The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon

The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon
Shortlisted for The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Prize

Monday, 13 December 2010


Well, it finally feels like winter around here.

We've flirted with winter over the past few weeks.  We even had enough snow on the ground for a mini-snowman a few weeks ago  (he was doomed to puddledom the very next day).  Until the last few days it hasn't really felt like Winter.

It does now.

We now have enough snow for TWO persons of snow!

I'm not sure if I've kept this a secret but here goes...

I am not at all fond of wintertime.  I might even go so far as to say that I hate winter (though, with children this view has mellowed in recent years).

I think I can trace my dislike of winter back to my childhood.  We grew up in the snowbelt and lived through some serious amounts of snow.  There are photographs of my family standing on top of a drift (with the dog) that went over our drive shed.  Although we often had a kindly neighbour who used his tractor to blow out our driveway, there were enough times that I was out there with a shovel clearing six, eight, ten or twelve inches, only to have another such accumulation within hours.

But as a kid growing up I did build the occasional snow fort, though mine were most hollowed out of huge drifts behind the barn.  And I do seem to remember my share of snowmen as well.

Part of my unfriendliness toward this time of year has to be attributed to my father.  He had a tradition, which I have continued for my children, that I got a kick out of as a kid.  After the first significant snowfall of each season, my dad would walk to the front door, fling it open and declare in a loud, defiant voice:


It's pure gold.  I encourage everyone to try it.  I actually have a theory that if absolutely everyone did fling open their door after the first snowfall and scream their hate of winter that the combined escaping heat from all of those open doors would halt Winter in its tracks.

My own, personal battle with Winter started, I think, when I began to drive.  It is so much easier to blame the personification of the season for ending up in the ditch than to seriously consider if you were really driving appropriately for the conditions.  I have kissed a few ditches and once rolled my car, only ever in the winter and the car roll thing was NOT my fault.  (Honestly, some asshole blew his driveway's snow right across the road, just beyond the crest of a hill where it frozen overnight into a six inch high diagonal wall of doom.)

I really got to hate winter when I began commuting great distances each and every day.  It's funny.  For a dozen years I was driving more that 100 thousand km (a third of that winter driving) and the worst thing that happened was I got rear ended on an icy on ramp.  But it was always white knuckle driving and it's driving I do not miss in the least.

And I've mellowed.  I think it's the kids.  They see the snow through different eyes.  They see potential snowmen, snow forts,
snowball fights (I get a constant barrage from behind as I walk the boy to school each day) and trips to the toboggan hill in nearby Salem.  I still see the potential for car accidents when the flakes are drifting down from the sky, but you know what - I'm starting to see snowmen, too.

And even I have to admit, it's really very pretty outside.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Coming up for air...

I have been a busy, busy boy.

Since my last post,  my work on The Platinum Ticket has been going along wonderfully.  As often happens when I get into the groove of things, the story is taking on new directions and wonderful new characters are emerging who only enhance the story.  I am very pleased with how things are shaping up.  The words are flying onto the page and that's a good thing - I hope to have this finished before Christmas.

On another note - here's something for which I've been waiting a goodly portion of my life:

Here's the link to the trailer.

Spider-man and Batman will always be my first loves when it comes to superheroes.  They were my first, and there's always something special about your first.  But Green Lantern has always spoken to me.  I love the Hal Jordan character, warts and all.  The Power Ring and the Lantern and the Guardians and the Corp are all contributing factors that make for great storytelling.  I'm all about the great storytelling.  And it doesn't hurt that the Green Lantern Motto which is to be recited while charging the ring -

In brightest day,
In blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil's might
Beware my power,
Green Lantern's light!

is reputed to have been created by one of my all-time favourite sci-fi authors, Alfred Bester.  But the thing about this guy that always had me pulling for him wasn't all the amazingly cool (and sometimes admittedly silly) stuff the ring could do.  It was what you needed to have to make the ring do anything at all.


That's what I love.  Hal Jordan's superpower isn't some all-powerful rechargeable ring with an impurity that makes it vulnerable to the colour yellow.  Hell no!  Hal Jordan has an iron will which, though the aid of his ring, can make anything he can imagine a reality.

Willpower and Imagination - two superpowers we can all have.

Thanks Hal Jordan.

