1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Feminism, Fiction Friday, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, This Day In Literature

Why I Have to Look away from The Handmaid’s Tale Sometimes, and Why That’s a Good Thing

Part-Time Monster

Last week, as I was watching “A Woman’s Place,” the sixth episode of Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, I was struck with a realization: I had not watched a single episode of the show without flipping through the social media feeds on my phone or my laptop simultaneously. So I started to think about why…Why might I might be avoiding focusing myself entirely on this show, a show that I gave high praise to and found fascinating for so very many reasons?

The answer was deceptively simple: I was, in fact, avoiding focusing myself entire on this show in order to avoid the trauma of doing so. As a woman, the show terrified me. So I did what I do when I need a distraction…I pulled up a social media feed that I could passively scroll through or easily put aside while I was watching, redirecting…

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Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Happy Hump Day, This Day In Literature

Anne with an E {review}

If you were a fan of Breaking Bad, give this show a shot. I am interested in all reviews and perspectives on my favourite Red headed heroine. And yes, the audio descriptions really do help.

Adventures in Low Vision

Anne wearing a crown of flowers stands in goldne sunlight in the poster artwork for Netflix's Anne with an E.Note: No major spoilers in this review of Anne with an E. It discusses only the first two episodes of the seven part series.

Listening as Mom read chapters from Anne of Green Gables at bedtime is a cherished childhood memory. Old enough (8 or 9?) to read L. M. Montgomery’s book myself, I appreciated the portioned delivery. It made it last.

My sister and I loved watching Anne productions, Anne of Avonlea, the sequel to the wildly popular Anne of Green Gables starring Megan Follows as well as the later Avonlea series broadcast on the Disney channel. It may have been why my parents caved for the cable channel. I’m sure we begged. I liked hearing about the spunky orphan Anne Shirley and her adventures around beautiful Avonlea. I related to Anne’s love of school and her frustrations with being bullied for uncontrollable factors like appearance. She didn’t…

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Poetry, Special Occasions, Spotlight Saturday, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, This Day In Literature, TravelWriting, TToT, Writing

TToT: Let Us Try This Again, Shall We? #WorldBookDay #FreedomToReadWeek #WorldWildlifeDay #10Thankful

Last week I meant to share one picture, of the flowers we brought my sister after giving birth to my new niece, but I somehow ended up posting only the flowers.

Nothing wrong with flowers, so that one becomes “the flower flower flower flower post”.

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I am still thankful for the big things, for eight pound baby girls, but will sprinkle in a few smaller items, if I can as well.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for new music.

Lorde – Green Light

I am thankful for Mya Lynne and for my violin.

😉

Haha. Get it?

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I’m thankful that I went for it and submitted the travel memoir piece I wrote in Mexico, about my evening with the mariachis, to
CBC Literary Prizes.

I spent all of February, editing madly, and I would say I am proud of what I sent in. Now for the long wait.

I’m thankful to have made contact this week and am now in communication, by email, with the man I met in Mexico. He is doing amazing things with his life.

Everyone Has A Disability

We both know a little something about living with a disability and I appreciate his perspective.

I’m thankful for the bond already forming between my nephew and niece.

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Now, anytime I go to visit them, he always starts by saying, “Auntie Kerry, do you see my baby sister?”

Now that’s the question of one proud big brother.

I am thankful I got to read the words of a talented family member. He wrote a kickass spoken word piece about his wife and surprised her with it for her birthday last weekend.

It’s amazing to me that someone can love another person like that.

I wish I could have heard it in person, but I read the words and his writing was so sweet and so creatively epic.

Proud and thankful to be related to those two.

I would share it, but I’m not sure they’d want me to. Let’s just say, the word “citadel” is used at one point. It’s a song about a strong and one-of-a-kind woman. That’s spot on.

Ed Sheeran – Eraser (Live)

This new live Ed Sheeran song is another example of music, but with spoken word, poetry thrown in the mix.

I’m thankful for winter weather, while it’s still winter.

We went from above seasonal and warm temperatures at the beginning of the week and we’re ending it back firmly in winter, but spring is only officially a few weeks away now. The end and a new beginning, as many think of the arrival of spring, is on its way.

I enjoy a chilled night, without a harsh wind preferably, and feeling the gentle sprinkling of snowflakes coming down around me in the air. I’m going to miss that crunching noise when I walk outside in the packed snow underfoot.

I wish everyone could see that winter is supposed to be cold, to have snow, and to not show such love for the climate change that has an effect on nature and wildlife, and not in a good way. We should think about them a little more and less about our temporary discomforts. I know it’s hard. I don’t like freezing either, in the moment. But I do care about species such as butterflies and bees who pollinate. Those guys need spring to come in its own time. We shouldn’t try to rush it just because we are sick and tired of winter.

In the comments for TToT this week I say where I am from and what I love about living here. I love the four seasons we in Canada are lucky to experience. I grumble and groan my share, when I am shivering or sweating, but I want the planet to maintain itself, for my nieces and nephews, for a long long time to come.

