I wrote a children’s book The Queen the Bear and the Bumblebee
which is an epic piece of poetry that takes me at least six minutes to recite. I’ve done it so often over the years that I can now do it backwards in my sleep. Often when I speak I’ll recite it and for me it’s become a memory test.
It all began with a phone call from a woman at The Hospital for Sick Children who asked if I would come and entertain some of the children. I agreed, we pick a date and three weeks later I drove downtown to have lunch and then go to the hospital.
It happened on the Don Valley Parkway as I wondered out loud. “‘ How am I going to entertain these children? I can’t tell them my last interview!” Suddenly a video unfolded in head with three characters, a Queen and Bear and a Bumblebee.
I’ve written poetry for years, so when I got to the restaurant, I started writing a poem about these three characters. It came easily and I scribbled and munched my way through lunch.
I went to the hospital where a lot of the children who came to listen were either in wheel chairs or their beds were rolled in. There was a microphone on a stand so the children who couldn’t get out of bed could hear me.
I was introduced, walked up to the microphone, took and breath and plunged in, It went okay although I recall the middle part being a little rocky. I finished to applause, went home, threw the pages in a drawer and said. “One day I’ll finish that.” and one day several years later I did.
It became a bestseller and was then set to music by the Children’s Group and I wrote a song for each character. The composer is the brilliant Mark Goldman and Andrew Homzy and Andrew did the orchestration. We launched the CD at the Imperial Room of the Royal York Hotel to a room full of friends and children with a mini orchestra, three singers and a children’s choir. It was a success.
The next several years were quiet but then it became a stage play previewing at the Banff Children’s Festival in 2014 to rave reviews and has been performed a several times since.
The next performance is in Calgary, this April 23rd at the Bella Concert Hall, Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts. With new choreography by Yukichi Hattori. I’m told it’s even more fabulous.
The credit for the stage performance is a fabulous woman, Erin Thrall who originally sang the Queen’s song at the launch at the Imperial Room. Erin is the producer and the driving force behind it all.
I’ll be there with my sister Elaine, we’ll be easy to spot as we’ll be crying tears of joy, which we’ve done at every performance so far.
Some dreams do come true and if you’re in the Calgary area April 23rd, come see one of mine.