1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Feminism, Fiction Friday, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, This Day In Literature

Why I Have to Look away from The Handmaid’s Tale Sometimes, and Why That’s a Good Thing

Advertisements
Standard
Blogging, Fiction Friday, FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, Memoir and Reflections, TGIF

Back and Forth, #TGIF #FTSF

I often feel like these last twenty-two years have all been a dream, that I’ll still suddenly wake up and be back in the fourth grade, that ten-year-old little girl who has no idea what lies in store for her: both good and bad.

But that’s a story for another time.

IF I could travel in time, it’s the 80s I would return to.

Not only is it my favourite decade, for the music alone, it is the one me and all three of my siblings were born in. It was when we were young and we didn’t have to worry about filing taxes, basement flooding, and the future quite so much.

Save a Prayer – Duran Duran, 1982

Both Duran Duran and Back to the Future mark the 80s, in both music and film, better than almost anything else, in my opinion.

Marty McFly and Doc Brown’s DeLorean are giving me a ride and we’re traveling to the date…well, I don’t know because it all depends on my mood, sometimes from moment to moment: 1982, 1992.

I really liked Back to the Future, but only the first and third, as I thought the second one jumped around too much. It couldn’t make up its mind, thinking the future would be so much better, re-writing things too much, but I guess I am not recalling it very well.

I liked BTTF because the star of the film, Michael J. Fox, he’s Canadian and I always thought he was cute, sweet, different than all the other actors in Hollywood, starting from the eighties onward.

Well, music changed, Duran Duran, once it hit the 90s

changed quite a lot in its sound,

But it’s still the same band. They are still performing, all these years later,, for outrageous ticket prices if you ask me. It really costs a lot to travel back in time from the year 2016 apparently.

😉

Past, present, future. It really shows that things don’t change that much, and yet they change more than we know when time feels like it travels so slowly in the moment.

A time machine could bring me back or forward to any date I might wish, but what would I have to sacrifice for either one?

Duran Duran, in 1992 said:

“But I won’t cry for yesterday.”

I guess I shouldn’t look back, a concept I am exploring a lot lately, though it’s hard not to look back at all.

I don’t have the time traveling vehicle featured in Back to the Future, (although I did ride in one like it at Disney World once, with my family in the 90s), but I do have music. It

makes me happy

and it is my time machine, taking me wherever I wish to go, any time I might need a little reminiscing.

And that is a precious thing, one that doesn’t exist only in the movies, or in a science experiment, or at a Disney theme park of my childhood memories.

This was a Finish the Sentence Friday post, thanks to:

Michelle Grewe of Crumpets and Bollocks

&

Kristi of Finding Ninee.

Standard
Blogging, Fiction Friday, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, TGIF

If I Were a Crayon… #JusJoJan

If I were a crayon…

Finding Ninee

has written something awesome for the newest of linkup collections I have decided to jump in on.

I can do that, can’t i? I can cross-connect linkups and prompts, right? I sure hope so, but even though I know life sometimes has

rules,

I often like to rebel and break them.

🙂

Today’s

Just Jot It January, #JusJoJan,

felicity

is another one of those words I am mostly unfamiliar with. I am learning a lot this month.

Well, I don’t really feel all that comfortable using “felicity” in a sentence, in my writing, but life is full of the uncomfortable things. It’s how we grow and develop character.

If felicity means happiness or blissful, then I know of a dream that I love to dream, where I can colour like when I was a child. When I lost the ability to see my beloved colours I tried to look at that as a character building experience, otherwise I would be awash in blue sadness and angry as red red fire.

Now I have writing and words to colour my world with brightness and beauty, but at one time it was the array of colours found in a box of crayons that made me happiest.

If I were a crayon I would be as waxy as can be. I would be proud that I can be felt as well as seen, unlike all those coloured pencils, also known as pencil crayons.

If I were a crayon I would be red because red is so powerful. It’s Christmas and Valentine’s Day and love, passion, and anger.

If I were a crayon I would be as bright as bright could be, as to be visible to everyone, no matter what. My bright red would share the blank slate with blue of the sky and of the water. All those yellow/orange/pinky skies would be drawn wide, as far as the eye can see.

If I were a crayon I would be a brown tree trunk with the greenest of green leaves. I would be a black car on a grey highway.

I would be one of those scented crayons, as well as colourful. I would be red cherry, purple grape, and brown chocolate.

