Bits and Pieces

Chewing the Fat

When They Were Young




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October 2008

Oh, and…

I forgot to mention in my last posting…


“Oooooooeeeeeee…” (I’m a ghost for those of you who are wondering why I am making these odd noises.)

Anyway, I’m off to the store to pick up my THIRD batch of Halloween candy. 


I’m sorry, I can’t hear you.

I don’t know what you are talking about.

Okay!  Yes.  God!  So, I ate all the other Halloween candy.  Twice.  So what?  A little humanness is not a sin.

the morning drive

Fog had settled while we slept.  Will had mentioned it was misty outside, when I was sprinting through a little last minute emergency sewing job, but I had thought nothing of it.  Picturing a mild mist, kissing the ground and making everything look dreamy.

Well, when I exited the front door I got a little bit of a shock.  There was nothing dreamy about this “mist”.  It was pea-soup plain and simple.  And thundering with rain.

I turned my wipers onto their highest setting, put my lights on and cautiously edged out onto the road, images of other car trips in bad fog, roaring to the forefront of my brain.  The stacks of piled up cars on the roadside, silent, ghostly, passengers wandering around, like lost souls. 

“You have to be careful,” I tell my son.  “When you are driving in the fog.  You must be extra vigilant, go a little slower on the gas.”  I’m remembering that news program I saw back in the 90’s, where they showed that people lost their perspective in fog and actually, sped up considerably, because they couldn’t gauge their speed, by things whirring past.

I am hunched over the wheel, trying not to sweat.  These are horrible driving conditions.  It’s hard to see.

“Just think,” Will said, his voice muffled slightly from behind the plastic bunny nose he is wearing.  “That above these clouds that we are in, it is beautiful blue skies.  Bright sunshine, stretching out as far as the eye can see.” 

I peel my eyes off the road and glance over at him.  He is dressed very street edgy, a cool tee-shirt, dark jeans, tousled auburn hair… and then there is the nose, and the fluffy white and pink bunny ears, perched on his head.  6 foot 4.  A grown man/boy and he looks absolutely adorable in an interesting, funky absolutely-Will way.

And I think about what he said.  About the blue skies that are there, even when we can’t see them.  And how that is so like life.  And I want to remember this because it seems profound, even though Will is off, thinking about other things, teenage things, things I have no comprehension of. 

He has no idea how his offhanded statement effected me.  That all my nervousness about driving vanished.  That suddenly everything thing felt hopeful and promising. 

I dropped him off at school.  We were late because of the slowness of the traffic, the weather.  Everyone else was as well.  The car line-up stretching out forever.  He jumped out of the car, shoulders hunched slightly to ward off the rain, and dashed into the school.  And I drove home, the car empty, but not really, because even though he had gotten out, something of my boy, still lingered behind, keeping me company on the ride home.


Teresa went in for her first round of chemo yesterday, so if everyone could take a moment and send loving healing thoughts her way.  Thanks.  xo

This and that

I thought that the furnace in our house had gone on the fritz and even though I have turned all the thermostats WAY down and opened the windows, it is still suffocatingly hot. 

“What is wrong with the heat?”  I asked Don and Will.  “Why is it so darn hot in here?”  They exchanged a look.

“It’s not,” Will said. 

“Are you kidding?  It’s boiling in here.”  I turned to Don.  “Aren’t you hot?”


So, now I am sitting on the sofa, typing to you, with a gel ice pack wrapped in a towel under my feet and one draped around my neck and I feel almost human again.

* * *

I am trying to resist the urge to write about the markets.  I figure, everybody is talking about it now.  We are getting inundated with one report after the other, so unless there is something really, really important, I’m going to hold off.  But what I said before, still holds.  Make sure you are saving what ever you can.  Clear out whatever debt you can, as soon as you can.  If you have a job, even if you don’t love it, hang tight.  Unemployment is going to start rearing it’s head big time in the upcoming year.  Don’t take on any new unnecessary expenditures.

* * *

And last but not least, thank you, sergey79.  That was kind of you.  When I wrote my rampage a few days ago, I didn’t actually expect anyone to come to my rescue.  I was very touched.


I just finished a phone interview with Adrian Chamberlain who writes for the Victoria Times Colonist. 

