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4-Authors – Victoria

It was inspiring. It had drama. The audience truly were provoked to tears, and laughter. And there was some anger.

John Napier-Hemy read from his delightful memoir, Evacuee.

John is a young boy in the middle of WW2, in Victoria and far away from the action:

In addition to having my pockets stuffed with conkers, pellets, elastics, speargrass and blades of grass, I had a small bag of marbles. My best marbles had a red or yellow spiral embedded in the glass, but they were hard to get because of the war. Most of the time we had to put up with marbles that were a murky mixture of green, blue and brown. The worst marbles were called “doughboys”. They were made of baked clay and painted. They cracked almost as easily as our conkers did. The very best were the “steelies”. These were ball bearings that had been purloined from one of the shipyards. They had to be the right size. The small ones were practically useless. The big ones were impressive but impractical, but if you were lucky enough to have one just the right size you had an unbeatable shooter. I felt guilty when I had a steelie in my possession because they were supposed to be important to the War Effort.
To play marbles you drew a circle in the dirt, put your marbles inside the circle, and then began by shooting from outside the circle. The boys who were really good at it knew just how to place a spin on their shooters so that they stayed exactly in place after hitting a marble out of the ring. If you knocked a marble out of the ring you were allowed to keep it. Try as I might I never learned how to place a spin on my shooter. Because I had to kneel to play marbles my knees were dirty and bleeding much of the time. This annoyed my mother who had to remove the gravel from my knees with a washcloth before she applied boracic acid and iodine.
“For goodness sakes. Stay off your knees or you’ll wear them out altogether,” my mother said. “And don’t keep picking at your scabs. You’ll get an infection and anyway it’s disgusting.”
I listened to my mother politely but I never changed my behaviour. How could I possibly play marbles without getting down onto my knees?

Evacuee, pp 63-65

Next, Ben Nuttall-Smith had the audience by the heart with his readings from Margot: Love in the Golden Age. The book is his homage to his partner of the past 16 years, “the best years of my life”. Here is a prescient poem by Margot called Kayaker:


Splashes near my feet.
A half-crescent of sparkling sea.
The webbed claw and feathered corpse of a sea bird
whose spirit is here in the sea-smells.
 
             Dried sea-weed mounds
             And lovely jeweled light shedding small waves
             revealing myriad colours on brightened stones.
             Sun warms my fleecy jacket –
             But the breeze is cool.
 
The lap/splash sounds get louder.
The hollow woof of the curving water finds my attention.
I love this moment.  I treasure its fleetingness. 
I long to hold onto it.
This is all I want!
 
A crab carapace rolls against the bird’s body. 
Seaweed wraps both dead things.
 
Not a bad place for a burial!
I’m being splashed!  I don’t want to move
but the beach-space is being eaten by the incoming tide.
 
Stay here forever.  Die here!  Like the sea-bird and crab.
Roll me in seaweed!
Let the tide take me to the forever and ever. 
My spirit would be so grateful!
 
My bones rolling with currents
My bones becoming sand – being swum over gracefully by fish.
 
Finally my minerals becoming the sea splashing on many shores, floating sea-birds, reflecting sunlight, being wind-blown
into giant, roaring and crashing waves –
thundering in praise of the beauty of the Earth. 

Margot, pp 15-17

Dr. Michael Catchpole’s Anxiety: Debug It Don’t Drug It, was the serious part of the readings. He spoke of the inappropriate use of prescriptions for anxiety-related disorders. While anger was seething below, he professionally explained the causes of anxiety and PTSD, then gave two examples of the cure that is used by registered psychologists. Here is one of the examples of PTSD treatment he read from his book:

A recent (highly modified) example of the latter was, let’s say, a firefighter I had treated, successfully, for PTSD about 10 years ago. He had attended at a very bad fire that tragically included dead children being discovered at the scene. Recently this person came by to see me at my college office (I am retired from clinical practice but continue to teach university courses). He was concerned because his nightmares about the original incident had unexpectedly returned a couple of months ago. He had been to his family doctor who had prescribed Prazosin, an anti-hypertension medication also thought to help with nightmares. However the medication was not working and he wondered if I had any recommendations. My own view is that the nightmares were an effort by his mind (not his brain) to deal with what was a not unexpected re-flare up of his PTSD “mental malware”.
I suggested that he might try backing off the medication under his physician’s guidance and instead re-do some of the exposure steps he and I had done when I saw him originally. Ultimately this would include re-visiting the location of the fire. We agreed that he would drive toward the fire site and when his anxiety got to a 7/10 level pull over and wait there for his anxiety response to drop. He would proceed with this series of steps, perhaps over a few days (each provoking anxiety in the 7/10 range) until he could actually stand at the fire scene and have his anxiety not rise above a 3/10. Subsequently, he reported back to me that the re-exposure was tough but that his nightmares had now resolved. While at the fire location, and not unexpectedly, he reported that he cried, which of course also is helpful.
While people cannot always re-visit the locations where they acquired a trauma I do note with interest recent work with military combat veterans with PTSD indicating that “re-visiting” PTSD-inducing combat via virtual reality goggles also can replicate the therapeutic benefit of in vivo exposure.

