Bucket List, FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Special Occasions, Spotlight Sunday

The Summer of My Dreams, #FTSF

I’m visiting with my old friend and, somehow, we end up running into another, a reunion thought to likely never happen.

Then, yet another old friend meets up with us, we go swimming, and end up in water which starts to become wavy. We try to get out, but a bunch of slippery, soggy dolphin-like creatures begin to drop into the water and I am taken aback, before getting bitten by one of them as I struggle to get onto land again.

I’m back in the old friend’s house, like we’re kids once more, but different somehow.

Then I am with a boyfriend (a lot like an actual ex) who speaks about how it is to date a woman who is blind, as people we pass when we’re out comment. I have a guide dog in there somewhere.

Then we’re at a party, with lots of relatives, and he lets it slip to everyone (without asking me if the time is right) that we’re engaged. This isn’t our celebration. We’re there to celebrate something else…someone else, and the crowd goes silent at this guy’s nerve to ruin the day for others.

If you hadn’t guessed it, these are just some of the things I’ve been dreaming lately. Recently my dreams have been more frequent and seemed a lot clearer. Different somehow. I wonder if a recently started medication has done this. It’s only been since start of summer and here we are at the mid point.

Summertime is half way over, and I have been making it all about my writing.. Really, June was my month for new experiences and fun times I won’t soon forget. Then the really hot temperatures arrive and I sort of hibernate inside my house.

Sure, I’m sitting inside with my laptop, instead of making the most of this warm July weather. Though, I prefer fall. I know most people think me strange for this.

The summer maybe means less to me now because it’s no longer my summer holidays, off from school. Still, the heat gives me headaches, humidity causing me to become slow and foggy, in limbs and head. I make great use of AC and only go out for small bouts of summertime.

I do enjoy hearing the sounds of families walking together passed my house, the noises of the new family out playing together who just moved in across the street. This makes me happy for summer.

I’ve been doing yoga to calm my troubled mind.

Both my nephews were born in the summer and for that I celebrate.

Camping and sitting by the fire, roasting marshmallows. Days at the beach. Pool parties. Baseball. BBQs and ice cream.

Writing isn’t normally on that list of summer fun, but I have been working hard at it, at making some of my dreams come true. I should have three or four pieces out by the time summer comes to an end.

Was it worth missing out on all that?

Well, the summer is not over yet.

Summertime sweet memories made
with Kristi of Finding Ninee for this week’s Finish the Sentence Friday.

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Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee #AtoZChallenge

Many people are afraid of heights. I seek them out, to a point.

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This does not mean I mountain climb for fun.

The A to Z Challenge – Z is for Zip Lining

I will admit that being blind means I can’t look out (from the edge of a tower or overlooking a waterfall) and see how high I am. This may detract from some of the fear most people understandably hold.

I may not be able to see it, but my rational comprehension tells me where I am. I will go zip lining at Niagara Falls in June, 2017, twenty years after I went to sleep living one kind of life, waking to a whole new one.

I will do it, surrounded by family and friends, overlooking my favourite natural wonder of the world.

Do not take anything in life for granted. We may not get to all live one way or another. We should be appreciative when we get to experience the things in life that make living so worthwhile.

***This is my first year of joining the A to Z Challenge and so I’ve decided to post randomly, as a way for new visitors to my blog to get to know me a little better. I look forward to discovering some interesting new blogs too.

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Only When I Breathe #SongLyricSunday

How can I put this? How can I possibly make people understand how it feels?

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I struggled with these kinds of questions for many years. Pain can be physical or emotional. Both, I know now, are comparable.

This song is not her biggest hit. I’d say Melissa Etheridge was at the top of her game in the nineties, but this one came out a few years after I’d started experiencing daily pain around the year 2000, from either headaches or somewhere in the rest of my body, mostly my limbs, but really a sensitivity to the touch.

This song was likely about emotional pain, which most songs are about, but by this time Melissa probably experienced both, within relationships or physically because of the breast cancer she was diagnosed with.

