Monday, July 30, 2012

Photo shoot at Cathy's house

This is the photo that appeared on the cover of Blackfly magazine.
Nice, huh? Notice the tent in the background?
(Credit: Bev McMullen)

I was watching The Devil Wears Prada again last night. It's one of my favourite movies, not just because Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway are fabulous and I love the song that opens up the movie, but because it perfectly portrays what my life is like working for magazines here in Muskoka. Glamourous models, exotic photo shoots, oh yes, it's exactly like that.

Just a few weeks back my own front yard became the location for the cover shoot of a new magazine. It was an impromptu affair – I nailed down two reporters from work to volunteer as models, I shanghaied our company's best photographer to drop by in her spare time and I begged Dave to leave work early to help set up the tent.

The theme for the shoot was glamping, which is a high-end spin on low-end camping. It means bringing your fanciest china, your best bedding and your stash of caviar and champagne to your camp site. Apparently it's the latest thing.

My idea for the cover was to have two models dressed to the hilt with fancy accessories in front of a tent. A contrast of upscale and way down-scale. We set it up in no time flat. Photographer Bev McMullen and I went to the dollar store and bought all kinds of tacky jewellery. I dug my old Big Pink Nightmare dress out of my closet (which was so big on model Jennifer that we had to pin it on her using clothes pegs.) Roland drove home and picked up his suit. Bev picked lilies and wildflowers from our garden. I opened a bottle of wine and Dave set up our tent in front of the river.

One important note: Dave didn't peg the tent to the ground. He figured, why bother? The shoot was only going to take a half an hour, and it certainly wasn't windy. That's what he was thinking, anyway...

The shoot went well. Jennifer and Roland looked awesome and were such good sports. Bev is a true professional – an award-winning photographer who has travelled the world taking pictures – and she came through with flying colours. We were having such a good time.

When suddenly the wind picked up ...

Wha? Is that supposed to happen?

Should the show go on? Do tents float?

Dave Webster! To the rescue! And no, apparently tents do not float.

Meanwhile, Bev keeps shooting. She's a true professional!

And models Roland and Jen really had something to laugh about!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The joy of camping

Camping – the mere word conjures up bucolic images of loons, canoes and the theme song for Hinterland Who's Who. After enduring the brain-shrinkage from the Muskoka Novel Marathon and a rather stressful period at work, I was looking forward to a pastoral week of summer slacking in Algonquin Park.

If you've ever been camping, you know the short period between packing-driving-setting-up and taking-down-driving-unpacking is rather peaceful, lovely and exceedingly short. It's those bracketed ends of slave labour that do you in. 

For me it's laundry-laundry-laundry in the days leading up to the camping trip because gawd knows there's enough icky camping laundry afterwards without adding moldering week-old underwear. I always do laundry leading up to any big event. Trips, parties, weddings, bar mitzvahs, tornadoes nuclear armageddon – I do laundry in advance. A whole town full of zombies approaching my front door to tear out my gizzard? I'd be telling them to hold off until the rinse cycle.

Shopping for camping is crazy. I don't know why this is but we always eat far better during camping trips than at any other time of the year. Maybe it's to make up for sleeping on a thin slab of foam and walking 40 miles to the loo. Yup, if I'm going to wash dishes in a plastic tub full of ice water and do without a bath for a week then I'm going to eat steak and cheesecake every night! Woo HOO! Let the righteous win! Let the arteries harden! Bring on the blessed bacon! 

By the way, the high cost of steak and Jiffy-Pop is hard to justify to the bank manager when you're whinging and writhing on her office floor arranging a second mortgage to pay for it all.

When you've bought every last pound of bacon, bag of ice, sack of Doritoes and package of Twizzlers in the store you bring it all home and stuff it in the car. That and clothes, rum, pillows, rum, blankets, rum, sleeping bags, rum and pool noodles. Whatever you do, don't forget the rum. 

The packing is an all day fiesta of carrying crap. By the time everything is loaded, you're toast. Burnt toast. And all you can think of, as you're driving to the park, with two kids fighting in the back seat and repeating "Are we there yet?" in a Marathon Man litany of pain worse than that endured during root canals sans freezing, is how, when you finally arrive, you have to get out of the vehicle and help your husband back a 21-foot trailer into an 18-foot campsite. I kid you not, this is the number one reason for divorce.

