Books

Have you ever met a writer who didn’t dream of having their name on the spine of a book? Me neither. Having worked in newspapers, where the daily crack is not to get too worked up about anything because a guinea pig will be peeing on that story by this time tomorrow, books have a certain appeal.

How to Meet a Nice Man from Medicine Hat (a working title)
I have just finished writing a memoir. It’s about a young Alberta woman who leaves everything behind for Bangkok, a city that introduces her to a new way of life and the love of her life — a man from her hometown.
An excerpt from  Chapter 7, She’s So Brave

 

AN ALBINO GECKO climbs the wall above my pillow. It pauses and swivels its head toward me. The gecko’s body is alabaster and bumpy, like chicken skin. Its eyes, black and blinking, watch me.

What do I do? I want it gone. I scan the ceiling corners for holes. How did it get in here? I reach for my broom. I can’t use the broom. I tip-toe to the bathroom. My fingers are shaking. Hairspray. I dig my thumbnail under the lid to pop it. The gecko’s on the floor now, on the tile by the end of my bed. I’m not going to bed with that thing in here. I’m not. My finger clutches the nozzle. I crouch toward the gecko and it freezes, claws spread on a strand of red hair. My hair has been falling out; it’s everywhere. I spray, aiming for its eyes. It tries to move but it’s blinded. It blinks and staggers. I spray. It tucks its head into its tail, coiling like a snake. I spray. It inhales. I spray. I leave its pale, shrunken body there for three days.



A Century in Ink
About a year before Alberta celebrated its centennial in 2005, I happened to be an underemployed freelance writer. Upon being approached with the idea, I thought researching 100 years of newspapers to find the stories that made headlines, and then creating 100 articles about each year sounded fun. Mostly, it was. The result was a one-time book published by the Lethbridge Herald titled A Century in Ink. I had the chance to rewrite my province’s past. How many people will ever be able to say that?

Here’s a bit from the year 1921.

WHEN BOW ISLAND AND TABER got nearly an inch of rain in late April, the towns’ farmers weren’t sure who to thank.

The rainmaker, Charles Hatfield, had just set up his precipitation-inducing contraption in Medicine Hat. He promised southern Albertans he would double the area’s rainfall that spring and summer.
Farmers from southwest Saskatchewan to Lethbridge placed so much confidence in Hatfield they increased their acreage by 25 per cent in hopes of reaping the benefits of his presence.

From a 35-foot high tower, the rainmaker mixed a secret concoction of chemicals he heated alongside evaporating tanks. Mixed with the surrounding air, the liquid was to produce rain clouds.
To non-believers in southern Alberta, Hatfield said, “My system is not one of bombarding the heavens, nor merely do I trust to luck. You can understand luck isn’t going to favour the same man something like 500 times in succession,” The Herald reported.
But the rainmaker’s science must not have procured the plentiful crops he promised because in December The Herald reported a group of farmers wanted to ban rainmakers from the province for the untold harm he did, citing a Denmark family who came all the way here on word of his strengths.

What are your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s