Cottage Life

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In the novel, In A Spin, cottage life plays a role in dramatizing the differences in character between the two principal couples in the story. For Max and Carol Telford relaxing in the summer at their rustic island retreat on Georgian Bay is one of their most pleasurable annual pursuits. Henry and Joanne Peterson, on the other hand, are urban people whose preference would be for a cottage with all the comforts and amenities of home that just happens to be on a placid lake. So when the Petersons visit the Telfords’ cottage, it is not particularly to their liking. This difference in outlook is, however, simply a manifestation of other, underlying personality variations that keep them from becoming closer friends than they already are. As a result, when Henry ends up exposed to public ridicule and embarrassment because of his benign, but unusual behaviour, Max feels guilty, believing that, had he got to know Henry even better than he does, he might have been able to help him prevent the humiliation he suffers, or at least have served as a better source of comfort.

Here’s a brief excerpt about Henry and Joanne’s experience of Georgian Bay cottage life:

P1010414…for the Petersons there was a lot to adjust to at the Telfords’ cottage, and they couldn’t fully grasp the hold it had on Max and Carol. There was no beach for swimming. You had to plunge straight into the water from the rocks. Cold water, not like their heated pool. “Lake Erie’s never this bad,” Henry complained. No floats either to warn you where the water was deep, no comforting painted lines on the bottom, no chlorine. After one dip, Henry didn’t swim again, and Joanne always dove in and out with the speed of an osprey. There was no garden on the island either, just scattered clusters of daisies and black-eyed Susans. There was no lawn, just clumps of moss with tall tufts of feathery grass. Nothing to mow, nothing to get pissed off at Vern and Cybil for leaving unkempt. By nature, everything was unkempt.

When they took the outboard to undeveloped islands for a picnic, there were no benches or chairs, and they had to sit on the rocks, their sandwiches and beers spread out on bathing towels and cooler tops. Ants crawled inside their shorts. Even the food the Telfords ate was different, for Henry especially: muesli for breakfast, never fried eggs and bacon; at lunch salmon and tuna fish sandwiches on whole wheat bread, never hot dogs nor flat meats on white. Sometimes yellow and grey gooey “gork” that came in plastic containers. “What did you say this is called? Homos? Bubba who?” For dinner, a lot of pastas and stir-fried vegetables. No burgers or spareribs and only one steak. “I guess it’s hard to get good red meat up here, eh?”

There was no place nearby to go shopping either. No bar for a beer and tacos. No television even, no video games. Only a radio not strong enough to pick up the Tigers and with so much static it was hardly worth listening to the Jays. “So what do you do all day anyway?” Henry asked at regular intervals.

“Swim. Picnic. Read.”

“Yeah? That’s all?”

“Pretty much. Pick blueberries in season. And raspberries.”

Henry set to work replacing the rotting boards on the Telfords’ dock and pulling out loose and rusty nails. He also repaired two screens on the porch and planed the kitchen door which scraped against the floor. By the fifth day, however, he had run out of chores and P1010132was so bored that Max had to drive him to Parry Sound to visit the Bobby Orr Community Centre. For Henry that was the best part of the holiday, and for years afterwards he talked about the awe he felt walking inside the arena. “Max, I felt I was near to greatness, to what defines us all, know what I mean? No question about it he was the best. Ever.”

“Of course, he was,” Max kidded. “He played defence.”

It wasn’t really that bad a vacation. It was just that those two weeks at Sans Souci magnified the differences between Henry and Joanne and Max and Carol. But they were there all along anyway…

To read more you can order a copy of In A Spin by going to: http://www.borealispress.com. Or, for a personal, autographed copy, contact the author at: terdotcomm@sympatico.ca.

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Summer Book Signings

 

Olympic Stadium, Athens

Olympic Stadium, Athens

Author Terry Keenleyside and his wife, Dorothy, will be at the Rosseau Farmers Market in Rosseau, Ontario this summer autographing copies of his two novels and three literary travel books.

The dates are:

July 22, 9.00 a.m.-2.00 p.m.

August 5, 9.00 a.m.-2.00 p.m.

For more information about the market, please go to: http://www.rosseaufarmersmarket.ca

For details of the five books on sale, click on Books at the top of this page.

Front COVER At the Table 3[1]Cover _Roaming the Big LandCOVER_for Terry(low rez)Keenleyside_hi_CMYKP1010201GetInline(1).aspx

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Caitlyn Jenner’s Gender Change Isn’t the Only Interesting Sexual Story

Caitlyn Jenner’s transformation from male athlete to attractive female has been a major media story for many months. The level of interest in her is reflected in the fact that one of her recent Facebook posts has received over 1.5 million “likes.” But transsexualism is only one of many manifestations of sexual difference. There is another much more common gender type that has by and large been overlooked by the media and in film and literature: transvestism. When this subject is addressed, it is usually in the context of its overt presentation by “drag queens” in particular. But more commonly transvestism is a private, secretive expression of human sexuality, and it is this aspect that is explored in the intriguingly different novel, In A Spin. What’s more the subject is treated in a suspenseful, entertaining and distinctively Canadian fashion.

