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Tracie Skarbo was motivated to write by her father, who was her biggest supporter. “He was always behind me, rallying me on with my writing. I would always see him with a book in hand. He gave me a great appreciation for the written word, and the power and responsibility that writers have to shape those who read their words. He also taught me to respect nature and to value the beauty within it; my reflections on my environment are just an extension of this.” Skarbo was raised on Vancouver Island and is working on her next two books.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Viva La France

I admire France.  Or should I say I admire the people of France; I like the way they deal with their intolerance of their politician’s actions. 
When they were upset that their government wanted to raise the retirement age.  What was their response?   They shouted out their reluctance to such an increase.  When their government didn’t want to listen and cited all sorts of reasons why the rise in retirement age would be beneficial, what did they do?  They stood together and they gathered converging into the streets; they forged together and rallied against the government stopping shipments of fuel into the country with an energy strike.
France is a country that knows how to get its voice heard.  It knows how to get the snake to pay attention by strangling it a bit, and then threatening decapitation.  It brought the big oil companies to its knees just by coming together and doing something about it.  Is it surprising?  This is the same country that boasted the word revolution the loudest during the years 1789-1799, and devised the Guillotine.  This latest protest only proves that time and time again, over the centuries, you can not take the fight out of France.  I suppose once you take down an absolute monarchy, a regular government is more like a bothersome mosquito.
So what is our excuse?  Why do we, as a country, sit idly by while our government says one thing and then does another?  More importantly, why do we let our government get away with turning a deaf ear?  It seems we stand by while they outsource jobs, sell premium government lands to foreign countries; or deplete our precious resources.  Sometimes we are outraged enough to voice our opinions to the person waiting next to us in the coffee house line up.  If we are really peeved we send around a paper petition, and pat each other on the back congratulating ourselves on being a peaceful nation.  I wonder what other countries think of us when they see such actions.  Are they looking through telescopes of their own?  Would they care or only shrug shoulders and smirk, expecting no more from us?   
Canadians just seem to look through Margret Atwood’s one way mirror into the United States, our noses pressed upon the pane and our breath condensing.  For the most part it seems we are just content to act and respond accordingly to whatever our neighbor is doing.  We seem to be lulled to sleep by the lumbering giant next door and its entertaining escapades.  Until we are hypnotized lazy-boy tater tots, assimilating more of its culture into our own, becoming carbon copies of its broken shadows.  It seems the mirror between us does not protect us from N1H1, or the economy viruses, that threaten to drown. 
Nor does the window protect us from Hollywood actors who seek asylum from the dreaded ‘Star Whackers’ and the promise of free healthcare.  Not that I can blame any man, woman, or child who wants free healthcare.  Up here we think it is the bee’s knees, there are the long waits for MRI’s mind you, but when you consider the alternative I will gladly sit in the waiting chair with my volume of literature. 
Three cheers for revolution, mirrors, and Viva la France.

(References made to Margret Atwood’s essay “Through the One-Way Mirror”)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Chocolate Fixation

My mouth starts to water as
The waitress saunters
In my direction

My gaze fixated
On the plate
That looks like
An extension of her hand

I can see a little piece of
Chocolate heaven
Peeking over
As she draws closer

After what seems like an eternity
The culinary masterpiece is before me
I drink in its beauty.

The cut
Shows the brilliant confidence
Of the server
Knife in hand
Searching perfect dimensions

Gives bursts of scent
Pleasuring my senses 
Awakening longing in my taste buds 

I lift my fork
Knowing that with this instrument
I will wreak havoc 

I plunge into the soft layers
Drawing down chocolaty cheese layers,
Until I hit Oreo crust
Then with a flick of my wrist
This too
Is on my fork

I lift it
My tongue glistening
To my mouth
An explosion of taste occurs
Leaving my face with a smile

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Brave, The Blind and a Childs Smile

I write by candle light
Drawing depths of soul upon paper
Awakening excitement
Considering possibilities

Intelligence attracts my wandering eye 

Darkness creeps outside this ring of light
And peers into tomorrow
A world I create 

Raindrops scatter over that which we can’t change
Only hope to alter
Shallow waters do not impress upon
Those who fail to recognize 

Beauty creates and destroys
All who seek;  
Changes all who avoid

Perception is the work of fiction
Fantasy tarnishes in the face of sanity
Each is individual
As heat is to flame 

The brave ride upon wings of circumstance
As blind seek guidance through
Softer realms of wisdoms shelter

Honesty lies within a child’s smile
Societies unraveling
Those inside look upon prisoners
Of their own creation

Truth hides behind those who claim to see it
A struggling vibrancy that leads the weak 
Doubt envelops those who seek solitude
Who listen regardless of fear

