Many months ago I was booked for an interview on the Lurking for Legends podcast and totally forgot about it until the host Richard H. Stephens sent an email with the live podcast link! Since my last blog post, my 106 year old grandma passed, so I had been busy planning another funeral and dealing with over zealous relatives who all have opinions but at the end of the day only me and my siblings were paying for this funeral.
Having done a few interviews in the past, the biggest difference in live streaming is the lack of opportunity to correct mistakes. It’s similar to giving a talk in public. It’s a good exercise in practicing improvisation because there will be questions asked which are not scripted and you have to pull yourself together to speak clearly. There were also questions from the audience via the Facebook live feed and I had to answer these on the fly too. I always think afterwards about how I could have sold things better (my husband says I am the worst salesperson!) but every experience makes the next one better.
I haven’t written anything in a while, so I wrote a long personal essay called How COVID Affected the Care and Death of the Elderly In My Family. It’s a recap of what has happened over the last few months with my mother and grandmother before they died. Death is final and even conspiracy theorists can agree that such a thing will happen to all of us! Or maybe not…
Have a look at the essay here if you have time and please follow me on Medium if you can. To qualify for their partner program I need 100 followers but I only have 2. Yes, pretty sad, I know. In the near future I will be posting more on Medium and then mentioning them on my WordPress blog as larger pieces fit there better I think.
It’s been a busy week, planning for my mom’s funeral this Friday and suddenly my 105-yr old grandma landed in the hospital two days ago. Mom was the only one who could shove food down grandma’s throat and they were each other’s nemesis for the last forty years. Grandma has been struggling to survive for a while now, her body is getting weaker as time passes.
After learning about my mom’s death, a wave of comments from aunties and uncles crashed down on me, including:
“If you stayed with her, you could have saved her” (an elderly uncle fell at the same time who has no kids and for a moment me and my siblings where trying to deal with him when she suddenly died)
“Don’t kill yourself!” (I was depressed for many years after father died and have gotten somewhat better, not suicidal anymore at least. Thanks for the reminder)
Funerals are like weddings, I have to come to say goodbye to your mom!
Sue her family doctor! This was negligence in the healthcare system!
Don’t fight over money with your siblings! I want to mediate and we have to find a spouse for your single sibling!
I think we should talk, but you have to drive yourself to my house because I don’t have time to come to you.
At least she died not knowing she was sick, so she lived her life to the fullest!
Sadly, having experience the loss of my father before, I know that a lot of these comments are people dealing with their own grief and expressing it onto me. For people who say they want to help, but can’t really find time, it’s their choice. At the end of the day, I forgive and forget. My mother was very involved with family, friends and her community, so it’s a huge loss for everyone. May she give me strength to get through her funeral and grandma’s current hospitalization.
Moni Brar’s works have appeared in PRISM international, Hart House Review, Existere, The Maynard, untethered, Hobart, and other publications. She is a member of the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society, The League of Canadian Poets, and the editorial board of New Forum Magazine.
She reads “Fault Lines” and tells us what inspired it on the Artsy Raven podcast, Episode 11. This clip is an excerpt from the episode.
Kevin Wong was born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia: the same hometown as Sidney Crosby and Sarah McLachlan. He has always loved writing and creating art, and even as a child he was constantly drawing, painting, writing stories, and telling tales to his friends and family.
He answers the question “What inspired you to write stories about Hong Kong?” on the Artsy Raven podcast, Episode 9. This clip is an excerpt from the episode.
Recently I finished an op-ed piece and sent it around to major media outlets. It wasn’t picked up by anyone. Naively I thought that since the piece was about a small press publishing a book by Asian writers and finding it difficult to gather in-depth book reviews, this would be an interesting read since a lot of diversity articles only talk about the good things about why it’s needed or negative experiences. The experience I had was a good one, but in the op-ed I wanted to highlight the fact that people are scared about being cancelled, so they can’t comment on anything, which makes it difficult to move forward. Everyone says they want diverse books, but is this really true? Or are they saying this because it sounds like the right thing to say?
As a writer, I wonder about why this piece was rejected. If you are a successful op-ed writer, perhaps you can send me some tips!
Generally, the message in this piece was: sometimes it’s best just to sit down to have a cup of tea and eat together to build relationships going forward. Basically instead of preaching diversity, let’s talk about what we have in common and be friends!
