Tag Archives: relationships

Why Do I Write?


I was asked this question today.  I always find it hard to answer.  I can imagine that if you asked a baseball player why he play baseball he’s say it was because he enjoyed it.  I can predict that if you asked a doctor why she practices medicine, she might say it was because she wants to help people.  These are just conjectures.  But while I can speculate about others, I don’t find it simple to imagine what answer people expect from me.

I suppose I write because I have to.  Just like a runner needs to run, I feel a strong need to create entire realities that express my values and my imagination.

I also write for other people.   I love to hear from my readers who tell me they enjoyed my books, saw themselves in them, recognized feelings they have had, enjoyed the little world I created.  I like reading to school classes and listening to their ideas and responses afterwards.

I also hope that someday my descendants will know a little more about the real me.  My grandchildren are too young to read my books now, but someday they’ll e able to.  Maybe my son and daughter will be able to see into their mother’s imagination and get to know me a little better, too.

I need to tell my stories.  I guess it’s as simple as that.



Steve Jobs said it


“There comes a time in life where you have to let go of all the pointless drama and the people who create it and surround yourself with people who make you laugh so hard that you forget the bad and focus soley on the good. After all, life is too short to be anything but happy.”

What do you think of this quote?  I read it and loved it right away, but I’ve been thinking it over.  On the surface it sounds very liberating.  But I wonder about the people you leave behind.  I agree that “pointless drama” should be avoided.  If there isn’t a point to the drama, then by definition it won’t lead to a new understanding or point.    And I agree that the people creating the pointless drama are to be avoided, at least at times, if you can’t remain positive in their presence. But this should not mean we write them out of our lives.

Although this quote sounds liberating, it’s a liberty gained by retreating.  Sure, you can surround yourselves with happy-go-lucky friends who make you laugh.  I bet it would be a lot of fun.  But what about those other people in your life that are not so happy?  Do they deserve to be abandoned because they don’t make you feel good?

I don’t think life is too short to be anything but happy, if it’s at the expense of other people.  Call me a do-good-er, but I love my friends even when they’re sad or angry, depressed or confused, and I like to hang out with them even if they don’t make me feel like laughing.

I think Steve Jobs is expressing a selfish attitude.  You’re number one and only things that make you happy are worth doing?  Right?  I don’t believe that.  I think relationships are sometimes very difficult, and when we’re in those relationships it sometimes becomes dramatic.  Sometimes it feel pointless.  So what?  Do you think it’s better to tear families and friendships apart because you just want to feel happy all the time?  Are you entitled to a life of pure happiness?

To me this is a selfish attitude, and frankly, one that is juvenile.  I hope we all have deeper relationships with people than what’s implied in that quote, that we care enough about others to stay with them through rough times, when they might be stuck and trying to work something out.  Don’t give up on them because they don’t bring a smile to your lips whenever you’re together.

You’d want a friend to do the same for you.


Magda’s Mayne Island Mystery – review by Denise Dunn


Having been honoured by my dear friend Amber Harvey’s request that I preview and critique her first novel for children, Magda’s Mayne Island Mystery, I read it together with my ten-year-old grandaughter.  We had fun in Magda’s island world watching the fictional yet believable characters deal with both life’s easy and tougher challenges.

This island setting is familar to my grandaughter and I. We recognised the charm of the place in Amber’s quietly inserted descriptions.   Like all good stories, the tale is universal – something like blaming others solves no conflict, look to your own feelings and needs.  Again, it’s quietly inserted, no moralising, no shoulds or ought to’s.

Alas that first granddaughter became a teenager and was already into vampire stories when Amber’s second book in the series Mayne Island Aliens was published.  I enjoyed it on my own.  Now my second granddaughter is coming up to the age for Magda so I have an excellent excuse to read them again!  Happily there will be three mysteries to enjoy with the publication of Mayne Island Skeletons.  I look forward to hours of reading with my grandaughter snuggled beside me.  But I might just sneak a read first when I get my hands on a copy of Skeletons because I can never let a good story sit on the shelf.

PS Like a good elder I read one of those vampire stories, just to check ‘em out and have to admit I might well have been attracted at thirteen!

Denise Dunn

full-time grand-mother, social activist and retired teacher-librarian

Why Reading Fiction is Good For Us


“If you read fiction, what you get good at understanding is what goes on between people.””

Brain scans, experiments and studies indicate that we really get better at understanding people and their interactions if we read fiction.  And if we talk about what we’ve read, perhaps with a friend or more formally in book groups, our understanding increases.  So don’t think of reading and talking about novels as simply a wonderful way for us to pass the time.  Think of it also as educational, a study in human psychology.



In 2011, Grandparents Day fell on September 11th


If your grandchildren didn’t acknowledge you on that day, it’s probably because other things of greater importance were happening, like the commemoration of the events that occurred ten years ago.

However, if you are fortunate enough to have grandchildren, remember that they are growing up faster than you are growing old, and enjoy every moment that you can with them.  You’ll live on in their memories long after your body is used up.  Make the memories significant.  Give them the best of who you are.  It’s really the only legacy worth leaving.

Dogs and Cats


They say you’re either a dog person or a cat person.  I believe I’m both

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” Josh Billings

My one and only family dog, that came to live with me in my early twenties and stayed until I was nearly forty, was a handsome, patient, affectionate German Shepherd.  I’ll call him Hans.  I knew very little about dogs, but read everything I could find about them, and I hope I gave him a good home.  He was my companion on many, many long walks, and never refused to be my steadfast walking partner.  He played with me on beaches, fetched sticks, scrambled up hills with me, and sometimes listened to my troubles.  I loved him till he died and miss him to this day.

“I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.” Jean Cocteau

Cats and I get along very well. I’ve had five of them as housemates over the years.  The first one, I’ll call her Missy, was homeless, and came to me to have kittens in my bedroom.  She found life in an apartment confining, though, and she was adopted by a family that could let her run free.

Two brothers, let’s call them Mort and Siva, grew up with Hans, and all of us went for walks, the kittens and the puppy learning from each other, and each one becoming somewhat like the other species.  they licked each other and curled up together to sleep.

I know have two female cats sharing my life on Mayne Island, and I’ll call them Ginger and Fluff.  They are as different from each other as two cats can be.  Ginger is aloof and yet a homebody.  She doesn’t curl up in my lap, but she does like to curl up nearby, and looks up at me when I walk by.  She’s always happy to receive a caress and kind word, and someone to tell her what a beautiful kitty she is.  Fluff, on the other hand, likes to run to the trees and bushes and watch the wildlife around her.  She chases falling pine cones and swats imaginary bugs.  She loves to snuggle up when I’m in bed, and purrs and kneads the blankets like a small kitten.

I love them all.  I hope I’ll always have a pet friend to share my life and accept my ministrations. All I can do for them, I will.  And they will be happy and content.

Want to tell me about your animal friends?


Saving a Whale



You have to watch this beautiful video.  If you ever doubted that whales were at least on a par with humans emotionally, you will not doubt it again after seeing this.

Was the freed humpback whale expressing exuberance, joy, at being free?  Or was she showing with her whole being how grateful she was to the humans that freed her and gave her back her life?

You decide.