About the Author

Ken Rivard

Calgary resident Ken Rivard writes both adult literary fiction and children`s literature. He is the author of eight books and his work has appeared in dozens of regional and national publications and on the CBC. Ken was nominated in 2005 for the inaugural Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Award. His publications have been finalists for the Writers Guild of Alberta, Howard O`Hagan Award for Short Fiction in 1996, 2001, 2003 and 2005. One of his books, Skin Tests, also published by Black Moss was a finalist for The City of Calgary , W.O. Mitchell Award in 2001. He has presented many successful writing workshops across Canada and has worked as a Writer-in-Residence for both The Calgary Public Library and The Writers Guild of Alberta. He has read in cities across Canada including Victoria, Comox, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal.

Books by this Author

It happened so fast that I forgot about the gun.


I was standing at the front living room window watching the February sun and listening to that huge CCC fan humming in the daylight. It sounded as if both the sun and the fan got together, and gently pushed everything else aside. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful!


Today, I saw some more beauty of my ma when she realized that the family was short of cash again. She moved Nila into her and Pa's room to sleep on a borrowed cot. Then, she rented out Nila's room to the sister of an employee who worked with Ma part-time at The United Cigar Store. That would bring in some extra money. Ma always found a way to make things work. Pa's traffic clerk salary was not enough.


The new boarder moved into Nila's room within days and we hardly knew she was there. Pa cooked his porridge and made toast for breakfast. For supper we ate meat and potatoes with peas or corn, or green or yellow beans. The new boarder knew Ma's rules right away. Within two days, the boarder gave Ma a wide berth whenever they passed in the hallway. But soon Ma was treating her like another daughter and the boarder then warmed up to everyone. I watched my ma show the young woman how important it was to walk tall and this made me want to keep my ma alive forever.


"Keep your head up with your shoulders back, not slumped. After all you are a beautiful, intelligent woman with loads to offer. Come. Look in the bathroom mirror with me. Do you see what I see?" Ma asked the boarder.


"Sort of," the boarder replied. "What do you see?"


"Everything. Now, look carefully. Look up and down. Look behind your eyes. Look into your brain. Look into your heart. What . . . do you see?"


"I see a girl . . . no, I see a woman boarding in your apartment. She's quite tall and a bit shy. She doesn't make much money, but loves her job. She'd like to be in love with a taller man. Her heart has been broken at least once. And she doesn't want to cause any trouble."


Then, I watched Ma gently take the boarder by her upper arms, and pull back on her shoulders. After, my ma cupped the boarder's elbows with her own hands. Lifting the boarder's elbows, my ma made her stand on her tiptoes while looking in the mirror.


"Look hard. I don't know what else to do?"


"What do you mean, Mrs. Cantell?"


"What else can I do to lift you up? Get over yourself, will ya!"


"You're amazing, Mrs. Cantell, but . . . "


The boarder moved out two weeks later because she got a good raise at work and was in love with a taller man. Ma hugged her by the shoulders and wished her well like a woman in a movie might do.



When I turned away from the window, the sun and the fan stopped humming for a moment just in time for me to realize how lovingly tough my ma really was and how her hands were made for me too.


And it happened so fast that I forgot about the gun.

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Writing the Terrain

Writing the Terrain

Travelling Through Alberta with the Poets
contributions by Ian Adam; James M. Moir; Michael Henry; Erin Moure; Sid Marty; Ruth Roach Pierson; Bruce Hunter; Cyril Dabydeen; Miriam Waddington; Robert Stamp; Tim Lilburn; Stephen Scobie; Jon Whyte; Deborah Miller; John O. Barton; Colleen Thibadeau; Joan Crate; Ken Rivard; Greg Simison; Allan Serafino; Stacie Wolfer; Leonard Cohen; Miriam Mandel; Rosalee van Stelten; Yvonne Trainer; r. rickey; Barry McKinnon; Nancy Holmes; Gail Ghai; Vivian Hansen; Gerald Hill; Richard Hornsey; Sally Ito; Fiona Lam; Alice Major; Margaret Avison; Bonnie Bishop; Alexa DeWiel; Jim Green; James M. Thurgood; Anne Swannell; Aleksei Kazuk; Jason Dewinetz; Robert Boates; Joan Shillington; Anne Campbell; Sheri-D Wilson; Jan Boydol; Tom Wayman; Tim Bowling; Richard Woollatt; Carol Ann Sokoloff; Colin Morton; Anna Mioduchowska; Peter Stevens; Stephan Stephansson; Dennis Cooley; Rita Wong; Rajinderpal Pal; P. K. Page; Roberta Rees; Michael Cullen; John O. Thompson; Doug Beardsley; Christine Wiesenthal; D.C. Reid; Joseph Pivato; Tom Howe; Kim Maltman; Wilfred Watson; Lorne Daniel; Laurence Hutchman; Monty Reid; Ivan Sundal; Charles Noble; Walter Hildebrandt; Aritha van Herk; Erin Michie; David McFadden; Vanna Tessier; James Wreford Watson; Ryan Fitzpatrick; Phyllis Webb; Murdoch Burnett; Christopher Wiseman; Weyman Chan; Karen Solie; George Bowering; Tammy Armstrong; Robert Kroetsch; Eva Tihanyi; Gary Geddes; Leslie Greentree; Gordon Burles; E. D. Blodgett; Douglas Barbour; Cecelia Frey; William Latta; Pauline Johnson; Aislinn Hunter; Robert Hilles; Tom Henihan; Deborah Godin & Jan Zwicky
also available: Paperback
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