Sultans of String Nominated for Instrumental Album of the Year at 2015 Juno Awards

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Juno Awards 2015 Instrumental Album of the Year nominees When my client, Chris McKhool, who is the leader of Juno nominated, CFMA winning, SIRIUSXM Independent Music Award winning and IMA Independent Music Award winning World Music super group Sultans of String asked me to put aside some time for him this morning as of 11:00 am to watch the 2015 Juno Award Nominees broadcast online live from The Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, I did.

I was very excited for them and it felt like it took a while (although I was excited for other artists who I know and love who were nominated) but finally, the Instrumental Album of the Year nominees were announced and Sultans of String made the cut for their album Symphony! They join fellow nominees:

Canadian Brass for Great Wall of China
Daniel Lanois for Flesh and Machine
John Stetch for Off With the Cuffs
Encuentro for Quartango

It’s such a thrill for me to see one of my clients be nominated or receive a prestigious award for not only their undeniable talent but also the heaps and heaps of hard work that they put into their careers. I work with a lot of musicians but no one I know works harder than Chris McKhool for his craft or the production and marketing of it. It truly takes a village to keep a band like Sultans of String moving forward in the music industry and his team, including manager Dave Wilkes, publicist Lisa Weitz of LW Communciations, and incredibly talented band mates, Kevin Laliberte, Drew Birston, Eddie Paton, Chendy Leon and Alberto Suarez have what it takes.

Sultans of String are currently working on their fifth album, a collaboration with sitar fusion virtuoso Anwar Khurshid, whose music has been featured in the Oscar-winning movie Life of Pi.

I can’t wait to see what happens next for Sultans of String! The 44th annual JUNO Awards will be broadcast on CTV from FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton on Sunday, March 15, 2015.

Drew Birston, Kevin Laliberte and Chris McKhool

Drew Birston, Kevin Laliberte & Chris McKhool at the 2015 Juno Award Nominations at Danforth Music Hall in Toronto today.

 

Women’s Music Weekend with Katherine Wheatley, Linda McLean & Jane Lewis May 29-31, 2015

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Women's Music Weekend

Canadian singer-songwriters Katherine Wheatley, Linda McLean and Jane Lewis are the resourceful women’s trio who will stretch and challenge you through an unforgettable Women’s Music Weekend (May 29-31, 2015), hand-crafted to deliver a rewarding, enlightening, and fun-filled experience. You’ll leave nurtured, inspired, and with a song in your heart!

Experience the joy and the power of making music with other women. Create, share, enjoy, listen, learn, stretch, play, harmonize, heal, sing. Sing your heart out. All weekend long.

Choose from workshops that include vocal play, creative mining, song writing, jamming, restorative yoga, vocal and performance techniques. Join the weekend chorus, play in a pick-up band or write your own song.

Katherine, Linda & Jane are going to keep the focus on morning yoga and group singing, and open up Saturday afternoon to a series of optional workshops on a range of topics, such as Freeing Your Natural Voice, How to Sing Harmony, Girl Jam, Creative Lyric Writing… Join the weekend chorus or put together your first rock band. They’ll have a Friday night concert & singalong, a Saturday night “open mic,” and a Sunday concert by participants. You’ll have lots of opportunity to make music, explore, and connect.

The weekend is designed to help you explore your musical side within a supportive atmosphere. If you need to unlock your voice, Linda’s heartDSC_1360 opening yoga sessions can help dissolve the blocks to your singing. Her workshops focus on connecting your creative voice to what is in you, and around you. If you’re tentative about making music, Jane is your guide. She has years of experience helping people find the place inside themselves where they can find great joy in music. If you’re up for a good challenge, count on Katherine to pinpoint the part of your music-making that could use a little shake-up. Whatever stage you’re at, Women’s Music Weekend will inspire and ignite your musical passion.

Join them in May for another dynamic weekend of inspiration, creativity, empowerment and community!

Their May 2015 retreat will be held at the Ignatius Retreat Centre, located in the beautiful countryside 2 km north of Guelph, ON. The Centre is the perfect setting for Women’s Music Weekend, known to be a place of beauty and sustenance, ‘where nature gives strength to mind, body and soul.’ The estate is home to the internationally acclaimed Loyola House, and surrounded by the Ignatius Farm, 650 acres of hiking trails, ponds and streams, fields and forests. Loyola House is spacious and comfortable with private bedrooms and spacious meeting rooms. The kitchen serves fabulous organic food, most of which is grown on the property, and alongside delicious meals, the kitchen is always open for snacks and refreshments.