Thursday, 11 November 2010


In just a few minutes I'll be heading up to my son's school for their Remembrance Day assembly.  If the 11th of November fell on a weekend, I'd be making my way down to the Cenotaph to pay my respects.  It's an important day and I'm glad I have two children who realize the importance of remembering the sacrifices of the past.

Here's a little something I saw in Wales.

Simple and Elegant - it is the best Cenotaph I've ever seen.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Hallowe'en - come and gone...

 Once again the house was dressed up to encourage visits from all of the neighbourhood ghosts, goblins, witches and monsters.

Trixie - the Hallowe'en Cat my daughter and I made last year at a Tim Murton workshop - graced our carport again this year.

The inside of the house had some decorations, as well.

The kids were decked out to liberate candy and treats from the folks about our town.

My daughter was Opal, a vampiric anime fox creature of her own invention.

The boy was, of course, Puss in Boots of Shrek fame.

He claims this look garnered him extra portions of candy...

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Hallow's Eve

It's that best time of the year.

Once again I'll need to get my spell-checker rant out of the way.

Hallowe'en.  Okay, spell-checker - take that squiggly red line and shove it.  Hallowe'en is the correct spelling, regardless what some listless Microsoft code jockey with the latest Wiki-dictionary decides.  The word itself is a contraction of Hallowed Evening - hence the need for the apostrophe to denote the missing letters.  It's one little keystroke to make the word correct.  And actually I don't mind if you lose the apostrophe.  Take it out if you want, but don't you dare turn around and tell me I'm wrong when I include it.

End of annual Hallowe'en Spell-checker Rant.

The front porch is decorated.  The kids' costumes are ready.  Trixie the Hallowe'en Cat has found her way down from the attic to the eves of the carport.  Pumpkins are waiting to be transformed into Jack O'Lanterns.  Everything is ready.

Hallowe'en is my favourite holiday.  I love that it gives us all permission to feel like little kids again.  We get to dress up and travel about in disguises and ask strangers for candy.  We spend 364 days of the year telling our kids to do the opposite.  But the thing I might like best of all is that eerie hint of the supernatural.  Maybe, just maybe, there is another world layered on top (or beneath, or beside) the one we see each day where wonderful, magical and scary, impossible things could happen.

At Hallowe'en, at least, we open ourselves up to the possibility.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Closing in on the scariest night of the year

It's that time again.  With just a hint of chill in the air, with leaves swirling in the grips of gusts of bluster wind, with darkness eating daylight by degrees we close in upon the scariest time of the year - Municipal Elections!

Our little township (municipalities across our province, for that matter) is in the grip of that every four year ritual.  Usually, municipal elections in this neck of the woods are a civil affair.  Two or more fairly decent, well-meaning folks square off for a voice on our local council to direct the growth of our community for the new four years.

I like municipal politics.  I like municipal politics far more than I like provincial or federal politics.  There are a few reasons.

The first is impact.  The impact of decisions made at my local council are felt much more profoundly than are those at other levels of government, and by that I mean in my day to day dealings and those of all members of my family.

The second is accessibility.  I happen to be fortunate when it comes to accessibility for all levels of government.  My local MP shops at the same grocery store as me and rents his videos at the same place.  My local MPP lives one street up and a couple of streets over from me.  His kids treat-or-treat at my house and I know that I can stop him any time to bend his ear.  My local councillors and mayor are freely available to me.

The third is transparency and decency achieved through the lack of party politics.  There are no political parties at the municipal level of government.   I think this leads to better representational government where an elected councillor is accountable to his or her constituents and not to a political machine or party platform or philosophy.

In my municipality, unfortunately, a quartet of candidates have banded together to form what I have dubbed, "The Coalition of the Damned".  I figure it's a nice scary name so close to Hallowe'en.  They are four men (no ladies, thanks) who are running on a platform of hiring freezes, spending cuts and no new projects.  Now, fiscal responsibility is important - very important - but I have yet to hear a single word about how any of these four will maintain core services (water, sewage, keeping the roads plowed etc) while keeping our community's very active sports and arts programs operating at levels which will support a growing population.  If these four men (did I mention that they were unable or perhaps unwilling, to get a female recruit to run?) are elected my vibrant, active community will see four years of drudgery and stagnation under the unimaginative leadership of a quartet of Fox News Wannabes.

