The Stories: Notes from the author


... She studied the knick-knacks on Robin’s desk -- the gumball machine, the perpetual motion toy, the wobbly hula dancer. Robin’s eyes flicked once to her breasts, then back to her file. 'Yep. You’re pregnant all right.' He made a notation and leaned back in his chair ...

A friend who spent some time North of 60 told me how a doctor there diagnosed and forced a quick resolution to her unplanned pregnancy. Proving once again that truth is stranger than fiction.



... Sandy had just turned three when Gayle saw a sign in the window at the little Italian grocery in the neighbourhood. Part Time Help Wanted. They could use the money. But mostly what she thought was how nice it would be to get out of the house for a few hours a week...

Sad to say, there is a Sandy. He would be close to thiry now -- but what haunts me is the glaring, defiant nine-year-old I met only once, and misjudged, before I knew his story. I have tried to remain as true as possible to facts without leaving clues to his identity or location.



... Even when the world was coming in Loud and Clear, Ross was never certain whether his own speech was whispered or shouted. Inside his head, it all sounded pretty much the same. He was still taking his cues from Hattie. 'Keep your voice down, Ross.' 'Not so loud, dear' ...

My parents had a Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier named Rags. When he died my father buried him in the yard under the cherry tree. Later that evening, looking out at the spot from the house, he thought, 'Damn! I buried him the wrong way around.' The next day he went out and exhumed the body and turned him over so that poor Rags was facing the house. My original intention in this story was to have Ross come across as a crotchety old man – only because he was in the middle of a current argument with his wife – and to have the incident with the dog show a softer side of him. Then, as is quite normal, the story took a direction of its own.



... her single status still met with a clucking disapproval. News of a child out of wedlock would have received a more positive reaction. And her sense of style, conservative in Montreal, painted her a forty-something spinster trying to recapture lost youth. Humiliated and angry, Monica tugged on her skirt and turned a deaf ear to Leo’s crude innuendo ...

By high school I was painfully aware of the small-town mentality surrounding me. People were criticized if they succeeded, criticized if they failed and, just for good measure, were ridiculed for even trying. I couldn’t wait to get out, to experience the 'real world'-- a world where I could feel accepted. This is Monica’s background.
Anyone who attended Central School in Glace Bay, NS might recognize Mrs Egan and, if you happened to be in my Grade 8 class, you might also recall one hysterical geography lesson, not so different from the one I describe.


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Last update OCT2014