Waxy under fingertips. Sweet smelling, or smelling like wax. Bright and colourful. Just don’t try and take a bite out of me, even if you’ve remembered to peel back my paper wrapping. Yuck!!!

If I were a crayon, the magic box would make colouring with a child, more than just possible, for someone who missed my colours so so much. Not all who once coloured with me still can. It’s not fair, in my crayon’s view, that a simple colouring session with a niece or a nephew who loves to draw has to be missed out on. Scribbles are beautiful, done at any age. I would tell those who don’t think so that it is so, not to let anything stop them, that they don’t need to miss out.

If I were a crayon, colours would be seen by everyone. In a world of vibrant orange and peachy peaches, our power as colours is so strong, you could see us from space.

If I were a crayon, yellow suns, pink hearts, rainbows of many colours, there’s no boundary to our magic in the hands of those who truly believe in the force of a crayon to make children and adults alike smile.

I am aware, as a crayon, of the comeback of adult colouring books and I sit in my box, along with my friends, so proud to be crayons, just waiting for the chance to make my mark on a page or two.

Just picture the felicity of holding me in your fingers again. In other words, pure bliss. So very peaceful.

Crayons and character. Crayons have character. Crayons are characters, as one budding writer says so beautifully:

If I Were a Crayon…

And “Felicity” is brought to you by

Simply Me,

who writes.

Ah, here’s to colours and words.

If you were a crayon, what colour crayon would you be and why?

Standard
Blogging, Fiction Friday, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, TGIF, Writing

Just Jot It January: Hip Replacements, Scouts, and Thieves #JusJoJan

It’s the end of the first full week of 2016 and week one of Just Jot It January has come to a close.

I have never felt robust. Looks like I’ve missed the boat again, yesterday.

I missed it because of just how not robust I’ve felt. I read how hip/knee replacements have worked wonders in reducing pain of several people, but these people are mostly sixty and older. I am under forty. I joke about needing one, but at times like this it feels as if it couldn’t be any less of a joke.

I always think that if I were in a fire-in-a-crowded-theatre type situation, I would be trampled to death, unable to keep up with a fast moving herd of terrified people.

If I were in some desperate sort of war, life and/or death scenario, I would not survive.

I am not robust. I could hardly handle a short walk the other night and again the next morning without depositing myself on the doorstep of a surgeon who could give me a new hip right then and there.

I am writing, jotting really, as much as I possibly can this first month of 2016 and that’s because I thought it would be the best way to find my rhythm for the new year, while trying to decide if I wanted to continue to submit my writing for publications of all kinds for the months ahead.

Now I am faced with writing about honour, while feeling less robust than ever, and I don’t have anything whatsoever to say on the subject of being honourable.

Survival of the fittest.

Honour among thieves.

Is that all I’ve got, just a couple cliches related to these last two days of this January blogging challenge?

Well, it is the middle of the night and I am wishing I’d procured that hip for myself. Maybe my mind isn’t all that clear.

Oh wait…I just thought of another one: Scout’s honour.

Not sure that refers to the Scout I’m thinking of, but Harper Lee did write a lot about honour and what it means to be considered honourable in her stories of Atticus Finch, his children, and his community.

I read and wrote a lot about that when Go Set A Watchman was released, a highlight of my 2015.

Now it’s a new year and what it means to be honourable hasn’t changed much in fifty or sixty years. I don’t think it ever will. There are just some truths that are timeless.

Linda writes about honour, ethics, and puppies:

http://lindaghill.com/2016/01/08/just-jot-it-january-8th-honorable/

Just Jot It January, #JusJoJan

Rules are simple really.

&

Today’s JusJoJan is brought to you by Corner of Confessions.

Standard
1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Book Reviews, Bucket List, Feminism, Fiction Friday, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Interviews, Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, Memoir Monday, Piece of Cake, RIP, Shows and Events, SoCS, Special Occasions, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, This Day In Literature, TToT, Writing

My Top Spills and Thrills of 2015

Okay, so instead of a movie review for the newest instalment in the Star Wars franchise (which I am postponing until 2016), I am attempting to sum up this past year: the good and the bad.

kerport-005-2015-12-30-09-04.jpg

It has been a year of huge surprises, stupid spills, and awful scares for myself and my family, but there were thrills to be had throughout. It all ended, with a bit of a bang, and now here I am. I see I am not the first to write one of these, but since I waited and just posted about my hopes for the coming year, last New Year’s Day, I thought I would follow that up with another review, of sorts, about how those hopes translated into one wild ride of a 2015.

