Wednesday, May 7, 2014

IWSG: The A-Z Challenge That Wasn’t

This is my first post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group.
I’ve been writing in one form or another much of my life.
Now that I’m retired, I’m finally going to write for me.

I’ve been carrying two books in my heart for decades,
and I’ve struggled off and on
with them both throughout this time.
How do I get what is in my heart and my head onto paper?

I also grapple with time management and computers.
That’s why I knew better than to sign up 
for the A-Z challenge in April.
Instead I wrote a short Alphabet Book for one of my books.
How elementary teacher is that?!

Its purpose was to identify personal images
that speak to me as I flounder 
through the muskeg of my mind.

I’m searching for my father
in the pages of his letters written in The North.
I’m trying to honor and balance his voice with mine.
I’m searching for the truth and wondering what I can reveal.

Dad, Louise, Roberta, Roy, Donalda, Barbara
Sioux Lookout, 1963

Attawapiskat Lake, Lansdowne House, 
Lac Seul, and Sioux Lookout
form the landscape of my early heart.

Lake Attawapiskat, Peninsula, and the Father's Island, 1961

I cannot let John, Fritz, Kokum, 
Maurice, Simon, Bobby 
and the unforgettable others 
who moved in and out of my life, vanish.  
I want to give voice to what has been lost in death.

Ray, Don, John, Sara, and Fritz
Hudson, Ontario 1976

A is for alcohol, a slow suicide
B is for bush plane, bringing everyone running

Bush Plane ~ Norseman
Nakina, 1960

C is for canoe, carrier of The North
D is for demons, tormenting generations
E is for education, that some seek no matter the cost
F is for fish, quicksilver flashing through mercurial waters
G is for government, and its tragic games

Parliament, Ottawa, Canada, 2012

H is for heart, hungry and broken
I is for isolation, the essence of the wilderness
J is for John
John, Lac Seul, 1961

K is for kerosene, lighting the dark
L is for letters, unlocking the past

My Father's Letters ~ Donald MacBeath

M is for marooned, in the black bush
N is for northern lights, coloring the night
O is for Oblates of Mary Immaculate, healing the world

 Father Ouimet, Donald MacBeath, 
Brother Bernier, Mr. Barker
Lansdowne House, 1960

P is for Parliament, and its politically expedient
Q is for quietude, the singular voice of the North
R is for radio, the link to The Outside
S is for ski-doo, the very first one
T is for train, and its Sandwich Man

Train ~ Nakina, 1960

U is for unlucky, because sometimes you just can’t win
V is for voyagers, who answer the call of the wild

Voyagers at Heart, My Brother Roy and I
Lake Attawapiskat, 1961

W is for water, running through everything
X is for xenophobia, and its cost
Y is for yearning, for even the dreamless dream

Z is for zero, above and below

Link for a map showing the location of Lansdowne House:  Lansdowne House google map


  1. EXCELLENT post...gave me a bit of a chill. I have a good writing friend here in Ecuador who is researching and writing about her father and her life growing up a the daughter of a bookie. I will send her here to read your post. She might have some good tips to help you along. Adding you to my blog list!!

    D.B. McNicol
    Romance & Mystery...writing my life

    1. Thank you for your encouraging comment, Donna!
      I put a lot of time into this post, so constructive feedback is so welcome and appreciated!
      I am excited about hearing from your friend, too.
      Sometimes I think it would be easier to tell my stories as fiction, but I think the truth is important, and I really believe my family personal history counts.
      Thanks for adding me to your list!
      Have a good one!

  2. Visiting for IWSG. Good luck with your writing. I think you are on the right track with your A to Z list.

    1. Thank you, Patricia Lynne! I'm going to visit you right now! Take care!

  3. What an am,amazing post. I love what you did with the alphabet here. And so true what you wrote about alcohol. I also love the word "quietude" :)

    1. Thank you, Keith! It's a little scary to put it out into the Universe, but it's exciting too! The North is a unique place, and I have never found quietude quite like that I experienced in the North. I can see from your comment about alcohol that you are in the know. Have a good one!

  4. Powerful and sad with just the sparse details you've shared. You'll get this book written. I have a family story too, and those are harder than the fictional ones to write because the weight of the details is a lot greater.

  5. Hi Hart! Thank you for visiting my blog. Thank you for your encouragement! It is the details! I remember 50 years ago so clearly, but I'm OCD about accuracy, and searching government records has been daunting and discouraging. But I will get there! Have a happy day!

  6. Wow, what an amazing idea for organizing your thoughts! I think once you start writing, the energy and emotion will flow.

    1. Thanks, Alex! I hope so! I've got manuscript pages in piles from various times in my life. But this past year of floundering in the muskeg has really helped me sort a lot of things out. Have a good one!

  7. Have to sit down and write away at your bay, it will sure come out I bet. Going all a to z, nicely done by the. And yeah sometimes you just can win, be then again sometimes you can.

    1. Hey Pat! You're right. I have to apply some super glue to my NRA, sit down at my desk, tell the E-P to throw some food at me periodically, and WRITE! I'm still not over the fact that you are 160 posts ahead! But I have my theme for next year's ABC challenge! It would be just my luck, to get it done ahead, and then it's cancelled! Have a good day at your bay!

  8. I don't a single person in those pictures, yet I felt as if I was looking at family photographs. Powerful post, Fundy. Left me speechless for some reason. thanks for sharing these.

  9. Thank you, Joylene! You have no idea what your comment means! It gives me courage to keep wrestling my memories into a memoir. I googled Cluculz Lake ~ You are north! And I'm delighted to meet you!

  10. A big welcome to the IWSG, Fundy! What a great group of people you've joined. It looks like you've had quite the life to share and I look forward to hearing all about your journey. Thanks for sharing the pictures. Reminds me of when my parents were young.

