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  • Clarke Wallace

I’m not the only one knowing when something needs to be repaired. I either shrug it off or ignore it altogether.


Finally, happily, one takes the proverbial bull by the horns and does something about it.


I’ve been staring at an old green canvas-covered cedar canoe stretched across two sawhorses and easily seen from above the deck for the past eight months. It’s half-covered by an old tattered tarp. You can almost hear it crying out for help.


I did something about it last September when my wife Rosanne poked me in the ribs, swearing it would be the last poke if we didn’t have the canoe repaired, she said, before it passed away from sheer neglect.


Friends told us if our canoe needed bringing back to life, Dan VanGelder of Muskoka Canoe Works was the only one they’d trust. But don’t expect idle talk from him.


We drove the several hours north to the Muskoka Lakes district and found Dan’s shop in the middle of nowhere. He looked over our canoe, wincing several times. That it was not in good shape was obvious.

He told us it needed new canvas with two coats of primer and three coats of yacht enamel on the outside. Strip and add 4 coats of gloss varnish on the inside. Repairs to the cedar planking. He gave us the approximate cost.


When we nodded, he told us to call him in late spring. (2022). I gave our canoe a pat, Roe gave it a hug and away we went.


Author’s comment: We picked up our canoe last weekend (see photo) and we were stunned. It looked better than brand new. Not only that, its personality had been restored ten-fold.


We have the whole summer to look forward to, smiling and paddling around in the Muskoka Lakes in our beautiful seasoned green cedar canoe. And proud as hell to do it.


  • Clarke Wallace

A few years ago HARVEST, a novel of mine mostly based in France, was published. It seemed to do well. I put it aside because I had another book and a screenplay caught my imagination.


An email popped up recently on the laptop from my American publisher suggesting he wanted to have the rights to reprint HARVEST.


A very large smile brightened my day. I told him how delighted I was; him picking it up as a reprint when he never published it initially. I could almost hear him chuckling. “What do you think Earnest Hemingway would've done without his books being reprinted?


I’ve looked back at the books I’ve written, ones in the first person. I don’t remember why when I mostly rely on a story being in the third person. Some, I think, work better one way than the other. It’s still a mystery how I chose.


Either way, one must catch a reader’s interest – curiosity? – from the start. Yet written either way shouldn’t make a difference.


HARVEST: ‘Tessa aside, I blame Alice for insisting I plant myself where I could write without being distracted. And see what happened?’


HARM’S WAY: ‘On a brisk Saturday evening Boris Fyodorovich Yevtushenko and his wife, Anna Karlovna arrived at their favorite Moscow restaurant. They enjoyed the Café Troika with its cozy elegance of brass lamps, stained glass windows…”


Author's comment: From both these beginnings, HARM’S WAY leans on the description . Before the end of the first page however we have: ‘Boris staggered to his feet, deafened by the sound of his own blood pounding in his ears. Wallops from the pacemaker…’


My latest book, coming out soon, is in the third person. Don’t ask me why.