UNIQUE SUMMER ACTIVITIES: MOVING; SINGING; SAYING GOODBYE TO A PET; SAYING HELLO TO FAMILY; FINDING HELPS FOR EDITING A MEMOIR AND DRAWING INSIGHTS FROM “DEMENTIA AND THE ARTS”

UNIQUE SUMMER ACTIVITIES: MOVING; SINGING; SAYING GOODBYE TO A PET; SAYING HELLO TO FAMILY; FINDING HELPS FOR EDITING A MEMOIR AND DRAWING INSIGHTS FROM “DEMENTIA AND THE ARTS”

Gayle has been remiss in writing any new blog posts for the past two months as we have been traveling after moving out of our house in Vernon, British Columbia on May 11. We spent another almost-two weeks on the other side of town at an apartment borrowed from friends where we had a beautiful view of the sprawling town below and the area we used to live in around Okanagan Lake in the distance.

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We had delayed our departure so that Gayle could attend a wonderful and challenging three-day Chorfest sponsored by the British Columbia Choral Association. The choir festival was held in Vernon this year, so it was too good an opportunity to pass up. Here is our whole group rehearsing for the finale of our final concert – a lively and moving African number.

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Then we headed east for a grueling three-day car trip through eastern BC and the Rocky Mountains, past the Badlands in Alberta, where we had a stop to photograph Ian and our dog Misty posing with a dinosaur at Drumheller. This time we didn’t tour the Dinosaur Museum as we had done some years ago.

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Continuing northeast through the expanse of Saskatchewan prairies, we finally crossed the Saskatchewan/Manitoba border into the northern Manitoba mining town of Flin Flon, built almost entirely on rock and surrounded with forests and lakes. There we had three weeks to recover and relax with Ian’s daughter and her family.

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Our little Shihpoo, Misty, had not been a happy doggie for the past months, sensing some big change was coming as soon as Gayle had begun to pack up our books in early April. She commenced to show us her anxiety by starting to pee on the carpet in the library/sewing room/second bedroom where the packing was taking place. Unhappily, this continued in our borrowed apartment so that we finally bought her doggie diapers for the trip east. Once we got settled in Flin Flon, however, most of her household “accidents” abated. She spent her time those three weeks (when she wasn’t ensconced on Ian’s lap) getting acquainted with daughter Shirley, her house, husband and their dog, Daisy, a Boston terrier. She also met our married grandchildren and their four toddlers. Below is a photo of the 14 of us (including dogs) one afternoon when we all managed to get together at the same time and place.

The extended Morrans/Lee/Falk Family

Luckily, our grandchildrens’ four dogs weren’t present or we might not have got all of us into one photo. Beside the fact that our new apartment in Winnipeg wasn’t ready for occupancy until June 19th, our ulterior motive for staying in Flin Flon for three weeks was to be sure that Misty would be happy there. You see, we can’t have a pet in our new home, a seniors’ life-lease apartment. Misty was already warming up to her new “parents” by the time we left, although she and Daisy still are a bit wary of each other. Time will tell whether they ever become friends, though they are now “sisters.” Ian, especially, misses her terribly but realizes our parting was necessary.

Previously, we had only met one of these great-grandchildren. Brayden who is now approaching his 4th birthday, introduced us to Lexi, 3, Haylee and Alex, both going on two and just learning to walk. We presented them with copies of our latest book, Jake, Little Jimmy & Big Louie, which had been dedicated to the youngsters in our blended families and were delighted when Lexi eagerly opened her copy to give it a once-over, while her little brother looked on. She also enjoyed being read to.

Lexi reading JLJBL        IMG_3615

While in Flin Flon we took the opportunity to go through some boxes of photographs we had brought along. As Author Ian has been finding it difficult to answer Editor Gayle’s many questions while she is editing our next book: Ian’s second memoir entitled Came to Canada, Eh? Continuing a Scottish Immigrant’s Story, Gayle was hoping to jog his memory through old photographs.

