About Me

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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Wild Card, 2006. Winner of "best oral sex scene" - Scarlet Magazine. Amanda's Young Men, 2009. Excerpted in Scarlet Magazine; Juicy Bits. Sarah's Education, 2009. Hit the #1 spots on Amazon.co.uk adult fiction & adult romance best seller lists. Jade Magazine bestowed the best cover art, 2009 award on Sarah's Education. "Get Up, Stand Up!" which appeared in The Cougar Book (Logical-Lust) won me the title 'Story Teller of the Year 2011' at The Erotic Awards, London, UK. Sarah's Education took the #3 spot on a list of the 30 most titillating titles of all time, as reported in English Daily Mail ;Female; Nov. 12, 2012. Debutante, a petite novel for e-publisher Imprint Mischief, (Harper-Collins) pubbed in 2012. I tutor writing students and am a member of the WGC. D.M. Thomas said: Madeline Moore writes great sex without metaphor and that's not easy to do. Kris Saknussemm said: You're a good egg, Madeline Moore. I am a good egg who writes great sex without metaphor! Yippee!

Friday, 28 November 2014

Shoulda, Wanna, Gonna

A few decades ago, a member of Greenpeace appeared at my door, soliciting funds. He told me, “There really is only one issue – the environment.”

Ten days ago, I was at the end of my “morning” ritual: drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, gobbling pills, crying and admonishing myself to write that letter to the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons about the appalling treatment (or lack thereof) that Michael received from a specific doctor, when I came to a decision. “I will not suffer this for one more day.”

So I wrote the letter. I’d made notes on December 24 (!) complete with dates and quotes. I’d imagined those notes needed work but in fact they did not. All I needed to do was write a cover letter, print off a form, have it witnessed and get the package in the mail and I did.

It was a relief, for a few days, but not anymore.

I’m so sad that he died. I’m so angry about the way he died. I want that doctor to be held accountable for what he did, in the Emergency Room on Dec.1 (“You want me to admit him with gas?”) AND when Michael was finally admitted to hospital on Dec. 20 and the same goddam doctor was his attending physician on the floor.

We could have done an anticipated death at home. All you need is a brave patient, a brave primary caregiver and proper pain management. He was brave, I was brave (and experienced at the process) but he didn’t have proper medication because he wasn’t diagnosed on Dec.1. It would’ve taken that doctor five minutes to have a portable ultrasound machine wheeled into the room where Michael lay. I respectfully disagreed with the doctor’s diagnosis but to no avail. So we went home. We lacked the information and assistance we needed to do things right.

This “morning” I went through my usual routine, including the crying. I should have dug my heels in. It would’ve humiliated Michael and probably angered the doctor but I should have done it. We could’ve had a peaceful last Christmas together and I would have that to remember (as I remember my Mother’s peaceful last Thanksgiving.) We could have created something beautiful, together; a small, sweet triumph wrested from the maw of tragedy.

There are so many things I should have done but more to the point, there are so many things I should be doing. These past eleven months I have been stripped of almost everything that defines me. I’m a lousy feminist. I was a lousy wife, for the most part and, if you ask anyone but me, a pretty lousy mother. I wouldn’t have defined myself as arrogant but I’ve been humbled so thoroughly that I must’ve been arrogant. I’m not even middle-class, anymore.

Light another cigarette. Eat a chocolate muffin. Ponder.

I hung my identity on “writing” before I even clearly understood that I was female. I decided to be a writer when I was twelve. But professional writers (especially, I think, genre writers) gotta write and get published. I will have published two short stories this year, but neither of them was written this year. I have two short stories under consideration for publication but of them, only one was written this year. The sum total of my creative writing in 2014 is one new short story.
Wait! What about all my fabulous face book posts. Don’t they count? Well, no, they don’t.

What about how hilarious I am on Twitter? Isn’t that writing? Oh Gawd no. It is not. Here's me playing a hashtag game. I love hashtag games.

#Thingsthatcanimprovethanksgiving The Get Smart "cone of silence."

Well, I’ve heard from a representative of the Ontario College and Physicians. She said she usually lifts sections from a complainant’s letter to forward to the doctor in question but in my case, my letter is so clear and well-written that she’s going to forward the entire letter to him. So I will count that as good writing, although it isn’t creative writing. I just told the truth.

It’s been a tough fucking year but it’s almost over and I’ve taken great strides forward. A lot of the particulars have been dealt with. But December looms large and I know, every “morning,” that I have managed to circumvent grieving in many different ways and, now that I’m all safe and sound in my new little apartment, it’s coming home, too.
I should be writing.

I should be teaching.

But more importantly, and I have been told this repeatedly by my grief peeps, I should be grieving and sleeping.

Never in my life have I gone for so long on so little sleep. I don’t like going to bed because I think about Michael when I go to bed and I don’t want to think about him because it makes me so terribly sad.

I want to: smoke cigarettes and watch TV and hangout on social media.
I don’t want to read, I don’t want to teach, I don’t want to write.

I think what I need to do (as opposed to what I should do) is start taking care of this microcosm of the environment that is me. I need to stop polluting this poor body with cancer-sticks. It makes no sense to fight the good fight, have surgery, have a mammogram, visit my doctor, begin the long process of getting a shrink, and so on and on if I’m going to kill myself with cigs. I needed them but they’ve done their job. Now I have to get rid of them.

I need to shower (even if the water gets cold in five minutes) and I need to eat right (which means I have to cook every day, not just a couple of days a week) and I need to go outside and breathe fresh air. I need to clean up the mess that is me.

I need to stop thinking that I should be a voice of reason on Twitter. Twitter is for laughs and sex (virtual or real.) Twitter is not about making sense or pointing out fallacies in other people’s comments. Of course, it’s not a bad place to get attention and I am starved for the kind of attention I used to get. But that was unsolicited attention and it died with Michael. It is no more likely to come back than he is. I was lucky to have it and now I have the bad luck of learning how to live without it.

I need to stop digging deep into international issues. It occurs to me that I don’t really care about Bill Cosby’s reputation. Or perhaps more to the point, what I think about Bill Cosby is entirely irrelevant to everything. I don’t even really need to write. There’s a plethora of erotica authors out there; the world doesn’t need my stories. If I want the world to have my stories I’d better write them.

In order for me to get anywhere, I’m just going to have to succumb to grief, cry myself to sleep and sleep. That’s the first order of business. I was dreading Dec. 22 but I now realize that Dec.1 is when the horror really began and it’s days away. I can’t escape it; I have to go through it.

When I’m ready to write I’ll write. When I’m ready to consider the issues of the day, I’m going to concentrate on the environment. We’re all in it together but my country is rich in natural resources and our evil Prime Minister is dedicated to destroying those resources. Google Stephen Harper + environmental issues if you’re interested but be forewarned – it’s really ugly. Here's a pic of Harper addressing the United Nations General Assembly in September of this year.
This fucking pipeline of his, the one that has smart people tearing out their hair and going to jail, is all about getting our fossil fuels to the USA. Canada isn’t even going to make any money out of this thing. America gets our natural resources and American companies reap the profits. So – WTF? THIS is an issue that should be of interest to people who want to save the environment EVERYWHERE, not just in Canada.

