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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.

Aristotle would be so proud

Aristotle had some firm ideas on writing and how to present a valid argument to an audience of readers.

The elements of ethos, pathos, and logos must be present in balance, according to Aristotle. And though Aristotle was born more than 2,000 years ago, his sense of a written argument holds up even to this day.

A hug a day is important

One of the rules in my five-year-old grandson's classroom is “no hugging.”

When I heard this, I was puzzled. I know we are called upon to be vigilant in our awareness of, and recognizing and preventing, physical abuse but I'm still wondering.

I'm thinking back to the first few days of school for Linden, when I was chauffeuring him back and forth for his graduated entry. He was happy one day at dismissal time and spontaneously threw his arms around his teacher's waist before we departed the school.

Phobias are not easy to explain

“The best way out is always through." Robert Frost penned those wise words but for some of us, "through” is not as easy as it sounds.

I have a confession and I hope you won't judge me too harshly, though I have judged myself with merciless vigour for many years. It may require hypnosis to get to the root of it but for 63 years, I've had a phobia that continues its relentless grip on me.

Ice sure is a wonderful seasonal joy

A friend of mine from Dawson City recently sent me a joke with the headline, “You must be from Nova Scotia if you shovel snow in the rain.”

That's true, more often than not.

But I'm not from Nova Scotia. I'm from Northwestern Ontario, where you have to be hardy and not afraid to pile on the clothes to withstand a polar vortex. It's not a climate in which to worry about fashion.

Can't learn from error of my ways

There are those who dedicate their lives to the study of one thing: stars, insects, migration paths of the Monarch butterfly, the fatality rate of those who insist on texting while driving, or whether the toilet paper be fed from the top or the bottom.

I think you probably know someone like that—who knows everything there is to know on a particular subject.

Poetry cannot be taught

I'm not sure poetry can be taught. We can be taught to arrange words together that rhyme, just the same as we can be taught to play the notes we see on a sheet of music, but that is not the same as creating magic.

I think writing poetry is a skill as innate as the artist's hand that controls the paintbrush. We can be taught to admire the craft of creating an image, an understanding, with words—words so carefully chosen the result looks effortless.

The two faces of January

I regularly bemoan January's negative qualities and whine about January to anyone who will listen.

How January pulls my shoulders to my ears, my chin to my chest, and hunches my shoulders as I hurry in with wood and hurry “Gracie” as we walk—not to mention how difficult the struggle is to extract myself from my warm cozy bed.

But just when I have had enough of January, January changes the game.

The reasons why I continue to write

I am willing to bet that self-doubt is a common human affliction—and is even more of a hidden struggle for those who display a quality I find most offensive: hubris.

I was at an art gallery in Halifax last year to visit an exhibition of an artist friend of mine. Alan Bateman was in the audience and he made a comment about self-doubt and I was taken aback.

He is considered one of Canada's finest realists in visual art and is the son of Robert Bateman, an international household name. Self-doubt? How is that possible.

Time to level the playing field

I am going to throw some facts at you. The United States is home to 4.4 percent of the world's 7.53 billion population, whereas Canada represents only .5 percent of the world's population.

Some 22 percent of the world's prisoners are behind bars in the U.S. In 2015, the Washington Post reported that 478/100,000 people are incarcerated in the United States, the world's highest rate, as compared to New Zealand's 192/100,000, Canada's 188/100,000, Australia's 180/100,000, and Japan's 51/100,000.