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TToT: Mid April and Easter Update #Easter #10Thankful

“No matter what happens, people need to get their stories out. Sometimes I think this is my life’s work: bearing witness, and helping others to bear witness. Bear witness, expel torment, see the red cardinal in the bare tree.”

–Carrie Snyder, “Red cardinal in bare tree”

One of my favourite writers, Canadian writers, and she speaks on what my writing mentor told me, as I grew more comfortable with my own writer status.

We who write, who call ourselves writers live as such. We are constantly observing the world around us, to write it all down when the time is right.

This week’s TToT is a little or a lot muddled all-over-the-place, kind of like my own life right now.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for the chance to see myself in the media.

Check out this commercial. This girl has a YouTube channel and she is a public speaker, on Canadian television.

I believe it is important that the world sees that beauty and these products mean just as much to those of us living with a disability in the world.

I am thankful I could help my sister.

She has stuff to do to get ready for a friend’s wedding next month and she finds it hard to get a lot of it done at home, as she always becomes distracted by stuff that needs to get done around her house.

At mine, I could hold the baby and she could work. Not a bad deal.

I am thankful for yet another helpful violin lesson.

I picked up the second line to Minuet 3 easier than I thought. I really do love this song.

It did require me to use my fourth finger, which is not strong at all. It is difficult to stretch a fourth on the string.

I am thankful for a lovely Easter surprise from my friendly new neighbour.

I was not expecting the gesture of beautifully wrapped chocolates, in tissue paper, with a bow.

She wrote a lovely note with it.

I am thankful for another enlightening episode of Anne.

This one revealed more about characters like Gilbert. This is better than I could have imagined. I love knowing more about people, even fictional people.

I am thankful for the beautifully written verbal audio descriptions on several Canadian television channels, like the CBC when I’m trying to watch an Anne episode.

“The Woman is elegantly dressed and has a kind face.”

I am thankful Canada got something before the U.S. for a change.

Yeah, I said it.

I didn’t realize this one is the same one premiering on Netflix soon.

Either way, it should appear first on Canadian television, as it is our story after all.

I am thankful for women in history who made Canada better.

A novel idea for the 19th century: women are capable of talking about serious issues – Who is Kit?
        
I am thankful I could find out that there seems to be no problem with my plans to try zip lining.

My fear was that they would be hesitant to let anyone try it who is blind. So far, according to the woman I spoke to and her manager, if I will be with a group it shouldn’t be an issue.

I am thankful for the rain and for the warming April weather.

Spring is in the air and you can feel it.

I am thankful for Easter chocolate.

I don’t know what I think about religion. I don’t know what’s going to happen with the world powers, drunk on their desperation for even more. I don’t know what I am doing in my own life even.

I do know I am thankful.

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Thunderbolts and Firewires: The Year That Was 2016, #Farewell2016 #Writing #Podcast

I am feeling a little like I am frozen, and I’m warm while I say that. I don’t need to be out in a snow bank to say it. It is January, a new year, and I am frozen by many fears. I am afraid I will accomplish nothing, that this year of 2016 will be empty and a blank void in my life. I feel frozen by indecision and by uncertainty, but I hope I can find a way to thaw from that feeling of being frozen by all of this, that I can find the courage to take risks and keep moving forward.
I am equal parts afraid and optimistic. I am a lot hesitant and somewhat hopeful. The fear that I could go a whole year and not get anywhere at all clings on tight. On the other hand, I see a wide open year ahead as full of unknown possibility and promise of something great.
You never know the experiences you might have, the events in life that you just can’t plan for, and the people you may meet, who may come into your life for all kinds of reasons, for the short term only or for longer.

IqtN7Cr.jpg

Here I am, a year on from the fear and those remarks I made on my blog at the start of 2016, and a good year for me personally and creatively, trying new things, all by deciding to focus on myself is how 2016 actually turned out.

And now, I end 2016 and begin 2017 by looking back, at the year I’ve just had and ahead to the year to come.

I did it at the end of 2015 with:
My Top Spills and Thrills
of which there had been enough of both to go around.

What a ride! Would 2016 be anything else?

And so, I give you – 2016!

JANUARY

As the January 2016 quote from my blog showed,
I began my year afraid and uncertain and on a bit of a lower note,
with a little
Just Jot It January fun.

