Sunday, 13 March 2011


Overcast, rain and snow, temps just at freezing.

First thing in the morning. last thing at night. We watch the BBC to find out what is happening in Japan. Wondering about the nuclear reactors. Worrying about the missing. The towns and villages just gone. Worrying whether there's enough drinking water and food for the survivors. And feeling like a voyeur, at home, eating and watching their sorrow. As though it was entertainment. But not being able to look away.

I know it isn't entertainment. Indeed, it feels a bit of a betrayal to look away. To turn on HGTV or a DVD instead.

Wrote to Kiyomi yesterday - she translates my books in Japan - to make sure she was safe. Here's her response...

Dear Louise,

The earthquake was so big , I couldn't stand in my office.
I was scared to death.
We were thrown into panic.
It took me to get home more than 6 hours. Usually it takes only 20 minutes.
But we, my family and friends who live in Tokyo , are safe and well.
Watching TV news, those tsunamis, I cannot believe they are real occurrences.

Best regards,

What a relief to get that email. I know many of you have friends and family in Japan. I hope they're safe. And remain safe.

Closer to home, we had dinner last night with our friend Louise. Today is the 6 month anniversary of Jacques death. She went back to work - is slowly building up to full-time. She was worried about having the energy at work, and the concentration. And worried about the kindness of co-workers, always asking how she is. And how tiring that is - though she knows they mean well. What she wasn't prepared for was how awful it was to return home after work. Alone. No one to ask how her day was. No one to tell and the silly little things that happen. Just silence.

She's getting used to it, she says. But it breaks our hearts that this is one more source of pain.

I suspect many of you know exactly how she's feeling.

It's been a difficult time. Our great friend Joan is in hospital, tests being done - no one at all sure what's wrong.

Pat and Tony lost their beloved dog Logan a week ago. He was 11 - quite old for a Golden - and healthy. He had a sudden seizure and died. they're inconsolable. They'd hoped to get a puppy for Logan to 'train' before the time came - they thought they had more time.

We've loaned them Trudy for a few days. Not totally sure, frankly, how we'll get her back!!

Had brunch today with Bal, Linda and Bethany, at the Cafe Floral in Knowlton. Yum. Scrambled eggs, brie, bacon and cafe au lait. Bring it on! The only trouble was wanting and needing to write...but I knew by the time brunch was over I wouldn't really have the energy. I'm much better writing while I'm fresh in the morning. and Michael's fine tuning his we decided to set the alarm to get up early. 6am. Except - with the time change - it was 5am.

but it worked. By 10am - when we hopped in the car to drive to Knowlton - we'd finished our writing for the day.

I'll tell you, the roads around here are atrocious! the ground heaves, as it thaws. Great holes appear. huge ridges and rents. Tony has a name for it, which I forget. Something old townshippers say to describe the spring thaw's effects on the roads. Something like a 'whoompa' or a 'gazump'...something with onomatopoeia...the word sounds like bumping over one of these heaves. Or heaving over one of the bumps. have to remember to ask Tony.

Michael and I are beyond pooped.

We're now more actively looking for a rescue dog - to adopt for ourselves. An adult. And trying to find a golden puppy for Pat and Tony. Tony says they'd love one.

Long post. Sorry about that!

Hope you're ok.


Linda said...

"...they thought they had more time."
Well, that pretty much sums up our little lives on this unstable planet, doesn't it? It's very difficult to imagine ...what? ...where to begin? My heart breaks for them all. Hold on tight to each moment. It's all we have.

Jan Morrison said...

Yes, we are all contemplating mortality whether we want to or not. My dad died a month ago - he was old (86) and was only sick for two weeks - he missed all the terrible possibilities and while I miss him dreadfully I am glad he went as he did. And my dear step-mother is bereft for the second time in her life outliving a husband. So we grab each precious moment whether it is a gazzooomph or even ground and appreciate the hell out of it.
We're going to get a rescue dog at some point - my dear dear dog is ten and he is the sort that won't last but a few more years if that. We have found that there are lots of dogs in Labrador at the Innu settlement of Sheshatsheits (across bridge form North West River). Not sure how you'd get one but they are apparently wonderful dogs - smart and there is some of the original 'Indian' dog in them. Enough for now...must get back to this messy office!

carrie said...

