Showing posts with label writer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writer. Show all posts

Monday, 11 August 2014

Memories, Turned Into Stories, Never Die

i travelled from afar to look once again at

a magical place from my childhood,
the birthplace,
of stories and dreams,
where imagination and creativity
took flight, never weighed down by commonsense.
my tiny kingdom had been destroyed by progress.
i stood  on hot concrete,
staring incredulously at a large edifice of
glass like steel and steel like glass.
searching my memories,
i did not see this
man-made monstrosity.
rather, reflected in the mirror like steel,
i see a cluster of wild apple trees,
stunted and gnarled.
through the eyes of a child
these wild trees were a magical orchard,
created just for me.
i sat in the tall grass,
shaded by succulent fruit,
listening to a symphony of insects and birds,
watching stories unfold in the clouds.
it was a Garden of Eden.
for a creative child,
the perfect backdrop
for imaginary tales,
tales which progress
will never destroy.
stories outlast cities.
part of our shared, collective consciousness,
living where neither rust nor mold can destroy them.
stories live on in us.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Becoming a Mother Inspite of Myself

Thirty odd years ago, I never could have imagined myself as a mother. I was a 23-year old student at the University of Regina on the Canadian prairies. Having just graduated with an Honours Degree in English Literature, I considered continuing my studies as a graduate student. In fact, I didn't foresee any changes to my life which had flowed smoothly till then. I had grown up with one sister, ballet lessons and a library filled with great fiction and I still enjoyed gardening, painting and drawing, just as I had done as a child. I was content.
Suddenly, my life as I knew it changed dramatically. I met Michael, who was just passing through Regina, Saskatchewan to Prince George, British Columbia. From that first meeting, it felt like the prairie wind swooped down and scattered all my work and plans. Michael describes our initial introduction in much kinder terms; he says that he saw fireworks when he first laid eyes on me. It was instant attraction. Everyone thought I was going to be a nun librarian but, as Michael loves to remind me, he saved me from this fate.

I was not ready for such a dramatic change in my life but it was clear to me that this encounter was a defining moment that I could not ignore. So I baffled fellow students, profs, advisers, friends and family by saying yes to the unexpected. I did not know anything about my newly chosen lifestyle. I did realize that I was completely ignorant and lacked even the most basic skills required to survive.Coming from a family with only two children, it was a culture shock, to put it mildly, when I moved to eastern Ontario and met Michael’s sprawling French-Canadian family of eight boys and two girls.
I became pregnant before our first wedding anniversary. Instantly, I began to panic because I knew, that once again, I was utterly unprepared. I had never even held a newborn! So I got ready in the only way I knew how; I read every book I could find on pregnancy, birth and baby care.
However all this studying did little to equip me to mother a fragile, completely dependent newborn. For example, as I held my baby in a small bathtub for his first bath, I was nervous. It is hilarious to admit now but I actually had a book propped open with one elbow awkwardly holding it open to the right page, while my baby was in a bathtub on the table. The book was my security blanket, I guess.
My new husband, who was the second oldest of ten children and completely relaxed with babies, walked through the kitchen, shook his head in disbelief and said quite wisely,
“Melanie, there are some things you just can't get out of books."
Yet, something did happen to me moments after giving birth to my first child; still in the delivery room, I forgot my exhaustion and pain the moment I held my newborn. A surge of motherly love rose up in my heart combined with a sense of awe at the miracle of creation as I examined tiny, perfectly formed fingers and toes.
There was something about my baby's open, trusting gaze that literally drew love from me. My newborn could see clearly for about 8", just far enough to focus intently on my face. It was almost as if the initiative to bond came from my son first, especially when I consider his fierce hand grip as he clutched my clothing.To ensure that I fed him, he was born with a powerful rooting reflex and a cry that literally triggered the let-down reflex for my milk, soaking my clothes if I did not start nursing quickly enough.My baby did not even have a sense of himself apart from me for the first year, his whole identity was intricately entwined with mine. On a good day that translated into an almost magical relationship of love, the strength of which astounded me; on a bad day it meant little sleep where I was unable to put him down for more than a quick dash to use the toilet or to drag a toothbrush across my teeth.
Somehow, though, this new life, this culture shock, became my daily life.Unbeknownst to me, each successive baby set me free to become more fully who I was called to be, a joyful mother of nine children. If I think about it, I am just as baffled as any outsider when I consider this conundrum.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