Then, to kick things up a notch, I thought the best way to focus on my writing was to take a writing workshop with a Canadian writer I’ve admired since I began blogging and seriously writing.
Carrie Snyder – Obscure CanLit Mama
Her style to creative work was just what I needed and it made me open up and here I am, one year later exactly, off to broaden my writing workshop horizons.

In reality, my brother had just come off a close medical call and was becoming himself again. I had lots to be
thankful for.
I just needed a bit of a push,
some creative inspiration,
and a path for a new direction in my life.

The year 2016 would, by many, be labeled “The Year All the Greats Died…the cursed year” even if you look at that with perspective from other years, past or future.

It began with David Bowie, but for me,
it all started with Snape,
as Bowie hadn’t quite meant to me what he’d meant to many others who felt his loss.

A new year maybe, but a new month meant another
#1000Speak,
focusing on the subject of forgiveness.

With the start of 2016 I decided to start a new Friday tradition.

Thanks to Kristi from
Finding Ninee
I decided to participate in a new blogging exercise
for the first time.

Another first included
Dungeons, Dragons, and Sorcerer’s Spells
but, in the end, it wasn’t for me.

Turns out, the magic of this month has been that I could just write, jot really, and I started to see that I didn’t need to have the rest of the year all figured out in the first thirty-one days.

FEBRUARY

This second month of the year is designated for a cause I know well. It ended up to be my chance to speak my mind about my personal cause and became my first published article of 2016:

To the People Who’ve Never Heard of My Rare Disease – The Mighty

February would end up being a month of
mindfulness and music.

Ten days in, I turned thirty-two and decided to check a big one off of my
bucket list,
and so I went out and rented myself a violin.

Happy Birthday To Me!

I turned another year older.

Harper Lee dies

MARCH

This third month of 2016 would bring more music, as I would discover my theme song for the year and forevermore:
Scars – Emmanuel Jal Feat. Nelly Furtado
and I would officially begin to learn how to play the violin, with lessons that would challenge and reward me, in both big and small ways.

Then, in honour of International Day of Happiness, I wrote a piece for
March’s #1000Speak
about how music makes me happy.

By this point in the year, I decided to cut back on blogging and write more of the memoir I’ve always planned for.

This was the best I could do.

I will keep at it.

March brought with it guest blogging spots and more opportunities for publication, other places than my own blog,
with my second attempt at the #BeReal challenge.

Following this, feminism seemed to be the topic of March as a month.

An interview I’d done with
a proud male feminist
and then a piece I’d written on
International Women’s Day
were both picked up by
The Good Man Project.

As for those we lost in the month of march:

Rob Ford (former mayor of Toronto)

and

Patty Duke, at the end of Women’s History Month, March.

APRIL

I got myself a writing mentor and my lyrics were finally heard.

Don’t Look Back

I was trying to focus, to look ahead, and to plan for what I wanted.

Why Oh Why

The writing mentor was a big deal, for that, as great and knowledgeable as she is and as much guidance as she’s been so far, but it was a sign that I could make writing my future – only I could do that.

April’s #1000Speak was all about vulnerability.

Once again, like during the spring of 2015, I was losing my tool for communication and self expression. This makes me feel vulnerable.

So I appreciated
the share from a friend
and another
guest posting opportunity
from a blogger, a young woman I really admire and have interviewed here before.

Spotlight On Single Strides

The end of April brought with it the death of Prince.

It also brought with it
the death of the loner laptop I was using
and a beautiful gift from a stranger, one which would allow me to write another day.

MAY

Back And Better Than Ever

I’d been pondering the idea of doing a podcast for a while, but couldn’t figure out how to make that work. Then, I brought up the idea with my brother and an idea, our idea, was born.

Taking A Chance

Next, it’s the month to celebrate mothers.

Solid As A Rock

I couldn’t do this without thinking back twenty years.

Frozen In Time

For May’s edition of #1000Speak I focused on
Loving My Self-ish.

The end of May and onward to June always causes me to pause and reflect.

Born Again and Forever Grateful

This time these thoughts would grow to become my next piece to be featured on The Good Man Project.

JUNE

My first Song Lyric Sunday on more than just any old Sunday day.

Following “the month of the Mother,” –
Her Dad Gave Her New Life and Rebirth–Where’s the Father’s Day Card for That?
June will always be a month for me and my father.