Are there Golden rescue groups in Canada? Two years ago after we said goodbye to our Cody at 12 1/2 yrs., we found Casey through Golden Retriever rescue.

Anonymous said...

It is not easy (if at all possible) to hear good news these days. The images from Japan look beyond comprehensible, and yet we know they are real! There is a concert next Friday at Place des arts in Montreal with Japanese symphony orchestra. I was not sure whether to go, now I know I will go, at least to show some form on (no matter how minor) support to the Japanese people.

Yesterday I visited Quebec City and the Archambault store on rue St-Jean. This is nice little piece of good news: Both your recently translated books En plein coeur and Sous la glace sit there prominently displayed with a sticker 'on aime' (our pick).


darlene said...

Our wonderful Brittany, Dijon, left us via a heart attack at our feet when he was six. Pat and Tony's huge sense of loss and shock is probably almost palpable. So kind of you to lend them Trudy and to be looking for a rescue dog.

I can only peek at the news briefly. It's too awful to imagine and yet it's real. So terrible.

Your lives are so busy and you are both so dedicated -- 5 am -- bravo! Here's to more great meals -- and books -- as a reward.

Diane said...

Your posts are never too long, Louise. My heart ached as I read it though. To follow what happened in Japan is very painful but I believe it some way it helps, not sure how, the solidarity perhaps of the human community. My heart was torn when you spoke of your friend coming home to an empty house, very, very painful. Rescue dogs, now there's hope. And you and Michael writing through it all is wonderful. Resilence, persistence, courage. These are our weapons in the most difficult of times. I'll stop here as I think I'm beginning to sound a bit preachy and I hate that. Thanks for the post.

danielle-momo said...

J'avais déjà lu vos livres en anglais mais, à la sortie d'"En plein coeur",je n'ai pu m'empecher de l'acheter pour comparer. N'ayant pas été décue, je n'ai pu m'empecher d'acheter "Sous la glace".
Hier,je lisais qu'Oliver offrait des fromages du monastère de St-Benoit-du-Lac à Gamache et Beauvoir. J'ai eu un sourire intérieur en pensant au livre que vous écrivez maintenant.

Vos livres apportent la joie dans une vie et un monde pas toujours faciles.

jeanne said...

It is so good to read your post this morning. Your words connect your readers to the beautiful, fragile flow of life, of lives... And what a relief that your translator Kiyomi is safe, and her family.

jodi said...

Sometimes I think the "worldwide web" has become the "worldwide worry". Thanks to the internet, I have friends in both Christchurch and Yokohama that I have to worry about - both are safe and sound (thank goodness).

lil Gluckstern said...

Not too long a post; sometimes, the small triumphs see us through such awfulness. I love the French posted above; my school French came through, and I agree. I admire your fortitude, simply your love-of your friends, your animals, of each other. How gracious you are.

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi all,

What a glorious mix of comments and experiences and feelings...all so beautiful and touching. Jan, so sorry to hear of your father. Condolences. Hard to lose a parent, no matter what age.

And love the humour, the spirit, the support, the heart ache of all of you. How lucky I am to end a day by reading your comments and feeling replenished.

blessings to you. Thank you!

MARLENE said...

Dear Ms. Penny,

I tried to simply e mail but some

how that did not work. Must be

my lack of computer knowledge,

plus poor eye sight(sigh). But,

I am leaving this message in hopes

that you receive it.

I thank you for your comments on

Japan. Prayers and more prayers.

And thank you for creating Three

Pines and Gamache. I am also

grateful that the books are on

CD. They are wonderful to listen

to. I am currently listening to

BURY YOUR DEAD and not wanting it

to end, and thinking I will start

again with STILL LIFE.

You have made so many people happy.

Everyone to whom I recommend your

books thanks me over and over.

God bless you in your work.

Sincderely, with prayers,


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