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.

close this panel
Writing the Terrain

Writing the Terrain

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

User Activity

more >
Contacting facebook
Please wait...