Electric Blue Compassion, #1000Speak

JULY

We started with a Facebook page,
and soon that followed with
Episode 1 – Intro To Us
with Ketchup On Pancakes.

On top of the release of the podcast, I jumped at an amazing offer, an invite, which would require a whole lot of planning and a wait of nearly six months.

Would the moment ever get here?

I bet my sister was thinking that same thing, we all were, but her good news was finally a dream come true.

A chance at independence and a new life for my writing and for me and a second child for her.

And so I applied for a newly updated passport and began to count down the months.

I read and wrote one of my rarer than I’d like book reviews.

Then I was approached and invited to write another
guest post
about my life and my day as a blogger.

What is courage anyway? #1000Speak

AUGUST

More lyrics for a second song written and, in celebration of and motivated by that accomplishment,
I decided to return to the visual art of my childhood and an old, familiar kind of creativity.

Up next, speaking of being reminded of being a child,
I reviewed a movie about motherhood,
that I’d gone to see, with my newly pregnant sister, in our own empty theatre.

Weeks before, at the end of May, the lead singer of Canada’s own Tragically Hip announced his fight with brain cancer and all his fans of Canada were listening, especially all across the country, one night in August.

The World Can Learn a Thing or Two From Canada – The Planet D

One beloved Canadian spoke up about his oncoming struggle and we lost someone in our family. I’m glad I got to meet Gerti, at least once that I’ll always remember.

As August came to an end, I made a few hard choices about my writing and what I wanted done with it.

If I made a mistake somewhere in there, I guess it will be mine to make and to own and to learn from.

The questioning would and will continue, no matter the month or the year I’m in.

SEPTEMBER

The first day of this new month was one I’d been waiting for, with the release of a new publication, focusing on what travel should be, the kind I’d like to see.

Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel

I remembered what it was like, moving into my house that I bought with my sister, ten years ago.

Collecting Furniture, Memories, and Emails

Ten years later, my nephew started school and my niece began the first grade. Another loved one passes away. RIP Erica.

I got to feature an interview I’d done with one of my favourite editors/writers.

The Other Awkward Age: My Interview with Jennifer Niesslein

This felt like a giant win and one of the best things to ever happen to this blog.

OCTOBER

Episode 2 – Ingredients Listed with Ketchup On Pancakes

But we weren’t the only ones with the idea of doing a podcast. Apparently, the idea had spread.

The Brevity Podcast

I took an autumn trip, to say goodbye,
with more than just the fall colours
as backdrop.

NOVEMBER

The U.S. makes a big mistake and it’s time to get writing – all the more reason to write.

Nano Nano Nano

“Regarding the influence from his poet-balladeer father, Cohen has said, “He’s tremendously helpful. Forget that I am his son. I was tutored in lyric-writing by Leonard Cohen and I had his sensibilities to draw upon. And I’m not just talking genetically. I could literally talk to the cat and he could lean over my notebook and point to a couple of phrases and say, ‘These are strong, these are weak.’ How can I consider myself anything but incredibly fortunate.”

Canada loses a great artist and the world all feels it, a distraction, in the form of
RIP Leonard Cohen,
just following the chaos in the United States.

Stalemate, #1000Speak

Could this possibly spell the end of 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion?

DECEMBER

Canada announces the first woman, other than the Queen, to appear on Canadian money.

Black rights activist Viola Desmond to be 1st Canadian woman on $10 bill

One month after November’s U.S. election, we share our Canadian perspective.

Episode 3 – The Great Gong Show of 2016 with Ketchup On Pancakes

I focused on my own personal growth for a greater part of 2016, but managed to fit in a little, last minute dating during the final days. Also, I made new and face-to-face connections with a few local women writers. So, a balance of personal and social, for good measure.

A few of the final famous deaths of 2016 would include daughter/mother pair Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, but for me, it was the loss of this guy that brought me back twenty or so years:

I watched Days of Our Lives multiple days a week, while I was sick at home from school or stuck on dialysis. It was my favourite soap opera of the late 90s, as ridiculous as the storylines always were.

Joseph Mascolo, ‘Days of Our Lives’ Villain, Dies at 87 – New York Times

No villain was ever more evil than Stefano DiMera (Joseph Mascolo).

Special Snowflakes and Safe Places – Wham! Bah Humbug! Whoosh! #10Thankful

I featured a George Michael shoutout, in my final 10 Things of Thankful post for 2016 and this was before the Christmas Day announcement of his passing.