The fee per person includes all workshops plus accommodation (private bedroom), meals from Friday night to Sunday lunch, snacks and refreshments throughout the weekend, and full access to Ignatius Centre grounds.

Fees & Registration for May 29-31, 2015

Early bird fee: $475/pp before February 14, 2015
Regular fee: $525

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!

Jane Lewis, Linda McLean & Katherine Wheatley

Join Women’s Music Weekend on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WomensMusicWeekend or Twitter at twitter.com/womensmusicwknd.

www.womensmusicweekend.com

The Shadow of the Great Nebula of Orion by Boris Glikman

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Orion NebulaOne day, the nebula in the constellation of Orion, already the brightest nebula in the night sky, started to shine even more intensely, emitting a piercing blue-green light. Its luminosity was now so brilliant that it cast shadows during the daylight hours too, something that had always been the sole prerogative of the Sun.

This caused great excitement, for never before had such a bright celestial body been observed in the day sky. Everybody rushed outside to see this new heavenly wonder and to gawk at their double shadows, the old familiar one and the new one created by the Orion nebula.

It was then that the world was hit by a very unpleasant surprise, for there was something quite peculiar about the shadows cast by the nebula. Instead of being mute, inert outlines of a person’s physical form, they revealed the shadow of a person’s character. Everyone’s inner anxieties, delusions and insecurities were now exposed for all to see.

No one could be found who did not possess a nebula shadow. Even newborns had a shadow accompanying them, thus, coincidentally, vindicating some psychological theories and theological dogmas, while demolishing others.

Naturally, the consequences of this new phenomenon were immense in their scope. Many lives were wrecked, relationships destroyed and careers ruined, as a person’s innermost complexes were revealed to their spouses, family, friends, work colleagues and complete strangers. The very structure of society was threatened, for its smooth running depended so much upon one’s true feelings and nature being suppressed and hidden, even from oneself.

The world was in a dilemma on how to cope with this situation. It certainly couldn’t dim or extinguish the nebula’s brightness. It could try to adapt to a nocturnal existence, when the shadows would be less distinct, but surely that was too radical a solution. Yet who could risk the shame and the burden of walking around with all their flaws showing?

Inevitably, cults arose that chose to embrace this new state of affairs. For them the Orion nebula was The Bearer of Truth, The Great Enlightener of Mankind. Just as the Sun brought outer illumination, so the Orion nebula was deemed to bring inner illumination to the world. The adherents of these sects took pride in letting others see their most intimate neuroses, and experienced catharsis in coming face to face with their fears and insecurities for the very first time. Having accepted their shadows, they felt more fulfilled and whole than they ever did before.

And then, just as suddenly as it flared up, the Orion nebula dimmed to its usual luminosity. It didn’t take long for people to re-adjust to having only one shadow again. Relationships and careers wrecked by the Orion nebula were quickly rebuilt and almost everyone resumed living their old lives, maintaining total silence about that awkward period when their failings were exposed, the way a faux pas is ignored in polite company.

Getting To Know The Artist Known as Melissa Rebronja EMAR

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Melissa Rebronja EMARMelissa Rebronja, also known as EMAR, is an extraordinary, multi-talented, multi-media artist who was born in Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia, grew up in Canada (in Toronto and Vancouver) and now resides in The City of Angels: Los Angeles. One of the most amazing things about beautiful Melissa is that she performs and records world music, singing in over 10 different languages, including Serbian, Hindi, Farsi, Persian and Arabic. Not only can she sing with the voice of an angel, but Melissa performed her debut stand-up comedy show in 2013 with DANTE at The Jon Lovitz Comedy Club. She is currently the host of EMAR EVOLVE TALK on YouTube where she discusses Consciousness, Spirituality & Oneness among other topics and Music Dreams TV, in which she raises awareness about the current music industry. It is my genuine pleasure to interview Melissa Rebronja for this very special, end of the year, feature.

I’ve known you as Melissa Rebronja for a long time, however, you are also known as EMAR.  Why the re-branding? 

The first rebranding happened back in 2007 when I recorded my first EMAR EP. Since my first two albums were Adult Contemporary, and once I specifically started branching into World Music, I thought using a different name made sense. EMAR is really just an exotic way to write my initials M.R. In the last year I’ve actually started using both names as one: Melissa Rebronja EMAR.

You’ve been making music for over ten years. I can remember when your song “Beautiful” came out as well as your stunning cover of “Wonderwall” that became a download hit on CD Baby as I’ve been a fan since those days. What have you recorded since then? 

