Archive for Inspiration Posts

published in Beauty, Dreams/Goals, Inspiration, Travel by Maryanne | February 21, 2018 | No Comment

Hunkered Down in Hollywood


The Bohemian writer’s nook in my Hollywood VRBO

“In order to write about life first you must live it.”

– Ernest Hemingway

Hallo from the Road!

I hope you’ve had a good couple of weeks. Sadie and I have covered an awful lot of ground and seen some pretty incredible sights & scenery, so I have really tried to only share the best of the best in terms of photos in this blog.

When I last posted (about the creepy massage), I was just about to leave Florence, Oregon and head to the Redwood Forest in Northern California.

Whoa…those trees are TALL! Here are few pics:

Sadie (the red speck to the right) in the Redwoods

Just a note to anyone thinking of visiting the Redwood Forest with a pooch – there are very few trails that dogs are allowed on. Sadie and I got busted by a Park Ranger (a female one – bummer!) on one of our forest-forays. After that, she had stay in the car while I ran off into the woods on mini-hikes.

“The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always…From them comes silence and awe. They are ambassadors from another time.”

– John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

And this is one of my favourite photos from the trip so far:

On the road…Northern California

And then after emerging from that forest, this is the sunset that greeted me at the ocean:

Then the next day, we hit Mendocino, Northern California:

After that, we headed to Berkeley (just east of San Francisco), where I met up with Ann Davidman, author of Motherhood: Is It For Me? It’s an excellent resource for women who are working through the “To be or not to be…a Mom?” decision. I reviewed the book last year. Ann had seen our documentary, Whatever Floats Your Boat…Perspectives on Motherhood, which also explores that question, and then we connected on Twitter. So it was great to meet Ann in person…we gabbed for hours!

MA & Ann Davidman

Saturday night in Berkeley was spent reading Noam Chomsky’s latest book…not exactly light reading, let me tell you (but it was the perfect purchase from a Berkeley bookstore). As perhaps you can tell from Sadie’s concerned expression 🙁 Chomsky has much to say about climate change. But I shall save Noam’s comments for a future blog.

On a much cheerier note, in Santa Clara I met up with a dear friend whom I hadn’t seen in far too long: Tina Maat-Kristensen! Tina was one of the participants in the Whatever Floats Your Boat…Perspectives on Motherhood documentary. We gabbed for hours, too…such fun to reconnect! It was like no time had passed since we’d last seen each other – except, of course, for the significant changes in both our lives.

MA & Tina

The next day, I hit the road and made it as far as the 17 Mile Drive at Pebble Beach – one of the most scenic drives in the world. They aren’t kidding! This is a neat shot of the famous old lone Cypress tree (to the right):

17 miles took us about 4 hours to drive because we had to keep stopping to check out the view!

Next on the agenda was a pit-stop at Carmel-by-the-Sea for a walk on the beach…and low and behold, Sadie met her twin, Riley. It was really weird! Riley’s owner was snapping photos as madly as I was because the resemblance was uncanny. But Carmel, I find, is a special place…John and I were there on our honeymoon way back when.

Then we got to visit the absolutely stunning Hearst Castle (the California “Ranch” of William Randolph Hearst) at San Simeon (about 4 hours south of San Francisco). WOW!

This is just the indoor pool (the outdoor Neptune pool is under construction):

Sadie and I then staggered south to Los Angeles and have spent the past week hunkered down in our oh-so-Bohemian Hollywood home. This VRBO is really neat. It is one house with multiple suites. The musician in the studio next to mine softly strums his guitar in the evenings…it’s lovely. Work-wise, I have been writing up a storm. Sadie has been exploring the delightful garden:

“Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.”

– Henry Ward Beecher

On breaks from work, I sit in the garden and soak up the sunshine…listening to the birds chirp. It is QUIET! I mention this (again) because of the irony that I endured seven years of disruptive noise in the tiny retirement town of Sidney, only to land in the heart of Los Angeles and be able to enjoy the garden without having to listen to traffic, pounding bass, band saws or video games.