I am no fortune teller, but some of my predictions did happen,
as I sit with what did indeed come to pass and look back on what 2016 became.

Ketchup On Pancakes (the podcast) had a final episode for the year, a catch up on all that was 2016, by a cozy fireside.

Episode 4 – Farewell 2016…By The Fireside with Ketchup On Pancakes

And now, here I am, and another January is upon me.

It is a bit of a contemplative month, with the new year so new and fresh, but I value it for its melancholyish quality. It is a quiet time of reflection and so much possibility ahead.
As a new year begins I search for the motivation I see all around me, the kind that is going to get me to the places I strive to get to. I feel the blueness of January and hope I can find some momentum in the months to come.

My 2016 Resolutions were:
I want to make more connections with writers, creative and smart women, and I want to keep writing. I want to not be afraid to keep putting my words out there, even though the fear of more rejection is a lingering one.
Some make resolutions, others pick one word for their year, but I resist doing both. If I have to choose one word though, I suppose I will go with “Adventure”. I do want more of this, as I believe life is one giant adventure, all the years we get to live it.

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Audio Description on YouTube #AudioDescribeYT

Vital! It’s 2016!

Fashioneyesta

Greetings Everyone!

Welcome back to fashioneyesta.com.

Today I wanted to do a blog on a topic which has recently hugely sparked my interest and that is audio description on YouTube. Now, a few weeks ago I discovered a video made by filmmaker and YouTuber James Rath (who, like me, is a content creator with a visual impairment.) In the video James Rath was talking about audio description, what it is, what it does and a campaign that he had started to lobby YouTube to incorporate a feature onto their platform to allow content creators to add audio description to their views in the same way we can with closed captions.

The campaign, namely the #AudioDescribeYT, campaign was started by James Rath to get people talking about audio description and to encourage them to lobby YouTube to look at adding this feature. Its 2016 and currently YouTube does not have a…

View original post 941 more words

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TToT: Sadness, Euphoria, Sul Ponticello – “BELIEVE ME!” #Disbelief #10Thankful

“Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. a
link hashtag happiness
weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one.

It would explode high in the air — explode softly — and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth — boxes of Crayolas.

And we wouldn’t go cheap, either — not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest.

And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.

~ Robert Fulghum

With all the reality TV run amuck this week, disguised as politics. With an unarmed mental health worker getting shot, right in front of his autistic client. With violence in Munich and Afghanistan and Syria.

I read the above quote and the image of that made me want to spread colour and vibrance and imagination. It made me want to create.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

That I am not American in 2016.

I don’t mean that to come off sounding disrespectful to anyone I know there.

I just do not know how things have arrived at where they are. I can’t do anything about it. I feel like I am taking a front row seat to the spectacle of this election and I am afraid, so I tell myself I am thankful that I have at least some distance.

It’s not all that comforting frankly, but I’m just starting my TToT list. I’ve got nine more to go.

To be a Canadian, living here in Canada.

Honestly, as much as I do love a lot about the US and highly respect many people there, I am thankful to be living in this country.

I say it, I think it, and I feel it in my heart, any way you slice it. Luck of the draw. Again, the comfort is short lived, but it’s something. I don’t know what else to say.

I couldn’t resist the line in the title of this week’s TToT, the one the GOP nominee kept repeating: “Believe Me!” and I don’t. I just can’t believe what I’m hearing.

For a Canadian, female writer, whose blog I love to check in on.

“To be responsible is to be forced to confront vulnerability. That is my observation about growing up, generally. The older I get, the more fragile the structures around me seem. The more tenuous. The more invented , in a way. What I mean is that the security of everything I hold precious and dear, even my beliefs, is supported by a certain level of cognitive dissonance, but also by the suspension of disbelief. To dig in, to help build, to get my hands dirty, to make or unmake, is, for me, to witness the complexity and arbitrariness of experience, of life itself, against which there can be no absolute assurances of safety and security.”

Carrie Snyder – Welcome To My Office

She has taught me a lot and continues to teach me, including the fascinating resources she often shares with her readers.

In this post.

She writes about having lost her own physical voice from illness, but I believe it speaks to a bigger way in which so many people feel like they don’t have a voice to speak up for themselves.