Suffice it to say, all I wanted to do after we got to the park and set up was nothing. A big blob of zilch. Dave sensed this (funny how massive amounts of whining in his ear sharpens his mind-reading skills) and set up the hammock for me. What a wonderful man he is. I crawled into the hammock and squiggled into the most comfortable position and watched puffy clouds float across an azure sky. Ahhhh, camping ....

That's when the hammock failed. WHOMPF. I landed unceremoniously butt-first in the dirt. I stared up at the puffy clouds and I swear they were mocking me. I started crying, big, ugly, mucous-endowed bawling while I felt around my butt to see if my hip was broken. 

That's when I noticed the lady in the next  campsite staring at me. 

I pulled my hand away from my derriere and tried to act nonchalant.

"You saw that, did you?" I asked, a goobery plop of something gross hanging off my quivering bottom lip.

"Sorry, yes I did," she said. Then, whatever societal politeness she had been clinging to let go and a honking projectile bray of laughter spewed out of her cavernous, lipsticked mouth.

My utter mortification was complete. I closed my eyes and lay there like a well-trussed slug.

My butt still hurts. I didn't go near Killer Hammock for the rest of the week. Dave insists it wasn't my beatific buttocks that crashed the hammock; the ratchet strap slid through an eye loop or something.Yeah, whatever. This kind of thing never happens to skinny women.

The hammock wasn't my only ordeal. Two days later we were on a canoe trip along Sunday Creek (which should be called Bog of Death) and not once, but twice, I sank into the harrowing depths of a leech-encrusted abyss of muddy squelchiness. The first time, with one misplaced step, I went right up to my crotch. Pulling my leg out was like giving birth. I've been having nightmares about vacuum suction ever since. I've washed my formerly white socks three times since then, in bleach, and they still look like men's black dress socks.

The second time I just stayed there.  

A week later, here I am,  feeling much like a weiner in a Pillsbury crescent roll, watching puffy clouds (and turkey vultures) go sailing by. 

I really do find camping relaxing ... don't you?

Monday, July 16, 2012

I'm done!

I don't even know how to say this so I'll just say it: I finished my novel yesterday.


I had set a word count goal of 8,000 words for yesterday but by lunchtime, with only a couple of thousand words under my belt, I was closing in for the kill.

A bit later I was writing a paragraph and suddenly I realized it was the LAST paragraph. It was a stunning revelation. I had thought that writing the end would require more planning, more, I don't know, fireworks. I didn't even know this was the last paragraph... until those last few words appeared on the page and a flood of recognition washed over me in a feverish chill ... I typed a period at 2:31 p.m.

And then I started to cry.

I must say, if you're going to finish a novel, I would highly recommend you do it at a novel marathon among friends who are also writers. They truly appreciate the momentous nature of the occasion. Within minutes of that fateful finish I was hugged and high-fived, wooted, photographed, cheered and applauded.

I drove home from the marathon in a complete and utter daze. I still feel that way.

What I need to know is how I should celebrate this milestone.




Tell me, dear friends, what I should do to celebrate.

A caveat – I'm going camping today and won't be online for about a week, but I will anxiously await your answers on my return.

Thanks to everyone for being so supportive, everyone – I am so fortunate. Hugs and big sloppy kisses to all you all. oxoxo

My novel marathon t-shirt, which I LOVE.
The caption, above, is what it says
on the back. Be careful, ex-husbands ...
you should never mess with a writer!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Forty-one more words

Hey everyone! Greetings from the 2012 Muskoka Novel Marathon in truly beautiful downtown Huntsville!

I am having a glorious time. The food is FANTASTIC, I mean INCREDIBLE (even if you don't write two words, the food is worth the drive).

My fellow writers are smart and talented and working their collective butts off. I mean, some of them are crazy, just pure crazy. I always thought I was a pretty fast writer. HA! So this is how it works: everyone writes double spaced in a common font in 14 pt. Whenever a writer finishes 10 pages, he or she writes their name and their page count thus far on a little slip of paper and posts it on a bookshelf.

I just finished 40 pages. I'm thinking I'm all that and a bag of chips. But noooooooooo - there are writers here who have finished 120 PAGES in the same time that I've done 40. Holy page count, Batman!

I don't know how they do it. I mean, I've asked and they give me reasons like the whole book has been in their heads for months and now it's just spewing out but, come on! I don't even think I can TYPE fast enough to produce 120 pages in so few hours!

I try to tell myself that they're just repeating "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country," but these people are experienced, published, talented writers and they are just CRANKING out the joy juice they call writing.

