Rita Walker (Blog Twelve):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Rita Walker (Blog Twelve):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

The Haida like so many other indigenous people had their children removed to learn European ways.  Midnight Oil made it clear that Australia’s treatment of indigenous people was a disgrace during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia by wearing black coveralls with the word Sorry.  Nature has a way of diffusing the thought that any people are better than others when people of different races and backgrounds fall in love and have children.   People have different hair colour, skin colour, eye colour, physiques and yet are all the same.

https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/haida-native-group

https://www.songfacts.com/facts/midnight-oil/beds-are-burning

https://petergarrett.com.au/biography/

https://www.mohawkcollege.ca/about/campuses/six-nations-polytechnic-brantford-sb

Rita places the potted weeping willow branch into the back of her car.  With loving care she hopes it will grow.  Either in the fall or in the spring she will plant it on the schools lawn.

Midnight Oil’s “Beds Are Burning” is playing on the radio as Rita drives to the Six Nations’ Polytechnic College to organize her classroom.   She taps her fingers on the steering wheel as she sings “The time has come, a fact’s a fact/ It belongs to them, let’s give it back” along with the band’s lead singer Peter Garrett.   She read an article that at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney the band members performed with the word SORRY written across the chest of their black coveralls.  It was a blatant rebuttal of the Prime Minister at the time, John Howard, for his refusal to apologize for the former policy of removing aboriginal children from their families.  After reading the article Rita realized this destruction of aboriginal families happened all around the world, not just in Canada.  The song reminds her of how hard it is for her to keep positive.  But the world already knows about all the atrocities.  Now it’s time for everyone to focus on working together.  It’s time to show that those who were bullied are wiser and will not become the bullies.

She doesn’t think there are any songs that represent her, a half breed or multi-raced person.  Then she recalls hearing Cher singing “Half Breed” written by Mary Dean and composed by Al Capps.  She wonders, if like so many other songs and writings, did the lyricist really understand what it’s like to be a “half breed”?  Do they know what it’s like to find out one half of your ancestry was warring or abusing the other half?  She shakes her head to clear the negative thoughts away.

Sometimes life is strange.  As she pulls into the college Depeche Mode’s “People are People” comes on.  She pulls over and sings along with the band:  “It’s obvious you hate me/Though I’ve done nothing wrong/I never even met you/So what could I have done”.  Well, next week she’s about to meet four individuals who represent a hidden race of humans.  And she needs to figure out how to get them to work together.  One will be the hardest to change.  And one probably won’t want to collaborate with the others.

Inside the classroom she feels small standing at the bottom of the sloping floor gazing up at the desks that will allow the students to look down on her.  She set the potted willow on the ledge of the windows at the opposite side to the door.  Next she takes out her papers.  The first of the lessons will focus on the different soils found in different areas of Ontario and what’s being done to keep them healthy.

Rita Walker (Blog Eleven):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Rita Walker (Blog Eleven):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Willow trees live all around the world.  Oxygen producers, pain relief from the bark, and used to make flutes to fish traps.

https://dreamastromeanings.com/willow-tree-meaning-and-symbolism/

http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Salix+mucronata

https://goddess-files.livejournal.com/3019.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5f_fkZ3tW3U

https://goddess-files.livejournal.com/3019.html

 

Rita parks in the small gravel driveway across from the raised flower beds the city re-plants every year.   She heads towards the section of Mill Creek that flows through the park where the giant Weeping Willows grow.  When she was younger she fell asleep thinking about Rae.  But Rae did not answer, instead another ancient one appeared from Africa.

 

Her mother was telling her the Haida Creation Story.  “Raven was walking on the shore when he heard many noises coming from inside a clamshell…,” her mother was saying when Rita fell asleep thinking of Rae.

Her soul watched as she floated out of her body.  She saw her face, eyes closed, and mouth slightly open.  She saw her mother’s dark brown hair flowing over her shoulders in strands to cover the top of her deerskin shirt.  Her mother gently stroked her forehead and said, “Sleep.”  Her soul’s eyes turned upwards towards the ceiling of the tent and floated upwards by moving her arms and legs in a swimming motion.  As she swam between the Sitka spruce and Yellow cedar trees a tug to her chest pulled her down to the draping branches of a dwarf weeping willow.  She touched one of the thin leaves and found herself somewhere else.

She was hovering before a giant weeping willow with a creek flowing nearby.  As she stared, frozen in place at the willow’s gnarly trunk, a woman appeared.  So powerful and strong was the women’s presence Rita didn’t know if to flee or stare in awe.  “Child,” said the woman with raven coloured hair.  The woman’s voice had a lilt and a mixture of tenderness and strength that demanded attention as she pointed her finger at Rita.  “Why have you called me?”