    Be well,

    co-host IWSG

    1. Thank you, Elsie! I've had such fun today visiting blogs. I feel like I've stepped into a whole new Universe! I'm glad that you enjoyed the photos. I'm very visual, and I don't think I've ever done a post without an image. Have a good one!

  11. This is an amazing and deep post. A lot of the words resonated with me. And those pictures are a great choice for this post!

    1. Thank you, Beate! And thanks for following my blog! I'm so glad that you enjoyed the photos. We take photographs so much for granted now, but 50 years ago they were costly and thus rare. Take care!

  12. Thank you for your wonderful comment on my blog!
    I hope you're having an amazing week :)

  13. Louise, this must feel good to get out there!
    Time to 'lighten the load', so to speak.
    Well done little Ms.Voyager!!

    1. Thank you, Jim! I'm like a moth to the flame, flitting in and out and hoping not to get burned! All my thrashing about this past year has really helped, believe it or not! I know I've said to you before that I think in images, metaphors, and symbols. Like when I told you I was a three-masted schooner named Fundy Blue headed straight for the rocks and you were a poet writing koans on the shore.

      I'm not off my rocker. I'm just drained from visiting lots of emotional blogs today, and not sleeping last night because I was spinning around in my bed worrying about dying before I ever got this book written. And then there's my Newfie novel!
      Where was I going ~ oh yeah ~ one of my symbols for me is Voyager. And, yes, it does feel good to get out there!
      Thanks for being my supportive friend!

  14. A to Z and then some, as in, between the lines.
    Unload the library cards of your mind
    and spread your sweet touch on all of us.

    Keep on keeping on
    and share.

    Lightening the load
    feel the bouyancy!!!

    1. I'm glad you've got your sense of humor on, Ron! I hope you've been catching some of that positive energy I've been sending your way! Quit shaking me up!
      "And then some" is right ~ There is a whole lot between the lines. You've been patiently waiting and encouraging me. Some of it just hurts so bad though. But today, even though I'm wonky tired, I feel like I'm flying! And lighter!!!!! Speaking of buoyancy ~ you should see what I'm doing balancing on the flat side of a bosu ball now! I have permanently achy break abs! Surfing Waikiki next March!
      Have a good one, my friend, and belly rubs to Ms. SD!

    2. I'm going back and forth between You Tube (Passenger at Pinkpop 2013) and here. That google! In stead of rum ads, I'm getting all these pop-up ads to publish my book on top of Passenger's video. Yesterday it was only $399; today it's $199. Maybe someday soon, I'll get a publisher and get paid! Sometimes you've just got to laugh!

    3. This sounds all too wonky to me. I'll check YT and see whatza goin' on!!

    4. I know get the gist of your conundrum ~~ just watch out for all those who say they have the best waiting for you as long as you fork over 1000's !!

      Not I said the fly ~~ now I know why I am so slow with my picture book!!

    5. LOL! You can't follow the bing-binging of my ADHD brain! The rum refers to an exchange I had with someone over drinking rum. For a couple of weeks after I was getting Captain Morgan rum ads popping up on top of my You Tube songs. Google continues to dangle rum in front of me periodically. But in the last few days Googles been sending self-publishing opportunities my way! This afternoon Google is digging deeply. I clicked on Ed Sheeran's "A Team" and up pops a knitting ad! Obviously Google doesn't know I got lost going around in circles on that circular knitting needle, and I now have a three foot diameter tangled pile of yarn that has been glaring at me from the floor for several months. Life is so entertaining! I still say Ms. Doodle should go for it! Picture book series! Have a good one! LOL

  15. This is delightful! Just so you know, you could have done each one of those, individually, for A to Z. Trying to get to do many blogs during the challenge makes short posts a delight.

    You have real talent here, and that you are searching for your father through his papers sings to me

    1. Thank you, Donna! Your kind comment gave me a real boost! Take care!

  16. You had me at "A", and "D" made my heart beat harder. Louise, I will be fascinated to read more.

    1. Thanks, Terry! I think there will be some surprises when all is said and done! Have a good one!

  17. This is great!!! I love the photos, too!

  18. Wow, an amazing first IWSG post !

    Welcome and keep doing what you're doing!!!

    1. Thank you for the encouraging words, Mark! Will do!

  19. Now THAT is an A-Z challenge! Well done.

    1. Thank you, Julie! I appreciate your visit! Have a good one!

  20. A very, very beautiful post, and a perfect complement of images.

    What a lovely satiny texture shines out of the panelling in the background of the Lansdowne House 1960 photo. And many of those placenames are like music.

    Looking forward to more! :)

    1. Thanks for the encouraging words, Sue! That was in Father Ouimet's rectory where my father was staying when he first went to Lansdowne House. And, if I'm remembering correctly, Father Ouimet built it with the help of some local Indians. I hope that you are feeling way better today!

  21. Wow, your first post for the IWSG is brilliant and beautiful. You've captured so much with your words and images. Good luck with your writing.

    1. Thank you, Lynda, for the kind comment. I'll take all the luck I can get! Have a good one!

  22. Replies
    1. Thank you, Rick! Your comment means a great deal to me!

  23. Hey Louise, it's Barb - as usual your Northern posts haunt me - as Ron said on Facebook - more please :)

    1. I'm trying, Barb! I think I've found my way into the tangle. I actually did see Ron's Facebook post! More will come! I take it "Pirates..." has been put to bed. Hope you're catching your breath! *Hugs*

  24. Thank you for sharing a lovely post.

  25. Thank you, Sandra! Have a good evening!


Thank you for your comments! I appreciate them very much.