Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Memoir Monday, Piece of Cake, Special Occasions, Travel, TravelWriting, TToT

TToT: Chameleon in a Room Full of Mirrors – Penblwydd Hapus #10Thankful

“You are strong because you are imperfect and you are wise because you have doubts.”

—Clementine Churchill

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This is a reminder of the little girl I once was. My sister found this card in the library book my nephew brought home from school last week.

What are the odds and my first thankful after musing on what it’s like to turn another year older, all while discovering those reminders of the girl you used to be.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for the short story I managed to come up with at my writing group, even if my braille display did crap out on me (dead battery) right before I finished it.

It was a short story about a young girl, living in Europe, only a few years before the breakout of World War II and she is celebrating her birthday with a skating party with friends.

I will finish the story and read it out loud at the next writing group night.

I’m thankful for an inspiring first meeting with some new peers living with chronic kidney disease.

We met to discuss how those of us who’ve been and are currently living and dealing with kidney disease can help a new generation of those going through or about to go through it.

Some were on dialysis and some, like myself, were transplant recipients. One was even newly diagnosed and didn’t know where to start. I hope we didn’t overwhelm that person too much.

So much excellent discussion went on. It felt empowering, more than I’ve felt in a long time, as I’ve been off of dialysis for so long that you start to forget what it was like. I have this chronic condition, transplant or no transplant, and may need help from these same sorts of people again one day too.

I am thankful, also, for the guy next to me who got up and brought me a new plastic fork after I broke mine trying to stab a cucumber out of the pasta salad on my plate as the presentation went on.

I hate those cheap plastic forks.

I’m thankful for Apple Music.

Now, for a monthly fee (after the first three free months) I have millions of songs at my fingertips, right on my phone for streaming.

I’m thankful for a surprise right before my birthday.

Native Traveler, awarded gold in the audio story/blogging category from the NATJA

The host submitted the Native Traveler show with my piece on No-limits Travel for the Blind to the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) awards , among a couple of others.   The show won Gold in the radio broadcast category!.

North American Travel Journalist Association awards list for 2017.

I’m thankful for the card, flowers, and butterfly for my keychain, all from my wonderful neighbour.

The card was one of those singing ones.

The butterfly has now become a symbol with meaning between the two of us. I am keeping it with me. I like to trace my fingers around the wings. I used to love to draw bright, colourful butterflies when I was younger.

The flowers were fragrant, but the stalks were so heavy that my mom had to prop up the flowers, using a cooking pot and some cardboard.

I’m thankful for all the well wishes from family and friends, on Facebook and off.

I wasn’t feeling so well on my actual birthday, but it was nice to hear from people. It cheered me up a bit.

I’m thankful for the cake my mother made for me.

Cherry chip with a cheesecake swirl and white chocolate icing.

She is amazing with certain kinds of cake. It was made with love and care. Thanks Mom.

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I’m thankful for a snowy day on my birthday.

I felt unwell, stayed inside the whole day, but I was glad to know what was going on, a snowy world, just outside my window.

It was a perfect February day, even if the next one brought rain and then freezing to produce slick conditions for walking.

Someone on my blog wished me this and I had to look it up, but was super glad they’d said it:

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/penblwydd_hapus

I’m thankful I can learn new things, even and especially at thirty-four years old.

Penblwydd Hapus to me.

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Song Lyric Sunday

Fickle Flames, #SongLyricSunday

“A golden bird that flies away. A candle’s fickle flame. To think I held you yesterday. Our love was just a game.”

—Cake

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You call and you call and you get no answer:

I love this one. The dial tone is the first sound you hear, then the trumpets and the noise makers and, finally, video game sounds.

HEY!

***

I need your arms around me,
I need to feel your touch,
I need your understanding, I need your love,
So much,

You tell me that you love me so,
You tell me that you care,
But when I need you, (BABY)
Baby, (You’re never there),

On the phone,
Long long distance,
Always through such,
Strong resistance,
When first you say,
You’re too busy,
I wonder if you,
Even miss me,

Never there,
You’re never there,
You’re never, ever,
Ever ever there,

A golden bird that flies away,
A candle’s fickle flame,
To think I held you yesterday,
Your love was just a game,

A golden bird that flies away,
A candle’s fickle flame,
To think I held you yesterday,
Your love was just a game,

You tell me that you love me so,
You tell me that you care,
But when I need you, (BABY)
Baby,

Take the time,
To get to know me,
If you want me,
Why can’t you just show me,

We’re always on,
This roller coaster,
If you want me,
Why can’t you get closer,

Never there,
You’re never there,
You’re never, ever,
Ever ever there,

Never there,
You’re never there,
You’re never, ever,
Ever ever there

LYRICS

***

Rather needy, these lyrics, by whomever sings this. Still, it calls to mind that thing where we expect instant responses. It was always, as long as the phone has been around, the story of infatuation and desperation in “love”.

