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Doris Daley

April 20, 2012

Doris Daley grew up on an old family ranch in the Southern Alberta foothills; even then she was the kid on the school bus writing poems, short stories, songs, scripts and her siblings’ book reports. Robert Service was in the Language Arts curriculum in grade 7–after that, her world rhymed.  Who knew that several years down the trail, her background, her love of the west, and her love of wordsmithing would combine into a hobby…and then a career as a cowboy poet. A keen observer of people, life and the world we all live in, Doris writes western poetry with a contemporary twist and a bright, vivid use of the English language. Her world is the page (at home writing at the kitchen table) the stage (entertaining at festivals, corporate events, private parties and house concerts all over North America) and the sage (any western writer’s favourite perfume…it means a great day somewhere out in the west.) She lives with her husband Bob in a small western town southwest of Calgary where you can find her volunteering at the library, baking pies for a potluck, playing the piano at the seniors lodge, chowing down at the Longview Steakhouse, hiking along the Sheep River with Chloe the Wonder Dog, drinking coffee on the back deck, listening to CBC, and/or staring out the window waiting for inspiration to hit.

1. What is your hometown?

Granum, Alberta, pop. 300, 150 km north of the Montana border on Hwy #2

2. With what fictional character do you most identify?

Nancy Drew–she’s the first fictional character I came to know. I don’t have a yellow roadster, and I rarely solve crimes involving diamond smugglers or hidden treasures, but I do solve rhyming mysteries and I do love driving along River Road.

If I could change the question to what non-fiction celebrity do I most admire, I would say Erma Bombeck. Funny but never mean, had her feet firmly planted on terra firma, got through every day with the glass half full. Erma’s life unfolded like a wise, funny, eloquent poem of the people.

3. In the movie of your life, cast an actor to play you.

Doris Day with an Annette Bening haircut.

4. What work of art speaks to your soul?

The vibrant and evocative work of Larry Pirnie, the Elko fridge magnets on my fridge, and Mother Nature’s first field of crocuses…which should be blooming right about Cowboy Poety Week.

5. What books are you currently reading or recommending?

Just finished The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt, think Thelma and Louise meet True Grit.

Fabulous random pick off the library shelf: Peace Like a River by Leif Enger, a diamond of a bookwith sparkling prose on every page, I hated it to end.

Classic old favourite: How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn. Nobody caresses the English language like the Welsh.

Canadiana: Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw by Will Ferguson

Must read for every North American: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

6. What song or album is currently in heavy rotation on your iPod?

For road trips: Les Miserable soundtrack, Paint your Wagon soundtrack, Bob Cambell’s The Golden West, Quebe Sister’s Timeless. Go-to favourites: KT Oslin, Stan Rogers, kd Lang’s Hymns for the 49th parallel, Chuck Pyle’s Keeping Time by the River, soundtrack from Long Journey Home. For dancing around the kitchen: The Emeralds. Plus anything by any of my incredibly talented friends in the cowboy music/poetry game.

7. What’s the last movie that made you cry?

I used to be a lot tougher, now I cry at parades, Golden Girls re-runs and when someone makes a great shot in a curling game. I saw The Visitor at our library’s $2 movie night last week. Excellent movie, I cried at it.

8. Cat person or dog person?


9. What is more important, truth or kindness?

Kindness. Sometimes (not always) truth is just a word masquerading for “I’m right, darn it, and here comes my truth in both barrels.” We could all profit from a little more kindness in our lives.

10. How do you define sin?

I only know what bad syntax is…the rhyme at the end of the line, she did mangle. That’s sin enough.

11. How do you define virtue?

Being tired and facing a long drive home in an April snowstorm, but staying late anyway to help stack the chairs and clean up.

12. Design your headstone: What does it say? What does it look like?

If poetry is sweet, friendship sweeter, and grace the sweetest of all, then here lies a friend who died happy, grateful, and of diabetes.

Bonus Question: Who would you like to see answer these questions?

Shelagh Rogers, CBC host and broadcast journalist

My grandma…but it would mean a long distance reply from heaven.

Doris Daley

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