Since my debut album Embrace Yourself, which included radio singles “Wonderwall” & “Beautiful”, I’ve recorded two full albums and two EPs. In the last few years I have been collaborating with new producers on songs being licensed for Film and TV.  My voice and music made it in the soundtrack of ABC’s TV Series ‘Missing’ and Bollywood’s Salman Khan’s first North American feature ‘Dr. Cabbie’.

What musical achievements have been the most rewarding for you so far? 

I consider myself an Artist Raising Consciousness and Evoking Peace in all that I do.  So with that said, the most rewarding thing for me is evidence that my music is bringing people from different backgrounds together and evoking peace. I was deeply touched that my version of Church Slavonic Christian Orthodox Chant song “Tebje Pojem” was showcased to Catholic Priests of Society of St. Paul in Rome. What’s beautiful about that is the image of two different religions that have been at opposite sides in the Yugoslav wars coming together through respect and admiration for spiritual music.

Another example is when I first arrived in Singapore after a 24 hour flight a few years ago I noticed my cab driver had Hindu statues and symbols all around his car. I told him I sang in Hindi. He was stunned and didn’t believe me. I proceeded to sing to him my version of “Tumare Darshan” live in his car. He was almost in tears of joy. When we arrived to my destination he gave me a big hug, thanked me from the bottom of his heart and told me that if I lived in Singapore I would be a star. That was one of the most beautiful and touching welcomes I received yet.  

Do you have plans to record a new album and if so, what will it focus on and when can we expect it?   

Yes. I have brand new songs, covers and re-mixes.  It will be a culmination of Melissa Rebronja & EMAR in one.  It will be songs that have touched my heart and call for healing of our soul’s wounds. I plan to sing and record in English, Serbian, and Croatian. 

Because it is relevant to your own creative projects, would you share a little about your spiritual beliefs? 

I believe in our Oneness.  I would call my religion Love. I embrace all religions, all cultures and all people as one. I have respect for all no matter what their spiritual beliefs are or lack thereof. Like I’ve stated on the home page of my website, “It doesn’t matter if you’re an atheist, agnostic, religious, spiritual, whatever. If you are a kind human, have love in your heart, are open-minded and do your best not to judge but extend love, kindness and acceptance to every human on Earth – You are living in Oneness and we need you.” 

Can you tell us first about some of the guests you’ve hosted on EMAR EVOLVE TALK and share some highlights from those interviews in terms of what you learned? 

I started EMAR EVOVLE TALK as a passion project and it’s also a wonderful way to have my music in front of a wider audience. I talk to guest on topics of Consciousness, Spirituality and Oneness. My notable guests have been Spiritual Author Jeff Brown, Consciousness Author Graham R. White and Founder of UK pop-band Londonbeat, Will Henshall. What I learned is that we have some amazing people on Earth right now who are shifting our consciousness, expanding our minds and healing our hearts. This makes me feel very hopeful about Earth and its inhabitants.

Out of everyone you have interviewed so far, who left you with the most spiritually profound impression and why?  

I love all my interviews. Jeff Brown has left a profound impression because he has some very interesting, non-mainstream views on topics such as Forgiveness, which I find very intriguing and am still absorbing. I am hoping to have him back on the show again.

Can you tell us about Music Dreams TV and how you got involved with it? 

Music Dreams TV is another passion project of mine. I started the first episodes in Canada in 2009 and just restarted it recently in LA. It’s how I give back to the Independent Music community. Being an independent musician can feel daunting and lonely. I’ve been lucky to have the guidance of some amazing people along the way, including mentors in the Industry such as Derek Sivers, Tess Taylor, and Dave Kusek.  My wish is to share with others all that I learn and am learning to enlighten the Music Industry as a whole. 

Where can we tune in to these shows online? 

EMAR EVOLVE TALK is at youtube.com/mrebronja

MusicDreamsTV is at youtube.com/MusicDreamsTV 

I understand that you were nominated for “Best Social Media Artist of the Year” by LA Music Awards in 2014. Congratulations! What was the nomination based on? 

Thank you so much. It’s exciting. The “Best Social Media Artist” Award is based on my overall online social media presence and personal website. 

Tell us about your experience at the Awards ceremony Melissa Rebronja and Linda Blair

Being at the LA Music Awards Ceremony was super fun. I got to experience being on the red-carpet for the first time in my life. I realized there is a whole art to it, and I think I did pretty well for my first time.  I also got to meet some amazing people in the entertainment industry such as actress Linda Blair. Most of all it is nice to be acknowledged as an independent artist. We could use more of that. 

Do you enjoy living in Los Angeles? What’s the best thing about being there? 

