Bucket List, Memoir Monday, Poetry, RIP, TToT

TToT: If You Don’t Control The Narrative, The Narrative Controls You – The Summer Day, #10Thankful

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

—Mary Oliver “The Summer Day”

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for new pillows.

I’ve been using flat, old, barely there pillows for a long while. It was time for something new.

I decided to go with two different levels of firmness and they look the same. This way, I can switch it up and I learned which one I preferred.

Never underestimate the luxury of a decent pillow.

I am thankful for the laughs we have at my writing group.

We do write, but it was another fun time with the gang. I don’t know if a story is destined to come from this one, not from me this time anyway, but other stories were shared and good times all around.

I am thankful for a surprise gift from my neighbour.

I heard a ticking sound as I sat out on my neighbour’s deck last week. I asked her if it was a clock and she showed me her little sun dial.

Well, she got me one with a sunflower on it. If you put it in the light it moves back and forth. She wanted to congratulate me on getting my writing accepted. It’s nice when someone does something like that, totally unexpectedly.

I am thankful the deal with my essay for Catapult was made official, with contracts and a likely date of publication and everything.

This made my day mid week. The editor wasn’t certain when it would get published, until she suddenly emailed me and said she’d had an opening. I try to stay patient these next four weeks or so and keep in mind that things could change, but this will be exciting when it does happen.

She worked, as my editor, and the final piece that came back had a few changes to the final product, but kept my overall message and voice.

And now there comes my least favourite part: the contracts and paperwork.

I am not complaining, really, but I am no good at all that. Has to be done though. Luckily I have a sister who is better at such things. I will definitely be including her here on the TToT when she helps me with all that here soon.

I am thankful I heard back from Hippocampus and may be getting a short piece published with them soon.

They are on my list of spots where I want to see my writing placed. This one is a small foot in the door, but it’s a step in the right direction at least.

I am thankful for a new yoga teacher who wants to learn from me as much as I learn from her.

She says she is very interested in learning, from me, about the best ways to teach visually impaired and blind students who want to take yoga like me.

There are so many ways to do yoga. I never could have imagined. Of course, like anything, you must be cautious that you don’t push things and cause more pain than that which you were working to help relieve in the first place.

I am highly conscious of this fact. I am taking it slow, but my back has a metal rod in it and might not be able to bend the same way as other people. I don’t want to be careless and make things worse, obviously, but this teacher seems open to suggestion and to not pushing me too hard.

It’s just a different situation for her, to try her best to describe the positions for my arms, legs, and whatever else, by being as specific as possible. Watching her simply isn’t an option for me. This is new to her just as to me.

I am thankful for more and more representation of visually impaired characters on television.

I caught the final episode of the second season of a show, filmed here, near to me, in Toronto:
Private Eyes

What first drew me to checking it out was the fact that it was filmed in such a familiar place and then there was the reappearance of my favourite 90s television star: Jason Priestley

Then I discovered that Priestley’s teenage daughter on the show is visually impaired. She reads braille books, uses a computer that talks, and a white cane to get around. I try to watch her character, to follow how the creators write her visual impairment into the show. I am so glad there was a second season and that she was featured so often.

But I will be keeping a close “EYE” on how she is portrayed. It’s important blind people are shown in reality, even on screen and in fictional environments, because people have enough stereotypes and don’t need any more.

I will miss the show over the next year or so and cross my fingers a third season happens.

I am thankful to have family who can replace a roof now and again.

The rain has been finding ways in. It was in pretty good shape when I moved in, ten or eleven years ago. Now, however, the need is growing.

First step, install new water heater. Next my uncle and cousin will replace it, both house and garage. Apparently the second one badly needs it. Funny, I have no idea what everyone’s getting so bothered by. Though, I won’t even go inside that garage at all. Not my scene.

My neighbour asked if she could paint something on the side she has to look at from her deck, to help cover up the ugly. I had no problem with that.

vHCXJCr.jpg

Can you guess what this is?

I am thankful for my parents and neighbour and their kind willingness to help me out with my dog who likes to bark.

He is also terribly attached to me.

My parents watch him when my head is particularly bad. They wouldn’t have to do this, to put up with it, but I hear he’s rather calm and good when he’s with them.

Also, my neighbour opens my door and brings him out when I am away, if she is at home, and ties him up on her deck. He usually is happy to sit quietly while she goes about her day.

Although, this last time, something odd occurred. She just happened to stop by (to give me her gift) right as I was leaving. So we thought she could get Dobby on his leash and just take him with her. Big mistake.

I followed them out the door and left a minute later. As I sat in the car, as we pulled out of the driveway, I could hear him still barking.

It turns out that when he sees me and she physically takes him from me (in his mind), he won’t settle down for her. She soon had to put him back inside my house and then come and get him like she usually does. And that time he settled down on her deck once more and laid quiet.

Huh … hmm. What a dog.

I am thankful for songs like this one, songs that have helped me through difficult times.

“One thing: I don’t know why…it doesn’t even matter how hard you try. Keep that in mind, I designed this rhyme, to explain in due time.”

In The End – Linkin Park

“Time is a valuable thing. Watch it fly by as the pendulum swings. Watch it count down to the end of the day; The clock ticks life away.”