I think I find the whole thing bothersome because this kind of combined platform candidacy - where people run in wards in which they do not live - is not and should not be welcomed into the civil discourse which usually is found in our most local politics.  I look for committed members of the community who will make informed, rational and comprehensive decisions that take into account the spirit of the community and not simply the dollars and cents.

I don't know how my little local election will pan out, but I have faith in my community.  I am hopeful that the moderate, thoughtful and rational people will take the time to cast a ballot and make their voices heard.  What worries me is that they won't.  It worries me because I know with a cold grim certainty that the irrational, frightened people always find the time to vote.

Friday, 15 October 2010

T.V. Vacation continued...

Well, here it is over a month without the satellite signal streaming into the house and we're none the worse for wear.  I imagine the vacation notification I sent to Shaw is about to expire on Monday and we'll once more have the lulling, magical warmth of broadcast TV coming once more into our home.

But not for long.

We've decided to cancel our subscription to satellite TV.  We've come to realize, through its absence, that we have better (and less expensive) ways to fill our evenings than to sit and bath in the TV's warming glow.  Oh, we've watched movies and some on-demand TV (via the internet) but no where near the volume as before.

We've been doing a lot more reading, individually and as a family.  We're two thirds of the way through the last Harry Potter book.  JK Rowling is a masterful storyteller but you don't appreciate how clunky her writing can be until you attempt to read some of her twelve line sentences aloud to your kids.  Try it - you'll see.

What else?

Summer has bled away into Autumn with the chilly mornings, great sunsets and changing leaves.  The days grow shorter and shorter and I haven't a clue anymore when we'll see daylight savings slip back to standard time.  The bounty of our little garden has been harvested and mostly eaten, but a few vegetables lurk in the root cellar waiting for just the right meal.

Writing goes well.  My vampire story is finished and submitted - waiting for feedback from the editor.  A while back I was doing a little research into early onset Alzheimer's.  I came across an article and video of Terry Pratchett who presented  one million dollars to the Alzheimer's society.  I followed a link to his official website and came across this.

This is what Terry Pratchett has to say about The Pratchett Prize over on his website:

Anywhere but here, anywhen but now. Which means we are after stories set on Earth, although it may be an Earth that might have been, or might yet be, one that has gone down a different leg of the famous trousers of time (see the illustration in almost every book about quantum theory).

We will be looking for books set at any time, perhaps today, perhaps in the Rome of today but in a world where 2000 years ago the crowd shouted for Jesus Christ to be spared, or where in 1962, John F Kennedy's game of chicken with the Russians went horribly wrong. It might be one day in the life of an ordinary person. It could be a love story, an old story, a war story, a story set in a world where Leonardo da Vinci turned out to be a lot better at Aeronautics. But it won't be a story about being in an alternate Earth because the people in an alternate Earth don't know that they are; after all, you don't.

But this might just be the start. The wonderful Peter Dickinson once wrote a book that could convince you that flying dragons might have existed on Earth. Perhaps in the seething mass of alternate worlds humanity didn't survive, or never evolved -- but other things did, and they would have seen the world in a different way. The possibilities are literally endless, but remember, it's all on Earth. Maybe the continents will be different and the climate unfamiliar, but the physics will be the same as ours. What goes up must come down, ants are ant-sized because if they were any bigger their legs wouldn't carry them. In short, the story must be theoretically possible on some version of the past, present or future of a planet Earth.

I read the above and thought immediately of The Platinum Ticket, a story where a brown-skied world about to be abandoned by humanity is transformed into a green one by a well-meaning time traveler and the problems that arise.  The Platinum Ticket is a novella  - around 25,000 words.  As it stands, it is the barest skeleton of the novel it can be.  I have started to add flesh to that skeleton and am pleased with how it is beginning to fill out.  The contest's deadline is the end of December.  I honestly don't know if I can be done by then, but the novel is worth the effort either way.

Back to work....

Thursday, 23 September 2010


Well, I just finished the story I've been working on this week.  The printer is stuttering it out as I type.

My initial feeling is that it's a pretty good story, but I'll give it a couple of days to germinate before I attack the printout with an editing pencil.

In the meantime, I need to get outside.  It is a beautiful day out there beyond the basement window and there's fall clean-up to be done.  I can call it fall clean up now because the season is officially upon us.  With fairly clear skies and a full moon forecast for tonight it might be time to take the boy's telescope to the backyard.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

A little bit of the ol' cathode ray...