Los Angeles is a great city. I definitely enjoy being here. Beside the obvious weather advantage it really is the entertainment capital of the world. I have met and worked with some amazing people from all around the world while in LA, people that I probably wouldn’t have access to otherwise. Mostly I like being on the West Coast as my soul resonates with it the most. I spent five years of my life in Vancouver, BC and that’s where I first fell in love with the West Coast.  

Melissa Rebronja EMARDo you have any acting aspirations? 

I did at one point in my life. I am not so sure anymore. When I see how passionate and committed some actors are, I must admit I am not. For me music has always been my obvious choice.  

Are you venturing into comedy now? 

I did take a class and had my debut performance last year, which was absolutely terrifying for me. I faced a big fear that day. I highly recommend it to people.  I have not been back on a comedy stage since then. I would like to be. 

Do you use music in your comedy routine? 

I haven’t yet but would love to have a portal to combine all the crazy characters that live within me with my musical abilities. That sounds like one fun challenge to face. Stay tuned.  ;-) 

Are you going to make any New Year’s Resolutions? If so, would you be willing to share any of them with us?  

Surrender completely to the power that created me. 

What would you most like to achieve in 2015? 

Be Love in moments when it’s especially hard to.

Thank you so much for talking to me Melissa! It’s obvious that you have a lot of passion for not only your music career but also for humanity in general. Oneness and Love is a movement that I can certainly get behind and I’m truly inspired by your goals. Los Angeles is really lucky to have you as a part of its entertainment community.

Celebrate! Holidays of the Global Village with Juno Nominee/3x Parents Choice Award Winner Chris McKhool at St. Francis Centre, Saturday, December 13th

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 3, 2014

JUNO NOM/3X PARENTS CHOICE AWARD WINNER CHRIS MCKHOOL
celebrates the multicultural mosaic with his award-winning young audience show

“CELEBRATE! HOLIDAYS OF THE GLOBAL VILLAGE”
ST. FRANCIS CENTRE – SAT DEC 13, 3:00 PM
 

Celebrate! Holidays of the Global Village with Chris McKhool

 

[Ajax ON]  JUNO Award Nominee and 3x Parents’ Choice Award winner, Chris McKhool, celebrates the multicultural mosaic with his award-winning show, “Celebrate! Holidays of the Global Village”, at St. Francis CentreDecember 13, 2014, 3pm!

Celebrate! Holidays of The Global Village” is an interactive and playful musical journey into the myriad of holidays, customs and festivities enjoyed in our country showcasing songs about Christmas, Carnival, Chanukah, Chinese New Year, Diwali, Eid, Kwanzaa, First Nations traditions, Ramadan and many more! Children can visit with Santa after the show!

Hailed as a “Children’s musical star” (National Post) and “Canada’s greatest eco-troubadour for young people”, Chris McKhool is one of Canada’s greatest musicians for young audiences. McKhool has reached over 1 million children live in concert, winning 3 USA Parents’ Choice Awards, 2 Canadian Folk Music Awards and a JUNO Award nomination. He also won Best Children’s Entertainer at the Festivals & Events Ontario Awards, a Green Toronto Award of Excellence, an Environment Canada Action Award and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his commitment to multicultural and environmental issues through music. He also created the World’s Largest Bicycle Bell Ensemble in Canada!

 
WHEN:
Saturday, December 13, 2014 – 3:00 pm
Children can visit with Santa after the show!

WHERE:

St. Francis Centre for Community, Arts & Culture
78 Church Street South, Ajax

TIX/INFO:
$15 
(incl.hst)  | 905-619-2529 ext. 2787 (ARTS)  www.stfranciscentre.ca
Available at the Box Office, Ajax & McLean Community Centres, Audley Recreation Centre

www.fiddlefire.com
“Chris McKhool and the boys are fantastic. They can play my bar mitvah!” Bob Ezrin, Producer (Pink Floyd, Kiss)

“I was impressed by his musical virtuosity and personal appeal…His songs succeed!” Ernie Coombs (Mr. Dressup)

“Many have tried but none have come as close to capturing what it means to truly celebrate multiculturalism as Chris McKhool. The Toronto singer-songwriter epitomizes what many Canadians have come to love about this country.” Deanne Fisher, City Parent

“A children’s superstar!” Brent Bambury, CBC Television

— 30 —

MEDIA ENQUIRIES:

Lisa Weitz,  LW Communications  lw@lwcommunications.ca  416-624-3466 | 416-846-6877 (cell)

The Pen of Plenty (or A Portrait of an Artist as the Entire Universe) by Boris Glikman

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The Pen of PlentyPart I

“Take this Boris, may it serve you well!”, a booming voice commanded, as a hand, holding a shining writing implement, extended towards me.

