A busy time as winter overtakes us all in Ottawa

  • The storybook adaptation of my play, What my grandma means to say, has been illustrated beautifully by Gary Frederick (www.gdfpro.com), and is now with the publisher’s designer. This book about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias is written for children in grades 4-6 and their families. It lets Jake share his own story from the time he first notices how his grandma is changing from awesome traveller, bird watcher, and brownie-baker to someone who doesn’t remember his name or where she lives. After she moves to a long-term care residence, the story follows Jake and his family as they adjust to how different their lives together have become.

  • I was asked to tell this story in book form, because it tackles a health challenge that affects so many families in today’s world. I always intended that the story give children and their families a unique opportunity to explore the difficult subject of dementia at a safe distance from what may be happening to someone they know and about whom they care. By watching Jake as he finds out how to support his grandmother and himself, children and families build their own strengths and strategies for handling similar situations in their lives and in the lives of people they love. The book also provides answers to frequently asked questions, plus a list of sources for further information about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Write me at if you wish to be contacted once the book becomes available.
  • I am continuing to add a line-a-day of poetry on this site . This is really experimental for me: at times terrifying; always a challenge. Let me know what you think.
  • Welcome Winter, with Rob Clipperton reading A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas, and music on the themes of harmony and love, performed by Ottawa choirs and soloists, took place on November 20 at Glebe-ST. James United Church. The program, which I co-produce every year with Allison Woyiwada, was a huge success and raised over $3000. for The Ottawa Food Bank (www.theottawafoodbank.ca), which serves over 40,000 people each month, 40% of whom are children.
  • As part of the run-up to the Ottawa Public Library’s 2011 Awesome Authors Contest, for which I judge poetry submissions in English, I gave a workshop at the Hazeldean Branch. I encourage young writers ages 9-17 to check out the requirements for the contest (biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/main/about/comm/contest) and to send in their original poems and stories. The deadline for the contest is: January  31, 2011.
  • Watch this space for news on the amazing CD featuring top Canadian recording artists and including my poem, Hummingbird Rest, which a group of activist grannies has assembled to raise funds for the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
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