Wednesday, February 7, 2018

IWSG: Wednesday, February 7, 2018 ~ Under Different Suns

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

To visit the IWSG website, click here.

To become a member of the IWSG, click here.

Our wonderful co-hosts who are volunteering today,
along with IWSG founder Alex Cavanaugh are:
Stephen Trump,  Pat Garcia,  Angela Wooldridge,  
Victoria Marie Lees,  and Madeline Mora-Summonte.

I hope you have a chance to visit today's hosts and thank them for co-hosting.
I'm sure they would appreciate a visit and an encouraging comment.


Every month the IWSG poses a question
that members can answer with advice, insight,
a personal experience, or a story in their IWSG posts.

Or, the question can inspire members
if they aren't sure what to write about on IWSG Day.

Remember the question is optional.
This month's featured question is:

What do you love about the genre you write in most often?


I’m glad that the year has turned over!
I’m back to working on my memoir and blogging,
and writing is going much better for me,
as I settle into a writing routine in Honolulu.

Writing in the Breezeway Again
Royal Grove Hotel, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
February 6, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

This month’s IWSG question asks
what I love about the genre I write in most often.
That would be memoir, and in writing a memoir
I discovered something surprising that I love.

I have many reasons for writing the story of my family’s time in the North,
but the most compelling reason, the reason that drives me,
is that I want to preserve the voices of the people I knew from that time.

They’re ordinary people:  teachers, nurses, priests, bush pilots, trappers,
fishermen, homemakers, Hudson’s Bay Company clerks,
parents and children, Ojibwa and white;
but their stories are not ordinary, and neither are their voices.

Ordinary People:  A Priest, a Teacher, a Brother, a Prospector
(Father Ouimet, Donald MacBeath, Brother Bernier, Mr. Baker)
Lansdowne House, Northern Ontario, Canada
Fall 1960
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

They are individuals who were born in the North
or answered a call to work in the North.
Some landed there by happenstance.
But they all, natives and transplants, faced the challenge
of living in a starkly beautiful but unforgiving environment
in a part of Canada that is still isolated today.

The surprising thing for me is the reason I love writing memoir:
I discovered that I was pursuing a journey into myself.

This journey has been painful and healing.
It has allowed me to understand and to make peace with
difficult things that I experienced.
It has given me a new perspective about those events
and has deepened my belief in the courage and humanity of ordinary people.

Hudson's Bay Company Manager Bill Mitchell
with an Ojibwa Man
Lansdowne House, Northern Ontario, Canada
Fall 1960
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

My memoir is not so much about me,
but the process of writing it has been all about me.

I love that one of the results is understanding
more about who I am and why.

My Brother Roy and I Canoeing
Lake Attawapiskat, Northern Ontario, Canada
Spring 1961
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Last year I decided that one way I could support
the Insecure Writers Support Group
was to begin reading books by IWSG authors.

I set and accomplished the goal of reading five different IWSG authors.
This year my goal is to read books written by eight more.

The first book I chose this year was J. L. Campbell’s “Sold!”  
This is a perfect love story to curl up with and enjoy.  

Single mother Feechi Anoduro is worried about Christmas.
Finances are tight, and she needs to replace her old car
and to tell her young son Jack
that they cannot afford to keep Max, a dog that he adores.

While working at an auction, Feechi impresses wealthy businessman
Carsten Raimes with her professionalism and competence.
Carsten askes Feechi for her help at an upcoming auction.
It sounds like a good opportunity for Feechi,
but she is not sure that she should accept his offer.

A bad experience in Feechi’s past has left her disillusioned and reserved.
She helped her lover Dennis almost a decade ago
and wound up pregnant with Jack and alone.
Her sister Dee worries that this has left Feechi difficult and secretive
regarding men and that she has buried herself in work and in caring for Jack.

Carsten quickly realizes that Feechi would be a valuable employee
and is determined to hire her.
When offering her a permanent job does not work,
Carsten asks her out on a date.

In the days leading up to Christmas,
Carsten and Feechi mix business and pleasure,
with Carsten determined to capture Feechi’s attention
and Feechi determined to resist the charms of a man
who is clearly out of her league.

Meanwhile, Carsten has two unexpected allies,
Feechi’s son Jack and mischievous Max
who have both taken to the new man in their lives.

Will Christmas bring love for Carsten and Feechi?
Will Jack have a new dad?
Will Max get a permanent home?
J. L. Campbell’s heartwarming characters and sunny Jamaica
had me flying through the pages to find out! 

Happy writing in February!

Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
Winter 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


  1. What an awesome thing reading books by the members! Cool you chose one of Joy's.
    I discovered that I was pursuing a journey into myself. I've read your posts long enough to guess that was happening to you. What you're writing about was you and is you and you can see how the two connect.

    1. Thanks, Alex! Enjoy what I know is going to be a busy day for you!

  2. quite a view at your writing desk. All I have is a white wall and cheap miniblinds.

    1. Hi, Adam! Yes, my view is different and often busy. The lobby and breezeway are the only places to access internet. The same people come back to the Royal Grove at the same time every year, so I spend time talking in visiting as well as writing. Every place we go has interesting writing challenges!

  3. I love memoir. It brings people to life, people we'd never know about. Some of them, like those in your picture, have great stories to enjoy.

    1. Hi, Lee! I believe that each and every person has a story of value. I am fascinated by people and their stories. Have a great day!

  4. Wow, look at your view! What a wonderful place to be writing in. Enjoy, Louise! And send some sunshine and warmth my way, won't ya?

