Our guest blog today is courtesy of Janet Land, a Toronto actor and author of a fascinating new book sure to entice history buffs.
By Janet Land
What happens when you grow up with the Bogeyman narrative playing out large in the culture around you? Literary darling Emma Cline grew up in California where the Manson drama was the defining event in the zeitgeist of her parent’s adolescence. The story of the charismatic sociopath was too familiar to her as a novel protagonist so she decided to focus on the peripheral players in the story, and conjured up a character who might have been on the sidelines of a dangerous cult. This became the starting point for her critically acclaimed debut, The Girls, which kept me enthralled on my sickbed this week. Read More
For more on poetry…
from a year ago:
from two years ago:
from three years ago:
from four years ago:
from five years ago:
2016 was a year to say goodbye to my youngest off to university, and to my childhood home where my parents lived for almost six decades. A year of frights that came deep in the night, some that lingered longer than others: my mother and my oldest child suffered accidents, as did my father-in-law. Caring emergency workers and excellent medical supervision mean we have them all yet to cherish this holiday season.
We will toast them tonight, but first, a peek at some of my favourites of 2016: Read More
Love and Sugar Launch Countdown Week
Writers work alone. Maybe there’s a writing circle for support, or rituals known only to their editors. Support, when it comes, is crucial. Just ask Canadian literary star Miriam Toews, who scooped the $50,000 Writers’ Trust Fellowship earlier this week.
The fellowship affords me an extravagant amount of time to write, and time is the most meaningful gift a writer can receive.
Time, yes, was needed for my with love and sugar project, for inspiration to root into shape.
Inspiration is a small bouncy ball that flies at you, you who often forget your catcher’s mitt. A lost single glove in the gutter. The sign on a church billboard as your car stops at a red. Overheard trails of conversation while you wait in line. The pink elephant in your home office.
Inspiration are the pair of pom-poms, cheerleader red, worn by parents who mark up your advance copy with sticky notes.
Are those mistakes you found?, Author Daughter wonders.
No, they are all the things I love, responds Agent Mother.
Inspiration is a think tank interested in accountability and croissants or yogurt parfaits as meeting tools. Show up and spew might be the theme for our bi-monthly meetings: mostly, it’s thinking out loud, coffee, giving feedback, coffee, sharing failures, coffee, applauding success (however minute). Did I say coffee? Made by someone else? Handed to you as you slump to your seat? Good morning. I have nothing for you today. Wait, okay, maybe I do.
Inspiration is a team of bakers with their own m.o, each answering the call and delivering up delights on a tray. No, I didn’t pay them. But taste testers and bakers were as much as part of this journey as anyone else.
Inspiration is a vat of booster fuel from life coaches, self-avowed and otherwise, ready to jumpstart flagging engines, cross the city in a mass book delivery wearing a chauffeur cap and feather boa (is there a better delivery uniform? Let me know), or remind you that yes, you really did do it.
Here are a few heroes with the love and sugar breakdown.
Stephanie Black: Cheesecake with homemade caramel sauce and homemade whip cream. Skip the fake cherries please!!!!
Before I had dairy intolerance – old fashioned butterscotch sundae at a 50’s diner would be ideal.
Lisa Simone: Chocolate Fudge Layer cake- icing not buttercream-sweet fudge OR two fresh Polish Panczky- doughnuts with plum filling and lots of liquid icing sugar dripping down the sides.
Cindy Andrew: My grandmothers carrot cake with cream cheese icing!
Janet Land: O’Henry Chocolate Bar and Pecan Butter Tarts. I can’t choose!
Stephanie: Being in Haileybury, Ontario, at my grandmothers:she would bring me homemade chocolate chip cookies (we made earlier that day) and a glass of milk while I read Archie’s with the dog beside me.
Lisa: Rice Pudding- although I never eat it.
Janet Land: Aunt Mickey’s chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.
Cindy: My grandmothers carrot cake with cream cheese icing!!!…
Stephanie: A favourite ritual today is Shabbat dinner when we work together in the kitchen, light candles, pray, and say thanks and ask each other what we are grateful for, and what kind action was shown to us or what we did kind for someone else.
Lisa: A daily favourite is setting the table right before bed so it’s ready for breakfast, or preparing the strawberry French toast on weekend.
Janet Land: Making family weekend breakfast: french toast, crisp bacon, fresh strawberries, fresh OJ, fresh coffee.
Cindy: Today it is hard to find time where everyone has a few hours at the same time to get together but we make it essential at Christmas.. sporting our Santa hats, we pile into the car with the dog and a football and head to the tree farm. We grab some cider and a few saws and head out into the field for the perfect Christmas tree… singing carols which embarrass the kids until they just join in and love it… It still take a few hours to find the perfect tree (easier now that the kids are older and can toss the ball around while we hunt, but when they were 2 and 4 no matter how many layers of clothes we put on them, they froze and it never ended well until visiting Santa in his hut at the end…I love this part of Christmas… we are together, outside, playing and seeking that special tree.. some days it’s too tall and we have to cut off a few feet, some years it’s small, but every year it is our perfect tree and my perfect time with the family!
Thanks for sharing all.
ARE WE ALL HUNGRY NOW????
HAPPY WEEKEND EVERYONE. For those joining me on Monday at my launch, I promise Christmas cookies. (firstname.lastname@example.org to rsvp)
Homework. That’s what I gave Paschalis Gogos on the day we sat down to discuss shooting the desserts in my book. Piled high in front of us was a stack of cookbooks.
This here? This is what I don’t want. No fussy studio shots. My desserts are all tied into events. For real people.
He smiled and told me he was new at this, shooting food, but he wasn’t new to photography. Read More
As a former producer of television arts and entertainment news, I thought I knew teamwork. Middle child of five? Teams-R-US.
(Stop snickering, siblings!)
I’m not young enough to know everything
This book of mine took up brain space without paying rent long before I sourced any help. It just sat there like a crazy squatter dreaming of a castle on a hill. The lines and bones of the castle were clear in my head, as were all the rooms inside. From head to finished product?
Roll out the team.
A week from today ♥with love and sugar ♥will be available in a bookstore jammed with goodies.
Tucked on a Toronto midtown corner where passerbys can’t help but gape at the wondrous windows, Mabel’s Fables has survived where others have fallen. Since 1988, this gem has done far more than serve up children’s stories. It is a dream shop.
When owner Eleanor Lefavre invited me to launch my food memoir in her store, I might have fallen over right then. Fortunately for the stacks of gorgeous books around me, I wobbled but stayed afloat—just. Read More