June is Pride Month and on the Artsy Raven podcast we are releasing episodes featuring a LGBTQ author every Sunday. More details available in our June newsletter (click here), including which episode to listen to which has a submission call for short stories. It was great to talk to these authors who all generously shared their challenges and struggles, but despite all this, they all remain optimistic and achieved their goals!
At the end of May we had a book launch for Belief, an anthology featuring Asian authors. I was happy that my 3-tiered cake didn’t fall down and it was a lot of fun baking, even though I’ve lost my sense of smell and taste after the COVID vaccine. Since I take care of my 105-year-old grandma, I get tested for COVID every week and it’s been negative. Anyhow, we recorded the Belief event which can be watched on Youtube here. More details about the book here.
Comedian Josh Williams and I talked a little bit about Belief and other things in life on his One Man Podcast, click here. His podcast is a casual conversation and somehow I impressed him with my talk about the radioactive sandwiches I fed people when I worked in Nuclear Medicine!
I’ve been trying to do more writing by doing writing sprints with an indie author group every Sunday night, but it’s been slow. My brain is still split on weekdays because of virtual school and I can’t write one sentence without the kraken (my child) demanding something. I’m not sure at what age human children become more useful!
For more detailed Artsy Raven podcast episode summaries, they are posted on Patreon and Ko-fi every Sunday.
May is Asian Heritage month and this year on the Artsy Raven I interviewed a few of the authors from the Belief anthology, a book which has been getting some PR on Canadian radio stations. This is the first book I’ve ever done marketing and interviews via radio stations so I’m not sure what the ROI is on doing this, we will see! Visit the book page to see the radio interviews and other media links, including The Richard Crouse Show on Newstalk 1010 and THE RAW MIKE RICHARDS SHOW on SAUGA 960 AM: http://www.darkhelixpress.com/acww/belief/
Every week in May I’m dropping an interview with a Belief author and they read their piece from the anthology as well. It’s really great to hear the authors read from pieces which we have been editing for a few months and they give life to their words! Check out the Artsy Raven podcast page for dates of when the episodes will be released: https://jfgarrard.com/arpodcast/
The podcast pace hasn’t been too bad, I am not an exhausted pigeon yet! Until next time!
This morning we woke up early to listen to “The Raw Mike Richards Show” on Sauga 960am which caters mainly to the Toronto area. Once a month, The Idea Shop goes onto the show to promote the latest book releases in the Canadian market.
To be honest I was a bit nervous about what people would think about the book because although I think it’s fantastic, I’m also the gardener who helped plant the flowers, so my perspective is biased!
It was wonderful to listen to the opinion that the stories were like a “box of chocolates” which cheered up the readers during COVID and also brought up memories of the host (Mike Richards) being close to an Asian family in the town they grew up in. Canada’s strength lies in diversity and the ability for people to work together to transform society for the better.
In the historical imperial palace game I play there are dual competitions once in a while. As a concubine you build up a team of confidants who are princes, eunuchs, maids, friends and foreign diplomats. Over time you gather potions and collect items to increase their tactics, glamour, wisdom and vigour.
When the duals open, for a week you slaughter other people’s teams by beating the butterflies out of them. Yes, you read right, butterflies instead of blood because this is a civilized girly palace game after all! There are random battles and you can choose to challenge players. To win, some players challenge the same person over and over again until they are negative in scoring.
On the server I am playing on, the top player or winner believes that using any strategy to win is fair, so during duals week, they pretty much kill everyone since they have such a strong team. The winner runs a “palace” (to be a member you must convert your name to include a swastika Buddhist symbol and listen to the winner who is the “Master”) and they send orders to other girls to go after certain players to ensure only their palace members will make the top ten. There is one particular player the winner will send orders to be destroyed every time. The person they bullied went onto the chat board and said quite a few horrible things such as the winner’s mom being a street prostitute and hoping that the winner gets COVID.
While a lot of us were sympathetic originally to the person being bullied, we then felt lines were being crossed on both sides. The winner shouldn’t be bullying others so much but the game rules allow this and the person being bullied shouldn’t be saying such horrible things. After a few days of endless chat messages, a lot of us just gave up being peacekeepers and ignored the drama.
Being an online game, we don’t know each other’s true identities and it’s just ok to walk away sometimes because not all fights are worth fighting! And so, once a month, drama fills the game…