I’m going to go make myself something to eat and then I’m going to allow grief to take me where it wants me to go. I don’t know how long this is going to take. But it really can’t be more of a waste of time than trying to avoid it is and I have faith in myself. I am a tough prairie broad and I will come out the other side.
I’ll end this thing with some good news:

Good news week! says Greenpeace.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014


Joyce Carol Oates posted this on Twitter today, November 25, 2014:
"Hard time to visit Canada & recall sanity, graciousness, & over all respect for "commonweal" of that country at this time in our country."

Last night, Ferguson erupted and so did Twitter. Once all the non-residents of the USA got the message, Twitter was turned over to Americans. Why?
Obviously, something huge was going on in America; something much bigger than the shooting of a black man by a white cop in Ferguson, Missouri. Race relations. Police brutality. And so on.

I follow liberal Americans so, in the main, the Tweets I read decried the decision of the Grand Jury. But even they posted emotional tweets stating stuff like, "If you aren't outraged by what's going on right now in Ferguson, unfollow me now" and "Nobody should be talking about anything but Ferguson" and "Stop your stupid promotions!"

Well, okay, America. As you wish.

I had nothing to say about what was going on because:
I'm not American.
Canada is where runaway slaves ran TO when slavery flourished in the US.
We have gun control in Canada.
Our cops fuck up, there's lots of racism here, the ol' white man has all the power, but we're not as important as the US. Arguably, there is no country on earth that is more important than the Super Power to the South (our south, anyway.)
I've already expressed my concern over the present state of America.
(The word "America" is the short form of USA, not North America. If it were the short form of North America, it would include Canada. It doesn't.)
I don't even GET an American news channel that was exclusively covering Ferguson. CBC TV led off with the story but there were other things happening, right here in my home, that mattered, too. Not to the USA of course - but still. Other things mattered.

I posted two Tweets last night:
A link to a news report that said Government offices had been warned of possible ISIS attacks targeting soldiers and police prior to the murder of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, which took place 2 days *before* the murder of Nathan Cirillo by Zehaf-Bibeau. After the murder at the War Memorial "Zehaf-Bibeau returned to his vehicle...drove a short distance...abandoned his vehicle...carjacked a parliamentary vehicle...entered the Centre Block through the main entrance under the Peace Tower...wounded a security guard, ran down the main corridor firing at closed doors behind which the Conservatives (one one side) and the NDP (on the other) were gathered. Finally, he hid in an alcove where Chief Superintendent Kevin Vickers "took him down."
THIS IS RIDICULOUS! Where the HELL was increased protection in the face of an ISIS threat, which at the very least should have been ramped up at our Federal Parliament Buildings?
It is a big deal in Canada.
(Are you still reading this post? I tried to make that recap of the event that shook my country up, real bad, as short as possible.)

Second tweet: High winds battered the GTA, creating havoc and cutting off power to thousands of homes.
This was (and continues to be) a big deal in the Greater Toronto Area, where I happen to live.

Here's the thing, American Tweeters:
You don't actually get to tell those of us who are not American what we may or may not Tweet about and when.
I can say with certainty that the vast majority of you don't give a rat's ass what's happening in MY country, let alone the UK, let alone the rest of the world, until and unless it impacts on your country.

Often, I admire the exuberance of Americans. Often, it dismays me.

Please don't get me wrong. Every time another guy goes postal and massacres a bunch of innocent American civilians I AM SORRY. Every time violent riots erupt that are ignited by perceived or real racism, I AM SORRY.
The thing is, I can't even vote in the USA. I am (we are) not able to help you.

Don't imagine for one second that your neighbour to the north doesn't care about what Americans do. Canada was targeted by ISIS because our government decided to join your government on the ground in Iraq. Canada cleared its air space on 9/11. We sent Aid Workers to New York. We sent search and rescue teams to New Orleans.

We always stand by the USA and probably always will. That's what allies do. That's what neighbours do. That's what we do.
But you guys don't get to bully any of us guys on social media because some of us (not me! not me!) were slow to get that something big was going down in Ferguson last night. You don't get to say what's important to the rest of the world.

Really, you don't.

Maybe the ongoing serious issues in the USA are internal issues. Maybe you have to handle them yourselves. Maybe, some of us are overwhelmed or just plain getting tired of your constant problems with prejudice, overeager cops/militia, and your goddam lack of gun control.
We're very sorry. Fix your problems or something. I don't know.

And I get to say so. I get to say whatever I want, whenever I want, on social media or wherever I want, because I live in a free country, too.

Protestors outside the US Consulate in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Story here.

Photo Credits: Tree: CBC, Nov. 24, 2014
Protestors: Nathan Denette, The Canadian Press, Nov.25, 2014

Monday, 24 November 2014

Ready For My Close Up

Me getting hand-blocked by Andrea Martin. I'm the blonde in the jean shirt.
At long last I have located the SCTV episode I appeared in. This cracks me up. We had video playback so I could see what was in frame. Notice how I manage to sliiiiide into view as much as possible.

Michael thought I should've been an actress. I think this confirms it. I'm a natural!

By the way, everyone in the arts in Edmonton was an extra on SCTV at one time or another. But not everyone got so much air time.

I appear at 13:00 and reappear throughout the "UNION" scene. Watch for my exit, stage left, at the end of the scene. If you listen hard, you'll hear me shout, "Let's go!"

I coulda bin somebody...


Saturday, 15 November 2014


First annual Stranded Seven Lightsabers

Pink Light Sabre goes to: Madeline Moore "Class, femininity and a pleasure to read and flirt with."

Why thank you, Mr Stranded.

Friday, 14 November 2014

#STUMPCRYSTAL - Contest time!

@CrystalPenguin sez:

Win a signed book by erotica author @MadelineMoore

We are looking for sexy questions that cannot be answered by googling (I don't wanna be accused of cheating)
"If you were w/ 5 men & they all wanted to penetrate you, how would you do it?"
@madelinemoore will be judging
@penguincrystal will be answering
Ask using the #StumpCrystal

Bookswill be sent anywhere in North America. But anyone may participate, what a gift for you favourite tweeter over the ocean!! Nov.30 we will choose a winner, so book may be received by XXXmas.

If you've read this far, please participate and retweet these instructions. I will be tweeting them once a day to try to get maximum penetration.
(Do I mean participation?) both are good.
@penguincrystal, amateur attention whore and
@msmadelinemoore, professional attention whore.


Sunday, 26 October 2014

What the Actual F**k, Canada?

You know how you guys sometimes say, "What The Actual Fuck, Canada?"

Well, what the actual fuck, Canada.

Many of the the politicized people I follow on Twitter (whom I assumed were my like-minded peeps because of their outspoken views on the way Prime Minister Stephen Harper is destroying the environment of Canada) have revealed themselves to be conspiracy nuts with little attention paid to the facts. I've become the person with the facts. If my life as a social media pundit was doomed (and it was) my life as a political pundit is laughable at best.

But what the actual fuck, Canada?

I'm afraid the country is going to go all "Lady Di" on Nathan Cirillo's funeral. The family has been asked to have the funeral at the Colosseum in Toronto. We didn't even know he had a girlfriend until yesterday and have yet to see her or his 4 yr old son or either of his parents but they're being asked to throw a funeral in a stadium?

Harper is criticized for hiding in a closet in chambers when told there was a shooter in the house? This is normal, although maybe in other countries the hidey hole is less makeshift. And by the way, if he arranged this event to make our country into a police state, wouldn't he have made like a hero and grabbed a flag pole, too?