Anxiety, pp 176-177

George Opacic spoke about the book he co-authored with Ron M. Craig, In a Cloud of Sails. He mentioned the series of remarkable adventures that the skipper and crew endured on their way across the Pacific to Australia. The one incident that had a few hairs rising on people’s necks was about Myrt, fortune-teller:

The day before the Consul General visited, and without any clue whatsoever of the existence of the Australian, Ron had, in some desperation, made a decision. He had handed Jeff $200 with instructions to purchase charts to Panama and into the Caribbean for at least as far as Jamaica.
Jeff later said that he had no idea what possessed him that day. In a bit of a daze, Jeff had set off to buy the Caribbean charts as instructed. Carrying back his newly purchased charts, he realized in astonishment that what he was carrying was an armload of basic charts for the Pacific, out to Australia! With that realization, he stood on the sidewalk literally gobsmacked. Confusion rattled around his mind.
His only rational explanation was to remember the time last year, between his initially shipping out on the Monte Cristo and later becoming skipper. Jeff was working on a dockside project called the Explorer:


In Bremerton, Washington, I had experienced the inexplicable.
I had heard from the daughter of the Explorer’s owner that there was a fortune-teller in Bremerton who supposedly possessed amazing powers. I am not by nature a mystical or philosophical person and am certainly not superstitious, other than following the established seagoing customs of never, if possible, sailing on Fridays, always putting a gold piece under a mast before it is stepped, and never whistling up a wind. These rituals are kept more as tradition than from fear of consequences if defaulted.
Cheryl, the owner’s daughter, convinced me that I might like having a reading from Myrt, the seer…
Myrt invited me in and asked if I would like a cup of coffee. As soon as she said that, she corrected herself.
“Oh yes, you drink tea, don’t you,” she stated.
She returned presently with the cups on a tray and told me, “You’re a sailor, but not the type we have around here. You’re a real sailor. One who sails sailing ships.”
I replied that I was not sailing on any sailing ship at the moment, but wanted to someday.
“You will, within two months,” she predicted. “You are going on a long trip,” she said.
Here we go, I thought. The next thing she will tell me is that I will meet a dark stranger who will make me wealthy. That should be in the script. I asked her to expand on this. I admitted that a ship I was interested in was planning to sail to the Caribbean to charter there.
“No, it’s not going to the Caribbean. You are going to take her to Australia.”
Australia? Nobody had mentioned Australia to me before.
 “You’ll be greeted by thousands of people including heads of state and royalty,” Myrt predicted. “You’ll have difficult times, naturally, but everything will be all right in the end.”
I thought the prediction about heads of state and royalty a bit over the top, but it made a great way to spend the afternoon. If nothing else, I was getting my money’s worth…
I thanked Myrt and said that maybe I would see her again.
No, she told me. She had intimations of her own mortality…
She died shortly after that. And her predictions about me were eerily correct, for reasons I cannot explain.


Perhaps Myrt had been instructed by Captain Cook.
Indeed, the mysterious appearance of the Pacific charts were to become very useful.

In a Cloud of Sails pp 96-98

To purchase these books, please visit https://rutherfordpress.ca/books-available/

Anxiety at Steam Punk

Within the walls of the Nautilus in the delightful back room of Port Alberni’s Steam Punk Cafe, how could one be anxious?

Shane – who did literature review for Dr. Catchpole – and Shane’s mother, Tammy, look to be in good spirits, and Dr. Catchpole certainly is relaxed. In between signing over 20 books, he kept telling us of his upcoming fishing expedition into the wilds of Oregon.

So many of the folks coming in for his book, Anxiety: Debug It Don’t Drug It, expressed their sincere gratitude for the special perspective it gave them when real anxiety started to interfere with their lives. From the book:

My third and final career goal has been to convince the public, and more directly in this book, to prove to you that it is no longer necessary for you to live with or be bullied by distressing levels of anxiety…

…“Anxiety-related Disorders have been beaten”. All these disorders are now proven to be treatable, and the success rates… are outstanding.

And, critically, the treatment does not include drugs!

No subsequent addictions, terrible withdrawals, zombie side-effects or paying your life’s fortune to some heartless pharma corporation (nor a street drug dealer).

Just get cured.

Buy the book at https://rutherfordpress.ca/anxiety

The Beach Boys

Ben, from Crescent Beach, and George, from Qualicum Beach.

