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Unapologetically Canadian
Unapologetically Canadian

Episode 9 · 2 years ago

Essayist Dorothy Nixon has a way with words

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Thanks to Dorothy Nixon for a great far-reaching conversation about Canadian history, the suffragettes, a freelance writers’ life and growing up in Montreal during the Expo ‘67 era. Refer to the show notes at https://traceyarial.com/blog/dorothy-nixon for links to the books, articles and songs mentioned in the interview.

My name is Tracy Ariel and I am unapologetically Canadian. Hello, Tracy Arial is here, and this is April, Wednesday, April fifteen, and this is week five of the quarantine and at this point we're kind of used to the usual routine. Daily walks are on the agenda, taking care of a trying to create a positive mindset. Basically, we've come into the time when we are no longer on vacation. We're now trying to figure out, okay, this is a new reality. All of events have been canceled in Montreal until the end of summer, basically all of the really big events. We've also found out that probably farmers markets are going to be continuing. So that's good for the coop that I'm part of because we can now do we could probably do a regular farmers market and we'll be doing deliveries starting in two weeks. So that's things are on the agenda. I've been I've been I've been launching a new profile your business. So if you're an entrepreneur and you want to work on some anecdotes about why your business is important and how you can actually talk about those stories in your in your marketing, that will be happening in a starting at the end of May, and so I'll be launching that starting also in two weeks. So basically, life is now back to almost. I mean, obviously it's not normal because we are not allowed to still doing social distancing. We can't actually do parties. We're doing parties by zoom. It's not quite as pleasant socially as it is when you can see everybody that you love in person. But it's come. It's it's more regular in that nobody, everybody's trying to get back to work in whatever the new reality of work is, trying to figure out how business people like me and you and creators are trying to figure out, okay, how can we serve our clients and continue serving them and chain pivot our business so that we can work more online and more virtually, since we're not able to do some of the wonderful events that that we are used to doing. And I think that, like I said, there's three things that have been really important. Now we're no longer I I've gained fifteen pounds since the beginning of this and so as of yesterday I started going back to normal eating. I'm not allowed to have chips more than once a once a week again. I'm no longer drinking wine every night. I'm having wine only on the weekends. Basically, I'm trying to be the person that I want to be regularly. Again. It's not the basically the the I'm still being compassionate with myself and that I'm trying to take time every day to play crib with the kids and to take time to read and do all of those things that are very calm and personal. So I'm not working more than twelve hours a day regularly during this time, and those are the kinds of habits that I would like to keep moving forward even after this crisis is over. But positive mindset. I'm now thinking, okay, I'm redoing my business plans. All right, what are my plans now? What kind of how can we continue moving forward and developing the businesses despite having to deal with social distancing as a way of life, probably for the next two years? I mean, yes, we may be able to do some things in that time, but things are never going back the way they were before. At least I'll know that. I shouldn't say never, of course, and once they we have a vaccine, everything will go many things will go back the way they were before, but my me personally, I will have grown and I will have to created new habits, and so now I'm talking, I'm thinking and writing down the things that I actually want to continue as new habits, and so I hope you are doing that as well. I'd like to encourage you to think about positive mindset and to think about who you want to be in the world and how you want to serve people and then your business so that that's what you do more than anything. We all get to be ourselves. And this week's interview is with a fabulous friend of mine who is a genealogist and she's a researcher and she's a historian and she has a fabulous story about how she's developed her creativity in her life. That's Dorothy Nixon and I'm so looking forward to introducing you to her and I...