We did venture out of Hollywood once…when Lani, Charlie and I took Kip & Sadie for a fun dog walk and chat.

Lani, Kip & Charlie

Lani Shipman is Nell Shipman’s great-granddaughter. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may recall that I have been working on a screenplay project (God’s Country) about Nell Shipman (she was a silent screen star, born in Victoria, BC) and over the years, I have been very fortunate to get to know her family.

Alas, we must leave our quiet writing oasis tomorrow and head to Oceanside (an hour north of San Diego)…where I shall turn FIFTY (on Fri Feb 23rd)! YAHOOO!!!

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed the photos and have a wonderful week!

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” 

― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

If you are just joining us on our Bohemian Writing Road Trip Adventure & would like to do a little catch-up reading 🙂 here are my previous blogs:

She Packed Up Her Potential…

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

On the Road…But Nearly Not

Surprise! Greetings from Newport

Is That a Dipstick in Your Pocket – Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

Dipstick Theme Continues – Don’t Get Excited

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 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,

“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, Community, Dreams/Goals, Inspiration, Self Esteem, Self Worth by Maryanne | February 18, 2018 | No Comment

Calling all Pink Gazelles – #GoPinkGazelle Campaign



“She packed up her potential and all she had learned, grabbed a cute pair of shoes and headed out to change a few things…her heart glowed with a degree of happy assurance.”

– Anon

What is a Pink Gazelle?

To be a pink gazelle is to be a woman who believes in herself, her abilities, her dreams and her ability to contribute to making the world a better place, in whatever way is meaningful and authentic for her.

Who is Pink Gazelle Productions Inc (PGP)?

PGP is a Canadian company that was started by Maryanne Pope in 2002. We create literary, theatrical and cinematic works that strive to challenge, enrich and inspire the lives of both artist and audience.

Our tagline is Authentic Lives; Authentic Works.

What Does PGP do?

We share stories that serve to entertain, educate and empower people to effect positive change in themselves and the world around them. From books, blogs, plays and films to presentations, e-mail campaigns, greeting cards and inspirational quote card sets, our goal is to inspire people to live with passion, purpose and perseverance.

Where Did the Term “Pink Gazelle” Originate?

Of course, there’s a story 🙂

What is the #GoPinkGazelle Campaign?

The purpose of the #GoPinkGazelle Twitter Campaign is to cheer on all those pink gazelles out there who are doing great things with their lives…be that through their families, their work, their achievements, the causes they champion, the charities they support, the dreams they pursue and/or the barriers they smash through.

#GoPinkGazelle celebrates & encourages gazelles that are going for it and living the life they have imagined…or making the best of the circumstances life has given them.

How to Get Involved 

It’s simple: if you know of a woman you think is a Pink Gazelle, tweet her a note of encouragement – and be sure to use the hashtag #GoPinkGazelle.

Perhaps also tweet to Adidas at @Adidas_Gazelles

Adidas is, after all, the maker of this oh-so-comfy & highly symbolic shoe.

Sample Tweet 

Angela J Ford is our Pink Gazelle of the Day! She writes, she coaches, she encourages…she ROCKS! #GoPinkGazelle #author #fantasy @Maryanne_Pope @aford21 @Adidas_Gazelles

Pink Gazelle Bohemian Writer Road Trip Adventure

In the fall of 2017, Maryanne Pope sold her house, put all her belongings into storage, grabbed a cute pair of shoes (Adidas’ Pink Gazelles, of course) and headed out to change a few things. In Jan 2018, she hit the road with her retriever, Sadie, heading south from Vancouver Island on 3-month writing road trip through the Western States.

Here are a few photos of her Pink Gazelle runners in action:




So if you see us using a Pink Gazelle runner pic in our #GoPinkGazelle tweets, now you know why. And if YOU have a pair of Pink Gazelles, by all means, tweet us some photos!

Related blogs by Maryanne

She Packed Up Her Potential…

Why Pink Gazelle?

What is a Pink Gazelle?

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