Gloria Antwi as Oya and thanks to La Sab Hotel Ghana West Africa

“I was calling Rae,” Rita admitted still torn between wanting to flee and getting to know this woman better.

“Rae is healing her soul and I am with her through Raven.”

“You are connected to Raven?” Rita asks.  “I thought only the Haida knew of Raven.

“I am of the wind child–and the willow which in its many forms all around the World, both hears the wind and tells it stories–communicates with me.  When you thought of Rae she must have sent you to me instead.  I am Oya, the Yoruban Goddess of weather, and known to others like you as the Elemental Ancient One of Wind.  What do you seek from Rae?”

“She lives in the Haida Gwaii and is directly connected to my people.  So I seek wisdom from her.”

“Ah, I see.  You are not just Haida but also Irish, German, and connected directly to the Earth.  The World is round my child and that makes all things connected.  But we seek what is familiar and you are closer to Ailbe Rose than Rae.  So that may be why she will not answer you.”

“Why would someone want me to contact you Oya?” Rita asked with a slight bow.

“Some day you will meet the one who is connected to me.  Let her know that you and I have met.  The cat may eat the sparrow and the hawk may eat the rabbit but when there is a greater danger all creatures heed the warning of Raven’s call.  What argues and fights now will need to collaborate in the near future.  Unnatural things are beginning to be created out of what lies deep beneath the ground.”

 

Rita walks up to the willow she saw in her dream.  With great diligence and respect she snips a section of overhanging branch off.

Rita Walker (Blog Ten):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Rita Walker (Blog Ten):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

In the August 9, 2019 Waterloo Region Record there was an article called:  Rebuilding a road for tomorrow by Catherine Thompson.  By using perforated storm sewer pipes and Silva cells on Ahrens Street West the city of Kitchener was hoping to stop run off of salt and other debris from entering nearby creeks.  Currently Highway 24 or Water Street South by Churchill Park does not have a road designed to protect wildlife.  But perhaps in the near future these roads will be everywhere.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2019/04/wildlife-overpasses-underpasses-make-animals-people-safer/

https://www.deeproot.com/products/silva-cell.html

http://www.bigorrin.org/haida_kids.htm

https://haidacultureproject.weebly.com/clothing.html

 

In the morning Rita showers off the sweat from her struggle not to change from the night before.  As the water pours over her she glances at her hands and up her left arm where the tattoos line up as a totem pole would.  Stepping out of the shower stall she stares at the mirror.  Through the mist created by the shower’s hot water she can see the shadowed images of the other tattoos on her body; each a symbol of survival or rite of passage.  Her eyes drift back to the feather symbol on her left arm.  Birds are part of the Air Elemental and today she must travel to Cambridge to meet with the Ancient One who represents the human aspect of Air.

Driving along Highway 24 in Cambridge she notices sections of the road are humped as she drives next to the Grand River and past Churchill Park.  This is a main area for turtles to cross.  The humps or mini-bridges are long so the drive is safe for cars and transport trucks.  Many years ago an innovative idea was put to the test in the city of Kitchener.  Perforated storm sewer pipes were installed under roads to lessen run off during heavy rain and to create more dispersion.  The dispersed water is captured and treated by what was then pioneering technology called Silva cells. Lightly compacted soil within the cells allowed trees to grow.  The roots of the trees help absorb and dissipate salt and other run off by-product before it reaches water sources such as creeks and rivers.  Now most road repairs are built with the environment in mind.

She glances at the feather tattoo on her left arm in the side view mirror of her leased Volkswagen e-Golf.  It reminds her of the time she saw Rae in a dream.  In the dream a female dressed in a red cedar bark dress stood on a tiny Island.  Rita watched as the woman raised her left arm.  She noticed a band around the woman’s forearm made of yellow cedar as a raven flew onto the woman’s outstretched arm.  Rita could only see the side profile of the woman and little of her face.  But the raven turned and stared directly at her.  That’s when the dream ended and she knew that she had caught a glimpse of Rae and the spirit Raven.

In the morning she had asked her mother about raven but left out Rae.

“You have strange dreams child,” her mother told her as she wove together new deerskin moccasins for Rita’s father.   “Raven may be many things, but is a protector for us above all else.  Ravens will steal food from you, have no doubt, and you should shoo them away if they try, but never hurt them. They are our protection against supernatural beings.”

