Sunday, 15 September 2019

A Healing Gift. Guest Author Maggie McLaughlin of Fredericton, NB.

A Healing Gift   Cognitive Energy Healing

Here’s a testimonial for Margaret’s book:

“A must read for anyone interested in alternative medicine. Maggie takes us along a journey of how she healed herself and others of debilitating allergies. Her healing modality (CEH) can also be used to address auto-immune disorders and releasing emotional baggage that hinder our ability to fully enjoy life. A truly inspiring read”

The Kirkus Review: Maggie McLaughlin's readers may find her "... creativity, effusive tone of spiritual uplift, and reassuring success stories to be just what the doctor ordered. ... A warm hearted and encouraging ... alternative-medicine guide." 

The Scribbler is happy to have Maggie visit us today and participate in a 4Q Interview and she is graciously sharing an excerpt from her book.

Let me share a bit of my story. 

My parents grew up along the Richibucto River and I was born in Rexton.  Shortly thereafter my family moved to St. Stephen (my dad worked for NB Power) where my brother Jim was born. A few years later dad was transferred to Moncton where my parents bought their first house and three more siblings, Sharon, Carla and Billy, joined the team. I attended primary school at Notre Dame, and went onto Notre Dame d'Acadie for my ninth grade.

The especially good part about the move to Moncton is that my parents bought a small cottage on the river close to Rexton, near to our many relatives and friends. It was here that we spent every summer and most weekends from spring through fall during my childhood years. Those were fabulous summers spent on the coast: boating, digging clams in Little Aldouain, hiking through the lagoon and over the sand dunes to Kouchibouquac's Kelly Beach (long before it was a national park), visiting rellies throughout Kent County, and swimming in the Northumberland Straight at Richibucto Cape. From these roots came my love of coastal saltwater air, tidal waterways and the ocean, all an essential part of my being

By the time I reached high school my family had moved to Fredericton - a difficult move for a shy kid entering high school.  Subsequently, I went to UNB where I received a BA in French and Social Sciences followed by a BEd degree.   While at UNB I was fortunate to take a painting course with Molly Lamb Bobak, and from there my passion for art and the arts blossomed. And I met my husband John. So began our very happy and rewarding life together. Today we are the proud parents of three amazing adult children and grandparents to five delightful grandchildren.

Following the birth of our daughter Heather, John continued his graduate studies in Madison, Wisconsin, where we made many life-long friends. While there I took painting classes at the Madison Art Center and later on, while living in Ottawa, I took advanced painting classes at the Ottawa School of Art and Design. Over time I increasingly came to see myself as an artist. However, by the time my children were in school and we were settled back in Fredericton, I shifted my focus to teaching in the French Immersion program. Painting did return to my life later, when I worked on commissions (including book covers), and had a number of solo art exhibits. 

 My life's journey has been filled with love, adventure, and any number of amazing world travel experiences. As with most people, I have also had a fair number of challenges along the way, including a few that were life changing. If one is fortunate, these challenges can provide a new path for learning and living. This proved to be the case for me.

After some serious health challenges, I came to eventually develop a new and effective alternative healing treatment. Then, sparked with the idea of sharing this new knowledge with others, I wrote my book A Healing Gift: Cognitive Energy Healing. 

4Q: Let’s talk about your book. Please tell us what it’s about.

MM: It all begins with my personal journey into hell and back!  Following a period of extended exposure to environmental toxins, I became very sick.  At some point I realized that even with all the medical help I was receiving there was no hope that I would ever be well again. Somehow, I had to take control of my own destiny, to figure out a way to overcome my illness.

The book is many things: it is the story of my journey to wellness, it's also about the new energy healing practice I developed called Cognitive Energy Healing. Besides providing an overview of the methodology and its application, the book provides a number of interesting case studies.  In the process, the reader is invited to consider exploring their options when living with healing issues left unresolved following medical treatment.

As for the title A Healing Gift, it speaks to my quest to heal myself, to the answers which came in a most unexpected way, and to the sharing of my healing knowledge. So, mustering the courage to try something entirely foreign to me, I tried to figure out how to go about writing a book and getting it published. Over a period of about three years I spent hours each day (except for the occasional foray off on a trip as we retired people tend to do) toiling away.

4Q: Cognitive Energy Healing. This is new to me. Please tell us more.

MM: The challenge for many people living with chronic health concerns is to regain the wellness they once knew. Naturally, this is not always possible for any number of reasons, even after rigorously pursuing and following every medical approach available. For others however, those willing to consider a new way of addressing their healing concerns, there may well be hope and the very real possibility of being well once again.