The cousin and his wife I listed above, as a thankful, they work with nature and the environment. They’ve seen signs that aren’t good signs. They worry because they see it up close. They’ve taught me a lot.

I am thankful for people like them, doing all they can, to teach about the natural world we often neglect.

I’m thankful for the feeling of holding a baby.

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She is such a contented baby too. As long as she’s not hungry, she’s happy to sleep a lot.

For me, I can feel disgusted with things happening in the world or whatever, but then I hold her and I feel the slight pressure of her in my arms and her breathing as she sleeps so still. It’s peaceful.

I then watch my nephew, all his energy, and how big he is. I am thankful for these children, at the separate ages that they are, and I know they grow so fast.

I am thankful for books and the freedom to read any book I want to.

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss (read by Neil Gaiman)

I have shared stories read by Neil Gaiman here in the past. I enjoy his readings.

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss.

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Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Happy Hump Day, Interviews, Memoir and Reflections, This Day In Literature, Writing

Mapping as Metaphor: Part Two

“There are a hundred ways to tell the story of a single life.” – Also, check out the first part of this interview. Plenty of insights to be gained.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

Part two of Brevity assistant editor Alexis Paige’s consideration of place, grief, and the river as metaphor, talking with Angela Palm, author of Riverine: A Memoir From Anywhere But Here, winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize. [Part One can be found here]:

zz-riverinePAIGE: There’s a powerful depiction of sexual assault in the book. The scene struck me most for its brevity and omissions, for what did and didn’t make the page. Can you talk about how you approached writing the scene and why? Can you describe your decisions about what to include and what not to include, and how you came to approach the moment tonally?

PALM: I didn’t want the narrative to become about that particular violence, but instead wanted the incident to appear in the book as one link in a chain of violence, wherein accumulation would be more powerful than individual acts. Because that was my…

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Happy Hump Day, History, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Special Occasions, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, This Day In Literature

One Dot at a Time {VisionAware post}

Braille is the best!

Adventures in Low Vision

 Photo shows braille lettering on a white page. Welcome, 2017.  Resolution makers, breakers and those who don’t bother, we all face the sparkling promise of the year to come.  It’s invigorating to imagine shedding the dry skin of previous failures or poor choices and to begin with a smooth touch on new goals.

For me 2017 will be another year full of adventures–intentional and otherwise–as I live each day well with low vision. One of the fun challenges I’m doing is learning the braille alphabet. In celebration of World Braille Day as well as Louis Braille’s birthday, VisionAware published my piece, One Dot at a Time, on learning braille as a person with low vision.  Braille will continue to be something I value in 2017 as living well is all about choices and options.

How do you mark the new year? What resolutions or goals have you made for 2017? What do you think about braille?  What choices and options are you grateful for…

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Feminism, FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Memoir and Reflections, Poetry, RIP, TGIF, This Day In Literature

A Variety of Various Positions, #LeonardCohen #TGIF #FTSF

This week, as is so often to be found in life, was full of both the expected and the unexpected. Change comes round, now and then, whether we want it to or not, whether we’re ready for it or we aren’t.

I expected that the US might bring round a change in things, from one political party to the other. I wasn’t all that surprised by their election results, to be sadly honest. As much as I hoped that the change would be for that country to elect their first female president, another white, rich male came out on top.

Anger is expected. It is felt by so many. So many people let anger cloud the fear underneath, at the heart of things. I admit, I have anger, especially after the events of a week as bad as this, but I am mostly afraid. I am afraid for our world.

The stories in the news this week, like for months, have been all about events in the US. I knew though that soon enough other stories would come along and shift focus, even for a few days time, and that happened with the announcement that Leonard Cohen was gone. This, I admit, I was not expecting.

When it comes to the unexpected or to change, I struggle, like most people. Can I right myself though?

If we tilt very far toward one way of living or thinking or being, we’re more likely to topple over. So, I try to remember to remain within some level of my own middle ground. Much of the world struggles with this, in terms of governments or communities or families or individuals.

Change, we think, often means progress, going forward. Suddenly, then along comes the kind of change that feels like it threatens to take us backward. What feels wrong to one person feels oh so right, like going home, back to the way things used to be, should be.

I am not a poet, or am I? I try harder. I try to learn from a man who was, a Canadian legend of a man, who wrote poetry, and novels, and lyrics.

I try to listen, even now, to his voice, in interviews. As he aged and his voice became lower and lower, and deeper and deeper, he kept on learning and discovering what it all meant to be alive.

As I experienced his voice, Growing up, his voice in the songs I had no real connection to, it made me uncomfortable. I can only describe the feeling as one of unsettled. It was all so somber and even frightening. Life, as I realize more and more, is often about allowing oneself to feel the discomfort and all that is often so very unsettling.

A lot of these things that happen, that happened this week, are unsettling in a whole new kind of way. They aren’t all about peace and live and let live, not like a batch of Leonard Cohen lyrics. I realize now that he was sharing all that life can feel like.