As Rita drives down Shades Street towards Soper Park she wonders if the raven she saw as a child was protecting Rae from Kaneki.  But mostly she wonders why so long ago Rae allowed a glimpse of herself but so far would not communicate with Rita directly.’

Rita Walker (Blog Nine):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Rita Walker (Blog Nine):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Airmid is a Tuath Dé Danann and the goddess of herbs.  Only she knows the three hundred and sixty-five herbs that now grow all over Earth.

By decreasing industrial waste and leakage of toxic, heavy metals water ways can become cleaner and plants safer to consume.

http://www.orderwhitemoon.org/goddess/Airmid/airmid.html

https://www.hollowreedholistic.ca/blogs/test-2018/tending-the-garden-healing-the-body-a-new-old-pers/

https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-003-x/2008004/article/10717/6500108-eng.htm

https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/mining-materials/mining/minerals-and-metals-policy/minerals-and-metals-policy-government-canada/8690

https://healthycanadians.gc.ca/recall-alert-rappel-avis/hc-sc/2019/69596a-eng.php

She forces herself to take deep breaths as her hands clench onto her bed sheets.  The full moon calls but it’s not a good time to change.  Not just before school starts.

She remembers that after dreaming of Ailbe Rose a month passed before she dreamed of Airmid.  Her mother was hanging the kelp they had gathered earlier on long sticks while Rita gathered wild blueberries nearby.  As Rita bent over to pick a blueberry her hand brushed against a salal berry and she fainted.

She opened her soul eyes and saw a woman with long brown hair that accentuated a world loving smile.  The woman was kneeling amongst herbs that grew beside a house.  Rita gazed closer but she could not recognize any of the herbs nor the style of house.

Brenda Gabet as Airmid 5 (2)

(Thanks to Brenda Gabet, an Amazing Mother, and Fitness Instructor)

“You have met a Tuath Dé Danann already,” the woman stated in a strong voice vibrant with life.

“Airmid?” Rita asked.

The woman looked up at her with caring yet mischievous eyes.  “Yes.  You were supposed to meet Rae first but she hides from Kaneki, who seeks to be with her again, as they were when together they formed the Earth’s core.”

Brenda Gabet as Airmid 1 (2)

(Brenda Gabet as Airmid)

“Is Kaneki the tainted one?”

“He has trained the one that comes from him.  Kaneki was never meant to live above the core of the Earth but now he does, and tries to make his permanent home upon the surface where it does not belong.”  Airmid caresses the leaves of one of the unknown herbs.  “What do you know of herbs?”

“Very little,” Rita had admitted.

“What do you see when you look at my garden?”

“Plants, weeds,” Rita replies.

Airmid caresses one of the herbs with a long green leaf that’s furry on the surface.  “Sage can be used for memory improvement, digestive problems, and more.”  She touches a nearby plant with yellow petals and long, jagged leaves.  “Different parts of the dandelion can be used to make coffee, help with digestion, and pain relief.  Someday Rae will tell you of the herbs of Haida Gwaii and what they are used for.  Herbs are akin to elements.  Some, like fire, you eat to make you hot when you are too cold.  Some you drink, like water, as tinctures to cool the heat inside.  Some, you alight to flow through the air, like wind, to help you breathe.  Some, you coat your skin with, like earth, to moisturize and draw out infection.  But many of the herbs are contaminated now, by metal, like mined cadmium, mercury, arsenic and more.  Necessary in minute amounts for life but in greater quantities deadly they belong mostly deep in the ground.”

“What can I do?” Rita asks as she feels her body pulling her soul back.

“Gather the other elements.  Both learn and teach each other to find balance.”

Rita sees Airmid’s image fade as the blue sky over Haida Gwaii becomes more vibrant from where she lies amongst the blueberries and salal.

An Interview with Bill Ashwell, Co-author of a Great New Play called “Dark Sanctuary”

Interview with Bill Ashwell at the Blackwing Café, Cambridge Ontario, September 14, 2019.

Bill Ashwell
Co-author of the Play Noir “Dark Sanctuary”

After seeing the play Dark Sanctuary, co-written by my friend Bill Ashwell I enjoyed it so much that I asked him if I could interview him.  If you want to know more about Bill I’ve included his bio at the end.

I just saw Dark Sanctuary, a play you co-wrote with Steve Robinson, and got so immersed in it I completely lost track of time.  How did you first come up with idea for the play?

  • It came from possibly too many nights watching old film noir movies on TCM: The Big Sleep, Out of the Past, Chinatown

How long did it take to write the play?

