1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Bucket List, FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, TGIF, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel

Peeps! #TGIF #FTSF

I went for the slang for my title this week, for people, but because Easter is near, all I thought about was the boyfriend from my past who loved those marshmallow bunny treats. He got so excited when he found coloured ones, and there could have been strange flavours too. He bought many packs and some went stale in the pantry.

I never could stand the things, those Peeps. Not my choice for an Easter treat. Give me some good old Easter chocolate, thank you very much.

But I like the alternative word for people.

The people we meet change us. At least, they have me, but choosing only some felt like an impossible task. Otherwise, I knew this post had the frightening potential of going on far too long and losing its impact on any perspective readers.

I started with my Easter story to begin with, to fit one more of those people in, ever so briefly, but this post isn’t about that. I simply could not neglect the connection between Peeps and peeps while I had it, right there and ready to go.

Whether it’s a chance meeting, one that lasts only minutes or hours, or one that develops into something longer term I could spend this post thanking people, as I did for my one year of blogging here.

Kind and Generous

My brother met a friend by being in an Apple store. The friend saw two blind guys looking at technology and made the decision to approach them and introduce herself. These were three people that never would have met each other and just so happened to be in that store at the same time.

I previously mentioned the kind woman and her husband who helped me out, in the Dallas Airport, out of the goodness of their hearts.

I want to write about the people I met at the writing workshop in Mexico in January. Each of them are fondly known to me now, all those I will never forget, for the things they taught me that week.

That, too, would take more than this here post. I am still working on the brevity thing. They all deserve their thanks and time. Perhaps this should be a “The People We Meet” series.

I like to sit and think, when I can’t decide which of them to write about first, on the people I’m still to meet in my life. It’s those I am not yet aware of that fascinate me, nearly as much as those I already know, because we are all unknown to one another until we’re not. Maybe that’s a sign of never being satisfied with what I have, with all those connections I’ve already been lucky to have made, but my curious mind can’t help it.

Every time a car passes I wonder who’s in it, what they like or dislike, or what they value in life. Though I may likely never know the answer to my questions about those currently passing my house in their vehicles, I will never stop wandering through life, open to any people, just as those I’ve already met were once unknown to me and me them.

So much of what is going on in the world is us all being scared, by perceived fears of terrorism or mass human migrations or whatever, but mostly by the fear of the unknown and the unfamiliar. We need to familiarize ourselves with other people. You just never know when a person you randomly meet could become one of your favourite peeps one day. This means I can capitalize the word, as mine in my own life certainly deserve that – a position to be in, so sweet, sweeter than any marshmallow.

They could eventually become someone who makes you laugh, makes you think, or makes you want to become a better human being yourself. I know all this is and has been true for me, with Mexico only one of the more recent prime examples.

For the sake of choosing one, I will focus this time on my writing mentor.

We met over social media and here online, developed a respect for each other and our writing, with a mentorship coming from that.

But it wasn’t until we met in person, were able to hug each other, and feel the physical presence of one another in the same place did I truly appreciate it all for what it was and what it could be. I will always have the greatest respect and admiration for her, with everything she does, no matter what else may happen or where life may take us.

Again, I resort to wanting to thank people, and so I wish I could lay out precisely how meeting so many of the people I’ve been privileged to meet has affected my life and the woman I am.

Most recently it’s neighbours. I am not the best neighbour, but I don’t play loud music – anymore.

I am not a bad person to live next to, especially if you like your peace and quiet. In fact, you might hardly even believe anyone (myself) even lived there.

I find it difficult, without seeing, to make first contact. It’s funny how you can be in the right place at the right time, one small window of it, and meet someone, but you could also live next door to people for years and never really speak to or know them. This time, my new neighbour introduced herself and seems to be looking out for me, before we’ve gotten to speak more than a handful of times. I take this to be a positive sign of things to come.

I may have blown it this time, with my Finish the Sentence Friday post being all over the place, but I blame that on a stomach ache and brain so full of swirling thought and a neurotic mind that thought I needed to write my FTSF post on a Friday, instead of giving it a day or two, in the hopes that I could ever possibly narrow down my stories of the people I’ve met to one lone blog post.

Plus, I had a violin lesson today and that always affects me. If it was a lesson where I couldn’t focus and nothing seemed to be working, I would feel dejected. In today’s case though, I felt it working and now I am feeling exhilarated, which both ways means I am all over the map.

While speaking of violin lessons, my violin teacher is another one of those cases of the people I am lucky to have met. Today we had a long talk about a lot, half deep violin discussion/related and assorted subject matter and half actual practicing.

I’m just glad I at least wrote something this week. I guess it’s easier sometimes to write about other people, while avoiding myself, but in the process I hope I show a glimpse of me in there somewhere too.

Thanks Kristi.

Finding Ninee is one of those peeps I have not yet met in person, but whom I feel a special bit of a bond with, just through this blogging thing and such, for the fighting she does for her son, as any parent should. I really need to write an article, one where I interview my own mother, Kristi, and other parents of children with disabilities or special needs. They are good peeps…some of the best out there.

