Hillsborough

It is taking longer to write The Robin’s Egg than anticipated. When I began this journey in 2013 I thought I was writing a story about events that had occurred and concluded. Instead, my research is advancing the story, unlocking new facts and inspiring deeper insights. Rather than rush it, I have given the narrative the time and space it needs to grow and mature. I am currently working on the second draft of the book.

To thank you for your patience, here is a small excerpt from my favourite chapter – Hillsborough. I hope you enjoy it and my newly re-branded website.

There is always a lawn mower humming or a bee buzzing in the grassy knolls of Hillsborough, New Brunswick.  Built on a bed of white gypsum, with the muddy Petitcodiac River spooning the backside of the village, it was a magical place for three women to begin their fugitive existence. I used to imagine the Petitcodiac River was a chocolate stream leading to a secret world of mysticism and wonder. Everything about Hillsborough was laced with a Tim Burtonesque essence of magic and everything from the leaves on the trees to the flowers in the valley seemed personified.

Even the birds spoke.

One of my very first memories of Hillsborough was my Grandmother’s cockatoo, Bear. She taught him to swear for her own amusement and he embraced his talent with enthusiasm.  I can’t remember what he looked like, but I remember the way he made me feel. Bear was an ass hole. He stole my small Barbie accessories and pocket change and hid them in the valance of the living room curtains. He would perch on my head, screeching obscenities as I swatted at him with my three-year-old sausage arms.

“Oh shit! Oh shit! Bull shit Baby Bear!” he would yell.

Bear was a bully, but he was undeniably majestic. I’ll give him that. I used to watch him in amazement as he worked a room, taking what he wanted and cussing out anyone who tried to stand in his way. Bear enjoyed bobbing his head to CCR and sipping beer and whiskey out of unattended glasses. He enjoyed steeling food, collecting shiny accessories and raising a little hell every chance he got. He was a blue-collar bird with blue-collar sensibilities and provided me with a base vocabulary of obscenities.

Bear is one of my Grandmother’s most treasured memories and the ‘Shit’ fiasco is one of her favourite tales. One evening she says Bear crept up on me slowly while I was napping on our black and yellow corduroy couch. Giving my ear a small nip, he yelled ‘Bull shit,’ at the top of his lung, causing me to thrash awake in a panic. “Bull shit to YOU,” I yelled back in a red-faced rage to the shock and amazement of all present. My grandmother says she gave me a stern scolding through stifled laughter. I don’t remember that moment, but it’s a damn good story, so I’m going to own it.

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