So funny writing those words.  All of a sudden, I had a flash back to being a teenager, growing up in Victoria, seeing the Victoria Times Colonist being sold in the stores. 

My girlfriend in grade nine, used to deliver the paper on her bike.  How I admired her, getting up early in the morning, flinging papers, rain or shine.  I thought briefly about seeing if they’d be interested in hiring me, but then she told me that sometimes it was hard collecting money.  How people would get grouchy and slam the door, or some of the older ladies would have her come inside and give her cookies and milk while they rummaged around trying to gather up all their spare change and talk about how much they missed their children now that they were all grown.  And she then she told me how one dumb loser guy would always answer the door naked and try to get her to come inside. 

“How stupid does he think I am?”  she snorted.

Anyway, when I heard that it was the end of my fantasy of being a jaunty, hard throwing, perfect aim, paper girl.  My new career lasted all of 15 minutes in my head.

Funny, it didn’t seem to faze her much.  She had a much stronger exterior than me back then.  Nice arm muscles too.

Anyway, back to Adrian.  He was very nice and for much of the interview, I forgot that it was one.

Back home, blogging to you

I wanted to blog last night, but I didn’t want to pay $11 for another day of Internet service at the hotel to do it, so here I am, back home, just stepped in the door, and I’m blogging to you.

Although, to be honest, I can’t remember what it was exactly that I so urgently wanted to share. 

It wasn’t any one particular thing, more like a feeling, a waking up. 

As you know, I’ve been struggling with my adult manuscript for some time now and went to SIWC feeling very mixed, and wondering what would happen when the end of November came and this bout of Meg-the-public-writer was over?  After taking this necessary break, would I would be able to dive back into the work?  Would I want to?

See, I agreed to do SWIC (Surrey Writers International Conference) because it is a way to give back to the writing community.  A way to try to pass on, what I have discovered, what helps me. 

What I didn’t expect, was to come away from the workshops that I did, so inspired.  The pieces people wrote, the depths that they were willing to plumb, how I would give them the exercise, in this crowded room and they would hunch over their notebooks and start scribbling on the page.  And the work that came out of those snatched moments with the pen, was truly humbling.  So wide open and brave and true. 

And so, I went there to give, to share, to be generous, and instead, I was the one who left the conference feeling full of hope and possibilities and the remembrance of why we write.  All of us. 

Gazing on those passion filled faces, writing like their life depended on it, and in a way it does.  Seeing what power and fear it invokes when we allow ourselves to speak our truths as we know them. 

I’ve been feeling, lately, like somebody switched the light off, and I’d been fumbling around in the dark, not sure of who I would see if ever the light was switched back on. 

Well, the light is on, and I see me, Meg.  A writer. 

Thank you.  Your passion and willingness to dive off the cliff, reminded me of why I return to the page, day after day, your love for grabbing the needed and necessary words, reintroduced me, to my own.

                          * * *

(And on a totally different subject… Sarah, thank you again for the beautiful scarf, such a jumble of colors, all my favorite.  It has been around my neck for only three hours and already I have received two compliments on it.)



Good day.  People in my workshop wrote great pieces. I felt inspired by their bravery. 

Off to bed.  Sweet dreams everybody.  xo

Hey everybody,  I just remembered that I forgot to mention that around a month ago picked up my audiobooks and I have James A. Pearson to thank for it!  He is the man who made it happen.  I am very grateful, because what’s the point of making audio recordings of my books if I don’t have distribution? is a great company, they have tons of books and the good thing is that the download is very fast and you can pick up the story where you left off. 

So, anyway, for those of you who would like to experience how my books sound to me, the way my characters talk in my head while I’m typing away, you can either click on my audiobooks tab at the top of the page, and then you can click on the book cover and that will send you to  Or you can just go to Audible directly. 

Oh, hey, and if anyone does purchase Singing Songs, could you please write a review.  A very annoying woman (who also didn’t like Gemma) gave it a bad rating, because she said, “As in Meg Tilly’s “Gemma” this story leaves the reader wondering how the story ends??????????? Great listen but a very disappointing ending.”  Huh? 

First of all, lady, if you didn’t like Gemma and felt the need to write a bad review, why then did you race off and not only buy, but listen to Singing Songs as well? A three star rating?  Phooey on you! 

