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.
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!
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”
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.