About joyceahowe/hood

Toronto mystery and memoir writer.

Cinco de Mayo

We always celebrated Cinco de Mayo – north of the border up Canada way. We visited the graveyard every Sunday but we did not bring picnics on May 5. No, what we did was honor a dark haired child with wringlets who could recite the names of all the dwarves. And that was me before my fall from Grace. Me before I became the nasty girl with pigtails and siblings.

I knew about the place ‘south of the border ‘down Mexico way’ because Shirley Owen sang about as he played his guitar on stage, the fiddle and the piano behind him. He had fallen in love there and been disappointed. This didn’t seem to upset his substantial wife who sat in all her substance. Smiling.

We kids had waxed the floor by skating on the wax discs and we danced along the edges out of the way of the adult dancers. It was a bacchanalia for country kids who played alone on farms or regarded helping with the hay as play.

I never expected to live long. You should have met my father. I was busy with family still when I woke up to discover I was 87.

My 14th floor apartment is full of spirits. Hard to move some days. They are happy because I am finally writing a book about the future which they regard as the one job I came to do. There are 2 more in the series, but they assure me I have several more Cinco de Mayos left.

How to Write a Novel During a Pandemic

Previously on 115journals.com, I wrote about dreaming the beginning of my soon-to-be-published novel, I Trust You to Kill Me, set in Colombia in 2120. I said that I dreamed the first chapter. Every night I went on dreaming about the place and the people I had imagined. I had cancelled my in cleaner because she was also working in the front lines in Canadian Tire. As I went about my house keeping, the next scene would write itself in my head and I would word process it in the afternoon.

I was so happy. I couldn’t visit anyone. I masked up and scuttled into the grocery store at 7 a.m, senior hours, but I was happy because my apartment thronged with the ever-growing number of characters in the book. They’d get into life-threatening predicaments and then figure their way out. They were contending with the end of the world, or, at least, the end of civilization.

I had given up listening to Canada’s Prime Minister, who had to do his updates on the steps of the house he was living in because he and his wife got Covid. I switched to the Cuomo brothers, Chris in his basement for the same reason and Andrew, somewhere in Albany, looking official, quoting Churchill, “If you’re going through hell, keep on going.” I had no idea these steady, supportive men were actually deeply flawed.

I had cajoled six people to be my beta readers and I shared how happy I was with the book. When it was finished and edited and edited, I had it copied. Each copy cost about $50 and Canada Post earned about half that getting it to far-flung destinations. I suppose monks copying it in calligraphy would have cost more.

Now I was free to start the second book in the series.

But. Hang on. Word came back that it was unreadable. People would add that, no doubt, I had a good book in my head, but I had left most of it out. My friends were at the breaking point. One read me the first 13 pages aloud. Each sentence provided me with half a page or a page of notes. The one writer in the group had put aside her own work to read it. She was the most distraught of all. She sent me a short response, but managed to lose her copious notes. Another one didn’t lose hers, but never intended me to see them.

The trouble was I lost the half the novel. It just vanished from my computer and neither Microsoft nor Apple nor the Geek Squad could find it. That led me to pick up the heavily annotated one from the annotater. Well, she was out, but the door was unlocked. It was mine after all.

Holy Crow! Those comments. They were things I used to think while marking grade nine short stories, but I could never, never give to tenderhearted students.

I sat down at my desk, which looked out high over the neighborhood, all the way to Lake Ontario. It was August. Okay, I said to myself, I get to do it all over again.

Pandemic psychosis manifests in a multitude of ways. For example, I was pretty sure there shouldn’t be a hard lump just there, but I would get to it later. And I did, several weeks later. Some surgeries go ahead even in the middle of pandemics.

When I glanced up from my computer, I was vaguely aware of the trees turning yellow and orange and the pile of pages growing taller, even taller than before.

