Sun, sun, sun, here it comes

When speaking about the genesis of his song “Here Comes the Sun”, George Harrison said, “It seems as if winter in England goes on forever, by the time spring comes you really deserve it.” The same can be said for Ottawa, especially this year. We had our first snowfall in November, and it just kept coming in record numbers. We’d clean up from one storm and another would come along. Add in frigid temperatures, and it was no wonder so many Ottawans wanted to hibernate. We cheered when Wiarton Willie, the famous Ontario prognosticator, predicted an early spring, but it seemed like a distant dream.

Even in the past few weeks, as the Sun has gotten warmer, and stronger, the cold temperatures have continued. It’s the time of year when you bundle up, and then overheat when you get indoors because the heat’s still cranked up. Or, you’re fooled by the warm sunlight and take your gloves off, and then the cold breeze comes along and forces you to put them back on.

Although I haven’t been posting much this winter, I haven’t been a sluggard with my writing. I finished my first novella in January, and while it didn’t get picked up in the call for submissions, I’m still proud of myself that I actually saw it through to the end. I’m currently working on a more sscience-fiction-type book that I’d started a number of years ago. It’s all very rough, but I’m having fun working my way through the story.

Since the start of Lent earlier this month, I’ve been journaling my day. Someone had mentioned the “roses and thorns” method, so I’ve adapted that a bit. I make a note of the weather and the big news story of the day. Then I outline my “roses” (good things that happened), “thorns” (bad or at least not-so-great things), and “buds” (things in progress). I haven’t missed a day yet, and I hope it’ll help me keep track of things. I just hope I haven’t jinxed myself!

I’ve also been participating in POPSUGAR’s 2019 Reading Challenge as a way to expand my bedtime reading. Every time I finish a book, I post a photo of the book and a description to both my Instagram account and my Facebook page, so check them out. You may find something you’ll want to read for yourself!

And at last, today is the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere, which means that (astronomical) spring is finally here. 12 hours of day, 12 hours of night. The Sun is back, baby.

Ol’ Helios has his work cut out for him. It will take a lot of work to melt the snow and ice covering our lawns and fields. And then everything will be as bedraggled as a dog straight out of the bathtub. Lord knows when we’ll start to see the first flowers or leaves.

But the cardinals are singing in the morning, marking their territory. The starlings and the herring gulls are back. You know it’s been a long cold lonely winter when you’re glad to see the pests back! People seem to be a bit more light-hearted, almost as if we’ve has ice in our hearts that is now slowly melting too.

It may snow tomorrow. It may snow the next day. (I’m not being a Cassandra, it’s in the forecast) But it’s all right.

A read-letter day

I was pleasantly surprised to learn this morning that the Ottawa Citizen published my letter to the editor today!

It’s regarding the closure of an Ottawa fixture: Dunn’s deli on Elgin Street, a favourite place of mine. I had written about it earlier this year as part of a writing exercise, so I adapted it into a short tribute.

I was especially thrilled that it’s the first letter on the page and it’s accompanied by a photo by Wayne Cuddington.

I will still miss Dunn’s a lot though. 🙁

You can read it here. Enjoy!

(In case it’s not obvious, the title for this post comes from the joke “what is black and white and read all over”)


Mole and Niece featured in the NonBinary Review

Big news! A story of mine was accepted by the NonBinary Review for their Wind in the Willows issue!

Mole and Niece imagines a time after the conclusion of The Wind and the Willows story when Mole gets to have an adventure of his own. For once, he is more than a sidekick to Ratty and Toad. Along for the fun is his niece Tally, and Mr Badger makes appearances too.

The Wind in the Willows is a multi-generational favourite in our family (I have my Nanner’s copy), so it’s a great honour for me to have my piece accepted.

Now, to read the story in text, you do have to buy the issue (it’s $1.99) here or you can until it’s featured Zoetic Press’s Alphanumeric podcast. Once it’s available in audio format, I will post the details here. Either way, I hope you enjoy it!

I should also note that it’s my first paid writing submission, and I’m the first author listed on the contributors’ page! Very exciting and humbling.

A big shout out to S, H, and A (who all loved the story), and the IF and LL groups for their suggestions while I was writing it. Your support means the world to me!

Melt with You up on Wattpad

It’s 15 years since the Great North American Blackout. It was a stinking hot day, especially for the poor squirrel that caused it all.

Here’s part one of a story I wrote based on that day. I’ve put it up on Wattpad as the whole thing is a bit longer than I’d like for a blog post. (It also gives me a chance to try out Wattpad) Hope you like it!

Note, you’ll need to sign up for a membership but it’s free.

“Happy Birthday, Valerie” shared as part of StoryFest

Well, this is cool. My story “Happy Birthday, Valerie” was chosen to be featured in Story‘s StoryFest, which highlights stories written as part of StoryADay in May – a month-long exercise where you attempt to write something in response to each day’s writing prompt.

The neat thing about “Happy Birthday, Valerie” is that it was initially written in 40 minutes (that was the prompt for the day!).

You can read it and all of the others here. Enjoy!


Copyright Jessica Allyson 2018