    I always enjoy a good memoir. It's amazing how interesting some people's lives can be.

    1. Sending some sunshine your way, Martha! I hope that all is well with you, George, and girls!

  5. Sure can see that you are journeying within with your posts at your sea. So the memoir must be even more so. Even the simplest of life can be interesting. Always awesome when you read iwsg members books indeed.

    1. Hey, Mr. Hatt! I hope you're having a good day where you're at! It's lots of fun to read IWSG members' books. You got me started, and I'll surely be reading and reviewing another of yours before the year is over. Take care, my friend!

    2. haha should have a few more released by the end of the year indeed.

  6. Preserving them is a great reason to get the words down. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    1. Right on, Anna! It keeps me going. I hope that you are having a fun day visiting IWSG members today!

  7. Envious of your writing place - it's cold here!
    Memoir can be so inspirational, I wonder what those people would think; realising their lives had been written about and inspiring people!

    1. Hi, Angela! It's definitely a lot warmer here than home in Colorado. I enjoy writing at this little table, although people often stop to talk to me, and there is always something going on nearby. The challenges of writing while traveling! My internet access is very spotty ~ argh! I think that the people in Lansdowne House would be surprised. They'd probably wonder who on earth would be interested in their lives. The only one relatively well known is the priest, Father Ouimet. I come from a Northern Baptist background, so it is a curious thing that he and I remained friends throughout his life. I hope that my memoir would please them.

  8. I love how you said you want to preserve the voices and how writing memoir is a journey into yourself.

    1. Thanks, Madeline! These "ordinary" people were inspiring, and it's sad to think that I am likely the only one still alive that would remember them as fully as I do. Even remember them at all ~ That's what drives me. All the best to you in the coming month!

  9. I love reading a well written memoir that doesn't change the voices that it is written in. Good luck with your masterpiece.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

    1. Thanks for the shot of luck. Sometimes what I am trying to do in writing my memoir is overwhelming. But I'll get there! All the best to you!

  10. Greetings Louise. Enjoy your surroundings while you are blogging. I always look forward to reading a post about your past. You have many fond memories to cherish for sure, as well as some hardships, and I thank you for sharing. Enjoy your sun. Blessings to you.

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

    1. Hi, Andrew! I so appreciate your kind words! Writing here is a bit of a challenge in that the internet connection is frustrating and my computer battery drains fairly quickly. I can do some writing in our room, but I can't do anything there that requires internet access. But I'll get it all worked out! The sun is glorious here. Today Terry and I went to Chinatown for dim sum ~ quite an experience because the Chinese are celebrating the new year. This is a real Chinatown, unlike Victoria's which is passing into memory. I hope to get a post out on it, although it's quite a process to get a photo from my iPhone onto Blogger, because I'm trying to work with the arcane internet system in our hotel. All the best to you in the coming week! Give Sadie her favorite kind of pat for me.

  11. Aloha Louise! :) Enjoy your stay, must be nice to have that weather right now!! I'm so happy to read that you are on a journey and that you are coming to terms with life. I blog to keep a record and for fun, I love to write and share my life with others, and I love to read about others' lives too. It's important to keep the past alive, well done! :)

    1. Aloha, Rain! Thank you for your encouraging comment! Coming to terms with my life wasn't something I had anticipated when I started working on my memoir. Duh ~ You'd think that that would be an obvious outcome, but I had no idea all I'd go through as I excavated my personal muskeg ~ So much that I wouldn't look at because it was painful became less so when I worked up the courage to deal with it. Like you, I believe in the power of story and the importance of the past. I hope that all is well with you and yours! I'll be by soon. I'm still figuring out how to make things work with the internet here! LOL One of these days I stay in a fancy resort and have fabulous internet ~ NOT! That, I have found from personal experience, would be so bland, even boring. Right now I have a group of French Canadians sitting at the table with me. They are chattering away in French Canadian, and it does my heart good to hear it again. I have no clue what they're saying. One day I'll get back to studying French! Take care!

  12. I'm enjoying your memories, too, Louise. Our past is what defines us, makes us whole. Enjoy your trips and keep writing, my dear. We all love to hear about your travels and memories.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Victoria! If it hadn't been for the supportive people like you in the blogging world, my courage might have failed. It keeps me at this difficult thing called writing! All the best to you as you write this month!

  13. I love reading about you and your life! I can understand how it has been healing for you to know all about who you are and why! Thanks for the review on Sold!! Big Hugs and enjoy your trip!

    1. Thanks, Stacy! You are such a loving and affirmative soul! I'm really glad that I found you in the blogging world. Have a great week!

  14. This resonated: "Writing the memoir has deepened my belief in the courage and humanity of ordinary people." I love this. This is such an important concept.
    Happy Writing, Louise!
    Writer In Transit

    1. Thanks, Michelle! Too often it has been the voices of ordinary people that have been lost in time. I think Tolkien really nailed it with his hobbits in "The Lord of the Rings." Happy writing to you too!

  15. Thanks so much for reading my story. Happy you enjoyed it.

    I think memoirs are a wonderful way of capturing not only what has gone before, but in this case capturing the history and voice of a unique group of people.

    1. Hi, Joy! It was a treat to read your novel. I always enjoy seeing people and places through other eyes, and I intend to read more of your stories. One of the things that keeps me writing my memoir is that I'm actually writing a piece of Canadian history. I'm nearing the end of capturing all of my memories, and then I will be hiring a researcher to help with supplementary materials. I have not fared well with trying to research historical documents on my own. I'll get there! All the best to you!


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