Photo credit: Bio Aesthetics/Rosita Paiman
Cognitive Energy Healing or CEH (pronounced say) for short, is a new alternative healing practice and a new form of energy healing that has not only enabled me to be here and lead a normal life, it has provided life changing healing for a number of other people as well. Its comprehensive holistic applications address healing concerns of the body, mind and spirit - i.e., the whole person. Working to identify the root causes of health concerns, CEH releases energy blockages caused by traumas, both physical and emotional, negative memories, and physical and emotional pain to promote lasting healing.  Other applications have proven effective in the release of maladaptive core beliefs and behaviours. In addition to all this, certain epigenetically caused malfunctions have been successfully addressed by this treatment.

Put simply, the practice applies the trained and informed use of vital energy and verbal communication to eliminate blockages that enable and free the body to heal itself. The root causes of healing concerns are identified and corrected through engaging the healing link of the subconscious mind and the body's subtle energies. In other words, CEH applications act to bridge the communication gap between mind and body, so that healing can take place. The body itself knows how to heal; sometimes it just needs a little guidance so it can learn what is not functioning as it should.


4Q: Please share a childhood memory or anecdote.

MM: I think you may have been expecting something different, however I would like to share a teenage memory in poem form. May my words paint the scene and the experience as best I can: 



in evening


upon still waters



oars dip down

gently into

the meniscus

a surface-mirror


an expanse

of twilight


My backward


gives forward



tranquil waters

a smooth


trailed only

by a gentle


I sail out

to open waters


I feel

and know

these currents

a mighty force








And still fearlessly


I row

Stopping to rest

oars drawn in

at my side

breathing in



with salty air

spirit buoyed


rejoicing silently

my solitude

A fleeting moment

to simply



as if cradled

within my small

water craft

soon waves begin

to rise

twilight fades

my boat


tranquility flees


A message

from time's passage




to the journey


night is fast


as darkness

begins to cast

its shroud

upon once familiar


All beneath

a softly moon lit


Maggie McLaughlin ©2019

4Q: What’s next for Margaret McLaughlin, the author?

Photo Credit: Poetry Foundation
MM:  I do love to drift into the "flo" of poetry as I find the artistic expression relates closely to the imagery and passion of painting. I may publish a collection of my paintings and associated poems at some point. This idea has been percolating in the back of my mind for some time.  I would like to thank Donna Allard, an acclaimed NB author of a number of books of poetry, for re-awakening my interest in this art form.

As regards Cognitive Energy Healing, I have been working for the past couple of years on an instruction manual, compiling treatment information and updating my on-going research. So, eventually there may be a follow up to a Healing Gift.  In the meantime, I am looking to start a blog from my website:

4Q; Anything else you’d like to add?

MM: Following the publication of my book, I have had the opportunity to speak to various groups about CEH. Also, I am considering offering a course in the CEH practice of self-healing.

My book was featured at the New York Book Fair and is posted in the URLink Print and Media catalogue for that event.

While semi-retired, I do still see the occasional client and continue my research into ways of enhancing the Cognitive Energy Healing practice. 

An Excerpt from The Healing Gift:

A Gift of Life

"We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us." —Joseph Campbell

We never know where our lives will lead us or what challenges we will encounter and learn from along the way. This is a story of learning to see with new eyes, of discovering a new way of being, and of developing a new healing method to restore holistic wellness. Passage from my early life pathway to the one I am happily enjoying now required a profound change in who I was and what I believed my life's purpose to be at the time. In effect, the impetus for such a dramatic change is usually brought about by a significant life-altering jolt of some kind. Mine came in the form of trauma and illness.

Little did I know I was setting out on a twenty-year journey of research, study and experience beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Initially this is a story of survival and my determination to get my life back during years of living with environmental illness, autoimmune disorders, and other related physical and emotional health concerns caused by a prolonged exposure to environmental toxins.

The turning point in my healing journey came with the realization that no medical remedy was available to enable me to be well again. While medications helped to lessen my symptoms minimally, I found myself in the inescapable grip of pain and illness with despair making inroads daily. Gratefully, this reality remained true only until that fateful day when I was inspired or should I say guided to learn a new way to heal myself and be well again. It is through this and other healing revelations that I have come to experience personally a healing story worth sharing, one that offers hope to others in need of healing for a significant number of unresolved health concerns.

