Musing on Family Day

So Family Day, 2018. A relatively new holiday in our Canadian calendar, one likely created to break up the long winters, but one also designed, one would like to think, to bring us closer to the people who matter in our lives.

Here at the Old Stone House we’re pursing various activities. My dearest husband has spent the morning sanding drywall mud in the main bathroom, part of the 17 year (so far) renovation project we took on. He now has a second coat of mud applied, has showered, been lunched and watered, and is now practicing guitar. I’m listening to the stains of Hotel California waft up to the loft where I’m futzing about with my own pursuits.

preliminary Fotress LouisbourgMy morning was spent sketching in the preliminary details of a new watercolour on the glass (I work on a large, tempered glass surface). This one is of Fortress Louisbourg, what’s going to be a soft dawn, a gentle sea, a promise and a hope. The painting is a demanding one in that it’s all perspective, which has always been a challenge for me. I can do it. It’s just not the sort of hellya kind of free-form impressionistic painting.

It’s seems typical, however, that I’d choose to paint at the moment, in light of the fact I’ve just released my newest novel, Caliban. Painting always seems to follow writing. I can track that throughout my adult life, over and over again. One seems to inform the other. It’s a bit weird. But then maybe not, because I’ve begun to understand a number of my colleagues also do this sort of thing: work on their main art, complete it, and then retreat into their secondary art as a way to refresh their well of creativity.

I also treated myself today and purchased online a few more art supplies. I love shopping online! I now have coming my way some resist, two new hake brushes, and a tube of cerulean blue. While I normally paint with mostly all transparent or semi-transparent pigments, I’ve decided to return to cerulean blue for certain effects precisely because of its opacity. Glazed with gum arabic in the final details of a painting representing water can create some very interesting depth, and the illusion of surface. I haven’t done that in a very long time, and thought it was time to return to that technique.

Of course, while doing all that I’m thinking forward to my reading and book signing coming up in just 18 days at Monigram in Cambridge for my new novel, Caliban. Doing that sort of thing is always a bit of a gamble. You never really know until the event just how many people are going to come, and how well the event will go. I haven’t done a reading or signing since I released From Mountains of Ice in 2009. Up until the spring of 2010 I had a signing once a month at some bookstore in southern Ontario. That was quite the grueling schedule.

I won’t be doing that this time. There will be just this one event, and after that if someone would like to host me on their blog, or invite me to their book club or writer’s group, that will be that. To be honest, I’m just getting too old to be traipsing about, especially in light of my increasing disabilities.

That latter, however, is something I’m hoping to have addressed beginning tomorrow. As sometimes occurs in my life, I’ve reached a point where I’ve simply had enough. So, I’m opening the door to discussing the possibility of two knee replacements, and a hip, with my doctor. That’s a huge leap for me to make, because I’m simply scared silly about all that. On the other hand, it would be wonderful to be able to indulge in the simple pleasure of walking into the village again to fetch the mail, to be able to garden, dance under the willow when the moon comes up just cause I’m a dotty old lady and want to swing and sway.

And this, dear readers, is far more personal information than I usually wish to impart. But I thought you might want to know why it is I won’t be undertaking a signing tour for Caliban. Do, however, order it either directly through me, Five Rivers Publishing, or your favourite online bookseller, whether as an ebook or print, or make the trip out to Cambridge on March 10 for my event at Monigram.

For now, however, I’m back to wrestling with two-point perspective and the architecture of Fortress Louisbourg.

Happy Family Day!

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