Sunday, August 30, 2020

Jaron Cardew, author (short story) by Leanne Dyck

photo by ldyck

Jaron is one of my favourite characters. I long to have his confidence in my art.

Jaron Cardew, author

Artists were invited to our parties--sometimes a musician, sometimes a writer. The cardinal rule was:  look, but don't touch. It was understood they were entertainment, not our peers, friends, or lovers, though perhaps our toys.

One by one, party after party, the artists came. They fell all over themselves for the attention. Instinctively, they knew their place. They entertained us with their tricks. Mixed and mingled, then left promptly before we, the elite, grew bored with their presence.

Into this scene, a new artist strode. His head held high, shoulders back. Why all the confidence? Who was he? Was his art somehow nobler than the rest?

He wore a cheap "suit"--black jeans, blue shirt, and a black suit jacket. It wasn't appropriate attire for such a gala. We forgave him; we thought it was the best he could do.

The host introduced him, "This is author Jaron Cardew."

We waited to judge his work. Was it worthy of our time, our effort to listen?

Jaron began his pitch with a joke. Something like, "Who still reads books? Guess you do, eh?"

The room thundered with laughter. 

He pulled a folded piece of paper out of his back pocket, unfolded it, and read...

Worlds Between

Who was he?

His hair needed a cut, and his face a shave. His clothes were worn. Regardless wealth surrounded him--kings and queens, mansions, and castles. 

What was he doing there? Was he a thief?

They observed him and realized, to their surprise, his focus wasn't on their wealth.

His secret:  he possessed a gift their riches could never buy. This gift made acquisition of their tangible wealth unworthy of him. Magic poured forth from his fingertips. He conjured prose, verse--portals through which they could glimpse his exotic world. How they longed to remain there, forever. They, however, could only visit, and only if he guided them.

No one dared breathe. 

Jaron took a sip of wine and broke the spell. "Want to hear more?" He refolded the paper and slipped into his back pocket. "Well, then, give me money so I can write."

Charmed, many wrote him cheques; others gave him cash.

Recordings I'm planning to do this week...

Monday:  Jaron Cardew, author 

(Wednesday's recording had to be canceled due to tooth pain. I'll be at the dentist. Hopefully, it won't be too painful. I have a good dentist. So here's hoping.)

Humour is a good way to end the week. Don't you think?

'Abby's adventure' 
photo by ldyck

On this Blog in September...

Sunday, September 6
Book Review  
Runaway (short story collection)
Alice Munro

The ends of each of these eight stories fall like heavyweights in this deeply emotional collection. 

Sunday, September 13
Short Story
Lessons in Icelandic 
Leanne Dyck

What stories would you tell to introduce your culture? This short story was inspired by Icelandic folklore.

Sunday, September 20
Short Story
Author reading on the radio
Leanne Dyck

This short story recounts the day I traveled from Mayne Island to Salt Spring Island to read a story I wrote on the radio--a short trip but a big step forward. 

Did you know that I've started recording stories for this blog? I've been doing these author readings for about two months. I'll post a link to the ones I've done soon. 

Sunday, September 27
Book Review
Hurry Home (thriller) 
Roz Nay

Can people change? That's the question Roz Nay addresses in Hurry Home. 

I'm still here.

photo by ldyck

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A Joke for Autumn...

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Book Review: Year One by Nora Roberts reviewed by Benni Chisholm

by Nora Roberts
Published October 2018
St Martin’s Press
Paperback 464 pages
YEAR ONE was written more than two years in advance of Covid-19. The story is a spell-binding mixture of romance, thriller, and fantasy. Prophetically, its main antagonist is a virus.
The fictional virus infects its first victims at a New Year’s Eve (Hogmanay) house party in Scotland. It voraciously spreads as relatives and friends fill trains, airports and airplanes to return home. Unlike covid-19, the virus is so deadly that only those with natural immunity survive it. Desperation soon engulfs the world and murderers and vandals take advantage of the chaos.
In New York, several disease-free folk manage to escape the vandal-ridden city. They meet up with other healthy people and after overcoming incredible obstacles they begin to restore a deserted town. They rename the town New Hope. A few survivors, called “Uncannys,” have developed “magickal” talents which they use in positive ways.
But, as in every cross-section of human beings, a few bad-apples prove it’s easier to destruct than to construct. These bad-apples attack the innocent and destroy the existing order in an attempt to gain personal power.
Not wanting to be a story spoiler, I’ll simply tell you the story is a page-turner. I look forward to reading the second book in the trilogy.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Visiting Iceland (travel adventure short story) by Leanne Dyck

photo by ldyck

This short story is about lovers from two different worlds

Visiting Iceland

It's hard for me to tell you about my time in Iceland. It's too enormous, to sum up. But I'll say this--I've never felt so loved. Einar is so handsome. The first time we made love I couldn't keep my eyes off of him. He could have had any woman he wanted, but he chose me.

Despite his many charms, life with him was less than idyllic.

"Where's the closest mall? I need to go shopping."

"To spend money. To acquire things. There's more to life."

I loved to hear his voice--that accent. But what he said...? Well... 

"Shopping is part of life. You need things to live."

He laughed and swept his hand around, prompting me to consider the surroundings. "What is missing?"