...think that a lot of people will be spending you know, now that you can't go into work, maybe this is the time to do a little bit of extra high Dorothy. Hi Tracy, nice to be here. As they say, it's great to have you. Now. You know the question we're going to finish with, but I thought that we would start with you talking a little bit about why you became a writer and how you started off on this journey that you've been because you've been a writer for a very long time. What made you would a writer? Well, I wasn't. I wasn't inspired her. I wantn't inspired early on because I remember my teachers would always give you good marks because I was a Goodie Goodie and I would always get a no matter what. But I remember sending a composition into so called external mark or and it coming back with a terrible mark. So that would have turned me off being a writer. But I guess I went to college. What does to take much right when you're young, to turn you off anything? We want to be. I went to university and by the third year I got it accepted in the more advanced courses and I was very good, although I got only a B plus in the advance for Third Year Seminar, and I asked teacher why and he said you came in the best writer, you came out the best writer, but you didn't learn anything. I actually took that to heart. I thought those very good thing to say. Yeah, in other words, you're here to improve you're not here too. It's not a competition. Really. Yeah, that was Professor Malik, who was king, now ex husband, father. Yeah, so then, what happened? Have I become a writer? I just couldn't stop writing. That's why I had to write. That's it just had to come out. When I had little kids, if I was well and you did live televisions, that for a while. Right, actually really enjoyed that. I was I worked in radio. You were it for while. You were a production that's right, a production assist back in the days of live TV, where it was very adrenaline inducing. So I really like that because you had to be on the ball. You're watching the time, you're telling the person to stretch it, to make it smaller, and by the end your your hearts palpy tating. Well, a lot of PA's hated it, but I actually liked it. I was also floor manager once in live TV, the telephone. I really enjoyed that. So I might have missed my calling is in that. I might have been very good in these high pressure aspects of TV and radio. But you know what, they don't exist anymore. So it doesn't matter. This is no PAS anymore of this. No, well, and you're an indie writer because you'd published all of your books yourself. You were an indie writer before the indie writer term really became sort of well known. You published your Nicolson Book. I think what well, I guess you do that when no one was interested in my it's just timing. No one just was interested. I think twenty years ago and I had them. People would have been interested, but they just weren't anymore because of the sort of reality of things. English Quebec Stories, this weren't appealing. When it was really interesting these letters. I had a hunt. I had over three hundred from the one thousand nine hundred and thirteen period. That's very pivotal atwardy and era when the automobile changed everything, the Victrola and a lot of immigration, so extremely important era and those letters taught me all about that era. I knew nothing at the beginning. I sense there was something in them and I research them to the NTH degree and now I'm pretty much an expert in Edwardy in Montreal. Yeah, was lacking in my education history. I did never took history so well and that period is becoming more popular as people realize. I mean I guess it's the change of of Millennia, the Millennium Change, to the fact that we're in the early part of a new millennium again. People like to look at that period as another time when we were in great technological change. Exactly right. When I was doing it down to nab started. It is always easy, ups and down, say that's the whole thing, Leptos Sechean. So you have to wonder what's that? Bars is galloping technological change. It isn't a few things like the automobile and the movies, the flickers changing society. Is like a whole universe of things and it's galloping. So who knows? Right, this is a whole different era, exponential change? I would call it right, but I mean I think at that point it probably would have looked like exponential change too, but it just wasn't, because every time you change technology there's there's so many more levels of technology that can change. I think people don't didn't see it back then. So they have a big the automobile with a toy. You know, for wealthy men the flickers were a fad. They didn't realize these would change society, because it is about you know, as people don't realize what new things with can't see the future. The few who do become very rich. I guess that's true.

Books and many of your stories talk about women, which is also underrepresented as a genre. I really can you talk a little bit about why you focused on the stories about women? Every gene all just knows that's harder finding info about your women ancestors because they were sort of invisible and in records and things. So I wrote about women because, quite simply, I identified. I read these letters. This is my husband's grandmother and his great aunts. He who you didn't know, his grandmother being you as great aunts, and I didn't read. I read it to a friend who who said all they sound so old fashioned, but I didn't feel that way at all. I found, I thought they found sounded modern. So that's why I was intrigued. Right there, identified and maybe I would have taken more history classes in his in college or in if I if hit our history books had had any women characters to identify with, because right away identified and they just they want they were the same as us. They wanted it all. Quite simply, they wanted it all. These young women. They wanted to have work, they love. You know, they were hoping for money. They didn't necessarily get any, but they had good lives because that good lives because they also had a firm foundation of you work hard and you are in what you get. You know it's not going to come to you. So they had a lot of troubles, but through a lot of economic troubles and health issues and no health insurance and everything, and they still manage to have really good, productive life. So That's interesting to and they live through these wonderful team. Can you talk about some of your favorite people? Like one of just pick up person right would just be my husband's great grandmother, Margaret Nicholson, because she's born in eighteen fifty three. She's a style of Lewis Scott. I have her letter. She's devoted so in nineteen eight, one thousand nine hundred and thirteen. There's a lot of letters because her husband, they need the money, has to go work far away in Cochrane, Ontario on the railway and she's basically left alone. And so it's hard managing a house in those days. You have to keep it warm and they didn't have servants, they didn't have any help. Her daughters were away in Montreal studying to be teachers and one daughter was there, but she was also studying hard. So she had a rather tough life. But she was just such an interesting women. She was for the suffragetts and she wrote about it and arguments with her her very conservative relative. You have big arguments and she would write them down just like a script. I said this and he said this and I said it's I don't care about St Paul. I don't live in the time of St Paul. I don't milk cows. It is very because Sake Paul was always brought up by Auntie suffer just that women are supposed to live in the home. So she does paints these beautiful word pictures. Sometimes a lot of the rest of it is a lot of high anxiety to so because they she's under a lot of economic stress. She writes things that maybe she wouldn't want to write. She often wrote at the end burn this letter or don't let anyone see it, that it be careful with letters, right, which, oh, how ironically, that was no woman who didn't want her letters. I have a lot burned this letter instead of the interest this letter. But see happy madly about relatives which and happens. They had a lot of family feuds and the end interesting. She had a huge stress taking care of her own mother, a ninety two year old totally Gaelic speaker, and they were arguing over who's taking care of her. And there was money involved. And it isn't too longer that in Richmond Quebec, where these people are from, they started an old age home and I wouldn't be surprised if part of the trouble they had with their feuds and problems they had taking care of the mother resulted in the Wales home because they were friends with Mr Wales, the tycoon who funded it. So so you see, some things change and something stay the same. She also hated the automobile. The neighbors are all getting autos and she's going, Mr Montgomery, as an automobile, I don't want one. WHO's dangerous. WHO WOULD WANT ONE? Of course she's saying that because they kind afford one. So she's appeasing her husband. And then, of course, what does she do if any time she gets a test to get a lift, she gets a lift in the Automoi it's all just the wonderful picture movie, very down to Navvy but it's middle class, Dat and Nabby's the rich in the poor, but this is middle class, the totally different thing. The middle class, by definition, is insecure, right. Yeah, well, they they want to rise to the UP, they want to rise up, they're always in dangerous sliding down. So the anxiety of the middle class is kind of interesting. They were well connected, though. That was what kept them, but it was very good friends, very powerful friends. So they might have been broke all the time, but with friends like that,...