***

I, played the fool today
I just dream of vanishing into the crowd
Longing for home again
Home, is a feeling I buried in you
I’m alright, I’m alright
It only hurts when I breathe
And I can’t ask for things to be still again
No I can’t ask if I could walk through the world, in your eyes
Longing for home again
Home, is a feeling I buried in you
I’m alright, I’m alright
It only hurts when I breathe
I’m alright, I’m alright
It only hurts when I breathe
My window through which nothing hides And everything sees
I’m counting the signs and cursing the miles in between
Home
Home, is a feeling I buried in you, that I buried in you
I’m alright, I’m alright
It only hurts when I breathe
I’m alright, I’m alright
It only hurts when I breathe, when I breathe
Yeah, it only hurts when I breathe, when I breathe
Oh,it only hurts when I breathe

LYRICS

***

It’s hard to make people understand. We all experience emotional pain from loss of a loved one or other family troubles. Love ends. People leave.

Most of us get a headache or the flu or a broken bone at some point in our lives. I know that child birth can be painful, not from personal experience but from those who have felt it, but I know that pain fades because of the reward for it in the existence of a precious child. Most acute pain fades from our memory as time passes.

It’s chronic pain that is hard to explain because most people, like the thought of living life as a blind person, can’t or don’t want to think too hard about it, don’t want to imagine that happening to them, but living with chronic pain changes you. It’s changed me.

The awful pain scale is a familiar way to help people understand, but pain is subjective and one’s ten is another’s seven. If ten is the worst pain you’ve ever experienced, what was that worst pain? Everyone has had such varied experiences with pain that it makes it hard to rate sufficiently.

Stabbing…throbbing…dull…sharp…pounding…and so on and so forth.

I’ve only found a few people in my life who truly understood it. One of them is gone, so I am greatly familiar with both emotional and physical pain from many sources.

I decided this
Song Lyric Sunday
I would focus more on the physical side, as I’ve written plenty on emotional pain already.

I don’t talk a lot about living with chronic pain, here or elsewhere, because I don’t believe people truly want to hear about it too often. This song brings it up in the chorus though, as saying “it only hurts when I breathe.” While coming off sounding dramatic, this one line certainly gets the point across.

Don’t get me wrong, I love breathing, but I could do without the pain.

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The Rain Falls On My Tongue #SongLyricSunday

“What’s new? How’s the weather? Is it stormy where you are? You sound so close but it feels like you’re so far.”

—Billie Myers, Kiss The Rain

April brings the rain.

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For the first time in several months, when water falls from the sky, it falls as rain instead of snow.

I saw the prompt and immediately thought of Madonna or Adele. Then a lesser known song from my teenage years came into my mind.

This song appeared on a compilation CD I got as a gift and first I thought it was Tracy Chapman. She sounds similar.

I liked this song, as a confused teenaged girl.

***

Hello, can you hear me?
Am I getting through to you?
Hello, is it late there?
Is there laughter on the line?
Are you sure you’re there alone
‘Cause I’m trying to explain?
Something’s wrong
You just don’t sound the same
Why don’t you?
Why don’t you go outside?
Go outside
Kiss the rain
Whenever you need me
Kiss the rain
Whenever I’m gone too long
If your lips feel lonely and thirsty
Kiss the rain
And wait for the dawn
Keep in mind
We’re under the same sky
And the night’s
As empty for me as for you
If you feel
You can’t wait till morning
Kiss the rain, kiss the rain, kiss the rain
Hello, do you miss me?
I hear you say you do
But not the way I’m missing you
What’s new? How’s the weather?
Is it stormy where you are?
You sound so close but it feels like you’re so far
Oh, would it mean anything
If you knew
What I’m left imagining
In my mind, my mind
Would you go? Would you go?
Kiss the rain
As you fall over me
Think of me, think of me
Think of me, only me
Kiss the rain
Whenever you need me
Kiss the rain
Whenever I’m gone too long
If your lips
Feel hungry and tempted
Kiss the rain
And wait for the dawn
Keep in mind
We’re under the same sky
And the nights
As empty for me as for you
If you feel
You can’t wait till morning
Kiss the rain
Kiss the rain
Kiss the rain
Kiss the rain
Kiss the rain
Kiss the rain
Kiss the rain
Hello, can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?

