Tag Archives: Canada

The Spot Writers “Our ‘New Normal'”

Welcome to The Spot Writers. This month’s prompt is to write a “never have/had I ever” story.

This week’s contribution comes from Cathy MacKenzie. Cathy’s novel, WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama, is available from her locally or on Amazon. MISTER WOLFE, the sequel, coming soon! As well as MY BROTHER, THE WOLF, the last of the series.


“Our ‘New Normal’” by Cathy MacKenzie

Never had I ever
Expected to break my wrist—
Or any bone—
Is this the beginning of the end?

Perhaps it was, for:

Never had I ever
Heard such terms:
Physical-distancing, flattening the curve…
What the heck!

Never had I ever
Thought self-isolation would be cruel
And unusual punishment,
For no wrong of mine!

Never had I ever
Imagined imprisonment at home
Other than once-a-week outings for essentials,
Though it’s safer staying home!

Never had I ever
Thought I’d be afraid to grocery shop
Or enter another store—even step outdoors,
But the money I’m saving!

Never had I ever
Imagined I’d be yelled at
For walking down an aisle,
What are those floor arrows?

Never had I ever
Imagined ER treatment like a leper
Because of my postal code,
Isn’t that discrimination?

Never had I ever
Thought I’d be forced to don a mask
Other than on Halloween,
But it hides my wrinkles!

Never had I ever
Thought hugs and family gatherings
Would be forbidden,
The technological alternative does not cut it!

Never had I ever…
Thought the world would change as it has.
Never had I imagined a virus would—or could—
Shut down the world.
Oh, 2020, what have you done?
The year isn’t half over and
The news is too grim to watch
And Nova Scotia mourns and mourns…
Covid-19 deaths of too many elderly,
Canada’s worst mass shooting of twenty-three,
Six dead in a military helicopter crash.
On our porches we left boots for Dylan
And lights to guide him home,
A wee bit of hope that soon died.

So many “never-had-I-evers”…

Alas, the world has changed
And not for the better,
But when our “normal” returns
Perhaps people
Will change to better the world.
We can only hope and pray.
But I have my doubts.


The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.ca/

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In honour of Canada Day (July 1) and the U.S. July 4: WOLVES DON’T KNOCK is on sale for $10.99 U.S. until July 6. Amazon.com
Also available in Canada for approx. $14.50 on Amazon.ca
Available locally from the author for $15.00.
Wolves Don't Knock FINAL PRINT COVER

Twenty-two-year-old Miranda escapes from her abductor and the wolves that have tormented her soul for six long years. She returns to her childhood home where her mother, Sharon, caring for Miranda’s son, Kevin, has feared for her daughter’s fate. Uncertainty and distrust taint the first year after Miranda’s return. Miranda and Sharon hide secrets they dare not reveal while constantly wondering when Miranda’s kidnapper will reappear. Can mother and daughter bury their demons and repair their strained relationship? Can Miranda bond with the baby she never knew and find the love she so desperately wants? Will Kevin’s father play a role? Will Sharon find the answers she needs to recover from her own troubled past?

Set in Halifax and vicinity, Nova Scotia.

Although this book deals with sensitive issues, there are no graphic sexual scenes.



What a story! What a read! It reminded me a bit of The Room and, of course, a couple other stories like this one. It is engaging though it has difficult themes and elements. —ML

I love the parallel mother/daughter relationship and once the grandmother gets involved, it truly turns into a generational problem. The knock-knock jokes are a stroke of genius. You have wonderful symbolism and use it well throughout. And all the “wolf” connections and descriptions are soooo perfect this should be in a lit course to teach symbolism! —PL

A 5-star novel. Buy it. So many elements of suspense weaved through Wolves Don’t Knock that you feel you can’t read and turn the pages fast enough to get to the end…a real page-turner, holding this reader’s attention from opening to the end. The many threads woven throughout this novel left me exhausted by the end. That is a very good thing…. A lot of the introspections were the best passages in the novel. Often beautifully written… Joyce Carol Oates uses intensive character introspections in a lot of her work. She can get away with it because she has the skills to make those introspections fascinating. So does this author…  —RA

Wolves Don’t Knock is a spell-binding novel that delves into the mysteries of a traumatized young woman’s psyche, as she fights to regain a sense of worth. As the story progresses, the variety of well-developed characters will keep the reader turning the pages. Thumbs up and five stars to this talented author. —KA


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It Only Takes One

Check out the March issue of  Open Heart Forgery, a free local publication in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I’ve had several poems published in this pamphlet of a magazine. It’s actually not hard; if there’s room and one’s poem is reasonably okay, it’ll be published. (At least, that’s my understanding.) Poems must be a maximum of 28  lines long and a max of 43 letters wide. Only one submission per author per month and a max of four poems per year. One must be a resident of HRM (Halifax Regional Municipality).

Here is my poem, “It Only Takes One”:

The night is hollow and cold,
and I’m alone in blackness;
I’ve never liked the dark,
don’t like what I can’t see.

Stars are funny creatures,
resting and hiding by day;
They emerge at night to party,
when their florid faces glow.

They glare at us, those stars,
spying upon us in the quiet;
And we stare back at them,
seeking fruitless fantasies.

I’ve never liked the dark,
Don’t like what I can’t see;
I beg I beg upon one star,
Please let my wish come true.

New post on Open Heart Forgery

March 2018

by ohforgery


View Issue vol. 9, no. 2
ISSN 2369-6516 (Print)
ISSN 2369-6524 (Online)

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I Lost It!