I could have made a list but it would have taken me too long. 

"What we need we make. My farm provides."

I'm born to shop so I wasn't going to let him stop me from having fun. If I couldn't go in person, I'd go online. All I needed was a computer. Einar let me use his, but... I can't talk Icelandic. So forget reading it.

Sometimes he'd leave me alone on his farm--leaving in the middle of the night. And when I asked where he'd gone, he just said, "Out-- righting wrongs."

Maybe sensing that I was lonely, Einar invited friends over. They sat around the table eating stinking hard fish with pounds of butter and quarts of brennivin. Using as much English as they had, they told me the ancient stories. After I learned about the Huldufolk, Katla waited until we were alone in the kitchen. "Einar is a Huldufolk. He seduced you. Brought you here. But you don't belong in his world. He's a protector; you're a user. Go home."

Was she jealous or crazy or...right?

I flew back to Canada. 

Recorded Visiting Iceland and Shared Passion this week.

Related story...

Inspired by the Huldufolk saga

And this fun video I just found on YouTube

Next two Sundays...

August 23
Book Review
Year One by Nora Roberts
Reviewed by Benni Chisholm

August 30
Short Story
Jaron Cardew, author

I'm still here.

photo by ldyck

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Sharing my author journey...

What if writer's block was...

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Book Review: The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens

The Old Curiosity Shop is a cautionary tale wrapped up in a heart-warming adventure. The reader is cautioned against greed and the acquisition of the tangible, in favour of attaining the intangible--highly valued relationships.

The Old Curiosity Shop is set in Victorian England. Fourteen-year-old Nelly Trent lives with her grandfather in a grand old house in London. They are better off than many but that's not good enough for Nell's grandfather. He wants a brighter future for his granddaughter. For her betterment, he hatches a get-rich-quick scheme. Unfortunately, his scheme doesn't work and they end up homeless. They set out on an epic adventure. What do they find as they journey but life in all its splendid forms and heart--there beats compassion. 

The Old Curiosity Shop is peopled with an assortment of fascinating characters--saintly and evil, poor and rich. 

On one hand, we have the generous, the kind, the hard-working... We have Christopher "Kit" Nubble--poor in finances, but rich in character. Why he's almost saintly...

On the other, we have Daniel Quilp--greedy, vile, villainous. But, I wonder, is he a product of the cruel treatment he has received due to his appearance? Oh, I could write a thesis on Quilp.

My edition was published in 1995
by Wordsworth Editions Limited.
'first issued serially in 1840-1841 in Dickens's own weekly, Master Humphrey's Clock; it was published in book form in 1841' -The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica

I met Charles Dickens in junior high (middle school). The assigned reading was Oliver Twist. Oh, how I loved that book. It wasn't an easy read--Dickens' prose reads like poetry and journeys far and wide--but still I fell in love. Later, while in university, I met Dickens again. My Introduction to Social Work course held him up as a hero of the poor and downtrodden. 


An overlooked Charles Dickens novel shows the writer at his madcap best
by Simon Winder

madcap like: 'Dickens would plunge his head in the water, stand upright, give himself a shake and then keep on writing.'

The Enduring Appeal of Charles Dickens:  Still Entertaining Us, 150 Years Later (CBC podcast)

Spoiler alert:  listen to this podcast after you finish reading The Old Curiosity Shop.

Further reading...

The Mystery of Charles Dickens by A.N. Wilson

Newly released (August 4) 
a biography that 'seeks to understand Dickens' creative genius and enduring popularity'. 

Next Sunday Evening...

Short story:  Visiting Iceland

It's hard for me to tell you about my time in Iceland. It's too enormous to sum up. But I'll say this... 

I'm still here.

photo by ldyck

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Reading to you...

Thanks to a company called Allears, I've started adding recordings of my short stories to my blog. So far I have recorded...

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Maybe Me (short story) (romance--maybe) by Leanne Dyck

photo by ldyck

Maybe Me

Do you remember how we met? I was on stage in the Commodore Ballroom on Granville or was I in the Alix Goolden on Pandora? Can't remember. It's not important. I had a maximum compacity audience--always do. But I sang to the wealthy businessman in the first row, centre seat. I sang directly to you. You were sitting beside some bimbo. I think she may have been your date. I could tell right away, by the way she looked at me, that she hated me. Hated me for my looks and my talent--let's not forget my talent. It turns out, I sang your favourite song--Why Don't You Do Right. And that was it. You were hooked. You bought me flowers; wrote me love letters. At least, that's what my personal assistant told me. I rarely deal with unsolicited correspondence. I guess you knew it would take a grand gesture to get my attention--you bought a cruise for two to Bora Bora. We fell in love. Do you remember? I think that was you. Maybe that was me.

Next Sunday evening...

Book review...

The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
is a cautionary tale wrapped up in a heart-warming adventure

I'm still here.

photo by ldyck

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Scotiabank Giller Prize
is assembling a list 'of fiction and graphic novels published between October 2019 and September 2020'
And they'd like your help
Here's the link Crazy for Canlit 2020

The Booker Prize 2020

Spelling 'dyslexia' ...

Quiet not Quite
Your not You're
Their not They're

I make these mistakes all the time. 

What happens is similar to mistaking one twin for another. You