Well, it has been just over a week without  TV and the Beynon's are finding it a breeze.  As I suspected, our TV watching was almost entirely habit.  Without the satellite feed, we find that a lot more books are getting read, my son is looking for additional bike rides, my daughter is making more things - very crafty things.  Lego, long forgotten, had the dust blown off and buildings and vehicles sprouted from bins in the family room.

Work on my latest story is going very well.  I'm thinking I'll be done tomorrow.  The the story needs a few days rest before I tackle it with fresh eyes.

I've been giving thought to my next big project.  Part of me feels the 2nd Loremaster book needs to be looked at and that part is probably right.  Another part of me wants to look at Gerry again.  Yet another part is entertaining looking at something completely new.

Time will tell.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Headin' out to Eden, yah Brother...

Today was the 22nd Annual Eden Mills Writers' Festival.

The family loaded into the Tinkmobile and made the 25 minute journey to the tiny village of Eden Mills.  On the agenda today was a visit to the Children's Area, which the kids have apparently outgrown.  We listened a bit to the Young Adult writers.  My daughter was a little interested.  No so, the boy.

We next stopped of to listen to a selection from some of the students of the University of Guelph's MFA Creative Writing program.  I didn't think I would enjoy their readings and I wasn't surprised.  I sat through three readers and found the writing self-absorbed and all three lacked any sense of forward motion in their narratives.  I can understand why I wasn't accepted into the program when I applied - I sent them a story about an old werewolf that had the audacity to have a beginning, middle and satisfactory conclusion.

After browsing Publisher's Way (it could almost be renamed "Self-Publishers Way") where we were accosted by an author trying to push his post-apocalyptic novels set in Eden Mills and Guelph with a little more than friendly enthusiasm, we got some delicious Indian Food for lunch.  After lunch, my wife sat down in the sun with the kids to read a little Harry Potter while I went out to listen to Leon Rooke read from his new novella, Pope and her Lady.  It is apparently written in Glaswegian dialect and Mr. Rooke felt compelled to read it aloud that way.  I am sure it must be far better to read than listen to.

I next went to listen to Wade Davis (Serpent and the Rainbow) and Tim Ward.  Both were hugely entertaining.

Unfortunately the boy was bored out of his tree and my daughter had a rehearsal for the play she's in this evening, so I did not get to listen to Karen Connelly whose novel, The Lizard Cage, I wholeheartedly enjoyed.

To end the day, my wife and kids took me to the In A Heartbeat Gallery.  They are currently showcasing the work of Jamie Brick - a sculptor who works in lifecasts, driftwood, metal and other materials.  His art was otherworldly.  Really great stuff, but the reason my wife took me in was a life-sized head and antlers of Herne the Hunter.

Overall, a lovely day at the Writers' Festival was had by all.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Missing the electronic teat.

Starting today, the Beynon family is having a television vacation.  For one month we've suspended our satellite subscription to see if we really need to spend crazy amounts of money on a service I'm not sure we really use that much.

Oh, we still have the internet and VCR's and DVD's are available, but the TV, with the background noise and incessant stream of babbling ads, will be gone for the next 30 days.

I have to say that I was surprised how quickly the kids came on board.

"Let's do it!" they said when my wife and I first suggested a broadcast holiday.

"You know that means no more Johnny Test or World of Quest?" I told my son.  "No more Total Drama World Tour." I said to my daughter.  And they were fine.

I might end up being the one with the problem.  No more "Daily Show" or "Colbert Report".  No more "Iron Chef America".  

Oh my...what have I done....

Friday, 10 September 2010

They're after me Lucky Charms

It was fitting that this was in the sky over my neighbourhood this morning.

It has been a wet, chilly week for the first week back to school for the kids and back to work for me.  But like the rainbow, the kids have both had a terrific week with the new classes and teachers and I have had a productive week on a new story - a veritable pot of gold all around.

By the way, I checked out this tree - no sign of this guy anywhere...

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Ahhhhh...The sound of silence...

Just got back from walking the boy up to school.  Sweet Willow is curled up by the blue chair in my office and I am relishing the sound of absolutely nothing drifting down to me from upstairs.

With the kids back at school, it is time for me to get back to work.  On the agenda today?  A little story about the limits of humanity, the fragility and strength of dignity, the value of compromise and mutual accommodation,   the power of despair, trust and hope...oh, and a farmer and a vampire...

