Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

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9

Jul

2022

Making sense of meaningless words

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday July 7, 2022

 

        Every storyteller runs into difficulties. A retired Ontario minister told me his favourite children’s story disaster. He started, like me, with a question: “What is furry and runs up and down trees?”

            No answer.

            He tried again: “What hides nuts for winter?”

            Still no answer.

            Somewhat desperately: “What has a big bushy tail and beady eyes?”

            Finally one girl held up her hand. “I know the answer is always supposed to be Jesus,” she said. “But it sure sounds like a squirrel to me.”


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22

Feb

2017

Storytellers help us define ourselves

Author: Jim Taylor

 Stuart McLean was a national treasure. I’ve heard him called Canada’s Garrison Keillor. Maybe he was also Canada’s Mark Twain. He told the stories of our people, our land, our whatever-we-are, with wit, gentle humour, and insight. 

            Like a limited number of other writers – Elizabeth Goudge and Dorothy Gilman come to mind – McLean didn’t need to create villains. He recognized that conflict isn’t necessarily between good and evil, but simply between differing personalities. Between Dave’s good-hearted attempts to be helpful, and Mary Turlington’s obsession with getting things just right. Between Morley, whose Christmases always seemed to get away from her somehow, and Polly Anderson’s perfect parties. 

            But they were kindly differences. There was no malice in any of his characters. Not even in Murphy, the boy who kept enticing young Sam into risky adventures.


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