Thursday, April 30, 2020

Greetings from Canadian Artist & Author, MLHolton

Yikes! What a Spring!

mlh 2
Canadian Author & Artist - MLHolton

Who knew that 2020 – a red-letter year that once held so much promise - would prove so challenging?

Out of necessity, we’ve all become monks as we isolate away from our loved ones.

Many try to communicate through screens and cell technology, but clearly, it’s not the same. We want to embrace the warmth of family and friends. We want to be able to see them with our own eyes and just be with them in ‘real time’.

If there is any consolation, this ‘alone time’ has forced us to reflect on what really sustains us. Many are aware of a massive psychic shift happening on many fronts.-- What are we wiling to give up now to live better later?

Jens Hansen

At this end, I continue on with my work -

Many of you have asked when an audio version of my last novel, TRILLIUM*. would be available. With luck, SOON! The wonderful local actor, Jens Hansen, has long been my preferred narrator for this story. We are about half way through now. You are in for a real treat!
Watch his brilliant rendition of 'The Cremation of Sam McGee.'
.. It really is so very gratifying that my tale of Canadian manners and mores continues to accrue positive reviews from as far afield as Australia, Montana, the Yukon and the coastal shores of Ireland - "epic" - a "thoroughly enjoyable read!" - "Powerful page-turner!" - and my all-time favourite - "Magificent!" 
Seriously, it is very gratifying when others deeply enjoy a family-centric story. 

So, what's it about?

TRILLIUM starts in 1756 when young Tom Hartford, a British foot soldier of George II, crosses over the mighty Niagara River. The evolving tale focuses on three very distinct families who arrive, strive and interlock over desires for land, lust and loot within the wine-making region of Niagara in southern Ontario, Canada. - It all ends with a bang 250 years later, in 2001 - WHY then?  Find out  ... :) 

Otherwise, in isolation, I have compiled a fun musical #playlist  to compliment the changing social landscape as it churns thorough-out the historical periods depicted in TRILLIUM.

Travel back in time through two World Wars. - Trip down memory lane through the rock'n'roll 50s & the hippie-dippy 60s!

Tune in to 380+ tunes
- or 20+ HOURS - of listening pleasure. 

(You might want to Bookmark the site!) 

I  must also take a moment to thank many of you for your thought-filled book reviews - especially on Amazon CA and Amazon COM, and on dedicated readers' primary book site, Goodreads. 

Your kind words help. A lot.

If you haven’t already done so, please add your two cents to the sites above.  It means the world to me to have your support.

... Meanwhile, older projects continue on ...

An unexpected 5-star review of my second novel, THE GILDED BEAVER (winner of the Hamilton Literary Awards in 1999), was a delightful surprise! On the strength of it, I have decided to transform that older novel into an updated e-book. I’m working on that now and should have it ready for you by the fall. - If you like Canadian stories with plot twists, this one will be for you!

Tangentially, my 2014 short story, THE FROZEN GOOSE (now adapted into a short 25 minute film) has just been picked up by renowned voice actress, Jacqueline Belle. 

From her studio in Manitoba, she recorded and broadcast it on Youtube. Listen-in to her 13 minute wonderful & unique style of story-telling here

As artists, we are helping each other out.

Overall, 2020 - an annus horribilis is there ever was one - is proving to be a very unsettling and tough year - especially for those of us who live on the fringes - but we WILL get through it! 

With faith and fortitude, this imposed 'slow lifestyle' will reset how we choose to live on this amazing and life sustaining planet. 

In the short term, please do pass along TRILLIUM to those you think would enjoy a good spring or summer read. (Why not send the e-book version as a gift to a loved one in isolation? --- Know that helping them, helps me too.)

Stay Safe, Stay Strong and Stay Healthy! 
With warm regards, 
Margaret Lindsay Holton

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Rites of Spring, 2020

Lake Ontario, Spring, by MLHolton
For many, early April marks sacred ceremonies that honour ancient rites of renewal & rebirth.

2020 is no different. I have been watching from my window as buds emerge on trees, daffodils pop up and rhubarb patches emerge from the damp soil.

I've ventured out a few times, in solitude, at dusk, when there are no other humans about, to just marvel in the continued resurgence and re-emergence of OTHER Life on this, our amazing home planet. Spring smells are so aromatic, especially down by the lake ...

Over the past few weeks, as we've all been confined to our homes for our own and others health and safety, I have, like you, seen numerous videos of how the near terminal ceasing of human activity has impacted the Earth.  Dolphins are swimming in the canals of Venice for the first time in decades. Los Angelos is smog free, as are many of the major industrial cities throughout China. Cumulatively, it's a vivid reminder, not only of our impact, but of our responsibility to the fundamental health and well-being of this place, our collective home.

Who cannot see the OBVIOUS benefits of fresh air, access to clean water, and the varied fruits of cultivated lands for our own health? 

This connection to the planet, more specifically, to the rich land beneath our feet, is very much a substrate of TRILLIUM,  my third novel. I was delighted when it was recently listed in Hamilton's largest newspaper as a recommended #SPRINGREADDamn right: The Time Is Now!

When I started TRILLIUM in the spring of 2018, I had a palpable sense of urgency to 'get the message out' as soon as possible so others could prepare. ... No guff.
Spring Rhubarb, by MLHolton

TRILLIUM is, aside from the surface story of three entangled and entertaining families, a blueprint about the necessity for #localfood harvest and networks. It outlines, through fiction, how generations of neighbours help each other in the planting, gathering and harvesting of needed crops. Agriculture and animal husbandry is an activity as old as humankind itself. TRILLIUM demonstrates how these grassroot alliances establish human bonds thicker than the loftiness of any grander 'national identity'.

Our immediate civil society is built on these links. Families grow when families cross-pollinate and germinate. These deep generational roots are what bind us together in our communal humanity. It is times like this that we truly come to understand and appreciate the recurring and rejuvenating aspect of what makes a #goodneighbour. 

To be clear, globalization does not offer this sense of community. In contrast, globalism is an airy scheme that profits jet-setters, bankers, billionaires and rootless tax-avoiding corporations. It does not bind us, the commoners, within the locality of #families.  Globalism does not know your voice or your face. That kind of intimacy only comes from day-to-day interactions at the grassroots level where 'I know you & you know me'.

As we do emerge from the devastation and impact of this horrific and horrifying pandemic, please let us remember our #goodneighbours. Remember what really makes our unique local civil communities work in times of crisis.

If you need a friendly reminder, please do pick up TRILLIUM.  Share it with your #family - your grand-parents, your spouse, your children and your grand-children. Re-establish a deeper understanding of #families, and the tangible blood network of kinfolk.

Work harder at sharing your isolated and alienated Self in real ways with those who stand near you in real life. - Live in the Real World with all your Senses Wide Awake and Active.  The Time is Now! 

Spring Blessings to you All. 
Margaret Lindsay Holton / Canadian Artist & Author


Extract from The Spec article ....

By Margaret Lindsay Holton

TRILLIUM, no modest undertaking, is a novel whose action stretches over 250 years of #Niagara peninsula history, as it follows the branching out of three diverse families - the Hartfords, O'Sullivans and Di Angelos. Short-listed for the 2019 Hamilton Literary Awards, the book is divided into nine parts with titles like seed, roots, harvest, second harvest. It covers much changing ground, from the agricultural to the industrial to the computer age in the sweeping way that Holton is known for.' Get it now > TRILLIUM.