We all have our position on a number of issues, key issues that affect us. Some things don’t touch us, hardly at all, or not at all. We can’t possibly listen to every song ever made.

For a long time I have done my best to respect that everyone of us has various positions on the things that matter and those that matter not as much, perhaps, to different people. This becomes harder and harder, which just means the stakes are bigger and bigger.

I stay in my bubble of a life, surrounding myself with other people that often share my sentiments on most things. This can be dangerous, or has proven to be, for not just myself. No wonder, then, that it comes as a shock how other people feel. We do ourselves a huge disservice by not trying to learn what else there is, going on, that another person might just be feeling, in the place where another lives. It’s so very hard to meet another, somewhere in the middle of the road. Some of us would rather walk alone than even try.

Not everybody can write poetry. Not everyone wants to. I should say, anyone could, if they acknowledged the anger but allowed themselves to feel the fear. Art makes things that are so often unbearable, bearable, or just a little less unbearable anyway.

I see greed and fear and unbending, unyielding unwillingness all around, the unwillingness to let life teach us, to admit we don’t know it all. I label these things, as being what is, though I really can’t say, should not say, for sure, at all.

I want to never stop hearing beautiful things, as the ugly is so easy to find, and to produce my own lyrical thought. I want to learn what makes people do and say what they do and say. Human beings will never stop being fascinating to me, for what causes them to be and do it all.

So, why should I be surprised at both the expected and the unexpected in life anyway? I’m not, of either one.

It’s time for another
Finish The Sentence Friday
after a particularly rough week. Though, surprise surprise, whether expected or not, life was always like that.

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Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, National Novel Writing Month, SoCS, Spotlight Saturday, This Day In Literature, Writing

NaNo NaNo NaNo, #NaNoWriMo #SoCS

I want to write a novel and
this
is a small bit of what it will be about.

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Three years ago, this very month of November it was, I took a stab at writing my first
novel.

I took part in
National Novel Writing Month
because on their site it said: “The world needs your novel.”

Really? Mine? Hmm.

I had an idea for a novel in my brain for several years. It was a family story about how three generations of a family deal with losing someone they love.

I wrote fifty thousand words in thirty days. The website that year wasn’t all that accessible and so I did not get much farther off from registering. I did not keep track of my word count like everyone else online. I did it on Twitter instead. It didn’t matter that the website for the organization was a bit of a nightmare. All that really truly counted would be the words I would write.

No flashy completion badges for me once I crossed the finish line. I knew in my heart that I’d done it and that was all that mattered.

Three years later and I haven’t done it again, but I did buy the t-shirt.

I did not take a month or two, Christmas off, before returning to my first attempt at a novel like is suggested. I did what they said. I wrote to get to fifty thousand. I would edit later.

Or would I?

I have the words somewhere, I hope. I don’t keep track of all my documents on all the laptop switches since 2014, oops. I emailed a copy to myself, but that may be gone.

Was this one more in a long line of mistakes, failures, and regrets from my writing journey thus far?

I sent it to a friend, even as rough as it was, whom I trusted to give it her honest opinion. Maybe she has a copy still. I wouldn’t count on that.

I was not a planner, as is the case many times in the rest of life. I was a pantser. I didn’t have a plan. I just started to write from my themes of family, loss, grief, and resilience.

I can’t let that idea go, but a novel is such an enormous task to take on.

I would have loved to participate again this year. I have faith that the website has improved for visually impaired and blind users. I now know someone locally, one who is from my local writing group and is in charge of support for writers doing NaNo in our immediate area. My writing group is talking mostly all about NaNo all month.

I would have abandoned my first novel, still in progress somewhere, to try writing this newer idea which has shaped and formed in my mind in the three years since that first attempt.

This one is historical fiction, unlike that first one which took place in a more contemporary setting.

This one will be mostly fiction, but loosely based on family. It takes place in Europe during World War II. It’s about a woman who is a mother of three small children throughout the war. There is struggle and bravery all around her. Her decisions aren’t easy ones.

We who study history know all about the Holocaust, about big events such as D Day, which are both important, but what was life like for other people who were going about their business and living their lives when war broke out?

***Just practicing with early versions of my elevator pitch.

I would have taken a crack at this, but apparently I can’t handle a project of this size and my continual violin lessons at the same time. I haven’t got the brain power to muster for both.

Maybe next year, once I’ve been playing violin for more than a year. Maybe.

So much going on. World events are wild, whether it’s war in the twentieth century or world upheaval in the twenty-first.

My brain is full near to capacity at the moment.

When a story sticks in the head like this one and the one before have, I don’t think I will be getting them out of there anytime soon.

NaNo, NaNo, NaNo sounds like a taunt to me, that I couldn’t hack both writing and music lessons, but this isn’t your ordinary, everyday writing. This week is a tense one, and who knows where we’ll all be next week this time. Hopefully all those brave enough to take on writing fifty thousand words this month will still be writing. I do think it makes for an excellent distraction.

Now I stop writing and it’s time to practice my violin. I just like to do an update on where I am, with every passing year, as November and NaNo again rolls around.

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