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TToT: Peace, Happiness, and Love – June Gloom Lifting #10Thankful

“A large pine tree backlit by a cloud that is glowing from the light of the setting sun. The pine tree is a mass conical-shaped clumps of darkness that angle upwards from the unseen trunk in the middle of the tree. The edges of the tree shows more details, each branch ends in a splaying of fingers of pine needles. The cloud does not show the color in the photo as vividly as it was, it was a glowing orange color that was strong enough to show the spaces between the branches of the tree that stood between the camera and the sky.”

—TToT regular Clark of
The Wakefield Doctrine

I return from a busy time and thoughts swirling. I began this week’s post with that caption of a photo. (To see the photo, must go to the link I provide just above.)

There are a lot of photos I could now share, and I will, of my adventures in the last few weeks. I just thought, as I saw many photos and this includes Clarks’, that I have only descriptions (as vague or elaborately detailed as someone else chooses) to give.

For now, I needed a break from trying to imagine what my eyes can’t see and am going back to a totally wordy TToT post. Instead, I challenge you to read the photo descriptions of Clarks’ that I include here, as a thankful, and try to allow his words and mine to conjure up images, without necessarily relying on the visual.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for a writer like Clark deciding to explain the photos he includes.

“Looking Homeward from the woods. The light and shadows cover the lower half of the photo and, together point towards the house. The ground is brown with shadows and light that do nothing to make it less brown looking. Even though the house itself is mostly brown (with dark vertical rectangles, outlined in white that show the windows along the top half) the background above the house shows blue, even though the green pine trees rise through the top of the picture, telephone pole straight, with drooping green arms of branches. The house looks farther away than it is.”

Well done once more Clark. Bravo!

Writers are, or should be, great at describing a visual image. It seems like an excellent writing exercise to me. I appreciate it when it is done, though it can’t completely ever make up for the inability to see with one’s own eyes. I only allow myself to feel the pity of that situation in my own life for short bursts and then I return to thankfuls such as these.

I’m thankful for such excellent writing advice.

With a little summer happiness.

Carrie Snyder says: My current philosophy (and by current, I mean, as of yesterday afternoon), can be summed up thusly: just finish it, including all of your bad (wild, implausible) ideas, and see what happens. As I counselled a student yesterday in my office: the perfect story you’re holding in your head has to get out of your head in order for others to read and experience it—and in order for that to happen, you have to accept that your perfect story will be wrecked in the process, at least to some degree. You can’t take that perfect story out of your head and place it on the page intact. No one can. But there isn’t another way to be a writer. Let your perfect imaginary story become an imperfect real story.

I’m thankful for the opportunity and a first successful conversation with someone from a leading awareness organization of blindness and its issues.


I hope to start writing articles for them very soon.

I’m thankful for a successful first real try at yoga.

I am doing it with my bed as a yoga mat and my teacher a voice through my laptop, for now anyway.

I will buy the mat soon as I decide I will stick with it and I found a teacher who lives in Montreal, so not all that close by. She instructs me over Skype and it works.

My favourite part was at the end when she instructs to just stay lying there, still, for however long it takes to get back up and into the real world again.

So peaceful. I heard a basketball bouncing, off somewhere out my window, but I focused on the light on my ceiling and allowed no intrusive thoughts to interrupt the peace.

I’m thankful I got my entry in on time for the Writing Diversity contest, for a book festival that takes place on Toronto’s waterfront every September.

I left it to the deadline, not good, but it’s done.

I began the month of April submitting one short story to Alice Munro’s contest and ended the month of June with this one.

Each time I feel my story is actually good enough to have a chance, so maybe my confidence as a writer is growing, at least.

It would be cool to get to read this latest story on stage in Toronto if I did win.

I’m thankful a new episode of Ketchup On Pancakes is complete.

Raise a glass or a fist with us to progress and the passing of the years. A lot can happen in twenty of them.

January/February to June/July and Ketchup On Pancakes is back on the podcast scene.

Episode 5 – 2017: “Get Up and Get Going) (Year of the Roooooster) – Ketchup On Pancakes

Are you into astrology? I admit, I am skeptical, but it seems as possible as anything, and highly philosophical, which I like.

This is the year to get up and get going toward something. The time is now. This moment is everything. We are making this year count.

Brian’s laugh is infectious throughout. Both of us aren’t afraid to make fools of ourselves to lighten the mood. In this first new episode of the year (already halfway through), I follow a rooster’s example and Brian shows off his recently graduated audio skill set. We discuss travel, family, achievement, and feelings of self doubt that makes any adventure such a worthwhile challenge, using our trademark sense of humour to keep things real.

