Archive for Change Posts

published in A Widow's Awakening Book, Change, Death, Grief, Hope, Inspiration, Life After Loss, Widowhood by Maryanne | February 20, 2018 | No Comment

Reader Feedback for A Widow’s Awakening Book – Batch #1

 

Here is some of the feedback we have received from readers over the years…

“I started reading A Widow’s Awakening on Sunday and finished it Monday. The first third of your book touched me in ways I hadn’t anticipated. I cried so hard, my eyes became swollen; the pain was so real. I haven’t cried that hard in a long, long time. The grief you expressed was so real to me, as I experienced my own grief in a similar way. Reading your book has been healing for me.”

– Cristy Hayden, Calgary, AB

“I thought A Widow’s Awakening was an incredible read, and I like that you were so brutally honest. I found myself taking notes all the way through as there were so many areas that grabbed my attention.”

– Elliot Windmill, Journey with Lossul, UK

“All I can say after devouring your book in 24 hours (which I have not done in three years!) …is that you could see me reading it in bed, on the seabus, on the couch…it is wildly energetic and honest and authentic and funny and real. I loved it…incredibly heartbreaking but life affirming at the same time.”

– Alex Carr, Vancouver, BC

Maryanne Pope, photo by Kimberley Williamson

“All I can say is WOW! How did you do it? I laughed, I cried I laughed again and cried some more. It was the bravest piece of literature I have ever read.”

– Ann Lebitka, Calgary, AB

“I just finished reading A Widow’s Awakening and thought it beautifully written. I was completely absorbed in every page . . . it was funny, sad and shocking. People can learn from the honest insight, all of the emotions that people go through when grieving the loss of a loved one. I think it’s a wonderful gift that you have given back in John’s name . . . a memorial fund that can make a difference in other people’s lives . . . because isn’t that what John and all police officers’ intent is after all?”

– Peggy (spouse of police officer), Calgary, AB

“I’ve read a lot of books this past year on grief. Your book was the closest description of my thoughts and feelings. I almost found myself cheering in some places. Finally…someone understands!”

– Karen Adkins

“I wanted to congratulate you on your truly remarkable book. God forbid, if I ever have to deal with such a tragedy, I hope I can do it with the strength and resolve that you did. Thanks for sharing your experience.”

 Gwen Farnsworth, Health in Action

“Told with brave candour and intelligent wit, A Widow’s Awakening takes you on an enlightening journey into the worlds of policing, hospital trauma units, Orthodox religion, unsafe workplaces, and the unexpected areas our minds can wander into when life becomes almost too painful to bear. An inspiring story of coming to terms with the unimaginable in order to live a life with purpose and meaning, this book is a testament to the capacity of the human spirit.”

– Shannon Lyons, Calgary, AB

“I have been reading A Widow’s Awakening and wanted to say thank you. It’s so beautiful and so real. Like you, I lived it. The love of my life was killed at work in Sept 2000, when he fell putting up rafters for a building. He was 52. I miss him so much and it still hurts. Your book is a wonderful gift and I treasure it…and the knowledge that someone else felt and feels the same as I do.Somehow I don’t feel so alone. Thank you.”

– Sherry Smith, Saskatoon, SK

“A Widow’s Awakening was awesome! We drove to LA and I could not put the book down. By the time we reached Primm, Nevada, I had read the whole book. You are a credit to the female population…a fighter to stand up for yourself and what you believe is right.”

– Darlene C, Calgary, AB

“A Widow’s Awakening gives a rare insight into the emotional roller coaster and psychological struggle experienced by the newly widowed wife of a police officer, senselessly killed on duty as the result of an unsafe workplace. This compelling account of personal tragedy and its aftermath is told with brutal honesty and a sense of humour uniquely her own. The dangers and consequences of policing, its effect on family, friends and comrades, as well as the author’s determination to improve workplace safety in memory of her husband, results in a fascinating and thought provoking book.”

– Former Chief Rick Hanson, Calgary Police Service

“I got home Friday night and was going to “start” the book – well, I didn’t put it down till I finished!! I laughed but mostly cried. It was an amazing read . . . thank you for sharing.”

– Sherry Woodworth, Calgary, AB

“Your book, A Widow’s Awakening, arrived Friday afternoon and I spent all of Friday evening reading it. It has been a very long time since I have done that, reading a book cover to cover, crying most of the time. You told your story so well and with such passion that I felt that I was in the room with you…I realize now that I have a great deal of hurt that I haven’t dealt with over the years and how it is my responsibility, like you, to find my true mission/purpose in life.”