Since that time, not only has this healing enlightenment led to the creation of the new healing practice I call Cognitive Energy Healing, a non-invasive, comprehensive body, mind, spirit approach to healing, it has also helped restore the health of an ever-increasing number of people. Beyond its initial application for allergy elimination, the breadth of health concerns that can be helped effectively or completely alleviated by this modality continues to grow. And so now in this writing, it is my intention to share this message of hope for restored wellness with a broader audience of people in search of help for their unresolved health concerns.

In and of itself, life is the greatest gift one can ever receive. This became all too real for me when suddenly I found myself in an ongoing battle to save own my life. The initial three years proved to be unrelenting and challenging. Eventually, however, the menacing shadow of my illness had to relinquish its power as I came to learn some amazing insights about how to heal myself. As I healed and was able to move my focus beyond healing myself to the healing of others, my life was set back on a new and vital pathway. Today, it is my greatest joy to report that the scope of what is possible through Cognitive Energy Healing has grown far beyond anything I could have ever imagined.

  For me to apply this great gift in a healing way, all I had to do was give myself permission to recognize and engage my own innate healing ability. Amazingly, as it turns out, the only essential tools for Cognitive Energy Healing practice are always with us and readily accessible. These include healing hands to engage and restore normal energy flow, and the practitioner's conscious subliminal healing directives to engage the executive power of the brain to make corrections that enable the holistic body to heal. Absolutely no testing devices, appliances or energy vials are required. While my early treatments were primarily allergy focused, the scope of the practice has grown holistically to address the significantly broader body, mind and spirit scope of healing concerns. 

  Eventually, as my health improved I came to a place where I wanted to help others in the way I had been helped. Initially, I ventured to share a small part of this journey of recovery with family and a few of my closest friends.  As they came to learn about my self-healing practice, I was surprised to discover that this sharing didn’t cause the stir or the negative reaction I had expected. In fact, for the most part, they were relieved that I had found a way to make myself well again. At that time, it had never occurred to me that someday I would take this sharing to a significantly larger audience in the hope of helping others as I have been helped.

 This book provides an overview of the CEH methods and techniques used in the healing of both oneself and others. By acting to correct and eliminate the physical, emotional, psychological, social and spiritual underlying causes of a broad range of health concerns, these modalities provide an effective and reliable approach to healing. This holistic body, mind, spirit approach promotes healing by engaging both mind and body to release the specific causes of energy blockages to healthy energy flow. Usually a single treatment takes only seconds to perform, and outcomes have proven to be amazingly successful. Clients usually report feeling energized following a treatment session. And for those who have completed a treatment regime, the vast majority report their healing results as being positive, significant, and for some, life-changing. 

Thank you, Maggie, for being our guest this week.

Please follow these links to learn more about Maggie and her book.

A Healing Gift: Cognitive Energy Healing is published by Balboa Press ©2018

Available in all three formats online through: Amazon, Chapters/Indigo and Barnes and Noble

Please visit my website:

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Award winning Author Sonia Saikaley of Ottawa, ON.

It’s great news for an author to receive recognition for their dedication to the art of writing. Our guest this week co-won the 2012 Ken Klonsky Novella Competition for her debut novel – The Lebanese Dishwasher. Great news is that she is our guest this week. A 4Q interview and an excerpt from her work.

Sonia Saikaley was born and raised in Ottawa, Canada to a large Lebanese family. The daughter of a shopkeeper, she had access to all the treats she wanted. Her first book, The Lebanese Dishwasher, co-won the 2012 Ken Klonsky Novella Contest. Her first collection of poetry, Turkish Delight, Montreal Winter, was published in 2012 and a second collection, A Samurai’s Pink House, was published in 2017 by Inanna Publications. A graduate of the University of Ottawa and the Humber School for Writers, she lives in her hometown of Ottawa. In the past, she worked as an English teacher in Japan where she introduced belly dancing to her students. Her novel The Allspice Bath was recently published by Inanna Publications.

4Q: It is a wonderful feeling I expect to be a co-winner in a writing competition. Please tell us about that and the novel that won.

