Yesterday I hade the pleasure of speaking at a luncheon meeting of the Canadian Federation of University Women in Peterborough, Ontario. This national organization is under the umbrella of the International Federation of University Women. Their goal is to empower women and girls through lifelong education for leadership, decision-making and peace and their global reach is long and strong.
If there is a branch in your area, I strongly urge to you get involved with these active and forward-thinking women!
IMHO, being invited to engage in speaking opportunities is THE best side effect of having a published novel. I love it! Whether it is an intimate book club meeting or larger groups, it’s such a buzz!
Exchanging information, ideas and stories with people who have knowledge and experience to share is an energizing way to spend some time. I always walk away feeling motivated and immensely fulfilled. So thank you, Peterborough CFUW for a lovely time together … not to mention a delicious lunch!
Coincidentally, I had lived part of my youth just north of Peterborough in the quaint small town of Lakefield on the shores of the Otonobee River and Lake Katchewanooka, part of the Trent-Severn Canal system. I completed the last three years of high school there and have one dear friend in particular – yay Sandy! – with whom I have always stayed in touch.
So I drove the two hours a day early, through beautiful, pastoral countryside and past more century farms than I recalled, and spent Monday with my girlfriend. A small aside here, as I said to the CFUW women yesterday, “Girlfriends are girlfriends, whether you are 5, 25, or 85.”
We drove around to all the old familiar spots including the favourite parking spots for watching “submarine races” on the canal and laughed and reminisced. Such fun! We popped in to visit a cousin of mine I hadn’t seen in way too long and later I visited a dear old family friend (who had bravely taught me to drive when I turned 16, sparing my parents the torture) and his wife. For dinner, we went to a spot that was our favourite ice cream or coke float stop on our walk home from school. The interior has changed, as have the owners, but from the outside it looks as it did 50 (yikes!!!) years ago and they have not changed the name.
Apart from the inevitable spread of some new sub-divisions on the periphery, the town (really it’s more like a village) remains remarkably unchanged. That was nice to see.
Lakefield has more recently established a respected Literary Festival, held in July on the weekend closest to writer Margaret Laurence‘s birthday on July 18. Celebrating Lakefield’s rich literary heritage it was begun not only to honour Laurence but also two of Canada’s earliest pioneer writers, Catherine Parr Traill and Susanna Moodie. All of these women lived in the area, with Laurence living in town and in a nearby cottage on the Otonabee River for the latter seventeen years of her life.
So as I drove back to Toronto late yesterday afternoon, I felt very grateful for everything. The talk, the new friends, the old friends, the memories. Life is good.
I also want to take care of some old gratitude business today. Although I thanked each of these women at the time for the thoughtful awards they bestowed, I want to highlight their blogs and send some new readers their way. It’s definitely worth your while to pay them a visit as each of these writers offers very diverse and entertaining writing styles and information. Do it!
The lovely and hilarious Tameri Etherton’s “A Cup Of Tea and Sorcery” offers her thoughts on an endless range of topics. A fantasy writer who is getting close to publishing her mega-project, she injects every post with her very special manner of expression that always has me laughing out loud. You will too … I promise!
Patricia Caviglia’s site, “Playing With Matches” is full of surprises. The author of the YA novella, Masks, this young woman is a fearless and edgy writer who often shares her insights into juggling a career, co-parenting a sweet four-year-old daughter, and establishing her voice in the writing community. Fortunately for me she lives in the Toronto area, well… okay, Mississauga … but that will always be part of Toronto to me … and we get to actually spend time together, usually at the Writers & Editors Network breakfast meetings, and I like her a lot. So will you.
Lastly, but by no means leastly, is the remarkable Emmie Mears. Ah, Emmie, where to begin … Well her tagline will tell you something “Saving the world from brooding, one self-actualized vampire at a time”. Urban fantasy is her genre and she is well into her work and actively seeking representation. “Reality filtered through a supernatural lens — that is the magic,” to quote her. There are many sides to this young woman, including the Buffy-verse she loves, and her humour, intelligence and commitment to her beliefs is obvious. I learned about Eve Ensler’s powerful V-day program from Emmie. Stop by her blog. I guarantee you will stay. (You know I’m not there for Buffy!)
So, Tameri, Patricia, Emmie, please forgive me for being just a touch tardy at getting around to an official thank you. I know I don’t have to explain … we are all writers … we know how it is … I SO appreciated the awards and will add the widgets to my blog. Um, well to be honest … I’ll ask my irreplaceable techie goddess, Carrie Spencer, to do it for me since I still haven’t figured it out.
I wonder if it’s Leap Day that is causing me to feel so grateful today? It is fun to think we have an extra day that will make
such a absolutely NO difference in us getting caught up on everything. Nah, truly I feel grateful every day. How about you?