Category Archives: Blog

They Need A Good Bombing (and other shit my mother said)

November 15, 2015

They need a good bombingRemember the naval war between Spain and Britain? The one in 1588 where the invincible Spanish Armada tried to take control of the English Channel with their huge and heavily armed ships. If you recall, the English at first attempted to disable the Armada with long range gunfire, but soon realized this kind of shot merely damaged the rigging which was quickly repaired. So the English turned to smaller, faster ships that could close in and take repeated broadside shots into the Spanish ships at short range. This resulted in considerable damage and an Armada forced to turn tail and run, giving the Victory to the British.

What does this have to do with ISIS and the coalition trying to beat them? Everything.

The coalition is like the Armada, with big powerful jets and drones and bombs that can inflict plenty of damage once they’re in place. ISIS on the other hand relies on smaller, faster tactics. Machine guns, suicide vests and trucks coated with armour plate, each one loaded with bombs and driven by men with visions of virgins dancing in their heads as they smash into markets, schools, hospitals etc. ISIS knows the drones and bombers will never get there fast enough to stop them, and so do the people they are attacking.

In effect, ISIS is the British navy, able to navigate more quickly, turn on a dime and deliver destruction much more effectively than the huge, lumbering coalition.

To think that more air strikes are the answer is to ignore not only history, but exactly what is happening on the ground in Syria, and Iraq. Air strikes are an easy sell to a Western public that likes big displays of firepower and very few casualties on our side, but they don’t work. What works, as illustrated in recent battles between ISIS and Kurdish pesh murga, is local military properly trained and armed with tanks, guns and missiles that are capable of delivering the kind of shots that are needed in an instant. The moment the truck loaded with bombs appears, not twenty minutes later when a drone or bomber finally arrives.

And what has this to do with Canada? Again, everything.

Our government plans to withdraw our bombers from the current mission and thank God. U.S. Generals have admitted that all the bombs dropped so far have not managed to stop the threat and despite what our former government liked to pretend, Canada is not a world military power. We don’t have the budget to provide our own military with new equipment so we certainly can’t send the kind that is desperately needed in Syria and Iraq. What we can and should do is send humanitarian aid along with men and women who can train the fighters on the ground to be more effective. And we should help those trying to escape the madness of ISIS.

We are not a nation that turns from conflict, but neither are we a nation of fools. After the tragic events in Paris, we need to resist the bleating of the right and the calls for more bombs, more suspicion and less compassion. Canada can and will be part of the war against ISIS, but we need to be smart about our role, and give those fighting on the ground what they need, versus what we want them to have.

Sex Ed Made Easy

November 12, 2015


Sex Ed Made Easy


Why I’d Rather Chew Soap Than Talk To My Daughters About Orgasms

I admit it. I took the easy way out when it came to talking to my daughters about sex. Not the actual mechanics – that they understood from about the age of eight and I took comfort in knowing they were well and truly disgusted by the very notion of such things happening. But I knew that initial disgust wouldn’t last, and by the time they hit puberty, curiosity would start to take hold.

It didn’t help that I wrote romantic comedy. Neither daughter would read the books because they could not put ‘mom’ and ‘sex’ in the same sentence. Much like the brother-in-law who tried to read one of my books and had to put it aside after encountering the word ‘nipple,’ but that’s another post for another day.

The dilemma for me was how to talk to a pre-teen about consent, orgasms, figuring out what you like and more importantly how to ask for it when having sex.

To my mind, the number one consideration when having sex has always been “do you feel safe and happy.” Not either/or, but both at the same time. This made the consent part fairly easy to talk about regardless of how much eye-rolling and walking away I encountered. The rest was harder. Much, much harder.

What mother wants to talk to her kids about orgasms? And what kid wants to hear about any of it from mom? The problem of course is that pornography will quickly fill in any blanks that we leave and it was more of a horror for me to think of those young female minds getting their first impressions of what sex should be from anything titled Busty Backdoor Nurses or Poke-Herhontas #8.

Luckily, when I was faced with this dilemma women’s erotica was making its way onto the literary scene. Today there are plenty of books to choose from, some of which are poorly written (50 Shades of Crap, for instance) and some that would probably scare the crap out of any pre-teen, which might be great for a while, but isn’t the long term goal. But in 1993, there was Slow Hand, a collection of short stories told from a female point of view and penned by talented writers. Stories that were not simply titillating but also tender and emotional and sometimes controversial, which was perfect because the desire for sex is neither simple nor straightforward and I didn’t want my daughters to ever think that it was.

So I made sure they caught glimpses of me reading that book, and saw me close it abruptly and set it aside when they entered a room. And one day I inadvertently set it on a table and left not only the room, but the house, hoping one or both would pick it up.

While I had my suspicions, it wasn’t until a few years later that I finally found out that the plan had indeed worked. They both read it and talked about it (and were suitably appalled that I was reading it), but those stories did what they were supposed to do, feeding them important information that they carried with them into their teen years and beyond.

Slow Hand is tame by today’s standards which is why I still find it a great introduction to the exciting and confusing world of sex for both boys and girls. So grab a copy, make it forbidden and then leave it lying around. While safe and happy was my starting point, these stories helped launch the girls on their own journeys and isn’t that the point of sex education?

Intro to Random Scribbling

April 26, 2013

A note from Lynda:

I’ve never been good at blogging. Ask me to write a book or a short story or a piece of flash fiction and I will be up and pounding the keys at dawn. But A Successful Blog is another matter entirely. A thing with rules and expectations and books and courses designed to help me get it right. Even thinking about it makes me twitch.

“Then just write about what interests you,” some have said.

I’m interested in politics and religion, cooking and canoeing, my family and my cat. But the first two topics will inevitably get me into trouble, and I can’t imagine anyone wanting to read about another cat, or what I made for dinner, or why my canoe suddenly has a dent in it. And while fiction is my passion, after seventeen years of teaching, I have nothing new to say about the writing process.

So when I think about blogging, my mind goes blank, my eyes glaze over and no matter how long I sit in front of the keyboard, nothing happens. But if I put all of the Rules of Successful Blogging aside and just let myself write whatever comes into my head, then the fog lifts and the result is Random Scribbling.

Here you’ll find opinion pieces and flash fiction, none of it written to schedule or with any kind of regularity. On the contrary, these pieces usually appear when a novel is being difficult or an issue keeps nagging at me, refusing to go away until I put my thoughts down on paper.

I hope you enjoy Random Scribbling, and if you’re interested in reading the next piece – whenever that may be – please sign up for the newsletter. I promise it won’t be more than a line or two, letting you know that something random has appeared in the scribblings.