Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake, Song Lyric Sunday, Spotlight Sunday

Stung and Still Standing, #Purple #EpilepsyAwarenessDay #SongLyricSunday

“No dress rehearsal. This is our life.”
—The Tragically Hip

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I am fascinated by history and by time passing, as it does with every year of life I get to live.

This week I was initially stumped by the theme for
Song Lyric Sunday
which was about healing.

I’ve done a lot of that, physical scars and emotional ones too. For some reason though, I couldn’t think of a song. Then I watched the newest interpretation of the Anne of Green Gables story and heard their theme song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QE2joQsWXJg

This song was included on a CD I received, as a get well gift, twenty years ago. This was back when I hardly had more than a few CD’s and barely even a CD player to play them in.

I walked to the nurses station and felt the funny cardboard case in my hand. As a thirteen-year-old girl, I thought the lyrics of this song strange, baffling, yet humorous.

***

First thing we’d climb a tree
and maybe then we’d talk
Or sit silently
and listen to our thoughts
With illusions of someday
casting a golden light
No dress rehearsal,
this is our life

And that’s where the hornet stung me
And I had a feverish dream
With revenge and doubt
Tonight we smoke them out

You are ahead by a century (this is our life)
You are ahead by a century (this is our life)
You are ahead by a century

Stare in the morning shroud
and then the day began
I tilted your cloud,
you tilted my hand
Rain falls in real time
and rain fell through the night
No dress rehearsal,
this is our life

But that’s when the hornet stung me
And I had a serious dream
With revenge and doubt
Tonight we smoke them out

You are ahead by a century (this is our life)
You are ahead by a century (this is our life)
You are ahead by a century
You are ahead by a century (this is our life)
You are ahead by a century (this is our life)
You are ahead by a century

And disappointing you is getting me down

Lyrics

***

This song’s lyrics aren’t specifically about healing, but when I remember the girl I was, upon holding that cardboard case, I remember the hospital in Toronto I was standing in. I had done a lot of healing, multiple surgeries between ages twelve and sixteen, and I had so much ahead of me, not all so easy to heal from.

But I was receiving a fresh start, a kidney from my father, and would I make a good life for myself with what I was being given? I was lucky to be alive, to have the best medical care possible, and I had all my life in front of me.

I still don’t know if I am appreciative enough of what that time of healing and sacrifice from my family, from so many medical professionals, brought – if I have made them all proud enough. It’s enough to show a person, at a young age, that life is precious and these lyrics now carry the greatest of weights to me, if not then.

Today is World Epilepsy Day.

Purple

Twenty years later and I now worry about my brother, with every seizure he has. The brain is a miraculous thing, with all the wear and tear it can go through and how it can heal. At least we both have working kidney transplants, for this moment, because who knows what time will bring.

Multiple surgeries, countless needles, and I’m still afraid of being stung by a hornet.

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Lamb vs Lion, #SoCS

This is supposed to be the time and place to just write, whatever it is that comes to miming, through my fingers on the keys.

Right? Yeah. I’m working through it all.

I focus on one month at a time, trying not to look too far ahead of myself in this year that feels vital somehow. It’s 2017 and it’s only the third month in. I still have a chance to do something great.

January was great. January was Mexico. So far, not much can top that. It’s hard when starting a new year with such an adventure, so long waited for, but I try to keep an open mind about the possibilities I could still discover are on the way.

I feel like I want to do something. As the day of that January
march
was taking place, I was not in the crowds of faces, all carrying signs and there to fight back.

I was in a hotel room, in Detroit Michigan and watching it all unfold on the television. I had other things on my mind, as I felt traveling alone was enough of a sign, symbolic that I would not hide away any longer. I would be seen and I would do something for me.

I, as a woman, I had my immediate goal of making it to Mexico by myself, which I didn’t know would turn out so well, not at the time.

I want to do something, since then, all the more. I will take steps, in this month of newness of a season.

With both Women’s History Month and recently it having been the International Women’s Day, I wonder still what we women should be, what we are expected to be from society.

Are we the gentle, feminine lamb or the strong, fierce lioness?

I fear being lost in those crowds. That day wasn’t only an U.S. thing. It was done all over the world. It’s sometimes like the U.S. is the only place that matters, or that’s how the world sees it coming from the centre of North America, but we all want justice and respect.

So, my inability to see my way through such massive bunches of people means I fight in other ways, I march in other manifestations.

I use technology to my advantage. I look to those who have seen more and are working to bring change.

We don’t have to be one or the other. We can be lambs and lions, as this month suggests, even when that scares some of the less enlightened among us.

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Flying High, #SongLyricSunday

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

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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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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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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…

View original post 231 more words

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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…

View original post 1,039 more words

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Feminism, Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, Special Occasions, Spotlight Saturday, TToT

TToT: Relax! It’s Only A Cane – Daylight Savings, #10thankful

I walk around like this all the time now, trying to defuse situations where there could be some fear going on.

