You are here

Wendi Stewart - Wendi with an 'eye'

Wendi lives in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, but the farm on Rainy River in Crozier will always be her home. MEADOWLARK, her debut novel released September 15, is published by NeWest Press of Edmonton. She is the mother of four daughters who did the unforgivable: they grew up.

Stones provide great comfort

The wind was blowing in my office window last week, repeatedly chasing papers off my already disorganized desk.

I was deep in “writing thought” and was annoyed at the intrusion. I would have shut the windows, but I’ve been so hot for what seems like the entire summer; the breeze was a welcome reprieve from “glowing.”

Remember, men sweat and women glow. If that’s really the case, then I’m practically fluorescent.

I reached for something heavy to contain the papers and I grabbed a bowl filled with small stones—a bowl that sits on the shelf above my desk.

Go fly a kite

Have you flown a kite recently? I haven’t, not since I was 14 or 15.

It was a kite I made myself, at that age when one starts to resist assistance and strike out on one’s own—outwardly certain and slightly over-confident.

My father gave me some hints as to aerodynamic design, weight considerations, and the like. He should know because he flew Liberators, for goodness sakes.

April is national kite flying month in the U.S. Not sure if Canada has anything quite so formal. I was born in April, so it seems logical that I loved kites.

Time to pay attention

Have you heard of Sophia Scholl? Or Traudl Junge?

Films have been released, separately, on each of them—a creative depiction of the choices they made and the startling differences in their legacies.

They were two young German women at the beginning of World War II, born in 1921 and 1920, respectively. Their age and citizenship were all they had in common aside of both having joined The League of German Girls, the female branch of Hitler Youth.

It was at that point their lives went in different directions despite a very similar youth.

Letter-writing sadly a lost art

When last did you pick up a pen and find just the perfect paper on which to write your thoughts, your worries, your questions; and then put that paper in an envelope, affix a stamp, and drop the envelope in one of those red boxes that say Canada Post?

It’s called writing a letter.

I would wager many or most under the age of 30 have never written a letter, and probably just as likely have not received one. It’s a valuable part of our communication that has been lost—forsaken for the instant gratification of e-mails, texts, Facebook messages, and the like.

‘Gracie, come!’

You remember Gracie, don’t you? Adorable fluffy pup of the Bernese Mountain Dog variety. She was going to fill the void in my life left by my ungrateful daughters who had the audacity to grow up and live lives of their own.

Cute puppy. The one who peed on the floor hourly for the first nine weeks and chewed up everything in sight (and even some things not in sight). The obedience class fiasco, almost worst puppy ever except for chocolate lab Chester and yellow lab Chester.

The cure for an aching heart

There is a lot of that stuff called “real life” swirling around these days; life that leaves me worried and sad.

I think of the people I know and love as though they are part of my herd or my flock or my pride (call it what you will).

I can circle this group that I call my own and stand guard to keep the enemy away. But sometimes something gets in and grabs one of my flock, takes him/her down, and all it seems I can do is watch with my mouth open in shock and my heart aching.

When I grow up . . .

I finally have decided what I want to be when I grow up.

After much deliberation, and trial and error that led me down some wrong paths, I am convinced I have found my way.

I get excited just imagining this perfect career. I’m all a-twitter inside—a huge silly grin on my face as if I’ve just been chosen for the all-star dodgeball team.

This career will erase all my bad employee experiences; even softens the wounds of having been self-employed for most of adulthood. I’m not sure what the pay will be, but it certainly can’t be any less than my income as a writer.

We’re all designed for greatness

Do you ever have days when you’d like to let off steam; get some things off your chest in a loud manner, as though you are a baseball manager getting in the face of the umpire and his bad call and kicking some dirt on his shoes?

I started my day feeling like that. I wanted to throw back my head and shout with my biggest voice, “This is not fair!”

Life isn’t fair and expecting it to be is simply foolish.

An unauthorized biography

If I was able to write anyone’s biography, it would be tempting to seek out Harper Lee and find out the little details of her very short but amazing writing career.

I’d like to ask Nelson Mandela how he kept positive while he was confined in prison and bumping up against the absence of humanity. I would ask the Dalai Lama about his smile.

I easily could fill a book on how my daughters amaze me, but then you might shake your heads and wince.

Long-awaited Canada Day dream fulfilled

I went to Charlottetown, P.E.I., the birthplace of Confederation, to celebrate Canada Day this year.

I was very excited. It felt like an act of patriotism; something I’ve wanted to do since 1967.

That year was a big deal for me and, of course, most Canadians. At age 12, the idea of our country being exactly 100 old was almost impossible to grasp.

Our school, Alberton Central, led by my mother the principal, saw no end of ways to celebrate the magic of being Canadian. We dressed in period costumes and studied the details of what a hundred years of Canada looked like.