Well, kudos to them. There's no way in hell I can write that fast so I try not to pay any attention when they're posting 10 new pages every 10 minutes.

Anyway, I am doing absolutely FINE! I am only 41 words away from writing my hoped-for goal of 8,000 words today. And last night I cranked out 2,500. So I'm doing well and I'm absolutely pumped that I will meet my 8,000 word target again tomorrow.

Of course my real target is finishing my novel and I have to say it's within my grasp. The stuff I'm writing now is the very stuff of wrap-up. The beginnings of endings. It's all rather heady and wonderful and I'm happy as a pig in you-know-what.

Well, I have to go. They're about to announce the fundraising winners and after that is dinner. When that's all done with, I'm going to write a while longer, find 41 words or so deep in what's left of my tired heart, and meet my target.

This is a wonderful time to be a writer and I'm so proud to be here.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Let the marathon begin!

Today's the Big Day! WOOOOOOOOOOOOT! It feels like Christmas morning, only without the snowbanks, credit card hangover and egg nog brain freeze. (Egg nog brain freeze. That would be an egg nog noggin' ice cap. And a cap is a hat that sits on the noggin'. So really it would be an egg nog noggin' noggin'...)

Today – tonight, actually – is opening day for the Muskoka Novel Marathon. For the next three or four days (I'm only doing three) writers will be hunkered down in one room (Club 55 in the Algonquin Theatre building in Huntsville, Ontario), staring at their laptops, trying to squeeze out a novel from their fevered, blistered, battered brains. I mean, who DOES that?

Believe it or not, plenty of people have gone on to have these marathon novels published. Some of the best and brightest writers in this part of the world come to the marathon to accomplish just that. Judges will look at the finished manuscripts and the winner will go to a real life agent for critique and possible consideration.

I'm not going to be submitting my manuscript, however. In order to be judged, manuscripts have to be written during the marathon, with no other help other than a single page of notes. Me, I'm going to be using the marathon time to FINISH the book I already have in progress.

This whole novel has been a seat-of-the-pants adventure all along. I have a vague notion of what's going to happen but that's it. Generally I sit down at the computer and stuff pops down onto the page and usually I go, huh, that's cool, or that sucks, and keep typing. The problem is that it seems like I'm never going to finish. I'm more than 70,000 words into it with no clear end in sight. I was starting to feel like this was a triathlon with no finish line and the whole project was becoming a millstone around my tired neck.

So just recently I said, enough! And I sat down with my manuscript and a piece of paper and a pen, and I wrote down everything I wanted to happen. In point form. What appeared on the page was eight different events – eight chapters. That wasn't as daunting as I thought it was. I did some math and figured that if I wrote approximately 2,500 words per chapter, I would need to come up with approximately 18,500 more words to finish the novel.

I figured I could write 2,500 words on Friday night. Then I'd have 8,000 words to write on Saturday and 8,000 on Sunday. That breaks down to 4,000 words before lunch and 4,000 after. Or, approximately 1,000 words an hour.

It sounds kinda crazy, I know, but it's DOABLE. I know I'm perfectly capable of writing 1,000 words in an hour ... when I'm fresh ... the problem, of course, is keeping that up, hour after hour, for two days.

The good news is I'm going to be surrounded by other writers writing their faces off, too. Their fingers will be blistered. Their brains are going to be fried. Their backs will ache and their heads will be nodding as exhaustion sets in.

My, my, doesn't this sound like fun?

We will  cheer each other on, of course. We shall kibbitz. We shall LAUGH. We shall drink enough java juice to make Columbian coffee cartels dance with caffeinated joy.

I'm excited about this. My work in progress has been idle for too long. I want to FINISH. I want to start editing. I want desperately to send it out into the world. It's a fictional story that is based on my personal experiences and it's full of love, pain, sadness and great joy.

So wish my luck. Wish me strength. Wish my eyelids to remain open. And thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all your generous donations. Above all else, the marathon is a fundraiser for adult literacy programs. It's writers helping readers. How great is that?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Way

I was visiting Diary of a Square-Toothed Girl just now and Lisa was asking for suggestions for summer tuneage and I was reminded of one of my favourite summer songs.

The Way is a weirdly addictive one-hit wonder by an obscure band called Fastball that speaks of people leaving their homes and kids behind in a quest for "eternal summer slacking."