I was all of thirteen years old when the Hand from Above bestowed the Pen of Plenty upon me.

” You shall be my voice! I shall speak through you with this pen. You shall be a conduit to that Other Reality, the one inhabited by Eternal Truths, Infinite Beauty and Ineffable Questions. From this pen will spring forth an inexhaustible flow of Magic, you will not be able to help begetting works of perfection, each one more perfect than the one before it.

There is a price to pay. You will not be able to feel, smile, laugh, love, pursue ordinary human activities. You will only be able to write, writing alone shall be your existence.

You shall move solely in the Infinite, Eternal, Universal sphere. You will capture and portray through your writings every permutation, manifestation and aspect of life, yet you shall remain cut off from mankind.

This pen shall be the bathyscaphe with which you will descend to the lowest abysses, and it shall be the alpenstock with which you will ascend to the highest heights not yet scaled by mankind. The world will ostracize, scorn, misunderstand, persecute, laugh at you and it will cherish, adore, worship, celebrate you. But you will stay numb, unmoved by both love and loathing.

You will not know how to be young, yet you will not grow old and will stay a man-child, for, by not partaking in the outer world, you shall be free of its deleterious effects.

You will give life to an infinity of uniquely bizarre, wondrous realities, yet you yourself will be a mere metaphor, an empty shell of a shadow, never being able to feel real, concrete. The worlds you engender will be suffused with sensation and meaning, while your own outer reality will be bare, senseless and pedestrian by comparison.

This pen shall be the flame that will illuminate truths as yet invisible, you will help others find their identity, will bring clarity and enlightenment to humanity, will reveal the underlying, inner structure of existence, yet you will be forever lost, confused, at odds with yourself and the world, drifting aimlessly through existence, a jellyfish in the ocean of life.

This pen shall speak with a thousand voices, educing hysterical laughter, uncontrollable tears, twisting minds into Moebius strips, creating transcendental beauty that will stop others dead in their tracks, dumbfounded with awe, even if they have had just a fleeting contact with it, but you will be blind and deaf to its powers and will stay frozen inside. You will feel no pride or pleasure in your creations, for you will know that you are merely a conduit.

But even though this is a Pen of Creative Cornucopia, one day it shall run out and will write no more. Consequently, writing will be the hardest and most terrifying task of your existence, for you will be forever insecure, not knowing when you no longer will be able to create any more. Yet, before that time comes, you shall be flooded with a ceaseless deluge that will demand every instant of your life and your very sanity.

Once you take this pen, it can never be un-taken, you can never disown it or rid yourself of it.”

The voice stopped. I waited a while for it to resume, but it remained silent. Then, with childish, reckless eagerness, I extended my hand upwards, to meet the hand reaching down from above, caring not at all about the consequences.

                                                     Part II

The Writer sits in his room, writing at his desk. He has access to the deepest secrets and mysteries of the Universe, but the question that the whole world, from the tiniest and simplest organism upwards, seems to know the answer to, he can not solve: ” Why live?”

The Writer is torn apart by two contradictory thoughts that occupy his mind simultaneously and seem equally valid. He is certain that he is blind to a fundamental truth that the rest of the world is in possession of, for how else can one explain the whole world choosing life over death and existing with a purpose, something that he is not capable of. Yet he also knows that he is in possession of a fundamental truth that the rest of the world is blind to, for if it was privy to this truth, it would not be able to live in certainty.

The Writer is triply trapped by his room, his mind and his pen. Occasionally, overcome by curiosity and longing, he steals a brief, wistful glimpse, through the window, of the world outside that is teeming and pulsating with life in all of its infinite variations, life that he can never be a part of and whose simple pleasures he could never enjoy or grasp the meaning of. Other times he catches sight of a sliver of the sky that is visible to him from his sitting position. But he immediately feels guilty for neglecting his sacred task and hurriedly resumes scribbling, letter after letter, word after word, sentence after sentence, in his notebooks of madness.

Life passes him by, and then death passes him by too. He has no time for life and he has no time for death either. Neither life nor death can arouse his interest or get their hands on him, and just as he has forgotten all about time, so time has forgotten all about him. In any case, the Writer can not die, for the pen is still working and so he must keep on writing, for his commitment to his pen is greater than his commitment to life and death.