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Henry, a high school teacher and hockey coach, and Joanne, a figure skating instructor, appear to be an ordinary, happily married couple in a sleepy university town, noted for propriety not scandal. But are they? Joanne comes to suspect that Henry is having an affair, maybe more than one, and this is corroborated by their neighbours and friends, Max and Carol. With Max’s help, Joanne hatches a plan to catch Henry in the act of making love to another woman, and in their own bedroom. What she discovers, however, is something very different and it risks destroying their marriage, for there is a surprising, hidden aspect to Henry that seems at total odds with the person she has always known.

Here’s an excerpt from the scene at the local arena where Max meets with Joanne to find out what she discovered when she came home on Henry by surprise:

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In the unbroken rhythm of the day, the arena was shifting from figure skating to hockey. Max knew the schedule, and he had timed his visit to be able to talk to Joanne off the ice and alone. They sat in the back of the stands underneath one of the electric ceiling heaters, away from everybody else. “So did you come up with a way of finding out what Henry is up to?” he asked almost right away.

“Yes.” Joanne didn’t look at him. She stared at the players, circling the rink warming up. Even though she’d been only at a skating practice and was more than a little distracted, she was, nevertheless, carefully groomed. Every strand of her hair had been teased and scolded into place and her lips looked iridescent as if illuminated by carnival floodlights. A golden pendant hung from her neck as well, a last-minute decision as she’d left the house, realizing she needed some glitter to hide the strain she felt inside.

“So have you confronted him?”

“Yes.”

“How?”

“I cancelled a skating lesson and came in on him by surprise.”

“So what happened?”

P1010140“Nothing.”

“Nothing?”

“He wasn’t with a woman. I…I…found him. I found him…on his own.”

“Oh, so it didn’t work? You picked the wrong day?”

“No, it worked.”

“How do you mean?”

Joanne searched in her handbag for a tissue, blew her nose, and let out a deep, shuddering breath. “There is no woman.”

“There isn’t?” Max said brightly. “How do you know?”

“I just know.” Joanne’s eyes were trained on her handbag…

“Well isn’t that great news?” Max said a little impatiently, tugging at her arm…”You don’t seem very relieved about it.”

“Yes. It’s good news.” But Joanne wasn’t sure it was. If she had found Henry in bed with a student, she might have been able to excuse it as andropause.

“Joanne, what’s the matter? What’s upsetting you?”

“Nothing. I’m…I’m okay.” But Joanne was crying uncontrollably now. “I…I guess it’s…just the relief.”…

“So we were right about him.” Max felt confused. “That’s a relief, isn’t it. It’s nice to realize we really do know him, isn’t it?”

“We don’t,” Joanne wailed. “None of us does.”

“Joanne,” Max pleaded, “tell me what’s wrong.”

“No…There’s nothing. I can’t.”

 

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To read the whole story, you can buy the book by going to http://www.borealispress.com or http://www.indigo.ca. Personally autographed copies are also available by contacting the author: terdotcomm@sympatico.ca.

Posted in adult fiction, Caitlyn Jenner, contemporary culture, figure skating, humour, ice hockey, sexual behaviour, transvestism | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Author Talks and Book Signings

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The following are impending talks and book signings by author Terry Keenleyside, accompanied by his wife Dorothy:

Authors for Indies, Book City

1430 Yonge St., Toronto (Yonge and St. Clair)

Saturday, April 30, 3.30-4.30 p.m.

Author signing of the novel, In A Spin

Bendale Public Library

1515 Danforth Road, Toronto

Tuesday, May 17, 2.00-3.00 p.m.

A discussion with the Bendale Book Club about the trials and tribulations of an accidental travel writer plus readings about unusual experiences depicted in the author’s three literary travel books: Missing the Bus, Making the Connection; Roaming the Big Land, Flavours of Canada, and At the Table, Nourishing Conversation and Food.

For more information, please contact the Bendale branch of the Toronto Public Library.Keenleyside_hi_CMYKCover _Roaming the Big LandCOVER_for Terry(low rez)Front COVER At the Table 3[1]

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In A Spin, What is Henry up to?

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Here’s an excerpt from the dramatic and funny chapter of In A Spin where Joanne discovers whether or not her husband, Henry, is having an affair:

…on the front steps, as she took our her key to unlock the door, Joanne hesitated again, going over once more the opening line she had rehearsed for several days.”Well, this is certainly something I never expected to catch you doing.” Yes. That was certainly better than her original choice: “Well, how long has this been going on?” Save that for later. Beyond her beginning she had no idea what she would say, no conception of what might unfold. She had envisaged different scenarios. Henry, pants down to his knees, on top of a young woman barely out of her teens–what a slut–their legs flailing over the side of the couch in the den, totally oblivious to her having entered the room. Perfect for her opening line. A more mature woman–in our bedroom no less–desperately trying to hide her nude body behind a sheet and Henry, his hairy chest bristling, pleading with her, “Joanne, it’s not what you think!” Okay for that, too. Of course, there was another possibility. No woman there, only Henry, watching TV in the den. She was ready for that: felt sick so cancelled the skating lesson. And the car suddenly stalled a block away. Henry would tuck her into bed, probably make her some tea and then check on the car. He wouldn’t be particularly surprised when it started right away. “Women!” he would mutter, shaking his head stoically. “Don’t give them anything more complicated to turn on than a hair dryer.” Joanne slipped the key into the lock, and gently nudged the door open. Oh, please let that be what happens.”

