As I say, I'd start with sex.  It's a definite page turner for most people, and you need some kind of physical discovery of the shared foot "deformity" SHOWN to the reader, instead of described after the fact.  Sex is one good way of doing it.  Don't be shy about the sex.  Whatever lengths to which you decide to go, it must feel perfectly natural, interesting and right.  You must not feel embarrassed writing it.  If you do, you will end up embarrassing the reader.  Don't let it be JUST sex either.  Let it be something lovely that is interrupted somehow by the discovery of the same "deformity" in each of the two partners.  If you do this really smoothly, calmly, leisurely and without shame or fear, this can be a Chapter where love is the focus only to be turned on its head by the strangeness of the two of them sharing a kind of webbing between their toes. 

And it should always be repeated, in your own mind, over and over as you write: SHOW, don't TELL, and especially don't TELL AFTER THE FACT.

I know this isn't enough, Jessica, but it is enough for you to be getting on with.  When I come back, and I promise that I will, I will answer on the blog (for everyone to read) anyone's questions about what Jessica's done in the next couple of months to loosen this taut first chapter and to get information across in an easeful manner, where it belongs.

I'm hoping to make that happen by January.  But as you are all aware we can't always make things happen just because we want to.  But if you keep talking to one another on this blog, I will be able to know what you've been up to while I've been resting, and you'll know at once when I come back.

Please make good use of this change in the way things have been for the last couple of months.  You have time now to ponder what you have learned, to choose what you want to use from what you've learned, and to actually use it in your own "to be published" works of heart.

Now: just to make this kind of sad little post what it ought to be, here is one more sentence from Terry Pratchett:

The camel was turning over in his mind an interesting new concept in Thau-Dimensional Physics which unified time, space, magnetism, gravity, and, for some reason, broccoli.

Hugs to you all.

Welwyn - on - books

Friday, October 29, 2010


Yesterday, after posting to Sir Terry Pratchett, I made sure to write an email to his agent, to ask permission for the quote that I used quite wrongly before aasking for permission.  To my astonishment, I came home from a long day visiting the doctors inToronto today to find an email waiting for me.  Here is what it said:

"Dear Welwyn

Without knowing of your email to me (which had been sidelined into my spam file) I'd emailed to your booksby address
"I much enjoyed your blog. As Terry's UK agent, I have no objection whatever to your quoting this, and if Random House in the UK or HarperCollins in the US get in touch - unlikely, I think - tell them I've written to you and they should contact me."
Colin Smythe

Thanks very much for your email. I am so glad that Terry's books have been so helpful to you - how could one not be? - and I am sure that you will again write books, not just blogs, for the sheer pleasure it brings you. Terry is fortunate in that the posterior cortical atrophy variant has little effect on the cognitive part of the brain, only on the motor, and while he cannot now physically write, he can dictate to his computer, and that is his joy. He's said that as long as he can do that, he is content, but if the time comes that he can no longer write, no longer create, then that will be the time to say goodbye. Fortunately the progress of the disease is very slow, and his symptoms are not very noticeable. He has found ways of working round most of them. After all, Nation was completed, and Unseen Academicals, I Shall Wear Midnight, and now his novel on Vimes's holiday at the Ramkin country estate have all been written since his diagnosis, and he's enjoying his collaboration with Stephen Baxter, so I think there are quite a few years' creation still in the pipeline.

Very best wishes


And so, you see, there are two lessons to be learned here:

(a) that life for a writer like Sir Terry Pratchett is worth living only if he can still create.  For him, creation is joy, is probably life itself, in its own internal way.

(b) that you cannot quote from an author without it being noticed by someone with authority over the author's words.  Isn't it amazing, that while my email sat in Sir Terry's agent's Spam box, he had already found this quote and given permission for it?  Isn't that just AMAZING?

Life is full of synchronicities.  Never, ever take them for granted.  They're always meant.

Hope all is well with you all.

Welwyn on books

Thursday, October 28, 2010

To Sir Terry Pratchett, and to Laughter and Joy!!!