...well, you do. So that's my favorite character because broad. Yeah, well, and and I also like her because, even though she went to church twice a day, as most dreams and how the dreams were premonition. So she had a witchy side to her, which is probably some ancient gaelic thing that filtered down. So she wasn't in she's a bit shocked a lot about her dreams and relations. So That's interesting too. Well. And what's interesting when I hear you talk about her, there's a few other women that you clearly have no, no respect whatsoever for, and you're famous for for talking about the people wasting their lives and being in substantial shopping and when a war is going on, and things. It's okay. Oh, yeah, well, maybe some people work which fellow people and hard working. Yeah, it's nothing to do with it's just character, how they were brought up. Yeah, yeah, well, you just have a suffered at these people generally suffered in silence. That's what. Well, that's your Oh. Yeah, yeah, I wrote about my oh, your time. I know what you're you do tell, tell me. Yeah, that's my husband's other aunt who who was the first first cousin of General Macarthur. My husband's grandmother was a first cousin of General Macarthur Hardy from Virginia and and I and they were well off young ladies, but they by they were sort of from whatever. Read their letters are I don't see any. They're not profound people. They were brought up social lights, so they were social butterflies are in all the newspapers. They cut it out. Is So and so visited, you know, St Louis and was faded by all the right people and she's a wonderful ornamental girl. You know the way that social lights are not encouraged to be very deep these people, because their main job is to find a house, right, I guess, and nothing else. But it's important to have both sides. So I about her and a kind of mom. Yeah, it was, sure it must. It's an unfortunate for them. They're in a cage right. They couldn't and I've only thing that usually breaks them out is somewhere selling, some war, something that would have stretch allow them to explore their other, the other side of that life. They don't have to. So that, yeah, I do make fun of they have no kids. That's why I do it. I only make fun of people who didn't create any children. So I don't make fun of anyone's GRANDPA. That's the point I made too, or myp well, and it's interesting to you also did a book about World War One. Not Born over here. What was the family that you focused on in that one? It's the same family. Not but yeah, that Bonnie over here. Do you know why I that's a line from a letter from World War One where my husband's other great aunt, Flora, obviously correspondence with a soldier. And you know how they did it, and they're helping the soldier get through, but she's saying she's going to go over and be a nurse and he goes, don't come over here. It's not Bonnie over here. He's trying to warner, right, but don't come over here. So I'm not Bonnie over here. And that's what exactly Roseo not. You can't give the details. Right, he's not allowed, but do not come to the front. So these letters are from actually continuation from one thousand nine hundred fourteen to one thousand nine hundred and nineteen, and there wartime letters. So there were no men in their lives that the husband. There were no direct ancestors who went to war. My husband's great uncle didn't go to war, although he kept complaining that he might have to, and the grandfather did in the ality, was forty and had three kids. Use a lot of ways to get out of going to war back then. But they had a lot of acquaintances who went to where, many, many some who lost almost all the sons and then, if they didn't lose the sons, to where they lost the daughters of the flute. Very sad situation. So I have these letters that talk about it in the context and it's everyday life. But they're more afraid. They're building victory gardens, they're worrying about the war. They're not pro war. And any level. At least. The father isn't. He's very anti war. He says all the leaders should just get together and work it out amongst themselves. So He's very afraid of losing their only son. The sad letters from American relatives who write long, long side letters about how they lost their sons, their favorite son so was. It's a lot of different letters and then this everyday housekeeping type thing. But what you see is the women spend a lot of time. This is my husband's great aunts, spend a lot of time working for victory. Is called the victory something, whatever victory league. They're helping soldiers. They're often nursing sisters. There there's constantly during the war with their works, with their own work as a teacher and she was a secretary. At sunlight they went and did a lot of volunteering on almost every every front, these young women mostly helping soldiers rehabilitate or whatever. And so you see they had a...