  • Once Steve got me off my butt about writing, he and I had a first draft completed in about 3 months.

Because it’s a cloak and dagger play did it take a long time to make it flow properly?

  • In a sense, yes. We had to frequently tweak the characters and the back stories to give more of a sense of their motivations. There had to be a viable reason for Father O’Rourke to support Nicky the way he did. And Detective Widmark needed his own backstory to be what he was.

A lot of social issues are brought up during the play.  Was that intentional or did they implement themselves into the play as it evolved?

  • A bit of both, I think. The issues of Nicky’s homelife and Father O’Rourke’s internal struggles are real and in a sense timeless, so to speak. We just worked them into the story to expand beyond the simple noir-ish stereotypes

Why did you choose to have the play take place in 1952?

  • Simply, it fits with the film noir approach. But really, the time frame isn’t that much of a factor. Just sets the scene.

Some of the actors spoke with an Irish accent.  Was that intentional?

  • Again, it was all in keeping with the story. We wanted the archetypal characters; the kindly priest, the busybody house keeper, the hard-boiled police detective, without dwelling on the stereotypes, simplifying the characters to the point of parody. So the accents fit with the characters and, I suppose, vice versa.

I was very impressed with the choice of actors.  Were they asked or did you have auditions?

  • Mainly auditions. Steve put the call out and we auditioned quite a few local and area actors. I was quite impressed with the depth of talent in this area.

You’ve also written non plays.  Can you tell us about your other writing and if it is available or will be soon?

  • I began writing poetry waaaayy back in the ‘80s, but had no idea what to do with it of how to hone my craft. I stumbled across the Cambridge Writers Collective in 1995, a wonderful group of writers who taught me more about writing than I could have ever imagined. I have been fortunate enough to have had some of my work published and self-published.
  • Poetry taught me to bend the physical rules of writing, that expression of the idea is, in some way, more important than composition. I struggle with rhyming poetry (and don’t get me started on limericks), so free verse poetry became the vehicle by which I could effectively express myself.

 

Bill Ashwell has been a member of the Cambridge Writers collective (CWC) since 1995.  His poetry and prose have been published in several editions of CWC’s Writers Undercover Anthologies and The Cambridge Wartime Scrapbook.  In 2001 he published Moments of Clarity, a chapbook collection of his poetry.  In 2007 his work was published in the Ascent Aspiration Magazine’s: Aguaterra Anthology of poetry and fiction.  Also in 2007 he was awarded the City of Cambridge’s prestigious Bernice Adams Memorial Award for Communication and Literary Arts.  Bill has also participated in numerous public poetry readings, notably, at the Cambridge Arts Festival, the 2004 Remembrance Day Service at the Galt Cenotaph, and at various local celebrations of the spoken word.

You can reach Bill at:  bashwell@gmail.com or text him at:  226-218-1242

 

Rita Walker (Blog Two):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Rita Walker (Blog Two):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

I listen to Peter Gabriel’s “Biko” often.  He is a member of a group called the Elders, founded in 2007 by Nelson Mandela.

https://www.theelders.org/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDaLEGb_mo8

Cloverdale’s Horizon Ultra Low VOC paint  , Bioshield paint, and others are making environmentally friendly paints.

 

A woman in her mid-forties wearing a blue blouse and blue jeans walks towards Rita with a beaming smile.  Her raven hair is tied back and hangs half way down her back.  Her wide brown eyes glint with mischief.  It’s the tattoo of the wolf on her left arm that makes Rita feel instantly at home at the college.  The human species has a variety of races.  Some are considered more pure though she isn’t sure that the word pure is the best choice if it’s considered better than.   Rita herself is Haida from the British Columbian coast but she also has Celtic roots.  What links her to Kaydee, the woman now in front of her, is that they share a separate race all together.

“Sister,” Kaydee cries out with joy hugging Rita to her.

“Sister,” Rita replies.

“I am so glad the college agreed to give you one of the newly built rooms to teach your course on Environmental Technology.  We already have you filled up with local and International students.  And yes there is a gym on the grounds.”

As Kaydee talks and they walk towards the new room Rita will be teaching in Rita peeks through some of the doors to the other lecture rooms.  Between two large, erasable ink boards is a screen that the professor can use a pointer stick with in one hand while clicking a remote with the other.  Students sit at desks on a sloping floor.  Kaydee takes her down a new corridor painted eggshell white with a red band down the centre.

“The painters used Cloverdale’s Horizon line paints because they’re non-toxic,” Kaydee tells her as they stop at door with a small square window at the top.