Today I had a piece of horrible news.  I learned that the writer I see as epitomizing everything I've been trying to say to you in this blog, Sir Terry Pratchett, has been diagnosed with early onset Altzheimer's.  It is apprently not new news, it was announced about three years ago, but it was new to me. 

I want you to understand what Terry Pratchett has been to me.  I was already a published writer when I first discovered him, but I didn't understand how to write, really.  I was getting published and paid and earning a living and all of that was very nice, but until I first read Terry Pratchett, I didn't know how much was wrong with my writing.  I did not write with joy, you see.  I did at the beginning,  in the five years or so before my first novel was published: five years where I sat at a desk every single day and had a blast (as MPax would say) writing novels that I kind of hoped would be published -- but that in a fundamental way I knew wouldn't be lessened if they weren't.  I loved the writingI loved the five-year journey.  I loved its freedom.  In those five years I wrote six books that would never be published.  A seventh made it. 

In a way, I changed head-space when I got that first book published.  Somehow, the publishing, the earning of money, the talks to students, the whole "lifestyle", made me forget the primary importance of the  joy of writing my books. 

Time went by.  I used to read to Meredith every night, or she to me, and I can remember exactly how it was, the day I bought Sir Terry's book "Men at Arms", our first Pratchett.  She and I were crossing Richmond Street, kind of the main drag in London Ontario, at Queens, (you know where this is, don't you, Jessica?) and I said to Meredith, "I just bought a book by a guy named Terry Pratchett," and (because I had read the first chapter to myself), I added, "we're going to just love it."

We did.  Since that time, I bought all of his books, some of them in duplicate, for fear of losing the original.  Those books mattered that much to me.  They still do.  I don't think there is a writer alive who can make me howl with laughter page after page and then, suddenly, fall into the well of sadness at the bottom of life, the place that can kill us, really, if we don't encounter it bracketed by laughter and joy.  I've tried in this blog to encourage you to write for the joy of it.  And so today I would like to devote this blog to Sir Terry Pratchett, and in particular, to his philosophy of writing. 

Terry  Pratchett has said it many times.  What he says is that writing is the most fun thing a person can do by him/herself.

How can I make you see how this man shows this philosophy without being untrue to the sadness that exists in this world?  Today, I thought I'd just go straight to the joy, the playfulness, in one of his lesser known books, a quotation from page 187 of a book called Pyramids.

I want to do it today, as a tribute, even though I haven't yet got permission, because only today I found out that Sir Terry Pratchett is still writing great books that make you laugh, but he is fighting the loss of his mental ability to play with concepts and maybe there won't be too many more of these great books.  His courage and smile won't go away, however.  I want you to know him, just a little, through the quotation I'm going to share with you without permission, and then, I want you to read every single one of his books, because if you do that, while you're struggling with "hard stuff", you will understand what I mean about writing with joy.  His books will also.make you laugh if you happen to need it before you get where you want to be, in your own writing.

The following small bit of text is like a footnote, separated off from the main novel by an asterisk, having nothing whatsoever to do with the story, but thrown in just because Pratchett was having fun with an idea, and probably laughing out loud as he wrote it:.

* ...the fastest animal on the Disc is the extremely neurotic Ambiguous Puzuma, which moves so fast that it can actually achieve near-lightspeed in the Disc's magical field.  This means that if you can see a puzuma, it isn't there.  Most male puzumas die young of acute ankle failure caused by running very fast after females which aren't there, and, of course, achieving suicidal mass in accordance with relativistic theory."  [Einstein says that in order to travel at nearly the speed of light, your mass would increase hugely, and even though mass is not really weight, hey, go with the joke, and imagine this puzuma's ankles breaking while trying to support its huge weight as he runs at almost the speed of light to catch the female who isn't there. - WWK].  "The rest of them die of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, since it is impossible for them to know who they are and where they are at the same time, and the see-sawing loss of concentration this engenders means that the puzuma only achieves a sense of identity when it is at rest -- usually about fifty feet into the rubble of what remains of the mountain it just ran into at near light-speed.  The puzuma is rumoured to be about the size of a leopard with a rather unique black and white check coat, although those specimens discovered by the Disc's sages and philosophers have inclined them to declare that in its natural state the puzuma is flat, very thin, and dead."