...lot of sense of duty. But by the end, you know, by the end it's over and then when the war ends it's like, Oh, we're going to reupholster our furniture. Its like it's all forgotten and they're going back. They're worried right to about the price of rising cost of food, because it really went up, especially their stables, butter and stuff. So it's an interesting picture of a middle class Quebec family because, yes, they well, the conscription crisis is discussed, but how they dealt with war and everyday life without being soldiers, with just knowing soldiers. It has it all. It has every aspect. But basically life went on while while it happened. Just life went on and they devoted themselves to volunteer work as at yeah, well, and the so that's what both well and reading your stories about these women, you do get, not just a sense of a history. Sorry, nothing, I'm sorry, I interrupted. Do No, no, no, Gool Oh, no, I was just saying reading these stories about so much about what you write about has to do with different people. It's really important what you what you're talking about, because you're you're trying to show basic daily life and so much of what we read in history is about the decisions made by a very few, usually white men, that get us all into this trouble. But you don't see the reaction of the entire population and the advantage of focusing on women's lives and the day of the day struggle is that you do see the ramifications of every decision on different thing, on different levels of people looking at the picture and little picture, and it's social history and women have been left out. Now, of course, in the last little while there's been more people have found, usually diaries. Is Basically letters and diaries that tell the story, but their story is was completely overlooked on every level. So I that's why geneology so wonderful. If you have letters, it's always amazing social history. Yeah, I mean almost always, except for my husband, even in cases where you didn't have specific letters. Would I like about some of your stories as you take up a period of time and then and your knowledge about what was happening at that time, in part because of the letters, and then you basically extrapolate what what the person in this situation probably was was, was thinking or doing, and then you take all of these meeting minutes and combine it all together into a story like particularly you did that very well with some of the stories of the suffragettes. Can you talk a little bit about you're a research into suffragetts. Yeah, I can't. Well, first I'll say I've been in essays for a long time and it's very important and when I'd write for online I think it was one of the first paid writers on the net, maybe one of the last two. But it's important not to be about you. When even writing genealogy, it's not about you or your family because no one's interested. So you have to actually find the where the political and the personal needs or something for someone to relate to, so or else it's meaningless. As you know, as a writer right, you're not writing self indulgent. I remember editors would often say at least too not self indulgence. A lot of people are. I guess a lot of it can be, and then that's no good. Who wants to read that? So the SUFFRAGETTS was interesting and that I knew nothing about it. They didn't teach about in school. I have Canada then and all our history book from that everyone in Protestant Canada had for forty years and it has nothing about them. It has a tiny bit on laureate with the picture. So basically I knew nothing. So what I knew was from the little bits I saw on TV, like down, not down to Nabbey and upstairs, downstairs, and you know the cliches off the BBC. So I from one letter, from one letter in Edith, Edith Nicholson, his great aunt story. She's going to sit in one thousand, nine hundred and thirteen. She wrote to her mother said I'm going to see Mrs Snowdon speak, but she is not militant, and for this I am very sad. That line led me to do enormous quantities of reacherch to again, I think I'm pretty expert in this. There's one other expert. It's not a subject many people do. So I looked. I just studied the suffragist movement in Montreal, which is to say not much of a suffrage movement, to understand that actually, in nineteen oh wait, one of Mrs pankhurts militants, Miss Sarah Kenny, came to Montreal because she married. She married a Daily Mail reporter. They got in trouble at a rally I think was sort of for instant Churchill was and they had to scoot and they gave to Montreal and got married. I discovered that. And then her younger sister, Carolyn Kenny, came...