SS: It truly is an amazing feeling to be selected as a co-winner in a writing competition. What was even more amazing was that I was on the brink of giving up writing when I found out that I had co-won the contest. I had been working on my craft for almost twenty years and I wasn’t having any luck finding a publisher for my work. I was getting very discouraged. It was also an extremely difficult time for me as I was struggling with some health issues and awaiting to undergo major surgery. Then I saw Quattro Books call for submissions to their Ken Klonsky novella contest. The problem was that the deadline was fast-approaching and I didn’t have a novella manuscript. If I wanted to enter this contest, I would have to write the story within three weeks while at the same time working full-time and dealing with my health challenges. I made a bet with myself that if I didn’t win this contest, I would give up on writing, let go of my dream. Well, I managed somehow to write the manuscript and sent it off in time to meet the deadline. Two days after the deadline, I underwent surgery but before doing so, I told one of my sisters about the contest in case the operation didn’t go well. Fortunately, everything went well and after my recovery and return to my full-time job, I checked my emails on my lunch hour and opened a message from Quattro Books congratulating me on co-winning the contest. I actually cried and one of my coworkers asked if I was all right. Crying and smiling simultaneously, I told her I had won a literary contest and my first book would be published. Winning this contest uplifted me at a time when I needed encouragement and strength.

The Lebanese Dishwasher is a sad but hopeful story about a man struggling with a painful past and coming to terms with his sexuality. It is a story about finding your dream again in a new country and also finding love and accepting who you are in spite of cultural constraints. 

4Q: You also have published two impressive collections of poetry. Can you tell us about them?

SS: The same year The Lebanese Dishwasher was published, I was also fortunate to have my poetry collection Turkish Delight, Montreal Winter enter the world. This collection is about the immigrant experience. The characters in Turkish Delight, Montreal Winter find themselves in situations that reveal the grafting onto or adapting of the old world to new. This collection takes the reader from Lebanon’s olive groves to Montreal’s winding stairs. Distant steamships push the immigrant dream into Canadian harbours where new citizens must maneuver through fading memories, prejudices and hopes for a better life. My second poetry collection A Samurai’s Pink House also deals with the transformation of lives from Matsuo Basho’s travels to a love affair between a kabuki cross-dresser and a lonely geisha and the struggles of women in ancient and modern-day Japan. The collection takes the reader on a journey through the fascinating culture of Japan across rice fields, tea houses, cherry orchards and narrow alleys where characters, at different stages of life, strive to find identity, peace and love.  I wrote the poems in A Samurai’s Pink House when I lived in Japan teaching English and introducing belly dancing to my students. It was an amazing experience that helped me grow as a person and writer.  

4Q: Please share a childhood memory or anecdote.

SS: Growing up as the youngest of four sisters meant that I was the queen of hand-me-downs and also the one my older sisters would tease. Every now and then my parents bought me something new and shiny. On my ninth birthday I received a purple velvet tracksuit. I loved it! I wore it often. Eventually, I grew out of the velvet pants but the jacket still fit me and I wore that jacket with jeans, with shorts, with pants. The velvet began to fade and then one day, the jacket vanished. I frantically searched all over the house for it. How hard could it be to find a purple jacket? But I couldn’t find it anywhere. I asked my sisters where the jacket went and they said they didn’t know while looking slyly at each other. I knew something was up. Being the youngest, I could get away with crying and making my sisters feel guilty. So I whimpered until my sisters finally admitted they took my jacket. One of my sisters pulled it out from its hiding place. I clutched the jacket close to my chest. My sisters groaned, “You wear it every day! It doesn’t match anything. It’s time to give it up.” “But I love this jacket!” I said. “More than us?” one of them asked. I looked away from them for a second then gazed up with my big brown eyes and big smile and said, “Of course not, even though you tease me.” They ruffled my curly hair and apologized for hiding the jacket. “But you wear the tacky thing every day! Too purple like grapes!” I laughed and said, “I love grapes just as much as I love this purple jacket.” In the corner of the family room was a bag filled with clothes my parents wanted to donate to the Salvation Army. When my sisters told me that someone else could use the jacket more than I could, I knew my sisters were right. I folded my beloved jacket and tucked it gently in the bag. My sisters told me they were proud of me. Smiling, I hugged them. That day, I learned about giving even if it meant giving up something you love. 

4Q: Your website tells us you are working on your next novel – Jasmine Season on Hamra Street.  What can you tell us about this?

SS: I have been working on my novel Jasmine Season on Hamra Street for the last nine years. The story is set against the backdrop of the Lebanese Civil War of 1975 and tells one woman’s struggle to find her independence. The novel approaches the universal question of how much should one give up for family. It is also a love story between this Lebanese woman and the Jewish man she meets in Beirut. It has been a long haul but I am hopeful I will finalize the latest draft soon.

4Q: Where is that favorite spot for your writing Sonia? What are your writing habits?

