Wednesday, November 30, 2011


It’s All Research!

Life has a way of throwing stuff at you. Some of the stuff is good, like winning the 50/50 draw at a ceilidh, or getting the last parking spot when you have an appointment, or being offered the last piece of double chocolate birthday cake.

Then there is the other stuff, like finding out that you have a strange and crappy hip joint that needs an operation, and that the waiting list is more than a year. Ah, well, such is life. We are supposed to take the good with the bad, and someone somewhere also said that we aren’t thrown more than we can bear in this life. Wonder who that person was?

I have 2 friends who are writers, proper published writers, who like to say, “It’s all research.”

I like that phrase, because it seems to give a purpose to some of that stuff that comes flying my way that I was not looking for, like hip surgery. I have learned that you can expect to have just an epidural at the start of the surgery, no more do they knock you out completely, which I am more a fan of; I know you have to be there when they are carving your hip, but I did not want to be a conscious participant. I learned the different materials that they fashion bionic hips out of these days, strange to think that it is inside making my leg move. I can list off the various physiotherapy exercises that are required for the various stages of re-learning how to walk, climb stairs, and gracefully (and not so) enter a car. I am now intimately familiar with lots of fascinating facts regarding total hip replacement surgery.

I am no expert, you understand, and would not want to be asked to replace the cranky hip of someone else, but I can now blithely hold up my end in excruciating detail on this subject at all the best cocktail parties.

And if ever I would like to write the next great Canadian murder mystery starring a victim of total hip replacement, I will have already done my research personally, and somewhat painfully. So nice to know that this was not all wasted.

I can speak with some authority about some construction materials, such as fiberglass shingles, Vexar fencing and rebar, which I learned from several years of
dining with my husband when he sold those products. And although none of my friends would call me a pastry chef in any form of the phrase, after listening to my sister-in-law talk about all of the breads, croissants, fancy ganache cakes, and more that she learned to create becoming a pastry chef grad, I can certainly fake it on this subject in the living room, although sadly not in the kitchen.

Isn’t life fun the way it sends you such varied experiences that change your life, introduce you to more characters, and educate you in subjects that you would never have gone looking for?

I am ready to write with such authority on such a myriad list of subjects now, almost as well as Frank Abagnale Jr in Catch Me If You Can. It is just the actual sitting down to write that I have not yet managed to master.

Catherine Lee (Cathy) is a college textbook buyer in Ottawa, has been a bookseller and book buyer by trade for most of her life, and is a member of 2 book clubs. She became a book lover on her parents’ knees at story time & by flashlight under the bed sheets. One of her greatest pleasures is sharing great books with friends, of course while sipping wine.

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