A Challenge: Reveal The Person Behind Your Blog

Last year, someone on Blogher suggested that writers should enlighten their readers by revealing odd facts about themselves. A challenge went out and at least ten writers  posted their lists on Blogher. Well, to end the year on a reflective note, here is my list of humourous, and/or thoughtful insights about the person behind my blog- me

1. I HATE scary movies. As soon as the music rises ominously, I start pacing. Once in a movie theatre, at The Lord of the Rings, I jumped and managed to throw quarts of popcorn in a 4′ radius all around us. It landed in people’s hair, on their coats… everywhere. My husband has never let me hold the popcorn again.
2. I am the definitive bookworm. I read at least 5 books a week till I was 15, stopping only if I had too much homework to keep it up. My mother used to beg me on nice summer days to , “At least read outside!” Sometimes, to limit my late night reading, I have read perched on the edge of a cold tub, only to realize 2 hours later that I am frozen and can hardly walk.
3. I love STRONG tea, butter tarts, red wine and cilantro. I love old houses and restoring their beauty, gardening, big windows and old pine floors.
4. Someone told my mother that I was cute but my sister would be beautiful! I am short, 5′ 1″ and 104 lb. I was a cute little kid (the grade six girls wanted to cart me around like a doll ),  a cute new mother,  my kids’ friends think I am cute and I will be a cute, little old lady. Doomed to be forever cute.
5. I have a sadistic streak. The times I have laughed the hardest concern my husband and bathtubs. Once Michael was stuck in a too small bathtub, trying to rinse his hair with a princess shower head without getting any water on the floor. The second hilarious incident was when he was stuck in a cold bath, with his leg sticking straight out in a cast, while I attempted to haul him up! Both times I laughed so hard that I ended up on the floor. My husband did not even smile.
6. My athletic skills are dismal. Michael, my athletic husband finally gave up on trying to find a sport to suit me when he realized that the only possible choices were a very gentle game of badminton or croquet but even that was a stretch.
7. At 13, I played Becky Thatcher in a Tom Sawyer musical even though I really can’t sing. I also I had to kiss him in front of the school, then night performances, a televised production and sing on a record. I STILL cringe at the memory.
8. I can’t spell, type, and I am basically just entering the 21st century’s computer world. So what would be the most difficult dream be to fulfill? Why, become a writer and of course this is the path I find myself on.
9. I love my husband and my kids. I love play dough, looking for bugs, colouring, reading kids books and making doll houses. I really need lots of grandkids.
10. I am eccentric, living on the margins of society and I love quirky, intellectual nerds with a sense of humour. I often laugh in the face of tragedy. It works for me.Only my parents really get my humour.
11. God has managed to heal and love me in spite of myself and I could weep in gratitude for His patient mercy.
12. If it was not for my daughters buying me clothes, cutting and dying my hair and teaching me about make-up, I would look very frumpy.
13. I was pregnant and nursing, often both, for 18 years without a break. My husband says he saved me from becoming a nun librarian.
14. I am an inefficient square, trying to force myself to roll through chores like a circle. I just recently have begun to take delight in my inefficiency.
15. I need to start drawing and painting again.
16 My favorite books are The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and the Bible.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Mentor Me

Without the confidence I received from publishing in BrooWaha, discussions on BlogCatalog, and my own personal editor, Isabel Anders, I would probably still be writing nothing more than mummy drivel. In fact I would certainly not be writing a book and I might even have stopped writing a blog.
11 months ago, when I closeted myself in a room to sit down and write, I froze. I considered writing to be a solitary craft but looking at a blank screen or talking into thin air was a sterile exercise in futility for me. I could not translate the same creative energy that I experienced telling a story verbally to the keyboard. My intuitive, imaginative side stayed buried and my logical intellect wrote boring drivel.