SS: My favourite spot to write is in my home office with the birds chirping in the background. I wake up at four in the morning to focus on my craft. I need silence when I work except for those lovely chirping birds! I write and/or edit every day before my day job. When I compose poetry, I write the initial draft by longhand. There is something soothing about letting the words flow on the pages of my journal. With prose, I use my desktop and set aside about two hours a day for my writing. I am disciplined when it comes to my writing routine. It wasn’t always this way but for the last ten years I have carved out the time and working in the early morning hours is best for me since it doesn’t take away time from my family. 

4Q: Anything else you would like to share with us?

SS: It took me twenty years to get my latest novel The Allspice Bath published. Everyone kept saying ‘no’ to it so whatever you have in your heart, go for it because you never know when you will find the right people to help you and who will equally believe in your dream. Here’s to dreams and never giving up!

An Excerpt from The Allspice Bath:

Elias turned the car into a small alley, barely wide enough for two vehicles. He parked the old Mercedes around the corner. Adele stepped out of the passenger’s side and followed Elias through the cobblestone street, and down a flight of stairs that led to the entrance of a small café. When Elias pulled the door open, the smell of sumac and thyme enveloped Adele along with the warmth of a large stone oven that was radiating heat at the far end of the establishment. Six small tables covered with flower-print tablecloths filled the room. A water pipe was positioned behind the cramped counter where an old man sat on a wooden stool, his eyes half-closed. He looked to be in his mid-eighties; his cheeks drooped and deep wrinkles lined his forehead. Beyond him, two windows were open wide, allowing a gentle breeze to enter the softly-lit, tiny restaurant that was empty but for the old man and one other customer. The old man was dressed in what appeared to be a woman’s polo shirt and baggy trousers common to older Middle Eastern men. He greeted them with a broken smile and a large space between his two front teeth flashed when he opened his mouth. “Marhaba. It’s a beautiful morning,” he said, wiping his hands on the grease-stained apron around his protruding belly.

          “It sure is,” Adele answered in Arabic.

          “You’re not from here. I can tell by your accent.”

          She smiled timidly; she was surprised the old man could tell immediately that she had an accent. She spoke hesitantly and now wondered in the warm heat of the café how she had lost this language that had been her first as she looked at her reflection in the mirrored walls behind the cash register. Her curly hair dropped over her shoulders and her face was unusually pale compared to Elias’s and the old man’s equally dark complexion. Yet, unmistakably, she looked like them.

          “Come on,” Elias said, waking her from her thoughts. He placed his hand on the small of her back. She didn’t move away and let his hand ease into her spine. He guided her to one of the small tables, pulled out a chair for her to sit on, and then dropped his hand to his side. Immediately, she missed its warmth. She sat down and she sighed loudly as she followed Elias’s movements, his long legs striding elegantly across the restaurant back to the old man, who handed him a plate filled with zahter and two cups of steaming ahweh.

          When Elias returned, she smiled up at him. He stood beside the table and began to serve her as if she were his guest. The aroma of the flat bread powdered with dried thyme, sumac, and sesame seeds caressed her nose. As he placed the dish and coffee cups down, he smiled then smacked his large hand on his forehead. “Oh, I forgot! You’re not a coffee drinker. Back in one moment with your halib.”

          Affection filled her heart for this thoughtful man. She touched his wrist and said, “It’s okay, Elias. Sit down. You’ve done so much for me already. Sit and share this wonderful meal with me.”

          “Our last breakfast?” he said, slipping onto the chair opposite her.

          “I suppose. But does that mean there will be a resurrection of sorts?”

          A smile lifted his mouth. “Most definitely. Resurrected from family obligations…”

          “And guilt,” Adele added quietly. They ate in silence until the old man came to their table and placed a round bowl of zeitouns in front of them, the oil glistening on the green olives.

          “These come from tree in yard at home,” he said in broken English. He also handed them a basket of pita bread. “I make bread too. Well, not right. Wife make bread,” he said, kneading his knuckles on the tabletop. “She make on ground. Hard on knees. She yell every time she do bread. Allah, she say, why you curse me to be woman?”

          Adele raised her eyebrows and frowned. She didn’t like this last comment because it seemed that being born a woman was indeed a curse, the worst possible fate. She looked away from the old man and out the window. A few feet away a young man dressed in military garbs with a finely-trimmed beard and crew-cut was standing with a rifle flung over his left shoulder. His slender body bent forward as he questioned people in their cars. She imagined his voice resonant with forced authority. He looked boyish. She guessed he was only a few years older than herself. Twenty-two at the most. Adele sensed the old man’s eyes on her. She turned her attention back to him.