Years, centuries, millennia, billions of years elapse. The Sun expands into a red giant and then collapses into a white dwarf. The stars are torn apart by the forces of the Universe’s expansion, and the protons themselves rot into pieces. Cosmos begins to wind down, all of its energy having dissipated and turned into useless forms. Then the fabric of space-time dissolves.

Still, the Writer remains writing at his desk, which is now floating in vacuum, separate from time and space. Now and then he sneaks looks at the outside world, even though nothing remains there but pure nothingness.

And then, for the very first time, something leads the Writer to take a close look at the pen he was gifted with. He examines it carefully and notices the faded blue letters forming the words MADE IN CHINA etched on its side. Distant memories come flooding back to him, memories of his mother buying pens at the local supermarket, for the start of the new school year; memories of the bare walls of the bathroom that distorted the acoustics, and how he liked to speak to himself there and listen to his boy voice transforming into the stentorian voice of a man. He remembers standing in the bathroom and hearing a million voices calling out his name, then turning around and seeing all of humanity in the mirror looking back at him, as his left hand passed the pen to his right hand.

The Writer now realises that he is the Creator. Having had encompassed the Universe with his mind, the Writer expands to encompass the Universe with his body, so that the Universe and the Writer become one and the same, identical entities, coinciding precisely with one another.

With quiet satisfaction the Writer slowly puts the pen down and that is how the Universe

( and this story) ends, not with a bang or a whimper, but with a .

Note

 1) In Australian English, “.” is known as “full stop” rather than as “period”. 

 

The Long Hello: Memory, My Mother, and Me by Cathie Borrie

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The Long Hello by Cathie BorrieBook Review
Title: The Long Hello: Memory, My Mother, and Me
Author:  Cathie Borrie
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
Released: January 6, 2015
Pages: 225
ISBN: 978-1-4767-9251-4
Book Reviewer: Christine Bode
Stars:  2.5

 

My younger sister died five months ago today from ovarian cancer at the age of 48 so it’s quite possible that I’m just not in the right frame of mood to be reading and reviewing a memoir about a woman who spent seven years caring for her mother before she died from Alzheimer’s in her late 80’s. Nonetheless, the good people at Simon & Schuster enticed me into reading The Long Hello: Memory, My Mother, and Me by Cathie Borrie by using these paragraphs to describe it:

“It explores the emotional rewards and challenges that Cathie Borrie experienced in caring for her mother, who was living with Alzheimer’s disease, for seven years. Between the two, a wondrously poetic dialogue develops, which Ms. Borrie further illuminates with childhood memories of her family, and her struggle to maintain a life outside her caregiving responsibilities. The Long Hello demonstrates how caregiving creates an opportunity to experience the change in a relationship that illness necessitates, one in which joy, meaning, and profound intimacy can flourish. 

Written in spare, beautiful prose, largely in the form of a dialogue, The Long Hello exquisitely captures the intricacies and nuances of a daughter’s relationship with her mother.”

After reading the book, this is not my experience of it. My 62-year-old cousin, who cared for her own mother while she was dying from Alzheimer’s three years ago, read it before me and she found Borrie’s to be very unlike her own experience and not as moving or profound as she thought it might be based on what we were led to believe by the above description either.

Another thing that caught my attention and makes me wonder is why Simon & Schuster chose to use the quote “Joy!” from Maya Angelou on the cover of the book because it hasn’t been published yet and Angelou died on May 28, 2014. If she did indeed have a chance to read this book before she passed away, I would have thought she’d have more to say about it than one word, but this to me is suspicious and the word is in my humble opinion, inappropriate.

Born in Vancouver, Borrie started her career as a nurse before attaining a Masters of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University and later graduated from Law School at the University of Saskatchewan. In 2005, she earned a Certificate in Creative Writing from The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University. She is also a ballroom dancer and has performed in the theatre and as a clown. She has some impressive credentials but I don’t feel that this book “is immensely lyrical and moving” nor a “powerful display of Cathie Borrie’s talent as a writer.”

On a positive note, it’s a very quick read. I read it in two sittings. It’s written somewhat like a journal, almost in point form with the Canadian author flipping back and forth between her past and the present as she’s caring for her mother who is slowly slipping further and further away into the tunnel of dementia. However, I find that there is very little joy in this book aside from the often amusing things that Cathie’s mother Jo says as she’s losing her mind. Borrie recorded conversations with her mother so that she could write this memoir but her own emotions come across as flat and depressed, which I can totally understand that she would be, while going through such a difficult experience. When she describes the facts of her life, they’re just that, facts. The way she’s written them down it appears that she’s had very little joy in her life and maybe that’s the truth of it, I don’t know. She was, at the time of writing The Long Hello a 51-year-old single woman who couldn’t get her own needs met, but was compelled to do everything she could to help her mother before she died and that I can definitely relate to. But it makes for a sad, downer of a read and I was somewhat offended when she wrote this passage:

“My surgeon’s in his forties, easy on the eyes.