But first, a steaming cup of strong coffee and a little more of that intoxicating silence.

Friday, 3 September 2010

3 Days of madness...

Normally on the eve of the Labour Day Weekend I would be scurrying around, laying in provisions of coffee, caffeinated cola, high protein meat products and chocolate covered coffee beans in anticipation of the 3 Day Novel Contest.

I have participated in the contest three times so far with good results.  Oh, I haven't won anything, but the stories I've written during those 216 hours are the skeletons of novels waiting to be fleshed out.

My first attempt was 2006 and the result was The Platinum Ticket, a story about an unlikely time traveller.

The second kick at the can was the following year. Patriot, a story about a South American dictator awaiting his execution, was born over that weekend.

I skipped a year but picked up pen and pencil last year to pen Herne, a tale about an emotional damaged Conservation Officer and his encounter with a personified force of nature in the wilds of Quetico Provincial Park.

All things considered, I generate pretty good stuff when I open the taps for a long weekend and let the stories pour out.  And it's something I'll probably do year.

This year I'm not in the mindset for a prolonged bought of sleep-deprived creativity.  I do have a story I might write this weekend, but it's not on the scale of a 25,000 word novella.

I still have my prediction for this year's winner in a sealed envelope tacked to my wall...

We'll have to wait until January of 2011 to see if I am right.

Well,  I have a lot to get done today so I'll leave you with this little tid-bit I stumbled across yesterday...

Dylan Moran on Rejection

I know just how he feels...

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

A change in the air...

The lazy days of summer are winding down.  Today promises to be the last scorcher as thunderstorms and cooler weather roll in from the west.  It's been a marvelous summer, but September is more than welcome.

The last few weeks have been spent in a mixture of frenzied activity and late summer sloth.  There was the In-law's 50th wedding anniversary.  That had the potential to be frenzied and stressful - and I'm certain it was for some - but the Beynon family came through the celebrations with nothing but fond memories and good times.

We spent some time in the canoe.  And yes, that is the tip of a fishing rod and a container of worms there in the bow.

The kids loved working against the current of a stream filled with beaver dams and speckled trout.

We spent some time on the In-law's farm.  Many cows, lots of cats, long country road walks with the dog at 4 am with suspicious (and large animal type) sounds of movement from the woods beside us and the lofts of a barn with spectacular lighting.

Speaking of mysterious large animals, my nephew found this on a tract of property near my In-law's farm.

I think it might be a bear skull (impressive canines, flat molars for grinding, sagittal crest to support massive jaw muscles).

Closer to home we had a skull mystery of our own on a much smaller scale.  The boy found this specimen in our cedar hedge.

Obviously a bird, but I've no idea what type.

But - summer time draws to a close and a host of back to school and back to work activities await.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Too many ideas...

I'm having a bit of a quandary lately.  With the kids home from school for the summer, writing has been grabbed in little snatches whenever opportunity presents.  I've soldiered on with a bit of Loremaster 2, but little else has spilled from my pen this summer.  The problem is, I've been having this terrific influx of ideas for stories lately.

 I've been diligently scribbling down the ideas as they come and there are some real gems - ideas I'm eager to work on.  Yet tonight, as the family walked the dog, my son asked me when I'm going to get back to work on Gerry, the children's story I've been slowly writing for what seems like forever.  It's a story I love and one I really need to finish, so I made a promise.

I have one short story - 5000 words - I've committed to write.  That's what will demand my initial focus.  After that story is done, barring any news about Loremaster or any other stories on submission, Gerry will get my full attention once the kids are back in school and the days become my own again.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Good fences make good neighbours....

Saw something in my travels recently that sent the line above from the Robert Frost poem, Mending Wall, straight through my mind.

While not strictly adhering to the definition of passive-aggressive behaviour, this comes pretty damn close:

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Catching up

It has been a while...

I promised to speak to my reading habits and I will, but first I want to write about a family trip to the Stratford Festival.

We are fortunate to have world class theatre only forty-five minutes down the road.  Every year the Stratford Festival puts on some of the best live performances to be found anywhere.  In the spring, while looking at their website, I couldn't believe my eyes.  My second favourite play, The Tempest, was on the playbill.  Not only that, but in the starring roll - Christopher Plummer.  I've seen Christopher Plummer before, 20 years ago in Macbeth. I knew we'd have to go.  Fortunately for the kids we were able to arrange 2 shows on the day we went.  The second was a stellar adaptation of Peter Pan.  In both shows, the acting and the spectacle combined to give me the most satisfying live theatre experiences I've ever had.  Just magic.