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She also enlisted daughter Shirley, who had experienced the immigrant situation with her dad, mom and sister, to identify some of the people and places in the photographs. This was a big help. We plan to repeat the experience now that we are settled in Winnipeg and can rely on the memories of Ian’s other daughter living nearby. Some of Gayle’s questions, however, may never be answered. Though she is still enjoy the editing, this book is proving more of a challenge than past books have been.

Below you will find a link to an article in The Guardian that we have found helpful in understanding the dilemma of memory loss that so tragically accompanies cognitive impairment and how that specifically affects artists. How grateful we are that Ian wrote so much and so well while his memory was good.

Words Fail Us: Dementia and the Arts. http://gu.com/p/4ajmv/sb/

ANNOUNCING PUBLICATION OF OUR LATEST BOOK: JAKE, LITTLE JIMMY & BIG LOUIE

 

 

JLJBL Book Cover

Finally the day has arrived to announce that our latest book is now available for order. We are proud of the product and hope many of you will be anxious to read it. We think adults will enjoy the book as much as children or teenagers will.  The book is written on the pre-teen reading level. You can order a copy online at the following link: https://www.createspace.com/5114278.

Signed copies will also be available from the authors at a Book Launch and subsequent book readings in Vernon, British Columbia, probably in the month of February.

Sometime in February 2015 the book should also be available for order online through amazon or from book stores. Unless you want to take advantage of free postage through amazon by placing an order at a minimum of $25, we request that you place your order through Create Space as listed above as we get a larger royalty and you receive the book at the same price and same shipping and handling fees as through other methods of online ordering.

For those who want to read the book in an e-book format, we will be listing it on amazon as a Kindle book shortly.

Below is the information from the book’s back cover:

Has a pet ever held a special place in your heart?

Though written for children, this book will appeal to pet lovers of all ages. It tells the story of Jake, an 11-year-old boy who adopts Little Jimmy, a budgie bird, born without wings. Jake learns to help Little Jimmy live and feel like a very special bird.

Later, a rescued baby chick is literally dumped into Jake’s hands. “Thing,” as Jake originally names him, soon insists on his own name, becoming “Louie.” Eventually Big Louie grows into a huge and very smart raven. Though he didn’t want the raven at first, Jake soon realizes that Big Louie has become an important part of the family who comes to the rescue when Little Jimmy gets into dangerous situations. One adventure follows another and the three become fast friends who really love each other.

Author Ian Moore-Morrans had ample experience raising his own Jimmy, a cockatiel, from newly-hatched to adulthood. Ian has used that knowledge in portraying realistic characterizations of both birds, including intelligence, comic actions, dependence and independence, plus an ability to “talk” and a knack for finding a very special place within a family.

Co-author Gayle Moore-Morrans, also Ian’s wife and editor, has added her own touch to the story, giving a spiritual dimension to Jake’s family and his decisions in caring for and loving his pets.

For that special “kid’s touch,” Ian and Gayle invited two of their great-grandchildren to collaborate on Jake, Little Jimmy & Big Louie. Great-grandson Leland German was their age-appropriate consultant and Great-granddaughter Hannah German served as the illustrator. They are pictured at the top of the following collage.

Wee Yins' collage-2014

TO OUR ‘WEE YINS’

Our book,” Jake, Little Jimmy & Big Louie,” is dedicated to the eleven children in our lives, three of them born since we first started blogging a draft of the book  almost two years ago. They are our youngsters (or “wee yins,” as Ian would call them in his Scottish vernacular).

In the center is a picture of Ian signing a stack of his books and one of Gayle busy at one of her Location Writing sessions. We are surrounded by photos of these very special children who make up our blended family: from top left and clockwise, Leland, Hannah, Logan, Eva, Gustav, Haylee, Brayden, Alex, Lexi, Madison and Caleigh. We love them all!

 

 

Am I a Co-Author or Just the Editor?