             -- permission for this quotation is needed.  I quoted it first and am now seeking permission because I think  Air Terry  would want to see his words in context in this blog before granting permission.  However, this is not something we should do.  Rightly, I should ask first and use later.  I apologize in advance if this quote will have to be removed, or if Sir Terry or his agent or his publisher is upset by my using it beforehand. 

Writing your novel with a spirit of light-heartedness and fun is what has made Pratchett one of the most widely-read novelists in the world.  You don't have to put funny things into your book to let your own light-heartedness and joy in writing come across to the reader.  You simply have to try very hard to write the very best book you can, while at the same time having more fun than you've ever had (alone) in your life.

I was lucky enough to be reading my Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (an incredible source of the "itch" that you can turn into an idea for a book) one day and to discover by sheer chance (????) a single entry that is supposedly true and funny but only a sentence long.  In reading this, I immediately recognized that this had to have been an "itch" that Pratchett had also discovered and scratched away at until he had the entire idea for a book of his that I love very much. The entry in Brewer is not, of course, the "idea" that created the book, but it's the source of the idea.  Ideas happen when you scratch away at something that itches inside your mind.  You're so taken up by the itch, and the need to think about it, and to ask all kinds of "what if..." questions about it, that eventually you find that you have an idea for a book. 

I was delighted to find the entry in Brewer years after I first read the book that I am positive the Brewer entry helped Terry Pratchett write.  It made me see that my hero, Pratchett, does just what I do.  He finds something strange, or weird, or cool, somewhere (I do that too: I use Brewer and newspapers and the little human interest stories that are fillers in some magazines, as well as things that come to me in my own life) until just such an itch catches my mind's interest, and then I scratch at it until I have the idea for the book (well, I guess it isn't the whole book, but rather, some major part of it, e.g. the plot problem, the solution of the plot problem, the main characters' innermost problems and how they interact with the basic plot problem, or why the heroes can't solve the plot problem at the beginning of the book but have to solve it). 

To know that (even though I will never be able to write books that are as good as Pratchett's) I do basically what he does, wow, that just "made my day"!

And so I dedicate today's blog, and all of your writing in the workshop portion of this blog, to Sir Terry Pratchett, and I pray that the cure that I hear is just around the corner will reach him before, like the puzuma, he runs into that corner at near light-speed.

To Sir Terry!  To Laughter and Joy!  To a Cure for Altzheimer's!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The House: an Update!

So tomorrow night we sign papers that should give us the mortgage money we need.

Today we had the building inspector in and he said that it was a good house, solidly built, only  needed a bit of tweaking.  Only one minor worry, which he said we should deal with.  They had insulated the house with the blue foamy thing that dries to something kind of like armour.  Mostly that's the best kind, but apparently there is one kind that looks the same as all the others but has urea formaldehyde in it.  This is something that our insurance company could refuse us insurance on, if we don't validate it.  I'm just thanking God that I told the realtor we needed till NEXT Tuesday to get everything sorted, while encouraging him to tell the vendors that we really do want to buy the house.

So, we've drawn up a floor plan and we can get most of our furniture in, the good stuff, anyway.  The rest, well, you have to know when to let go.  We have three lockers here full of stuff that needs to be stored dry (i.e. books, mostly; photos, that kind of thing).

If all goes well with the foam insulation we are going to get the insurance sorted, get our lawyer, and buy this fantastic little bungalow only four houses down from the best little village inside a city you can imagine.

I'm so excited.

Tip 6: How Do You Discover the Whole of Your Story?

Here's some real homework for you.  Fortunately, it's fun all the way, and you won't even think about writing while you do it. 

Please go out and rent or buy a DVD copy  (I own a copy and use it regularly in workshops) of the movie Minority Report.   It's quite old, a science fiction movie but also a mystery.  You won't be sorry to own it, once we go through it together after you watch it.  (If you don't own a DVD player you can buy it in VHS, but it's easier for us all to refer to the same place in the movie given chapters.)

