On Writing

Rhododendrons & A Virtual Book Launch

“We were amongst the rhododendrons. There was something bewildering, even shocking, about the suddenness of their discovery. The woods had not prepared me for them.” Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, pg. 72.

I finished reading du Maurier’s Rebecca in the early morning yesterday. I’ve been devouring this thrilling story for the last couple of weeks, partly because Tina from Biblioasis told me it’s one of her favourite books, partly because my BFF said he had it in his pile of books-to-read-next, and partly because the Netflix film Rebecca released this past Wednesday. There was a trifecta of energies pointing me to this story so, of course, I took the bait and read the book. It. was. hauntingly. beautiful. I highly recommend it, especially now when the wind is whipping and the leaves are whooping. The weather is perfect for thriller reading! And, if you watch the film, you can see how you feel about the adaption of the story. There’s some solid conversations about that to be had, I believe!

It’s nearly November. With the end of October comes a blue moon (called the Hunter’s Moon, and it’s on Halloween night!) ā€“ that is, the second full moon in the same month. Speaking of energy! There’ll definitely be some powerful vibes wrapping around us. And, with the election across the border, and a COVID vaccine seemingly on the near horizon, certainly big changes are brewing like a giant cauldron of magic potion!

How have you been feeling this month? What kind of creative movements have you experienced? Me, well, I’ve been feeling all kinds of uncertainty. On Monday, I was not myself at all. My anxiety was off the charts so I did a lot of deep breathing and walking outside. The rest of the week was better, but I had be very aware of my energy levels and inner voices because the two were at odds. I was very happy to awake on Friday and know that the weekend was but a sleep away. I wish I could retrain my mind and body to feel the weekdays differently. I spend a lot of time thinking about how each day resides in my body so differently! Does that happen to you too?

I’ve done much sleeping and reading and resting this weekend. I’ve done lots of other things too, but the bond to ‘time’ feels so different. Yesterday, for example, I didn’t ‘plan’ to do anything in particular and yet, I did all the things that Saturdays typically hold for our family. I cleaned. I cooked. I did laundry. I read. I wrote. I ran for 45 minutes! I took a long, hot bath. We cut my hair. It was a full day that didn’t make me feel anxious or tired. It’s a bizarre phenomenon that I can’t quite figure out!

I started reading Ann Patchett’s ‘Bel Canto‘. When I looked at the clock last night as my eyes lost their moisture, it was one o’clock! I’m zipping through this fine story. There’s a film adaptation of this book too. Hopefully, I’ll watch it and see how the film tells the story. I’m also nearly finished reading Charis Cotter’s Screech!. But this book I cannot read at night. It’s too scary.

Circling back to the above quote, I chose it for two reasons. One, I wanted to share some of the breathtaking and poignant writing of du Maurier. Second, I felt like I was among the rhododendrons (What a word that is. It makes my mouth very happy to say out loud. Try it. You’ll see.) this past week. From the suddenness of the anxiety that hit my body on Monday to the subsequent long journal entries and the way season is so remarkably powerful with its golden outbursts of colours and somewhat violent winds ā€“ everything is affecting me deeply. I am in the woods, certainly, the woods of this pandemic, the woods of decision-making for work and family, the woods of school and learning. Sheltered by the thick trees of unknowing and relieved by the gifts of bright blue skies and a sun that reveals herself perfectly long enough to offer a purple-slashed sky when she returns to her hiding spot under the horizon…comfort has done a good job of wrapping around me in these woods.

But there is much I am discovering. And the rhododendrons come to trigger these inner layers of darkness and light. And I am grateful even as I am stunned into each discovery.

Red Rhododendron bush in bloom

Are you writing? I am still pouring out words on my old typewriter. It’s magical and undeniable. I have new ideas for a poetry collection. I am craving horses. Does anyone have a horse I can ride?! Things at Gertrude’s are still quiet and I am okay with this.

I am enjoying being a part of my friends’ successes. Like this one, coming up on Tuesday!


Charis Cotter, award-winning, Newfoundland children’s book author, is celebrating the release of her newest masterpiece Screech! published by Nimbus Publishing. I have the very scary honour of hosting this fine virtual release. Illustrator Genevieve Simms will be there too to talk about her terrifying artwork that brings the words to scary life!

Virtual Book Launch on ZoomScreech! Ghost Stories from Old Newfoundland 

Tuesday October 27, 8 p.m. NL (6:30 p.m. EDT)

šŸ‘» A reading from “The Ghosts of Pushthrough” šŸ‘»
šŸ‘» Chat with Genevieve Simms about her terrifying illustrationsšŸ‘»
šŸ‘» Signed Book Giveaways šŸ‘»

You need to sign up ahead of time through this link:Screech! A Fun and Spooky Book Launch https://www.facebook.com/events/763834864396397

We hope to see spook you there!

Be well, friends. Enjoy the energy of this wild blue moon. I’ll be outside howling. If you listen, you’ll hear me.

2 thoughts on “Rhododendrons & A Virtual Book Launch

  1. Hi Vanessa! What a timely blog post! Saw the new film version of Rebecca on Netflix, a few days ago! It’s worth seeing! Now to find Alfred Hitchcock’s version (I’m sure I’ve seen it before.). Plus have ordered a copy of du Maurier’s book from the local library. Will spread the word about the launch. Have a great weekend!


  2. Thanks for reading and responding and sharing the news about the launch! You’re the best! Oo, and do tell me what you think of du Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’..! Stay warm!


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