...in briefly in one thousand nine hundred and ten and try to start a militant movement. But the fact was Montreal suffradge movement was extremely conservative and very much tied up in the English French politics of the day. So they were very careful. At the leader of the movement was a miguill professor and many of them were. Many of the movements leaders were Miguel professors, male ones. This is a female one. Carried Derek, but she was savvy. It was very again, everything in Quebeca is different. The suffrage movement Quebec was very different. But yeah, very different. Yeah, and although these women themselves were we're probably for the militants, but they couldn't say it there to be careful. So it's so in Canada. The short of it is in the states and in Britain the suffrage movement was a very broad movement that encompassed working class all kinds of people, whereas in Canada and Montreal it was just an elite group. So Edith Nicholson, being a secretary Atsun life, would become a teacher at a private school in westmount she was allowed to be for the suffrage which wasn't allowed to join the movement they didn't want young, quote, hysterical women, Women with high ideals. They didn't want them coming in and having marches. My God would have fainted. So actually it was carol and Kenny. You try to start a march in Montreal to Ottawa. So this was very scary to people. So they were also in ambivalent about Mrs Panker. Some people just despised her and hated her and actually carried Derek and some women really liked herns and one Montreal woman, a wife of a westmount businessman, she had gone to England and participated in these in these rallies by the Kenny's where, you know, people were painting and from hunger, you know, the hunger strikes in the cat house. So so there were some underground suffrage suffragets who were the militant, but most people were suffragists right. And a lot of that was all about getting out to vote in the municipal elections to get keep the French faction out. That's a whole other thing. Oh, Oh my God. Yeah, so they got all of all the civic prop because women with property could voted municipal elections. So they didn't really want women to get the vote nationally, but they wanted them to use it at the city level to keep the cities clean, you know, from a vice and all that. So that's a whole complicated business. There's what will you consider feminist today. They, these women generally weren't. The one woman who would be as a Canadian called Dennison, and she was a full fledged suffragists in the way we would think of feminists today. She supported herself, she wrote she was all for the militants, which she was about the only one in all of Canada. Wow, seeing it's a confusing business. If you're confused, because it's confusing. Well, no, I just I know that Quebec, as a province, got the vote later than the rest of Canada did and I always wondered why, and some of your work sort of shows you know, it's usual the family compact, which is I think still exists today, basically moderated a lot of these kinds of movements because so much of it was based on family and the link. One of the things that on the positive side of that, one of the things that has also maintained in Quebec, is the links between family members. This is one of the places where people are very happy to have conflict ins and live with it as part of their life, and family members keep their influence even if there's conflict in the family. So it's a it's a it's an interesting yeah, it's an interesting dynamic and the suffer just I think it's just another example of that. At least that's the intention. That's what I get from reading your work. I'm not an expert in this area. I just get to read you so well. Actually we I have one letter from the NIXT and Letters. It's from nineteen, one thousand, four hundred and fifteen or whatever, and they had a nosy neighbor who also spoke her mind. So apparently the old nine seventeen. So was when they're about to give women the provincial, the federal vote in order so that the voting conscription. That's another thing. So they're having a rally in Richmond, Quebec and with the MP from Federal and the Quebec MP and Mrs and my husband's great grandmother is there because they're all proud of it, because they say they're going to give women the vote federally. Then one woman, the neighbor, speaks up and says how come we're not getting it provincially either, which is like rocking the boat, like saying and no, no, like she dared say it. And and my mother, my my husband's great grandmother goes. We were all so embarrassed. She wasn't supposed to bring up and he said I was becoming that's frank. He's like yeah, so that was interesting to so my mind it's because of what...

