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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. http://wendistewart.writersresidence.com

My life doesn't have a narrative

Narrativity is a word I wasn't familiar with, or rather I hadn't heard it used the way I heard it used last week on CBC Radio.

In fact, my spellcheck doesn't care for the word and wants me to use some other one while providing me with no alternatives.

In essence, narrativity is that our life has a narrative; a story that we live by or that informs us of ourselves. Mary Schechtman, a professor of philosophy at the University of Illinois in Chicago, claims a person must be “in possession of a full and explicit narrative [of his life] to develop fully as a person.”

Here's my to don't list

As you may remember, I am a fan of lists—lists for almost everything.

One of my favourite comedians, Demetri Martin, says the only thing on a magician's list is “ta-da.” I find that hilarious but perhaps you have to love lists to get the humour.

I've added a slightly different twist in the title of my latest list, to be added to my list of lists. It's my TO DON'T list and it seems there is no shortage of entries qualifying for inclusion in the category of to don't.

This is who I am reading these days

I don't think I've ever attended a writers' event, either as a spectator or as a participant, that the question isn't posed, “Who are you reading these days?”

I never seem to have an answer at the ready. After all, no one asks me who I am wearing—and that's a good thing.

I don't think well on my feet so I could never have been a politician or a lawyer. I have to go away and ponder before I can answer almost all questions.

I really don't need much at all

I'm trying hard to embrace the idea of minimalism. Actually, I've been trying since before they had a word for it but it is hard not to acquire a lot of “stuff,” especially in the kitchen.

I'm a sucker for anything lime green, as if a lime green paring knife magically would elevate my skill as a chef. I am no chef; I'm not even sure I qualify as a cook but that's a story for another day.

Memories serve to help us age well

My thumbs hurt. I hate to complain but they hurt, almost all the time, and I think if I ate more green vegetables, they would hurt less.

And though that seems an easy enough remedy to incorporate into my daily schedule, I don’t seem able to master the excessive use of vegetables in my diet.

So my thumbs continue to hurt and I continue to wince and complain, and my jaw and neck join the party. I think my knees are waiting, ready to pounce, waiting for the day when I might say, “I don’t feel that old today.”

Seemed like a good idea at the time

I like to think I would have made a good pioneer. There is a caveat, though (isn't there always). I would have made a good pioneer who had access to a deep freeze.

That may disqualify my presumption.

I like processing food from my garden. I blanche and freeze bags of swiss chard and broccoli that I use for soups and dahl. Blueberries are the easiest, straight from the bushes to freezer bags.

The beauty of the imagination

Loraine and I have decided to paddle to Finland.

Now, we aren't just willy-nilly with our plans—coming up with some hair-brained idea without careful planning. We want to see Finland's outdoor glass sculptures that look like they are living beings; flames of glass seemingly growing out of the marsh and gardens in blues and reds and yellows.

A PBS program sparked Loraine's curiosity and I'm just game to go along for the ride, truth be told. We thought a double kayak might work nicely to manoeuvre across the big cold waves in the North Atlantic.

We all learn until our last breath

I may have mentioned eight or nine or 46 times that my grandsons started school in September; Aiden in junior kindergarten in Ontario and Linden in kindergarten of the regular variety in British Columbia.

I have never been a fan of sending babies to school. Two of my daughters had junior kindergarten and two didn't, and I saw no difference in their academic prowess. Again, there is lots of room for debate on the merits of both.

Four-year-olds are a challenge

I'm currently in British Columbia helping my grandson transition into kindergarten. My daughter is a single mom and we had the resources for me to fly out to help the glacial move from non-kindergarten to kindergarten.

As I drove Linden to school for an hour one day and two hours another day, I thought of single mothers in entry-level jobs whose employers would have no interest in accommodating such a schedule and whose previous daycare providers would have filled those spaces with children requiring full-time care.

Staring at a fire can be almost hypnotic

I burned a pile of brush the other night. We have burning restrictions here in Nova Scotia due to the lack of rain, so burning is limited to between the hours of 7 p.m. and 8 a.m., when the dew has settled.

I often wonder how forest fires are ignited so easily, it seems, when I struggle to get a pile of dry forsythia branches and old fence boards to burn but I finally had success after three previous attempts resulted in a petered-out fire.