I don’t mind if people find the subject matter of my books disturbing.  Fair enough.  I find the facts of my childhood disturbing as well.

But puleaze… “how the story ends”? That’s why you gave it a bad rating?

Did you not read what the book was about? 

Okay, I’m sorry I have an aversion to tying things up with a little bow.  However, in the sake of charity, let me make it a little clearer for you.  How did the story end? 

Well, Anna became a famous movie star.  She started writing when she was 30.  Her first “novel” Singing Songs was based totally on her memories as a child.  She became an author, stopped acting in movies and TV so she could spend more time with her wonderful children, whom she adores.  That was 18 years ago.  Her children are now grown.  She has a loving husband, has a roof over her head that is paid for and can afford to buy as much yummy food as she likes.

So, Anna did not just survive… she flourished!  And I’m sure Gemma did too. 

Hey, did I ever tell you what my daughter, Emily noticed?  That Gemma spells am Meg, backwards.  How weird is that?  Can’t believe that I never saw that.

Any more questions?

Oh, wait!  And for Barbara who decided that I wrote Gemma just so I could perform it…

What?!  Are you out of your nut?  Oh yeah, that’s why I felt the need to write it. 

And if you feel that “The only criticism I have of the story is that in country today - especially in California - there is no 12 year old girl who would think that being seduced, raped and kidnapped would be cause for her to go to prison. Our children are much more educated and savvy. There were ample opportunities for her to flea this man and she did not.”  So, what exactly are you saying?  Gemma is to blame for being kidnapped and raped by this man?  Is that what you’re saying?  Oh and also the word you used… “seduced.”  That is Hazen’s word.  NOT Gemma’s.  It was never, ever a seduction for this girl.  Never. 

Now, I am glad, Barbara, that you have had the privelage to live in such a safe and wonderful world.  However, for the sake of growth, I would strongly suggest that you volunteer at a women’s shelter, a girls foster home, at the Violence Intervention Program.  The world, unfortunately is filled with Gemmas, male and female.  And it has been my honor to give a face and name to all of us out there, who have felt like we needed to lie about the truth of our lives so that people like you could feel comfortable and clean in your cushy armchairs.

I wish your view of the world was correct.  But it is not. 



Strawberry Hill Chapters/Indigo

I’m just back from kicking off the Surrey International Writers Conference with a group reading and again, they gifted us with swag.  Now, you know how last year they got me addicted to Godiva dark chocolate mint pearls.  Well, in my swag-bag there was a suspicious rattling sound, so I was very excited, that I was going to be getting some of those candies again.

BUT NO!  Instead, there were dark chocolate pearls and some chocolate enrobed almonds.  Now, almond bark is one of my downfalls.  And when I have no candy in the house, I have been known to melt down chocolate chips, or chunk chocolate and stir it up with a few fistfuls of almonds that I have toasted in the oven.  But now… What if these chocolate almonds are as addictive as those costly chocolate mint pearls?

I will be well and truly sc____d. 

Anyway, the reading went well.  It’s always fun to do a group reading because the responsibility for the evening going well, doesn’t rest on me.  I do my bit, listen to others, sip my water and try to look intelligent.  Simple.

Leslie, as always was lovely.  And the store is involved in this literacy program and so she had me sign a couple of my books that they were donating to a local school.  Very sweet.

And Leslie offered to have Don and I do a joint signing when Don’s book comes out this spring, which was very thoughtful of her.  And I know I said I was not going to do any public appearances after I finish all the readings in November until next Fall.  However, helping get the word out about my husband’s fabulous book, trumps any such promise.  And if Strawberry Hill wants us… count me in. 

Oh… and for those that want to know.  I wore a lovely long-sleeved drapey sweater thing that Jenny gave me, with silvery sparkly bits going down the border of one side and interesting colorful beading intersperse with the glittery bits on the other, and the sweater material was very light, almost sheer (I wore a sleeveless shirt… that Jenny also gave me underneath.)  And I felt like a right proper author.  In that fancy sweater-thing, I felt like an event!

A million things running through my mind

We just came back from dropping Will off at the airport.  He is going to New York with some of the theater kids and teachers from his school for a five day extravaganza of Broadway shows, musicals, workshops.  And I hope they all have the best time ever and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I was a little bit scared too. 