This whole
Song Lyric Sunday
thing just got a lot easier.

I got myself Apple Music for my birthday and now I have 33 million songs at my disposal, a treasure trove of music at my fingertips to choose from.

It’s both delightful and glorious.

Technology, frustrating at times, but so handy and convenient in this case.

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Song Lyric Sunday, The Insightful Wanderer, Uncategorized

Coming Clean and Being Free, #SongLyricSunday

I’ve learned, you can’t hide from yourself, if you’re going to be a writer. Believe me, I’ve tried.

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Letting it rain, this one feels heavy with some sort of shame:

Hopefully something’s being washed away.

Being “witness to the perfect crime,” whatever that is, are her words. Amanda Marshall was someone whose tape I once owned, when tapes were the way to go. This song always felt like such a powerful one.

***

I have given, I have given and got none
Still I’m driven by something I can’t explain
It’s not a cross, it is a choice
I cannot help but hear his voice
I only wish that I could listen without shame
Let it rain, let it rain on me
Let it rain, oh let it rain
Let it rain on me

I have been a witness to the perfect crime
I Wipe the grin off of my face to hide the blame
It isn’t worth the tears you cry
To have a perfect alibi
Now I’m beaten at the hands of my own game
Let it rain, let it rain on me
Let it rain, oh let it rain
Let it rain on me

It isn’t easy to be kind
With all these demons in my mind
I only hope one day I’ll be free

I do my best not to complain
My face is dirty from the strain
I only hope one day I’ll come clean

Rain, let it rain on me
Let it rain, oh let it rain
Let it rain on me

Come take my hand
We can walk to the light
And without fear
We can’t see through the darkest night
Rain, rain on me
Let it rain, oh let it rain
Let it rain on me

LYRICS

***

It sounds like she is shouting the lyrics, in frustration, in fear.

I chose this one for
Song Lyric Sunday
because I thought it could be referring to some kind of secret or secret causing such shame.

If the subject this week is truth, well I know writing and lyrics can be powerful tools for righting wrongs and revealing hard truths, even if through a minefield of twisting, turning lyrics.

There is truth in there, somewhere, in and amongst the demons that we all acquire in life.

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Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, TToT

TToT: Alright January … Enough Already! #HolocaustMemorialDay #10Thankful

When asked by author Angela Yuriko Smith what we’re looking for, Editor-in-Chief JT Lachausse replied:

“We want what you haven’t seen. Allow me to be dramatic: Imagine that every piece of art is represented by a stone. Many stones make up the mountains and buildings, but even more hide beneath the surface. We are so familiar and fond of the overground rocks, but in the caves and oceans-deep, there are stories that tell things wildly. Desperately, furiously, without great laborious sanitizing or editorial puncturing.”

This is the kind of writing I want to be doing.

And, if I’m not, that’s on no one but me.
The
Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for
Just Jot It January
and the writing it has helped me do all month long, but even good things must come to an end.

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I hear, when going through a rough time, that it can’t last forever. I guess.

I did peter out as the end of the month drew near, but I wanted to share
this here from Judy
because I enjoy her and her blog/writing.

I am thankful for another enjoyable lunch with a friend.

Talk of movies she has not seen (Forget Paris) and drinking mimosas on Valentine’s Day, for brunch and going to hear Margaret Atwood speak in Stratford.

I am thankful for a catch up violin lesson.

Our practice room this time contained a piano and that helped me with my scales.

I am thankful to get the chance to have an introduction conference call with the other writers participating on the project about braille.

I am thankful for the movie
The Post
because of the inspiring role, (Katharine Graham) played expertly by Meryl Streep as a woman who had to make a super hard choice and did it with grace and dignity.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Post_(film)

Not an easy time to be female and in charge of a newspaper like that, having to make the hardest of decisions, so much at stake.

I am thankful I got a chance, before the movie, to speak to the manager in charge at my local theatre.

He couldn’t be of much help with the issue of audio description at Woodstock’s movie theatre, but he gave me the card of the head office out in B.C.

I am still determined to work, this year, on changing this policy of there not being enough demand, so I can see a movie and not have to make family or friends describe while they, too, are trying to enjoy the show.

I am thankful I could listen in on a conference call about
Braille Literacy Canada
and the importance of braille today.

I am thankful for family and their warm, heated homes to flea to, when I wake to a freezing house and such icy cold tile floors.

My heat crapped out again, twice in one month.

I am thankful for a quick fix and heat returns.

A leaf stuck in there, somewhere.

Silly. I am thankful February is near.

Farewell January.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, The Insightful Wanderer

Silence Is Acceptance, #MeToo #HolocaustMemorialDay #JusJoJan

There are many things I would like to speak about, on an ongoing basis. Listening to stories of survivors of the Holocaust, their strength and bravery in speaking on such horrid things, makes me feel like not enough is said as of yet, from all of us and that we all must say something.