For comedians who make me smile when the sadness threatens to overtake me.

Brexitbot 3000

Speaking of British comedy…there’s nothing better than Last Week Tonight’s John Oliver being interviewed by Jerry Seinfeld, for his show “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”.

With Oliver’s signature British humour and Jerry’s own unique brand of comedy, which he’s perfected for these fascinating interviews he conducts, with the sound of a soft trickle of coffee being poured in between clips of their coffee shop chatter and banter.

http://comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com/john-oliver-what-kind-of-human-animal-would-do-this

For the developing of my violin muscle memory and “sul ponticello”..

I’m loving the possibilities and more of the terms I’m learning.

Sul ponticello is a style of playing, where you move the bow up closer to the bridge of the violin. It makes a higher sound with harmonics, or so I’m told and have read.

It’s like what’s often said about writing. It’s important to know the rules so they can be broken properly. I’m getting there.

That I can apply for a passport to see the world.

Who knows what will be going on in the world at any later date.

When I do use my newly acquired passport for the first time, who knows who will be running the country I will be flying over to get to Mexico.

So many people are afraid to travel, to leave the familiar of their everyday surroundings, thanks to perpetrators of violence and intolerance and the spreading of fear. I am lucky I can apply for a little booklet which allows me to explore place away from my immediate home.

Of course, I must pay attention to the very real concerns I face as a visually impaired traveler, while at the same time not allowing so much uncontrollable nonsense stop me, getting in my way. I wish that for all of us.

That I have writing group friends who show their concern.

I wasn’t feeling up to attending my writing group this week, which I hate to have to admit. It has slowly grown to be one of my favourite things.

So, imagine my surprise when I received an email later that night from one of the members, checking up on me, making sure I was okay.

For an excellent interpretation of a classic.

Victor Frankenstein

I remember listening to my friend, who was in medical school at the time, telling me a few stories of her classes. It was often more graphic than I was looking to hear, but that’s the reality of medicine, which I have benefited greatly from.

Now, of course, any story of Frankenstein is going to an extreme, but it explores the issues of life and death, challenging mortality.

This film was brilliantly done and the actors played their [parts very convincingly. Also, the descriptive narration I found was some of the best I’ve heard.

For the heartbeat of hope.

It beats in time, with rhythmic steadiness, and I hold onto that. It translates into a very real hope for the future, for so many.

It’s how I am able to go from sadness to euphoria, all in one week.

For beautiful lyrics to explain these times we’re living in.

Timeless really.

Summer, Highland Falls (Live at Shea Stadium) – Billy Joel

They say that these are not the best of times, But they’re the only times I’ve ever known, And I believe there is a time for meditation in cathedrals of our own.

Now I have seen that sad surrender in my lover’s eyes, And I can only stand apart and sympathize.

For we are always what our situations hand us… It’s either sadness or euphoria. And so we argue and we compromise, and realize that nothing’s ever changed, For all our mutual experience, our seperate conclusions are the same.

Now we are forced to recognize our inhumanity, Our reason co-exists with our insanity. And though we choose between reality and madness… It’s either sadness or euphoria.

How thoughtlessly we dissipate our energies. Perhaps we don’t fulfill each other’s fantasies. And so we’ll stand upon the ledges of our lives, With our respective similarities…

It’s either sadness or euphoria.

(Lyrics)

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Flower of the Night, #SoCS

This is the thing.

March has arrived and I am back to my regularly scheduled

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

after a busy couple of blogging months.

The heat seemed to be absent when I woke up earlier, but that’s all set right and so there’s no frozen fingers as I type this now.

I’ve decided to take a blogging break during the weekdays, to focus on some other writing (un-blog related) and for focusing on practicing my violin, which I have rented for the next two months. I begin lessons, officially, starting this Monday night.

I am working toward finishing my memoir. Also, I have the baseline for an essay topic for an online publication I’ve wanted to contribute to for a long long time. Come September will be ten years since my sister and I bought a house, with the help of our very generous parents. I think this should make an excellent subject. Next I must brainstorm further ideas.

I keep seeing publications I would like to contribute to, but I must prioritize and sort out what can be worked on first and what can wait. There are a few things, possibly in the works, in the early stages. I hate to jinx myself at all.