          “I say something bad? You mad?”

          Adele asked quietly, “Why does your wife think it’s a curse to be a woman?”

          “Life not easy for woman. They cook, clean, take care of child, husband. They work hard and for what?” He slapped his hands together. “Nothing. No respect, only grief. A woman lose lots. Husband boss, child make body fat then break it in birth. Not easy to be woman, that why curse. Man have easy life.”

          She stared at the man. There was neither coldness nor meanness in his eyes. He wiped his hands on his apron and smiled.

          “Now eat. Enough about man, woman. Can’t live with woman. Can’t live with no woman, right? This American phrase?”

          She nodded and popped an olive in her mouth.

Thank you Sonia for being our guest this week.

Thank you, Allan, for having me! I am grateful for this wonderful opportunity. Thank you for helping other writers share their work with the world. 

For you readers that want to follow Sonia and/or discover more about her and her writing, please follow these links.



Twitter: @SaikaleySonia

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Guest Poet & Author Richard Doiron of New Brunswick.

As a poet and writer, Richard has a long, long list of accomplishments.  Actively writing for over forty years, his first book of poetry was published in 1978 and there has been no looking back. In the small amount of space on the Scribbler, it would be impossible to know everything about Richard but he’s agreed to a 4Q Interview and I trust we will all get to know him a little better. As a bonus, he is sharing some of his writing.

Born Jan. 22, 1947 in Moncton, NB. Second of nine children. Quit school at age 14. Started writing poetry shortly thereafter. A decade later, in Ontario, took upgrading and got a certificate in journalism. First published in a letter to the Editor, Feb. 1964, Moncton Times, 1000 words left intact. Have never known a"dry" spell since. First poems published 1970. Published in well over 100 anthologies, periodicals, personal books. Also published two novels (one I consider

my best writing ever), also two biographical works. Participated in local, national, and international literary festivals; invited to festivals in various parts of the world, including the Middle East and Asia. Profiled extensively in mainstream media. Usually introduced as "peace poet," which is consistent with my writing.

Nominated for numerous awards, including the Governor-Generals Award (2), the Griffin Prize, and 2019 for the Order of New Brunswick.

4Q: When I visited your website – – I am overwhelmed of all the highlights of your writing journey, specifically the World Poetry Lifetime Achievement Award you received in 2012 in Richmond, British Columbia. Please tell us about this.

RD: First, Allan, let me thank you for inviting me to your prestigious forum.

I first got online in early 2001. The Internet opened up a whole new world for me. Always curious, I was soon a member of many poetry groups, where I was mostly well-received and made lifetime friends. At that time, writing profusely, in whatever poetry genre I encountered, I posted poems daily. I eventually cut back on the number of groups, now posting in about ten daily. That has represented a lot of poetry over 18 full years. There were key groups for me, such as World Poetry Canada, out of Vancouver, that group headed by Nobel Nominee, Ariadne Sawyer, a tireless worker. Ariadne has done a live radio show weekly for 21 full years, the show now heard live in 124 countries. I was invited to read on air a few times. Eventually, I was nominated for a Lifetime Achievement Award, at the time having had poetry published for 42 years already. This was a big deal. Not one for travelling much, especially by plane, that was rather daunting, too, and there were costs to such a venture; enter my friends, artist Jesus Salgueiro and Art Smith, former personal chef to Oprah Winfrey; I had written the wedding vows for the pair two years earlier, vows that had brought 500 celebrities to tears, as per the Washington Post and Chicago Tribune; I was asked for my bank account info and told to go to my bank. Sufficient funds had found their way into my account to cover a return flight to Vancouver and for me to spend 8 days in BC, where I got to spend quality time with numerous people, most notably Ariadne Sawyer; there, I also connected with the Poet Laureate of New Westminster, Candice James, whom I later assisted in writing a book of sonnets. As well, I got to meet one of the most underrated poets on earth, Mr. Marc Creamore, who gifted me with one of his books. Then there was time spent with Dr. Epitacio Tongohan of the Philippines; better known in the world of literature as Doc PenPen, this man facilitates literary festivals in various countries of the world yearly. I already belonged to his group, Pentasi B World Friendship Poetry, where I posted the usual poems. In 2017, Pentasi B also gave me a Lifetime Achievement Award and, this year, named me World Poet Laureate. Doc PenPen is one of the most charismatic people I have ever met. Known in the world as "The Father of Visual Poetry," the pathologist/philanthropist is a living legend, received by heads of states wherever he facilitates a literary event, this year doing his thing in Uzbekistan and China (I being a participant in the latter, via one of my books).