Even though, or maybe because I traveled to New York on a Greyhound bus when I was his age, although the New York of 1978 was a very different New York than it is today.  And I was all by myself and going there to live and had no idea what the place was like, whereas Will is very well traveled and isn’t going on his own, and is flying, not traveling on a Greyhound bus for ten days, washing in the sinks at the bus terminals.  He is not landing in the Port Authority Terminal, with pimps trying to wrestle his one and only suitcase from him to make him follow them home.

He is going with his school and his friends and there are 2 teachers and 10 kids.  It’s going to be great. 

I don’t know why, at the airport, I got so scared.

Tomorrow, Don and I go to Surrey.  I have the reading at the Strawberry Hill Chapters, and then for the next couple days, I am teaching writing workshops, doing blue pencil appointments and a panel. 

I know this will come as a huge shock to my readers… but I haven’t packed yet. 

Nope.  Haven’t the slightest idea of what to throw into my suitcase.

And I still have to decide on what I’m going to do for my workshops.  I have a vague idea, but only part of it carved out. 

There IS one thing I have done however, but the only reason I was so organized on this front was because I am a loyal friend. 

See, Karen (aka K.C. Dyer) told me that there was going to be a masked ball on Saturday night.  Costumes optional, but that everyone would be wearing masks.  Then she told me about her costume and I thought, oh how nice.  I had no intention of wearing one myself.  I’d had enough of that doing all those years of acting.

However, then Don decided to come to Surrey to keep me company.  Will was going to be in New York.  Why not?  It would be fun. 

He filled out the forms, paid the fee and got his confirmation.  However, he couldn’t find any reference to the said-masked-ball. 

“I’m sure it’s in there,” I said confidently, but as I thought about it, I started to get a nervous dropping feeling in my stomach.

Now, maybe my excellent husband didn’t read the SIWC materials carefully… OR ... maybe the very wonderful people who set this whole thing up, were over loaded on coffee and forgot to mention it. 

Anyway, I pictured Karen, running around in full literary/Halloween regalia… by herself.

So, off I went to the costume store and got myself an outfit. 

And then I made Don get one too.  He was very reluctant, but I was insistent.  “You can’t go to a costume event and not have a costume!”  I said.  “You’ll look like a party pooper and have to lurk in the corner.” 

It wasn’t until after Don had found something he was quite pleased with and was laying it gently it in the trunk of our car, saying with a shy happy smile, “I always wanted to be a musketeer.”  That I broke the news to him that I’d thought about it and he might be right.  It was very possible that it would just be the three of us running around in full costumes looking like fools. 

“But never mind,” I said to his appalled face.  “We’ll be the ones having the best time.”

So, I have no author clothes washed and ironed, haven’t worked out all the kinks in my workshops, but by God, I’m right and ready, totally prepared in the fool department. 

Takumi Japanese Restaurant

For those of you who live in Vancouver and find yourselves on the North Shore, you have to check out this restaurant.  It is definitely higher end in terms of presentation and price.

HOWEVER, it is TOTALLY worth it!

This is some of the best Japanese food I have ever tasted.  And I am not the only one who thinks so.  When ever we have guests from out of town, staying for a few days, we take them here.  Friends from London, L.A., San Francisco, New York, people who have eaten in some of the greatest restaurants in the world and they all are blown away. 

That’s the problem.  My friends are scattered across the globe, so of course when they come to see us they want to eat at Takumi, but they can’t frequent the restaurant, because they don’t live here.  And I am scared, if people don’t find out about this jewel of a restaurant, that it will have to close its doors.  And I can’t let that happen because what will I do when I get a craving for their amazing King Crab Fusion Tempura?  No one else makes it.  Not only is it mind-blowingly delicious, but the presentation is seriously a work of art.

And I honestly don’t know if Don would be able to survive without their Agedashi Tofu.  He discovered that particular dish around 5 visits ago and now he orders it every time.  Even Will loves it and Will is not a Tofu man.

Their sushi is great, everything is super fresh and beautiful to look at and the flavors create a dance in the mouth. 

So, here’s the heartbreak… Takumi is a new restaurant, and is off the beaten track and so nobody knows that it is here.  And truly, I am a foodie and I have never walked away from a meal here disappointed.  It is always, always wonderful. 

