Sunday, February 12, 2017

Tears of innocence and hope

Although some of us just want to hibernate, we are waking up to the energy of the Year of the Fire Rooster in our snow-covered Ottawa Valley. The Rideau Canal Skateway is open and Winterlude celebrations are under way. 

If you don't care for skating or skiing, you can enjoy fresh air and frosty ambience by touring the ice sculpture displays and perhaps enjoying a Beaver tail pastry and hot chocolate.

Permit yourself to travel back to a solemn winter during a time of innocence.  Imagine yourself in a small town on the shores of Georgian Bay in the 1970s. Meet a lonely yet brave 11 year-old girl - a girl on a mission to convince Mr. Young to let his pregnant daughter come back home. 





- - Begin excerpt - - 

After she finished her soup and blew her nose again, Sera sat quietly and gazed at the rabbit painting above her booth.  She took in the red, gold and green designs, the curves and simple patterns.  She felt sadness.  She felt a distant joy and contentment.  She smiled.  It was her first in a long time.  I miss this, she thought.  

The kitchen door swung open slowly.  Carl Young emerged, wearing his kitchen whites, as usual and holding a towel.   He approached Sera's booth with slow, even steps, wiping his hands.  

Sera perked up nervously and smiled, "Hello, Mr. Young."

"Hello, stranger, " he responded.

"Would you like to join me?"

"Sure.  Sure." he smiled briefly and sat across from her, "I guess I could take a break."  He sighed and groaned as he sat down on the bench.  Within seconds, Jenny swiftly brought over a coffee cup and saucer, filled the cup and dropped off the cream and sugar.  Carl gave a curious look, almost surprised that his wife was so quick in serving him.  

Sera bit her lip, looking down then slowly lifted her gaze to meet his tired eyes.  He appeared old and sad.  She rarely saw him sitting still for long periods.  

"Happy New Year, Mr. Young."

"Happy New Year, Sera."

"Soon it will be the Year of the Rabbit, yes?"

"Yes, that's right," he responded, looking up at the painting. 

Sera leaned forward, "It's my favourite year, you know, since I was born in it and.. that was the year you opened the restaurant."

Carl smiled slightly and nodded.  "That's right.  I forgot."

"I was wondering if you were going to have a celebration of any sort.  You know, like an anniversary party?"

"Oh.  I hadn't thought of that.  I've been.... busy."

"You could invite a lot of people."

"Really?" he shifted in his seat.

"Sure.  I could help with the decorations. I'm sure Dela and Gwen would like to help too."

"Sounds nice," he nodded, his eyes scanning the booths and front of the restaurant then took a sip of coffee.  

"I miss Amy!" she blurted out.

Carl, closed his eyes, breathed out slowly and set down his cup.

"I miss her, Mr. Young.  So do Dela and Gwen.  So does.. Mrs. Young."

"Sera..."

"I may just be a kid but I know she didn't do anything horrible.  She's pregnant and yes by my brother.  Stupid teenagers," she rolled her eyes, "Stupid. But.. but, it's not like she killed someone."

Carl looked at her sternly. 

"Please, Mr. Young," she pleaded with a soft whisper, stretching her hands across the table, "Let her come back home.  The place isn't the same without her.  I miss coming here with my family.  I miss that, Mr. Young."

"Sera..." he said in a tired manner.

"Please." Her green eyes watered and bore pitifully at him.  He did not want to destroy her youthful innocence.

"Sera.  It's a matter of honour, of family pride.  She shamed the family.  I gave her the best of everything and this is what happens... If this was another place and time, a girl in her situation would be…"

"I understand, Mr. Young. Well, I don't really ... I respect your opinion."

"Thank you."

"If it's a matter of you not wanting her at home right now, can she come and stay with us?"

"Oh.. Now I see.  Did your father send you here?"

"No!  I came by myself.  They don't know that I'm here. It was very hard for me to come here by myself especially seeing ..." she scowled, "seeing HIM here." her head jerked towards the front of the room.

"I see..."

"My friend was sent away with her mom because he hit her.  I haven't seen her for months. I've only received one letter from her. I miss her. I also miss Amy. Dela and Gwen miss Amy. I miss coming here with my family. Please, please, can we just put things back the way they were?"

"I don't see how we can do that, Sera.  My heart is broken. My family is shamed."

More people entered the restaurant, stomping the snow off their boots, shaking their hats and heading to join their companions.

"I.. I…  should let you get back to work, Mr. Young." said Sera, rising, "Looks like the winter carnival has brought a lot of people out today."

"Yes, I should get back...."

Sera put Aunt Georgette's money on the table and slid it under her empty soup bowl.  She grabbed her coat and got up to put it on.

Carl sat back and stared sadly at her.

"Thank you for the soup, Mr. Young.  It was delicious and warm as usual."

"Thank you for dropping by, Sera."

"Happy New Year,"  she said as she put on her tuque, turned and walked quickly towards the front door. 

- - End excerpt - - 

I cried while writing that part of the story. You just may cry too. Sample more excerpts. See what others have shared after reading The Year of the Rabbit. Download the first 20% of the novel for free at Smashwords

Thanks for dropping by. Stay warm :-) 

T

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Getting ready to rise and shine in the Year of the Rooster


As someone who doesn't appreciate cold, long winters, I am looking forward to celebrating the Lunar New Year.


I like joining in small gatherings with family and friends to eat good food and share in good spirits. I like the of ambience colourful lights but do not appreciate the noise from firecrackers or fireworks.

The resident artiste and I already attended a Year of the Rooster workshop. We received good advice on refreshing our living space and head space from our favourite Feng Shui master.


A while ago, the artiste produced a set of Chinese Zodiac illustrations for me as I was looking for ideas to enhance the second print edition of the novel.  You can see some here, here, here and here

You may want to see the artiste's comic art work on Patreon. You can support her quest to be independent and to move out from under my "motherly oppression".  

Kidding aside, do you want to know more about The Year of the Rabbit?



Thanks for dropping by.

T (aka Flo)

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Another Halloween in Canada


Halloween will soon be upon us. I hope there won't be many creepy clowns lurking about and spooking the sensitive souls.  

As a kid from Canada, I can relate to the costume/snowsuit imagery shared by good ole CBC.






As a chocolate-loving adult, I am enjoying that variety box of small chocolate bars we bought last week. We don't entertain trick or treaters in our building but I make a point of sharing the treats with family, friends and book shop patrons. 

Anyway, here's an attempt to lure you to an excerpt about Halloween night in The Year of the Rabbit.
Join others who enjoyed this hidden gem of Canadian fiction.  Read the first few chapters of the eBook online or download for free from Smashwords.  If you like what you have read, you can then purchase the entire book for 99 cents or more (you set the price).
 

T




Sunday, October 9, 2016

Small thanks

It is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. 

The Red Hare restaurant would have been a nice place to host a family gathering rather than toiling away in a cramped apartment kitchen.  

I invite you to read an excerpt from The Year of the Rabbit where Sera and her extended family share in a Thanksgiving meal. 




Sera soon learns news that will add to her sadness and feelings of abandonment.  


It's a good thing she had Edgar and Jenny Young to give her some comfort



Drop by the novel's domain for links to other blog entries, reader comments and deep dark secrets.  You will have to dig a little for those...  

Giving thanks every day - 
beginning, middle and end.  
Waking from a dreamy state 
The cycle starts all over again.



Note: Most of the content of this blog post is a reheat, a rehash from the one in 2012