And if you're going to criticize the lack of security on Parliament Hill (which should be criticized) you cannot turn on a dime and accuse Harper of infringing on our rights. You can't ask Harper why the government knew that we'd been hiked up the ISIS list since joining our USA allies in strikes against it and did not act (a good question) and then accuse him of being a totalitarian when he seeks broader rights and increased policing powers.

It's Canada's turn to relinquish freedom for protection and we're perplexed. We want everyone to like us. Maybe we really are the tard little brother of the USA, a description I've kept to myself for many years.

Who the hell voted for Harper? This is his third term in office! Cut it out!

Right now, Stephen Harper is our leader. Pick your battles, peeps.

Canadians want to "get back to normal" but that can't happen until we're sure the threat from ISIS and Lone Wolf types inspired by ISIS is over and that time hasn't come yet. It may never come.

As well:
The vote for Toronto mayor takes place tomorrow (Monday.) Rob Ford is out (he has cancer, bad) but he's been replaced in the campaign by his brother Doug. So Doug Ford is running for major and might WIN the race.

Earlier today I was arguing on Twitter that Harper cannot, as the above pundits proclaim, dismantle the CBC. They say it will happen under Harper's watch and I tell them they're wrong. I worked at CBC Radio (regional and network) when the Corpse didn't have a building of its own. There were major attempts to destroy it back then. Now its got pride of place in downtown Toronto. Harper won't take it down. But . . . this afternoon we discovered . . .

Jian Ghomeshi, the talented host and co-creator of CBC radio's Q, was just fired from the CBC (because, he says, his private life has been paraded all over social media and the perception of it is not in synch with CBC standards) and fighting back on social media by telling us he's into consensual BDSM. C.B.C. can't respond because Ghomeshi has launched a law suit. We shall see how this unfolds. If he's a date-rapist, he loses. If he was fired for his sexual predilections, he'll become a rich pervert. He's suing the CBC for $50 million The C. B. C.
The CBC does not have fifty million bucks to spare.

So, What the Actual Fuck, Canada?

These are dangerous times, which is why it's integral that we all keep our WITS about us. Justin Trudeau says, "I want your smarts." Until we can give them to him we have to use them individually, as best we can.

Justin's Dad, Pierre, said, "There's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation."
Did the CBC just cut its own throat. At the very moment when we really need it?

Pierre Trudeau also called in the National guard during the October Crisis. Remember it? We got through that bout of domestic terrorism. We can get through all this. Everyone just needs to smarten up.

xoxo Mad

Bruce Cockburn - Lovers In A Dangerous Time

Friday, 24 October 2014

The Trickle Down of Tragedy

A lost Canadian man, age 32, applied for a passport to go to the middle-east. Due to his criminal record the application was denied. Stuck with no way to join his like-minded brethren in another part of the world, he struck at the very heart of Canada. Domestic terrorism.

The symbolism of what he did, murdering a 24 year old soldier who stood ceremonial guard over the War Memorial on Parliament Hill, is breath-taking. Minutes later he burst into the Federal Parliament Buildings, House of Commons, pursued by police. If he'd done it an hour later, the corridors would've been packed with MPs and press. Inside, a lot of gunfire took place and when it was over he was dead. He died less than ten minutes after he murdered Nathan Cirillo.

Even for a big country like Canada, this was a big shock.

The killer's father (originally from Lybia) hasn't spoken. Today, the killer's mother (an employee of the Federal Gov't) issued a statement on behalf of the family. She said, in part, "I am mad at our son, I don't understand and part of me wants to hate him at this time...Please respect our privacy although many may not feel we deserve any . . . Once again we are so sorry."

Cirillo had a 4 year old son. (The mother is no longer in the picture.) Now, Nathan's mother will care for his son. Today she is “... just completely broken, broken right now."

Everybody is so sorry. People get weary of dealing with crazies, even when the crazies are their own kids; members of their communities; fellow citizens. It's even easier to get weary of crazies who live far away.

93 passports have been seized from people the RCMP deem "dangerous." We keep them here rather than let them ship off to boost the ranks of the radicals. Maybe that's an act of charity on Canada's part. Or is it an infringement on our rights? The killer in question wasn't one of the 93.

All this terrible pain has come about because a deranged man wanted to make a statement. I wonder what his statement really would have been? Neighbours say he was a nice kid. Was there anything left of that kid? Probably not. I suppose he'd have said something maniacal and senseless, although his actions were astonishingly clear. It was too late for him.

Keven Vickers said, "I took him down."

It's also too late for a seemingly all-around nice guy, a reservist who dreamed of becoming a full-time soldier. The manager of a Hamilton restaurant where Cirillo served as a bouncer said...." he would often come straight from the armoury in his fatigues, and change at the club before his shifts, joking he would go from one service job to another."

It's typically Canadian for us to produce this black and white story. There's a bad guy and a good guy and both are dead.

So much sadness and loss trickles down, all the way down to the dawgs.

These are Cpl. Nathan Cirillo's dogs.

photo credit: Molly Hayes, Hamilton Spectator (I think)

Sunday, 21 September 2014

#LeonardCohen80 Happy birthday to The Man!

The Man is 80 years old today. Lou Reed said, “We're so lucky to be alive at the same time Leonard Cohen is.” Lou Reed is right!

Here's my tribute to Leonard Cohen, written for Lust Bites "Crush Wednesday," on the occasion of his 76th birthday. (To the melody of Famous Blue Raincoat)

Famous Troubadour

It’s four in the morning but everything's okay
I’m writing you now just to say ‘Happy Birthday’
Toronto is steamy I like where I’m living,
they’re busy on Clinton St. all through the evening

I hear that you’re working
writing your poems, singing in Europe
You were robbed of your savings, G-d!
I hope you’re keeping some kind of record

Yes, and John came by
just to drop off the girls
we’re finished as lovers, for sure
It’s been good for us, we have grown
Apart, and for good.
I loved you, as John did,
your songs were about us,
destructive, creative and tortured with love/lust
You were part of our courtship,
and part of our wedding
still we weren’t prepared
for the pain of our ending

And you treated all women to a sip of your life
I took more than my share, now I’m nobody’s wife

Well I see you, hair grey and wrinkly face
Silent One so full of grace
Well I’m dry again
but now I know how to wait

He took all of your albums
I knew they would help him
He cried all the time, just like me
It cost us so much
to be free of each other
a home and a whole family

It’s hard when you’re young
it gets soft later on
so much to collect,
then so much to be gone

Yes and thanks for the trouble you took for us all
for showing us it's okay
to fall, rise, and fall
I’m so happy you’re happy
an old monk who’s still sexy
and living among us again
I said, ‘Leonard I love you’
at the time of our meeting
I feel like we’ve always been friends

John and I aren’t pals
No secrets, no sighs
but we talk and last night
we laughed at his lies

And thanks for the poems and songs that you write
for helping us give up the fight

We're beautiful losers, like you.