Of note, too, I was nominated for a Lifetime Achievement Award with ARTeryUSA, by former Senator of the California Senior Legislature, James Pasqual Bettio, who chanced upon my writing in 2017 and wrote me asking for a bio for the purpose of nominating me. Mr. Bettio is a man of renown in American artistic circles.

Because of my ongoing involvement with such groups as named, I am now regularly invited to participate in other international groups. Suffice it to say that I have an appreciable following.

4Q: Ancestor’s Dance is an amazing and impressive publication of two hundred and twenty-two sonnets. Please tell us about the collection.

RD: You know, Allan, I am tone-deaf, meaning music is out for me. But poetry is its own kind of music, especially the metrical kind. I don't read much, but one day I came across a write-up in the Saint John paper showcasing a few of Shakespeare's sonnets. I thought I would give the form a try. That first year, 1999, I wrote 275 of those; the second year, I wrote over 1500. Writing has always been a mystery to me, so when I say I wrote poems, it needs a bit of clarifying: sonnets have come through me within five minutes, intact, with great impact. On April 9, 2011, I stopped writing sonnets. By then I had written 5,555.5 of them, which may get chuckle from some people; see, I had initially set a goal of 5000, but then discovered that if I multiplied this number of sonnets exactly, I would have 77,777 metered lines, sonnets containing 14 lines (and 7 was my lucky number eh). So, the last one is not finished. I still write metered poetry, and it would be easy enough to add two extra lines, but I promised myself no more sonnets. As for the title, Ancestors Dance, I have always had a strong affinity with First Nations people, and I will add the sonnet at the end of this interview. I don't think anyone had ever published 222 sonnets before - Shakespeare in his life had penned a mere 154 (although there were all those plays, eh). Anyway, I had co-edited a sonnet periodical for some time and had had quite a few published along the way, so doing my own book of sonnets seemed apropos at the time. But sonnets are only one of maybe 100 forms I have written in, as well as free verse and prose poetry. While I don't publish much anymore, my overall body of poetry would no doubt fill several hundred volumes at this point.

4Q: Please share a childhood memory or anecdote.

RD: Allan, most of my schooling was done in a one-room schoolhouse, in an Acadian village, where one teacher was actually younger than some of the students; at 16, she only had grade 8 and taught 8 grades; English was not taught at that time in that place; we moved to Moncton in the fall of 1959, and I was suddenly in a big school, with things done far differently. We suddenly had electricity and a television set; my marks were exceptionally high despite the initial schooling. Still, times were hard, and I struggled to adapt in certain settings; by the fall of 1961, I had quit school; shortly thereafter, I found myself at the Moncton Library, where I picked up a book of poetry by the American poet, Sara Teasdale and I fell in love with the poetry (and likely the poet, too). I had a dog and he and I spent a lot of time in the woods, where I would take a note pad and sit on the bank of the local stream and write poetry. It was all in English. It always had to be for me. In 1964, we lost two homes to fires; at the time, I still managed to save whatever writing I had produced to that time; however, a move to Ontario in 1965, my writing left behind in Moncton, a year later that work had disappeared; so I have no copies of any of my original work. But one thing I must say is this: I was always different, pensive, attuned to something I may not have quite understood, suffice it to say, however, that I was aware of that "force" within me; as such, then, I consider myself a channel, deeming poems already written, waiting somewhere in the ether to be accessed. See, there is a phenomenon at play here, and that will not be denied. For tens of thousands of poems to have been penned by someone seems impossible, I would think, but not if looked at from a certain perspective. I like that part of it. I once read in a group, and man yelled, "Boy, I wish I could write like that," to which I replied, "So do I." It's never been hard to write, but reading, now, that is not something I have mastered doing.

4Q: With such a large body of work, you must find inspiration in many things. How do you get your writing ideas and what are your writing habits, Richard?

