Gail's Blog

Here's where I write...when I'm not writing otherwise!

Camp fYrefly

During the 1950’s, I was a student at a private girls’ school in Toronto.  When we became of dating age, we went out with the boys from one of the boys’ private schools.  As I remember it, the arrangements were fairly loose. If there was a dance or a private party, one of the boys would ask one of us and if he didn’t get the girl of his choice, he would keep asking until somebody was available.

Being Writer in Residence at Memorial Park Library – Part II

As some of you who read this blog regularly know, I am a believer in synchronicity.  Today I received a note from my friend, Clare, telling me that Zoe at Quill and Quire was planning an article on what it’s like to be a Writer in Residence, and that Zoe was looking for input.

A Good Christmas

After Ted and I had been married two years, my mother-in-law gave me a Christmas book—a kind of diary in which I could record the weather, the menu, the guests, the best presents and the big events of the next 25 years of holidays.  When that book was filled, Babba gave me another, and it, too, is jam-packed with news of the Bowens celebrating.

"What if Christmas perhaps means a little bit more?"

Today I’m the guest on CBC’s noon call-in show here in Saskatchewan.  Our topic is Christmas stories, and why, no matter how often we hear them or how formulaic the stories are, their appeal endures.  As a mother and a grandmother who’s read and heard most of the Christmas stories dozens of times and is still charmed by them, I think I may have come up with an answer.

Prairie Lessons

On Friday morning Ted and I drove up to Saskatoon to cram as much as we could into one day, one night and one morning and make it home in time for supper and a sleepover with our granddaughters in Regina.  The weather was wretched – visibility on the highway was poor and there were patches of black ice on the road. …

Happy 68th Ted Wren Bowen!

My husband Ted turned 68 yesterday.  As always, our oldest granddaughters had stayed over Saturday night, so our celebrations yesterday were sedate:  we gathered up our grandson Peyton and we all went to church.  In the afternoon, the fixit man whom we had been begging to do something about the leak in our dining room ceiling for a year and a half –a leak that, as promised had finally knocked out a chunk of plaster—came to the house cut a larger but neater opening in the ceiling and said we needed a plumber.

Writer in Residence – Memorial Park Library [PART 1]

My tenure as the 2010 Writer in Residence at Memorial Park Library here in Calgary is winding down, so on Friday I filled out my final report.  The document isn’t quite an apologia pro vita sua – ‘a defence of one’s life’ for those of you who didn’t sit through Miss Bauer’s Latin class for five years of your life.


Somewhere along the line when I was asked to supply an organization with biographical material, I mentioned that my grandmother taught me to read by showing me the tombstones in Prospect Cemetery.  The fact that a mystery writer learned to read from tombstones has proven to be a tasty morsel for people who are faced with the task of introducing me, but it made perfect sense to my Nana and me.

An Evening with Mystery Writers' Ink

One of the many pleasures of being Writer in Residence is invitations to talk to writers’ groups.  Last night, Ted and I braved the snowy, traffic-y streets of Calgary to join the Members of Mystery Writers’ Ink.  We had a lot of fun, exchanged ideas and MWI member, Ana Bateman, invited Ted and me to stay with them in their home in the beautiful foothill country south of Calgary next time we’re in town.

A Houseful of Stuff

Our friend, Clare, stayed with us for a weekend last spring.  On the Sunday of her visit we had lunch with other friends, one of whom is a psychiatrist.  At lunch, Clare mentioned that she’d never seen a house that had as much stuff as our house did.

Canadians at War

Here in Calgary I’ve noticed that the media has begun to refer to “Remembrance Week”. To me, this is a welcome change. Two minutes of silence to remember those who died in war and those whose lives were forever changed by war has always seemed paltry.

Happy 31st Birthday Nathaniel Peter Bowen!

Old Wives and New Age-ers tell us that a child chooses his or her own time to come into the world.  Believe what you will, but the existence of our son, Nathaniel, gives credence to the theory.  Ted attributes Nat’s place on the planet to the fact that I walked home from the university during a solar eclipse.

If You're Any Good, Why are You Still in Saskatchewan?

On July 23rd I launched the 12th Joanne Kilbourn novel, The Nesting Dolls, at an event called LOVE, Saskatchewan 2010 at Harbourfront in Toronto. To celebrate, The National Post invited me to submit a guest column.  Here it is.

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The title ‘LOVE, Saskatchewan 2010’ has the bounce and fizz appropriate to a summer celebration of Canada’s easiest-to-draw province.  …

Nathaniel Bartholomew

For a man who died over 90 years ago, and who, at the time of his death in Ypres, was 35 years old, Nathaniel has played a large part in my life; in the lives of my children and now, in the lives of my grandchildren.  Nathaniel was my grandfather.

I never knew him.

Flour sack underwear and the Bow Building

Yesterday, Aritha van Herk came to my home library, Memorial Park, to talk about her book Mavericks:  An Incorrigible History of Alberta.  Because she was addressing the Women’s Literary Society, a group that has been here since Calgary’s beginnings, Aritha focused on our city. …

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