Joining Kristi for this week’s FTSF is
Marda Sikora
who also writes about this subject.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Book Reviews, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes

A Review of Sonya Huber’s Pain Woman Takes Your Keys and Other Essays from a Nervous System

Oh so many pain scales. People are always wanting a word so that they can understand. We need more books like this to explain the experience firsthand. This is brave.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

huber_frontby Vivian Wagner

This is a book about pain. Chronic, searing, never-ending pain—a pain that’s shaped Sonya Huber’s life for years. It’s also a book about the language of pain, the discourse of pain, and her gradual movement toward being able to talk and write about her experience with this mysterious thing that dominates her life.

As someone who hasn’t yet experienced chronic pain, I relied on Huber to draw me into her world, to show me what it feels like, to allow me to begin to understand an experience that many of us will, eventually, know first-hand. And she takes on this project masterfully, introducing her readers to pain just as she might introduce a family member. By the end of the book, I’d begun to see my current pain-free state as an aberration, as a temporary fiction, and I was grateful that she’d facilitated my entry into a world…

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, Poetry, Song Lyric Sunday, Spotlight Sunday, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel

Flying High, #SongLyricSunday

If I could have one super power, I would want to fly like a bird.

NHFNDDb.jpg

Some songs get covered more than others.

Love me a well executed
cover song,
but I had trouble choosing one.

I thought there would be so many I wouldn’t know which one to pick, but then I drew a blank. Perhaps there are just too many that my mind wouldn’t come up with any at all.

Oh, wait…here’s one:

The great Leonard Cohen originally wrote it, but this is the one I know from my childhood. (Lyrics may vary slightly.)

***

Like a bird on the wire, like a drunk in a midnight choir I have tried in my way to be free.
Like a worm on a hook, like a knight from some old fashioned book I have saved all my ribbons for thee.
If I, if I have been unkind, I hope that you can just let it go by.
If I, if I have been untrue I hope you know it was never to you.
Like a baby, stillborn, like a beast with his horn I have torn everyone who reached out for me.
But I swear by this song and by all that I have done wrong I will make it all up to thee.
I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch, he said to me, “You must not ask for so much.”
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door, she cried to me, “Hey, why not ask for more?”
Oh like a bird on the wire, like a drunk in a midnight choir I have tried in my way to be free.

Here are Cohen’s lyrics.

***

I liked this Neville Brothers rendition and sound, as a child, because I heard them singing about a bird, up on a wire and flying free.

So many parts of life feel like restraints. I have always imagined, when I’ve heard a bird fly overhead, that I could be free up there too, with a new and different overview and perspective on the world.

What super power would you choose and why? What is your favourite song covered?

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

The Tyranny of Now, #SoCS

Ah, what can I say, really? *throws hands in the air*

Some things feel so futile. Ah, the futility of it all.

Sometimes, I tell you…
mankind –
the whole thing blows my mind.

***

Your Memories on Facebook

Kerry, we care about you and the memories you share here. We thought you’d like to look back on this post from 2 years ago.

(Awww, thanks Facebook. Apparently, I was feeling perplexed.)

March 18th, 2015

Yesterday I visited a Holocaust exhibit, a series of black and white photos of men and women who lived through it.

It was at the Kitchener Museum.

Then I went home and came across the mad rantings of a KKK member on television.

Last night apparently St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated with wild colours of green from the Northern Lights at several spots around the world. Proof that the beautiful things still exist and can outshine all ugliness.

It’s still all so baffling to me.

—Then and now…

***

I resist speaking of it here, trying to hold in my frustration, but this felt like the worst day yet, in some ways, full of ridiculous words and attitudes, and I can’t believe the dismantling of the U.s. happening before our very eyes.

This week we see, is Holland smarter than those who came before them, when deciding possible fate of their country? Is it, indeed possible, for man or woman to learn a lesson in this day and age?

Maybe so. Maybe.

Germany, standing stoic and silent in the presence of such nonsense and self interest.

Destruction. Such a farce. That a fool of a man can gain such power in this world, boggles the mind. And so the whole world gawks, laughs, and cries at what now exists, feels unstoppable.

And all I think the world feels about it too, a growing shame, but I respect so many who are citizens and throwing up their hands, just like me, feeling somewhat secure (for the moment) here I am, in Canada.

When I heard the prompt “man” I immediately thought of one…one man I avoid saying anything about here, whenever possible.

This is not a political or current events blog. It’s just me.

I can’t predict, from day to day, but it’s such a feeling of disgust, and in time this post could be scrutinized too, with reports of phones and other devices being checked upon entry, or possible non entry as the case may now be.

Does crossing over one border in particular even seem like the wise option for the foreseeable future anyway? How much will cross border visits, tourism fault from the tensions that keep increasing?

Places like Canada may suffer for the border share, a part of America, just as much as the U.S.