Back around the year 2000 I was in high school and struggling just to keep up. Finally, I couldn’t do it anymore. Daily headaches were making concentrating to do well in my classes supremely hard and nearing impossible. In the end, I took fewer and fewer classes and finally had to quit all together, without graduating. This is not an easy thing for me to speak about, but it’s nagged at me for years ever since and I do plan to finish sometime in my current decade of my thirties.

These lyrics are about getting so far (years and years of school, including missing over 100 days in seventh grade for dialysis and a kidney transplant, almost being held back), but then I ended up catching up in the eighth and graduating, starting high school with my friends and peers, before falling behind all over again. It was a year or so later that things grew worse once more.

“I tried so hard, and got so far. But in the end, it doesn’t even matter. I had to fall, to lose it all. But in the end, it doesn’t even matter.

It felt for years like no matter how hard I tried, it didn’t matter. I was still behind and stuck and lost. This song brings a tear to my eye, even today, even as I am working to jump start my life and writing and things.

RIP Chester Bennington

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8 thoughts on “TToT: If You Don’t Control The Narrative, The Narrative Controls You – The Summer Day, #10Thankful

  1. I loved the poem from Mary Oliver, and the whole reflective tone of this post, Kerry!

    New pillows are such a joy, it’s amazing how bad we let them get before we realize it’s time for new ones, and then they feel like such luxury. I like your wisdom in choosing one firm and one soft one, that way you’ll always have one that feels just right!

    Your writing group sounds like such a joy to be part of, something you can not only benefit from but look forward to, I know you must return home smiling!

    Your neighbor is a true blessing, with each act of kindness and the friendship shared between you I like her more and more. The sundial was such a thoughtful surprise gift, and her willingness to help out with your dog is just the best, that’s the true meaning of friend and neighbor… helping each other!

    I can’t wait until your essay is officially published with Catapult! Yes, the contract paperwork is tedious I’m sure and I’m glad your sister can work through it with you, but what a joy and time for celebration it will be when that finished piece comes out!
    The possibility of having a piece published with Hippocampus is frosting on the cake, and you are on your way my dear, it’s happening! 🙂

    I smile at how often it is true that we are both the student and the teacher in situations, that’s the perfect relationship – acknowledging that we can learn from each other and teach each other too! From trying to caption photos on my blog, I can appreciate the challenge your yoga instructor is meeting in order to relay directions to you without being able to show you. I’m also very glad that you are both being careful not to cause more harm in the process. I think it’s a wonderful thing for you to undertake!

    I was pleased to read about the television show portraying a regular character who is visually impaired, and I’m glad you are monitoring it for real-life accuracy. You are right, we don’t need more stereotypes no matter how well intended. But this is a great way for more people to learn a little about what you experience in your daily life!

    I am so grateful that your family can help out with replacing your water heater and your house and garage roofs, that’s a big undertaking and so important to maintain your home in good condition, you surely don’t need the rain leaking in!

    I am not sure what that is on your garage roof, tell us! 🙂 It’s great that your neighbor wants to paint something on her side to look at. It is common to see office buildings with murals painted on the alley side to brighten things up, and it always makes me smile!

    Songs do have the power to help us through hard times, times of struggle, and times when we are sad or unsure about life. Those words remain close to our hearts forever, an even comeback to replay in our minds and lives now and then I’ve found.

    I can well relate to the feeling of getting so far in life only to fall back or behind time and time again, and it can be so defeating. What I’ve learned is that the challenge isn’t so much about getting ahead as it is about getting up and continuing on, one foot in front of the other, one day at a time.

    While you may not have finished high school, yet, there was certainly understandable reason for that, and not a lack of desire and determination on your part. Papa Bear wasn’t able to finish high school either and he still feels bad about it 45 years later. But just like him, you are not only a survivor but an overcomer. He has made a very good life for himself through hard work and determination and I know you are going to do the same. Setbacks make us stronger, and sometimes help us reevaluate our goals and direction. Don’t ever give up, Kerry, you have a voice the world needs to hear, and you are not afraid to share it, we need you! ❤

    • Mary Oliver is amazing.

      Yes, the pillow thing is because I like options.

      That is a painted wine glass she decided to put up there. She is a lot of fun and always up for a friendly conversation, just across the driveway. I couldn’t ask for a better neighbour.

      Thanks for the time and length you put into writing to comment Josie. You are the perfect person to host the updated TToT, since Lizzi needed a break. I know it takes work and caring about others and I appreciate that. It keeps me grateful and humble.

  2. I really like your post title. How very true!!
    I didn’t know you were in a writer’s group Kerry. I recall at one time you were considering it…which tells me I’ve been out of circulation longer than I realize!!
    Congratulations on the writing gigs and getting published! You must be thrilled to death. Keep at it!
    Dogs are very smart. Very. Your neighbor must know Dobby pretty well to bring him back and then do a second “take”. Good for her 🙂
    It is heartbreaking to hear of anyone feeling so bad they take their own lives.

  3. Oh, Kerry, you have achieved so much, even though you didn’t graduate from high school. There are so many ways to progress in life and you are making things happen in leaps and in bounds.
    I’m sure your yoga teacher is going to learn as much from you and you learn from her.
    Dogs do have their routines. Somethings just have to be done a certain way to make it right according to their minds.

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