“How are things?”

“I’ve been praying for ovarian cancer.”

“You what?”

“So I’d be dead before you have to replace my hip. I figured it was a fast cancer so I’d be dead before my name got to the top of your waiting list.”

The things people say and write when they’re depressed…I’m telling you. We shouldn’t be allowed near a writing implement. I know this from experience.

Cathie Borrie’s mother left her alcoholic father when she was a young girl and soon after her 13-year-old brother Hugh was killed in a random fight with a neighbourhood bully. His, like so many others, was an utterly tragic and meaningless death. Years later, her mother remarried an older man who was always away on business but when he was home he didn’t want his wife’s child to be there because he’d already raised one family and didn’t want to deal with Cathie so she was sent away to boarding school, a fact that upsets her for the rest of her life.

Three quarters of the way through The Long Hello, Cathie’s mother asks, “What happened to the joy of life, Cath?” She replies, “I don’t know, what do you think?” “I think you thought it was going to be better than it was.” That is certainly a statement I can relate to at this point in my life and I also identified to Cathie saying, “I wish I was dead too. And when I’m old there isn’t going to be anyone left to take care of me…No one left who knows my story.” “Goddamn it, Hughie – why did I have to be the one left behind?” I’m sure that’s how many people feel when they lose a beloved sibling because I have and that’s exactly how I feel. And I didn’t need to read this book to be reminded of it.

Introducing Ron Chatterjee and The Colony of Roses – A Novel of Murder and Politics Set in 1960’s India

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The Colony of Roses by Ron ChatterjeeMEDIAARIA CDM is proud to announce the signing of writer Ron Chatterjee for the publication of his debut novel – THE COLONY OF ROSES.

Possessing all the ingredients to be a literary master work of its genre, THE COLONY OF ROSES is a story of murder and politics set against the backdrop of a changing 1960s India, where societal issues of abortion and divorce rages between political factions of the ultra-left and ultra-right. Told in the best tradition of Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy, over the course of seventy-two hours, THE COLONY OF ROSES follows the investigation of an Indian homicide detective’s dogged pursuit of the truth and his journey deeper and deeper into the shady and macabre world of lovable rogues, fall guys, femme fatales, corrupt cops, idealists and all the myriad quirky characters that inhabits THE COLONY OF ROSES.

Ron Chatterjee was born in a small town in West Bengal, India, where his life experiences would inspire his high-octane political thriller. Ron immigrated to the United States twenty years ago and has since settled into small town American life. Ron currently lives in New Jersey with his wife and daughter working on his second novel.

Prepare to enter an intricate world of dysfunctional characters, greed and head-spinning adventure that will leave you guessing until the explosive end in Ron Chatterjee’s debut novel – THE COLONY OF ROSES.

To keep updated with news concerning Ron Chatterjee’s THE COLONY OF ROSES, click here. The novel is due for release in 2015.

The Caterpilion by Boris Glikman

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The CaterpilionThere once was a Caterpillar who was thoroughly sick of always being stuck near the bottom of the food chain. All the other animals –  birds, moles, lizards, frogs and spiders – would hunger for his soft, succulent sausage-like body, licking their lips avidly in anticipation of a delicious meal. Even the tiny ants posed a mortal danger to his life.

The only option open to the Caterpillar was to mimic some inedible object like, for example, a bird dropping, but that would be such an ignominious existence. Not only would he have to remain motionless all day long, but, most humiliating of all, he would be forced to alter his appearance to resemble a piece of dung. Surely, that was a price too high to pay for staying alive, for nothing could be lower than looking exactly like the end product of the digestive process.

One day, full of anxiety and fear as usual, lest he be seen and eaten, the Caterpillar was furtively drinking from a puddle on the forest floor. In the reflection cast by the clear and still water, he noticed, for the first time, that his head was covered by a thick mane of yellow hair. It was then that the Caterpillar was struck by the happiest, most brilliant insight of his life – he realised that, given his looks, he could impersonate a lion! The advantages of such a mimicry would be numerous: amongst other things, not only would he be on the very top of the food chain, afraid of no other animal, but, even more importantly, he would be simply gorgeous.

All the insects scoffed at the Caterpillar, saying how ridiculous his plan was, but the Caterpillar just ignored them and, enclosing himself in a cocoon, proceeded confidently with the metamorphosis.