Human Nature

I glanced up to see Stephanie open the door to the shop and look around.  After knowing her for over ten years, I could tell by the way she was scanning the room that something was up.  Her red hair falling about her face and shoulders like a river of fire, and her cheeks flamed with the deep redness of roses flecked with tan freckles.  Her nose flared as she seemed to almost scent out her prey.  She caught my gaze and dismissed me quickly.  Her hazel eyes only afforded a flare of quick recognition and then continued their search over the 14 women in the room, all in the various stages of painting still life.  I was startled by the murderous rage those eyes beheld.
I got to my feet, just as Stephanie, finding who she had been looking for, made her way across the room; the home of her unborn child leading the way. 
“How can you even show your face?”  Stephanie asked the back of Laura’s head.  She then took a handful of Laura’s blond locks and spun her around in her chair to face her. 
“What the hell?”  Laura asked in shock of the sudden pain and confusion.  Then as Laura recognized who was speaking to her, shame began to blossom over her features, which was overcome by righteous jubilation.  “So he told you then?”
“Yes he told me!  He thinks you two are running off together.   I wonder who put a fool idea like that into his head.”  Stephanie was shrieking her anger into the air and it could be felt physically around her.   The other women in the room stood and watched the confrontation, unable to turn away.  “How could you do this to me when you know it is his child I harbor?”
Laura looked down at Stephanie’s protruding belly.  “I had to prove to you that he is just a man.  Like any man.  That he would not turn from the opportunity of free love and the open arms of another woman.  You thought you were high and lofty and your relationship was above such things.  You were a fool in the first place to get involved with him, all the more so by letting his seed take root in your belly, forever tying you to the imbecile.”  Laura turned back to the painting before her as though the matter and her dealings with it were over. 
“Don’t you turn your back on me you witch.  That is all you are going to say?  That we had this coming and that if it had not been you to turn his head that it would have been some other woman and I would have had the same pain down the road?  You have the audacity to sit before me and my unborn child and tell me that you lay with the man that I love in order to protect me?!” 
I came forward and grabbed Stephanie just before she grabbed Laura’s hair again with both hands.  The sound that emanated from her was wild and carnal.  It came from a place down deep within the very core of her being and threatened to swallow Laura whole.  I had no doubt that Stephanie would have torn the woman in two, before us all, with her own two hands had I not come forward.  Her strength was formidable; with the extra weight she was carrying I almost lost the fight to rein her in.  Somehow I got her out of the room and out the door onto the sidewalk.  Whilst all the time Laura just looked at us with her liquid blue eyes through impossibly long eyelashes, and a light smirk upon her lips.  I could have throttled her myself. 
“I’ll deal with you later.”  I promised her.  Joy leaped in me when my words wiped the egocentric look of confidence off of her face, and she turned back to the painting, unable to meet my stare.
On the sidewalk, amongst the glass windows and compassionate glances from strangers, I dealt with Stephanie’s onslaught of tears.  Fueled by despair, anger, adrenaline and pregnancy, wave after wave of tears were accompanied by words that were lost and incomprehensible.  It didn’t matter, they were redundant and their meanings were for the winds ears alone.  I held her as we walked off some of her energy, heading home to quilts, tea, and warm wet facecloths, perhaps I could even find some chocolate ice cream in the ice box.   Anything and everything to starve off the sharp pain of the thrust blade, how could a woman do such a thing to another?  How could anyone inflict such suffering?  I shook my head unable to comprehend such an act. 
“Come on Stephanie, up the stairs, we are almost there.”  I guided her to the first step because her eyes were so puffy and swollen; they had all but closed on their own accord.  My heart went out to her.  She was in a fine mess.  With no end in sight that I could see, either 18 years with a child on her hip, raising him alone, or with a man who had betrayed her.  Which was no choice at all; or giving up the child when it was born to a family who would never let her see it. 
I lay her down on the sofa, tears of my own forming at the corners of my eyes, and went to the kitchen to light the stove for some hot water for tea. 
This was not over.  I would have to deal with the repercussions of Laura’s actions.  As the Den Mother of the twelve girls in my Dorm there would be no other way of things.  I could almost hear the Dean and the disappointment in his voice again at the thought of my losing control of the situation.  I was lucky that I had not been fired when Stephanie’s pregnancy had been revealed.  An unwed pregnancy at that, and with another student from the university no less!  What utter nonsense, that is what I think.  You get young men and women together in the same environment, in close proximity of each other and such things are bound to happen. 
I came back to the living room and Stephanie’s soft snores with a steaming hot cup of tea.  Smiling I shrugged, guess the two lumps were for me then.  I looked out the window over the campus.  Over the green of the grass and in between the reaching arms of the bare wooden bones of the trees, fat snowflakes began to fall.  How befitting I thought, a brand new shroud for a fallen princess.