Sincerely, M. Moore

Friday, 22 August 2014

Fantasy Sanatorium

This is where the fragile go for treatment, because in this fantasy land psychological pain is honoured, even if the source of it is common. Death, divorce – even the existential dilemma we call ‘mid-life crisis’ is treated with compassionate care.
The patients’ rooms are large and immaculately clean. The nurses wear traditional nurses’ garb. There are doctors who treat both physical and mental disorders and each one has plenty of time for each patient.
There are lovely drugs, of course. Therapeutic baths. Little walks around the aesthetically pleasing grounds are encouraged but not mandatory. The food is irresistible, delivered three times a day by pleasant people. There is beautiful music.

Everybody is kind. The more the patient suffers, the more delicately she is handled. Sensitivity, in this world, is highly regarded. Those who work in the arts are valued for their dedication, not their popularity. There is art everywhere in this land but in the sanatorium all the art, while of the highest quality, is soothing.

The patient has no workload; it’s all being taken care of. If her home needs to be cleaned it is cleaned. If she has pets they are well-looked after. If she has children they are coddled. There is nothing for her to worry about while she is in the sanatorium.

She sleeps between sheets of fine Egyptian cotton. She sleeps until she isn’t tired anymore. She talks until she doesn’t want to talk anymore. She visits with her friends as often or as infrequently as she wants. Everybody understands. When her children come to visit they bring fresh flowers and chocolate and they are delightful. They shower her with baby kisses, even if they aren’t babies. They love her more for her fragility than they did before. She doesn’t have to be strong for them, they are magically strong and well and sweet.

There are peer-affection-workers; nice men and women who have been where the patients are now. They visit often and their job is to pet and compliment and make love to their patients. No pain; no expectation. If she wants kisses she is kissed. If she wants sex she gets sex. She is not expected to play any role of any type. She accepts what she wants when she wants it. There are no complications or consequences, except she feels better. The human touch.

Because she has been diagnosed as sad, all her external problems are taken care of in her absence. If she needs a bed, there will be a bed in her home when she is discharged. And so on.

Really, this is a place dedicated to loving and accepting those who have become, through sadness, pitiful and irritating. They don’t ever have to leave but because they get better they want to leave and so they do. Some return as peer-affection-workers or volunteer flower-arrangers. Some donate their paintings or their music or their art, some donate their time, or money. Some donate nothing. It’s okay not to give back. By getting well, the patient has already given back.

Oh! That’s right! In this magical sanatorium, everyone always gets well.

8 Months

If you could see me
you’d be so sad
your eyes might fill
with the only kind of tears you ever had

I’m skinny, I swear, I smoke and I flirt like mad
there’s no black on white only the blur of grey and –
look, never mind, I promise I’ll be okay
I’m still here so I may as well stay.

Don’t let little old me
make you feel bad.
It’s a bitter pill
I choose not to swallow.
Close your eyes, sweetheart, or turn away
I do not want to burden the gentled shoulders
of the dead.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Too much

I cannot take
another loss
but lose is what I do
I do not know
why I must pay
so much for loving you.
I cannot take
another love
but love is what I do
I do not know
why I must pay
so much for losing you.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Six Months

Six months ago today, (E.S.T) . . .

Michael is in the hospital. Ive written this poem, (for lack of a better word.) Now I'm sitting beside his hospital bed, facing his back, working on it. (I only know this because the date is typed on the copy I'd printed to take with me to the hospital.)

He is facing the window, where the big tree at the entrance to the hospital is labouring under the weight of an encasement of ice.
Neither will last till morning.

We don't talk. I have him cranked on morphine so he will not be in pain. I never want him to be in pain again. He has been made comfortable facing the window. I can't sit on that side of his bed because that will position me beside the radiator and I can't take the heat.

I've already had pneumonia guy removed from what passes for I.C.U. in this community hospital. I've already rattled the bars on the empty bed beside him until the alarmed nurse said, "What's the matter with you?"

"I want to know what's wrong with him. I think he has leukemia!"

"He doesn't have leukemia. The Doctor will fill you in. He's making his rounds."

I get that if I misbehave I'll have to leave, so I take a valium, sit back down and work on this thing some more.
Michael says, "Are you crying?"
I say, "Yes."

I haven't looked at this since he and his tree broke down and died.

It isn't very good but this is all it'll ever be. I can't touch it, not even to fix a grammatical error. I'm going to have to let it stand. This is my six month tribute to my late man.

Poor Me


If It’s Christmas This Must Be I.C.U.

I’ll bring you the poisonous plant
(poisonous for the cat)
the poinsettia from my Dad,
same as before.

This time I don’t have to worry
about paying for parking,
because we don’t have a car!
But it’s hard to get a cab this time of year.

Poor me.

Bell cut off our internet.
Yeah, behind all the ISPs
lurks Ma Bell.

I called the techie super nerd
and asked him to fix it
but he said he can’t.

I said, “What if I threaten to kill myself?”
I said, “I’m a writer, I could pen a piece for the Globe and Mail.”
I said, “My husband’s in the hospital, we get paid by e-transfer.”

He said he had no opinion on any of that.
(Not even the suicide threat. Stupid boy.)
I hope we get it back before Christmas,
Seems all my real friends aren’t here.

Twenty years in this two bit town
I can’t get a ride to the hospital?

Poor, poor me.

I’m no poet.
I don’t call you Felix.
I call you “Boss” most of the time.
Sometimes Mikola.


I taught you that anger is a valid emotion.
It’s okay to laugh out loud.
You can love without risking the cheap tricks
of women who want you to change.

You taught me that a man
could know me, really know me
and love me all the time,
and say “I adore you,” and “I never lie,”
and I could believe him, love him back
and not risk the terrible tricks
of men who want to change me.

C’mon sweetheart,
we’ve been here before.
Okay, the ten good years you promised me are up
but you know I always want more.

Come home come home
We (that stupid cat and me) can’t be a family without you.
I made stew! I cleaned up all your blood!
I’ve never had a problem begging,
look at me, so “decorative”
down on my knees,
I beg you and baby Jesus and God and Bob and Zeus and all
the big guys you don’t believe in.
Come home.

Hey Boss! We forgot to get married!
But we never forgot to be in love.

Lucky, lucky me.

Dec.21, 2:50 a.m.

T.O.D. Dec. 22, 6:20 a.m.
Last words: “I’ve had enough. I’m going now.”

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Written On Skin - Edgy Erotic Stories about Body Modification

Oh boy I've been published in 2014. Almost unbelievable. Not only that, but I intro the antho with my short story, "Hemosexual."

The piece was accepted before Michael died and written before I even met him. (I reworked it after its acceptance.) "Hemosexual" is one of those stories (and I have very few, as I find the promise of payment embarrassingly inspirational) that I had to write, though I knew at the time it would never see the light of a computer screen. Too weird.

Times have changed. Maybe I'm not weird; maybe I'm transgressive.
If I weren't before, I'm pretty sure I am now.

So here's the thing: It's an e-book, just published by Burning Book Press, edited by Remittance Girl.

Here's what it looks like:

Did I mention that my story introduces the anthology?
Hahaha I just linked to myself. Oh shameless one! (It was an experiment . . .) You want proof? I'll give it to you:
Preface by Remittance Girl
Hemosexual by Madeline Moore

I've been reading the anthology since I got my contributor's copy and there's something in it for everyone!

That's a lie.

It's about the eroticism of body modification. But Remittance Girl describes it better than I can so just go buy the book and read the preface. Wet yer whistle on this:
...sexual desire . . . may be born in the mind, but it is always lived in the body.
Slippery sapiophiles yer already panting for more . . .