The Spring Writes Conference in Nanaimo, held on May 2-5, was organized by the Federation of BC Writers. Rutherford Press was there in full force with the Beach Boys happily showing visitors the several books by Ben Nuttall-Smith, along with the new titles by Dr. Michael Catchpole, John Napier-Hemy, and George Opacic.

Favourite titles ranged across fiction and non-fiction: Mad Gods of the Toltecs, Crescent Beach Reflections, Anxiety: Debug It Don’t Drug It, Evacuee, In a Cloud of Sails, and Quantum Events.

Thank you to all our visitors!

Happy reading and Good writing!

FBCW & VPL

Rutherford Press will be at two upcoming events. Come on out to say hi to Ben Nuttall-Smith, George Opacic and John Napier-Hemy!

Federation of BC Writers at Nanaimo/VI Convention Centre, 80 Commercial St., Saturday May 4th, from 10 am.

Vancouver Public Library, Writing & Publishing Fair, Saturday May 11th, from 11 am.

See you there!

And A Fine Time Was Had!

Kay gave a riveting reading from her book, Beyond the Blue Door, at last night’s book launch. Her good friend, and ex, Craig Brunanski, wowed the audience with his songs. One of them was written using the book’s images and called, of course, Beyond the Blue Door. Thank you so much Craig!
The evening was capped with Ben Nuttall-Smith reading from his memoir about surviving the London Blitz, a pedophile uncle and he and his sister’s passage as children on the Rangitata, a converted oil tanker, as they survived a submarine attack. His poem of their horrible sail through burning, oil-covered sailors in the water, who could not be picked up, brought tears to the eyes of the audience.
A memorable evening! Thanks to Kay, Ben and Craig!

Sugar and Spice

WAR & CONFLICT BOOK ERA:  WORLD WAR II/WAR IN THE WEST/BATTLE OF BRITAIN

Growing Up Before the Blitz

Ben Nuttall-Smith and his sister Naomi had an idyllic life before the bombs came:

When we heard the birds building nests beneath the eaves, I teased my sister. I told Naomi the birds were coming to our bedroom to peck out her eyes ‘cause she was “sugar and spice and all things nice.” I’d be safe, “Little boys are made of slugs and snails and puppy dogs’ tails.” If my sister cried loud enough, Mommy would spank my bare bottom with the hairbrush.

I got spanked for climbing the apple tree, too. After a spanking and time crying in my room, Mother held me and rocked me until my sobbing subsided. Such moments of love and undivided attention were wonderful, and I looked for them more and more. If pain was the only way to assure undivided love from my mother, then I was willing to make the sacrifice necessary to win her love. At an early age I learned to equate pain with love.

Naomi was born in London. That made her more English than I, born on safari in Tanganyika. Mother said a hyena frightened her while I was being born, so I came into the world laughing. I always got fits of the giggles when being told off, which was most annoying to those doing the scolding. Also, according to Mother, since I was born in Africa, I had to be boiled in a pot for several days just to make me blonde. The fairies delivered Naomi so she was perfect.

Come out to hear Ben read from his book, Discovered in a Scream, on Friday, February 16th, at the Double Header Book Launch. See the event description in EVENTS
Picture from commons.wikimedia.org, https://commons.wikimedia.org, commons.wikimedia.org, title “240px-NA-306-NT-3163V.jpg”

Salmon Arm Library Talk

Kay McCracken is giving a talk/reading at the Okanagan Regional Library Salmon Arm branch, Wednesday, February 14th, 2 – 3 pm.
Her supporters will be pleased to hear her read from her recently published book, Beyond the Blue Door: a writer’s journey.
Following the readings Kay will answer questions.
The book is published by Rutherford Press. See it on  Kay’s author page.

OH Kay!


As seen in the Shuswap monthly, Friday AM: Oh Kay! by Lorne Reimer, editor & publisher, www.friam.ca.

Kay McCracken has a regular column and she is active hosting and MCing events in and around Salmon Arm. She will be on Vancouver Island in February, followed by “Kay’s Army”. Here is the article:

Kay McCracken will give a talk/reading on her new book, Beyond the Blue Door: a writer’s journey, at 2 pm, Feb. 14 at the Salmon Arm library branch. The cover art is by Frieda Martin.