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I tell them they can relax, that it’s only a white cane. I won’t whack them with it, not on purpose or very hard anyway, just as long as they stay in line.

I suppose, it would have made even more sense if I’d actually been holding the object I am speaking about. I should have taken another one, one where I’m actually holding my white cane in the photo.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for this t-shirt.

Abigail Style

I like how Steph of
Bold Blind Beauty
has gone the extra mile, trying to spread the message of strength and empowerment that a lot of the slogans on the shirts, bags, and mugs she has created show the world.

I am always happy to help spread this message with Steph. I chose this shirt because I myself still battle the feelings I have about my white cane. I know how others see it, don’t always understand it, but I don’t want it to make people wary. I just want to be able to use it to see more of the world safely.

I must admit, I do enjoy its sarcastic tone though. It’s my kind of humour.

I am thankful my friend Kerra was challenged to post any 80s song, for an entire week, on Facebook and that I took on that challenge from her.

I will include, throughout this TToT post, the seven songs I chose.

Everything In My Heart

Corey Hart, 1985

I am thankful I received a payment for work I did.

I have a lot of feelings around trying to contribute, to develop a career for myself, but in the arts nothing’s a sure thing. All my insecurities about not feeling useful have followed me for years, and I know this is just one fairly small amount, but it’s a big deal to me. I wrote something and I was paid for that service I provided. I created something and I am glad it was so well received. I hope to build on this.

Never Tear Us Apart

INXS, 1987

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I am thankful for an awesome first meeting of Mya and her cousins.

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It was so sweet, the way my niece and nephew wanted to hold their new little cousin, how they doted over her and were so gentle…yet so very excited.

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He is not the youngest of the group anymore.

Mad World

Tears For Fears, 1982

I am thankful for a day to celebrate women.

People Are People

Depeche Mode, 198

This song fits the theme of the day. We are all just people, so why does misogyny continue on such a level as we currently see?

I wrote a piece, and the debate about what feminism is or isn’t or if it’s a good or a bad thing could go on forever, but I think International Women’s Day should just be a day to celebrate women and girls, and how far we’ve come, and are still going.

I am thankful for all the lessons having kidney disease has taught me in the last twenty years.

March 9th is World Kidney Day and every year I reflect on all that my journey through kidney failure taught me, the bad and less so.

I still want to write more extensively on that time in my life. I struggle to know how to go about this. I could blog about it forever, but a book is still my goal.

Now that I’m arriving at the 20 year mark, 1997 being the year I was taken off dialysis and went on to live with a working kidney once more.

World Kidney Day is to educate people on the symptoms of kidney failure, but mine was a bit of a unique case. It’s about my gratitude that I had good doctors and that a medical treatment like dialysis even exists, because without it, I don’t even like to think.

I Can’t Stand The Rain

Tina Turner, 1985

I am thankful for a chance to hold Mya while she slept.

Whenever You Need Somebody

Rick Astley, 1987

She sat and slept upright, wouldn’t straighten out any, so that’s how she stayed. I felt her steady breathing, in and out, and her faint newborn sounds. I didn’t sleep, but it was as close to a peaceful state as I have felt in a long time.

It was a feeling I never wanted to end, but eventually, the newborn must eat.

She is just so sweet though, like a little doll.

I will always be here for you Mya, whenever you need somebody, because what you’ve given me, in only the first few weeks of your life, this is impossible to calculate.

I’m thankful for more perspective on the state of racism today, with an in depth documentary that aired on TV here in Canada the other night.

One movie can’t end racism in Canada — but ‘The Skin We’re In’ will fuel the fight

Canadian journalist Desmond Cole has been an outspoken face for racial issues in our current climate. He pushes the limits, which is what good journalists do, but he has a deep personal iron in the fire that still burns, the tension that’s often revved up by events in the news, but he has experienced racism himself.

I have not dealt with racism, but I have experienced ablism. I try to understand because I know what it’s like to be judged on appearance. That’s how most people judge, on meeting someone, as the visual is the first thing most people have to go by. It’s far past the time to quit judging without hearing the individual stories first.

I am thankful for a violin lesson that focused on the art of practicing.

My teacher showed me some helpful techniques for the days I am on my own, but worrying I am setting myself back instead of making progress, by the ineffective practicing I may be doing.

CURING UNSTEADY TEMPO SYNDROME

I have felt like I am stuck, unable to overcome this hump I find myself blocked by. I needed to really and truly break down the song I’ve been playing, to strengthen the skills that most need to be strengthened.

Heart of Stone

Cher, 1989

I am thankful for a new Lindsey Stirling song.

Love’s Just A Feeling

I tried to be the teacher, showing someone the proper way to play my violin, and boy were they in trouble.

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Well, with me as the teacher anyway.

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Winter is making one last appearance. The snow is falling. I am bracing myself for the possibilities. Snow is a pain, but it really is a beautiful pain.

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