August 21, 2006

a process of connections

My house stands at the edge of the earth. Together, the house and I have held strong against the churning tides of Fundy. Two sisters, stubborn in our bones.

My home, the place that inspired The Birth House, was stripped to her 'bones' last week. We have waited six years to restore the exterior, waiting for the right people to help us, waiting for our youngest to be old enough to live with the chaos, dust, and hammering. Although there was a day or two last week when I thought I was living in a fish bowl - carpenters moving around on staging on each side of the house, climbing in and out of holes where windows had been - on the whole, it's been a remarkable time. The crew has been great, oohing and ahhing with reverence over 'her strength', approaching the house with skill and creativity, all of them anxious to dress her in cedar shingling and wide trim boards. What is most amazing to me is that they've all read at least part the book and that their wives and partners are all healers of one sort or another. (A midwife/osteopath, a nurse, an owner of a healthfood store, a massage therapist.)

Writing is just a process of connections.
Raymond Carver

I am humbled when I think of the events, and the people who have become connected to this place and my words. Last week it was a couple from Barrie, Ontario. Today, a couple from The Netherlands journeyed out to Scots Bay, to hike Cape Split and to see if I was home. The woman carried a library copy of the Dutch translation with her, her husband carried a camera in one hand and a moleskine notebook in the other. Two days before leaving for Nova Scotia, a friend had told the woman "you must read this book". When they arrived at a relative's home in Halifax, there was another Dutch visitor, a midwife who is currently head of midwifery at a hospital in Amsterdam. The woman then passed the title of the book back home to The Netherlands by way of Nova Scotia.

The funniest coincidence of all is that her husband is a travel writer who has made his way around the world tracking down the homes of writers...dead writers. He's not sure what he'll do with the story we made by our meeting today, (since my bare boned home has a living writer in residence) but we all agreed over a pot of tea, that a connection had been made.

Grandmother Wisdom
Connections were also being made in Toronto last week at the International AIDS conference in Toronto. Grandmothers from Africa and Canada (300 in total) joined together in solidarity to share stories, wisdom, songs, and support. I first heard about this gathering of Grandmother wisdom back in July when I was teaching at The Ross Creek Centre for the Arts. Potter and sculptor, Louise Pentz had a beautiful show on at Ross Creek while I was there. Looking at her sculptures each morning, left me feeling inspired. I was so taken with them that I encouraged my students to each choose a piece and write about it. My favourite was titled, Grandmothers. Six grandmother figures together in a longboat, joined together by a red thread that ran through their hearts. It reminded me of the courage and mindfulness it takes to carry on tradition, and to speak from the heart. When I met Louise at the end of my week there, we talked about the piece, and she proudly informed me that she would be among the grandmothers in Toronto with Stephen Lewis in August. I smile when I think of the thread that now runs between our hearts. To see her work, please visit: Louise Pentz.
Here is her statement about her work:
These clay figures embody the Legacy of Mothers, representing the concept of Woman as Vessel. Conceived in the headwaters of our ancestors, these Vessels shape and transport personal gifts of identity and unique knowledge, along the voyage of descendancy. The scars of rough passage remind us of lessons learned in the past. This Legacy of strength, endurance, and faith, which has prevailed, now serves as inspiration to continue the journey - using the paths of our Mothers to guide us through the currents of today.

Wise Women Blog Tour
And so, in the spirit of connections and women's wisdom...
I'm proud to present The Wise Women Blog Tour. It's a tour through cyberspace, with 'stops' at various blogs along the way. I wanted to create something like the whistle stop railroad tours suffragists took across the US when they were rallying for the vote. Ideas are exchanged, connections are made, and hopefully by the end, we will have laughed a bit, thought a lot, and come out feeling stronger.

The WWBT runs from August 21 -August 29, and will include rants, reviews, interviews, essays and photos. Best of all, it can include you too! This is the beauty of the blogging communityÂ?comments for discussion are encouraged along the way.

I hope you'll come along for the ride!
Hop on the WWBT train : Wise Women Blog Tour


Anonymous said...

I heard that one of my sons is working at putting new windows in your house! My mother used to say that the eyes are the windows of the soul and that windows were the eyes of the soul of your home. There were special "rules" for dressing windows that follow me to this day as I move from house to house.

I wish you wonderful views, which I suspect you have and enjoy the process of having those wonderful men working on your house as I have.

Debra said...

Many knitters are eagerly awaiting your book,too. The phrase "Occasional Knitters Society" sure caught my eye and I bought your book and am awaiting delivery. Are you familiar with ? In the forum, there is a Readers Corner,not limited to knitting books.

Anonymous said...

As you do the renovations to your house, pay attention to "between the walls" in the back chamber above the kitchen. As kids, we threw or "lost" many items down between the walls. There should be a small child's iron that used to be my mother's. We, or me, most likely lost it down there and we were forever reminded that we were trusted to look after it. I think losing that tiny iron will haunt me forever.

Can't wait to see the finished project and the best of luck.

Sharon (Tupper) Legge.

Ami said...

Thanks so much for the comments today!

Hello mother of one of the wonderful carpenters on the crew! I think your mother was so right about windows. The big half-moon window is something I've dreamed of since I was a child! I like to think it makes the house look as if she's 'winking' at the world.

Hi Debra,
I have heard of knitters review! (where else can you find knitting themed bookplates? amazing)I think someone from my US publisher may have even stopped by to post about the book in the forum?
Thanks for the comment, I hope you enjoy The Birth House. (I researched WWI knitting circles and learned to thrum mitts for the book!)

Hello Sharon,
I'm thrilled you stopped by to see the photos. No little iron yet (although we found a big old splitting wedge buried about two feet down under the side porch). I'll keep an eye out for it!

Anonymous said...

The house looks wonderful, was happy to see pix.
Love the Blog Tour, am visiting daily.
I hope I convinced that woman in Barrie to read the book, have certainly touted it enough in Chapters there on my visits. I do love the book.

Grits said...

Ami darlin, it is so cool to see actual pics of your Birth House. Im excitedly reading your book now (Finally!!!) Im emailing you today bout that (heehee love you dear friend). Cant put it down and cant wait to see how it ends, yet I dont want it to end.
The Wise Women Blog tour is some terrific!!!!!
When are you scheduled to visit the U.S. and do you know where all your stops may be?