It looked as if we could have a smallish Christmas where we actually ate with a few other people. I copied the pages myself this time. The writer gamely offered to read the new version, but I felt I had done her enough harm. The others, great readers and frank critics all got new copies, well, some of them did.

But my chief, reliable critic, received the new, longer, much longer, book and unceremoniously backed out. “But you promised!” Now I’m I actually felt a little down,

I was fooling around on Twitter one day and found a very old DM from a woman who offered to edit my book. It was 2 or 3 years old, but she was still at the job. I sent her a 10 page sample – chapter two – and she sent me back a very competent and encouraging response.

In January, I sent her the whole book. Here was a woman, who didn’t mind reading on line. She was busy though. Of course I got impatient, but her response when it came blew my mind.

Apparently, it was good.

Stay tuned for further adventures of I Trust You to Kill me, even the origin of that very old phrase from a Sufi Master.


Welcome to all my new followers. This is the first blog about how I dreamed a book, which will be published in May. And yes it is politically relevant.

This Word Press blog is called 115 Journals. In fact, there are 149. The series of hardcover sketch books covered in black ink musings ends abruptly in the middle of February 2021. I had spent the previous shut-in year reading books about the climate change and its threat to civilization, books like Roy Stanton’s Learning to Die in the Anthropocene and The Ministry of the Future by KIm Stanley Robertson.

The morning the journal ended, I had had a late dream. In the next entry, I began to record that dream as if it were the beginning of a novel. A few pages further on, I find that I also recorded the end of the book, although I’m sure I didn’t dream the whole story, which has tuned out to be 153,439 words long.

“It’s a beast,” cried my previous cover artist, S. “I worked on a cover like that once. It was a nightmare. The writer kept coming back with changes and edits after the book was formatted, which added all kinds of fees. I charged $1,000 because books like that are beasts.” “Oh, the myth of the 200-page novel,” commented another. She had the curious idea that a book should be as long as it wanted to be. And she would do the cover.

Then there was the title, I Trust You to Kill Me. No, it’s not a sado/masochistic book. This is what Al-Hallaj, a Sufi Master, found guilty of heresy, said to his executioner on the banks of the Tigris in 922. You may have come across it, reading the poems of Rumi, which have become popular in their translations by Coleman Barks.

It is the precept that the protagonist, Alena Rivera, an intelligence agent in the year 2119 has lived by in the event she’s seriously wounded while on a mission. Dying might be necessary to save the other agents and the mission.

It was also a useful motto for the ordinary citizen caught up in unbearable famine, flood, drought, violent raids, continual epidemics or threat of torture.

The subtitle of this first book is ‘Salvador’, the second book ‘Lucas’ has reached 30,500 words, and the third book, ‘Beni’ keeps whispering, “Patagonia’ but is otherwise blank. The story is set mostly in Colombia 2019 to 2175.

How does one live when the Pacific has eaten its way up to the feet of the western range of the Andes, when Carthegena and New York City and Boston and Mumbai are isolated tiny islands, when Miami and most of Florida have vanished, much of London, when Los Angeles and the great ports and colonial capitals are gone? How does one live when children keep insisting on being born?When ‘thousand year storms are yearly occurrences? When temperatures are above what flesh and blood can stand? What consolation or hope can one fall back on?

The Writer by Mendelsohn Joe
The Writer by Mendelsohn Joe, 1982

Elizabeth, Justin and I

Elizabeth was ten years old when I was born; nevertheless, I regarded her as my contemporary. We had a satisfying relationship. She got on with her duties and was seldom ill. She had been there all my life. She helped me through the war. She was a soldier, herself.

When she and I were young, we looked alike and as she grew older she looked like my mother. My mother had been very ill and checked out early, but I still had the Queen. She even showed up at Christmas. Sort of.

Then in my 86th year, when I was busy sorting out two potentially fatal conditions my big sister, Elizabeth, slipped away. Fatal conditions and I are not strangers. Fortunately, medical science keeps moving forward and by the time I get whatever, doctors speak of it offhandedly. Their latest slight procedure may involve heart surgery.