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There are a lot of things going on, past and present, that I’d like to
address
and then something stops me from saying anything at all. Fear, but of what?

Just Jot It January, #JusJoJan

I am stuck on the Holocaust and I have been for a long long time. I take breaks from thinking about it, to preserve my sanity, but ultimately this historical event creeps back into my thoughts. I am lucky I can take those breaks. I didn’t experience it, though I know many who did have gone on to live perfectly wonderful lives. It feels haunting, even if I often wonder how I’d have moved on if it had happened to me.

I want to speak on things, to write about them, to make sure people don’t forget. Mistakes are repeated. Humans are doomed to repeat what once was. We can’t seem to help ourselves.

If I speak up on such things, I am told I worry too much, as if I am supposed to forget that if I had lived during the time of World War II I would be considered a waste, as one of the disabled.

Yes, if I’d lived in Europe during that time, if I lived anywhere back then, and even if I lived here, years ago, kidney disease would have killed me.

Morbid, perhaps. Speaking up, or addressing the things that haunt my mind, this unsticks those cobwebs from the furthest corners of my brain.

I am lucky to have an address and a roof over my head, even if my heat does keep crapping out on me. I am lucky to be living in 2018 and celebrating that I was born after the inventions of dialysis and organ transplantation.

I saw Nazis marching in North America, I hear that Poland just made it illegal to mention Poland’s involvement during the Holocaust, and I wonder what to say, what I can say about these furious subjects.

I see people are saying things aren’t so bad, and they aren’t really, but they are for some people and they could be, any day, for more of us. We need to stay vigilant and on guard to halt dangers from reoccurring.

Sexual misconduct and resignations as a result are happening in Canada, in Ontario politics now too. Forget presidents and porn stars. This is not so hard to get, is it?

The men who complain this is going too far, that they can’t even talk to women now, make me want to bang my own head against the wall repeatedly.

Pop culture. Politics. Personal space. Is it really so hard for men to not act inappropriately with women and young girls? Really? Reeeeeeally?

It is maddening. I want to keep addressing all these things, to make people get along, and to practice tolerance and compassion. What is it going to take?

TELL ME!!!

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Happy Hump Day, Memoir and Reflections, Shows and Events, Special Occasions, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel, TravelWriting, Writing

After the Summer Writing Workshop: Back to The Real World

I can relate, so well to these thoughts on what a week that’s all about writing can be. Thanks, as I look back on one year ago, this week, goes to: Amy, Donna, John, Jen, Kerra, Sara, Angela, Kristin, Lisa, Susan, and everyone else I met during that magical workshop in Mexico.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

fastBy Melissa Fast

I noticed the moseying around the quiet little town of Gambier, Ohio—stop by the Amish basket maker, peek in the bookstore one more time, grab a bite to eat at the Village Inn (Ohhh, the tater tots).  Suitcases were already packed and most of the writing workshop participants had boarded shuttles to the airport or loaded up the car and left. The few of us who remained didn’t want to leave. The spell would be broken.

I know I’m not the only one who thought it. Once home, I scrolled through Facebook and Twitter feeds and saw the same kind of sentiment—magical, fantastic, unbelievable. Status updates tried to encase the week-long experience of TheKenyon Review Writers Workshop, perhaps to hang on just a bit longer.

I more than willingly entered this other world. For an entire week, I was spellbound in words. I dis-remembered contrary…

View original post 604 more words

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Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir Monday, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

Sigh – And The Search Continues, #JusJoJan

I say I crave it, but it’s hard to obtain it.

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I can’t seem to
find the silence
in all that goes on.

the buzzing inside my own head. I think too much, about too many unanswerable questions.

I can’t stand the silence sometimes, seconds ticking by. I always have something going, playing, to occupy my thoughts, though they run on and on anyway. When I go to sleep I always have music on in the background or Netflix on my phone. I listen until sleep overtakes me.

I live with sound in the daylight hours too. My computer and my phone have voice software to read my emails and text messages. I have separate sounding notification beeps to alert me to what comes through my phone. I am constantly listening for those.

I listen to the birds and the sirens and other vehicles, just outside my window. I listen for my dog to inevitably bark at something and I listen for a sign that my cat is nearby. He doesn’t meow as much as he chirps you see.

I listen for a knock at my door because my doorbell hasn’t been functional in years.

I listen because I can barely see.

I wrote about
darkness
a few days ago, for Just Jot It January.

I feel blown away that someone’s worst fear would be to lose their sight, but I know the feeling. I also know that the thought of losing my ability to hear is simply unthinkable to me.

Just Jot It January, #JusJoJan

And the search for silent moments, for peace and quiet, all while thankful I have the ability to hear the sound if I choose, it continues.

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