So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane was one of my favourite books as a kid. I think I was about seven when I read it. The bookmobile had just gotten a copy of it and I remember my name was the first one on the book slip – I always loved it when that happened. I absolutely devoured it, and then couldn’t wait for the end of the week when the bookmobile would again be parked next to Dr. Seager Wheeler Park so I could tell the librarian about it – to ensure she stocked the next book when it came out.
A few years ago now, I saw an old copy (though not so old as the one I would have first read) on the “for sale” rack at our little neighbourhood library. It was old enough that it still had the kraft paper envelope glued onto the first page – where the book slip would have slid in so perfectly. I grabbed it pretty darn quickly, and when the girl was done checking out her books I gratefully handed over the quarter (or two, I can’t recall exactly how much it was) that the paperbacks withdrawn from the library collection sell for. When we got home, I stashed it away on a shelf, knowing some day my girl might just love it as much as I did… and excited that it would be here waiting for her.
Tonight we started reading the brittle, crinkly pages, each one crackling and popping as they were turned. There is just something special about older books. Something magical in the way they sound, feel, and smell. Even leafing through them is a journey… and I’ll admit to a palpable tingle in the air as I listened to the pages turn taking us to the prologue and our epic adventure.
As my husband read aloud, I was taken back to the very first time I read So You Want to Be a Wizard. And I was quickly reminded why I loved it so much, even then. I was never one for flaky books with characters as thin as the paper their lives were printed on. Even as a kid, I liked my words meaty, purposeful, and true. Listening to Nita’s experience going back into the children’s section of her little library, I relived those first moments of discovery, when I knew what it was to stumble – with her – onto the amazing book and looking forward to where it would take her. …yep, I’m going to enjoy doing this again. 😉
We drove 1/2 hour outside of Saskatoon to lay in the prairie grasses beside a lake, cuddled up close to protect against the night chill as we listened to the ducks and other wild life calling to one another, watching the meteors streak across the sky. The girl alternatively whispering in awe and shrieking in excitement while the cold slowly worked it’s way into her bones.
Every so often we could hear the crunch of something walking or landing nearby, but in the almost complete darkness knew it would be useless to try and identify what it was. Nothing attempted to approach, so I’m sure whatever it was had been benign… or at the least, more curious than hungry. We’d call back to the animals who called out to one another and us. And every so often our giggles and hoots would cause curiouser sounds to come back to us on the night air.
It was close to one a.m. when the kid passed gas, giggling when her Dad suggested it was probably a duck who had made the noise. Then we all fell silent again, just in time for him to let one rip too: “Yep, it was a duck.” And I’ll admit it, in the stillness of the dark and wild night, I let one go too: “Lot’s of ducks out tonight.” We all cracked up when a duck, with perfect comedic timing, seemed to quack in reply.
Time passed both too quickly and too slowly. It’s amazing how quickly the night air chills you, even in August when the days are still hot. In spite of laying so close to one another on that soft bed of grass that our arms and legs intertwined, in spite of the heat I could feel being generated between our bodies lying there, we chilled all too quickly… making time feel slow. And memories, dear, precious memories being formed, the kind that will last a lifetime, making time feel all too fast.
“How many more meteors do you want to see?”
“Okay, we’ll wait for two more.”
“Oh! There’s one!”
“I didn’t see it, that one doesn’t count.”
“Over there? Did you see that one?”
“I didn’t. It doesn’t count either.”
And so our last two quickly became four or five… but who was counting anyway. 😉
Heroes. They are something we should all have, and they come in many shapes and sizes. Some may be the usual suspects, heralds of a cause, but others can be found unexpected places. In truth, I believe everyone has the potential to be a hero. And I can’t think of any better way to demonstrate this fact that to share a few of my local Saskatchewan heroes who also happen to be members of the acronym community.
Mikayla Schultz is the founder of TransSask (support services). She is a tireless advocate and campaigner for equality. Through tremendous efforts, she recently put government to the test and had many successes with the signing of a declaration formalizing March 25-31 as Transgender Awareness Week in communities across Saskatchewan.
Don Cochrane is a former University of Saskatchewan professor, who continues to educate everyone he meets. His groundbreaking work into subjects of importance to the Sexual Minority and Gender Variant community continue to force change, improving the lives of everyone in Canada. You can see his hand all over this province, and especially at the annual Breaking the Silence conference here in Saskatoon.
Sarah Houghtaling is a local high school student. She strives diligently to make lives better not only for those who attend school with her, but for minority students across our province. A student activist who’s name I highly recommend taking note of. She’s one of the many young people who WILL change our world for the better. If you are ever able to attend one of her talks, DO! You will be inspired.