LYRICS

***

This has been another
Song Lyric Sunday
and here’s to the cleansing power of the rain.

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Chasing Horizons, #SongLyricSunday

Road trips are one of my favourite things.

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This song, any time it comes on, reminds me of sunny days on an open highway.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1D3a5eDJIs

I race toward the horizon. Yet, I am in no hurry.

***

It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down I had the radio on, I was drivin’
Trees flew by, me and Del were singin’ little Runaway I was flyin’
[Chorus:] Yeah runnin’ down a dream That never would come to me Workin’ on a mystery, goin’ wherever it leads Runnin’ down a dream
I felt so good
like anything was possible
I hit cruise control and rubbed my eyes
The last three days the rain was un-stoppable It was always cold, no sunshine
[Chorus]
I rolled on as the sky grew dark
I put the pedal down
to make some time
There’s something good waitin’ down this road I’m pickin’ up whatever’s mine
[Chorus Out]

Lyrics

***

On this lovely April day, the weather is perfectly seasonal and for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday,
I am thinking about taking a road trip.

All the while, I remember those I’ve gone on in the past fondly.

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Past and Passing, #SongLyricSunday

Okay, so I decided to try the A to Z Challenge, on a whim yesterday, but the trick of it is that you are supposed to blog for every letter of the alphabet, each day except Sunday. Well, the challenge began on a Saturday this year, so I guess I can use today to prep for Monday’s post.

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And also I can do my favourite thing of the week.

Song Lyric Sunday #SongLyricSunday

In the month of March (of which we just completed a few days ago) a friend was posting for an 80s music challenge on Facebook. She shared a song from that decade, every day, and then she extended it. I discovered some great ones from her. I joined in for a week, stopped for a week or two, and then thought I would end the month (on the final days which were 30/31st) by posting two more.

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

This is the first of the final two I posted, on March 30th.

I like it because it is a beautiful song by Richard Marx and I love the saxophone solo and the fantasy feeling throughout. Apparently he wrote it about him and his wife and a trip they took to Hawaii together.

Endless Summer Nights, 1988

Sounds like paradise to me.

***

Summer came and left without a warning
All at once I looked and you were gone
And now you’re looking back at me
Searching for a way that we can be like we were before
Now I’m back to what I knew before you
Somehow the city doesn’t look the same
I’d give my life for one more night
Of having you here to hold me tight; oh, please
Take me there again Oh, oh

[Chorus:]
And I remember how you loved me
Time was all we had until the day we said goodbye
I remember every moment of those endless summer nights

I still recall the walks along the beaches
And the way your hair would glisten in the sun
Rising in the afternoon Making love to you under the moon, oh
Do you remember all the nights we spent in silence
Every single breath you took was mine
We can have it all again
Say that you’ll be with me when the sun brings your heart to mine Oh, oh

[Chorus]

There’s only so much I can say So please don’t run away from what we have together
It’s only you and me tonight So let’s stay lost in flight Oh, won’t you please surrender


[Chorus]

Endless Summer Nights (Lyrics)

******

So, I went with A to Z Lyrics because that kind of mirrors the A to Z Challenge and I like coincidences like those.

I like this Richard Marx song because it feels nostalgic and that’s what the eighties feels like to me. He’s looking back on a past memory, a passing thought, vacation in paradise with a lover. The story is told well from Marx’s POV.

I, myself, was born in 1984 and so it’s the decade where I was able to just be a kid, with my family, a simpler time in reflection.