Let's see - what else?  The second Loremaster book plods forward, getting a little more robust every time I can steal a few minutes to work on it.  I am now also working on a vampire short story.

Reading habits...  I was prompted to talk a little about my reading habits after I made an observation a few weeks ago.  I always have at least a half-dozen books on the go at any time.  Currently I am reading Spider Robinson, Robert J. Sawyer, Christopher Moore and selections from three anthologies.  And that's only the fiction.  I'm flighty when I read.  I jump from book to book.  It's not that I get bored with what I'm reading.  I usually don't.  But I'm not the sort of person who can sit and read from cover to cover uninterrupted.

Here's the observation I made a few weeks ago.  There is one - and only one I've found so far - author who corrals me in for the duration.  Kurt Vonnegut.  I was reading God Bless you, Dr. Kevorkian - granted a short book - when it dawned on me - I just read this guy in one sitting without the need to read something else.  I decided to see if  Spider Robinson had the same effect.  Although I like Spider's writing a lot, no such luck.  What is it about Vonnegut?  What does he give me that no one else ever has?

I think Vonnegut gives me at least one new or irreverent or painfully true idea on every single page.  He masterfully takes these many new, irreverent truths over the course of each book and binds them together into a story that leaves me thinking and laughing long after I close the book.

That's what I think, anyway.

Monday, 19 July 2010


As the summer crawls luxuriantly along, I find my workspace looks increasingly like this: 

No complaints about that.  The kids have done a pretty good job of keeping themselves occupied with outdoor crafts, reading, building stuff in the workshop and generally being decent siblings toward one another.  Every so often, however, we need a day trip.

Last week we went here:

Luther Marsh is part of the Grand River Conservation Authority.   The Marsh boasts numerous trails, sight-seeing towers and a host of wildlife.  Birds abound and the air is filled with song.  There's a lake:

The dog just couldn't resist...

We saw frogs, fish, hundreds of birds and a host of insects who obligingly stayed very still to have their pictures taken.

There were scores of these little guys:

And this pretty little thing just begged to have its picture taken:

Unfortunately, there has been so much rain lately that the Marsh proved too...well, marshy to navigate.  The trail we were following had deep muddy sections that soon proved impassable.  We will need to plan another visit after a dry spell.

Next time I'll talk about something I've notice about my reading habits...

Friday, 16 July 2010

I write like...

There's been lots going on with the kids and I am actually getting a bit of writing done on the second Loremaster book, but I stumbled across something fun I'd like to share.

I found this website - I Write Like

The site makes this claim:

Check which famous writer you write like with this statistical analysis tool, which analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them with those of the famous writers.

Now, I don't know what research, if any, has gone into this analytical engine.  I took a goodly hunk of Cory Doctorow's Little Brother and plugged it into the engine.  It told me Cory Doctorow writes like David Foster Wallace.

Oddly enough, much of my work, when placed in I Write Like's analyzer, comes back with the same result.  

Different writing yields different results:

Herne  is apparently written like H.P. Lovecraft

From My Father`s Hands compares to Margaret Mitchell 

Sweet Jesus - Pact reads like Margaret Atwood

The beginning of Loremaster looks like Dan Brown and the end, according to the analysis, reads like Shakespeare. 

The Witch  looks like David Foster Wallace
As does The Platinum Ticket, Just Business, The Rat Dog and Root of Evil.

I've never read any David Foster Wallace - looks like I might have to.  

I'll say one thing, he has a great first name...

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Paris in the Summertime - and snakes, too!

Having the kids out of school is challenging, exhausting and deeply, deeply satisfying.  Since last post we travelled on a day trip to Paris(Ontario, that is).

This is the Grand River (the same river that runs in front of our house) as seen from downtown Paris.

This memorial park is nestled in the middle of Paris.  The ball atop the pyramid spouts water in a never-ending cascade.  Gotta love any park with a water feature.

I'm also a sucker for libraries - especially stately ones like this:

Speaking of libraries, our own stately library in Fergus kicked off the summer with a display at our local Legion.  It was part of a summer library program sponsored by TD Canada Trust that actively encourages summer learning.  What was on display at the Legion?