I don’t want them to have to close their doors, so please, it is truly worth the drive, come and try them out, and tell all your friends. 

This restaurant deserves to be successful.  It is really, really good!

Takumi Japanese Restaurant
5775 Marine Drive
West Vancouver
Across from the Thunderbird Marina
604 921-9701

(And I do not know the owners, what their names are.  I do not own a piece of this restaurant.  I do not get anything for writing this, other than hopefully it will cause people to check the restaurant out and once you do, you will be hooked and you will tell your friends and they will tell their friends and then one of my favorite places to eat will have enough people to stay open for my dining pleasure.)


There will be no drums tonight

Will said, no.  He did it in a good humored way, but I think he thought I was a little crazy for suggesting it. 


We’ve finished dinner and the clean up and Cary’s gotten his mandolin out and Don dusted off his guitar and now they are jamming, and Cary is singing a song about a little birdy.  Just thought enquiring minds would want to know.  I was going to make hot fudge sundaes, but Cary has been having a bit of an upset stomach lately so I held off.

It’s really fun, listening to these guys, I feel like I’m in the middle of a old-time western with all this blue-grass music flying around the room.

Okay, now there is a lull.  Cary is trying to figure out what the chords are of this new song.  They are strumming now and apparently there are “G…G…C…D…” 

They’re off.  Cary is singing about being alone without his dear on his little cabin on the hill.  Sounds like somebody stole his woman.

Hey, I’m like a live action blog.  Maybe I should get Will out of his room and see if I can get him to bring a drum up from the basement and bang away to add to the general jubialant music that’s going on here.  I think I’ll give it a try.  Although, he’s probably working on the lines for his play.  Worth a try though.  I’ll let you know what the outcome is.

Cary Fagan

My friend Cary is here!  He is sitting on our sofa right now, and he’s going to help me hone my rather clumsy attempt at a picture book.  How lucky is that?

We’ve eaten warm butter cookies, and fresh fall Honeysweet apple slices and tea and coffee, and I’ll make my tomato penne pasta for dinner and maybe some hot fudge sundaes for dessert.

Anyway, he’s here because he’s one of the authors participating in The Vancouver International Writers Festival and I am going to go to his 1pm Kaspar Snit reading on Tuesday.  (I wish I could say that the fabulous spelling of that sprang fully completed into my head, but in truth, I checked the spelling with him, and I was way off.)

He has three books coming out this year.  Thing-Thing which I just read and it is an adorable children’s picture book.  And then Mr. Karp’s Last Glass for the middle grades (which I am going to devour tonight.)  He also has a literary adult book Valentine’s Fall, which has been ten years in the making.  So, really there is something for everybody.

Some of you may know Cary because his picture book, My New Shirt, was nominated for the Governor General’s award and is nominated for the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, and is nominated for another great award…but it is not officially announced for another couple of weeks.  He is a highly respected writer, who is too modest to brag about his work. 

So, it is getting close to the holidays, and Cary Fagan’s book can be a one stop shop.

It’s so much more fun to brag about my friend’s accomplishments than it is to brag about my own.  Poor Cary, “what are you doing?”  he asks, suspiciously, while my fingers fly.

“Oh nothing” I say, a smug smirk on my face.  This is so fun.  I feel quite clever. 

the calm before the storm

I am enjoying my last few minutes of laziness. 

We are celebrating Thanksgiving today, because Dave was unable to come last weekend.  Don is at the butcher shop picking up the turkey and then he’ll amble over to the grocery store to get the things on my list for the rest of the feast. 

We will be having the usual, roast turkey, stuffing, gravy, mash potatoes, sweet potato mash, brussel sprouts, cranberry sauce and of course pie.

Don has requested apple pie, which actually is one of my favorites, however, tradition requires that I make either a pecan or a pumpkin pie and usually both.

However, Emily’s not here, and neither one of the boys is bringing someone, so making THREE pies for only four people to devour, might be a little extreme.  Not to mention, we will have already stuffed ourselves on dinner and after that, usually managing to down one slice is a feat of courage.

Anyway, I’m enjoying the lull.  Oops!  I just heard his key in the front door.  I’m off to cook!

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