First Day of the Rest of My Life

I say in that post that I am not a fan of resolutions at the end of one year, with the blank slate of a new year stretching out in front, but I did have a vision for what I hoped my year might look like.

Now that I can reread that post and see how I fared, I want to bring it all together.

This is how it’s done.

So I thought I would take a page out of this blogger’s book/blog and go month by month. Bare with me.

JANUARY

One of my first posts of 2015 was all about trying new things.

Speeding Up and Slowing Down

I hoped this would be a sign of things to come for the year.

I continued participating in something that matters to me, that is all about a subject near and dear to my heart and life. I would continue writing about awareness for equality and disability rights. This post was a kind shout-out to all that.

I Don’t Want Coffee. Here Are Some Links, Though.

This links to another blog hop I could participate in, if I had more time and more days of the week, but I read it weekly. I have found and left a few different circles of bloggers and blogging groupings over the last few years, but many of these circles intertwine with one another, here and there.

Speaking of blogging circles – January was the start of one of the best things I’ve gotten involved in in a long time.

We All Need The Village

&

1000 Voices Speak For Compassion

Thank you: Lizzi and Yvonne.

Also, it was a month of endings and beginnings.

Letting Go and Continuing to Write Another Day

The ending of an opportunity for the short story I’d written gave way for the beginning of a chance event, one for which I am so glad I snatched up my chance to be included in, in the months that would follow.

FEBRUARY

This, my birthday month, brought not only the day to celebrate my birth, but also the celebration of my first full year of blogging.

One Year and Counting: Kind and Generous

Then came

1000 Voices Speak For Compassion

And after that, my first contribution of many for #1000Speak, there came more focus on kindness with a post I’d written, which was published on a site devoted to love and friendship.

A Friend In B By Kerry Kijewski

I continued to write about a vitally important cause to me, rare illness awareness

Rare Disease Day, 2015: Ventilation

There was a weekend in Ottawa with a friend. This I will never forget.

This year I took a step forward, in the right direction after lost love, and began dating again.

Dating in the Dark

This is my life.

MARCH

This was not easy for me and I didn’t want to do it, but I did it and hope to do more of it.

Microwave Popcorn For Dinner It Is

As the year went on I managed to keep a secret that I’d been keeping hidden for a few months. It would involve the struggle I constantly have inside about the fine line between truth and fiction, memoir or not?

Truth Or Fiction: Which One Is Stranger?

The first of two weekly blog hops I would soon come to depend on for both comfort and inspiration began as the third month of 2015 came to a close.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

And I finally published an interview, long worked on and awaited, with a female who is making a mark for herself as a smart businesswoman.

Keep Calm and Get Your Hair Done

There were three deaths this year, in the entertainment world, of which were sad ones to me.

The first was Richard Gilmore from Gilmore Girls. Edward Herman died almost exactly one year ago.

I did not write a post for this at the time, but wanted to include him here and now, with news recently of a NetFlix Gilmore Girls reboot, of which the man who played Mr. Gilmore will not be able to reprise his brilliantly portrayed role.

RIP Edward Herman

(He had an amazing voice and used it to read voiceovers, playing Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Ken Burns documentary, of which I watched near the end of the year, after Herman was gone.)

Second,

Love and Despair

with the shocking death of Jonathan Crombie (Gilbert), the man behind the portrayal of a great literary heroic character.

Third, Christopher Lee.

Into The West: RIP Sir Christopher Lee

APRIL

Babies are born and babies die everyday.

Departed and Demented

Upon hearing of the loss of one precious life, for which I had to rant about the unfair ways of the world, next came a re-blog from my own blog, written one year earlier, the worst kind of anniversary imaginable.

The Dark Mark

These few things from early in the month on my blog only served to show the contrasted miracle, the wonderful shock I would get at the end of the month

I had no idea I was about to learn of the upcoming birth of a sweet child in the month of spring’s renewed promise.

Let’s just say, to say I was shocked to learn of my friend’s pregnancy was an understatement. Best surprise all year and, as I continue on with this 2015 summary, that is about to demonstrate how much this brand new little girl means to me because she is a part of my oldest friend. No publishing achievement or literary goal met can possibly compete.

I saw my aunt twice this year, in her new home, a senior’s long-term care facility, sadly. My uncle, my father’s half-brother, he visited from Germany. He wanted to see his sister because nobody knows when it will be their final time together.