Catholic Church and the pathos uttered and said whatever. They weren't supposed to ask that question. That's the whole point. So even though she was a died in the will suffragette and love Mrs Pancers and stuff, she knew, she instinctively knew that Quebec politics was different and you weren't supposed to ask too many questions. Just come out for around. I guess they were. That was it. That's a whole other thing. My other book service into service that I wrote about the conscription crisis using lots of newspaper articles. Luckily I google news archives was on a database. Was So easy to look it up, and so there I was able to decipher the mess of the conscription crisis and the involvement of the stuff for just jets and including carry Derek the Montreal or across Canada. In other words, they were the suffer just are mostly Protestants. So the promise was you can have the vote as long as we make conscription, because the Protestants they were already sending their kids to war and they thought everyone else should too. So they wanted conscription. So they fought for conscription so that they could get it. was called partial the partial vote. So it's a that's another complicated business. Only women with only it turned out in one thousand nine hundred and seventeen only women with close relatives in the war got to vote and a lot of people thought that wasn't exactly democratic. So and that was the suffrage thatt wow. So it was really tied to conscription very much a hundred percent time. That's why we got it, they said. Well, some people said, well, that's not great, but at least we'll get it later, and they did. Now other people said it's awful, it's a you're just trying to trying to pull get through conscription and you're using the vote. Your jarrymandering is what it was, and of course he was. It's a a great drymandering time. There's never been a better example of derymandering in Canada than that. That's all forgotten to it. So no one. Yeah, I've never heard about that. And and even it was the anniversary when I'd written the book, Hundred Years after I thought media or people would be interested. If no one was interested, I didn't even see one room, one tiny story anywhere about it, sort of like that's not the history they want to tell. No, I've never even heard of that before. Yeah, I mean, I that's fascinating. Yeah, this one of the scholar has written a book mothers of men. I can't remember, as a Canadian and Ottawa scholar. She's written about it about the conscription crisis very nicely and how women were turned into sort of tragic figures or martyrus martyrs, mother of martyrs, mother of than is the name of the book us as well. So many of us have the two solitudes story in our head right and the woman and that one. There's one woman who actually, you know, the daughter of the main character, basically reports the son of one of the local French families. Just emphasizing the English French to divide, but they didn't emphasize the you know, the Protestant. There was also religious divides, not just the language to the mayor with French, but they were really concerned. But yeah, yeah, yeah, it's a lot of nest not nice, not nice stuff under but what can you do? It was a time. And Yeah, well, and you're continuing to publish books and stories on genealogy and some but that. But recently you've been exploring some fiction in in a really interesting way. You did a fabulous narrative about an older husband and wife dealing with dementia and Alzheimer's. And what got you interested in exploring that topic? What? What I've loved since two thousand and six BBC radio for came online and I fell in love with it. was what listening to every story they ever had. They a lot of money in those days. Those a new stories every day. So I just fell in love with the John the radio, radio drama. Not that I was a radio COPYWRITER, and some people say it's sort of like a natural extension to be a radio COPYWRITER, which is writing ads for thirty seconds, to writing radio drama. Of course I think it's a huge leap and take some credible ability. But anyway, so after two thousand and six it came on, or two thousand and eight perhaps. So I've been listening for almost ten years now. They're cut back and they have a lot of reruns, but so I decided to try it myself. Radio drama, and you know, I would really like to do that if I could go back in time. I go back to radio drama. There wasn't any. There hasn't been radio drama in Canada for a while, even though the CBC at once was a world leader superior...

...to the the British. So it hasn't been a popular genre. But in England it's still a very popular gen and some of the best dramas, is, some of the best art I've heard in any genre has come from the BBC radio plays. They're just fat. is fantastic, mind bending this. So I it was a one of the idiot. It was just the best thing I've ever heard of an adaptation of the dosayowsky's idiot. So I mean without among many others, it just fantastic. What can I say? It was give me great pleasure for ten years. Well, I remember Peter Zowski when he is when his show was on, they did quite a lot of radio drama. I mean Stewart mcclane made his work on that. There was also a mystery series I used to love and I think that ended up creating we'redock mysteries, because it was very close to that and by the same writer. Yeah, it was pop and and it's British. Admit that the Canadians were better. I have books by British writers who say a Canadian radio drama was a number one. So I guess I missed that. I never really heard any of it. Well, I'm looking forward to your podcast, to exploring that side of things, Dorothy. I'm exploring per time, exploring profiles, but we definitely could use some more radio drama. I think that's a great and and your your initial example of that tempt yeah, it was just populous. Will actors be hard and then direct them? When I work in radio, I wrote the ads there. Some people there were very creative and they would after hours, use the facilities to put on silly little radio dramas, radio comedies usually. That often played on the TV. These people went on to work in writing, TV shows things, but I wasn't that creative. I didn't I wasn't part of that group. So I didn't get to do it. Well, you still have time, I think, like I said, that the first one is fabulous. Thank you very much. You know I feel that way to you still have time. There is never why should you stop trying to do something you want to do or learn something new? I'm all for it and I still have time. But I make is to get my husband on board, because he's a technician. He be able to help me, but he's not that key to imagine that it's me. Well, he's also relatively really retired, so he might still be in that honeymoon retirement stage, that where you don't want to do much, from what I'm told. Well, he wants to hammer. It's a hammer floors and hammer things. It isn't want to work. And what he used to work EXOS TV editing. Right, so he doesn't want to be my anyway, I'll figure out away. And besides, is so many new devices and APPS now. Soon know something. It'll be idiot proof. I could be able to use it. Well, I'm looking forward to it and I definitely I'll definitely link to that show, the radio drama that you wrote in the show notes, because I think it's worth hearing and it made me what I like to put it is it pulled you actually into the moment of people dealing with these kinds of issues like you, like most of your stories do. You're very good at pulling us into a particular moment in time. Yeah, well, I heard this. I took it from one anecdote where my great my father's father, great my father's father, my father's grandfather, woke up one day and looked at his wife and said, woman, what are you doing in my bed? And it's been a family myth. So that, yeah, funny, but not funny Alzheimer's. And then I could use because my own father got Alzheimer's, so I we got first hand experience. So I tried to use that kind of experience to figure out how it she they might have felt like. She's me how I felt with my father. Is How my character feels with the husband. So confused and upset, you know, depressed and trying to make them and trying to laugh at the same time because you have to keep yourself saying so. So that's why it might I think maybe I achieve something good there because I sort of had I had experience with it. Yeah, unless you get to put in theology information. That's what I tried to also the all the genealogy informations in there. While they're talking, I'm explaining what I've learned from the Internet, usually about these ancestors I knew nothing about. My father probably knew nothing about some of their names. So That's interesting to these ones specifically were in Cumberland. So so I try to do that, mix the story with the information. But I think I'm better at the information. It's hard to write a good story. It's hard to be a storyteller, isn't it? It is it at that is the big challenge of it. I mean I'm also a researcher type writer and it is telling the story is the first point. People don't get the rest of...