Some of us you've read before and some of us you haven't. All of us are talented. How else do you suppose we got into the anthology? There's no bribe big enough or beg grovelly enough to blur the clarity of Remittance Girl's editorial eye.

So get yer not-quite-five-bucks together and put yer ove glove on and buy the book.

Then you can be part of the conversation. It promises to be a good one.

Burning Book Press
Drive Thru Fiction

photo of grovelling button from rossrightangle
All other photos from the private collection of Madeline Moore :P

Sunday, 25 May 2014

The Sacred or the Mundane?

I spent the Victoria Day Weekend (referred to in Canada as "the big two four", no matter what date the actual holiday occurs on) writing a short story, my first entirely new piece of 2014. It was grueling. At first I thought I was rusty but then I remembered, it was always this hard.

The words were good but my timing was way off. Not enough hours slotted for research left me with no cool down before the polish. I submitted it by my deadline, which was Monday, my time (I decided.)

"Daao Sawang"
(Little Stars)

The English translation of the Thai words is incorrect so that will certainly have to be changed, whether the story is accepted for the anthology or not. It should read:

"Daao Sawang"
(Bright Stars)

It was a helluva way to spend the long weekend. First draft Friday night, second Saturday - more than 2,000 words over the maximum word count stated in the anthology guidelines. Two thousand words?

Generally, I eschew the use of totems to boost the fertility of my work, as I procrastinate enough without conducting a search for my lavender incense (which smells like pot to non-smokers and makes my eyes water so is, if anything, counterproductive) and so on. This time I wore my Buddha medals. I don't write to music but I did this time because the first half takes place in a little village in Thailand and begins with a true account of my location and company the night I smoked pot and heard Abbey Road, both for the first time. By Sunday I had the lengthiest brain worm of my life. Maxwell's Silver Hammer was imbedded in my head. Woah woaaaah woah woah!

I prefer that my characters submit to my whim and not the other way around. But in this case Carl and Rose had been yapping incessantly during the writing of the first draft. They'd gotten away from me.

These two are novel worthy.

That's all very well but I wasn't writing a novel. Once I figured that out, and pestered a few people on Twitter and Facebook, all I had to do was muster the words of my film mentor, the great Czechoslovakian actor and Canadian NFB producer, Vladimir Valenta, and the task became simple. "WHAT IS THIS SHIT IN MY FRAME?"

Draft words are written in sand.
But the final product?

"Keep your eyes on the big dog, baby."
(from "Daao Sawang")

I've read Remittance Girl's piece on the ERWA website, but I've yet to read the two posts she refers to, so I'm not prepared, yet, to weigh in on the sacredness of my words. But I'll be back.

Remittance Girl is one of the editors of Burning Book Press, which will soon publish Written on Skin, an anthology that contains a story by me. More on that as the details roll in.

My story was enthusiastically received by the three editors spear-heading the project. RG asked for more words. She didn't suggest changes to the words already on the page; she wanted some clarification of the male protagonist's kink.

I had the luxury of time in my rewrite. By the end, I think I sent RG three polishes. I said to someone (not Michael) "I think I've written a perfect short story."

In this case, my editor's request helped immensely. She told me on Twitter, "Still loving your story," which made me happy. But had she finished reading it? I asked. "Four times," was her response.

I didn't know anthology editors read the final short stories that many times. Is this the norm?

Alice Munro (my hero!) dedicated one of her books, "To the careful reader."

Writers need to meet, or exceed, the expectations of the careful reader. I can say that much right now.

Picture credits:

1) Star

2) Abbey Road

3) Canis Major

4) Blood

Monday, 28 April 2014

I Need Rest

I need rest. Oh my God my god I need rest. I need to fucking mourn. I need to write something.

If I don’t write something my mind will implode. It may even explode but imploding would be better. We could call it a nervous breakdown.

There’s a new term for “nervous breakdown” but I don’t have to search it because I’m a recent widow and because we’re having a fucking conversation here. I watch comedy specials. On the Comedy Network. In Sarah Silverman’s brilliant “39” (which she executive produced) she tells the audience of thirty-nine, “You’re in this thing with me. Don’t kid yourselves.” I’m not sure she’s the first stand up comic to say this but she’s one of the first. So if you’re reading this, you’re in conversation with me. Your job is to say, “What happened next?” and “Go on, I’m listening,” and “I hear you.”

Steve Martin said, (I’m paraphrasing) “With the advent of the internet, who really knows if his material is original?” Someone could be saying everything I’m saying on another site as I speak. I suppose that’s unlikely but not impossible. Or someone could cop this and post it on her own blog. Although my spies might find it. Like many hopelessly naïve people, I’m protected by a network of invisible friends. I actually have a world wide web. I just don’t know who the spider is, anymore.

Uh oh. Don’t tell me Madeline Moore is falling into another funk. There’s no time for that! Although . . . I am learning to understand and speak double-talk. This is absolutely necessary when one enters the system. Michael said I should’ve been an actress. I know what he meant. My fear was that I wouldn’t be able to memorize lines. I’m very impressed by the ability of actors to memorize lines. But my suspension of disbelief is awesome.

Right now I want to say that a nervous breakdown would be the very best move on my part. I’ve been told I wouldn’t like the local psychiatric facilities but if I managed to have the breakdown in Hamilton, I know for a fact the psych ward at McMaster Hospital is gorgeous. There’s no reason for me to go to Hamilton, which makes it the perfect place to stage my mental collapse.

If I could get the corner room where my step-daughter was living the day I met her, I’d stay for a month. It was gorgeous. Filthy of course but she’d already been in it for a couple of days. I bet it cleans up nicely.

She was wearing a blue gown. She threw open her arms and cried, “Step-mommy.”
I went to my safe place.

All my life people have said, “You should do stand-up.” My reply? “Standing in a smoke-filled room trying to make drunks laugh for fifty bucks a night? That sounds even worse than being a writer!”

The Comedy Network. Who knew? Who knows what the future holds. As Tom Robbins wrote in Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, “Who knows how to make love stay?” I dunno, Tim, but your line sure stuck.

It can’t be done. Love cannot be made to stay. Words stay, though. Lines.

If I had a nervous breakdown everything would be taken care of for me. I wouldn’t be able to take care of myself, obs, so people would have to come in and take care of it for me. I could write. I’d get disability money from the government. I’d be paid to live very frugally and be depressed and write. I know, eh? It sounds too good to be true but there you have it.

I’m taking breaks as I type this because the sun is shining on my balcony, which it does for about an hour a day, in the right front corner. There’s just enough room for a chair. I came in to crank up more sad music and got distracted by this piece I’m writing. It’s complicated because those who are grieving don’t focus well. Also lose stuff constantly. These little problems overly-complicate an already intolerable situation. I’ve lost my wallet three times (if you count the time it was in my purse, which I lost on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Actually, I didn’t lose it, I just forgot it during my impromptu photo shoot. :P) That’s three times this month.

More music. I had a dance party on Twitter last night and lost three followers. HAHAHA! Plus I was snootily subtweeted about by a stupid agent I followed one day when I decided to follow a hundred agents. I unfollowed her. There you go, sweetheart! No mo’ invites to Maddy Mo’s dance parties for you. Hashtag MMdanceParty. OoooOOooo I’m subtweeting. She started it and anyway, this is a blog post. I’m not on Twitter right now. The freedom!