How it feels that we now have human beings sneaking across from them. The issues this creates, as humanity sometimes feels scarce and then, there are those, some willing to fight for a compassionate solution. And Canada then makes the papers, glowing reviews of our virtues, bestowed by the New York Times.

We are a country and we fumble as we try.

And then…the best and the brightest, hesitating to attempt the land of the free, once full of such promise. Now, will Canada reap the benefits?

Meanwhile, the whole world suffers and seems to spiral into turmoil. Of course, this could just be my personal theatrics. Who can say really.

Man, oh man!

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FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake, TGIF

Salty Sweet, Bittersweet #TGIF #FTSF #pieceOfCake

My father was never the beer drinking father, like most kids had. He was the Coke drinking father who was always available to be designated driver.

“Can me and Brian split a can of Coke?” I would shout from the top of the stairs, down to my parents in the basement. We always had Coke in the house, or practically always, but I still always felt like I must receive permission from my parents to have any. I like to think I had a healthy respect for them, most of the time, asking before taking. We had a good life, but our parents taught us a healthy gratitude for everything we got.

One of us would get the can and the other, they would get the half of the can poured into a glass. It was often the two of us, brother and sister against the world.

When I was 11 I was like any other kid my age, growing up in the mid nineties, and wanting what we call, in Canada, not soda, but pop. I loved sugar, but I also craved salt.

I began to sneak those fast food restaurant salt packets. I would eat the salt off of Pretzels and I even sprinkled salt on my potato chips because they weren’t salty enough.

How many eleven-year-old kids crave salt? It would have been a tough choice, at that age, between a can of sugary pop or a bag of extra salty snacks, but, at a certain point, around age eleven, the salty snacks would have won. By necessity. Something in my body needed, demanded it.

This is what would change my life forever. I had been born blind and lived that way, just another part of who I was. After my eleventh year, there was no denying that something was very wrong.

It’s been more than twenty years since that eleven-year-old craved sugar and so much salt. My kidney disease was growing worse. The nausea was increasing. The fatigue was putting me in bed right after dinner, almost nightly, feeling so weak and unable to run and play like I’d always done, like kids did.

This was the year after I celebrated my tenth birthday, with friends at McDonalds. (A paradise and a sugar/salt lover’s dream come true.)

After the year of the Beverly Hills 90210 poster and the Mariah Carey cassette given to me for my tenth birthday…I was not well as my next few birthdays came and went. I was not expecting to spend so much time in bed, on the couch, unable to eat anything other than that salty, processed, packaged chicken noodle soup made in a pot on the stove.

Bowls and bowls of the stuff were consumed by eleven-year-old Kerry.

I will never forget what it felt like to be eleven and drifting away from any semblance of a normal childhood. The next few years would be trying ones, but I am who I am today because of it all.

Both the salty and the sweet, bittersweet memories of a childhood, never boring.

This was more of the story I’ve been writing for twenty years, the one I want to continue writing, from the year I was eleven and unwell. It was brother and sister, always, and my brother would follow my footsteps, getting sick like me, three years later when he turned eleven.

This was the prompt for
Finish the Sentence Friday
this week.

Kristi, the orchestrator of all of this, she gave me the idea to start with the can of Coke. Read her post by clicking on the link above to see where I drew tonight’s inspiration for the prompt.

What were you doing when you were eleven?

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Book Reviews, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Memoir and Reflections, Writing

About a Microwave

Hahahaha, wow. This microwave thing is really catching on.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

31qKXbCJokLBy Dinty W. Moore

I am reviewing a blank book.  The pages are entirely empty – not a single word.  That makes it nonfiction, yes?

Because there is no fiction printed within.

And the title is Alternative Facts.

Facts are nonfiction, yes?

This is important, because the Brevity blog only reviews books of nonfiction.

So here is my review:

It is an interesting book. A quick read. The paper is nice. The cover feels solid. The entire package fits neatly in your hand.

By the way, royalties from sales of the book are being donated to ProPublica by the publisher, Abrams. ProPublica is an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.

So there we go.  More facts. More nonfiction.

61Pta82itsLI am beginning to feel pretty good about my book review. I might write some of my good feelings down – in the book, on the…

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Happy Hump Day, Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake, Writing

Three Reasons I Could Stop Writing Memoir But Won’t

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

zz ronitBy Ronit Feinglass Plank

I had been writing fiction and wanted to try nonfiction, so I began with personal essays. I didn’t think memoir was for me; in fact I was deliberately avoiding it. I didn’t see a reason to revisit the facts of my confusing childhood and thought memoir wouldn’t be as challenging as creating a world from scratch and putting characters in it. To tell my own story, the story I knew by heart, seemed almost too easy.

I could not have been more wrong. I was about to discover that looking at something you think you know pretty well with fresh eyes and trying to understand it in a new way is definitely not easy. I did try writing several personal essays but the history of how I grew up kept barging in, taking up more and more space. It seemed part of me really wanted to…

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