I am nervous about my violin lesson in a couple days time. I waltz around my kitchen, kind of like dancing as if nobody’s watching, but instead I’m holding my violin proudly. I stop for a brief moment to question the risk in doing this, as I could very well drop the instrument or whack it on a wall that I do not see.

Not my violin and so I slow myself down, curb my enthusiasm a little bit, but I hold the bow outstretched into the middle of the room. I don’t know what it is exactly, but something about holding both in my arms/hands just feels right. Holding a bow, I guess I can understand, to a point, how it must feel to hold a gun.

That’s a rather drastic statement for me to make, but the item I’m holding couldn’t wound or kill. Yet, I feel a strong sensation run through my arm, into my hand and the fingers I’ve likely placed wrongly in position.

🙂

I prefer to compare it to holding a wand, like I’m a character in one of Rowling’s Harry Potter novels. The bow chooses the player. When I hold it, I can detect its power at a deeper level, at the core of the bow in my hand, which can (if utilized in just the right way) produce beautiful sounds which is better known as music. Or, magic.

I attended a violin recital at the University of Western Ontario last night. It was not packed, as most attending may have been students. However, let’s face it, Friday night and most of them were out doing something a little more exciting.

Depends on with whom you’re posing just such a subjective question.

🙂

I liked that it wasn’t a crowded event and we got excellent parking. I sat in my seat and let the music take me away somewhere. I closed my eyes and let the two playing the violins and the piano accompaniment whisk me off into a dream-like state of bliss, all unsettled thoughts of US clown-like candidates forgotten for a time.

The violin players were a UWO music professor and a visiting musician, all the way from Brazil.

The first part was the three of them, then the piano was absent, and finally the guest played solo.

First half was sharper and I was transferred back to the mid-20th century. Some of the time I felt like I was an actress in a silent film, with violin as the soundtrack.

Then, I was in a Disney movie from the 40s or 50s. Perhaps I was little Bambi, being chased through the forest.

Next moment I was half expecting the “WEE…WEE…WEE” sound of the shower curtain being yanked aside, as Mrs. Bates began her wild slashing of poor, caught-off-guard Marion Crane.

At one point I heard someone in the audience clicking away, trying to get a few pictures for Instagram or Snapchat, but the professor immediately put a stop to that, with a stern reprimand and wave of her bow. Kids these days!

I was entirely unaware how one is to conduct oneself at a violin recital. Do I clap? When do I clap, if at all?

I was told to clap only when other people clapped first. No problem there. I did just that. I even heard a few little cheers, from someone behind me, but not sure that was ideal.

Then the player from Brazil stood up, speaking in his thick accent, and tried his best to explain the pieces he was about to finish off with. One, he said, was a piece really anyone could create. Perfect! That’s me.

I imagined, as he played, I composed it. I pictured myself up on that stage. I had listened to how the two violinists complimented one another in their playing. Fast paced. Slowed right down.

The last piece was called “Flower of the Night” and I tried to imagine, but all that came to mind was a scene from an Anne Rice novel.

His solo stuff felt much warmer, more romantic sounding, and I melted into my seat, eyes closed, and let the sound flow through me. I’ve never been to Brazil, but I felt as close as I may ever get, as he played his last notes.

I left giddy and inspired to keep trying. Likely not ever progressing to the level of those I heard last night. I continually ask myself and am asked what my eventual goal for learning to play violin is. I am thirty-two, to be honest, and I don’t intend to go pro. I just want to be able to close my eyes, hold that bow to those strings, and feel the music.

So what have I been up to? What am I up to really?

#SoCS

Oh, you know…little of this…little of that.

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Inspiration and Copyright Infringement – How Fine Is The Line?

Should I be getting myself one of those copyright notices too? Hmmmmm. Interesting discussion to be had here.

Linda G. Hill

There are, arguably, seven basic plots. I won’t list them here, but you can find them if you click this link: The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories by Christopher Booker. All seven can be said to result from real life inspiration. While fiction can take these inspirations to incredible heights, the ideas begin from somewhere.

So we have inspiration, yes?