Free of all those fucking rules (Twitter is far from the anarchic entity it appears to be) and terrible 140 character maximum which is so useful for writers. Free from giving a damn about followers who come and go like busy little ants. I wanted more followers than following and now I have that and I always will, because if I dip in the opposite direction I’ll just go unfollow more agents. There’s only two that interest me. The rest are window dressing so the two I adore won’t know how much I adore them. I need a fucking finished manuscript first.

Which is another thing. I’m between publishers right now. No more pitch packages and advance on royalties for me. Which means I’m also free of the rules of the genre. They were so comforting, in the beginning. I liked having my options forcefully focused. I liked advances on royalties, too. But I don’t want to be restrained any more. My last attempt at writing an erotic novella that targeted the erotica reading populous tanked. So if it isn’t even working and I don’t have to do it to get an advance, I see no reason to follow any genre-related rules. Yippee. Breath play here we come!

The bells are ringing. “Bringing in the Sheaves” or “Blame it on the Stones” depending on your denomination. Oops. The sun is off my balcony. The birds are singing. They’re the same birds that will be singing when I go to bed tomorrow morning.

I need rest.

So the nervous breakdown is one option.

Here’s the other: eviction

I try to listen to the advice of my ex-husband. The man knows from money. His ideas are usually too extreme for me but in retrospect I always see how the scheme might’ve worked to my advantage. Financially. He thinks I should get evicted.

Once again, I do nothing. It all gets done for me. Perhaps not as restful as the nervous breakdown but I don’t have to get myself to Hamilton, which frankly fails to appeal. It’s a long ride and that’s in a car.

Eviction takes three months. I could fire the stuff I actually want into some boxes and out the door. The rest could be carried out around me while I sit cross-legged on the King bed, refusing to budge. Maybe cuffed to the headboard? I knew we should’ve bought a headboard. Cuffed to something. If I still had handcuffs. Everything went down the garbage chute the day Michael died. Pity, really. I kept the flogger, made with love by my man.

When I left my home and my family I took very little stuff but I cleverly absconded with the Christmas decorations I so carefully selected over the many years of my incarceration in the Institution of Marriage. I have four Rubbermaid containers of Christmas decorations. Every member of my fractured family is moving in May. Nobody will take one solitary item from my valuable collection of family memorabilia. This pains me. What about the first scribblings of my children? Their little clay hand prints? What about my pink Xmas ornament upon which is written “Baby’s First Christmas”? Nobody wants any of this shit? That is correct. Not one member of my nuclear-bombed family wants a thing. I’m sure I’ll never celebrate Christmas again. Who’s the smarty pants now, MM?

Sun is out again after all. Must go catch some rays. Ahaha. I have a mental vision of hurling Christmas ornaments off my balcony, starting with “Baby’s First Christmas.” But if I want that corner room in Hamilton, I need to have my break-down in Hamilton.
Tossing crap off the building will just get me evicted faster. Best to . . . what’s the term? Keep my counsel? I believe so.

Peter’s doing a musical number on Family Guy. “You don’t thank the Lord, you thank the whites.” Ahaha. I laugh every day, whether I like it or not.

I really need to rest.

Pictures: nervous breakdown: haleyscomic.com
balcony shot: mine, taken with a kobo
evicted woman image: Ontario rental tribunal
baby ornament: etsy.com

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Seven Years in Four Hours - Speed Addiction

Last night I watched Matt Pollack’s film about his addiction to porn, Run Run It’s Him.

His filmmaker pals have banded together to help Matt launch this, his first film, shot on Super 8 over a period of 7 years. He and I have a mutual friend, the curmudgeonly Alan Zweig, who labored in irritable obscurity until his documentary, When Jews Were Funny, won Best Canadian Feature of the Year at TIFF 2013. Now Zweig is a slightly less curmudgeonly success story.

A few weeks ago I offered to review the film. I’ve pretty much abandoned my idea of becoming a pop culture social media pundit, at least until I get a more solid grounding in IT. and, oh Lordy, a lap top. Until then, I’m going to be a “wannabe” pop culture social media pundit for the land of the silver birch, home of the beaver – Canada.

I thought I’d do Matt a favor and launch my latest freelance endeavor at the same time.

I’ve never met Matt Pollack but he’s awfully adorable, I discovered when I went to his not-very-user-friendly website and watched a twelve minute interview with him. And damn, kudos for his honesty.

Happily someone stepped in to run the website. The film became available for download on April 1. I tried to purchase it at quarter after midnight and failed. By now I’m muttering, “Jesus, Matt,” as if I do know him. A quick post to the new facebook page dedicated to his film ("Is it already sold out?" I politely enquired) and his web manager had handled the problem. I don't know what Matt was doing. Probably sleeping.

Since then, he’s garnered a lot of high profile press in Canadian media. I’m not really doing him the favor I thought I’d be, but by now I have some interest in my review and my own interest in the film, so I soldier on.

Last night I sat down to watch the film. I was well into it when it occurred to me that I’d only seen three porn movies in my life. I know quite a lot about "porn theory" (thanks to my Lust Bites days) but I’ve always been a fan of written sexual titillation. Aside from the pesky tingling sensation in my loins, it seemed prudent to take a look at some of the sorts of films that are featured as mere clips in Matt’s movie.

Four hours later, I surfaced for air. In that time I’d gone from “How about a little spanking porn?” to “This stuff is boring, how about some BDSM?” to “Extreme BDSM” to “Forced fisting and dp.”

Jesus! I finished up a 21 minute foreign film, having managed not to sign up to any sites, and was grumpily wondering, “Now what?” when I noticed I had fifteen windows open, invitations from “neighbors” to chat and was actually considering digging just a tad deeper, perhaps into the not-quite -so-legal stuff, when my somewhat sticky hand moved to my mouse, almost of its own accord, and speed-closed all the windows.

My PC can’t handle this sort of action and neither, apparently, can I.

Four hours isn’t seven years but it’s enough. This stuff is insidious. Mere interest had become a feverish need for satiation that had all but obliterated any sense of reality. I’d reached for my credit card more than once before deciding there was no way I was spending my precious toonies on pornography. There had to be some free stuff that would alleviate what had gone from curiosity to an insatiable quest for satisfaction. Right?

I finished watching Matt’s film. I have my notes and my interview questions.

Another night turns to day. The cat is biting my elbows, a sure sign his food bowl is empty. So – is Run Run It’s Him a tribute or a warning? I’ll say no more. You’ll have to read the review to find out.

Run Run It's Him

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Social Media for Fun, not Profit

It occurred to me that a good way to supplement my income as a writer/teacher was to become a pop culture social media pundit. A Canadian pop culture social media pundit. Why not? Besides the fact that:
1) Really, the www could not care less about pop culture opinions from Canadians.
2) I'm working on a P.C.
3) I'm only a few steps away from being a tech-luddite.
4) Did I mention I'm a Canadian?

The dream is fast losing its charm. I live-tweeted the Academy Awards and the Canadian Screen Awards. The latter was impossible, as the show was pre-recorded! Posting my comments gained me a new Twitter follow though: CBC. I was thrilled.