Give us a like.

I’m thankful for “The Elsewhere Region,” also known as the local library’s writing group I attend – for many starts to possible stories.

Without this group, I wouldn’t have a started story twice a month or so to possibly shape into an entry, like those I’ve been submitting lately.

I began going to this group to work on more fiction. Otherwise, I lean toward more nonfiction and memoir. That is great too, but this balances out the all too real.

I start a story, never knowing where it might lead. I have many I started and haven’t gone back to, but sometimes, an idea catches on and leads to more.

I am thankful for messy conversations being had.

Inside Messy Conversations About Race – NPR

My friend Kerra did an excellent job being interviewed about the project she has teamed up to tackle. It’s an important conversation to have and to continue having, no matter how uncomfortable it is.

I’m thankful for the chance to consider what my country is all about on Canada Day, 150 and every day.

Part of it was what I felt on my Yukon trip last month. Part of it was the discomfort I experienced as Canada Day 150 approached. It was a lot of things all mixed together.

I don’t wish to revere the man who started Canada, 150 years ago. I don’t wish to say Canada is all a lie. I just wanted to be real about how we all got here.

I do feel lucky to live here. I do.

All the careless playing with fireworks people seem to do. All the celebrating and revelry of one day, as people love a party. I just wanted to get past the one day, to remember all the others. I don’t get why Toronto had a giant yellow rubber duck for the occasion. I don’t pretend to understand it all. I just want to focus on what is good about this land. I don’t know where the future will lead. I only know right now.

Shamaya – Susan Aglukark

I’m thankful for Canadian music, artists, and the history of a country like that from which I live and learn from.


15 thoughts on “TToT: Peace, Happiness, and Love – June Gloom Lifting #10Thankful

  1. This is a wonderful list of thankfuls. I like to read my horoscope, but don’t know a lot about astrology. I know I was born in the year of the rooster 🙂 Have a great weekend!

  2. mimi says:

    Your list made me smile. The advice to put the perfect story from your head onto paper imperfectly sounds spot on.

  3. Hi Kerry! This was a wonderfully rich post, full of deep thoughts and good stuff and a great at-a-glance look at some of the many facets that make up your life and reality. In short, pretty fascinating!

    When working on photo descriptions I often find myself feeling a little sad that words can’t begin to do justice to what is before my eyes, but then I think about wonderful books I’ve read where the visual movie was so much less than what my mind had imagined the images to be. Maybe imagination is the better view after all!

    Like you, I appreciate Clark’s descriptive skills to the utmost, this time I found to my delight, through reading his words, that Una does indeed have light colored “comma marks” at the beginning of her eyebrows! I tend to miss such things as my mind is always somewhere else when it comes to details, and this made me smile! 🙂

    I, too, find your thoughts on letting “your perfect imaginary story become an imperfect real story.” I didn’t write any fiction at until just the last few years, and then I got brave enough to try it and find it so much fun. I typically don’t know where my story is going when I begin, and sometimes, like you, they end up being starter stories I may go back to some day or may not, but fiction is incredibly freeing, and fun. Where else can you kill people and no one does much more about it than roll their eyes that Josie has once again offed a main character in her tale! (The therapists in our midst probably have additional thoughts which they are kind enough to keep to themselves. LOL)

    I am excited for you about the possibility of writing articles for the VisionAware organization. This is an area where you can make such a difference, your voice is powerful and needed!

    Congrats on finding a way to try yoga, I hope it brings you a new avenue to peace when life around you begins to swirl too much. Skype lessons… very clever!

    Congrats too, for getting that story entry in by the deadline and for feeling good about both of the stories you’ve written and submitted. We have to believe in ourselves or we can be certain no one else will either! I would be uber cool for you to have the opportunity to read your story on stage in Toronto!

    I’ve made a note to check out the Ketchup on Pancakes podcasts, sounds like fun!

    I don’t know about astrological prediction, but I do know that the characteristics of each sign often ring true. I identify to a large extent with my Aquarian sunsign, and I have never met a fellow Aquarian that I didn’t like. We tend to view the world a bit differently than all others. 🙂

    Your writers group has been a real blessing for you, a place to share and encourage efforts. I also agree with you about messy conversations, sometimes those are the ones that spark something inside that takes fire and begins to grow.

