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Journal Le Haut-Saint-François
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Classique Pif 2018
Mercredi, 25 février 2015


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"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents - except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."

That is a bit of purple prose, ornate and flowery. It's the opening sentence of an English novel, Paul Clifford, written in 1830. Its author was Lord Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton.

"Even his very name needed an editor," joked Ross Murray.

That was last year, when Murray emceed the Bulwer Purple Prose Project awards supper, in the Bulwer Community Centre.
You guessed it. Local lore has it that Bulwer, Quebec, was named for Bulwer-Lytton, aka Lord Lytton. And said Lord had a soft spot in his heart for the area, or at least for Quebec. His nephew was in the 23rd royal Welsh fusiliers, and spent a few years in Canada. "Quebec House" was the name of the home of the Welsh fusilier's father - and Bulwer-Lytton's older brother - in Norfolk, England. "It is Gothic, and it derives its name from having been built at the time of the capture of Quebec," says the Post Office Directory of Cambridge, Norfolk and Suffolk, written in 1875 by E.R. Kelly.

But the Bulwer family dates back to an even earlier conquest - the Norman conquest of England in the 11th century. Yes, Bulwer is a Normandy name, says Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry (1875). Hmmm.
Bulwer-Lytton was a politician for many years, and Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1858-1859. It is indeed very likely that he visited the area. Maybe he alighted from a train, maybe from a stagecoach, in erstwhile Williams Corner. In any case, he was a pretty famous writer by then. His mother had cut off his allowance when he got married, so he earned his living by churning out penny novels. He made lots of pennies. He's famous today for his purple prose.

Now, as the primary institution of import in the hamlet, the Bulwer Community Centre is seizing its destiny. In 2013, a new literary contest saw the dark of night - "a dark and stormy night!" It's the Bulwer Purple Prose Project, headquartered in said Community Centre, Bulwer, Quebec. And yes, the Project is on again for the third year running, with a few new twists.

The Bulwer Purple Prose Project is a quirky literary contest that bestows Grand Pittances upon the winning first sentences to the worst novel ever, in six different categories, they being Adventure, Crime/Mystery, Fantasy, Legends, Local History, and Romance. Wretched writers are invited to submit up to two entries for each category.

Entries are due between now and April 18, 2015. The awards supper is to be on Saturday, May 2, 2015.

For inspiration and to learn how to submit, visit the Purple Prose's newly revamped website at bulwerpurpleprose.wordpress.com. The rules are there, and they're easy. Here's a chance to join the ranks of Wretched Writers Worldwide. Questions? Email BulwerPPP@gmail.com.

Student Anxiety and Stress is the topic of a videoconference for parents who want to learn strategies to help their children deal with such issues as separation anxiety, sleep issues, social media overload, school achievement, divorce and trauma. The presenter is Dr. Felicia Kaufman, and the event is on Wednesday, February 25, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. It's at the Eaton Valley Community Learning Centre, located at the far end of the Pope Memorial School in Bury. All are welcome. No fee. Info: Kim Fessenden, 819-872-3771.

"Your Farm Insurance Questions Answered" is the topic of another videoconference. It is part of the Quebec Farmers' Association's Farm Food Forum, and it's on Thursday, February 26, at 7:30 p.m., also at the Eaton Valley Community Learning Centre, located at the far end of the Pope Memorial School in Bury. All are welcome. No fee. All are welcome. No fee. Info: Kim Fessenden, 819-872-3771.

The Walking Club goes for a walk every Tuesday and Thursday at 2 p.m., starting from the parking lot at Newport's Municipal Hall, 1452 Route 212, in Island Brook. It's a fun one-hour walk, along Island Brook Road. No need to be in any great physical condition. This is a friendly outing with everyone going at their own pace. Welcome all! Info: 819-875-3895.

This Saturday February 28, Claudia Ross, aka Clowndia, offers a fun workshop for children and parents at 11 a.m. to noon. Then a Laughter Club session from 1 to 2 p.m. They're both at the Newport Municipal Hall in Island Brook, 1452 Route 212. They'll continue until June on the last Saturday of every month, and they are free of charge (free-will donations welcome). Info: lapaixparlerire@gmail.com or 819-200-3277 (please leave a message).

United: Sunday services are in Cookshire at 9:30 a.m., and Sawyerville at 11 a.m. During the winter months, the Cookshire services are on the basement level of the church, accessed through the side door. Info: 819-889-2838 (listen to message or leave one).

Anglican: In Bury, Sunday services with Sunday school are at 9:30 a.m. In Cookshire, services are at 11:15 a.m. (or sometimes a bit earlier) at the Trinity United Church, 190 Principale West (Info: 819-239-6902).

Baptist: In Sawyerville, the worship service is at 9 a.m. in French, and 11 a.m. in English. Sunday school is at 10 a.m. in English and French (819-239-8818).

Do you have news to share? Call 819-300-2374 or email ra.writes@gmail.com by March 2 for publication March 11 or by March 16 for March 25.


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