Sunday, October 30, 2005

I See Dead People . . . In A Documentary

Today, the documentary about my life/work begins. I'm more nervous than I thought that I'd be but definitely not as nervous as my first national TV appearance. I'm used to the camera, I guess, but I can't really believe that it's happening.

Gigi had me awake from 3:00 - 5:00 this morning, so I'm not exactly chipper.

Monday, October 24, 2005


At the moment, I'm listening to talk radio on the station on which I have often been a guest. I accidentally changed some function on our elaborate home-theatre system and, this being the second time tonight, I can't be bothered to problem-solve my way through it again.

I have insomnia and I think that it's due to this illness.

Anyway, last night (Saturday), I dreamt that a major bank was seized by many men. There were many hostages. I don't know the location but I know that the motive behind the crime wasn't entirely related to monetary gain. There was more of a 'terrorist' element than financial motivation. I wish I knew the location. I haven't listened to the news, so I don't know if it has already happened.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Me, In Translation

Will I get lost in translation? I have a client who does not speak English at all and she has recruited someone to translate for her in order to have a reading. This is a new one for me.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

An Interesting Experience

Last night, my two-year-old daughter ran into the darkened kitchen and came running back out at double the speed.

"Mummy!" she called. "Mummy, 'cared!" She had never told me that she was frightened before.

"Oh, come here, my baby," I told her. "What are you afraid of?"

"Kitchen. Dark."

I took her into the kitchen, flipped on the light and showed her that everything was okay. Satisfied, we walked back into the foyer.

For some reason that I can't recall, we started singing a song from a Backyardigans episode: It's Great To Be A Ghost.

When I make that moaning sound,
I get the urge to float around.
With my arms out before me, I can float all day
And there's a word I heard a ghost once say
It's boo...

Image hosted by

There is a dance that accompanies the music and we love to act it out.

Then, she started talking about "a ghost". I couldn't understand what she
was saying, so I asked her questions that sounded similar:

"Do you see a ghost, Gigi?"


"Where is the ghost, honey?"

Then, she took me back through the kitchen and down the step to the mudrooom area. She stopped at the top of the stairs to the basement.

"There," she pointed without prompting. She was pointing to the bottom of the stairs. I couldn't see anything.

"The ghost is in the basement?"


"What does the ghost look like?"

I forgot that I was speaking to a just-turned-two-year-old. The question didn't make sense to her and I was at a loss for any questions that she would understand.

I had to wonder: Had she orchestrated our play to tell me about a ghost?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Spectre of Danger

Exposure. Transparency. I thought about these words while reading a book recently--a children's book--that I had considered to be wonderfully original. The main character--a superintendent's child--enters the apartment of a quirky, nay strange, tenant and finds herself looking through objects: everything but the ceiling in this apartment is made of glass including the floor. She can even see the tenants below.

The issue of transparency in this novel is not incidental or an accident of production. Olivia Kidney, the titular character created by Ellen Potter, finds a world turned inside out in which what isn't normally seen is exposed. The author uses various devices such as humour and psychic phenomena in order to achieve this and Olivia learns that things don't always appear as they seem: this is sometimes dangerous and sometimes not.

Reading this book brought back so many memories. Back in the mid-90s, I lived in a three-story walk-up in the middle of downtown. It wasn't in the least glamourous: dingy, yellow walls absorbed the smoke from unidentified burning substances while a feckless 'superintendent' sat on the front steps mentally recording everyone's activities. I didn't want to be there but I couldn't bring myself to leave: there was something familiar about the bizarre array of occupants, even about the strangeness of everyone and everything. It takes time to reach that level of familiarity.

Olivia Kidney knows this well. She has moved from building to building as her father is fired and hired as superintendent around the city. Settling and developing friendships are difficult--if not foreign--ideas for Olivia and her initial uneasiness isn't exactly quelled by the occupants of this latest building.

Again, more memories arise for me. An elderly woman befriended me. 'Ursula' called me--whether I liked it or not--daily and once cryptically warned me: "Nothing is as it seems in this building." When pressed for more information, she squirmed away from the conversation. I never did find out what she meant but Olivia is more fortunate in that she gains insight into the nature of both her surroundings and her relationships.