Please watch it twice, and then right away let me know you've watched it?   Even if you've already watched it before, please watch it again, very carefully. When everyone who usually checks in tells me they've read it, I'll lead you through this Tip: on how to discover the whole of your story.  I have never found anything that works better for me in helping others to understand the process. 

Not everyone will discover the whole of their stories this way, but you know what? -- it ALWAYS works for me. 

Hope to hear from you soon...


Monday, October 25, 2010

Tip #5 on Becoming Traditionally published

I have been trying so hard to post a picture here.  Loretta Stephenson did it as a beautiful title bar for this blog, and I really want to put it in, even if just as a picture in each post.  Unfortunately, it won't post.  It also seems I'm no longer able to post any pictures of mine at all.  Something has gone really wrong here.  But I did want you to know what a lovely thing she did.  Loretta, maybe if you gave me a link to your picture on your website or your blog, I could put it in a link under my title (which you can't see, but it's there) and then people could at least click on it to see what a lovely piece of work it is, and know what a kind heart it came from.

Before I go on with Tip #5, I do hope you all understand that this "homework" type stuff really is only something that will help you become better writers in your own work.  It is your own original work, not the stuff I'm suggesting you do as Tips to becoming traditionally published, that you will be submitting for the Workshop, as Jessica has done with the first chapter of her novel, and that I'll be discussing either as a podcast or as a written commentary, depending on what this blog will let me do, on Monday, November 1.  Remember, you are all in the workshop, so I would really appreciate you sending me your comments soon on Jessica's Chapter One if you haven't already  (she doesn't name it that, but it is the first chapter of a novel).   Also, do we have a volunteer to submit something for us to comment on for December 1? 

1.  Remember that you are not really writing (even your own special novel or short story) to become traditionally published.  Remember that the cake is having fun writing, and the frosting is who publishes you.  These days life is not so easy for traditional publishers.  I have been hearing some frightening statistics.  Perhaps within ten years there will be only electronic publishing.  So more than ever, it's important to write your best, from your heart, to please your heart.  What you do with your work of heart after that will be more a political decision than anything else. 

2.  Given that, I know that you still want to be traditionally published, and that it is unfair for you to be writing in a world where that is getting harder.  I also know that you all have what it used to take: focus, true desire (as opposed to the wrong kind of desire, which is ego-based), ability, and the willingness to work however much you need, to hone your craft.

3.  So let's pretend (???) you actually still have that notebook I suggested you start several weeks ago, you know, the one with the stories listed in it, the stories from a current magazine or a book of short stories published in the last three years in the genre you want to join.  (If you've tossed it in disgust into a garbage can, that's okay, sad, but okay.  It doesn't have to stop you from this exercise).

This exercise is quite difficult, and therefore hugely fun to do.  If you still have your notebook , go and have a look at all the stories that you've rewritten in your own style.  That was fun, I'm sure it was.   Now go back to the magazine or book that you started from, and pick two of the stories, ones that are quite different in style.  I'm talking about the original versions here. 

Say you choose as Story A the original one called "Buying Plums", and as Story B the original one called "Facts of Life".  Here is the exercise.  WRITE: "Buying Plums" -- the same story, the same characters, the same theme, and likely the same resolution -- only write it as if the author of "Facts of Life" had written it.   Then, if you are up to the challenge, do it the other way around.  If you can't do more than a page of it, don't think less of yourself.  Every little bit you do, you will learn more, and someday you'll be able to do the whole thing.  Just do what you can.

(But somehow I can hear the groans from here...) 

4. If you tossed out your notebook, go get another magazine, and pick two stories whose styles are very different, and do the same thing as above.

5. This is hard to do, but it isn't work.  Why?  Because you don't have to do it.  You only will do it if you want to, if you believe you'll learn some really good tricks of the trade by doing it.  Work is stuff you have to do. 

If you think this exercise is going to be more work than fun, don't do it at all.  The reason why it is fun is that you're being you (Person 1) being someone else (Person 2) writing something else by a different writer (Person 3) in the style of Person 2.  It's really quite funny, when you think about it like this.

