1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, The Insightful Wanderer, TravelWriting, TToT, Writing

TToT: The Bridge Between What Is and What’s Hoped For – Making Waiting Worthy, #10Thankful

“She promised herself she would see the world, and so she did.”

-Virginia Woolf

Sometimes I fear, as I write piece after piece about my first solo travel experience for interested and curious editors, that I will never again get the chance.

I took the Woolf quote from my writing mentor’s email signature because I feel like I could be that quote, if only…

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful that I can call my sister anytime and hear my little niece babbling happily in the background.

She is old enough now that my sister can put her down on the floor, with some toys, and then get some stuff done around the house while my niece entertains herself a little.

I don’t have to go far to see them in person, but sometimes, in the moment, I am dealing with something hard and hearing that little girl chatting away happily is the only thing that can make a difference in my mood.

She is just that precious.

I’m thankful for a lovely home visit with my friend because downtown was so incredibly busy.

It was a warm day again and the downtown area was busy with Thursday market and other things.

So, instead, we went through a drive through and took coffees back to my air conditioned house.

I’m thankful for a return into the world of yoga.

My instructor got rather busy at the end of summer, but we are starting again, now that fall has nearly arrived.

My balance wasn’t bad, but I still fight shaky arms.

The end-of-session silent meditation time was my favourite part, again, though this time I had a harder time blocking out everything I have had on my mind lately.

Other than a few Skype difficulties, it was not bad for having missed multiple weeks.

I’m thankful for a surprise acceptance email in the evening.

Different editors work varied hours, but normally I don’t expect to hear from them after eight in the evening.

This one was such a pleasant surprise and a great opportunity.

I’m thankful for living light.

Bioluminescence

I can’t really see it anymore, but I still watch any documentary I can get my hands on about the sea. It’s just amazing what animals are programmed to do.

Oh, to have become a marine biologist, free to study such miracles all the time.

I’m thankful I could book an eye appointment.

I haven’t been to see my retinal specialist since March of 2014 and I was worried I might need a referral to get back in there.

I am sort of worried about my eyesight, feeling it slipping away, and it’s about time I get some peace of mind, if possible.

I have been seeing this specialist for over twenty years, ever since a mysterious virus attacked my left eye and started in on my right. This doctor was understanding and patient and did his best to save my little remaining vision.

Now I need to hear he sees nothing wrong and that maybe there is hope. Though I bet he won’t see anything and I will feel even worse about what my gut is telling me is going on.

I still am grateful to have this doctor and he may just have a comforting word, said in his soft, soothing voice.

I’m thankful for seconds.

At the market, a bag of my favourite September apples costs quite a lot, but if you are willing to settle for the apples that didn’t quite make the cut during inspection, the price goes down considerably.

I have inspected many of these apples that weren’t quite good enough, finding nothing wrong. It’s not like they are covered in worm holes and mushy bruises.

They are still the apples I love. I am happy to take the ones nobody else wanted.

I’m thankful for my writer mentors and friends and their belief in me and my writing.

Just knowing such wildly talented writers believe in me, that they consider my writing so highly, this means everything to me.

That they describe my latest freelance writing successes in this way: “well deserved catapult to glory”.

I especially love that the piece referred to in this case was published in
Catapult
and I can’t believe my piece is visible on their main page.

On those days when I am feeling down about a pitch rejection or not hearing back from a short story contest I’d entered, their faith in me is just the thing to make me reconsider my own talent, as something I am working on constantly and am meant to do.

I’m thankful for a complimentary email to brighten up my weekend.

The one travel publication I received an acceptance for last week read something I got published (the Catapult piece I included here in the last TToT) and they emailed me, the editor, to say how much they enjoyed reading it and are even more sure about my participation in their literary journal.

It was just the thing to brighten up my dismal weekend.

I’m thankful for unexpected acts of kindness.

As my friend and I were going through the drive through to get our coffee, the worker at the window asked if we wanted to purchase a smile cookie to support a good cause.

VON Sakura House – residential hospice of Oxford County

I said why not, as it is for a good cause, and then we drove to the next window.

It turns out, the car ahead of ours offered to pay for our cookie and I suddenly felt warmer than the day could cause. It was a warm feeling of gratitude and for the kindness that still exists in my town and in the world.

And, speaking of lifting quotes from others…

The title for this TToT post I got the idea for from
Lisa
and from
Christine Carter’s book
all about self care and healing.

These ladies have a point, in that I am not dealing with any disaster. My brother’s accident a few years ago, that was a disaster for the family.

My week was far from disastrous and I am thankful for that.