When I looked up Elizabeth was gone. That was very annoying. Just when I needed her there, anchoring me, she vanished.

Other people threw themselves into the Queen project. They watched the 24-hour news and planned their calendar around her funeral. I suppose I was working through the denial phase. If I didn’t pay attention. It wouldn’t be true.

Then our Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came to my rescue. Some killjoy sneaked a video of him singing Bohemian Rhapsody while Gregory Charles played the piano in a public room in their hotel. A bun fight ensued. Righteous Canadians like Coyne objected. Unrighteous ones didn’t. It was Saturday night, personal time, not intended for eavesdropper’s consumption. And if you can’t sing someone on their way, what has the world come to?

Like everyone else I no longer have the Queen LP, nor even their CD, but in a few minutes I owned – or rented until my password gets lost -2- versions of Bohemian Rhapsody, the original and remixed version. Then I decided why not the whole albums?

So, after a blue day, including a long walk in wind and rain, I set about making a pot of soup, wearing earbuds and blasting Queen into my brain.

I was too old be a rock fan, but I taught high school, so I had to support the kids who saw themselves as Freddie or Mick. I bought the hard rock and my then-husband bought the Beatles. Our children were the right-aged audience, so they didn’t complain.

Elizabeth and I were young in those days, at the top of our game even. In my case, it was a period of time, just before the first fuel crisis, when we were all still living in ignorance,in a beautiful house under a wooded hill with quail. It was just before the night crawler crept in a back window, causing the door to slam and stealing a $12 watch. Elizabeth was still summering at Balmoral and we were swimming in the pool or sailing on Lake Ontario.

When then-husband passed away, we gave away the sailboat, more or less wrecked by wear and sitting at anchor. I had vowed to see to his estate, an act of love if ever there was one. He hadn’t filed/paid taxes for 5-years. If I see him across the veil, I am going to yell at him first.

Elizabeth will be delighted to see Phillip. Remember Elizabeth sitting in Covid isolation at Phillip’s funeral. I understand why she had to leave.

I am prescribing several repeats of Bohemian Rhapsody every night for two weeks and various other Queen songs. I’ll swallow the miracle drugs first, but more miraculous will be the music.

Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: personal reflection

Cinco de Mayo

We always celebrated Cinco de Mayo – north of the border up Canada way. We visited the graveyard every Sunday but we did not bring picnics on May 5. No, what we did was honor a dark haired child with wringlets who could recite the names of all the dwarves. And that was me before…

How to Write a Novel During a Pandemic

Previously on 115journals.com, I wrote about dreaming the beginning of my soon-to-be-published novel, I Trust You to Kill Me, set in Colombia in 2120. I said that I dreamed the first chapter. Every night I went on dreaming about the place and the people I had imagined. I had cancelled my in cleaner because she…


My home East Hereford, Quebec is being turned back to forest. Smart move. All it ever grew was stones. But now it is dark and foreboding as it was to the pioneers who cleared the land. It is still sunny in my heart.

Went to a post-op appointment with my surgeon, said, “I’m so grateful that you and the Trillium Hospital System were able to do the mastectomy so quickly despite Covid and give me a chance at a longer life.”

He said, “Not if you don’t get this heart workup.”


On the day, Oct 1 when I woke up from the anesthetic, I seemed surrounded by people, including my daughter and they were all concerned about how I felt. It would take me a while to figure that out, I thought. Not too bad, not like waking up from abdominal surgery, feeling as if someone had hit your belly with a 2 by 4.

“They’re going to keep you in overnight,” my daughter said.

“I’m okay. Why can’t I go home?”

“You developed a very rapid heart beat and arterial fibrillation. You still have it.”

“No, I don’t. I feel fine. I’ve had missed beat a few times. I always feel it. I haven’t had it for years.”

“You have it right now,” she said.