She sighs deeply.  Many years ago Peter Gabriel sang Biko with an orchestra at the Ed Sullivan theatre on the David Letterman Show.   The music plays in Rita’s head as she remembers what Peter Gabriel said as he thrust his hand in the air.  But she isn’t here to tell the next generation it’s up to them.  She’s here to say, “ It’s up to all of us now.”

Rita Walker (Blog One):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Rita Walker (Blog One):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

This is a new blog and although it is under the fantasy/science fiction genre we will be adding current technology that is environmentally friendly.

 

Rita usually prefers to walk or lope but today her time is short and the distance long so she’s taking an electric sea plane from Graham Island across the Hecate Strait to the Prince George airport. From there she’ll take a flight to Toronto.

At the Toronto Airport Rita rents a Volkswagen e-Golf. As she drives along the 401 Hwy towards the 403 on her way to the Six Nations Polytechnic Brantford Campus she stares in the rear-view mirror. Her shoulder length hair is light brown. She sighs, normally it would be an iridescent pearl white but she doesn’t want to be noticed right now. On the radio she hears Buffy Sainte-Marie sing “The Big Ones Get Away”. She sings along with Buffy realizing how important the song is but it is not the one she wants to write. The World is full of chaos and distrust and she wants to shine a light of hope through the madness.  To discover what is being done positively on Earth and showcase it.

As she arrives at the school she gets out of the e-Golf and stares at the curved entrance. In the centre is sign that is white with the outline of a purple eagle whose wings encircle opposing thick lined triangles with thin lined ones. In the centre is a purple coniferous tree.

As she steps through the front doors she is greeted by a secretary behind a newly refinished counter made of hemp. The secretary glances at her left arm and nods.

Caedar Writing & Artwork at Kitchener Comic Con 2018

Great thanks to the Staff of Kichener Comic Con 2018!!!

Personal Thanks to the following Amazing People for helping out at our booth Caedar Writing & Artwork!!!

 

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Brother Andy Watt and co-author of Brackish; My niece Andraya Watt and one of my adopted nieces Katy for helping us set up and watching the table; Taylor N. and Joanne G. for modeling and all their support; Peter, Rowena, and Ja’Dace Samuel for wearing the Dragon t-shirts for the story Peter helped edit; our mother Helen for her constant enthusiasm, Judith Booth for editing numerous of the books and amazing promotions; my goddaughter Jessica and her friend for all their support; and Kait and Jinny of 34thandVineJewellryDesign.ca for keeping us company the entire day.

Big Thanks to R&S Screen, Inc.    http://www.rsscreeninginc.com  for making the t-shirts

and Bob Posters & Signs   carol@bobspostersandsigns.ca    for making the banners and post cards

Venues:

DSC_3724

Kait and Jinny of:

34thandVineJewelleryDesign.ca

Handmade Jewellery

William Byrne wbyrne@live.ca

William Byrne

wbyrne@live.ca

Comic book Writer and Illustrator

Ryan Toxopeus A Nbles Quest prcreative.ca-slash- ryan

Ryan Toxopeus

prcreative.ca/ryan

ryan@prcreative.ca

Author of the Noble Quest series and games

Larua Suen Tel 416 435 9150 fireandsteelonline@gmail.com

Laura Suen

Fire & Steel

Tel:  416-435-9150

fireandsteelonline@gmail.com

http://www.fireandsteel.ca

DSC_3762

Kyle Barnett

TriCity Studio

I hope you can read it off the poster

DSC_3763

Dave Warren

DCC

Dave’s Comics & Collectibles

Tel:  (519) 636-4173

davescomicsnow@gmail.com

DSC_3766

Assad Z. Quraishi

GENESIS game creator

http://www.GenesisBattleOfChampions.com

Assad@HauntedCastleGaming.com

DSC_3757

MarynaneKrasova.com

Eggsflorentine instagram

 

Some Fun Pics

DSC_3740DSC_3733DSC_3725DSC_3736DSC_3755

Kitchener Comic Con is this weekend at Kitchener City Hall (200 King Street 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.). After that I’ll be blogging The Gothic Horror Musical “Hierarchy of the Undead”

Hierarchy of the Undead

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Photo of the road to Castle Ward taken by Leah Weir, January 2018.

Castle Ward is located in the village of Strangford of County Down in Northern Ireland.  The Hierarchy of the Undead is in no way associated with the castle, we just wanted locations and buildings with a Gothic feel to them.  The Ward family took over what was originally Carrick na Sheannagh, owned by the Earls of Kildare in 1570.