I’ll never get that back and that makes me sad, despite everything I’ve been lucky to have and experience since those years of innocence, when everything was under control in my world and I was taken care of. It feels like so long ago now, a time long gone by.

In the moment, sometimes, it feels like it will last forever, an endless perfect moment or night with someone you loved. Sadly, realistically, it never does.

And one more, likely lesser known 80s song, from my favourite movie of the decade: 3 Men and a Baby.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aznod0Ij43g

BONUS.

Boy, do I love 80s music.

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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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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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Hourglass With Flowing Sand, #GlobalWarming #ClimateChange #SongLyricSunday

“What about deprivation, gluttony, the human nation?”

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Another from my all-time favourite: The Cranberries.

For this week’s
Song Lyric Sunday,
the theme is time.

Is it ticking out on us? Are we running out of it?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AJsLkRbQ74

Tick…tick…tick…tick.

***

We’d better think about the things we say
We’d better think about the games we play
The world went round, around and round
We’d better think about the consequences
We’d better think about the global senses
The time went out, the time went out
What about Chernobyl? What about radiation?
We don’t know, we don’t know
What about deprivation? Gluttony, the human nation?
We don’t know, we don’t know
For me love is all, for me love is all
For me love is all, for me love is all
Time is ticking out
Looks like we screwed up the ozone layer I wonder if the politicians care
And time went out, and time went out
What about our children then? Is there nothing left for them?
We don’t know, we don’t know
For me love is all, for me love is all
For me love is all, for me love is all
Ahh they need oxygen, ahh they need oxygen
For me love is all, for me love is all
For me love is all, for me love is all
Time is ticking out yeah
The time is ticking out

LYRICS

***

More global warming talk…or is it climate change we’re calling it now?

I don’t care what you call it. How much of it did we cause and how much of it can we control or help? How long will science be ignored by religion or plain old ignorance of the mess we’ve made?

I worry about what other governments do. I worry about the oceans not being protected. I worry about what another government and country does or doesn’t do, especially when EPA regulations are being rolled back and we share an amazing natural resource: The Great Lakes.

I wrote about this increasing temperature change thing that’s becoming hard to dispute (though some continue trying anyway).

It was the day in February that my new niece was born, and the weather was so warm that people all over Toronto, on the news, they were ecstatic to be waring t-shirts in the middle of winter. Me…not so much. I wondered just what kind of a situation we were cheering, that my niece and the other children will be inheriting from us older generations.

Are we so selfish and only interested in our comfort levels in the moment that we don’t see, can’t see, won’t see?

Tick…tick…tick…tick…tick…tick…tick…tick…tick…tick…like a clock, counting down the minutes.

And, before you know it, we’re living to see the next ice age. Okay, who knows, but that’s my problem. None of us know what we might be in store for, least of all is me, as I know very little about possible food shortages, famines (already in progress in parts of the world), and more extreme weather patterns and super storms, which we’re seeing all over the place.

If we all want to continue living in a fantasy world of never ending natural resources, this song won’t stop that. I just thought it was poignant, almost twenty years ago when it came out, and we’re reaping the benefits of human greed. What does time change, really?

I’m not going to use the term “blind” to describe what we, as the human species, refuse to see about our time on earth. I can’t see and I am still worried, worried about what a slippery slope it is we may be walking.

I picture that hourglass from The Wizard of Oz. I see the sand or the coloured jewels (red, yellow, green, and blue) like in Harry Potter. I hear the silent sound of grains of sand, falling from top to bottom in that hourglass, singling time we can never ever get back.

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Underdog #CanadianMusic #Canada150 #SongLyricSunday

More respect is needed, for ourselves and toward others. Then the question becomes when does someone not deserve this? After all, isn’t respect earned somehow?

Notice, I said “more” not “absolute”.

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This week,
for Helen’s Song Lyric Sunday,
the subject is “respect”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoWGt6CSJto

I am slowly becoming aware of Canadian artist and performer Ria Mae and this song has been on my mind for a while now.