Something was beeping at my left shoulder.

“They’re just waiting for a room where your heart can be monitored.”

All these busy professional people, I thought. They’ve got this so wrong. My daughter had been in health care until her health mandated her retirement.

I had been given something to steady things out, but now they were debating about not giving another dose because it had done what it was supposed to, but now it was doing the opposite. They concluded no more. I lost the plot on whether a doctor signed off on that, but it was good because it was time for more morphine. I sort of remembered what they said because later, I seemed to be the voice of record. I kept reciting it when a new nurse came on shift. Then I totally forgot it.

My daughter was allowed in my new hospital room for 5 minutes. Covid, you know. All my paraphernalia was piled in a corner. I was hooked up to lubricated pads and wires and a machine that rang bells. My daughter, from California, had just arrived the day before but I couldn’t chat with her. No,sir. She was for the chop, out the door. We were having the pandemic of the unvaccinated. She and I were vaccinated and tested and generally certified. All of us were wearing masks – provided by the hospital. Just in case we had actually been wearing our own for a week straight.

She went away.

But it was time for more morphine. Who can complain? It was hard enough to form words.

Oh, the other problem was blood pressure. Typically I have a slow heart beat even after exercise. Typically, I have low blood pressure. The initial drug had slowed down the heart but plummeted the blood pressure -? I listened carefully to what the nurse said. When he finished, I said, “I have a question”. “Yes,” he said, standing ready to explain. I replied,”What is your name again?”

I think he said Walter, but I do remember doing a review later in the middle of the night. I just don’t remember his name.

I couldn’t sneak a glimpse of the incision. Way too much bandage and an evil plastic ‘grenade’ that was squashed for negative pressure and pinned to my gown. Nobody said ‘negative pressure’ nobody said ‘has to be squashed to suck’. Nobody said ‘leaks”. But I knew these evil devices. They liked nothing more than to start spitting. The nurse did something with it out of sight, recorded something and emptied it. I had to shuffle along after him into the washroom, hospital gowned, on a tether of plastic tube with a trailing tall apparatus, and watch what looked like my good red blood drain away. My favourite part was staggering back to bed.

Every time I lapsed into sleep, the machine screamed. All night. Finally, I analyzed it with all my remaining intelligence.

“It does the alarm thing when I hold my breath,” I announced.

I’m not sure it was then, but eventually, someone put oxygen into my nose.

Why was I holding my breath? You should have lived my life!

There were other memorable and either traumatic or funny incidents. The evil drain leaked. My bandaging was blood-soaked, drying into what felt like armour. We raced to the Home Care Office. (Yes, truly.) It was 5 p.m., closing time. That was bad enough, but I had no file. I had just been released – file – not available yet. The first nurse backed away from me, her arm straight out defensively, shouting, “I can’t touch you. I can’t touch you.” She was doing a tai chi move called ‘Stepping back to ward off monkey’.

A second nurse took us into a treatment room. I lay down musing upon my untouchable status. Through the thin wall, we could hear the two nurses screaming at each other. One finally prevailed. She would work overtime, one hour, and do the job. She was not the one warding off the monkey. I will draw a curtain there, without mentioning the quickly hidden text book or ‘negative pressure’. I came out with half my chest encased in a clean wide covering, like a 20’s breast concealer.

We learned much by consulting Dr. Google after that.

But, back to today, I sat in one of the few remaining coffee shops in our city after my appointment, ate sugar and drank chai – not very good chai- hint -not the green siren’s.

I came home. I phoned my sister first because I was whiny, worked some of that out. Then I phoned my daughter on a mountain in So Cal. She helped me see things more rationally. I ate lunch, I took 1/2 dose of lorazepam, I set the timer for 25 minutes. When I woke up, I drank a glass of water and sat down on the couch.

I have always had a good relationship with the dead. They drop in to see me soon after their demise. My father phoned me in the middle of the night, but avoided my questions. I don’t doubt that they still exist. Some of them I am quite fond of. It’s just that at the moment, I am invested in earth and the people on it, including two little Texas girls, who carry my genes.

