© Chuck Duboff
My very good friend, Kathy Francis, recently released a new book, Conversations with Monuments in Victoria . Following on the success of her last book, Grace Notes, (https://chuckduboff.com/2015/01/09/grace-notes-a-new-book-by-my-friend-kathy-francis/) Kathy once again brings her wonderful writing style to life
The author, Kathy Francis, with her ever present smile.
Enjoy this excerpt from the book…and see ordering information at the bottom of this page:
They’re occupying valuable real estate! They’re taking up space!
Land is limited and thus valuable, especially in cities. So, there must be a good reason for the statues I see springing up in my city.
The placement of a monument usually signifies that something substantial has either been deposited or violated. It speaks of what we value. It speaks of what we want the world filled with and what we don’t. I believe these public art forms can contribute to the formation of our society as we pause to reflect upon them… which I do. I engage with the statues I pass by to consider what they have to say. Stories of the past become woven into inspiration for the future.
Statues are not the only things taking up valuable space. So do you. So do I. We too deposit things, both good and bad, in the world. We influence the values our community holds, the actions it takes. Are you making good use of your real estate? What deposit are you leaving? What do you want the world filled with?
Kathleen has just completed her fourth book in her Conversations With Monuments series – Victoria. Other cities include: Winnipeg, Halifax and Ottawa.
Here is an excerpt from the Victoria book:
A veteran sailor, John Mason, sits on a bench overlooking Victoria harbor. His chest is decorated with medals, heavy with memories. Weariness fills his eyes.
I sit beside him and glance at the newspaper in his hand. It is a VE Day Extra, dated May 8, 1945. “Peace in Europe: Germany Surrenders” is the headline, followed by: “Famous Figures Released”, “Figure of Hope”. This is good news – hard fought for good news.
I’m sure this man carried his share of brothers off the battlefield. Maybe he is reliving those scenes now. Even a battle ending in victory takes its toll.
The sailor looks up and a smile comes to his face. I follow his gaze. In front of us, a young soldier, down on one knee opens his arms wide as his little daughter races to embrace him, almost knocking him over with her enthusiasm. “Daddy, oh daddy, you’re home,” she squeals in delight. What better welcome, what better reward could a person want!
The man beside me had a role in making this father daughter reunion, this homecoming happen. His medals are proof. I count them. Eight. Eight is the number of new beginnings. The world gets messed up. Sometimes we have to put a stop to something and begin again. Building the kind of world we want takes intentional work and sacrifice.
“You see that?” says the veteran beside me, nodding towards the father and daughter. “That’s why. That’s the reason we did this.” He slaps the newspaper against his knee. “And it was worth it. That was me. I was his age when I returned from WWII. I could have taken another job after that, but I no longer seemed to fit in civilian life. I decided to remain with the navy. I stayed until I retired as a Captain in 1978. I come to sit here often, whenever my memories begin to weigh heavy.” I notice he is now sitting up straight. Years come off his life as he watches his dream come true. He contended for freedom and safety. Those things followed him home.
What kind of world do you want?
When I look into the eyes of a child, it becomes clear to me what I want the world to be like. I want the child to experience kindness, safety, freedom from fear and poverty, encouragement in pursuing their dreams.
How does the world become what we hope it will be? It happens through people, you and me, embodying those traits we want to see….
To order, visit: www.conversationswithmonuments.com , https://www.amazon.ca/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=conversations+with+monuments+in+victoria or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Her books can also be found in local bookstores in Victoria and Ottawa, and in Winnipeg at McNally Robinson, Chapters Polo Park, and The Forks.