Wednesday, November 4, 2015

IWSG: November 4, 2015 ~ Finally! Something I Can Chew On!

It's the first Wednesday 
of the month ~ 
the day when members of the
Insecure Writer's Support Group
share their writing struggles
and offer their encouragement
and support to other members.

To visit the IWSG website, click here.

To become a member of the IWSG, click here.

Our wonderful co-hosts who are stepping up to help 
IWSG founder Alex J. Cavanaugh are:  Stephen TrempKaren WalkerDenise Coveyand Tyrean Martinson.

Visit them and thank them for co-hosting.
I'm sure they would appreciate an encouraging comment!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

No plane today!

I'm writing at my kitchen counter
near the fireplace with its warm flames.
I'm just not ready to cave and turn the furnace on
as winter's chill approaches.

Cramped but Warm

I'm not feeling insecure this morning;
I'm excited!
Finally, something I can chew on!

As you may know, I'm writing a memoir
set in tiny Lansdowne House 
deep in the northern Ontario bush 
over fifty years ago.
So far it's been a challenging undertaking.

First, I've had to work through haunting memories 
to get to where I can write.

My regular Lansdowne Letters posts 
have really helped,
because I can handle small bites.

My Brother and I 
Lake Attawapiskat, 1961
Photo by Donald MacBeath
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All rights Reserved

A second challenge has been balancing my father's voice with mine.
His letters and my memories are my primary resources.

A third challenge has been recognizing
my memoir is not just about my family; 
it walks controversially on the national stage.

That required essential research;
and it unearthed explosive events I had no inkling of
and blew up my nice little memoir.

Booty from Victoria's  Bookstores

A prime reference evaded me
until late October,
when I finally got my hands on
Charles Bishop’s
The Northern Ojibwa and the Fur Trade:
An Historical and Ecological Study.

For me, trying to understand what happened 
it is illuminating.

For me, wading through conflicting and confusing information,
it is clarifying.

For me, hungry for accurate historical data,
it is satisfying.

Am I a trained historian?

But OMG, have I written a ton of research papers!
I know enough to tackle the work.

Human Refuse
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rghts Reserved

What has changed is me!
I think of all those paper-writing all-nighters 
fueled by coffee and desperation,
as I scoured references, pecked at a typewriter,
and tore my hair out over footnotes and bibliographies.
I can't believe I'm doing it again, and it's fun!

For the first time, research and writing 
are my choices on my timetable!

The Ever-Patient Terry keeps asking worriedly,
"You sure you're doing what you want?
You're having fun?"

Yup!  I'm having a blast!

Helpful Finds at My Local Barnes and Noble 

What a treat to settle in at Barnes and Noble 
with hot coffee on a rainy afternoon 
and a stack of books to peruse for guidance.
Definitely fun for me!

The mystery and the heartbreak of the North
that spurred me into action in 1961
have never lessened,
and now, with Bishop's definitive book
on the peoples and landscapes of my childhood,
I have corroborating cultural and ecological facts to chew on.

Still Fueled by Coffee, but Less Desperate


  1. When it is your choice and you aren't doing it for some grade or because it was pushed on you, it is far more fun indeed.

    1. Spot on, Pat! But never did I think that I would be doing this type of research for FUN! LOL! And scat to insecurities!

  2. I can well understand how this is a minefield. Your personal memories and your father's letters are set against a landscape of institutional and cultural racism that was pervasive in those days (and still is to a large degree) and which is Canada's greatest shame as a nation. Your memoir is not just personal but political as well. You tread the razor's edge!

    1. Yes, Debra, and my father was involved in it all. The saving grace for me was that he went into government service sincerely wanting to help the Indians. I treaded the razor's edge in the past too, as you shall see. I wish he were here so I could ask lots of questions! Or my mom! But I'll just keep working through this. I'm actually beginning to believe that I can pull it off! Have a great day!

  3. Louise, I do find research, especially family research and genealogy, a lot of fun! I have a couple of my own family mysteries that may never be solved, at least not in my lifetime! I have been trying to find the gravesite of an aunt who died in 1973, and this is proving to be quite a challenge! I have had better luck locating some information on my grandparents who were born in England (on my father's side), and many decades earlier, than my aunt's death. I contacted the funeral home and they only keep records for 10 years. I contacted the cemetery where she was thought to be buried and the cemetery, which are very good at maintaining death and burial records, has no information on her, saying that her body was not buried in their cemetery. What a mystery! :)

    1. Hi Linda! How exciting for you to have these family mysteries to tackle ~ maybe you'll solve them or not; but you're in the hunt and that is awesome. I hope to figure out a lot of things and get them recorded in this phase of my life. I'm finding it a very rewarding purpose to have. Good luck with your searching! And have a lovely day, my Montreal friend!

  4. Hi, Karen! It's good of you to co-host this month. I enjoyed your positive post with it's wise words about being strong in your own skin and about knowing that you did your best on your book and letting it go. I never thought about a possible cover for my book ~ that seems so far off ~ but when you suggested that I might use the picture of my brother and I, it hit me as perfect! Trust me, that suggestion is filed away! Enjoy your co-hosting day!