...it, and so I mean working I I just think that that's a craft that you just have to develop for your entire life. I mean it's a wonder. Some people are naturally good at that side and they're not so good at the research side. But that's why our group actually we should talk a little bit about our group. It's so invigorating to have so many different blue. We've got nine women, all with very different skills, connected together. We meet once a month. Can you talk a little bit about how you feel about that group? I think it's I've been as a writer. You know, you're told to take a lot of courses, so I took I've been quite a few writing groups. I've never been in one like this one where everyone is so talented. But actually where they grew, thanks in large part to you and Janis, the leaders, how they grew in their writing and then they then, once they grew in their writing, they started to express their own personalities and they're unabashedly so. The so you get so many different styles. So some people are like Lucy, so creative. Yeah, the creative person. I just coming out with a new way to say something, and this just wonderful. Sander always just perfect stories that mix the big pictures, a little picture, the political, with the personal, which she's very succinct and and that's great because their business background, I guess. So I try to do that, but I go on and on. I find and I find every day, every month, when I read the stories, I just enjoy them all. They're all yeah, fantastic social be bar Mary and, who wrote about her time in the RAF and the S. it's fascinating I didn't know about that. I didn't know girls that. The girls were just not running around with mini skirts and go, go, boost and some of them are actually entering the military and learning skills, life skills that would help them have jobs the rest of their life. was fantastic. I was so I learned so much and I love learning, right, but that's why writers tend to want to learn a lot, right. So every I've learned so much and it's all interesting and, you know, I think everyone should be interested. Yeah, well, and because all of us are such strong writers. Now, every week you have, you know, basically a bunch of different stories. In all of them are historical. We're all obviously the history buffs, but they're so different. Some people are exploring fiction more that. We've had poems, we've had we have some beautiful I mean, and also then just the asides. You know, barb is one of the lead of the women leaders in Dkg and we've been hearing about her explore it. So you just get the many different facets of what being a woman in Canada today is and I just I just think that's fascinating as well. You know, we're in rich and okay, there's lots of Info on the Internet, but by this group has totally educated our we've educated each other, we've en riched each other's lives with funny stories and interesting anecdotes. And, yeah, I never knew that. I never knew that. I love it. Yeah, I love it. It's what a great way to learn. Yeah, what a great way to grow, to have a club like we have. Yeah, well, and I I'm in because we're sharing our story is every single week on the Internet as well. We're actually working on what it means to try and express things that are very important to us personally in a way that will encourage other readers to be interested as well. And so I think we're actually part of the wave of new history writing. I mean I really do. I think this is yeah, that might beach that might exactly true. Very bad. My books are used. It's not everyday people who read my books. No one cares, but academics do use them and I've seen them in in reports and all kinds of things cited. So that you that's who's using my book. So it isn't that they don't think, oh, that's useless, she's not an academic. They actually find it interesting. So the same with all our stories, that people will use our stories to build on other bought their bodies of knowledge. No question what they yeah, no, no, and and and people who are maybe just looking into trying what what do I do with my family history research? By trying to turn it into a story. You become a better researcher more than anything else too. So yeah, and you're invested. I think that's what one of the reasons this group is has grown so much is that people are really invested in their stories. And if every student were as invested in their stories as we were, everyone would come at a school. Great writer, right, they we care about it and you work hard. All a part of it is trying to connect people with something that they care about first and then getting them to write about that. And that's not necessarily easy to do, and they always say, yeah, it's very hard. So this gives us a genealogy. Writing is perfect for that. It's ideal. They should and I think they have experienced ord in schools, the having kids write about their ancestry,...