Kay Williams is one of the most outspoken allies you will ever meet. A determined advocate for her son, and a helping voice in a confusing world for parents new to the world of parenting LGBTT2QI children and youth. Kay is a proud volunteer, and one of the founding members of PFLAG in Saskatoon. She also was awarded the Peter Corren Award for Outstanding Achievement this year at Breaking the Silence – and yes, I teared up during her acceptance speech (which I recorded, and will share at some point).
Four individuals, all unique, all at different stages of their journey, all willing to do whatever it takes to see things become better for those around them. All four are heroes, and all four I’m proud to call friend.
Who are the heroes in your life?
One of the most difficult things in the world is coming out to our families. There is so much emotion wrapped up there, that it can be hard to separate our own fears from reality. And listening to the coming out stories from previous generations only reinforces that sense of fear.
I had the privilege of serving as coordinator for a youth retreat last Summer, for Sexual Minority, Gender Variant youth. During an exercise led by our Artist-in-Residence, Spencer J. Harrison we all got the chance to share coming out stories while in small groups. One young man’s story in particular made me cry – and not for reasons you might suspect.
At first he didn’t feel he should contribute to the discussion, he didn’t feel that his story was worthy of sharing. Upon encouragement, he opened up and told his story. The story of coming out to a family who loved him and supported him – a family to which it didn’t matter what his orientation was. Unwavering love and reassurance. And that is what moved me to tears.
More and more people are realizing that orientation doesn’t matter, a person’s sexual desires don’t change who they are as a person. More and more families find it easy to accept the idea that one of their children may be pansexual, bisexual, asexual, homosexual et al. More and more young people have GOOD stories to share – and those stories are so worth hearing. And in those instances where the outcome isn’t so positive? That’s where community comes in.
If your family doesn’t accept you for who you are, they don’t deserve you. Family is a choice, and is built on love. So whether family of blood or family of choice – surround yourself with people who know how amazing you are. Because you really are incredible!
Two things to share tonight. 🙂 One is the We Give Books website/program. It’s simply too awesome NOT to share. And the other is a book we stumbled across while there.
We Give Books is an incredible website where you can read new, classic, and popular Penguin Books titles to you children… for free. That’s right. FREE. We only discovered the site this afternoon and have already gone through seven titles that were brand new to us (the girl loves the Ladybug Girl books).
You can sign up for free (there’s that word again) using your FB or Twitter account, or the old fashioned way by filling out a form. Then you choose a campaign to support… which is where We Give Books gets even better – yep. Better than free! Can you imagine? What happens next? Just pick out a book and start reading. When you get to the end, a button will show up that says “give a book”. Click it. Know what that means? It means a book has just been donated to whichever campaign you chose to support.
Check it out!!! Seriously!
We Give Books – www.wegivebooks.org
Now while you’re there, you have to look up “Goodnight iPad”. It’s way too freakin’ awesome. A parody on the classic bedtime story “Goodnight Moon” for those of us who are plugged in. It really is fabulous, and, no joke, it had my husband and I laughing out loud as we attempted to read it to the kid. 😉
So, there you go! Two fabulous discoveries!
Now get reading!
Tonight the girlie wanted to tell me a bedtime story. So as we lay together in the black of the bedroom, lit only by the red standby light on the TV and the 9:51 on the clock (way past bedtime), she began her story. It was a tale of a princess, lost in the forest. Guided by a new-found friend, she finds peace and contentment amongst the wild things living there. It started out with such zest and eagerness, but within mere minutes drifted off with “and then the princess…” as my princess fell asleep.
It was so sweet. Lily-Ann’s words floated away, carrying her to dreamland. It was a perfect end to a day that was generally lovely.
My parents celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary today, and they spent a gift certificate we had given them for their birthdays while we stayed at their place to watch everyone. Previous to that I had an afternoon shoot – an outdoor boudoir session, which is always fun and a little risque. A last minute cancellation of an evening shoot opened up my night which allowed me to spend it with my family (still spent most of it working, but working in their company is always nice). My sister Riki had even stopped by my parents place while they were out, which was nice too. She finally got to meet Deedee and Alice, who I had brought along and had set up in a puppy play pen in the kitchen. Yep. Just generally a nice day.
As I mentioned yesterday, today was the wee girlie’s first day of classes. She’s in pre-kindergarten. And she was oh so ready for this… even if I wasn’t. I’ll admit, walking out of her classroom without her, and standing on the steps outside, I really had to fight to keep my tears from falling in full crocodile fashion (meaning, big and lots). But I did it… I kept it together. At least until I’d walked home. LOL She did great though. I knew she would. She had loads of stories to tell… told us all about a boy in her class who was scared, but that she helped him feel better, and then he had lots of fun. She had songs to sing… all about how one shouldn’t eat green jelly beans as they’ll make you pat your head, rub your tummy, shake your leg, and hop all around. She had pictures to share… with an “old fashioned” clock with numbers and hands because it’s school time. It was a really good day, and that made my day all better. 🙂
With that, here’s two versions of the same image… one with edits, one without. What’s your preference for?