Anakana Schofield – Award Winning Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

May 13, 2010

BC Provincial Govt in its greatest hour has cut funding to children’s dental check ups and increased funding to treatment. So rather than prevent kids needing dental work with twice yearly checkups they are now going to pay for the cavities and root canals induced by the lack of check up and cleaning. Who exactly do these people consult when they come up with such mind boondadoodle ideas?

This impacts most the children who live in poverty, as their diets affect their dental health. It’s curious how little word and complaint there’s been about it. One piece in the Globe quoting the Strathcona Clinic.

It’s all very stupid because if you could actually get the children into the chair, which it appeared under that program you could … that in itself was a great achievement.

February 6, 2007

O’Neuro: the insula

Curious bit of the brain that could come in handy if you’re trying to say give up the smokes or interior decorating magazines..

From today’s NY Times:

According to neuroscientists who study it, the insula is a long-neglected brain region that has emerged as crucial to understanding what it feels like to be human.

They say it is the wellspring of social emotions, things like lust and disgust, pride and humiliation, guilt and atonement. It helps give rise to moral intuition, empathy and the capacity to respond emotionally to music.

The rest is here

Based on that last sentence all my mutterings about Dvorak and human despair may only be apparent if you’ve got the same insula. At the risk of repeating myself it would be very helpful for everyone to carry a diagram of their particular brain, thus in a moment of intense conflict people could whip out their various diagrams (rather than usual left hook style reaction) and compare and contrast instead of creating new patients for maxillo-facial surgery on a Monday morning.

January 14, 2007

Is it true?

Woman approaches me at bus stop and apologizes. Pause. She explains she likes to read the titles of books people are holding. I show her Anita Rau-Badami’s novel: Can you hear the nightbird call?

‘Is that the one about the man running to be the US president?’

‘It’s based on the Air India bombing.’ I reply.

‘Is it true?’

‘It’s about the Air India tragedy.’ I repeat.

After more babble where she says she doesn’t like fiction but she likes Rohinton Mistry because it’s true I am forced to admit that this must be a near exact replica of a conversation I had a couple of weeks ago with a geologist.

-Do you know anything about arctic cone drilling, I ask him.


10 minutes later after my arm waving impressions he says ‘aha, arctic core drilling.’

When I ask how it all happens he says helicopters fly the gear in.

-damnit I have people in my kids novel turning up in a row boat to do it.

He’s silent, politely silent.

-would there be any circumstances where a person could turn up in the arctic to do core drilling in a row boat or any kind of boat for that matter?

-absolutely not.

-what if they are afraid of flying?

He shakes his head.

January 10, 2007

Gummy nausea

The small Puffin had the momentous event today of losing his first tooth. He’s an extremely mature Puffin not to have lost a tooth ’til now, as most small Puffins his age have long had the smile like they could give but a mere gummy nip to an average apple.

 Due to this delay have been able to avert dealing with the major nausea that overcomes me at the sight of a tooth being wiggled. Akin to the Sealink Ferry in high storms. To think I once considered a career as an autopsy attendant should give an accurate indication of how well we know our capabilities. That a wiggle should be so discomforting is perhaps sweetly ironic or perhaps explained by having had both my jaws broken in my twenties and four operations on the pesky crunchers.

The actual event happened only because he yanked it out of his mouth, while reading Pippi Longstocking. I suggested he yank it because the room was spinning everytime I saw it protrude from his lower jaw by the poke of his tongue. When he shrieked it’s out, it’s out. I shrieked oh Jesus I am going to get sick. Then got practical and declared open your mouth. Saw blood and shrieked Good Jesus it’s bleeding, they’re not supposed to bleed, in 1975 teeth didn’t bleed, something has gone wrong, you shouldn’t have yanked it. Had post-operative moment of inspiration. Cotton wool wadges. We don’t have any. Stuff mouth with flannel. All the time Puffin calmly declaring it’s fine offering scientific comparision to 47 other Puffins, who have lost teeth in his classroom company.

Now I am going to have to google number of teeth in mouth to figure out how many more times this must be endured. I tried to suggest to Puffin that hopefully only front sets of teeth fall out, since I never recall the big square fellas exiting my mouth, maybe that’s why I had several pulled as an adult. Puffin insists nonsense they’re all coming out.

He’s also determined tooth fairy won’t get her mitts on it. Firstly dissing it as improbable before suggesting I lock it someplace safe.

I recall being quite stoic when he had heart surgery as a young baby or perhaps because of heart surgery I am no longer stoic. Just like because of jaw surgery cannot tolerate sight of wiggly tooth. Still adequate distraction from the 100kph wind storm outside the window. I feel like we are auditioning for Global Warming on this coast for last 2 months and we keep getting a recall.

November 26, 2006

The temptation of a spat

I know it’s trivial to draw attention to it, but who can resist a spat. As spats go this one is pretty minor since it does not involve a set of dentures. One of my favourite spats was the Martin Amis’ teeth spat since I had the same dental issues as Monsieur Amis. (bi-max osteotomy is the genius who fixed my jaws with the hacksaw etc)  and longed to weigh in only on the dental front, never mind the book deal for God’s sake, consider the trauma to those poor overcrowded, on the road to recession gums. Did Mr Amis realize he could them fixed on the NHS? Getting your two jaws broken is great training for writing a novel, I discovered. Unfortunately it offers no advantage for finishing one.

I link to this article because I think it’s a well written and classy piece:,,1956873,00.html

I’m not taking a position on the actual spat, since there are no teeth involved. But did wonder why no one took the opportunity to point out how poorly paid literary journalism is or freelancing full stop. I had to get a job as a security guard in order to subsidize my own journalistic efforts, but that could also be because it actually took me 40 hours to write that Booker Prize article. (“10-6 Roger, copy, over and out” Mr Sutherland perhaps)

I realized afterwards I either formulate my thoughts very slowly or I was doing something wrong, very wrong.