The doctor had inspected my incision and pronounced it excellent or very good or maybe even perfect. When I caught a glimpse of it changing my clothes, I acknowledged he was right, but I had been very attached to that right breast. It had been the best breast, the other one had already had its problems.

I got to thinking about all the parts of me that had already gone up in my smoke and been reduced to ashes. Surprising how many parts a woman can lose and still appear more or less normal and still have a body that functions. I hadn’t caught Covid, for example.


So, I had my own grief before dying session. It involved that those old words, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” This caused a stir among the spirits that had come drifting down to comfort me. You can hardly move in my apartment sometimes.

Patently, I hadn’t been deserted. I found the cancer. I had half a dozen doctors and technicians who proved it was cancer in two weeks. I got a surgeon. My son, and my doctor grandson (on the phone from Dallas) were part of the surgeon interview. My daughter came to care for me. Home Care got progressively better and Dr. Google can answer anything. And such gifts and cards and laughter at least til the morphine stopped.

Sure fine!

It’s going to be a long process letting go of earth, so I’d better see that I get more time or failing that, speed up.

If you are in that process, good luck. You are not alone.

BACK TO THE FUTURE: the stalled novel set in 2120

Re-posting for new followers.

The Writer by Mendelsohn Joe 1982

According to the news hound in my family, Peel County where I live in Mississauga, west of Toronto, Canada, had the longest lock down on the planet. I don’t know. I do know it was very long.

It began when our premier told those over 70 not to leave home. Eventually I discovered that chewing chair legs was not nourishing and boldly went forth in search of food. Terrified at my advanced age – I could actually have a child of 70 – but well-informed and masked and hand-washed, I went into grocery stores.

It went on and on. I had a solitary birthday in May and a solitary Thanksgiving and a Christmas on video chat, which made me crazy.

The year swung around and I was back to February when the whole nasty plague thing had hit a year before. My daughter forwarded an item from the New York Times about the Anthropocene Era -the era when we humans are doing our best to wreck the planet and probably bring about the end of civilization as we know it.

I decided to read Roy Stanton’s book Learning to Die in the Anthropocene in which he analyzed how our civilization developed in concert with the geological eras, describing, for example how early humanity fled rising temperatures in Africa, migrating to more temperate climates. He went on to describe the climate warming that is now upon us with catastrophic storms, rising temperatures and sea levels. The summer of 2021 provided so many examples that the argument against climate change changed in a week. Well, okay, so it exists. Now what?

I went on to read a second book by the same title by Bringhurst and Zwicky, as well as The Mushroom at the End of the World, The Collapse of Western Civilization by Oreskes and Conway, The Great Derangement and The Hungry Tide by Ghosh and The Water Will Come by Jeff Goodell

Then I began reading Cl Fi (Climate Fiction). I didn’t know such a thing existed. I read New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson. (New York streets are now deep canals and the high rises have been waterproofed and are still inhabited although some apartments are underwater.) Robinson has a series of such books. NK Jemisin’s books, beginning with The Fifth Season, a series of 3 novels. Flight Behavior by Kingsolver, Leave the World Behind by Rumann Alam.

Suddenly, I realized I was happy. I have never been a happy person. Circumstances mitigated against it. But now I had an idea. Oddly enough, I woke up from a dream with the opening scene in my head. I would set the story in Colombia a hundred years in the future and tell of how the people there were dealing with the physical challenges of the new climate and the attendant civil breakdown. I had, after all, watched what looked like the breakdown of a great democracy during the lock down. I started mainlining books about Colombia, although Gabriel Garcia Marquez had set me up with a wealth of knowledge beginning with A Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in a Time of Cholera.

I could hardly wait to get back to my desk every morning.