This is Gayle Moore-Morrans blogging. We previewed most of the chapters of Ian’s children’s chapter book, “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie” on this site last year and asked for some feedback from others as well as asking two of our great-grandchildren for input prior to publication – — Now-13-year-old Leland for consultation on the appropriateness of the book’s contents for his age group and now-8-year-old Hannah for some drawings to illustrate the book. In our post of March 21, 2013 I blogged Leland’s review entitled: “Wow!” A Recommendation for Ian’s blogged book, “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie.” I’m now ready to re-scan Hannah’s illustrations for the book as I’ve edited them on Microsoft Paint. Our new printer – an HP OfficeJet Pro 8600 is finally installed and ready for me to do the layout. Here is a preview of the book’s cover illustration showing the boy Jake, and, on his shoulders, his BFFs, Little Jimmy the budgie and Big Louie, the raven.

000-Cover Photo

I’ve usually been identified as Ian’s editor, blogger, publishing and marketing person. How should we recognize my role in this children’s book that has evolved over the years it has been in the making? Am I just the editor or am I also the co-author? In our previous post I re-blogged a very helpful post by Francis Guenette on how she is writing with her mother even though her mother is no longer living. That prompted me to reply to her my thanks for answering a question that my husband Ian and I have been mulling over the past months.

Here are my comments on Francis Guennette’s blog post “Writing with My Mom.”

               Wow, did your blog post on writing with your mother ever resonate with me, Fran! In fact, I feel it has answered a few questions I’ve had in the past year. As you know, our blog is mostly about my husband Ian’s writings. When I started out editing his stories about nine years ago I had just retired from my editing job, we had only been married a year and soon headed for Mexico in our motor home to explore retirement there. I relished getting to know him better through his writings, especially becoming familiar with his impoverished upbringing in Scotland during the depression and war years, his military service with the RAF in Egypt and his early marriage and fatherhood and then immigration to Canada. Editing that book was a true editing job in that I took his words and only changed them for grammatical reasons when necessary but then rearranged large chunks in a much more logical sequence as he had pretty much written it in a “stream of consciousness” fashion. When I found there were gaps or inconsistencies I returned the manuscript to him for additions and clarification. Though Ian was in his early 70s then, he was in robust health and had energy to burn. When he wasn’t writing he was entertaining by performing Scottish songs or teaching me his repertoire so that we could sing and perform together.

                That way of working cooperatively continued after our move back to Canada two and a half years later. But it lasted only for a little over a year when a sudden illness brought him to death’s door and a long hospitalization, much of it while he was in an induced coma. Recovery from the near-fatal illness was a slow process. He was kept alive and healed by over five years’ treatment with prednisone; however, it is basically a poison which wrecked havoc on the rest of his body. A heart attack in 2010 necessitated five stents in his arteries and another regimen of medication, exercise and diet changes. Now at 81, he is pretty much a recluse, rarely sings, no longer writes and rarely even reads. He sleeps a lot and is lucid mostly late afternoons and evenings but doesn’t have the energy to do much with his pile of writings which still need to be published, nor has he been able to do anything about promoting those which have already been published.

               That’s where I come in. I’ve put aside the pile of writing I’ve done over the years, mostly on spiritual insights and family history and feel it is my “labor of love” to try to get the rest of Ian’s writings edited and published. However, as you’ve found with your mother’s writings I have been grappling with the fact that I no longer can ask Ian to do re-writes when I feel they are warranted. Like you said with your mother’s work, “I began to make changes and what I was doing was much more than editing.” Ian and I have discussed how to address the authorship of the next book which I hope will be coming out soon. Granted, he is the main author. He originally wrote the children’s story, nursed it through a number of revisions over the years and had sent it to several publishers even before I met him. It was hung up on the need for editing though. I now have done the editing but have also made a number of changes in the story and added a spiritual component to it which I felt was lacking and needed. It no longer is just the story that Ian wrote. I’ve also recruited our 8-year-old great-granddaughter to do the illustrations for the book and have extensively adjusted those illustrations using Microsoft Paint to make them more consistent and the characters more uniform. So how do we identify the authorship of the book? Ian and I have discussed this and have tossed around listing a co-authorship or a “with” authorship such as “by Ian Moore-Morrans with Gayle Moore-Morrans.” We’ve thought that perhaps the former gives too much credit to me and perhaps the latter makes it look as if Ian had a ghost writer (which certainly isn’t the case).

