Vive Montréal

You have to love Montreal. Spring arrives and the streets and parks blossom with people as joyful and colourful as the city’s signature Profusion crabapple flowers. I had the pleasure of speaking on Sunday at Paragraphe’s Books and Breakfast at the Hotel Sheraton. This event has been one of the highlights of the literary scene in Montreal for many years and is attended by droves of devoted readers. Two of my role models, Warren and Muriel, were able to join us, as well as several Montreal friends. (See photos by clicking on the blue flickr box on the right hand side of the page.)

The seriously talented Anne Lagace Dowson hosted the event. She also interviewed us on her CJAD Saturday afternoon radio show. One of the delights of the weekend was getting to know Anne, as well as meeting the other speakers and hearing about their books: Harvey Cashore, Isabelle Lafleche and Catherine McKenzie.

A big THANK YOU to Paragraphe Bookstore for its support for writers. Weeks ago they filled their window with copies of my book (see photo below) and now only a few remain.

Montreal was the final stop on a month-long book tour that took me to nine cities. A more celebratory or welcoming reception is beyond my imagination. I thank every one of you for being part of this journey. And my heartfelt gratitude goes to my publisher Thomas Allen. I could not have wished for a more supportive or talented marketing and publicity team. A special thank you is reserved for all the seniors, both those I interviewed for the book and all the others who participated in the events. They are our role models.

I will continue to blog about your feedback to the book and will post interesting links. So please keep visiting – and keep writing!



Back to my London Roots

London was a chance to reconnect with family and friends, and two of my own role models. Art Fidler was my English teacher at Oakridge High School and his praise for the book has been that “A” I was always chasing! Art is living the advice of the elders. After he retired from teaching he launched a new career as head of marketing for Original Kids Theatre Company. Dr. Ben Singer (see photo below) was my sociology professor at Western and, throughout my career, has been a source of advice and encouragement. When I worked for Ben as a research assistant he red-lined all my sociological jargon and taught me to write clearly. Ben was one of the two dozen experts who reviewed the manuscript and the book has been graced with his insights and ideas – not to mention his sense of humour! A big thank you to my wonderful family and friends, and friends of friends, who came out to the London launch to support me.

After London we stopped in Hamilton for some terrific media opportunities. I was on CHML Radio with Bob and Shiona, on CHCH TV Morning Live with Bob Cowan, and on Naburs and Friends with Bill Naburs at Talk Radio 820AM. Thank you Hamilton!

On to Montreal, our final stop in the tour. I’ll be at Paragraphe’s Books and Breakfast at the Sheraton on Sunday morning May 2 (see Events) and appearing on CJAD's Saturday Afternoon with Anne Lagace Dowson on Saturday, May 1.


Kingston Reunion

Friends – old and new – joined us on a Sunday afternoon at Novel Idea, the bookstore beloved by Kingston readers. This was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate both my role model, John Meisel, and others. (See photo above. To view more photos click on the blue square on the right hand side of the page.) Our canoeing buddies - Peter Milliken (Speaker of the House of Commons) and Ned Franks took time from more pressing matters of state to grace the event with their style and charm.

 A big thank you to the wonderful young men and women who came to support Andrea and me. They are role models in the making. We’re on to the London launch (see Events for details), followed by a stop in Hamilton to do some TV and radio interviews.

Here is some terrific feedback from Ruth:

“I agree with so many of your statements. People over 50 need to read this to understand how we can age more gracefully, that life is not over just because we are aging. I especially appreciate your thoughts on “Freedom 55”. It is limiting to assume you have to stay in a job, just so you can earn more money to retire somewhere down the road. I myself am moving into a condo with my new husband (2nd marriage for both of us, we “get it” about spending the rest of your life with the right partner) in 8 weeks, and at the same time, will be quitting my current full time job. I am not feeling fulfilled in this job, I know that I do need to continue to work (thanks to the recent recession and losses in the stock market), but I feel confident that I can find another job that will the right fit for me. 

I also agree with your statement about the importance of where we live as we age. We bought a condo in a great neighbourhood that we very carefully selected, so we could be part of a community. We have decided to embrace the European lifestyle, where less is more, quality before quantity, and material possessions are just “things” that do not necessarily bring you happiness.

Again, thanks for sharing your insight into aging. It really meant a lot to me to have my thoughts validated by someone else.”


Ottawa Homecoming!


A big THANK YOU to family and friends who came out in droves to support the “home team.” There are many ties that bind us to Ottawa. We lived there for a dozen years. It is the birthplace of our elder daughter, and the home of my parents, brother and some of our closest and dearest friends. The welcome began with a beautiful bouquet of flowers awaiting us at the book launch. Thank you Judith and John! Then about 70 people poured into the elegant Nicolas Hoare bookstore and quickly stripped the store of copies of the book. There were many role models to celebrate. Three of my role models - Laurier, Ricardo and Blair were there - looking very dashing – as was my father. (See photo above.) Several friends of my parents (also role models) came to support me, and some friends brought their own role models. All in all - a most celebratory crowd!

While in Ottawa I was a guest on CBC’s Ontario Today phone-in show with host Bill Brown. The topic was Aging and they asked the listening audience, “What kind of old person do you want to be?” People phoned-in with terrific examples of their role models and the half-hour flew by.

Here are more examples of wonderful feedback.

Bonnie writes: “The way you integrated the interviews with your extensive research, general eclectic knowledge, and especially your personal journey can only be appreciated by someone else who has attempted that kind of editing—how hard it is to achieve the balance and tone which makes us put ourselves on the journey with you. You did it!! I’ve asked my husband to read the book next because I want to talk about lots we have to think about—where we live, what each of us does next, whether we are putting our temporal and fiscal and physical resources in the best places. Looking forward to that continuing dialogue.”

Lynn writes: “The best awareness you have given me is the importance of a challenging, creative interest that is up to me and mine alone, to share when asked or should I not be able to keep to myself any longer.”


Haligonian Hospitality Rocks

It may not be spring yet in the Maritimes but the Halifax welcome we received cut right through the chilly air!  It began with the bouquets of tulips in the beautiful suite we received as an upgrade for the visiting author – thank you Simon, Linda and the Marriott! Several dozen people braved the sleet and icy roads to get to the book launch. And some of them attempted to buy their body weight in books! (See photo below) My feisty role models, Richard, Ruth and Mary were undaunted by the conditions and came out to launch the book in dashing style. (See photos on flickr link.) People took home buttons and certificates to give to their role models and generally got into the spirit of the event. It was a pleasure to meet new role models like the dynamic 87-year old Emmeline. As her son says, “She is full of energy, has a sharp, brilliant mind and a real zest for life.” A special thank you to Linda, Barrie and the rest of the Black clan who made sure we wanted for nothing.

I am receiving some wonderful feedback from book readers. Here’s a small sample:

Alan writes: “I have read your book and, although I confess that I don't typically read this sort of book, it is a terrific work. My sister begins a visit on Friday, and we will celebrate her 59th while she is here. I have now bought a second copy of your book as a birthday gift. (Thanks for solving that little problem.)”

Margaret writes: “I've devoured your book and have resolved to take all your suggestions to heart.  Truly an inspiration and tonight I'll begin the re-reading of it, taking notes and checking out the websites.”

Karen writes: “You’ve changed the way I view my career.  Instead of wondering (as I have) if it’s worth missing some hard-earned fun activity when I’m working, I’m now viewing the work (which was always fun) as something that is and will contribute to my wellbeing and ability to participate in fun activities.  Thank you."

See you in Ottawa.