...but to mixed results. I guess, no time either. Still. Actually, the hundredth anniversary of World War One helped with that a lot. I saw some fabulous research projects coming out of schools because people took on, you know, individual soldiers, or they took on, you know, a classroom would take one particular unit or something, and so I'm hoping that that kind of historical classroom management continues because it certainly has been interesting to read as an outsider. Yeah, that would be interesting here to get it down the curriculum. Before we get to my final question, which is talks about you as a Canadian, was there anything about your body of work that we didn't get to discuss, because I know you've done a lot of things that I might not be as familiar with that we did. Well, no, but when, when I first started writing for the Internet in one thousand nine hundred and ninety seven, I wrote family essay. So I used to write movie reviews from a Kid's point of view, family essays, and then that parlaid in into work for Chate Lane and so I did both humorous seas in both quote statistic anecdote says, and I prefer doing the humor ones. They're easier. They're easier in that I like doing them. So I work on them my life set somebody and then you see only freelance journalists without insurance or anything. You don't want it. I had. I got myself in a water a couple of times for people have the people love it as the People, oh my God, so invent I had much like. I don't do it. I did a little bit and I stopped. So humor essays. Well, I'm but another thing. I used to write satirical essays. I convinced the Chatelaine or today's parent to write satirical but they don't go over. Well, yeah, understand, it's apt. Yep. So I write a funny something I was clear to Oh, they thought it was supposed to be truth. Oh do you? That's that's why they are reluctant to print satire without writing satire over the front page so people get it, because then they get a people all mad at them. So I used to like that. So what? I wasn't versatile. You have to be rights tracy to be a freelance writer, especially in Quebec. Got To be versatile. Shit, yeah, yeah, yeah, and that's that's just that's the nature of the beast to it's training. But actually, my husband says that there should be a satire meter or an irony meter, you know, so that people actually know what it is. Jonathan Swift off the phone parts. It's very weird what you think. And so yeah, so that's why I did my Sellou don'tcom too. I wrote some satirical essays there and I should have continued. I had a chance to continue with them, but I was in a bad space. I didn't want to deal with the American taxes, but I really and I did that. So that was that was all around the S. I was very prolific then because my kids were old enough, but that I could get some work done. So that's basically and I done everything in writing. I have to well, I know that. I'm hope. I hope you'll also explore that in future as well, because I just love reading your funny stories. You definitely are the comedian amongst us. It's a I like Mary very control. It's a humor. It's more subdued, but it's funny. It's always entertaining to it and in our the final question, as you know, is basically do you consider yourself a Canadian and, if so, what does that mean to you? I do. Yeah, actually, more than I said, a sort of myself a Canadian. I grew up, I had a British father, a French day and mother. I didn't identify with either of those groups, you know, I just I was a Canadian. On My street where people from India, Columbia, all kind is a kind of mixed street for some reason in it in Snowden, and so I got to meet people from all over. In my class was, I would say, mostly Jewish with Greek kinds of people. So we were just Canadian. And and then it was also the era of Bobby Kimby and expo sixty seven, where patriotism was, pecially in the schools, was being promoted and the Bobby. So I still get chills we go Canada Song. They used to sank Canada. One little, two, little, three Canadians. Then there was expo sixty seven, which was best time, best year of my life. He spent more time there than at school. My teacher said I could and I was amazing. So I was at twelve, is a very impressionable age. So I got stamped with that kind of Canadian. This centennial year Canadians, so I can't I have to say I am. That's why I feel I'm Canadian. I lovely. It's so and nothing else really. Yeah, yeah, wow. Thank you very much. I really appreciate exploring your body...

...of work and with you, and I'm looking forward to our next meeting at the in the reggis group. Ye, see you then. Thanks for that. Thank you for listening to an apologetically Canadian. Please consider supporting our podcast Fort UN hundred and ninety nine a month. Joint select listeners and get additional episodes every month.

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