Back to School Again


5 presentations


10 classes


3 grades (3, 4 and 5)


200 students


4 hours of readings and talking and answering questions about writing


200 book marks given out


4 books presented


1 happy day at St. Stephen Elementary School, New Brunswick, helping to celebrate Family Literacy Week.

      Thanks to students and teachers and staff for making it such an enjoyable and rewarding (return) visit.

All the students wrote one thing they learned from the visit on a scrap of paper, and all the papers went in a tub, from which I drew four names at the end of the day for copies of Miss Little’s Losers, Total Offence, Libby’s Got the Beat and Libby on Strike. Here are the four happy students whose names were drawn.



For the Benefit Of …


Last Friday evening was Sing for the Cure in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, featuring half a dozen bands playing through the evening to a sold out – in advance! – house at the new Civic Centre, all to benefit the Charlotte County Cancer Society.

We – the band, Stepping Out (that’s Tony on drums, John on guitar, Julie and Dave on vocals, and me on keyboard) – were first on, followed by Dashboard, 29 and Holding, Desperado, and One Night Stand.

Benefit concerts with multiple bands are never easy gigs, with the scramble first to set up and check sound, and then to strike, as fast as possible in order to keep to your scheduled time. But they’re always fun and exciting and rewarding, and this – the fifth St. Stephen Sing for the Cure – was no exception. Thanks to the inimitable 29 And Holding (pictured below) for organising it once again.


An Embarrassing Confession

Basking during the last few weeks in that frustrating lull between sending off the manuscript of a new story and waiting for the editorial response – and worrying about what it will say – and not wanting to start something new because afraid of ending up with two stories overlapping in various stages of draft and rewrite (been there, done that, nearly drove me nuts, afraid of characters popping up in the wrong story), I fell to thinking about romance, because both stories I’m currently working on contain elements of that fabled state, one a fairly prosaic affair, the other of the over-the-top variety.

I like – as in am a sucker to an embarrassing degree for – the latter variety, that is, Romance with a capital R, of the blatant, shameless, outrageous, self-indulgent, over-the-top variety.

And this in turn set me thinking about my favourite over-the-top romances in various genres. Here’s a selection, in no particular order:


  • Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (Jacques Demy, Michel Legrand)
  • Truly Madly Deeply (Anthony Minghella)
  • Moulin Rouge (Baz Luhrmann)


  • The Subterraneans (Jack Kerouac)
  • Strait is the Gate (Andre Gide)
  • Les Miserables (Victor Hugo)
  • Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)


  • Autumn Journal (Louis MacNeice)
  • The Captain’s Verses (Pablo Neruda)


  • Cyrano de Bergerac (Edmond Rostand)
  • Dr. Who (David Tennant incarnation) – his final goodbye to Rose on Bad Wolf Bay


  • Drive All Night (Bruce Springsteen)
  • Adagietto from Symphony No. 5 (Gustav Mahler)
  • La Boheme (Giacomo Puccini)

So how d’you feel about Romance? Hands up if you, too, are an inveterate sucker for it.

And what would be on your list of all-time favorite over-the-top romances in stories, poetry, movies and music?