               I found your remarks helpful when you stated, “I will put the book out in both our names and claim co-authorship for my mom’s stories – though her name will appear first. No matter the work I’ve done, the one who came up with the ideas and the characters deserves first billing.” So I’m feeling more at peace with the “by author with another author” claim.

               What a great legacy your mother has left you and how wonderful that you can keep her memory so alive by working with her writings. I have the added advantage of still having Ian here with me so I can toss ideas and solutions around with him even though he can no longer physically do the re-writes and adjustments. I can even do future book readings and promotions for him without having to take along videos of him reading from the particular book. (Something I did twice in 2012 when I was able to travel to the States to do book readings/sales for Ian when he was unable to travel there because he couldn’t get travel insurance to go out of Canada.)  In addition, Ian has added an addendum to his will granting me full ownership of his writings, both published and unpublished and free rein in pursuing publication of any as-yet unpublished writings of his.

               I wish you well with your co-authorship adventure with your mother and plan to re-blog this latest post of yours on our blog at ianmooremorrans.com. Thanks for your insights.

Gayle Moore-Morrans

The Light Never Lies – Book Cover Reveal

Notes by Gayle Moore-Morrans, editor and blogger:

Isn’t this a beautiful book cover? I was inspired by reading Francis Guenette’s latest post telling of her and her husband’s collaboration in producing a book cover for her new book, “The Light Never Lies” Just as I am doing at present, Francis is planning to forego the assisted self-publishing route and do her own layout, design, etc. using Create Space. I’ve just sent her the following message:

“Gorgeous book cover, Fran. You and your husband are good collaborators. Thanks for the tip on Book Cover Pro. I’ll have to look into it. It sounds like you and I are on the same track. I’m also working on Ian’s children’s book ‘Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie’ and am being guided with layout through Edwin Scroggins book ‘How to Self-Publish Your Book Using Microsoft Word 2007. ‘ So I’ll be using CreateSpace as well.”

Our 8-year-old granddaughter has done the illustrations so I’m also collaborating on that as I adjust and edit her drawings using Microsoft Word Paint. I’ve never used it before and find it quite fun. She has done some darling illustrations for the book but I find that her depictions of the leading characters are not always consistent from illustration to illustration. So MSPaint is allowing me to make the boy and the birds more consistent without losing her child’s perspective. It’s fun but painstaking. I’ll be anxious to see how you are doing with the layout. I hope to start mine soon. Best wishes for the New Year.”

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E-book cover draft for THE LIGHT NEVER LIES

The learning curve has been negotiated and the hard work has paid off. We recently purchased a program called (deluxe edition) with the idea that husband Bruce was going to take over cover design for all my future forays into the world of book publishing and we can hopefully spread the cost over several covers. Like any good wife, I went into the process sounding enthusiastic while internally filled with doubts. Obviously, the guy is a skilled photographer and has a great deal of patience for tinkering with things but did that make him a book cover designer? I wasn’t sure.

My doubts have been shelved and I’m thrilled to reveal the ebook and softcover for The Light Never Lies and a bit about the process of creation. Keep in mind though, this is not a primer on how to use BookCoverPro – that is way beyond my powers to…

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Installment 9 of “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie,” a Children’s Chapter Book

The last installment of this Children’s Chapter Book that we are blogging for our great-grandchildren, Installment 8, “Louie Takes Off” was posted on April 16th! Yicks – I didn’t realize it had been almost two and a half month’s since I had posted a chapter. So here is Chapter 9, “A Happy Homecoming.” If you followed the story through Chapter 8 you will know that Big Louie had finally flown away and Jake was of a mixed mind whether he was happy that Louie had finally decided to become independent or whether he was sad to see him go. As Louie flew out of sight, Jake became quite emotional. Little Jimmy was sitting on Jake’s shoulder as Jake almost whispered his goodbyes. The clip art I’ve included gives our would-be artist, great-granddaughter Hannah, an idea of how to draw a bird sitting on a boy’s shoulder. Only the parrot in this picture is more the size of Big Louie. The little budgie, Jimmy, would be much smaller.

“Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie”boy with bird on shoulder 001

by Ian Moore-Morrans

Edited by Gayle Moore-Morrans

Copyright © 2012

CHAPTER NINE

A Happy Homecoming

            Tears rolled down Jake’s cheeks as he watched Louie fly away, heading for a bunch of trees far in the distance. The huge lump was back in his throat again!

 (The rest of the chapter’s content has been deleted prior to publication.)

Picture suggestion: Jake standing with a big grin on his face while Jimmy sits on Jake’s left shoulder and Louie sits on Jake’s right shoulder. All three should be facing forward.

Vernon Writers Festival and Installment 8 of “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie,” a Children’s Chapter Book

I, Gayle, have been busy at a terrifically successful and information-packed Vernon Writer’s Festival April 11-14; but unfortunately the neuropathy and arthritis in Ian’s feet have meant that he had to stay home. Those evenings I reluctantly skipped the book readings and open mic to go through my workshop notes with Ian, filling him in on some of the highlights. Thanks to Markella Mildenberger, our coordinator, and all the writers who participated, especially those who led the workshops: Ben Nuttall-Smith on “Dynamic Presenter,” “From Memoir to Novel,” and “From Scribbles to Publication”; George Opacic on “Using Your Corpus Callosum,” “E Publishing and E Readers,” and “Script-Writing”; Laisha Rosnau on “Story Structure”; Stella Harvey on “How A Novel Comes Together”; Patricia Donahue on “Character Development”; and Shawn Bird on “Blogging and Social Media”. I learned a lot, enjoyed selling some of our books and trading some for books by other authors present, as well as buying a few. Now I have a stack of great books to read by some of our talented British Columbia authors.

Here, then, is the next installment of the children’s chapter book we have been blogging: “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie.” We welcome any comments, suggestions for improvements or constructive criticism readers may wish to give us. If you have such, please comment below or email us at gayleian@gmail.com. And to our great-grandchildren, Leland and Hannah, who are consultants on this book, we eagerly await some more comments and pictures from you. Thanks!

“JAKE, LITTLE JIMMY AND BIG LOUIE”   raven flying 2

by Ian Moore-Morrans

edited by Gayle Moore-Morrans

Copyright © 2012

CHAPTER EIGHT

Louie Takes Off

You can’t really talk to a bird, whether it’s a little budgie or a very large parrot, and ask it questions, or have a conversation with it. It works something like a tape recorder, not nearly as efficient, but a lot more fun. You have to repeat the same thing over and over and over again and someday (maybe), the bird might repeat what you say, although it wouldn’t know what the words meant.

(The rest of the chapter’s content has been deleted prior to the book’s publication.)

Picture suggestions: Louie and Jimmy “beak-clicking.”   Louie flying away.

ALL ABOUT THE “REAL” JIMMY, AN EXCERPT FROM “CAME TO CANADA, EH?”

As I (Gayle) am preparing chapters of Ian’s children’s chapter book “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie” to blog, I’m also working on my second (and I hope final) edit of the sequel to Ian’s already published memoir: “From Poverty to Poverty: A Scotsman Encounters Canada.” I’ve already blogged an excerpt from the sequel which we have named” “Came to Canada, Eh? Continuing a Scottish Immigrant’s Story.” Today I’ve just completed editing a section in which Ian describes receiving his real-life bird, a cockatiel he also named “Jimmy.” I thought it might be appropriate to blog this section to give readers an insight into some of the things Ian learned about raising a bird and teaching it to speak and whistle. He later added some of these ideas to the children’s story that is now “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie.” You will notice that certain things Ian experienced with his cockatiel Jimmy later were used in the characterizations of Little Jimmy and also of Big Louie. I’m also including a 1998 photo of Ian and Jimmy, the cockatiel.

