Jason’s Quest is a novel by Margaret Laurence (1926-1987), published in 1970 by McClelland and Stewart (Toronto and Montreal), which I adapted into a play, with permission from Margaret Laurence’s estate, in 2001. The is a full-length novel for young people. Margaret Laurence, born in Manitoba, is well-known and well-loved for her adult novels, including Stone Angel and Diviners, and her collections of stories; she also wrote the text of two picture books for children, The Olden Days Coat and Six Darn Cows. She got the idea for Jason’s Quest when she discovered moles living underground in her yard at Elm Cottage in Berkshire, U.K., where she lived for several years before returning to Canada; she then lived in Toronto and later Lakefield, Ontario. The book imagines the young mole, Jason, going on a heroic quest, like his namesake in Greek mythology, to save his city from a mysterious illness — which turns out to be boredom and fear of change. To do this, he must enter the wide world above-ground and travel far, finding his own courage even when he is scared. On the way, he makes alliances with unlikely creatures — an owl, two cats — and must deal with a gang of thuggish rodents, with help from unexpected allies. And he meets the love of his life.All this felt to me that it would work well on stage. There has been one production so far, by Adventures in Children’s Theatre, Embro, Ontario, 2001. For further information, or interest in a production, please contact me.
Listen to Ellen reciting poetry.
“The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday – but never jam today.” White Queen to Alice, Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, by Lewis Carroll.
peach and gooseberry
sweet-tart on the tongue
spread on toast, muffins,
bagel with raisins
and cinnamon –
spice of the sabbath
now her body is jamming
itself, cells stuck and clogged
blocking the vital
flowers jam in the garden,
jazz musicians gone wild,
cacophony of tulips
trill of daffodil
violin tones of violets
and weeping redbud,
one gooseberry bush
bursting into flower
to be picked.
Ellen S. Jaffe, 2016
for Sharon H. Nelson (2 January 1948 – 12 June 2016)
published in Persimmon Tree, Summer 2017
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