In this little girl, you'll find courage, strength and a fractured sense of well-being after traumatic experiences. You'll also find sorrow, anger and a determination to conquer her fears.

You'll also find her funny because Ellen Potter has a sense of humour and she's not afraid to show it. At the outset of the novel, Olivia carries around a book--about seances--that once belonged to her older brother. The following is the most original passage that I've ever read concerning the paranormal:
The first chapter of the book was full of warnings. It told of all the bad things that could happen if you didn't conduct your seance properly. It seemed that dead people could be quite ornery about being disturbed. If you didn't summon them in the right way, they might pinch your leg or tackle you to the floor. Then there were the boring dead people. If you had the misfortune to summon one of these, they could yabber on and on about bathroom towels and how the weather was so terribly changeable, and what sorts of plants were best for indoors. And they would not leave either, even after the seance was over. That was because none of the other dead people would talk to them. So they would float next to you, blathering and blathering without stopping, night and day. In some instances boring dead people literally drove living people insane. In fact, the book said, many psychiatric hospitals are 40 percent full of people who have accidentally summoned a boring ghost.
One problematic area of Olivia Kidney is the pace. Olivia leaves an elevator and enters the unknown; maybe she lingers in certain areas longer than necessary. It did seem to slow considerably in the middle but it regained its momentum near the end.

At one point, Potter introduces the possibility of insanity but it is fleeting. You are supposed to decide if Olivia is delusional or if she is experiencing the paranormal. I don't think that this device was necessary. First, Olivia Kidney is not a genre gothic novel and the question of sanity is not required. Secondly, the novel could stand its own ground in an argument about the paranormal. There are sufficient numbers of those who believe in the paranormal to ensure that this book will reach a wide audience.

There are so many features of this book that deserve discussion but the scope of this blog entry won't cover them. Besides, it's better to discover these for yourself. At any rate, this is the kind of book that you'll read in uncomfortable positions if necessary.

Book Information:

Image hosted by

Author: Ellen Potter
Illustrated: Peter H. Reynolds
Publisher: Puffin Books (2004)
Format: Paperback, 160 pp
Trim Size: 12.9 cm x 19.7 cm
ISBN: 0-14-240234-6
Reading Level: Ages 8 - 12

I've been so busy lately that I've hardly had time to consider what a documentary about me and my work is going to look like. I mean, I'm flattered and honoured that I've been asked but I doubt that I will even watch it once it's complete.

(Actually, I can't believe that it's going to happen: I forgot about the proposal sitting in my inbox and, when I responded affirmatively, I didn't know if the offer was still on the table or not).

I've never watched anything that I've done in the media before. Reading interviews can be upsetting and I certainly don't want to pick my television appearances to pieces (and I'm sure that I could). After being on the radio a dozen times, I don't bother with recordings of the hour-long sessions.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Through A Lens

I was approached over the long weekend to do a documentary about me and my work and I've agreed.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Note On My Absence

I'm still sick but I'll get back into the swing of things as soon as this illness is gone.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

End of Day

I've had the luxury today of staying in bed while Scully takes care of me. I have three comforters on and I'm still cold.

Yesterday, I had a scheduled telephone reading and, given my babysitting woes, Scully had come home early to babysit while I did my readings.

"Mummy! Mummy!! MUMMY!!!" she yelled, over and over again. Bear in mind that our house is large enough to require intercoms and she could still be heard. My client was less than impressed and I had to put her on hold (at least, I hope that she was on hold) while I called to my husband to keep the baby quietly occupied.

It was bound to happen that being a Mummy and a psychic would eventually meet at the same spot. Poor baby, I really wanted to take care of her instead of doing the reading. She was accustomed to having her dinner prepared by me and that was what caused the fussing.

I'm sick again: fever, chills, sore throat, etc. I think it was only two weeks ago that I was sick with something similar; in fact, we all were. Scully has been very good about taking care of me and the baby.

I had a light day for readings today and this worked out well for me.

Today, the bathroom door was difficult to open when a client was trying to exit and I'm afraid she worried that it might be a ghost. It was just an old door in an old house that refused to cooperate but I could see how it might have been frightening considering that it was my house.

Ken Burns's Jazz documentary is on right now and my laptop battery is running low.