Milestones and Siblings

I spent lots of time with family, not only during the month of April, but I make a point to do this every month, any time during any given year. This year, 2015 was no exception.

Orphaned

It was only by doing this that I could think enough about how lucky I am to have family of my own, that I was able to write the guest post about famous orphans in literature.

MAY

Into the fifth month of 2015, nearly halfway now, and things really took a lousy turn.

I was distracted and although the first computer problem was a simple mistake, a fluke thing and a sign of my naivete with technology, it was only when I was careless enough to have a sticky drink next to my precious laptop that I really had something to kick myself over.

Having to fall back and depend on an ex boyfriend to fix things was a hard thing to do. I knew he’d help, if I asked, but I didn’t wish to bother him. It was still hard to admit that he was the one person I would still need, in the desperation I was facing, when it came to computers and technology, the one person I would still trust most to help and help he did. He’s good like that.

If it weren’t for the honour of a request to write a post on a writer’s site whom I greatly admire, the month would have been a total disaster.

Writing the World, Sight Unseen

The girl’s got a way with coming up with titles. Oh, and she’s got the neatest sounding last name around.

🙂

Oh, and then there’s this.

The Second Chances Anthology

secondchancesoutnowmeme-2015-12-30-09-04.jpg

At least some good came from the month of May.

Oh, and I can’t forget this either and never could.

Ten Things of Thankful

May was the month I joined this wonderful weekly blog hop. Many examples of what TToT stands for and looks like can be found in the comment section of this origin post.

There was, also, the series finale of a truly great show.

It’s a Mad Mad Mad Men World

End of an era really, or several, from the 60s onward to the end of 2015 and the start of 2016.

JUNE

And I had a publisher. Yay!

Little Bird Publishing House

And with that, I had to attempt to put into words what writing means to me.

How Writing Has Positively Influenced My Life

Still working on this, but I keep letting other things come first.

Close But No Cigar

The year 2015 was now halfway over. I was still working on both education and love.

New Month, New Me

Another milestone. I made it another year with my father’s kidney, working and keeping me well and off dialysis. Every year I avoid that is a reason to celebrate.

The year 2015 has been a spectacular one for music.

Every F****n Day – Lolawolf

“You must be curious. Even…just…a little.”

🙂

This song, among others, made my year and it was only half over.

Figure It Out – Royal Blood

I was trying.

This year, 2015, meant the anniversaries for my grandparents’ deaths:

**Five years for Grandpa

Ruby Red

**Five years for Oma

Gardens of Sunset

**And ten years for Grandma

You Are My Sunshine

Speaking of death, the composer of the wonderful Titanic soundtrack died, tragically, in a plane crash.

RIP James Horner

The US did make some progress this summer.

ROYGBIV

JULY

My country has made some much needed changes this year too.

Canada Day, 2015

We’re working on reconciliation and welcoming our differences, rather than hiding them away and spreading fear.

Life is all about the fireworks.

BANG!!!

Whether it was the stress of a first date or the unpredictability of a summer fling,

(Men Are From Mars, Women From Venus, and Then There’s Jupiter)

I had one hell of a summer.

One Last Kiss

I’VE BEEN PUBLISHED!!!

CHECK!

zsecondchancescovercheckedsmall-2015-12-30-09-04.jpg

That’s another item I can check off my bucket list.

Color, Light, and Magic

Plus another guest post on J.K. Rowling’s end-of-July 50th birthday.

AUGUST

It was a truly spectacular book and a fascinating study in literature.

Jean Louise The Silent: My Review of “Go Set A Watchman”, Part One

&

Jean Louise The Silent: My Review of “Go Set A Watchman”, Part Two

The summer was full of not only literature, but also some amazing theatre performances, culture, and history.

Read a review of the play here:

Stratford’s Diary of Anne Frank

And the summer ended with a bit of nature by Future of the Ocean.

Big Blue Live

And one more guest post I had published on Hasty Words.

Be Real

My summer of 2015 was full of new experiences, harsh realities, and missed opportunities.

Rural Pride, County Wide

Sometimes, some things just aren’t meant to be.

SEPTEMBER

When the anthology with my story first came out in the summer it was only available as an EBook, but finally I could hold a book with a story I’d written in my own two hands. It was an indescribable feeling and a dream come true.

kerrsbook-closeup-2015-12-30-09-04.jpg

With the arrival of autumn there’s the twenty year anniversary for Jagged Little Pill.

Perfection

At the end of the month I had a trip to Toronto which was full of surprises and adventures.

wots_kkdoug_imag4888_yes-2015-12-30-09-04.jpg

Faith and a Spinster’s Gratitude List – Harvest Moon

OCTOBER

I tried my hand at Writer’s Digest’s month long October Platform Challenge, but I messed it up and did not finish. Admittedly, it was a bit of a half effort and I misread the instructions.

Check it out here.

This year marks three anniversaries for television and music I’ve loved:

Gilmore Girls, A Boy Named Goo, Beverly Hills 90210

By the time we were nearing the end of 2015,

Canadians felt it was time for a change.

I also decided to try something a little different, when I was invited to do an interview for an online radio program.

Travelling with the Speed of Sight

Canada’s one-and-only Major League team, Toronto Blue Jays, came closer than they have in more than twenty years, to winning the World Series. It was a wild ride.

NOVEMBER

The eleventh month of 2015 found me trying something new, something I’ve wanted for a long time.

Words with Friends

Being a part of a writing group is exactly what I have needed to progress with my own writing. I hope to continue with this in the year to come.

Remembrance Day and November 11th had a special significance this year.

In Flanders Fields: One Hundred Years Later

An unassuming Friday the 13th in November turned into much more, so much devastation,

with the attack in Paris.

Then came the first of the hospitalizations for my brother for 2015 and this one was frightening enough, but it was only a prelude to what was to come for our December.

And with one one hundred year anniversary there came a forty year one shortly after,

with a Great Lakes ship wreck and a song written more like a tale set to music.

It was time to celebrate a great man.

happybirthdaypa-2015-12-30-09-04.jpg

My Father Turned Sixty

On the final day of November.

dad-60-021-2015-12-30-09-04.jpg

DECEMBER

As Long As There’s Christmas: My Grownup Letter For Santa, 2015

We almost made it. We’d arrived at mid month, only a few weeks left in 2015 and then the bottom dropped out.

My brother had a bad fall and suffered a brain injury.

For a few days we weren’t sure what kind of Christmas we would have, but my family and his friends never stopped believing he would come out of it the same old Brian.

Decade Adrift

The doctors didn’t want us to get our hopes up, but we had a Christmas like the others.

cameraawesomephoto-2015-12-30-09-04.jpg

We were all together and Brian played music again.

My last guest post of 2015. – Advent Calendar Day 20: One Tradition After Another

sophscupcakes-2015-12-30-09-04.jpg

Now I end 2015 with a huge Happy Birthday wish for the most special five-year-old around and I ring in 2016 with a friend. Girl’s night!

In the world of feminism, 2015 was a fabulous year for discovering awesome female voices in music, literature, travel, social issues, and history.

FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE: NEW SINGLE PACKS A PUNCH

The Danger of a Single Story – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Talking to Amy Gigi Alexander

He Named Me Malala

&

The 1994 Miep Gies Lecture

Not all of these are current, but the act of me finding them this year is the point. All examples, of females who are or were strong, which gives me the push to keep moving forward.

Women of the Year: 30 Canadians Who Rocked 2015

On the continually fascinating subject of wickedly special females, three albums and their artists are worth mentioning this year:

First, Vulnicura.

Black Lake

by Bjork.

Second, How Big How Blue How Beautiful.

Ship To Wreck – Florence + The Machine.

And third, Honeymoon.

High by the Beach – Lana Del Ray

As for The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, it was an every Monday sort of thing for the previous half of 2014 and I continued, missing a week here and there, but I have not forgotten about its importance in my own world and here on my blog.

This coming year I plan on really starting something that I want to focus on though. The year 2016 will be 20 years since I began the journey that matured me before my age likely would have otherwise.

Let Them Eat Cake

I have imagined writing a book about it, memoir called Piece of Cake, for years. Now that I have this blog I will start by writing about those days, as the next few years pass.

I have goals and dreams for 2016 and beyond, but I hesitate to speak of them all out loud, in fear of falling short.

FGP’s Virtual Holiday Party

I want to make more connections with writers, creative and smart women, and I want to keep writing. I want to not be afraid to keep putting my words out there, even though the fear of more rejection is a lingering one.

I want to keep working on the one and only “resolution” from 2014/2015: jealousy. I hate that part of myself and I wish I could let that go. That doesn’t mean I don’t want the best for others and don’t cheer other people on. It just means I do both and feel conflicted.

Some make resolutions, others pick one word for their year, but I resist doing both. If I have to choose one word though, I suppose I will go with “Adventure”. I do want more of this, as I believe life is one giant adventure, all the years we get to live it.

We in Canada made a change and took a stand in 2015 and, the question for 2016 is and will be: America, will you?

Okay, so I just went through my entire blog for the year, to prepare for this post. I know. It was a long one.

Wow, I wrote a lot. I did not receive an end-of-the-year WP blog stats report like I did last year though. Hmmm. Wonder if that means I didn’t do well with follows, comments, and views this year. Ah well. Staying true to myself and remaining authentic is all I can ask for.

Goodbye 2015…hello 2016. Be kind.

Standard
Fiction Friday, Memoir and Reflections, TGIF, Writing

My Mystery Object Speaks

It was a circular, silver jewelry tin I’d received, from my oma, on my twentieth birthday. She handed it to me, in her kitchen, at our combined birthday celebrations. Hers was three days before mine. When I was turning twenty she was turning eighty-three. Inside the tin I discovered twenty loonies, Canadian dollar coins, one for every year of my life.

Why hadn’t I thought of that for her? Would have needed a bigger tin.

🙂

Fast-forward more than eleven years and I placed the silver tin, faded from sitting on a dresser in my bedroom, on a conference table – my contribution to my new writer’s group and the game called: Mystery Object.

It was, I’d recently discovered, an excellent writing exercise. I was pleased I was getting the chance to bring the object for this week’s festivities.

The rules are: someone brings an object, an air of mystery to it, and the remaining time is spent with everyone, after having passed the object around the room, writing a story where the object plays a part, no matter how big or small.

Past mystery objects have included:

— A painted model of a dragon

And

— A ticket stub from a visit to the Eiffel Tower.

I guess I cheated because I didn’t just bring the silver tin, but inside, instead of twenty Canadian dollars, there now rests a necklace, a blue pendant on a chain.

Two for one I guess, but nobody seemed to complain. I’d taken the necklace as the object, originally; however, as I’d needed a case to carry it, in the moment I grabbed the tin and placed the necklace inside.

This gave us all more options. We could write a story about the tin, the necklace, or any combination of the two, more or less.

They even wanted to know the history of the mystery.

🙂

The mystery object meaning the necklace, which a few of the women around the table murmured comments of interest over. The guy with, what I’m guessing is a British accent, he was supportive when I told the group a little bit of history about the blue gem on the chain.

“It was originally a Christmas present for a friend who never came back to claim it. A bit of a falling out with that friend, the end of a friendship,” I told them vaguely, leaving plenty of room for creative licence and imagination.

“‘Looks like you came out on top,” someone said. I appreciated this person trying to make me feel better about the situation myself and my necklace had been through in the past. I appreciated that, as new as I was to the writing group, any one of them would say that, as my relationship to these people is still just beginning to develop, for whatever that might mean.

My first attempt at the mystery object exercise resulted in a narrative, made up of two people in an antique shop. This is one of my favourite settings for a story, since my senses were set off strong upon entering an old building, converted into an antique shop in my town, on a dreary October day a few years ago.

I have had a dislike for old things ever since childhood, but now I see their stories in the feelings they bring forth in me and in others.

This mystery object exercise is brilliant. I love to see what the other people bring and, in this case, I couldn’t wait to find out where their minds would go when attempting to write about the object I’d chosen to bring.

I know what the silver tin and the blue necklace mean to me, the history they played in my own life, but the trick would be letting all that leave my mind for an hour, allowing me to write fictionally about them. Then I was waiting to hear what they would come out with.

I’ve considered publishing all the pieces I come out with during these bimonthly writing groups, posting them here afterward. I have had the feeling of not being naturally good at writing fiction, as I have been told and felt myself that maybe I do better with nonfiction and memoir especially, but that is why I like this group. I can write like they write, and I get so much from that interaction already, and I’ve only gone three times so far.

This latest time I wrote about a jewelry store burglary and the mystery of why the thief took only that necklace, leaving the rest of the jewelry behind.

I did not finish the story and have no idea what was so special about that necklace. Time was up for the evening, the library closing and the cleaning crew anxious to start their work to prepare the building for the following day’s borrowings.

I purposefully did not volunteer to read my jewelry store tale, preferring to hear the other stories, on the off chance that we would run out of time, which is exactly what ended up happening.

I’d preferred my previous Wednesday night’s fiction writing exercise attempt, starring the Eiffel Tower ticket, dropped from above and onto the Paris sidewalk.

Some of the stories written about the tin/necklace included:

— One rooted in hints of the wardrobe leading to Narnia and a reference to the famous sketching scene in the movie Titanic. (This movie came up, somehow, in our chatter at the beginning of the evening’s meeting.)

— One about a love sick young man and the jewelry he purchased and later returned, bought for the object of his affection.

— One beginning with a wonderful scene of a little girl dying to arrive at her grandmother’s house and ending with that little girl finding a beautiful blue necklace in said grandmother’s spare room, unaware of the history it has.

— One about a spur-of-the-moment dropping of a necklace in a coat pocket and the chase others take to get it back.

I love to listen to the other writers read their stories, how different each one is, but the theme of the past of a piece of jewelry (real or fantastic) was a thrill to me, the person who really does own it.

People feel different about reading their work, depending on the day and what they come up with in the group, but not one person said they weren’t able to write something using my contribution to Mystery Object Wednesday. I was happy about that part. I was pleased to have spurred their imaginations, even if I couldn’t quite let go of what I know about the necklace in my own reality and past.

The true story of the friendship which ended with that necklace, indirectly, is best left for another time, but I just wanted to mark this occasion, as was pointed out to me the other night by one of my new writing friends: if that friend had stayed and taken the necklace, events wouldn’t have been able to lead up to the experience of my mystery object contribution with those who bravely took a stab at coming up with alternative storylines for a blue necklace on a chain.

For next group we’ve all been given a small slip of paper, containing a scenario and we are supposed to use it to demonstrate the concept of a favourite writing rule: show don’t tell.

This is the sort of homework I am more than happy to complete, I think. I will keep posted on what I manage to come up with for that one.

Mystery objects are exciting things, fiction that bursts forth from each and every one. They mean different things to different people and tell a story worth hearing. They are helping me get to know my fellow writers, one story at a time.

Standard
Fiction Friday, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Shows and Events, TGIF, The Insightful Wanderer, Writing

Why Men Lie – Not What It Seems, #VIP, #BlogShareLearn, #BluSkyFriday, #LinkYourLife

“I’m sorry,” said the server, with a tap on the shoulder, “But this is a VIP lounge. Not that the two of you aren’t important or anything, but…”

Two girls had been looking for the bar, while waiting for the official author event to begin. They’d wandered through a revolving door and into a world of words.

Okay, so now what? They’d stumbled into the wrong place. What a way to begin the evening. It’s hard enough to feel like she fit in there, even though she loved it so. It’s strange to feel so at home in a place, and still feel completely out-of-place all at once.

Where had they stepped into, being excluded from, politely excused? Who were those very important persons? They did not ask. The two girls simply continued to wander. Up the stairs, where the server had directed them, to the cash bar they were looking for, just to check the prices of the drinks.

By now they were afraid of entering somewhere else they did not belong, so when they approached two closed doors, they hesitated and right back down they would go, until they noticed others going the way they’d just come. So, back up they went, feeling more than a little ridiculous.

***

She was a doctor, not a writer like her friend. She was leaving her baby girl at home, for a couple hours, at the request of her oldest friend, who had wanted someone to accompany her to a literary event.

The main event was a question and answer session with a local arts reporter and a well-known Canadian journalist. He’d been an investigative reporter for Canada’s CBC Television for many years. The girl, relatively new to the world of writing, she had no aspirations to become like him, not as a journalist. She simply liked to listen to his maritime accent and the way he told stories about a diverse array of people, places, and things.

On this night he spoke about his books, works of fiction she hadn’t known he’d written. She only thought he was a reporter and a TV personality. Her respect and admiration grew, for this man, when she learned of his fiction. She was on a continual mission to collect books and have them signed by their writers. Her collection was growing. First Carrie Snyder, then Douglas Gibson, and now Linden MacIntyre.

The talk on this night was about the question:

Does a good journalist need “fire-in-the-belly” to be good at their job?

The journalist’s answer:

No. Fire-in-the-belly could get one into trouble. It could lead to emotional reactions and lack of professionalism or the required objectivity.

Wouldn’t fire-in-the-brain be more appropriate?

He made a good point. Many in the crowd nodded in agreement. While the writer girl cringed at her least favourite word, since childhood, “belly”, the doctor thought of physical conditions that might be the cause of “fire” in the belly or the brain: appendicitis or meningitis.

The girl with the literary aspirations sat and glanced around at the other tables, full of local college and university students mostly, and wondered what she was doing there with them. Did she fit in? Did she belong there? She tried to squash her insecurities, as she listened to the murmuring and the muttering, because, maybe, she wasn’t the only one who felt that way. After all, wasn’t insecurity and self doubt not uncommon for writers?

She knew only the doctor sitting beside her, her closest childhood friend, who felt more at home in the world of science than literature, but who put her heart into the evening and gave it her best, because that’s just the sort of girl she always had been. This wasn’t the first event the writer friend had dragged the doctor along for in recent months, and it always worked out, turning into some of the memorable times they’d always been capable of having together. The doctor and her little girl had been around, as fate or life’s cruel irony would have it, but this wouldn’t last.

A professor of humanities had organized the festival, with all the authors and events, spread over the weekend, including a poetry night, lectures on creativity, and much much more. He went on to introduce the panel of other writers: political writers, comedy writers, and poets.

After the panel answered questions and promoted their work, the two girls stood up, along with everyone else. They weren’t sure where to go next, but the literary one was determined to get her next signed book.

Immediately, upon the wrapping up of the presentation, the featured authors were swarmed by people from the audience. There was no other option. And so, back down the stairs the doctor and the writer would go.

Back down in the lobby and the doctor’s resourcefulness shone through. No lack of VIP status would stop her from helping her friend.

“There’s one of the authors. HE’s right behind you. I could walk us right into him, if you want. That’s how close.”

The doctor was one-of-a-kind and made even awkward literary events fun, disarming the beginner writer, making her feel less uncomfortable, in hopes of more less uncomfortable literary events for her in the future. They got themselves a copy of one of Linden’s novels, “Why Men Lie”, and off they went, on a search for possible answers to the question.

Very soon the doctor spotted him. He had made it down and away from the throng at the stage upstairs, down into the group mingling in the museum’s lobby. The doctor waited for the opportune moment, when he was not speaking to another, and introduced her shy writer friend.

“What’s the name of the one this is for?” Linden asked this to the two lovely young women standing before him, unsure which one it might be.

“It’s Kerry, spelled K…e…r…r…y.” People couldn’t be blamed for getting it wrong, but to avoid another Ricky Martin incident, clarification was necessary. “I remember, about ten years ago, when you did a story on the whale from the Free Willy movie. Not sure if you remember.”

“Yes,” he said immediately. “I went to Iceland for that one.”

He seemed pleased that someone would remember him for that one in particular.

“Well, I love writing about marine biology specifically,” the girl spluttered. These encounters were always a little uncomfortable for her. She took her newly signed book and the two girls departed.

But, before leaving, back out the revolving door and into the still November night, the doctor home to her baby and the writer home to her books…

“There’s the professor who interviewed all the authors,” the doctor spoke, conspiratorially. “Wow. He’s shorter than I thought he would be.”

“Shorter than me?” the 5 foot 2 writer asked.

“Maybe. Let’s go see,” suggested the nearly equally short doctor. This was just the sort of crazy idea she often had, of which made spending time with this particular doctor anything but boring.

And so the doctor and the writer followed the professor, darting through the people, until the two girls and he were standing only feet from each other.

“Well…is he?” the writer asked, attempting to speak quietly enough so she wouldn’t be overheard, but she already knew the answer.

The two girls had to leave then, as their attempts to remain inconspicuous would not last long if they remained in that serious literary environment. They then took their non VIP selves out of their and did not look back. They never did find out why men lie, but then again, some questions have no tangible answers.

***

Note: The writer girl in this story is, it turns out, a VIP (visually impaired person).

And, in that VIP’s opinion, so is the doctor. After all, aren’t doctors very important, in their own right, in the work that they do, everyday?

Not to mention the importance this particular doctor has played in her writer friend’s estimation, since the two girls were ten years old. She will play an extremely important role for so many patients who count on her expertise and her compassionate care.

VIP is all relative.

Journalism fuels Linden MacIntyre’s fiction writing

For the answer to the question of why men lie, guess you’ll just have to read the book to find out.

And if you are someone who is offended by the assumption of men as lyres, Linden wrote the book.

🙂

Not me.

Standard