It was brought to my attention this morning that there has been a lawsuit taken up by Sherrilyn Kenyon, bestselling author of the Dark-Hunter paranormal romance series, accusing Cassandra Clare, bestselling author of Mortal Instruments and the Shadowhunter series, of copyright infringement. (Read the article here: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/feb/10/sherrilyn-kenyon-sues-cassandra-clare-for-wilfully-copying-her-novels )

In this particular case, it seems to me a clear case of copying: if you read the exhibit (click here) given in the lawsuit, the infinite monkey theorem comes to mind as the only other possible explanation, particularly when…

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

Who Is Malala? #1000Speak, #StopGunViolence

Malala Yousafzai has just three words for you: BOOKS NOT BULLETS

Malala.org

“Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”

I write with many things in mind today.

1000 Voices Speak For Compassion

This is part movie review, part

1000 Speak post,

and part outcry against gun violence.

Note: possible “He Named Me Malala” spoilers ahead.

I want to answer the question, just in case it isn’t already known: Who is Malala?

The word “Malala” means grief stricken or sadness and she was named after Malalai of Maiwand, a famous warrior woman from Pakistan, who fought and died.

Malala’s story went differently. Bullets did not stop her, on that bus, back in 2012 and hatred did not silence her.

He Named Me Malala

This film shines a light on Malala’s everyday family life, in and amongst the news clips from the shooting.

Just like any other teenage girl, when an interviewer asks her about crushes and boys, she replies with shyness and giggling.

She appears on television, doing many interviews. On The Daily Show, she states the idea that girls are more powerful than boys. John Stewart replies, feigning shock at just such a thought.

The scenes with her arm wrestling and bickering with her younger brothers showed the sweetness and the love of a family who only want to live in peace.

Her mother does not speak, for the most part, throughout. She loves her family, her daughter, but she has found settling into the new life they have in Birmingham, England and far from their home, which is now too dangerous, a struggle to adjust.

Their Islamic culture has taught her things about modesty, as she still points out to her daughter, when they are out. Her mother notices any man that appears to be looking at her. She was raised in a place and time when it was the norm to cover the woman’s face in public, but Malala tells her mother that “he may be looking at me, but I am looking at him too.”

It isn’t easy to blend these two countries and cultures for Malala’s mother, who is unable to speak the language and, despite all that’s happened, misses her home.

She says, in the film, that she looks up at the moon and reflects on how everything is different, in their new home, except the moon. She knows this is where her daughter is safe from those, in the Taliban, who would still want her silenced, and so she adapts.

Only those filled with hate could be threatened by an innocent child. Nobody who understood what love means and the power it has could or would act with such cowardice.

Malala tries to educate, about what is said in the Quran:

“Allah says, if you kill one person, it is as if you kill whole humanity.
The profit of Muhammad is the profit of mercy. Do not harm yourself or others. And do you not know the first word of the Quran means “read”?”

Malala Yousafzai’s 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech

I can hear her bnervousness, during her acceptance speech, by the sound her mouth makes as she speaks. It’s as if her mouth is extremely dry, but she makes a hugely important statement with her words..

“When you light a candle, you also cast a shadow.”
–Ursula K. Le Guin

Malala is the candle. The shadow barged onto her school bus and shot her and her friends.

These monsters, under the guise of the religion of Islam, made their way onto that bus and asked, “Who is Malala?”

Now, her story and her documentary shines a light on that shadow and on the candle that brings the world’s attention to what must be done to keep candles like hers burning.

Malala went to her father’s school, studied and played with her friends, and then things began to change.

The Taliban came to her village and began to worm their way into people’s heads, to seize control and to indoctrinate. They would, soon enough, turn to the only thing they know: violence.

Women were rounded up, flogged in the town square, and people were killed. Schools were destroyed.

“Education for girls went from being a right to being a crime.”

Girls were forbidden to go to school, to speak up, to have a future. Most people were, understandably, too scared and remained silent. Not Malala and her father.

Malala was still young, but not so young that she couldn’t be afraid, for her father more than herself. She speaks, in the film, about checking and double-checking all the doors and windows in their house before going to bed because she was afraid they would come for her father in the night.

This is love and it can drive out hate. No young girl should have to live with this fear, I realized as I thought how I would feel if my own father were under threat like that.

Her father taught her and believed that if you have to live under the control of someone else, enslaved, that becomes a life not worth living. Some might find it controversial, for a child to do what she would do, but try living under such a regime and then judge.

Malala did speak up about her right to education being taken away, the rights of her female friends, and she did it in a blog for the BBC. At first she was anonymous, but eventually, as she did more speaking and interviews, her identity was revealed. This made her a threat.