I lost my bank card today! Yikes! (Or, at least, discovered today I had lost it!)

I’m not surprised, actually. I jam stuff into my purse and never put cards and bills where they should be. If I’m at the ATM and someone’s behind me, I stuff even faster and haphazardly so I don’t inconvenient anyone. In the end, I have inconvenienced only me.

Who knows where my bank card disappeared to. Today’s the 17th, and, strangely, I do have the last withdrawal slip, dated the 12th. Funny, cause the two—my card and receipt—are usually jammed in my purse together. Figures I would lose the more important of the two!

This might not be a big deal, except we’re in Mexico. There’s the language barrier, the fact we’re far from home without access to our personal banking personnel and other funds, the very real possibility someone has accessed our account and depleted our funds. And, if someone has scoffed our money, another very real possibility Hubby may expect me to replenish the funds from my money. Another yikes! Oops!

Of course, when I discovered the loss, on the street, outside the ATM, the bank was closed for the day. We headed for our planned dinner, all the while Hubby chastising me. Yeah, but I deserved it, so I couldn’t say much. “You should let me handle the money and the card,” he yakked. Yeah, I guess so, I thought, but I felt a bit of power handling finances in Mexico, since at home, things are: his or mine; not ours.

I asked him if he had his bank card with him. “No,” he said. “I never had one.”

“Of course you did,” I said. “You had one at home.”

“Nope, I never had a card,” said he.

“Yes, you did. It was in your wallet, but no doubt you don’t have it here,” (thinking he wouldn’t carry his entire wallet around in Mexico). He kept insisting he didn’t have a card.

When we returned home, he opened his wallet. Voila, there it was! I kept quiet.

We returned to the bank. “I have to,” I said. “I won’t sleep tonight wondering whether our money is intact or not.”

Luckily, the money was intact. And Hubby’s card worked, despite him not remembering his password or even knowing he possessed the card. I saved the day! I remembered his password.

So, tomorrow we head to the bank again. I hope they can just cancel my card and not have to cancel his card and reissue all new cards, for that will only add to my stress. It was hard enough getting the online access set up and learn the process. If I have to go through all that again, I will scream!

Nothing’s easy in Mexico.

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Mexico, eh?

Mexico, eh? Wow! Must be nice! The hot weather. Lolling on the beach sipping piña coladas. Collecting those little umbrellas and fancy straws.

Yep, I’ve been in Mexico for two weeks now, and, I suppose compared to Canada, the weather here is nicer than subzero temps and snow shovelling.

But it’s not Mexico weather!

I’m lying in bed, at almost three in the morning, listening to the rain pelt on the clay-tiled roof and hit the luscious private patio next to our bedroom sliding door. The wind is rustling through the trees and hitting the bougainvilleas climbing up the wall across from me, but not loud enough to mask the intermittent thunder. An occasional lightning bolt flashes into our room. Hubby snores beside me.

This isn’t the Mexico I signed up for. Hubby and I haven’t seen the sun in three days, and we’re missing our early morning exercise runs. To those people back home, none of the above beach stuff is existing in my life. For one thing, we aren’t in one of the hot-spot tourist resorts, so we’ll never be lounging beachside sucking syrupy drinks. But that’s quite okay, since Hubby and I aren’t beach people.

Instead, we’re in our second “home” in Ajijic, which my daughter calls the seniors’ place. The weather should be nicer. This is more rain and chilliness in December than Ajijic has had for many years, and everyone is complaining about their cold homes. There’s no such thing here as central heating. Some lucky ones have electric heaters, with the downside of racking up already sky-high electric bills, but in this abominable temperature, no one will mind a few more pesos. Still other luckier ones are cozying up to their gas fireplaces. Hubby and I, well—we have a different tale. We allowed our long-term renters to remain in our house (complete with two gas fireplace and an electric heater), while we rented a house this season. Unfortunately, our rental has neither a fireplace nor an electric heater, and, because of the direction this house faces, the sun, even when it’s shining, doesn’t even begin to heat the place. We’ve been cold since the day we arrived, despite the 20+ temps outside. The only place we can find warmth is sitting in the car with the heater full blast or snuggling in bed. Restaurants with fireplaces are hard to come by, but we’ve been looking. I’ve been to Walmart numerous times to purchase sweaters and long-sleeved tops and fluffy socks.

We did break down yesterday and called our renters to see if we could confiscate our electric heater, if they weren’t using it, of course. “No problemo,” they said. We enjoyed two minutes of heat from it, until it blew up.

When I disentangle myself from Hubby to look at the clock, I bolt upright when I see the time.

“Do you know it’s ten o’clock,” I say.

“Yes,” Hubby replies. “But what’s the sense in getting up when it’s cold and rainy and there’s nothing to do?”  Poor Hubby, who’s usually at work by eight, has been bundled up reading more books in the last few days than he has in his entire life.

I googled Ajijic’s long-range temperature. Looks like we’re in for another week of this stuff, although the temps for each day are increasing in increments of a degree a day. Wow! We might get warm someday!

I hope Ajijic will soon be back to normal, so I can at least pretend to my buddies back home that I am sitting on a beach drinking piña coladas. Because, despite not boasting a Puerto Vallarta beach, Ajijic is “beach” to me when I bask in the sun  or stroll down the malecón or admire Lake Chapala as it spreads toward the mountains.


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