Part retro drive-in dandy, part Rocky Horror, the tune has a chorus that makes me want to put the pedal to the medal on the open road, leaving all my worries in a cloud of raucous dust. I probably would not leave my kids behind ... probably... depends on how they were getting along as the key to freedom slid into the ignition.

Here. Have some summer weirdness, and enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sundae of despair? hahahaha

Erm, my poem the other day... I'm rather proud of it, if truth be told. If you think of it as a newborn baby being left to die, well, then it is nothing more than a big pool of nasty. Substitute "work project that I put my heart and soul into" for "baby" and you have a jagged hole in my heart rather than actual blood, guts and death.

In a nutshell, I helped launch a magazine that was doomed from the start. Before it even came back from the printer's, before the baby was even born, the powers-that-be decided it would never run again. And they never even told me, deeming me not important enough, I guess.

I knew it was in trouble, for many reasons, but that knowledge doesn't stop me from grieving. A pile of the mags sit on the far corner of my desk, looking pretty and happy as a newborn baby. And yet they're a dirty secret that nobody wants to talk about. There will be no launch party, no website, no champagne, no hearty congratulations, or cigars. No "good job" from the boss. No apologies. Throughout the day I steal glances at them, feeling ridiculously sorry for them and their abandonment, thinking "you deserved so much better." To me, they really are like a beautiful newborn baby that has been forgotten on the delivery room floor.

I'm very quiet in these early days of summer. I have drawn within myself, metaphorically pulled my knees to my chest in a futile stab at self-protection. I have so little ability to find my natural enthusiasm, the buoyancy that usually floats me through the days. The one thing I am seemingly successful at is alienating almost everyone I come into contact with. For a person who prides herself on being happy, on "getting along," this is almost too much to bear.

Funny how the kicks come when you're already down. When you think you can't take one more thing, that's when a letter to the editor arrives and calls your writing drivel. Or that's when your kids start fighting and one kid calls the other kid a douchebag on Facebook. Or the car breaks down, your e-mail account gets hacked, you step in dog poop in the front yard and the cat pukes on the chesterfield. You know other people in the world are suffering much more than you are, that your problems are minor and few, that you're damned lucky just to be alive, so you add guilt about feeling sorry for yourself on top of everything else. A fat glossy fire engine red maraschino cherry of guilt plopped on a sundae of despair.

Writing that just now makes me laugh at my own foolishness. "Sundae of despair?" Seriously. Who writes this crap?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Baby, Ignored

The baby lies on the delivery slab, moments old.
White vernix paste marbles the infant's skin.
The stuff smells sweet, like holiday shortbread,
a trick up the wild sleeve of nature
to encourage mothers to lick their newborns clean.

But this mother has left the building.
She pushed the baby out without passion,
releasing it into the void of abandonment,
worth no more to her than the toileted regurgitation
of a drunken binge.
She would flush it, if she could.
Push the handle and watch a season of derision
swirl away and disappear.

People walk by like the baby is already dead.
The silence is oppressive.
Even the child knows better than to fuss.
It watches the funereal procession
of powerless people who honestly don't give a shit
waddle by with their eyes averted,
thinking of their thing, the big thing, 
the thing that will make their pockets fat
as the meconium pooling in their cranial cavities
strangles their reduced capacity for love
and their long-lost ability to believe.

In the face of such harrowing neglect
the baby pisses on itself and dies,
final hubris lost on those who clean up the mess.

Peanut butter pockets 10 times fast

"Say peanut butter pockets 10 times fast."

"Peanut butter pockets 10 times fast."

Sam laughs. "No, no. Say peanut butter pockets, 10 times fast."

"Peanut butter pockets 10 times fast."

Laughs and groans from Sam. "OK. Say peanut butter pockets."

"Peanut butter pockets."

"Now say it 10 times fast."



And so it went. While Sam and I were lost in the twisty turning Bermuda Triangle that is backwoods Muskoka, I drove him positively bonkers playing dumb and managing to avoid saying peanut butter pockets 10 times fast.


"Are you doing this on purpose?"

"No, I'm doing what you say."

"OK. In quotes," and he makes quote marks with his 11-year-old fingers, "Peanut. Butter Pockets. End quote." Fingers make end quotes. "Got that?"

"Yes," I say. Rolling my eyes with great overstated fervour.

"Now, say that."