    Papa Bear and I talk every now and then about the differences between Canada and what is now the state of affairs in the USA. I suppose all countries have their somewhat clouded bits of history, and certainly their current flaws, and yet there is much good to celebrate, both in your country and mine, and above all a tremendous sense of thankfulness for the great freedoms we enjoy compared to elsewhere. In truth, we only have now, we can’t change yesterday, and we know nothing of tomorrow’s reality, it could hold our greatest fears, or our brightest joys. For today, and for every day, let’s focus on making the moment as positive as we can for ourselves and those around us. It is my belief that positive energy, just like prayer, can and will ultimately make a difference.

    Have a great week ahead, Kerry, watch for sweet surprises! XOXO

    • Thank you Josie. I always appreciate your comments. They never disappoint in the amount of time you give to commenting on most everything you can.

      I am glad you liked my post. I am amazed how upbeat you always manage to be, as the leader of this modernized TToT.

      I love Clark’s photos and words, but I thought I would, with permission, include the one without the other, to see what people got out of the experience of seeing a photo in their mind’s eye. When you have both, you can still rely on the visual more than anything.

      You are correct that often the words in a book are what sticks with people, over any visual movie interpretation.

      Yes, with today’s modern technology and the Internet, I can find the best teacher for me and not worry that she lives in the next province.

      You are right. If I don’t have confidence in my own story, nobody else is likely to either.

      We are lucky to all live in North America and we’d better not take that for granted or forget it.

      Thanks. I will definitely keep an eye out for those sweet surprises you mention.

  4. Allow me a two part Comment, if I might; it is late on Saturday when I finally got back to a computer.
    Thank you very much for the kind words.
    The challenge of attempting to put into words, images that we tend to assume do not require words is rewarding beyond anything I might have anticipated when I started.
    It’s totally gratifying to hear that, (the effort), adds to what people can get from the posts.
    I will point to one of the writers here at the TToT as the inspiration (and role model) for my photo-writing, Kristi Brierley at Thankful Me. She has been putting descriptive captions on the photos in her posts, probably longer than I realize, howver for some reason I suddenly noticed (the captions), my response was, ‘what an excellent thing to do’ and decided to try.
    (Kristi is one of the most thoughtful and kind people I know. Her descriptions are simple, direct and effective.)
    Thanks again.
    I will return…

  5. I enjoyed reading your post. The following line resonated most with me:

    “This is the year to get up and get going toward something. The time is now. This moment is everything. We are making this year count.”

    This is how I feel, too. In December, I was diagnosed with cataracts in both eyes. When the time is right, there will be surgery on one of them. I’ve been legally blind since birth in the other one, so no reason for surgery on it. Even with surgery, I may end up blind anyway. I am a photographer. This diagnosis was a loud wake up call to get off my rear and get busy. “Now” is all that I have. So, I’m doing what I can to make this year count. My one word for this year is “Vision” and I am working on putting that vision out there because, as you said, “This moment is everything.”

    Have a blessed day. 🙂

    • I hope your vision is realized and seen for the year. I used to see photographs. They are such a part of people’s lives and that can be hard sometimes, even though I love words dearly.

      Good luck with everything and thanks for this comment.

      • Thank you for your kind response.
        I am so sorry that you can’t see anymore. Not being able to see photographs would be so hard to deal with.

        I can understand some of the fear that you live with. I am scared of what lies ahead, too. But, I also know that, no matter what happens with my eyes, Heavenly Father has it covered. Somehow, He will help me to write happy pages, even in the darkness that lies ahead. May the rest of yours be happy ones, too.
        Good luck to you, too, and you’re welcome.
        Have a blessed evening.

  6. Let your perfect imaginary story become an imperfect real story.

    Really like that. I enjoy the story playing out in my head, but getting it down on paper is not as simple. The worst thing I do is start thinking, ‘ok, you’re writing a book (or story), try to do a better job than the last time.’ Its that thinking about story writing, as opposed to writing down the story and tends to lock me up and make playing solitaire on the computer (instead of writing) seem a reasonable thing to do.

    Sounds like you’re making good progress, your-own-self on the getting things out there. (As if it was hard enough to acquire and improve our skills, theres the job of getting it out there for others to read and react on top of it all! lol)

    Good luck on the Writing Diversity contest!

  7. Clark does an excellent job in describing his photos! I love the quote by Carrie Snyder that you shared. VisionAware looks like a very helpful site.
    THIS. “The time is now. This moment is everything. We are making this year count.”
    You are right, Brian’s laugh is infectious. I enjoyed listening to the two of you on your
    Thank you for sharing The Inside Messy Conversations About Race link. These are definitely conversations that need to take place.

  8. I am so impressed by your discipline in writing and submitting. May your efforts bring you reward.
    I too enjoyed Clark’s photos and explanations this week. His is an interesting world!

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