Then I started to blog and people started to comment on my writing. They liked my stories. I was shocked. These new online friends helped me gain confidence which it turn helped my writing. The most influential mentor was and still is Isabel. Early on I read that bloggers are supportive and unselfishly helpful, rejoicing in each others success and offering free guidance . Well, I discovered that this statement is true. She encourages, interacts, and gives advice as well as sending me every article she can on writing and publishers.
Isabel Anders
Isabel Anders@IsabelAnders
Book author at Isabel Anders' Uncommon Mother-Daughter Wisdom: and Miss Marple: Christian Sleuth
Tennessee ·
I have only been writing a year but with Isabel's encouragement, guidance and knowledge of the publishing world I just submitted my first proposal to a publishing company. Huffington Post also just published and article in the Religion Section. After editing my first shaky attempts at a proposal she read my third attempt and commented:
This is wonderful! Very well presented, and a fine sampling of your work. They may want to use some of this material for article(s) too. YOU are worthy and so are these wonderful stories. But with publishers, it all depends on their need for a certain category of book at the time.
Try not to take any decision too personally. This is so hard. It's like trying to hit the bull's eye of an invisible target the first time. I've had many rejections over the years. Every acceptance is pure grace
A good friend at BlogCatalog wrote the following comment about mentors after reading this post.
helenafortissima I've had mentors and have served as a mentor myself. I think most people seek mentorship at some point in life, especially during the educational process or entry into a new field. It takes confidence in oneself--and courage--to ask for help. Mentoring isn't about conforming or micro-managing, it's about catalyzing one's own abilities and insights and honing them into a unique set of skills and knowledge. It's about sharing. For me, those have proven to be meaningful and valuable relationships that have encouraged both personal and professional growth and innovation.
The following is just the beginning of my proposal which I attempted to write 3 months ago. The task was simply overwhelming I needed a mentor.
Proposal Information: 1.  my contact information

As a tiny English Major,with dreams of becoming a professor, I had never dreamed that God would call me to raise 9 children on a hobby farm. A combination of grace, cups of tea and a sense of humour enabled me to embrace chaos and tragedy. My little ones taught me what is really important in life and where to discover fulfilment and joy.
"Melanie Juneau—motherofnine9—knows that a woman's ground of creativity lies as close as her child's heart. In her delightful stories and memories of mothering nine children, she shows how a Christian mother bathed in love brings all the power and light embodied in her faith to that most important sphere of hope, the family."
—Isabel Anders, author of Blessings and Prayers for Married Couples and Miss Marple: Christian Sleuth.
167 articles published BrooWaha Your Citizen NewspaperSeptember 22, 2012
Articles published in family life, humour, spirituality, and health. 43,550 page views, on Feb.17/2013
Interviews(Link)BC Staff BlogsDecember 4, 2012
1.An Artistic Military Man Says, "Welcome to My World,"
2.Blogging Opens The Door To Writing
3. Passionate About Learning: From Bonsai Trees to Quantum Physics,
4. A Brainless Nod? Hardly!
Foundationlife Articles(Link)Foundation LifeFebruary 8, 2013
YOU had 9 Kids??
A God Led Life
The Joy of a Large family
A Challenge to Catholic, Pro-Life Men and Women
Horton the Who is Pro-life
Become a Baby Whisperer
3 Facts Our Catholic Kids Need to Know
Finally, A Pro-Life Doctor,
Remembering Life in the Womb,
Enigma to my Obstetrician,
The Call, Transformation,
The Wisdom of Mothers
Protecting Life in a Neonatal Unit,
Choosing Life
Why Did You Have So Many Kids?, Nurturing Your Baby Before Birth(Link)Prolifeblogs.comNovember 21, 2012
59 posts since September 2012(Link)WordcastersFeb. 11, 2013
ranked #6, one of 17 featured writers
Melanie Jean Juneau(Link)DiggMay 19, 2012
54 submissions promoted to the front page in Lifestyles on Digg
till Aug, 2012 when Digg was re-vamped
Mom Blog Society(Link)July 15, 2012
one of 34 featured writers till July 2012
now is re-organized
A page overview of my on-line presence can be found at showing articles from broowaha,,
I am a mother who raised nine children on a hobby farm. The stories I write are humourous, thoughtful and thought provoking .

Thursday, 21 February 2013

about me

People look at me, their eyebrows shoot up, their mouths drop open and they sputter,
”YOU had 9 children??
This is because I am 5’ 1” and weigh 104 lbs. I was pregnant or nursing for 17 years without a break. I have been pregnant 10 times and I am healthy and happy and I have my BBB back. (That would be my Before Babies Body).
My husband and I raised 9 children on a hobby farm and discovered fulfilment and joy. When the words The Joy Of Mothering on a Hobby Farm popped into my head as a subtitle for my short stories it was like an epiphany for me because those few words verbalized my experience living with little people. The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people.
My writing is humourous and heart warming/ thoughtful and thought-provoking with a strong current of spirituality running through it.
Part of my call and my witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life, especially a life lived in God

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