To discover the surprise that awaited Joanne, you can get a copy of In A Spin by going to: http://www.borealispress.com, http://www.indigo.ca, or by emailing the author for a personally autographed copy at: terdotcomm@sympatico.ca.

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In A Spin and Ice Hockey

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There is more about ice hockey in the novel In A Spin than there is about figure-skating and that is because two of the central characters, Henry and Max, are drawn together by their shared love of the game, even though, as the reader eventually discovers, there is a lot more that Henry is up to than just coaching hockey! The following is an excerpt from In A Spin that illustrates the place of hockey in the story:

“Max just liked the idea of having the arena there as a place to stop when he was out walking, a place to observe the rhythm of Bradbury through the seasons. Slight of build and a little uncoordinated, he wasn’t much of an athlete himself, but he got a kick out of watching sports, especially hockey, and particularly amateurs. Young kids for whom end-to-end rushes were tortuous marathons that ended spilling head first into the net or boards, sticks flailing. Overweight, sweating has-beens at midnight, risking death for the elixir of competition, oh so much more satisfying than their day jobs. He loved the dingy atmosphere, the almost-empty late-night stands, the echoing clap of seats, the chippedP1010158 paint, the fog that often lingered above the ice like the ghosts of departed stars, the pennants hanging from the bare rafters, the slashes in the ice where blades had bit into the vanilla sherbet surface, the clock, the buzzer, the expectancy….

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“Even after his playing days, Henry was always spatially attuned. A good coach, he knew, had to be. It was central to the job. At the bench, on the sideline, in the locker room, it was all about those x’s and o’s and the quickly traced lines connecting them. All about being in the slot, the circle, the centre, the crease, the corner, at the line, at the point, the post, on the wing, along the boards, behind the net at the right time. But Henry carried that habit with him away from the ice rink….Oddly for a defenceman, when Henry was in his back yard looking out at his pool, he saw things the way a forward would, a guy playing centre ice….But….while positionally he surveyed his backyard surroundings offensively, mentally he was, nevertheless, on defence. That was doubtless a result of all his years playing hockey. He wasn’t Bobby Orr after all. He rarely strayed past centre ice. More often he was at the blue line pinching an opposing forward between himself and his defensive partner, or in a corner pinning someone to the boards. To Henry, good defence was the most critical component of the game.

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“It wasn’t just his hockey instincts, however, that led him to survey his home surroundings the way he did. Henry had something to hide, and people concealing something are always on defence, always on the lookout for peering eyes that might catch them unaware, always making sure that nothing is out of place, nothing odd is inadvertently left somewhere that might arouse suspicion. For Henry, defence was a natural, but even if it hadn’t been, he had good reason to think defensively with his neighbours.”

To read more, why not purchase In A Spin by going to http://www.borealispress.com,  terdotcomm@sympatico.ca, http://www.indigo.ca?

 

 

 

 

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In A Spin, A New Novel by T.A. Keenleyside

 

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Henry, a high school teacher and hockey coach, and Joanne, a figure skating instructor, appear to be an ordinary, happily married couple in a sleepy university town, noted for propriety not scandal. But are they? Joanne comes to suspect that Henry is having an affair, maybe more than one, and this is corroborated by their neighbours and friends, Max and Carol. With Max’s help, Joanne hatches a plan to catch Henry in the act of making love to another woman, and in their own bedroom. What she discovers, however, is something very different and it risks destroying their marriage, for there is a surprising, hidden aspect to Henry that seems at total odds with the person she has always known. But with helpful advice from her open-minded friend, Carol, Joanne slowly comes to accept the new Henry, although, in the end, she is unable to save him from embarrassment and public exposure to ridicule.

Interwoven with this story is a satirical sub-plot about academe and a maverick university professor facing dismissal for bizarre classroom behaviour and sexual misconduct. In A Spin is an intriguingly different and distinctively Canadian novel, rich in drama and comedy.  Beneath the surface, however, it is also a serious study of the limits of tolerance and the difficulty of knowing people fully.

In A Spin is available at select book stores and from Borealis Press at http://www.borealispress.com. Retail price: $19.95 Cdn. plus shipping and handling. Autographed copies may also be purchased directly from the author at a saving in shipping, handling and taxes (full price: $26.50 anywhere in Canada, or $45.00 for two books; United States: $24.00 U.S, or $37.50 U.S. for two books). To arrange shipment contact the author on this website or email: terdotcomm@sympatico.ca.

Posted in adult fiction, books, contemporary culture, figure skating, humour, ice hockey, sexual behaviour, university life | Tagged , | Leave a comment