Seen but not heard

My father’s attitude toward children was simple:

They were to be seen but not heard;

Or preferably not seen… nor heard.

That was the simplest solution of all for Jim McBryde.


Dad had a particularly hard spot

For rambunctious boys,

Especially from my mother’s side of the family;

Cousins Johnny and Marky were deemed “little monsters.”


With the dark cloud of my father’s mercurial wrath

Brewing like a nascent typhoon overhead,

I became a lumpish child,

Channeling energy and anxiety into gluttony and dread.


Our sons were lumbered with scarred parents,

Damaged goods, like pieces of bruised fruit;

My wife’s mom hit her with a wooden spoon.

How was that any good?


Our boys sometimes “acted up” in school.

And my inner Jim would emerge

From unplumbed psychic depths,

A Kraken awakening, ferocious and confused.


When I expressed anxieties about my non-compliant Grade One tot,

A wise psychologist from my school asked me

Whether I was a classroom angel in elementary school;

I was most definitely not.


We used to get lifts to my son’s hockey games

From a teammate’s dad by the name of Jean Tremblay.

Jean bragged about his kid’s excellent grades,

Which actually didn’t reach the level of our son’s academic achievements.


Obsessed, we lamented our kid’s chronic Ds in “behaviour.”

Jean scoffed at these ludicrous concerns.

“Who gives a crap about marks in behaviour?” he bellowed in his earthy Québécois French.

“Boys will be boys, and anyway school is made for girls!”

We so wish that there was some way

That we could atone for our atrocious parenting,

Some way that we could cleanse our sins,

Some way to make amends.


Is there a cure for this disease of inheritance,

Ibsen’s ghosts* perpetuating the sins of our forebears?

Must past transgressions be perpetuated,

As we’re tugged like helpless puppets by invisible strings?


Henrik Johan Ibsen (/ˈɪbsən/;[1] Norwegian: [ˈhɛ̀nrɪk ˈɪ̀psn̩]; 20 March 1828 – 23 May 1906) was a Norwegian playwright and theatre director. As one of the founders of modernism in theatre, Ibsen is often referred to as “the father of realism” and one of the most influential playwrights of his time, as well of one of the most influential playwrights in Western literature more generally.[2] His major works include BrandPeer GyntAn Enemy of the PeopleEmperor and GalileanA Doll’s HouseHedda GablerGhostsThe Wild DuckWhen We Dead AwakenRosmersholm, and The Master Builder. Ibsen is the most frequently performed dramatist in the world after Shakespeare,[3][4] and A Doll’s House was the world’s most performed play in 2006.[5]


*Ibsen’s play title “Ghosts” symbolizes the lingering effects of past actions on the present. The play suggests that individuals and societies are haunted by their past, with previous generations’ decisions and morals impacting the current generation.


This is what commentators refer to as Ibsen’s focus on our “disease of inheritance.”


Shirley Jackson’s short story Charles tells a tale that uncannily resembles what we experienced when our first son was in Grade One. We were hapless, blind parents flailing about in darkness and empoisoned by our own upbringing.


Thank God for psychotherapy!


Robert McBryde Author (20+) Facebook


Robert McBryde   Personal Facebook

Lancement du livre  Book launch

Je suis ravi d’annoncer le lancement de la version française de mon livre. I’m thrilled to announce the launching of the French version of my book.

Recyclage du livre My Time with You Has Been Short but Very Funny

en français!

Titre du projet : Le temps passé avec vous fut bref mais tordant


Message de l’éditeur    Publisher’s message    (English to follow)


Nous vous félicitons ! Nous avons terminé la distribution de votre livre aux canaux suivants :


  • Ingramspark Paperback
  • Enhanced Amazon Distribution
  • Kindle Ebook
  • Kobo Ebook
  • Smashwords Ebook
  • Ingramspark Hardcover


Qu’est-ce que cela signifie ?


Votre livre est maintenant disponible  auprès des détaillants en ligne abonnés à ces canaux (tels que Barnes & Noble et Amazon). En règle générale, les livres électroniques sont disponibles au bout d’un jour ou deux, mais les listes de livres imprimés mettent souvent plus de temps à apparaître sur les sites web des détaillants.


Project Title: ‘Le temps passé avec vous fut bref mais tordant’

Entire French Cover front and back for printing

Hello Robert,

Congratulations! We have completed your book distribution to the following channels:

  • Ingramspark Paperback
  • Enhanced Amazon Distribution
  • Kindle Ebook
  • Kobo Ebook
  • Smashwords Ebook
  • Ingramspark Hardcover


What does this mean?

Your book is now available for sale through the online retailers that subscribe to these channels (such as Barnes & Noble and Amazon).Typically, eBooks become available in a day or two, but print book listings often take longer to appear on retail websites.


I’ve been recycled at long last!



Robert McBryde Author: IndieReader approved, adolescence, hippies, pop music, 1960s, 1970s, blogging, social media,  CBC radio, literary non-fiction, tales, short stories, vignettes, immigrant experience, sports, Quebec anglos, living in France,  childhood and animal stories, creative memoirs, satire, autobiography, family relations, fathers, raising children, aging, facing death, fear of death, travel, social commentary, love and marriage, translation: English-French; French-English

Publisher’s Note:  Funny, manic, and wistful… self-deprecating creative nonfiction…The author, Robert McBryde, a professional translator, has been compared to David Sedaris for the sometimes-snarky autobiographical satire characterizing his literary sketches. Many of the stories in his new book, titled My Time with You Has Been Short but Very Funny, have been featured on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio network.

Author’s Note:

I’ve written a new book of creative non-fiction titled My Time with You Has Been Short but Very Funny, recently published and now on the market. The book is based on stories that I told over the years as a writer/ broadcaster and host on CBC radio based in Quebec City, Canada.

The book is available via my website. The purchase links are at the bottom of the home page.

Normally I will post at least two blogs per week. Stay tuned…especially Wednesdays and Fridays.

If you purchase a book via the platform of your choice, please leave a review.

Here is an excerpt from my IndieReader review:

“[This] memoir is… an enjoyable and touching read. Radio listeners in Quebec are already familiar with the wit and wisdom of Robert McBryde. The non-fiction collection, MY TIME WITH YOU HAS BEEN SHORT BUT VERY FUNNY, gives the rest of the world access to the author’s inimitable style.”

“Please note that [this] book received a rating of 4 stars or above, making it “IndieReader Approved”, a designation we created to make it easier for readers and booksellers to identify quality indie titles. Post the sticker proudly, knowing that your title was judged by top industry professionals—not as merely a great indie book—but as great book, period.”

Here is a link to a cool group book review blog:

My Time With You Has Been Short But Very Funny, a review by Di


And this is a link to Goodreads. A great place to learn about new books and to read reviews.

Di’s review of My Time with You Has Been Short but Very Funny


And, finally, a review from Amazon…

A Spirited Dive into Life’s Laughter and Tears (


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Happy reading! 😊

Your friend,