RD: Well, Allan, I don't know that I have writing habits at all, though with a novel (no longer on the market, though it should be), I got up faithfully each morning and penned a chapter, if rather in a trance-like state at times. I had been walking down the street, when the title came to me: StraightWalk - whoa! I ran half a mile to my computer and penned 7500 words; I shared that with a friend via computer, and he would call me for the next chapter. I knew something unusual was happening, and I went with it. In less than five weeks, that novel was done, and I don't think much editing was necessary anywhere; the book tells of a Native man who has visions (I have two copies and would gladly lend you one). One thing, though, I always know something special is happening when a first line comes to me. All I have ever needed is that first line; then I get out of the way and let the poem happen. I can always tell when I have endeavoured to write a poem, as opposed to when a poem decided to be "born." I have written poems in loud places, in quiet settings, on birch bark when no paper was available. When the poem comes, one has to accommodate it then best one can; that's being true to your calling. I have been asked, "Why do you write?" I have occasionally answered, "Why do you breathe?" Over the years I discovered something interesting: if I put, say, 12 random words at the top of the page, I could write a 12-line poem from those words; that has never failed me; over time, people, from various parts of the world, have had occasion to send me 12 words, or 20, even 40, oftentimes total strangers; poems have appeared then that have jarred some people, as there were things in the poems I could not have known. You can try me on this, if you wish, Allan. Any 12 words, no proper nouns. No explanations of what the words may mean. Now, mostly, I write in English, yet on several occasions poems or lyrics have come to me in French, out of the blue, one such piece being the lyric to the quite-famous Acadian song, "Mon Acadie," to which Richibucto musician Yrois Robichaud added a most incredible melody. 25 years later, the song remains timeless and likely will forever. I will include a link to that as well. Oh, and speaking of songs, this past year, I have developed a collaboration with a man named Joey Bernados, a Filipino now living in California, a gifted musician; we now have 18 completed songs and are hopeful that something good will come from that undertaking.

4Q: Anything else you’d like to share with us?

RD: Well, Allan, I'm a straight-shooter, so here goes: when we have a phenomenon in our midst, we look into it, we don't hide it, or make it near-impossible for that bird to take flight. To have produced such a large body of work, so well received globally, yet to not be known locally makes little sense to me. Twenty years ago, Margaret McCain stated publicly that I was a New Brunswick treasure. The Lady had used my poetry in Government House throughout her tenure as Lt-Governor of the province. 

There is a lot of pretension in the world. Ten years ago, I read in a NB city and got a standing ovation, the only one there to have that; one person, with a Ph.D, who had stood up and applauded, came by and shook my hand, saying a job well done; then that person asked what university I had gone to and when I replied that I had not gone to university, that person stomped off without another word. 

Here I will close with a quote from Kahlil Gibran:

"Poets are two kinds: an intellectual with an acquired personality, and an inspired one who was a self before his human training began. But the difference between intelligence and inspiration in poetry is like the difference between sharp fingernails that mangle the skin and ethereal lips that kiss and heal the body's sores."

- Kahlil Gibran (1883 -1931) - The "Prophet of Lebanon."

A Sample of Richard’s writing:

(Copyright is held by the Author. Used with permission)


Let There Be Peace

Let there be peace

Peace in the Four Corners, that it should be
a promise, and real;

Peace in our nations, that the spectre should be
turned on its heel;

Peace in our cities, that fear should abandon
our streets and walkways;

Peace in our schools, that violence should be
routed, and always;

Peace in our churches, that God’s children should be
families, assembling;

Peace in our homes, that our young ones should
cease in their trembling;

Peace in our hearts, that our tempers should be
cancelled and curbed;

Peace in our words, that our masses should be
studied, and stirred;

Peace in our creations, that our galleries should be
temples, adorned;

Peace in our visions, that Love, in our time,
should be born, and reborn;

Peace in our deeds, that never a doubt should
awake, and arise;

Peace in our souls, that it should be
mirrored in our eyes.

Let there be peace. 


Ancestors Dance
-a sonnet-

Ancestors dance upon each blade of grass
the fields alive for everyone to see
and dreamers dream to see paraders pass
their eyes now cast upon that family tree.

Ancestors dance upon the mountainside
the hills alive for steps upon the stone
and dreamers dream such dreams as coincide
with things that are if are too little known.

Ancestors dream whereas the rivers run
the streams alive for gurgling that is heard
and dreamers dream the dream has just begun
as will be dreamt forever afterwards.

Ancestors dance upon the dashing dawn
let dreamers dream the dance is dreaming on.

Thank you, Richard, for being our Guest this week. All the best in your writing journey. 

Thank you most sincerely, Allan, for this wonderful opportunity. The Scribbler is of great service to both artists and to the community at large, a great initiative on your part.

For those wishing to discover more about this talented writer, please follow these links:

Mon Acadie: