1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Spotlight Saturday

The Dead Can’t Talk. It’s Time To Listen To Survivors.

Are we infuriated? Of course we are.

Drifting Through

Sexual assault is like a death. A death of who you would have been. Who you were before. It is a violation of the body and the mind, but most profoundly, the soul. Many of us survive by allowing that part of us, the innocent part, to die.

I died many years ago, that part of me. There were moments when I thought he would kill me. And in a way, he did. He killed the little girl who danced instead of walked. He killed the little girl who looked at the world in wonder. I could have held on to her and let her live, but I had to let her go.

This is how I survived what he did to me. I was three, maybe four. I can’t be sure because the details of mundane facts are secondary to the horrors I can’t escape. The date, the season, his…

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Bucket List, FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel

Walking the Ocean Floor and Not Quite Believing It, #BucketList #PhotoShareFriday #FTSF

Where to start? How to begin? Hmm. Expect more stories from my travels, in the weeks ahead.

I’ve been absent from this blogging stuff for a while, but I’ve had travel as my reason for said absence.

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I was out east, here in Canada, throughout the Maritimes when I was two. Of course, no memories of the trip. So, I simply had to return.

This is me (thirty-two years later) and I’m waiting on old photos of my first trip to these parts, which my mom probably has tucked away somewhere.

This is me, using my white cane as a detection tool, to explore and reach out, further than my arm ever could. I feel the rocky ground underfoot and I can’t quite believe the tides of this bay bring in and then take out such a volume of sea water. Where I stand, rock having been cut into by the tides that have always and will continue to come and go.

No matter what crap goes on in the world, human caused crap, nature kicks ass and I’m reminded of that. I ponder, as I walk, about those who could visit such a spot of wonder and not be awed by its power. Sad.

I feel the structure of rock and the indents made and the seaweed clinging to it. I will be gone, long before the mighty tide returns here, but somehow I wish I could stay. It shapes these rocks, just like life has shaped me, from a two-year-old to the woman I am today.

This photo is at
Hopewell Rocks
and I’m loving walking along the ocean floor – Atlantic Ocean and my unforgettable visit to the
Bay of Fundy,
in stunning Atlantic Canada.

This is my contribution for
Photo Share Friday
with
Finish the Sentence Friday
and the gang.

And I wish all things travel to those (like myself) who seek it out.

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, The Insightful Wanderer, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, Travel, TravelWriting, TToT

TToT: Yellow Gold and Paula Red, #10Thankful

“But the fall was beautiful, too. There was the joy of winds blowing in from a darkly blue gulf and the splendour of harvest moons. There were lyric asters in the Hollow and children laughing in an apple-laden orchard, clear serene evenings on the high hill pastures of the Upper Glen and silvery mackerel skies with dank birds flying across them; and, as the days shortened, little grey mists stealing over the dunes and up the harbour.”

ANNE OF INGLESIDE

I skipped this most helpful of gratitude exercises for a week or two, feeling like the odd one out with my lack of enthusiasm for summer and desire to see the end of the Labor Day long weekend, but I am thrilled that September has arrived because I have a feeling it’s going to be a most excellent month.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful we have a friend from Ireland visiting for a few weeks.

I’m thankful for my sister’s help on a contract for a writing assignment I’ve been given.

More to come on this next month, but the whole process is still an intimidating one.

I’m thankful for waves at the lake.

Such bodies of water are a beautiful show of nature’s power. I am awed by them.

I got to sit at the shore, on a chair with my feet in the water, and feel the waves wash in and then the pull of them going back out again.

I’m thankful for an especially intense violin lesson.

I was struggling to learn a certain rhythm in a certain part of the song. It was a challenge and I kept at it.

I’m thankful I could play along with my teacher.

I would have thought it would make me more nervous, but it seems to give me courage and encouragement.

I’m thankful for peaches in ice cream.

I’m thankful I got my story out on what made my summer special.

Tap to Travel: A Unique Reason to Visit Orlando

I’m thankful for a sunburn that’s healing.

Entirely my fault, but sun: I bow down to your mighty rays.

It was a particularly bad one, on both my legs, but I now have a greater appreciation for the pain burn victims endure. The skin is an amazing organ, but I really must stop putting mine at risk, as mine is an increased risk of skin cancer from being an organ transplant recipient.

I’m thankful I don’t have to start school this week, though I do have some plans.

I’m thankful for September.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, RIP, Shows and Events, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, TToT

TToT: Level of Loose Lip Loggers, #10Thankful

“You can cast the first stone. You can break my bones. But you’re never gonna break…never gonna break my faith.”

—Aretha Franklin and Mary J. Blige

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Caption: my friend Anita and I – so glad she could come to our first CFB bbq.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for no rain on the day of an important picnic/bbq for my cause.

We at the Canadian Federation of the Blind of Ontario were putting on our first ever summer social.

I am thankful for the perfect park where we held the event.

I am thankful I could meet such a diverse group, of old friends and new ones.

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Caption: large group shot of some of our guests.

I am thankful for the help from my family. They are always supportive and always present.

I am thankful for friends who offer rides, help fetching supplies, capturing the special moments of the day, and to help us raise a bit of money to begin something more, just by showing up that afternoon.

I am extremely thankful that the day went off without a hitch.

Some days are a snapshot in time, of a beautiful gathering coming together. I sometimes lose my faith, and then something happens to help me find a little more to be getting along with again.

I am thankful for the 31 who attended our event and then the breaking off of smaller groups, from the bigger, that same evening and the next morning (for breakfast at a lovely spot) and the morning after that.

We discussed policies and plans. We discussed dreams and goals yet to reach.

I am thankful my brother and I could get our 13th podcast episode recorded, with likely something like three full hours of discussion, on transformative times gone by and the change we want to see for those who are blind in Canada.

We talk with the one who started the ball rolling on an Ontario chapter of the Canadian Federation of the Blind, our good friend and former roommate.

I am thankful for this literary film.

For a major Downton Abbey fan like myself, this one is a treasure.

I’d heard of it, come across the trailer online, and I knew, right away, it would be my kind of film.

It was the perfect way to end one wildly successful weekend.

So much work to do. Sometimes, I need a little time with a good movie on Netflix, a bunch of tears shed – a satisfying few hours spent.

And I am thankful for the first of the freshest apples of the season.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iazIjFT9ZI

A legend with a powerful voice is gone and this one song was the one that affects me most. She has affected many others, such as
this writer.

RIP Aretha.

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, Memoir Monday, Podcast, Shows and Events, Special Occasions, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, TravelWriting, TToT, Writing

TToT: Time, Place, and Space – Lost On Spot, #FamilyReunion #LaParada #Panorama #10Thankful

“It helps, too, to dream big, to make plans for future projects that are beyond the scope of my current experience, to make connections with other people who work in the arts, to apply for grants, send out stories, throw bottles into the sea. Make space for more opportunities to unfold. Here’s a fun thing to try: write a letter to yourself, addressing yourself like you would a dear friend. What advice would you give yourself? Can you name all the things about yourself that you like, that give you strength and courage? What questions would a good friend ask you? (I did this at the beginning of June, and reading over my “Dear Carrie” letter now, I recognize that it has helped shape my summer in positive ways.)”

–Carrie Snyder

I read this blog post and wanted all of it. I want to think good things about myself and write it all down. I want to know art and other artists. I like the bottle in the sea idea.

I have been slacking, not keeping up reading other thankful posts. I have let myself down, in a couple ways this summer, but then I’ve taken on so much that is new and thrilling too.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for feedback that is hard, sometimes/at times more than others, to hear.

I know I am learning from it. I know I need to hear it. I know it is part of the deal, of being a writer.

I’m thankful for a surprise offer.

It came at just the right moment, right after the difficult-to-hear feedback. It was a strange contrast of a day.

I was unable to trust in it, at first, because I still don’t expect good things to come my way much in life. (Bad habit/trap to fall into.)

I could sure use offers like this one to come along, once-in-a-while. It was from a well-known company, with a healthy budget and reputation. I was discovered, just by having my words, in existence, out there in the world.

I should be able to brag, but still I am uncertain whether or not to speak details of the thing in question, while contract is still being worked on and leading up to the release date.

Still, I had to include it here, in this list, this week. I won’t ever forget that contrasting day of offers, for feedback and for growth and opportunity. I only need to make sure I get it right.

I’m thankful for friends/writers who offer me a bit of encouragement when I’m starting to doubt.

Editors are unknown and unfamiliar to me, but then that means their job isn’t to make me feel better about myself or to buck me up. I know, logically, that isn’t their responsibility, but yet I probably still am looking for that, somewhere, deep down. Working on it.

Friends, those who know the world of writing (creatively or business wise) are the ones who are there, when I need them the most, to remind me that I am a writer, still learning and growing, but yet not at all without merit.

It’s just nice to hear it. I am indebted to both editors and writers/writer friends/friends and family, for the contrast.

I’m thankful I got to check out a live radio studio.

Radio Western (94.9 CHRW)

I was in there, going and observing the action live, while my brother put on his Friday music show. I told him, on air and off, that witnessing him in that environment made him seem a whole lot cooler.

I was there to celebrate his year on air (48th episode or so) and to talk about the summer social we have coming up, for our work with and as the
Canadian Federation of the Blind
and also, to get any listeners, familiar with his show, familiar with him and I together. (Keep reading to find out why that is.))

I’m thankful the woman who runs it wants to give us a chance.

She has offered us a weekly half-hour talkshow. We are doing it (based on our podcast/Canadian Federation of the Blind) as a theme. We will talk about disability, accessibility, and equality/equity. We will be current (have call-ins/live guests).

She has also offered to air already recorded episodes of
Ketchup On Pancakes
and so that’s why we don’t want to do a total copied version of our already-existing podcast together. That is about family/creativity/humour, not strictly about disability issues.

It isn’t mainstream radio as most people think of it, known by everyone, but a university radio station supports the arts and local talent, as well as community. It will be more of a reach than we’ve so far had, be broadcasting us to more of an audience than we’ve had as of yet.

And so, we are (soon-to-be) available to people, driving in their cars, across London, Ontario and beyond. Also, we are available, online and on Rogers (channel 943).

Now, all we need to do is come up with a catchy name for our talkshow that captures what we are about. We have a little less than one month to do this. Sometimes names and titles are easy to come up with and other times, not so much.

I’m thankful I got to see a talented singer/performer live.

She is a local girl, someone I’ve known from a writing group, full of talent, and full of life. She is animated and energetic. She is many things I wish I could be, but have no stamina to be for long.

She is multi-talented creatively. She went to school for musical theatre and she ended up singing some opera (in English/German/Italian I believe). She had to practice, in front of friends, family, and local community, to attend nationally, after having gone to perform in provincials.

She sang about men and about eating children. She sang and had two young men performing, so she could take a break. It was inspiring and fun.

I’m thankful for a long awaited family reunion.

We used to see each other (my mom’s side of the family) at Christmas every year. Then, with every passing year, our group increased in size. Then, both my grandparents passed away, (2005-2010) and we would’ve needed to rent a hall for our gatherings. The decision was made at that time, to stop holding holiday celebrations, and we’ve seen a lot less of each other in the years since. Some of us see each other more than others.

It was a beautiful day. I tried to enjoy the day. I don’t do well in big groups, even when it’s family. These are people I have known, more or less, all my life. Some came along in the nearly 35 years since I was born.

Cousins have children and some didn’t or couldn’t make it. The children don’t know me. Some of the adults don’t know me anymore and I don’t feel as if I know them now.