Snakes!   Lots of snakes.  Here, the kids hold a very heavy Boa.

Next, my son makes friends with Ontario's largest snake, the Black Rat Snake.

It seemed only fair that my daughter make her acquaintance as well.

The favourite was, of course, the Boa.  She was tremendous and lovely.  She was a kind of "rescue snake" who had been overfed by the previous owner.  Apparently the Boa has been on a diet - she hasn't eaten since Christmas.  

Gotta love the local library.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Canada's 143rd

It was Canada Day yesterday and the Beynon's continued a tradition of heading into Elora for pancakes.  The Centre Wellington Fire Fighters put on a breakfast each year to raise funds for charity.  They break out the big ladder truck for the kids to explore, but this truck is my favourite.

It's a beauty - it still runs  - and carried our mayor around town for the Canada Day parade a little later on.  Here it is from another angle.

The day before yesterday was a busy one as well.  BT Corner saw some added work.  Donor stones were finally engraved (actually they were sandblasted, but I'm not one to pick nits).  The results were good.  Here's our donor stone:

After I met with the gent on-site and answered a few questions, the day was free to spend with the kids.  We decided to visit one of our nearby Conservation Areas.  This one was the Rockwood Conservation Area.  I like Rockwood.  It has caves.

Here are the kids in front of one.  Inside this particular cave, I met this handsome fellow:

I was also impressed that I was able to snap this shot.  

The water was dripping every few seconds, so capturing the exact moment of impact was a bit of skill liberally mixed with a lot of luck.  So far, summer is off to a good start.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

School's out for summer...

It seems like just last week it was September...

Yesterday was the last day of school for kids in my neck of the woods.  Both kids had great years, scholastically and socially.  We're easing into summer with a quite morning at home.  This afternoon may include a trip to a local conservation area, but it better warm up before then.

As we drift into summer, I'm going to need to be very discipline with my writing time.  A pair of bright, high-energy children require a lot of attention.  I spent yesterday taking stock of what is done, the irons in the fire and those story ideas I'd at least like to get a start on.

I'm looking forward to a busy summer with my kids, but I'm also looking forward to a full schedule of writing.

I'll leave you with this:

Friday, 25 June 2010

Stick a fork in's done!

Well - it took longer than I expected, but the full edit - line by line, word by word - of Loremaster is done.  The file is saved in four different places and I am happy with the result.

A line by line edit is an arduous task.  I can only sustain that kind of editing for a few hours before my eyes cross and I really need a break.  I am glad I took the time to do it.  I found numerous opportunities for improvement, overused words, awkward structures and the odd grammatical error.  Loremaster is a much better manuscript today than it was a few weeks ago.

What now?

I have a number of projects that need attention, but where to start?

Do I jump right in to the Loremaster sequel that I started a few months back?  Might make sense - I have the first book fresh in my mind.

Do I finally finish fleshing out Patriot or Herne to novel length?

Do I revisit The Witch, a little story that grew and one I'm very fond of?

Do I start something new?

I suppose the first thing to do is take a deep breath, look at what I have on the go and decide where my energies are most profitably spent.

I'll take the weekend to figure it all out.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Father's Day 2010

Yesterday began with a leisurely walk along the river with the lovely Willow.  When I got home I was told not to go near the kitchen.

Fair, enough.  I chatted with my brother-in-law and his wife until we were all called into the dining for a feast of Eggs Benedict.  Lovely.

Next the boy asked if a bike ride was in order.  It definitely was.  We have discovered a new trail near our home that takes advantage of an old railway bridge crossing over the Grand River.

This is the bridge.  As you can see, recently railings and a boardwalk have been added.  I was told that several years ago the local kids used to ride bikes across the bare ties without the benefit of any sort of railing.

Here's the view from where I left my bike.

The boy wanted to explore yesterday, so we skittered down an erosion trail to the river under the bridge.

To our delight, we discovered many trails heading off in all directions.  We followed the one that hugged the riverbank and found animal tracks, wonderful old climbing trees, fly-fishermen and spectacular views.
On our way back to the bikes I snapped this shot.

After biking it was an afternoon of family time finished with an amazing dinner prepared by my lovely wife.  Just before bedtime stories with my daughter, my son gave me this, which sums it all up, I think.