Category Archives: Other stuff

Choosing love on the anniversary of the La Loche shooting

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the school shooting in La Loche. Unfortunately, the community of La Loche is still struggling with the aftermath of that tragedy, as well as ongoing issues that they’ve been dealing with for years.

Fay Beaman Laing, a fellow writer, contacted me about a project she undertook to support La Loche. She composed a song, Choose Love, which she hopes people will perform to honour the community of La Loche. You can download the score here.  More on Fay’s project below.

If you’d like to lend financial support, the community is raising funds for a rec centre, to honour the four people who were fatally wounded in the shooting: Marie Janvier, Dayne Fontaine, Drayden Fontaine, and Adam Wood. More information on that project here.

Choose Love:  Commit to Being Kind Invitation
by Fay Beaman Laing
In the aftermath of the LaLoche tragedy in January of 2016, I initially felt lost as to what I could possibly do to make a difference after such a horrific event.  It came to me that really, the only thing to do is to “choose love” – in all my life activities, with my friends, neighbors, community and the world.  If there was some way I could become a better person, then that would be one positive outcome; if every person in our society made this decision, then it really would be powerful.

The way to choose love when engaging with others is to commit to be kind, in every possible circumstance, to the best of our ability. It is easy to be kind with people we like, when we are in a good mood, and when things are going our way.  It takes special effort to continue to be kind when we are dealing with people who have hurt us, aggravated us, or when we have a bad day.  Choosing love and committing to be kind can be a new way to live, a better way to live that optimizes positive relationships, enhancing families, communities, schools and ultimately our country.

What specifically can you do?

  • On January 22, 2017, or as close as possible to this date, you can host an assembly, or meeting, as this is the “Day of Observation” for the community of LaLoche.
  • A song called “Choose Love” has been written to inspire individuals to gain strength from community members coming together, and to choose loving actions as a way of life.  A complimentary copy of the music and lyrics will be made available to anyone who wishes to perform the song in honour of the community of LaLoche. If you haven’t time to prepare to sing it, then just recite it.
  • Ask your school, workplace or group to take up the “Commit to Being Kind” invitation. Any number of activities can be designed around this theme for the day.
  • Email the community of LaLoche and advise them that you are choosing to remember and honour them, so they are aware of your support.

We would like to see as many schools and community groups across the country taking up the invitation.  It’s time for change.  Everyone matters.  LaLoche, you are not forgotten.  Choose love and commit to being kind!

(Fay Beaman Laing is a Saskatchewan social worker and is the author of the “Choose Love:  Commit to Being Kind Invitation” and songwriter of the song “Choose Love.” Special thanks go out to Jan Michael Bourgeois for his assistance in scoring the music.)

Fay Beaman Laing

The Greatest Generation

Tom Brokaw came up with the term “The Greatest Generation” to describe the people who grew up during the Great Depression. This same generation went on to fight in World War II (if not literally fighting, supporting the war effort at home).

Whenever I read anything about this generation, I automatically think of my maternal grandparents. John Holzman and Irene (Vavra) Holzman embodied many of the values people attribute to this generation. They really were great (although I suppose I’m a little biased).

Continue reading The Greatest Generation


Earlier this month, I was in Saskatoon, where I spent $75 in 20 minutes at McNally Robinson. That book store is really dangerous.

I also visited the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon. I hadn’t been there since I was a middle-schooler, and I decided to stop in before it moved to the Remy.

The Mendel had a few interesting exhibits going on. I spent a lot of time in the miniature portraits exhibit (picture tiny portraits of loved ones people used to wear around their necks, or display on their mantles).

Some of the lockets had the subject’s hair plaited on the back. It reminded me of a couple hair wreaths my great-grandmother had. My ancestors’ hairs were woven into intricate patterns. I wonder what it is about hair that inspires people to weave it, wear it around their necks, or mail it to rock stars.

But it was one piece in the “Home” exhibit that burrowed into my brain. I haven’t stopped thinking of it since.

Continue reading Home

Down to the wood

(Please note this post contains a small amount of mild profanity. Well, I think it’s mild, anyway).

About five years ago, while I was still living in Edmonton, I shaved my head to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. It was an annual event at my workplace. My colleagues would fundraise, and then one afternoon they’d sit on a stage while someone shaved, dyed, or cut their hair (if they were donating it for wigs). The neighbouring building participated too, so there was always an audience of hundreds.

My wonderful co-workers pledged plenty of money with absolutely no prodding on my part. It was a celebratory event, and in the weeks preceding the shave the I.T. guys almost had me convinced to take it “down to the wood” (i.e. Bic it).

I guess I’m a little vain because I was worried I’d cry in front of everyone when my hair came off. So I spent a week trashing my hair beforehand. I dyed it black, then green. Then, the night before the shave, my husband cut it into a mullet. He kept laughing in my face, and I started to cry, but that just made him laugh harder.

Continue reading Down to the wood