Ian and Jimmy

Excerpt from “Came to Canada, Eh? Continuing a Scottish Immigrant’s Story”

by Ian Moore-Morrans

edited by Gayle Moore-Morrans

Copyright © 2013

“Mary and I went down to Winnipeg to spend Christmas with Audrey and Eugene and our three grandchildren, Tammy, Calan and Ainsley in 1997. Then, since Mary and I had been married on the 29th of December, we returned home to Creighton to celebrate our anniversary. We were at Shirley and Brien’s house for a quiet evening on our wedding anniversary when Shirley suddenly appeared carrying a great big bird cage.

” Inside was a beautiful, young cockatiel. He and the lovely cage were being presented to us from our two daughters, their husbands and all five grandchildren, including young Ian and Tiffany. I was invited to take the bird out of its cage and hold him on my hand. He came with no bother and Shirley asked me what I was going to call him (it). Without any hesitation I said ‘Jimmy’ (after the little budgie in my unpublished children’s book, not caring what sex the bird was!). He was such a lovely surprise gift for both of us. And he really was a ‘he’, we found out later.

“Jimmy took quite a lot of looking after, for I had to feed him egg almost continuously, and clean his cage almost continuously, too! He was on the egg diet a long time, longer than he should have been. Brien had obtained Jimmy from a friend at work who bred them. From what Brien learned, Jimmy should have been on seed when he was still enjoying his egg. I had bought some seed for him, but he didn’t seem ready for it. When I was cooking for him, I would generally put two, sometimes three eggs in the pot and boil them hard, storing them in the fridge, for Jimmy seemed to be always hungry. I would cut off a little bit and wrap the remainder for later, making sure that Jimmy also got some of the yolk (that is what he went for first) along with some white.  In the beginning I’d chop the egg up for him, but I soon found that doing so was a complete waste of time, for his little sharp beak would slice through the soft egg just like butter.

“Soon I set about teaching the bird things to say and whistle. Being a musician, I don’t think it is bragging to say that I’m a pretty good whistler as I’m able to do quite a bit of fancy stuff like grace notes, triplets, warbles and different things—a lot of stuff that I did on the trumpet.  Soon our bird was saying ‘Jimmy’s a good boy’ (just like in my little story), ‘Hi Ian, wot’s up?’, ‘Hello, Mary’, ‘I love Shirley’ and so forth. He also started whistling the verse of “Bonnie Jean” from Brigadoon that I was rehearsing for my solo at our upcoming concert in Flin Flon. (I didn’t teach him this, he just picked it up while I was whistling it around the house and going through the words in my head.) In addition, I taught him to whistle the first part of ‘The Mexican Hat Dance’; the bugle call that goes, ‘You gotta get up, you gotta get up, you gotta get up in the morning’; a series of notes from a ‘custom’ car horn, and a silly something we used to sing in Scotland when I was a wee boy that ended with ‘Wee Bobby Geachy’s……white drawers.’ The latter bit used the popular rhythm that everyone knows: ‘Dah Dahdah  DAH  DAH…dah dah!’ However, what I taught Jimmy varied in that I substituted a wolf whistle for the last two notes (the last ‘dah dah’). Jimmy really did it superbly. (Sometimes I would whistle the first bit and he would answer with the wolf whistle and other times it would be reversed, with Jimmy starting it off.)

” Jimmy really performed to perfection the day I was dressed in my kilt just prior to leaving the house for the dress rehearsal of the show I was in. Jimmy’s cage was in the dining room and as I passed the door opening that would allow him to see me, he went, “Wheeet-wheeoo”—a perfect, long, wolf whistle.  I burst out laughing. It was like he did it intentionally, his timing was so right. My answer was, ‘Hey, funny guy. You’ve never seen a Scotsman in a kilt before?'”