It is June 21 and baking hot with no rain! It has been like this for awhile. No matter how many times we check, the weatherman still dangles the possibility of a little rain, enticingly a few days away.
We give thanks for having had the foresight to install casement windows in this old house (circa 1868) as they allow full movement of air at all levels and are locked tight in the winter. The ceiling fans in each room keep the air moving. After six months or more of being locked up in the house each winter we refused to install A/C and spend the balance of the year with windows closed too.
The afternoons are too hot for gardening so I search my neverending “Job List” for inside jobs. Yesterday I tackled one that has been sitting awhile: file my columns written since January 2019!
Yes, I keep binders filled with what I have had published. One for each of the current publications, another for miscellaneous printings and one (Volume 3) for published Letters to the Editor and various government and corporate entities along with their replies if they choose to send them. There is also another which contains the first few years of the Glengarry News’ 4-H column which I started and wrote bi-weekly at the request of the Glengarry 4-H Association decades ago now. It continues with its (I think) fourth writer.
That makes 24 binders, if my math is correct: a legacy for my children to decide what to do with after I eventually pass. It will be their decision to keep them or toss them. What a rotten thing to do to one’s children!
Many, especially students with great hopes, ask how I got into this. I was lucky. The opportunity to be published has always been at someone else’s request. The jobs found me.
You could say writing runs in the blood. Before immigrating to Canada from England in 1958 and after a knee injury destroyed any hopes of a professional career, my father was a sports writer for one of the large English papers. He was also a “letter to the editor” writer!
His cousin, Michael Longley, has the most writing genes cursing through his blood though, as a renowned poet, Ireland Professor of Poetry (2007-2010), Queen’s Gold Medal recipient, Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CMB) and the recipient of countless awards and accolades and guest speaker at universities around the world. Ironically, and proof that it really is a small, small world, an egg customer, residing on our old road, played field hockey with Michael’s wife at Trinity College in Dublin.
Michael’s poetry is, to say the least, unusual, although in recent years it appears to have mellowed greatly. When our daughter, Michelle, did an elementary school project on “famous poets:” she declared “All the good ones are taken!”
So we suggested Michael and contacted his sister Wendy in Mississauga. She jumped right in and sent some of his books, noting several poems which might appeal to a child. Michelle, being an independent soul, went searching for one herself and quickly discovered the depth and darkness of Michael’s early works, mostly about his father, Richard, my Great Uncle Squib (a squib is the name of a small, loud firecracker in England), fighting in the trenches in the First World War and its affects afterwards. That and “The Troubles.” She found one describing a badger, except the last line revealed it was roadkill on the verge! She went to Wendy’s suggestions instead. My daughter still complains that, of everyone in her class, she was the only one who had to have her project read by the poet himself. We sent a copy to Wendy who forwarded it to Michael.
Michelle seems to have inherited the gene too and writes stories online that have respectable followings. She is now working on a young teen’s mystery novel that she hopes to have published.
Thus, the ability to place the words that run through my brain, onto paper would appear to be as hereditary as blue eyes are in other families, and that probably explains a lot.
Angela Dorie is an agricultural writer and a Jersey farmer near Cornwall.