“I have such respect for Kay McCracken’s indomitable spirit and
unquenchable creativity. In this, her second memoir, her eloquent and brave insights offer life-changing revelations about anxiety, depression, children of alcoholics, care-giving and reconciling with aging parents, hardwon self-awareness and how one good and tough soul hung on to her dream of writing until she became a prolific and beloved poet, performer, journalist and memoirist. As she says best: ‘Life dishes up enough heartache; I’ll grab joy while I can.’  This writer and this book are an inspiration and comfort.”  – Caroline Woodward

The reviews are coming in for Kay McCracken’s second book. Her memoir, Beyond the Blue Door: a writer’s journey, is a sequel to A Raven in My Heart: Reflections of a Bookseller. It picks up where Raven left off and even answers a few questions.
According to Kay, “The Blue Door symbolizes anything we want to get beyond: our fears, anxieties, illness, failures and even hopelessness.”
The story deals with her struggles and ultimately, following a dream, and is bound and intertwined with her mother’s journey as well.
The book should be available at local bookstores by February 9 and through Rutherford Press at https://rutherfordpress.ca/kay-mccracken/ and at Amazon, either in paperback or ebook.
Kay has given the All Month its literary creds as our longtime literary columnist. We are also truly proud of her role as co-founder of Word on the Lake, one of BC’s most established writer and readers’ festival.

Come out to Qualicum Beach Civic Centre on February 16th to hear her read from Beyond the Blue Door: a writer’s journey.

Double Header BOOK LAUNCH – Feb. 16th

Rutherford Press is proud as punch to invite you to a Double Header Book Launch!

Kay McCracken will be reading from her new memoir, Beyond the Blue Door: a writer’s journey.

And! Ben Nuttall-Smith will be reading selections from his new books, Crescent Beach Reflections, Discovered in a Scream, and Mad God of the Toltecs.

Mark it on your calendar!

Friday, February 16th at 6:00 pm

at Qualicum Beach Civic Centre, Windsor Rm.

This facility is at the terminus, called Ravensong Exchange, for BC Transit bus #91 Intercity, which comes directly from Nanaimo’s Woodgrove Mall, and also, periodically, starts right at the Departure Bay Ferry Terminal:

Of course, this will be a free event. There will be a donation box for those who are able to contribute to the expenses – much appreciated!
Drinks and snacks will be provided.
Come and see your reading friends!

As the room may quickly become filled, we ask that you RSVP your attendance intention at YES

Dynamic Presenter

Ben Nuttall-Smith’s highly regarded workshop, the Dynamic Presenter, will be given free at the Vancouver Public Library’s lower level on December 9th at 2:00 pm.

Please call to confirm your attendance: 604-331-3603

Shuswap Writers Events

Askew’s Foods’ Word on the Lake Writing Contest is now open and will close at midnight on February 28, 2018.

Contestants may submit original unpublished works in the following categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry. First place winners will receive a cash prize of $150 plus a 2018 conference package, Saturday Night Award Ceremony ticket, and be published in the Askews’ Foods’ Word on the Lake Anthology, which will be available at the festival and after the Festival through Bookingham Palace Books, Salmon Arm BC.

Winners will be contacted prior to Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival, May 11 – 13, 2018 at the Prestige Harbourfront Resort and Okanagan College in Salmon Arm, BC and will be recognized at the Saturday night festivities. For further details concerning the writing contest including submission guidelines, and information about the Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival go to wordonthelakewritersfestival.com.

Mary-Lou McCausland, Writing Contest Co-coordinator

778-489-3331

contest.saow@gmail.com

…………….

A Note about Shuswap Association of Writers

The above media release announcing the Askews’ Foods Writing Contest which opened December 1, 2017 and which is a feature of this year’s Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival is a Shuswap Writers Association programme to encourage emerging writers. Would you kindly make this announcement available through your public service announcements, newsletter, postings or emails to whomever you think may wish to participate so that we may reach as many writers who may be interested as possible?

Celebrating its fifteenth year, Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival provides a three-day conference that attracts participants primarily from British Columbia and Alberta. We are fortunate to have bestselling authors such as

Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival is the major annual event of the Shuswap Association of Writers which is a BC registered Society based in Salmon Arm, British Columbia. Our mandate is to organize events to enrich the cultural life in our community and British Columbia, with a focus on the Written Arts.

Shuswap Association of Writers wishes to acknowledge the support of Askew’s Foods, who through their sponsorship, made this writing contest possible.

Thank you for helping us reach out to the writing community with this offer.

Kay Johnson

President,

Shuswap Association of Writers

250-832-3028

shuswapassociationofwriters.ca

………..

Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival (WOTL) May 11 – 13, 2018, Salmon Arm, BC.

WOTL is bringing back two all-time favourites: Arthur Black and Grant Lawrence of CBC fame and fortune.

Other award-winning authors confirmed for 2018: Sheri-D Wilson, C.C. Humphries, Jacqueline Guest, Ian Weir, Jack Whyte, and publisher Howard White (Harbour Publishing & Douglas & McIntyre).

As other presenters are added we’ll let you know.

Thanks,

Kay McCracken

Promotion Committee

Word on the Lake Writers Festival

Email: kaymcc1@shaw.ca

Phone: 1-250-832-6083

www.wordonthelakewritersfestival.com