Posts Tagged ‘Books’

TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

March 28, 2017

Are Books Dead?

 

This question about the future of reading arises now because of an essay by Scottish fiction writer Ewan Morrison entitled “Are books dead and can authors survive?”

Morrison goes on to explain: “”E-books and e-publishing will mean the end of the ‘writer’ as  a profession.  He argues that every information stream that has become digitized has inexorably slid toward free no-charge access. We’ve seen it happen with music, we’ve seen it happen with movies, and even with long-distance telephone calls.

In other words, the public now demands its media to be free.

I must admit in my own case, I read fewer and fewer books.  Instead I read upwards of half a dozen newspapers a day including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Montreal Gazette, the Globe and Mail and the Irish Times.  I read the last to keep abreast of the dreadful Catholic sex abuse crisis in Ireland.

However, I do belong to a book club.  We meet once a month in each other’s home, have a lively discussion and enjoy refreshments.  Our last book was a biography of  Pierre Trudeau.  Our next book will be a biography of Lucy Maude Montgomery.

What was the last book you read?  Are you reading anything now?

Is reading in decline?

Are books dead?

What do you think?

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TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

January 19, 2016

The Inside Story

By Neil McKenty

12

The Special Olympics And A Special Wedding

Early in November, 1969, I went to see the Jesuit provincial’s assistant, Father Ed Dowling, to tell him of my decision to leave the Jesuits.  He was understanding and supportive – as were the provincial himself, Father Angus Macdougall, and all my other Jesuit friends and associates.  There was no hint of blame, no mention of the enormous sums of money the Jesuits had invested in my education and my health through a period of twenty-five years.  Quite the contrary – I was invited to stay in my old room at Hawthorne Gardens until I could find a job.

So it was with optimism and enthusiasm that I began my job search in mid-November.  Far from being stressed, once I had made the decision to leave the Jesuits, I experienced a feeling of peace, energy and well-being, in a word – liberation.  This was perhaps the first mature decision I had ever made, mature in the sense that it was not dictated by the expectations of other people.  So, looking for work, sometimes lining up as many as three or four appointments a day, was an adventure.  Within six weeks of my forty-fifth birthday I was excited as a teenager about what exciting prospects lay just around the corner.

I looked where I thought I had some strength – communications and publishing.  An editorial position with a large publishing house fell through at the last minute as did another at TVOntario.  I declined an entry-level reportorial job at The Globe And Mail.  Then, at the suggestion of Father Gordie George, I went to see Harry E. ”Red” Foster, the founder and owner of the successful advertising firm bearing his name.

Red Foster, then sixty-four, was a big man in body – he had been a star football player on the Balmy Beach Grey Cup champions – and a big man in spirit (a dynamic, ebullient mixture of business tycoon E.P. Taylor and Mother Teresa).  In memory of his intellectually handicapped brother, Red Foster had established a foundation to advance the cause of the intellectually handicapped across Canada.

I went to see Foster, not about his advertising agency, but about his Foundation for the Intellectually Handicapped.  I had heard that he could be as tough as nails, but I liked Red Foster right away and I think he liked me.  After several searching interviews, he hired me as the first executive director of the Foster Foundation.  It was the first real paying job I had ever had.  I well remember the salary, $12,000 a year.  Then for good measure, Red threw in the keys to his old family home at 4 Oaklands Avenue, just below De La Salle College, where I could live rent-free.

As I packed my trunk at Hawthorne Gardens in early March 1970, I could scarcely credit my good fortune, but it was tinged with a sadness for what was ending.  In the trunk was the last official document I would ever receive from the Jesuit order.  It was just three words relating to a decision already ratified in Rome about my dismissal from the society of Jesus:  Litteras dismissionis acceptit.  So few words to end so long journey.  Then Father Logie drove me the few short blocks to my new home at 4 Oaklands.  We wrestled my trunk up to the second-floor living room.  Logie left and I sat down and looked at the telephone, thinking to myself I could ring up the world.  And I laughed out loud.

Working with Red Foster for the next two and a half years was like working for a threshing machine.  There were speeches to write and sometimes deliver, meetings to attend and events to organize.  But by far the most exciting element of the job was Red’s association with the Kennedy Foundation in the States.  The Foundation was headed by the late President’s sister Eunice and her husband, Sargent Shiver.  As a result of this connection, we introduced the Special Olympics for the Intellectually Handicapped into Canada and convinced the Kennedys to accept floor hockey as part of the Special Olympics program.  Red persuaded the National Hockey League to support floor hockey and we convinced Prime Minister Trudeau to throw out the puck at the first floor hockey tournament, which was held at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto.

To be continued…

Visit the book shop now, and get your copy: click here

Jean P.

 

 

WORDS FROM NEIL

October 19, 2015

blog

Here is a passage from ”The Inside Story” that can  also be found at the end of ”McKenty Live!  The lines are still blazing” (page 136)

Both books are available here:  click here

It was my birthday, New Year’s Eve 1994, about six months after my depression had lifted for good and the happiest summer of my life.  Catharine and I had spent the afternoon cross-country skiing and were relaxing before supper in the lounge of the Laurentian Lodge Club at Prévost,  amid the soft rolling foothills.  Outside the frosted windows, the moonlight was glittering on the fresh snowfall; inside, a roaming fire flamed up the chimney of the large stone fireplace.  A splendid dinner was prepared by our talented chef, André.  I was presented with a birthday cake and a rousing chorus of three score year and ten.  I don’t remember feeling happier.  I felt connected in a way I had never felt connected before to these people who were my friends.  I laughed, and it was a genuine laugh.  In some measure I had become real.  I was comfortable in my skin.  As I sat there in the dancing light of the fireplace and happy sounds of singing, I thought of all the people including my family and the Jesuits and my friends who had helped me on this journey.  I thought of how God does indeed write straight with crooked lines.  And then I thought, with Catharine smiling beside me, the best is yet to be.”                                            

” THE LINES ARE BLAZING ”

September 2, 2015

Neil_McKenty_Live_cover

He liked to argue just for the fun of it. In the 70’s & 80’s he was one of Montreal’s highest rated radio talk show host, with more than 75000 people tuning in for his show.

In 1985 he leaves the radio scene at the top of his career to pursue other interests, then comes back into the spotlight but in an other media, television, to host McKenty Live!  With guests ranging from Dr. Ruth to René Lévesque you would be sure to be entertained the whole hour.

The book is available here: click here

ARE BOOKS DEAD?

September 4, 2011

This question about the future of reading arises now because of an essay by Scottish fiction writer Ewan Morrison enitlted “Are books dead and can authors survive?”

Morrison goes on to explain: “”E-books and e-publishing will mean the end of the ‘writer’ as  a profession.  He argues that every information stream that has become digitalized has inexorably slid toward free no-charge access. We’ve seen it happen with music, we’ve seen it happen with movies, and even with long-distance telephone calls.

In other words, the public now demands its media to be free.

I must admit in my own case, I read fewer and fewer books.  Instead I read upwards of half a dozen newspapers a day including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Montreal Gazette, the Globe and Mail and the Irish Times.  I read the last to keep abreast of the dreadful Catholic sex abuse crisis in Ireland.

However, I do belong to a book club.  We meet once a month in each other’s home, have a lively discussion and enjoy refreshments.  Our last book was a biography of  Pierre Trudeau.  Our next book will be a biography of Lucy Maude Montgomery.

What was the last book you read?  Are you reading anything now?

Is reading in decline?

Are books dead?

What do you think?