Maybe it was the sweet smell of Don's Bakery goodies wafting up from the back of the Jeep. Maybe it was the hot weather deep frying our sense of humour like a Scottish Mars bar but Sam and I had the best time Friday afternoon. Having been given the afternoon off, a Friday afternoon on a sunny summer day which is as fine a gift as baccarat crystal filled with Dom Perignon champagne, I decided I would drag Sam to the Butter Tart Festival being held by my company in Port Carling, Ontario. We got to Port Carling alright but there were SO many people and SO many cars and so (all cap it yourself) much everything that we never found the festival. We tried unsuccessfully to park a few times before I said to Sam, "let's just go." And he said, "Great!" Because he doesn't even like butter tarts. (Insane, I know. It must be because of the time I dropped him on his head.)

Since we were in the area anyway, and since I had a fever for butter tarts, we decided to go to nearby Bala, home of the world famous Don's Bakery. I spent half a week's pay on perfect butter tarts, incredible chelsea bun, egg bread and cookies. Fifty drooling dollars worth of awesomeness. Then we decided to go visit my blogging friend Debbie, who lives not too far away.

Now, I had only been there once. A long time ago. But I figured I would remember. Well, we did find it. Forty-five minutes of back roads and wrong turns and getting unbelievably lost later, all the while driving Sam into gales of giggles trying to avoid saying peanut butter pockets 10 times fast. He laughed, I played dumb, butter tart fumes made the Jeep smell like a bowl of brown sugar heaven and I must say it was the best afternoon I had ever spent with my youngest son. Possibly ever. So thanks, Sam. And this is just for you:

Peanut butter pockets. Peanut butter pockets. Peanut butter pockets. Peanut butter pockets. Peanut butter pockets. Peanut butter pockets. Peanut butter pockets. Peanut butter pockets. Peanut butter pockets. Peanut butter pockets.

Friday, July 6, 2012

You can't please everyone

The one thing I know for sure after a lifelong career in the newspaper business is you can't please everyone.

Fact is, you're lucky to please anyone. Sometimes I think the newspaper reading public is a vast vat full of circling sharks, or maybe ravenous buck-toothed piranhas, waiting for the next columnist to dip her toe in the tank and give her a shiny new blood red toenail polish.

Everyone's a critic, see, and everyone has their own idea of what a newspaper should and should not contain; they are also not afraid to express their opinion, in the form of letters to the editor, usually penned in a self-righteous holier-than-thou tone.

That's a good thing, in many ways. If readers are claiming ownership to what belongs in a paper and what doesn't, it means they care about the publication. It means they're reading it. There are so many newspapers struggling in this modern age of internet news and television that many publications are going the way of the dinosaur. So the fact that anybody cares enough to criticize the content is good.

However, it does suck being on the receiving end of such letters. No matter how many you get, it still hurts. I received two such letters in the last week. One from the local drive-in complaining about a piece I did about racy movies, children and drive-ins and one from a former colleague at the paper taking me to task for a column about potato salad. (By the way, if you follow the links you'll see original unadorned posts. What appeared in the local newspaper was edited for profanity and MUCH tamer, especially in the case of the drive-in post.)

For the record, I LOVE the local drive-in and I've written many times about how wonderful it is. Nobody's a bigger fan than our family. We go several times every summer and spend a substantial amount of money at the concession stand because we truly believe in supporting this awesome business. When I went there last year to take pictures for an article that appeared in one of our summer magazines, the drive-in people were so happy they sent free passes. They weren't so happy this time, although I do believe any free publicity is good publicity. Like letters to the editor themselves, it means people care enough to talk about it. Any fading celebrity knows that not-talking is career-death.

The letter from a former colleague really hurt my feelings, though, I think mostly because he IS a former colleague and I would hope there would be some degree of professional courtesy among writers. This is what he said:
I was a humour writer for the Muskoka Sun for some 10 years, so it was with some surprise and shock as I read through the article by Cathy Oliffe-Webster "If it ain't Bojac, it ain't potato salad", Muskoka Sun June 29/12. 
I have read and usually enjoyed her humorous takes on life, in your Weekender publication. There is often a fine line between humour and distasteful tripe. I personally think she dug too deep into the humour barrel in this article with references of  'child trafficing, heroin use and whoring' not to mention 'skank and leather'. This is not the kind of journalism I associate with the Muskoka Sun. It might be better suited to the tabloids that that are rife with these kinds of references, but not something I wish to read while enjoying the beauty and serenity of Muskoka.
I realize that she was trying to be funny but I really think she and perhaps your editorial department missed the mark on this one.
Distasteful tripe? Erm, whatever.