Still, family is important. There are connections (no matter the time that’s passed us by or the place/life’s circumstances that have occurred). I know we’ve all changed. We’re not the same people we once were. I know there’s a set of roots there, those that run deep. I wanted to reconnect. I can’t make that kind of connection happen again, not with the wave of my hand or by snapping my fingers.

It was nice we did it. I do hope we can make it happen every so often. I wish some things were different, but we share a common thread of where we’ve all come from, no matter where we might now be or where we end up.

The food was good and the kids had fun. It was on my uncle’s farm, where I grew up staying, for summer holidays, as a child. I was never a farm girl, but my mother had been, like her mother and father before her, and my cousins were, though I did grow up a country girl who would eventually move into town.

It ended up the perfect spot for a summertime family reunion.

I’m thankful for my August birthday boys.

I’m thankful I met these talented writers in Mexico and that I get to go on another journey with them, if only by reading their wonderful words:

Go on a trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina with Angela Lang

or else…

wander through time/space/place with Kristin Vukovic

These two writers, along with the rest that P publishes, make me want to keep working to become a better writer myself.

I’m thankful for
this literary travel journal
they are both featured in, and for “Lost,” the most recent issue.

It is full, with each and every new issue that gets released, with the best writers around.

It is soon to celebrate its two-year anniversary. Happy Anniversary Panorama!

Your name continues to thrill me to no end. The bigger picture indeed.

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Song Lyric Sunday, Spotlight Sunday

Water Or Wine, #SongLyricSunday

I could be sad that everyone else drives and I walk. Or else, I could be glad of the exercise.

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It’s been a while since I participated in
Song Lyric Sunday,
but this week the theme spoke my language and so here I am.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgT9zGkiLig

This song was introduced to me, back when my brother liked this band, but the lyrics give me motivation to make my life happen – now!

***

Sometimes
I feel the fear of the uncertainty
stinging clear
And I can’t help but ask myself how much I’ll let the fear
take the wheel and steer

It’s driven me before,
and it seems to have a vague
Haunting mass appeal
Lately I’m
beginning to find that I should be the one behind the wheel

Whatever tomorrow brings,
I’ll be there
With open arms and open eyes, yeah
Whatever tomorrow brings,
I’ll be there, I’ll be there

So if I
decide to waiver my chance to be
one of the hive
Will I choose water over wine
and hold my own and drive,
oh oh It’s driven me before,
and it seems to be the way
That everyone else gets around
Lately, I’m
beginning to find that when I drive myself,
my light is found

Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there
With open arms and open eyes, yeah
Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there, I’ll be there

Would you choose
water over wine…
hold the wheel and drive?

Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there
With open arms and open eyes, yeah
Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there, I’ll be there

LYRICS

***

I don’t drive (obvious reasons) but I do have control of the direction of my own situation and control over my own happiness.

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FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, TGIF, Travel, TravelWriting

Summer In Progress, #TGIF #FTSF

Well now – summer, 2018 is halfway gone. I know. I know how loathed I am by people when I point that fact out, but tis true.

Q: What did I learn this summer so far?

A: Don’t visit Florida in July. Far too humid.

It was
the summer of
Orlando, Florida.

It was the summer of
National Federation of the Blind conventions,
jitters of the first-timers, and memories made.

A group of members left Canada (from the Canadian version of the NFB) and spent a 4th of July (Independence Day) in one of the states of the union. From a distance, fireworks could be heard, after one of the many downpours came and went just as quickly.

My summer really started on that cloudy Wednesday.

It’s been the summer of seminars, speeches, and banquets, which included one free palm read.

An early morning solo swim, where the night before the pool deck, dark and silent, held a certain charm of its own.

Airplanes and the world’s quickest flight home.

My summer has now included a chest cold and a shattered iPhone screen, tire driven over, when I did not secure it safely inside my purse, but I now listen more closely to the rhythm of my heart.

Halfway through the summer and another FTSF with host Kristi and co-host
Kenya G. Johnson
of Sporadically Yours.

Next up: autumn, my favourite of all seasons, though this summer hasn’t been half bad.

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