  5. You look like you mean business!!... nice one Fundy.. I can feel your energy in this post. Yes.. sounds..and looks like you're having fun!!. Great research skills x

    1. I do, Dawna! I'm having a wonderful time. I finally feel like I'm on the right track and in a good place! I hope you are enjoying a great week! Hugs!

  6. If you are enjoying it, then party on! Between all those resources, I think it will be fascinating. I might even know a couple publishers to suggest for it.

    1. Thanks, Alex! I'll remember that!!! I hope that you are enjoying IWSG day!

  7. I think you are as good as a trained historian! I find your writing fascinating!x

    1. Thanks, Kezzie! You always make me smile! Have a good one!

  8. Great to hear you are enjoying this challenge. (And I love writing in winter--as long as I'm cosy warm).

    1. Thanks, Lynda! I enjoy winter, but definitely cozy and warm is a priority! Thanks for visiting on this busy day for IWSG members!

  9. I"m at my kitchen counter today, too. I'm trying to balance home life with IWSG and writing.
    Stay cozy and keep writing!

    1. Thanks, Tyrean! We had our first snow last night, alf ice I think; just enough to look raw and ugly out. So I'm back at the counter and the furnace is on! Balance is always the challenge, isn't it? Happy writing to you.

  10. I'm writing on a bench in the basement of a public library where my daughter is rehearsing a play. I wish I was some place cozy.

    As usual, I love the pictures and am impressed by the research!


    1. Hey Dave! It's interesting to hear all the places writers are writing. What a great dad you are, being supportive of your daughter's acting. I love theatre and did some in university, but rocks won. Perhaps your daughter will have a career or an avocation for life. I have a geologist sister who has done theatre throughout her career in Calgary. I can't post a blog without photos; I'm far too visual and love photography. And having worked 25 years with English language learners, I know the value of images! Happy writing in November!

  11. I often like to write on my front porch I love doing it in fall. Here in SC fall is as nice as spring and there is a sense of quiet, filled only with the soft noises of nature that really help the writing mood. Good luck with your writing.

    1. Thank you, Brandon, and good luck right back at you! That sounds like a lovely spot to write. I haven't tried my porch. But that will have to wait until spring because we had our first bit of snow last night. I'll be returning your visit shortly ~ i'm flat on my back with a medical issue and am pacing myself slowly. Thanks for visiting.

  12. Dearest Louise,

    Thank you so much for your comments on my blog posts, I truly appreciate it and value them very much! In response to your request, I have put a blog archive on for you, and you can find it by looking at the right hand column of my blog and scrolling down! I had one on a long, long time ago but removed it accidentally. LOL! To be honest, I didn't understand all the options for the drop down menu, but I tried a couple and chose the drop down menu. It will bring you to all of the posts that I have made since I began my blog in February 2012. I hope this helps, and thank you so much for caring enough and for taking your valuable time to look at my older posts, it means so much to me. :)

    1. Thank you, thank you, Linda! I totally get things accidentally happening with computers! LOL And sometimes struggling with trying to figure out how to do something on computers! Hugs!!!

  13. Came from the post you left on my blog. I might have gotten the wrong end of the stick with the scavenger hunt, I'll have to check out the rules. Yes I did enter the A to Z, it's the second time I have done it but I am not a member of the IWSG as I cannot get my head round what it's for and I'm not a writer but I have helped out with a couple of books.

    1. Thanks for visiting, Bill! Sorry, I'm just responding now ~ been under the weather. I've been with the IWSG for about 18 months. Basically it's a way for writers and aspiring writers to connect, interact, and share resources, insecurities, and encouragement on-line. On the first Wednesday of the month members post a piece about their writing experiences and try to visit at least a dozen members websites. Miss two months and your name gets dropped from the member list, But you can always come back. Most Wednesdays someone, usually one of the administers of the site, will also post a piece, mostly with information about writing, marketing, publishing. Most important for me has been making some great on-line friends and having writing people to connect with so I'm not floundering around on my own in the dark. Have a happy week!

  14. I like the bar area where you write. Looks like a nice window/sliding doors back there as well.

    Congrats on not feeling insecure and for having fun. It's nice to read a writer who is enjoying the journey.

    1. Hi THW! Sorry I'm just responding now; I've been down with a medical issue. But this morning I'm finally able to sit up at my counter for a bit and do a little catching up. The door leads to our deck outside. I've never written out there, but maybe in the spring I'll give it a go.

      I know that the IWSG is a place to share our struggles and to seek help and encouragement; but more importantly, I think it is a place to share positive things and helpful information. It's the elementary teacher in me ~ I can't help it. So my goal with my IWSG posts is to write more lighthearted pieces. I'm hoping to put more humor into them in the future, since humor is the most difficult thing for me to write. Thanks for visiting.

    2. Sorry to hear that you've been down with medical issues. I'm new here, so I'll need to catch up.

      I love, love, love your take on the writing post.


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