As for the references to skank and leather, it was a JOKE and it was about my MOTHER who is the epitome of classiness and SHE thought it was hilarious so honestly that's all that matters. That, and the potato salad, which was delicious.

Also, I don't get paid for the articles in the paper. Not a dime. Volunteer labour rewarded only with snide remarks? Ha! Welcome to my world.


I've only got three more days to raise money for the Muskoka Novel Marathon coming up next weekend. If you could see your way through to a small donation I would appreciate it! Also, don't forget, all generous benefactors will have a chance to win one of three Life on the Muskoka River mugs! If you would like to help me out, click here. THANK YOU!!

(I guess I won't be getting a donation from either of those letter writers... sigh....)

P.S. My e-mail account was hacked overnight so if you get a message from me with no subject line or a weird link of any kind, DON'T CLICK ON IT. I have changed my password so hopefully the problem is fixed. In the meantime, my apologies to anyone who might have opened the messages. Stupid hackers. Really, get a life, boys. Go write a letter to the editor or something....

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Someone you can count on

Last weekend we were camping up at Algonquin Provincial Park. I took a nap one afternoon while everyone else in the family went over to a nearby river to play in the waterfall. Dave and Sam cycled and Angus and his girlfriend, Jaylene, walked. The walk was a little much for Jaylene, who had a sore foot so Angus asked Dave if he would mind getting the Jeep and driving back to pick up himself and the limping Jaylene.

"Sure," said Dave. He and Sam cycled back to our campsite and then drove back to the spot where he had told Angus and Jaylene to wait for him.

They weren't there. Dave waited for half an hour, worried sick about what could have happened to them. It turned out Angus had decided to walk back, through the forest trail instead of on the road.

I couldn't understand why he would have done that, when it was him who asked for the ride in the first place, so I asked and I asked and I couldn't get a straight answer. Finally he said, "I wasn't sure he'd be there."

So I told him, you can always count on Dave.


He will never let you down.

If he makes a promise to you, he will keep it.

Just lately he has proven that to me again. And again. He stands by me no matter what. He sticks up for me when it's necessary and even when it's not. He is my backbone, when I have none. He hugs me when I need a hug, wipes my tears, tells me it's all going to be fine.

We were out for a motorcycle ride the other night and I was hanging on to his strong back, enjoying the cool evening air rushing by, the soothing rumble of the engine and the verdant summer scenery and I felt such incredible trust in this man. Such safety.

I realized that if our bike broke down, he would fix it. That we would never be stranded. That the bills would always be paid. That he would always have my back. That he would always be my best friend, and that he would always love me.

Don't tell me I'm lucky. I know. I really, really know.

And those roses? He bought them for me last week. :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

For Clarence, for literacy

Clarence Brazier of Sprucedale, Ontario (just up the road from me) was 93 years old when he decided enough was enough. He would learn how to read.

By age 95, with help from the Muskoka Literacy Council, Mr. Brazier achieved his goal. 

He was 100 when he received the prestigious Canada Post National Literacy Award from the Governor General of Canada.

He died this spring, in his 106th amazing year, but his determination to overcome the seemingly insurmountable remains an inspiration to so many others. After all, if a 93-year-old deaf man can learn to read and write, well then anyone can, right? And if someone can do that, anything is possible.

The good work of the Muskoka Literacy Council continues through the adult literacy programs of the Simcoe-Muskoka YMCA and one of the main fundraising events for this important program is the annual Muskoka Novel Marathon. Once again this year, 30 writers will enclose themselves in one room (Club 55 in downtown Huntsville) for a long weekend of novel writing. To take part in this marathon of words, they must raise money for YMCA Literacy Services. 

It's not just for another program. It's for people like Clarence.

I'm participating this year and I'm trying my utmost to raise money for this important cause. Anything you can contribute is greatly appreciated. $5? Awesome. $10? Even more awesome. $25? Well that's just a big jar of Awesome Sauce! It doesn't have to be a king's ransom. 

Those who donate will be highly regarded by me forever, as well as being mentioned on my blog (ooh boy!). As well, contributors could win one of three Life on the Muskoka River mugs. 

If you could mention my efforts on your own blog, I will also throw your name into the hat for a mug. Just mention in the comments that you have and I'll be sure to include you in the draw. 

Thank you dear friends. And thank you, Clarence, for being such an inspiration.