For one week I live-tweeted The Jimmy Fallon Show. Yesterday, (Friday) I wondered if I'd make it to the end of the hour. I was exhausted and said so, which led to a comment from some sucker whose Twitter handle is something like "ILUVJIMMY' to refer to me as 'elderly. WHA - ?

The charm of social media is rapidly fading. My greatest concern is that it's a waste of time, career-wise.

And I'm losing steam on this live-tweet thing.

Here's the big problem with Twitter: these megastars are among us and we get to follow them if we want to and Tweet stuff to them. Some, like Margaret Atwood, who is a Tweetfreak, tweet right back. It's so great! Others, like Stephen King, post a comment and never engage in the ensuing discussion.

King's first post was: I'm a Twitter virgin. Be kind." I know he and Atwood are friends so I suggested he consult Margaret Atwood and added her hashtag. She was there a minute later. I kind of felt like he should *thank* me. At the time he'd been on Twitter for about ten minutes so I was one of his first followers.

Joyce Carol Oates is another Twitter regular. Most of the time she's posting esoteric stuff I barely understand, but one time she complained that her husband wanted to put a big Buddha head in the garden. I suggested a reclining Buddha, the skinny, Therevada type with the elongated ear lobes. A few days later she posted a picture of their compromise and there it was! The Buddha I'd suggested. Again, I was a bit miffed. No thank you from Joyce? Humph.

But the one who actually drove me crazy, early in the game, was Steve Martin. He pops in, says something funny and "chats" with followers, usually correcting their grammar. But I could *not* get him to notice me. I actually had to be talked down by a Tweet friend. I had to unfollow Steve for awhile but as he brilliant (sadly, pretentiously so) and so hysterically funny I started following him again, without ever attempting to join in the fun. And you can watch a fan get ANGRY because Steve won't acknowledge him. (mostly guys get angry while girls suggest Steve make love to them.) Once I removed myself from the fray I saw how quickly the idolization turns to personal attacks. 'You're not even funny, Martin!' etc.

I think this comes back to the whole 'global village' thing. Everybody's writing a book, making a movie, starring on a reality show. Everyone can be a star! Just like real celebrities. So people think that because their celebrity idols are on Twitter, and they are on Twitter, they equals. And the stars have indicate that they're accessible; at least, the ones who actually monitor their own Twitter sites. Really, like Atwood, they *should* be accessible. Else why BE on Twitter at all?

But who are fans, who are they *really*, to think that by the simple act of following a celeb, they should be noticed? Thanked? On fb we have 'friends' but on Twitter we have "followers." That's all fans are to celebs. Followers. Followers who are so quickly disillusioned because they're not being acknowledged. So they become haters.

What will happen if Steve Martin laughs at one of my jokes, or Jimmy Fallon follows me? More Twitter followers for me, I think. But what does that mean? I only know of 2 people who follow me and have read my work.

A part of me strongly believes that using social media to become more popular is a waste of time. I suspect a billion dollar industry is keeping this truth from us. Yes, people who are already big shots probably sell more work because of Twitter, but the rest of us? I'm far from convinced.

Twitter has true value. During the disaster in Haiti, the exact location of Aid workers was known in hours, not days, because Tweets are such small packets they get out more successfully than e-mails or posts. Twitter can save lives. It's also an exercise in brevity, one I can really use! How much information can you pack into 140 characters?

But it's main usefulness is in free entertainment. Anthony Robbins said, "We aren't in an information age, we are in an entertainment age." It's astonishing how many funny people there are on Twitter; just regular folks with regular jobs who are hilarious. Twitter is *fun.* But is it a promotional tool. Is Facebook a promotional tool? Blogs? Even websites? Most of the time an author's contest is won by another author. (Unless, again, that author is already wildly popular.)

All people need, if they want to interact with an author, is an e-mail address. Here's mine: telltale@primus.ca

Did I just save myself the expense and time of maintaining a website?

Am I actually achieving *anything* on Twitter but getting and giving a few laughs? Here, on Facebook, I have "friends I've never met" and they're invaluable. But they're authors, for the most part. This is why I've used my fb page and my blog, to a lesser extent, to publicly suffer when I can't stand suffering alone anymore. Writers, perhaps because they are in touch with emotions, and knew Michael as well as me, and *know* me from conversations, e-mails, shared posts etcetera, get what I'm going through. I need that.

But that's not what I'm talking about right now. How many of us actually buy and read each others work? After all, we can access our short stories in the anthologies we appear in and as free reads on websites and blogs.

I really suspect that social media in its entirety is an addictive source of laughs and hooking up. And being a sarcastic hater, of course. Easy access to what is probably, but not guaranteed to be, accurate information. Ideas.

But is it a successful promotional tool, worth the time and effort? I have grave doubts.

Thursday, 13 March 2014


Half the trees in this town are dead. The ice-storm glazed their branches with layer after layer of glistening snow until the weight of all that beauty caused them to crack completely. The glittering ground is littered with dead debris. A natural disaster.

I came home last night. I was exhausted. They said I needed to take care of myself. I listened. I should not have come home. I shouldn’t have listened.

Passed out on the bed with the cordless receiver in my hand. The snap of dying trees punctuated my dreamless sleep until I awoke. The window lit up like a solid neon sign. A flash of orange, unlike anything I’d ever seen. Is the entire town under siege? I thought this was a private war. Who would drop a bomb on an innocent little Canadian town? Right before Christmas, too. What heartless terrorists have targeted us?
The clock stopped torturing me with time. No power.

But I must be connected to the alien ship! My fiancé was taken aboard twenty-four hours ago. The aliens, in their blue uniforms, are torturing him. What have I done? Why am I here?

The land line. I fetched it from the emergency supplies kit and plugged it in. There is a dial tone. Mr. Bee, my sister and I called it when we were kids. That was many years ago. That moment, when Mr. Bee buzzed at me, was days, no, hours ago. I listened to the trees die until I passed out again. Woke to the ringing of the telephone. And then I knew. The aliens will not release him after all.

Taxi was waiting when I burst out the front doors of the apartment building, panting from running down many flights of stairs. Don’t slip goddam it! The taxi company had prioritized me. Everyone needs a taxi this time of year. It’s the holiday season! The town was dark; no twinkling lights for anyone. As it should be. Just the sparkle of frozen snow where the headlights granted it a festive spot dance.

I was too late. Because I never should have left. They let me see the carcass. Almost all the tubes were removed, but the catheter was still in place. He hated that thing. I examined him. He was bruised; the evidence of torture was everywhere. The weight of all that pain broke him. I sat with the body, for no good reason. He wouldn’t have liked it but he wasn’t there to forbid it. I did not pray.

The deadly silence was shattered by the crack of branches, loud as claps of thunder. The giant tree at the entrance of the ship had broken. I watched with dull amazement. Was this for him? For me? Should I be grateful for this obvious metaphor: even the strongest living creature can be brought down by the force of nature. I could have laughed. No . . . I did laugh. How was it possible that this all happened at the very same time? Was I being mocked, or comforted? Did any of it have anything to do with me? Probably not. Not even the dead thing; not really.

I took his medic alert bracelet and left.

“Daddy died,” I tell the cat. I fall on the bed. If I sleep, I’ll have to wake up and remember. I don’t want to forget, not even long enough to get some rest. I cry in anguished bursts. This isn’t happening. This thing that happened isn’t happening. I sit up. All I have to do is find him.