She is sometimes asked:

“Why should girls go to school? Why is it important for them? But I think, the more important question is…why shouldn’t they?”

Brave brave girl.

Malala has only ever wanted children to receive education, women to have equal rights, and for their to be peace for every corner of the world.

These aren’t too much to ask, are they?

She wants all frightened children to have peace, for the voiceless to have change.

“It is not time to pity them. It is time to take action.”

She says it is not enough to take steps, but that a leap is needed instead.

Her story of hearing from a girl she once went to school with, after losing touch with her, only to discover this girl has two children sticks out in my mind most sharply.

Malala is asked what her life would be like if she were just an ordinary girl and her response is that she is still an ordinary girl:

“But if I had an ordinary father and an ordinary mother, then I would have two children now.”

Nothing ordinary about this young woman. Number one thing that makes a difference in any child’s life is getting the love they deserve, that all children deserve, but that so many don’t receive.

“It is not time to tell world leaders to realize the importance of education. They already know it. Their own children are in good schools. It is time to call them to take action for the rest of the world’s children, to unite and make education their top priority. Basic literacy is no longer sufficient.”

Watching her documentary and her Nobel Peace Prize speech make me cry, but they empower me too.

When she talks about that moment when you must choose whether or not to stand up or remain silent, I get chills and I want to cry. I know about feeling voiceless and powerless. I am sure we can all relate in some way, to these words, whether it’s due to prejudice against women, inside the oppressive walls of old fashioned cultural beliefs, or against people with disabilities.

You don’t know how lucky you are to have an education, until it’s being taken from you.

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

She demands to know why governments find it so easy to make weapons, tanks, and wars but building schools, bringing education, and spreading peace instead of violence is so hard.

This is the same question I’ve had for a long time, when I see my own country of Canada (who have made Malala an honorary Canadian citizen) saying goodbye to one prime minister and welcoming in the next, when a new president will be decided upon for the US next year.

Why do we value weapons like guns and tanks and bombs, over words and books and education?

Malala asks why is it so easy for countries to give guns and so hard to give books and build schools?

Speaking about her attackers:

“Neither their ideas nor their bullets could win.”

Guns, in the wrong hands, the hands of a violent group of terrorists like the Taliban put Malala in a coma, have damaged her smile, her face, her hearing on one side of her head, but they really ended up doing the opposite of what they were hoping to do. Instead of silencing her, living or dead, she survived and is louder than ever.

“They shot me on the left side of my head. They thought the bullet would silence us. I am the same Malala.”

And does Malala hold any grudges or feel any hatred? Has she forgiven them?

No and yes are her answers to those questions. No hate. She has decided to focus on love, compassion, and peace.

“I don’t want revenge on the Taliban, I want education for sons and daughters of the Taliban.”

Some men, spoken to on camera for the documentary, go so far as to claim that Malala’s story is simply a publicity stunt and that her father is behind it all, that he wrote every word supposedly attributed to his daughter.

I couldn’t believe this when I heard it. What arrogance. The fact that a girl is thought to be unable to say anything of any value is the saddest thing of all, but it is so often the reality.

Malala’s father is proud to be known as such.

“Thank you to my father, for not clipping my wings, and for letting me fly.”

This film is about love. It’s about the love one father has for his family, for his daughter.

My Daughter, Malala – Ziauddin Yousafzai – TED Talk

It’s easy, for some in the west, to think of all men in the Muslim culture as being oppressive towards women. Ziauddin is a father, just like my own, just like any other. He and his daughter are squashing stereotypes and showing the world that most families, no matter where they come from, only want peace, safety, and an education for their loved ones and for themselves.

This father has taught, not only his daughter to stand up for her rights, but he’s shown his two young sons the value girls and women deserve. He’s imparting, into these two impressionable boys, the respect that is going to make a kinder, gentler generation of men everywhere.

“My father only gave me the name Malala. He didn’t make me Malala.”

So then just who is Malala Yousafzai?

“I tell my story, not because it is unique, but because it is not. It is the story of many girls: 66 million girls who are deprived of education.”

I chose Malala’s story for October’s #1000Speak because I saw nothing but compassion and love.

“I had two choices: remain silent and wait to be killed or speak up and then be killed. I chose the second one. I decided to speak up.”

I can speak up, without the fear of being killed and hopefully now so can Malala.

Love triumphs over hate.

EDUCATE.

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