A certain time had passed and the silly Caterpillar with his crazy dream was almost forgotten about, until early one morning, there was a terrific thunderclap of noise that reverberated right across the woods. The cocoon that held the Caterpillar burst open and out of it emerged a perfect specimen of a flawlessly proportioned, at-the-top-of-his-strength, full-sized lion.

The insects were petrified as to what the Caterpillar-Lion might do to them in revenge for their previous jeers, but he haughtily disregarded them, for, after all, he now was the king of the jungle that wouldn’t even deign to notice such measly bugs.

Proudly, the Caterpilion descended from the tree and began to stride majestically, as befitting his new station in life, roaring at the top of his lungs and showing off his muscular, lithe torso and luxuriant mane.

No other animal dared approach him, of course, and the Caterpilion was very pleased with himself, feeling the kind of deep, pure contentment that only those who had tasted the very dregs of life and found a way to clamber out of the abyss could ever feel. Ahead, a whole new existence shimmered in all of its glory and the Caterpilion was eager to find other lions with which he would live out the rest of his days in joy, happiness and freedom.

And so, when he saw a pride resting lazily in the midday sun, he rushed blithely towards it, eager to make friends with those he now saw as his compatriots, being completely unaware that lions are territorial animals who are viciously protective of their domain. The incensed pride could not believe that a mature lion would be so recklessly stupid as to completely ignore the markings that they assiduously used to bound their dominion, and enter carefree into their land. They promptly tore him into little pieces and that was the end of the Caterpilion and his happy, new life.

Boris Glikman is a writer, poet and philosopher from Melbourne, Australia.

He says: “Writing for me is a spiritual activity of the highest degree. Writing gives me the conduit to a world that is unreachable by any other means, a world that is populated by Eternal Truths, Ineffable Questions and Infinite Beauty. It is my hope that these stories of mine will allow the reader to also catch a glimpse of this universe.”

Boris welcomes feedback and can be contacted by email at bozlich@yahoo.com.au

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bozlich/
Twitter: @bozlich
Previously published at http://omtimes.com/2013/07/the-caterpilion/

Father of 12 Inspires and Encourages Youth Through Epic Fantasy Now Shares Secrets Of His Success

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Father of 12 Inspires and Encourages Youth Through Epic Fantasy Now Shares Secrets Of His Success

MADE FROM SCRATCH becomes a book with buzz.

 MADE FROM SCRATCH: The Ultimate Guide To Self-Publishing by Jaime D. Buckley

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 30, 2014 – Santaquin, UT — Jaime Buckley, Author of Chronicles of a Hero is known as a champion of the underdog. Believing each person has inherent value, he helps the world laugh at themselves, use each experience as an advantage, then encourages others to get up and try again. This same focus has turned him from youth and their parents towards bloggers and writers of all skill levels. Jaime’s alter ego Wendell P. Dipmier, the main character of his fantasy series, takes a back seat this time as the author expands his reach to the business minded.

MADE FROM SCRATCH: The Ultimate Guide To Self-Publishing became an obsession to help Indie Authors do the seemingly impossible—publish a professional product on a shoestring budget. No stranger to extreme hardships, Jaime shares his decade of experience and working against the odds, including homelessness, lack of funding and dealing with a cynical market to point out advantages many authors miss. His 21 books and prolific writing habits make him a unique role model for new authors seeking a non-traditional path. The book takes readers from idea to promotion and beyond.

“This idea started when I made some new friends at Be A Better Blogger,” remarked the author in a recent interview. “I met powerful, unique personalities—but few of them had ever published their work. With so much to offer others, I saw the opportunity to give that brilliant community a huge boost in the right direction. Sharing some personal experiences and pointing out a path most people could follow has become a specialty of mine. MADE FROM SCRATCH was written for bloggers, but it applies to writers in general.”

For digital review copies of MADE FROM SCRATCH or media interviews, contact the author through WantedHero.com or email him directly: jaimebuckley@wantedhero.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JAIME BUCKLEY is a veteran Indie Author who started his career as a comicAuthor Jaime Buckley book creator. Husband, father of 12 and grandfather, he inspires youth and parents alike through his daily blog while designing games and reaching out to readers around the globe. Since 2005 he has donated both his comics and novels to underprivileged children and continues to engage in charitable events involving youth and youth-focused organizations. Photos of Jaime Buckley and the book’s cover available.

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Jaime Buckley
jaimebuckley@wantedhero.com
(608) 620-4376
http://wantedhero.com

 

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