– Kathleen Specht

“I am choosing A Widow’s Awakening as our first book club choice. I chose it because it had a deep impact on me. It deals with grief but it also forces us to face many difficult questions, such as the dilemma of mourning someone close to us, while at the same time becoming financially secure as the result of that loss…this is a powerful story that challenges many of our assumptions about grief.”

– Nina Steele, Nonparents.com

“After waiting for 8 years, I was not disappointed with the excruciating, painful story that unfolded on each page. The mind-numbing experience of a young woman losing her husband cannot be comprehended by someone who has not gone through this. Maryanne’s gripping, raw account of her journey, during and after this tragic time in her life is worthy of a good read. Her vulnerability in describing the events of the day of John’s death and her minute by minute survival is the closest I have encountered to being inside someone else’s skin. A Widow’s Awakening will give great insight to those of us who have not experienced this loss.”

– Deborah McInnes, Off-Duty Partners, Calgary, AB

“Just wanted to let you know that I gave my friend (who’s husband passed away) a copy of A Widow’s Awakening. She said it was actually listed as recommended reading by her support group.”

– Melanie Kisters, Vermilion, AB

 “My heart is beating harder and my breathing shorter. I am hugging my husband tighter and kissing him longer. I have burnt supper while reading! I have read books until wee hours of the night but I have not felt this much about a book before. You are an incredibly gifted writer…I feel like I am right beside you and that I am getting to know John and your relationship together. I love how he loved you. I love your writing style, how brilliantly you tie everything together and how you authentically share your soul.”

– Kim Williamson, Photographer, Cochrane, AB

“I read A Widow’s Awakening over the weekend…could not put it down once I started reading. The way you described your journey was extremely well done and thought provoking…and helpful to me as a Chaplain. I highly recommend that every Chaplain read it. It was a great read…very insightful and helpful. Your transparency did not sugar coat reality.”

– Miriam Mollering, Volunteer Chaplain, Calgary Police Service

“In her book, A Widow’s Awakening, Maryanne Pope speaks of the profound impact a workplace fatality can have on those left behind. From a workplace safety perspective, her message reinforces how important it is that every workplace is made safe for everyone. As a safety professional, it reinforces the importance of the work that we do.”

– Denise Howitt, EHS Partnerships Ltd.

For further information on A Widow’s Awakening, please click here.

To order a copy of the book, please visit our on-line store.

published in Achieving Your Dreams, Change, Inspiration, Travel, Writing by Maryanne | January 17, 2018 | 15 Comments

On the Road…But Nearly Not

 

MA & Sadie, on the road to Washington State

“When you really want something, the universe always conspires in your favour.”

– From The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

And we’re off!

Sadie and I set off from Victoria, BC on our 3-month writing road trip through the Western U.S. on Fri Jan 12th. I even cleaned out my CRV (a.k.a. “The Dogmobile”) for the journey!

I must confess it was a bit difficult to leave our cozy little feathered nest in Cordova Bay, BC (near Victoria) where my amazing friends, Dave & Heather and their three girls, Taylor, Paige and Ella (and Jadie the black lab and Eddie and Sam, the sparring cats), had ever-so-kindly put up with me and Sadie for the past three months. We LOVED staying with them and are extremely grateful 🙂

Sadie and Eddie the cat snuggled up in bed, Cordova Bay, BC

But a new adventure was awaiting, so leave we did…and made it as far as the US border at White Rock.

The conversation with the officer (the second one – inside the building…gulp) from Homeland Security went a little like this:

HIM: How long will you be in the United States?

ME: Three months.

HIM: How do I know you will return to Canada in three months?

ME: Because…uh, I like Canada.

HIM: Can you provide me with written confirmation of any obligations – work, house, family, etc – that indicate you will, in fact, be returning to Canada in April?

ME: Uh…like what?

HIM: Ma’am…I believe I just told you what I’m looking for.

ME: But I sold my house, my stuff is in storage, I’m single, no kids and I don’t have a job to return to.

(which is when it occurred to me that being a gypsy does have it’s drawbacks)

HIM (sighs): Okay, Ma’am…then are you able to provide me with any proof of where you will be staying during your three months in the States and when you will be leaving?

ME (pulling out my cell phone): “Why, yes I can!”

(which is when I realized that being an organized, planning gypsy is perhaps a good thing after all)

I proceeded to scroll through my “Travel 2018” file and flash him multiple confirmations of where I would be staying and when, including a reservation in early April near the US/Canada border. And while I was proudly showing him all sorts of reservation confirmations, I came across an e-mail (from myself to a VRBO owner) that said, clear as day: “I am a writer from Canada who will be on a 3-month writing road trip with my dog…”

ME: “Look what I found!”

