Monday, January 28, 2013

Photographer's Hot Apple Cider

   A hot drink would be a real treat to a photographer out in the cold – in the middle of the frozen shore of Port Union. The thought of “Hot Apple Cider” kept entering my mind as I shot a few more frames for my Winter Solitude Photo Journal. 
 Yesterday’s snowfall did a great job in transforming this south-end of Scarborough into Arctic-looking landscape. Walking farther west could have led me to more sensational winter shots. Most probably, but “A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider” grew increasingly persistent. Nagging me,  “Enough! Head home -- and get one!”

    N.J. (Nancy) Lindquist messaged me, five days earlier, through LinkedIn, that at Crux Books, her co-editor of the two best-selling books, Hot Apple Cider and A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider, Wendy Nelles and four other contributing authors will be there on January 26, 2013, at 2:00 pm, for book-signing and to read their heart-warming stories.

From left to right: Adele Simmons, Bonnie Beldan-Thomson,
Wendy Nelles, A.A. Adourian and Marguerite Cummings

    My wife, who works for Toronto Library, decided to come too. So, the trip by TTC to 5 Hoskin Avenue, became a date. We arrived early enough to be able to pick up a specially priced copy of A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider at Crux Bookstore. Then, we proceeded up to the short plight of steps leading to the Wycliffe College Library, where cookies and hot apple cider were being served to the guests. We were the first to arrive. And the first to the hot cider!


   We were greeted by a nice scholarly-looking lady. Her glowing smile was contagious. I thought, “We must be at the right place!”  Clutching the copy of the book, I asked, “Are you one of the authors?”

    “Yes!” was her excited reply.   


    “Which one are you?” I answered as I turned the book to the Authors’ Page. 

   “I am Marguerite Cummings,” She responded, again with that contagious glowing smile.

   The pleasant chat with Marguerite led to meeting the other four of the contributing authors, Bonnie Beldan-Thomson, Adele Simmons and A.A. Adourian. They were all happy to meet us, most specially after learning that we came all the way from the east-end of Toronto.


   Wendy Nelles did not need an introduction. I recognized her as soon as she walked in, but I did not know (not that it matters) that she would be that tall! She was towering over me when we shook hands. Meeting all these gifted writers has revitalized my writing spirit. Their achievements have inspired me to be like them someday -- a published author. 

   They are all good storytellers, but it was Adele who added a nice musical twist to her storytelling. She accompanied it with her star-quality performance. In between paragraphs, she strummed her guitar and sang songs that can challenge even the American Idol.


  Another nice thing that happened was the surprise bonus of meeting the real people portrayed in Wendy’s Soulmates. The Krains were there! Yes, Nancy and Don, in person. And if that was not enough, Nancy took the book and read the story.  




At the end of the day, not only did this photographer go home with signed copies of the two books, the experience stirred my heart, warmed my soul, stimulated my mind,  delighted my spirit, and most of all, I was fully inspired, to pursue my other passion – writing!   

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


   Someone asked me to enumerate six New Year’s resolutions for 2013. Why six? I asked. One is quite a feat already. Why complicate it needlessly by adding five more?
     I can only think of one. This year, my singular promise to myself is simple, but it sums up everything I need to do to attain multiple results. And that is, to surprise myself with the best of my abilities that I did not know exist. It sounds vague, but it is also diverse. This year, I am on a mission to re-discover myself and find that hidden gold within.
     An urgent need for change or improvement is what creates a resolution, but it also needs motivation to propel the action. As a photographer, I rely heavily on visuals. Beautiful images inspire me. I use photography to motivate me. To ignite myself into a fireball of determination, I allow myself to be infected with the positive energy from a compelling photograph.
     The ready-to-strike stance of the cat in the above photo is a good example. I find it quite engaging. Its assertive behaviour excites me. The whole picture connects to me.  I can feel what the cat feels. I can see what it sees. I can read its mind -- analysing the target and calculating the decisive action. This photo of the cat I photographed in Jerusalem, seven years ago has been my constant reminder to stay focused on whatever I set myself up to achieve.
      Last year was no exception. I accomplished all my realistic goals under the image of this cat. Can I do it again this year? Well, the first week of 2013 had just passed. I have the rest of the year to face the challenges ahead of me. The horizon looks promising. By emulating the cat’s winning edge, yes, the chance of making it happen is within my striking distance.