Finally in the summer, fully vaccinated, I traveled to California to meet my great grand daughters, their parents and my daughter. I had seen the 4-year-old only once when she was an infant and I had never seen the 2-year-old.

Why are you telling us this?

Because my hand had discovered a knob on my sternum. My hand knew it wasn’t really a knobby bone. It knew and my subconscious knew that after 23 years, I had breast cancer again. But I might never at the age of 85 see these children again, so I went. I came back delighted and wrote without cease. I haven’t watched television since late June.

I knew that the key to the meaning of the book lay in the ‘Breaking News’ inserts between each chapter, but repressed knowledge led me to send the first draft without the inserts to Beta readers. I would say they hated it, but it is more accurate to say they couldn’t understand it.

So, I started all over again, but I also went to the doctor. Having delayed for too long, I was now aware that hospitals were overcrowded with the Covid D Variant and surgeries were being delayed. Not, it turned out if the diagnosis was breast cancer. A month after my first doctor visit, I had day surgery at one of the Trillium Hospitals. Only it wasn’t day surgery because I developed rapid heart beat and Afib. I felt fine, except an annoyingly loud bell rang every time my heart went crazy. I figured out it happened when I held my breath. Funny thing. I endeavored to breathe. And brilliant idea – they hooked me up to oxygen.

So, home again, home again. Two weeks where every day has been a new and different problem. No machine, no loud bell. A lot of deep breathing. First it was pain, then a leaking drain and then constipation. Finally, the drain had done its job and I could stop worrying about bloody bandages, Removing the plastic tube felt 100% better until it didn’t, because now I was free to feel all the bruises and muscle pain and raw places from the steristrips. And it must be said, no matter what your age losing your best breast is a grievous thing.

Today I planned to get back to writing a scene set in Cali, Colombia, after a 1000 year storm. It will be a lunch meeting of the local Narcos to convince them to support the decriminalization of Class A drugs. They are already ‘legal’ in Colombia, but the goal is to legalize them worldwide. The results in terms of loss of life and reduction in criminality as well as easier access to healthcare for addicts has proven itself in such countries as Portugal.

This is one step in the protagonists’ – Salvador and Alena – plans to reduce the risk of attack on their own Hacienda. Someone is clearly trying to kill Alena. Not only are the Narcos threats, so is the government, including parts of the air force, random roaming gangs, Mossad and Alena’s former mother-in-law.

I couldn’t write though. I was wrestling with getting enough fiber into my system. Salad, pears, vegetable soup, metamucil, magnesium, raspberry jelly made with mineral oil and dried fruit. But I did find I could read my research notes. They inspired me all over again, but I also got a glimpse of the size of the project.

Now that I am not going to die of cancer, I’m just going to have to slow down and take it step by step.

The Beta readers were prone to saying, “You seem to have a good novel in your head, but not on paper.”

A previous post included the prologue which explains the title, I Trust You to Kill Me. https://115journals.com/2021/08/11/new-novel-goes-to-beta-readers/

Continue reading


There is an ancient Chinese story about an old farmer with one son. They are very poor, so poor that the son has to pull the plow to cultivate their field. Seeing this, a wealthier person gives them a horse. The village is jubilant, “What a good piece of luck,” they say. “We”ll see,” says the old man.The son doesn’t know much about horses, but he sets off to ride to their field and begin to plow. Halfway there, he falls off and breaks his leg. The villagers carry him home. What a terrible piece of luck, they say. The old man and the son will starve to death. “We’ll see,” says the old man. Then the ruler of their district declares war and orders all the men to report for military duty bringing their own weapons. It is a war they are sure to lose against a powerful enemy, especially as they have only shovels and scythes for weapons. How lucky you are, everyone says, that your son cannot go to war. “We’ll see,” says the old man.

I have read versions which go on from there to 7 or 8 different circumstances, but always with the same reply, ‘We’ll see.”

At present, I am waiting to see.

