Laskin Publishing / Les Éditions Laskin
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
“The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
And I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep …”
— Robert Frost
MONTRÉAL (May 19, 2013) An erudite dog's perspective on life in and around Montréal and the Laurentians during the 1970s unearths a meticulously crafted tale about the human condition. As we follow Daisy, a flaxen-haired cocker spaniel, on her life's journey, we join others in theirs: Monique and Harry and their three children; feisty Aunt Iréne; Monique's cougar friend Marina and her dalliance with Monique's son; Brunhilde the singing teacher; a pair of sociopathic cockatoos and, through their language and music, they share their stories with Daisy, the all-seeing, all-hearing witness.
With her lyrical and poetic writing, Montréal author and musician/conductor Bernadette Griffin shares her love of classical and 60s music alongside the great poets Rilke, Whitman and Frost. Like Racing in the Rain, Canine Confessions gives us a mind- and heart-expanding view of the world as experienced by man's best friend.
As Gazette literary critic Ian McGillis wrote, “Bernadette Griffin renders a dog's-eye view more vividly than most writers render a human's. I will never forget Daisy, and you will never forget Canine Confessions.”
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I was born in La ville de Québec and went to school there. And as early as Grade One, I fell in love with learning—and with the piano in the school lobby. For every morning, a thunderous version of The Maple Leaf Forever was played on it, marching us two by two into the lobby and up into the classrooms, like soldiers marching into battle.
Soon enough I was having piano lessons with Sister Camilla Gertrude—that is, eight years of lessons, plus exams and recitals and going to Saturday afternoon symphony concerts at the Palais Montcalm with maestro Wilfrid Pelletier.
What will I do now? I asked myself on leaving high school, my piano books now stuffed away in a drawer. First , you better leave home, I thought, the world is waiting and it may tell you who you are and what to do. So I went to Montréal and to nursing school, and after graduation and caring for patients and teaching students as a clinical instructor, again I asked, What now?
“You can marry me,” my piano-playing musician boyfriend said, and I did, and we made a home, a real home with children and a dog and a cat—and a piano. And there I was, caring for my children and playing the piano, playing, playing, scales, chords, arpeggios, studies, inventions, partitas, sonatas, until the Royal Conservatory of Toronto said, “enough, take this diploma.”
Soon I was in my studio, teaching others to play the piano, all the while also singing at church and soon directing the church choir. Why not learn about singing now and conducting a choir with and without orchestra? I thought, and I did, founding the Donovan Chorale, a concert choir, and later Les Chanteurs d’Orphée de Montréal , a chamber ensemble dedicated to the performance of contemporary works, the two groups singing and singing, their singing so fresh, so heartfelt, enough to win the praise of music lovers and critics alike, not to mention one prize after another, their performances regularly airing on CBC radio and Radio-Canada.
What will I do now? I asked myself, looking at my bank account. First go to school again, learn more about the languages you speak, French and English, read and study. And I did, read and study until Concordia University said, “hey, you deserve a diploma for all that, you can translate from one language to another, medical texts and documents.” And I did, all the while learning how to write my own words and sentences and stories, and that is what all of it has come to… trying to make it all true and beautiful.
- Bernadette Griffin, Author
Canine Confessions (May 2013)