Grope my way around the apartment. My hands press hard to the wall, for support. If I have to, I’ll search for him on my knees, but I don’t. I can stay upright, with the walls, the furniture, for help. How is it that this place has magically doubled in size? But he’s here somewhere, I just have to keep my eyes peeled. He isn’t here. He was an atheist. He isn’t anywhere. Just gone. My eyes don’t like being peeled. They fill with tears.

Oh I’m so silly. He’s in a drawer in the bowels of the Mother Ship. I need to go back there and visit him again. It’s common sense.

Or not. This must be the thing called grief. I make my way back to the bedroom. Need to remember that phrase, “make my way.” Use it properly, in the future, or maybe not at all.

Christ, how can it be that there are any branches left? Yet the noise draws me to the window. Interesting, the dead tree, where the hawks live, stands tall. You’d think it would be the first to fall but you’d be wrong.

The medic alert bracelet is on the bed. My first Christmas gift for him. It’s white gold, diamond cut. We laughed at the idea of him wearing jewelry. He loved it. He loved me. The bracelet slips easily onto my wrist. My tattoo, “M” for Michael, goes well with white gold. I rub the tattoo. I kiss it. He isn’t here.

It’s dark. The neon light that lit my window was the generating station blowing up. The great trees on King Street took it out when they collapsed. My taxi driver said so. The town has no power. We are all powerless. This much has been made very clear to me. I get it, okay? This is my only prayer.

So I stand and watch the trees snap and die. Between these sharp punctuations, everything is silent but the steady beat of my treacherous, broken heart. I want the noise to stop.

All pictures are of the Ontario December 2013 Ice Storm

1 @BenNollWeather (Twitter)
2 @JeremyGlobalTV (Twitter)
3 anglicanusefranciscan.blogspot.com
4 @MartinBPhoto (Twitter)
5 @vaughanweather (Twitter)
6 thebluebrick.ca
7 www.theatlantic.com

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Beautiful Boy

Who is this serious, handsome lad?
Someone I will love, someday, though I was not even alive when this picture was taken.
He has already survived WW2; a toddler in London during the blitz.
Though he should have finished school and attended university, he will do his duty. He always did his duty. So he'll work for his father, a tailor, and help his mother in the shop.
He will be a soldier in Cyprus.
He'll marry, have children, move to Canada, work in many fields and excel in all of them. He'll divorce.
He'll marry again, have a daughter and finally fulfill his life long dream by becoming a writer. He will be published. He will teach. Eventually he'll divorce.
He will be my tutor, my mentor, my lover, my fiance.
He will be robust, optimistic, brilliant. He will adore me.
He'll get older, no big deal. He'll get old. He'll fight it, hard, but, as Willie Mays said, "Age is a helpless hurt."
Age will hurt him.
Illness will attack his dignity. but fail to claim it.
He will be hospitalized. His dignity will be taken by force. In a cotton gown with an open back, anchored to a bed by tubes and probes and needles and a mask, he will suffer.
He will reclaim his dignity by releasing his powerful will to live.
He will speak. "I've had enough. I'm going now."
He will die.

But most of that is unknown to this beautiful boy.
I an unknown to this beautiful boy.

But I will know and love the man he will become.

And, because he has had enough, I will let him go.

Sunday, 19 January 2014


One of the best thing about www is the support system that clicks into place when one of us is down. The Global village can = One World. While I believe it's an invitation to insanity to try to care about everybody at all times, I know I can focus on individuals and specific issues and lend my support where and when it's needed most. It's extraordinarily moving to be the one who needs support and find it here, and there, and also over there. I'd say 2/3 (conservative estimate) of the kindness that encourages me to keep moving forward arrives via various forms of media.

On Twitter, someone with no agenda beyond kindness has taken it upon himself to tweet me every morning and every night. "Good morning, how are you?" "Good night. Try to get some sleep." On my "vanilla" facebook site, old friends, many of whom I haven't seen in decades, post condolences. "Stay strong, prairie girl," from a pal in my hometown of Winnipeg, reminds me that I come from a place where everyone endures hardship because of the extreme weather. (I am from "Friendly Manitoba.") On Madeline Moore's facebook site, colleagues of Michael's and mine let me know that Felix Baron's death and Madeline Moore's suffering matter to them. This began on Christmas Day!

Friends and family call me on the phone. Condolence cards arrive in the mail. A dear friend, close to my heart though I haven't seen him since 1981, sent money. This is far beyond the rules of etiquette but artists don't necessarily live by the rules of etiquette. So I don't have to reject it with feeble protests. I can accept it with effusive thanks.

The owner at the school where I tutor part-time and my Madeline Moore editors have tossed their "boss" hats aside, shaken out their hair (those who have hair) and signed their cards and emails with love and xxx's and ooo's.

Sometimes, when the isolation becomes oppressive, I call a friend and ask her to meet me for coffee and a chat. We all need face time and physical contact. I hope this will always be the case for the human race.

But love is in the air. Kindness doesn't have to be wrapped in a pretty parcel tied with a velvet bow and hand-delivered. Kindness can be a word from a new follower who knows what it's like to lose someone (and don't we all know what that's like? Hasn't tragedy come crashing down on all of us?) I believe it's part of being human. One of the great truths of the Buddha is: Life is suffering.

I am suffering. But I've always held on to the overly-simplistic words sung by the Beatles (and before them, by other voices, throughout time) "Love is all you need." It's not deep, it's not impressive, the words aren't even mine. But it's true.

When I came home from the hospital, the morning Michael died, I collected the Christmas presents I'd purchased for my friends and family and tagged them with post-it notes. This is for my eldest daughter. This is for my youngest. For Michael's girl. For my best friend. I tossed a few things down the chute that were nobody's business but my own, now that my partner in passion was no more. I put a note on the freezer door, indicating who to call to pick up my cat.

I sat down and began to think. Was there still time to catch up with Michael and go wherever we go next, together? Was there really any point in disappearing into and then battling my way back from grief? Had I, like Michael, simply "had enough"?

I know how Jerzy Kizinsky committed suicide. I'm pretty sure he did his research first. His method is foolproof, if you don't cop out half-way. Would I cop-out halfway and end up blind but serene? Or a vegetable, incapable of thought or movement? I was alone. Nobody knew Michael was dead. To me, it was a matter of now or never. Make your choice.

My kids, my cat, my 88 year old Dad, my emancipated slave/sister - these are the people that helped me make the right decision. I picked up the phone.

But you, and you, and you - you are the ones who help me believe I made the right decision. Your kindness keeps me going. This is no trivial matter. Please take a moment, right now, to acknowledge that you have done a good thing. You are proof that love is all we need.

This post was inspired by Kerry Bell, Brewt Blacklist and Bruce, but it is for all my friends all over the world. It's for you. Thank you.

The Beatles: Love

Love, love, love.
Love, love, love.
Love, love, love.

There's nothing you can do that can't be done.
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game.
It's easy.

Nothing you can make that can't be made.
No one you can save that can't be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time.
It's easy.

All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.

All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.

Nothing you can know that isn't known.
Nothing you can see that isn't shown.
Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be.
It's easy.

All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.

All you need is love (all together, now!)
All you need is love. (everybody!)
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need (love is all you need).

Oh yeah!
She loves you, yeah yeah yeah.
She loves you, yeah yeah yeah.

Electronic heart photo: salon.24