I showed him the e-mail. He looked at me a moment then starting filling out a piece of paper.

I held my breath. He typed something into the computer. Then he hands me the piece of paper.

HIM: Here’s what we’re going to do…

So the long and short of it is: I have until Apr 11th to return to Canada.

ME: THANK YOU!!!

Then I took my piece of paper and passport, jumped in the CRV and Sadie and I hightailed it out of there before they could change their minds.

Our first stop was the Olympic Club Hotel (another fabulous McMenamins Property) in Centralia, WA. A century ago, it was a Gentleman’s Club.

Breakfast in a brothel

Then we headed on to Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast…and hit sunshine!

Cannon Beach

 

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach

 

Sadie outside our adorable “Sunflower Cottage” (300 square feet)

We are staying here for a week. The project I’m working on is the “Bungalow by the Sea” play script (formerly “The Neighbours”), which is kinda perfect – except it’s too quiet here. Kidding!

A delightful place to write

“No project is completed until its objective has been achieved.” 

– From The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

Sunset at Cannon Beach…wow!

Next stop: Newport, Oregon

Till then, take care and have a great couple of weeks…and I shall do the same.

“Making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.”

– From The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life

published in Change, Collaboration, Creativity, Dreams/Goals, Playwriting, Writing by Maryanne | December 6, 2017 | 4 Comments

Write On – Exploring What We Know May Teach Us What We Need to Learn

 

MA writing in Anacortes, WA

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”

– Anais Nin

Greetings from Victoria!

My apologies for not getting a blog written last week. I was on Orcas Island (San Juan Islands) in Washington state and the power kept going out. And when the power was on, I was madly writing The Neighbours play script – now tentatively titled Bungalow by the Sea.

The good news: I made tremendous headway on the play over the past two weeks – thanks in huge part to Lynne Karey-McKenna, an actress and director who is helping me develop the script. Lynne also has a background in psychology, which is turning out to be rather handy.

Lynne reading script

Getting the key scenes in place has been relatively straightforward since the play is based on my real-life experience of living next door to noisy neighbours on a busy street. There’s no shortage of comedic scenarios to draw from…blaring music, spectacular arguments, boa constrictors in the shed, bandsaws, an old fridge in the yard, power washers, raging bonfires, leaf blowers, nail guns, rats in the crawlspace (mine), trucks roaring by, etc.

The sound tech is going to LOVE producing this play when the time comes!

The not-so-good news is that trying to determine the main character’s (“Josie”) motivation for putting up with the noise and madness for seven years has been a little…uncomfortable, shall we say.

For who in their right mind would STAY – when they don’t have to?

It’s a good question…one this particular playwright is in the midst of trying to answer.

I am (obviously) a firm believer in the old adage: “Write what you know.” I like this advice not because it’s easier to write what we know – but rather because writing what we know has tremendous potential to teach us what we need to learn…if we can get out of our own way.

But writing, of course, isn’t the only way to explore potentially useful lessons that may be hiding in a difficult life experience…or, perhaps more importantly, our response to that experience.

MA & Lynne by fire at Rosario Resort on Orcas Island

Working with Lynne on Bungalow by the Sea is helping me do just that – kicking, screaming and arguing all the way, of course…rather like my former neighbours. But there have been an awful lot of laughs, as well…for good ol’ “Josie” is quite the nutty character herself 😉

As for life on the road?

Ahhh…plenty of valuable lessons being offered up here, as well. As an example, I am learning (whether I like it or not), to be flexible. This has never been a strength of mine.

I am a planner…I like things to go according to plan. I love order. I need to be organized.

Hah! All of this has now officially flown out the window of my jam-packed CRV.

For as a friend recently asked (in a kind way): “Uhhh…isn’t the point of a Bohemian adventure to NOT plan every detail and just go with the flow?”

In theory, yes. In practice, this micro-manager has some adjusting to do.

Here are a few more photos from my travels over the past couple of weeks:

Lovely shot of dusk at Eastsound on Orcas Island

 

Waterfall on the way to Mt Constitution, Orcas Island

Great shot of Sadie & her pal, Monte, in Anacortes, WA

 

Wow…poor old Garfield didn’t fare so well after Sadie & Monte got a hold of him 🙁

 

My writing assistant slacking off by the fire…again!

A note about WWOW…

So that I can focus on my road trip and bigger writing projects over the next few months, I will be sending out a WWOW blog every second Wednesday, instead of every Wednesday.

See…look at me learning to be flexible 😊

Related blogs by Maryanne

It’s Never Too Late to Revise – Lessons in Creative Collaboration

It’s Never Too Late to Revise – Part 2

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life