Remember you have help:
(a) prayer, if you believe in it, to help you to remember that this is funny.
(b) wine or beer, if you use it -- avoid the hard stuff
(c) laughter, always.  If you can't find laughter at yourself or at one of the authors or at both of them, then go online and ask your friends to send you some of those joke sheets that are always being emailed around. 
(d) phone a good friend or your spouse.  Tell them you're too good a writer to have to do this and invite them to go to a movie with you. Just one night, though... 
(e) get someone to rub your shoulders, loosen your tense muscles, massage your scalp.
(f) have a spa day with a bunch of friends at one of their houses.  Men, you too.  Mud packs on the face will make you laugh and the mud will crack and you'll all laugh at each other.  It's important to laugh.
(g) exercise very hard for five minutes exactly.  Whatever kind of exercise that will make you feel proud of yourself for doing. 
(h) Remember that Person  B and Person C, who have worked so hard on the thing you're  rewriting,  would hate what you're doing, and be grateful that they will never see what you're doing. That will also make you laugh.
(i) Remember that this exercise is not meant to be necessary to you as a writer.  Think of it as a game.  It's a game of strategy, where you learn a whole lot of other people's stylistic techniques without having to pay a penny to get them to teach it to you.   
(j)  Yell "I hate you Welwyn" (don't pronounce the second w, it's kind of like saying Wellen) whenever you feel like it.
(k) Hug your kids, or your partner, and tell them what you're trying to do in a way that'll make them laugh.  Or send it in an email to someone else, and make them laugh. 
(j) Remember all the things you have to be grateful for, one of which is that you'll never feel obliged to do this again.  Only, you're not obliged, remember?  You can do it, or you can say No.  Be grateful for that.
Good luck, as always, and keep on adding to the list of things that help when you are finding some writing task difficult.  You'll learn your own tricks.  Post them below!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

We are maybe but almost certainly oh I hope so buying a house!

I live in a place in London, Ontario we call the Old South.  Originally, it went as far south as maybe six streets south of the Thames River, where two branches meet. The best street in the olden days was just full of mansions, and it was called Grand Ave.  A long time ago, when I was teaching math at South Secondary School (in the Old South) I lived in an apartment on Grand Ave.  It was a bit down at the heel, but the trees were huge and beautiful, and the street wide, full of character.  Well, then I married and moved to various apartments in different parts of the city, and finally my husband and I bought a house on Windsor Ave (in the Old South) where my daughter Meredith was brought into the world.  Times changed... lives changed... I had to leave.  Many year later, I left London altogether, and moved to Kitchener for four or five years, and then Toronto for four or five years, and finally to a small house in a small village in the Laurentians of Quebec.  I have rarely been so out of my element as I was there.  We moved back to Ontario and, somehow, to London.  Greg had never lived in London, and he thought the idea of us having an "Old South" was funny.  So we took one day, and looked at two apartment buildings in the Old South, and Greg fell in love with one of the apartments.  I'm writing this in that apartment building.  But next week, ooooohhhhh, I'm so excited, next week if we get the financing and if the house passes a building inspection, we are moving into our very own bungalow in the Old South.

Picture mint juleps (ips?) and two nice rockers on a front porch that spreads all the way across the front of the house, with leaded glass windows, a nice big tree (maple, I think -- the leaves have all dropped here now) and a big stone house with a centre hall plan and -- are you ready -- brick on brick on brick!!!  It is so old, it has been renovated twice, once towards the back yard, and once into the front yard.  Each time, it got bigger and it had a new layer of bricks added.  It has fluted columns of stone holding up the roof over the verandah, and a HUGE kitchen which I love, and a HUGE living room that isn't all long and skinny, like the one we have here, and a formal dining room, and four bedrooms, and two bathrooms, exactly twice what we have here in both.  So, keep your fingers cross for us, will you?  Send wishes for good our way.  I should know by Wednesday, I hope, but we have till the following Tuesday if something takes longer than we expected.  I love this house. 

And the best thing is, the front verandah is right across the street from the door that I used to take my little girl to Montessori classes every day until the end of Grade Three.  I think there will be a few tears in those julips if I do get to drink them there.  I miss my Meredith so much.  She's so far away. (Victoria).

Hugs to you all!