After 10 months of Covid isolation, depression, terror, hand washing, mask wearing and prayer, I suddenly felt very happy. I had a dream, which I could see could become a novel. It wrote itself. It was like taking dictation. I loved the characters and the challenge of imaging Colombia in 2120, when sea level rise is wrecking havoc and civilization is going down hill. I especially like the humor of the book, the answer to the question, how do you live in a dying world.

I plugged away at it, eventually producing a revised version, 370 double-spaced lines or about 90,000 words.

On Tue. August 31, 2021, the following happened:
-the dentist said I have no cavities,
-three of the Beta readers of my novel report they can’t understand it, although it seems as if I have a good book in my head. The other two haven’t looked at it yet
-I discover that the funny rib knob at my sternum is a very large breast lump.

By good luck, I get an in-office doctor visit with my GP. I get a mammogram and an ultra sound two days later. I get a biopsy two days after that and am told because of Labor Day, I will get the results on the 14th of September, but by good luck, my GP calls and tells me the cells are positive for cancer and by further good luck I am already signed up for an appointment with a general surgeon, although, bad luck, not until Sept. 20th.

I begin rewriting my novel (I trust You to Kill Me) https://115journals.com/2021/08/11/new-novel-goes-to-beta-readers/ following the advice of the 3 crazed Beta readers, who can’t follow version 2 to the extent that they have lost their minds.. On Sunday evening, I finish for the day and save version 3 on the desktop (thus on iCloud) and on my backup drive. On Labor Day, I begin to open version 3.

It isn’t there. Not on the Desktop, not on the backup drive and icloud hasn’t heard of me. I spend 3 hours with Apple helpers. Sorry dear!

But there is hope. I have printed up to page 211 of version 3 and given it to an uncrazed Beta reader, who has not read anything yet, but she is 3 hours away at a cottage. Never mind. I have 151 pages printed and lying on my desk.

So, I start out again with short breaks to mourn my mortality – I am 85. Short breaks to be comforted by a) booklovers and b) relatives. Short breaks to comfort relatives. Short breaks to lose my mind utterly. Short breaks to lie down and stare.

Today, I have rewritten up to p.150.

The lump has the same steep, volcanic contour as one of the Andes mountains in my book and is spreading out into the llanos or grasslands.

I am not a stranger to cancer diagnosis, having had breast cancer in the left breast in ’98, 23 years ago, and a carcinoid in my ascending colon in 2001, that memorable month, 20 years ago. By the time, it was my turn for surgery, I hadn’t eaten sold food for a month and fitted size 8 jeans.

I threw out the ‘cancer’ wardrobe in a fit of optimism two years ago after my ex-husband died – of cancer..

I miss those carefree winter days vaccinated, taking dictation from some heavenly muse, never having heard of the Delta variant. I thought I was lucky then.

It’s not a good idea to try to change the future, so I’m just waiting to see – and writing.

“But surely goodness and mercy
will follow me all the days of my life.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
23rd Psalm

New Novel Goes to Formatter and Cover Artist


Here is the prologue to my new novel set in 2120, as climate change is undermining civilization.

I Trust You to Kill Me:

Al-Hallaj Mansour, a Sufi master, uttered these words on the banks of the Tigris when he was martyred in Bagdad on March 26, 922.

The charge against him was that by saying ‘Anal al Haq,’ (I am Truth.) he claimed to be God.

Was he saying ‘I trust you to kill me’ directly to God or was he speaking to his executioner? If all of us are God, then the executioner was merely God’s agent.

Mansour was hit in the face, whipped into unconsciousness, and finally decapitated or hanged while thousands watched.

Whatever else, Mansour’s words mean that he accepted his death in expectation of union with the Divine.

This story begins On December 18, 2119, 1200 years later in Colombia, a violent and volcanic land, home of cocaine, heroin and magic realism.

I Trust You to Kill Me should be ready for publishing in in late April. It asks how should we live in this perilous time and answers with laughter and love.