***
Thoughts On Fire by Ria Mae

All these thoughts on fire, fire
All these thoughts on fire, fire
It would tear me apart to think that you were lying
All these thoughts on fire
And I didn’t listen to your negative reasons
I don’t got time for that sort of thinking
I’m unaware if you’re trying to bring me down
Too busy thinking better thoughts
And I love that so much
I believe, I believe, I believe
I can do it if I want
I believe, I believe
I can do it if I want
I believe, I believe
That everyone’s with me

All these thoughts on fire, fire
All these thoughts on fire, fire
If they tell you you can’t, they’re a liar, liar
All these thoughts on fire

Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh.

Now hold your head up high and listen, listen
No when is good advice, but don’t care what they’re thinking
And I’ll race you to the finish line
I was your favorite underdog
I’m gonna miss that so much

I believe, I believe, I believe
I can do it if I want
I believe, I believe
I can do it if I want
I believe, I believe
That everyone’s with me
All these thoughts on fire, fire
All these thoughts on fire, fire
If they tell you you can’t, they’re a liar, liar
All these thoughts on fire

[Classified:]
Yeah, I was dreaming with a conscience
Tryin’ to stay away from all the cheating and the nonsense
Avoiding all the demons and the monsters
But all these evil demons are the reason that I’m strongest
When I started this I knew that I would conquer
Back when there was no one ever screaming at my concert
Back when there was not a person even at my concert
They were sleeping on me but they ain’t sleeping any longer
But thoughts are on fire, I believe, I believe
I was
[?]
, now I’m free, I can breathe
When they try to hold you back, you push them back harder
Let em know what’s on your mind and then you push a little further

All these thoughts on fire, fire
All these thoughts on fire, fire
If they tell you you can’t, they’re a liar, liar
All these thoughts on fire

Ria Mae Feat. Classified – Lyrics

***

This stuff is hard for everyone, even and especially those who seem to have it all together, but especially too for artists of all kinds.

Just believing we have something of value to contribute, but don’t let that frustration turn to anger when on the search for the elusive respect.

I work on self respect every day. I stumble with it often. I am making more of an effort to expect respect from a world I often feel unheard by.

The title “Thoughts On Fire” is a particularly evocative one for me, as I often feel like I can hardly contain all mine and one spark could be enough for it all to spread out of control. Holding onto some level of control over our feelings is the trick. I have to believe that most of the world doesn’t want me to fail and go unheard all my life, that most are rooting for me to find success and fulfillment.

If I’ve felt like a so-called underdog all my life, what does that mean? How do I handle that? I start by showing respect, wherever possible, any place or circumstance where it is warranted. But whom is it exactly to be the one to establish when and where?

I believe art is one answer. It is truly a thing of beauty and self expression, which must begin with respect for ourselves and other human beings. Do your part, I say to myself and to the rest of the world, to earn this.

Going through life believing the universe is out to get us or that the rest of our world wants us to fail becomes poisonous. As with my own writing, the direction I am trying to take it, I must keep all this and everything I’ve learned about all kinds of respect in mind.

Share ideas, freely, but be mindful and aware of the responsibility which comes with this, for all who feel marginalized, invisible, or unheard.

Mae wrote Thoughts On Fire the day she signed with Sony Music Entertainment Canada: “Despite being told ‘no’ for over a year, I just never stopped believing,” she said.

More about Ria Mae.

Besides wanting to write about my own feelings on the topic of respect, I am happy I can use #SongLyricSunday to showcase some art and artists from my country, often underrated on the world stage, as far as musical talent.

For 2017 and Canada’s 150th birthday, I want to show how we here have some truly talented people. Canada isn’t perfect, but we are slowly gaining respect in the wider world, I think. We have a lot to offer and I do believe every country should earn the respect it gets, by illustrating to the rest of the world what decency can look like. We all could use music and other forms of art to help illustrate the point.

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