Tag Archives: Miscellaneous

Scott Cannata’s Run Across Canada

Have you heard about Scott Cannata yet? Not a lot of people have. The only reason I did is that he’s a local boy. He went to my daughter’s school, years ago.

He’s running across Canada to raise money for cancer. A marathon a day. Sound familiar? Terry Fox is one of his heroes.

Scott’s not a cancer survivor, but his mother is. She was diagnosed when he was around twelve, I think, and it affected him deeply. I guess if I were to stretch for a writing tie-in, that would be it. Character motivation and drastic action. I’d rather keep this about Scott, though.

The kids from my daughter’s school are heading out to see him today. I’m going, too. Because he’s not Terry Fox, and he’s not getting a lot of press (Terry Fox didn’t either, at first), but it’s a brave thing he’s doing.

Cancer has hit my family pretty hard. It sideswiped my life a few years back, too. My daughter was two when I got my first diagnosis, and about a year and a half later, I was battling lymphoma, sarcoma and thyroid cancer all at the same time. I understand wanting to do something, to act out against it. Against any outside force that sweeps in and changes things without your permission.

I wasn’t even through chemo yet, and still had weeks of radiation ahead, when I started training to walk a half marathon through Team in Training. Sensible? No. On my first training walk, I nearly passed out when I bent over to tie my shoelace. Satisfying? Yes. I needed to show my body who was boss.

It was probably the world’s slowest half marathon (accompanied by my lovely sister-in-law, who was extremely pregnant at the time), but on a rainy day in Ottawa, Nancy and I did it. Cheered on by family and friends, stopping at every port-a-potty along the way.

Scott Cannata is doing something a lot bigger than a turtle-paced half marathon. He’s taking on Terry Fox’s dream. That’s one heck of a legend to have looming over you. I’m probably doing him a disservice by bringing up Terry, but I think the comparisons are inevitable. Still, Scott deserves some recognition in his own right. How many twenty-somethings would give up such a large chunk of their life for a cause? He’s a runner, he’s healthy, I think he has a good shot at making it all the way; I just wish more people were paying attention.

He’s supposed to be coming through Whitby at around 11:00 or so today. I’ve made a donation, and I’m going out to see him. If you’re local and see this, or if you live west of here along his route, please keep an eye on his website to see when he’s coming through your community!

Next post will be writing-related, I promise.

Remembrance Day Links

Friend and fellow writer Bill Swan is feeling proud over his stepson launching a new song at the True Patriot Love Foundation fundraiser dinner last night. Net proceeds from the song go to foundation, which raises money for Canadian forces and their families. Find the song on iTunes here.

Today, Kathy Stinson is in Ottawa, presenting her new book, Highway of Heroes, at the Canadian War Museum. Read her post about it here. If you haven’t yet read the book, you should. Kathy handles the subject matter with sensitivity.

I have yet to make it through a Remembrance Day ceremony without crying, even the ones in schools. Maybe especially those. Today’s was no exception. It’s a complicated day. I have a good friend in the Armed Forces, who recently returned from a Tour in Afghanistan. From what Dave tells me, I have to believe that we’re making a difference over there. But I’d be really happy if there were no need for him, or anyone, ever to go back.

Anyhow. Remembering my Grandfathers today, and feeling happy to be living in such a wonderful country. And grateful to those who helped make it that way.

Some Interesting Links

There are writing-related things that I’ve been thinking about, and want to write about. These are not them. 

Still, cool and interesting links for people who like words and stories and so on. 

Link #1:

This is just pretty: periodic table of typefaces. I like fonts. Interesting that Helvetic is in the Hydrogen position and most of the more commonly used fonts are near the top… if I had paid more attention in OAC Chemistry, I might be able to draw some conclusions.

As it is, I sat with my friend Carmen and learned to fold origami paper stars. Sigh. Missed opportunities. (Although the paper stars thing has come up more often than the need to read the periodic table, I must admit.)

Link #2:

I like Pixar. I think they tell good stories. This little cartoon takes a dig at Dreamworks, which may not be entirely fair, but I like it for another reason. 

In my Writing for Children class, we’ve talked about picture book manuscripts. I think they’re one of the most difficult forms of children’s writing; fun to read but hard to write. Apparently that’s not the general consensus, though. Because they’re short, people expect them to be easy. It’s very easy to write a bad picture book. The talking-animal-for-the-sake-of-talking-animals scenario is a classic bad setup for a bad picture book.

When I read the cartoon, I replace Pixar with “good picture books” and Dreamworks with “bad picture books”. If I come up with a catchier way to phrase that, I’ll let you know. Then again, if I could do that, I might be the sort of person who is qualified to write picture books. 

Link #3:

This is a New York Times article on the lost art of reading aloud. My husband read about it on Neil Gaiman’s twitter (tweet?) account. Not sure what the proper phrasing around that is. I’m a big Neil Gaiman fan, though, so it almost makes me want to jump on the twitter-y bandwagon. Almost. Not quite.

Reading aloud… I like the idea of people getting together for that, but somehow the idea connects, for me, with the Jane Austen drawing room. I just don’t know anyone who does that and never have.

I read to my daughter, of course–every night, and often during the day. Today she was reading board books to her younger cousin. I felt very proud. And sometimes, when I’m being very conscientious, I read my own writing aloud in order to edit it. I always feel terribly self conscious doing that. 

I think the article makes a good point, though, about work being experienced differently when it’s read aloud. It’s a shame we don’t do that more. And yet, I just can’t see it happening. I’ll keep reading aloud to my daughter as long as she’ll let me, and listen to her read aloud whenever she will, and hope to pass the habit along to her.