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Bucket List, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Writing

Fear of Flying: Inside the Memoir-on-Submission Wind Tunnel

And, through it all, the writer keeps writing, inspiring other writers to keep writing too.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

By Cameron Dezen Hammon

“What is it Mama?” my daughter asked, her so voice so hushed I could barely hear her. “What did they say? Mama?”

My daughter is not a quiet person. When she speaks, she’s usually heard. Maybe she was afraid of my answer. Or maybe I couldn’t hear her over the rush of blood in my ears, the slap of my palms on the hot steering wheel, the tepid air conditioner in my ancient Honda, barely keeping out the one-hundred-degree Texas heat.

I was in a Starbucks drive-through, my 11-year-old watching slime videos on her phone in the backseat. We’d just come from iFly, an indoor skydiving place on the Interstate 10 feeder road. My agent had sent my memoir out in early July to 45 editors, and since then I’d become an expert at choosing activities–like indoor skydiving—that prevented me from obsessively checking my email. I’d…

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir Monday, The Insightful Wanderer, TToT, Writing

TToT: Forever and Ever and Always – “Inshallah” #10Thankful

“Another celebrity dies. And still it mystifies the people. Another icon is destroyed.”

—The Cranberries, “Paparazzi On Mopeds”

Last week I was writing about American royalty and this week British, with my memories of where I was in my year, month, and life twenty years ago this week, when Princess Diana was killed.

Biopsies and weddings and recriminations, oh my!

I may have been able to see swans twenty years ago, but I don’t know if I’d go back if given the chance.

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I had the best day in a long time with my sister and her kids.

Forever and Ever – Pooh’s Grand Adventure

We spent the day in a nearby town called Stratford, known for culture and Shakespeare’s plays, but I like it best for the swans at the park, the awesome chocolate shop, but mostly for the time the four of us spent there together.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for another fascinating interview.

I heard Sting speak about his music, then and now, and the world he’s worried about leaving behind for his grandchildren.

I love to listen to interviews, to learn about people, and I think he is a good one. I’ve always been a fan of his music, from his Police days.

Then he scored the IMAX film The Dolphins that I love. It’s remarkably beautiful.

When Dolphins Dance

It brings me peace.

“Be yourself, no matter what they say.”

—Sting

I’m thankful the roof is completed, all fixed, along with all banging sounds silenced.

The men are gone, scaffolding removed, giant bin for debris taken away.

Now the rain will stay where it belongs.

I’m thankful my brother is off on an adventure.

Adventure Is A Wonderful Thing

We drove him and a friend to the airport and I was so excited for them, even more so than if it were me going. I want everyone to get to experience travel of some kind.

I’m thankful to have discovered an out-of-the-way little pizza shop to enjoy with my mom on a drive out of town.

Super Choice!

It was.

I’m thankful the first of multiple pieces of my writing was published to round off the month of August.

My Pal Croche: Remembering My First Guide Dog – Paw Culture

I am grateful that Paw Culture gave me the opportunity and a place to write about Croche, for the tenth anniversary of her death, on Good Friday, 2017.

I’m thankful for September and the first of the fresh local apples of the fall season.

It’s practically all I eat for the next month or so. Perfect combination of sweet and sour. So crisp and crunchy.

I’m thankful my niece and nephew have had such an amazing person to take care of them for the early years of their lives, so my brother and his wife could be at work and have total confidence and trust in the care their children were getting.

Now that my nephew will be joining his big sister in school, this won’t be happening, but the bond will always be there.

I know it’s hard to have to decide to leave your precious baby with someone else so much of the time, as working parents, and especially in a city like Toronto, finding good childcare isn’t so easy.

This person helps shape how the child will be, from the first years of their lives, and I know this was a big weight off their minds. I am grateful to this person. I see how much my nephew and niece love her. Transitions are never so easy and pain free, but a part of life.

I’m thankful for the senses I still have to enjoy a day out with loved ones.

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I got kind of depressed after we returned from Stratford, because I couldn’t see the white swans on the water anymore, but I enjoyed juice boxes, walking along a path while my nephew looked for a campsite (pretend), and the drive there and back.

I felt the fresh air and sunshine of the day. I smelled the scent of chocolate as we entered the shop. I heard the ducks and geese, if I couldn’t see the others.

I’m thankful for the sweetest moments with my nephew and niece during our day.

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“Kerry, mommies and daddies always come back, right?”

I was blown away by that statement? Question? Hmm. I still don’t know.

I heard the small voice from behind my front van seat ask this. He’d heard it said on a children’s program that morning. He sounded certain enough, but still looking for a little reassurance from his aunt.

“Inshallah”

Then, as we walked through a store full of goodies, he soon asked if we could get chocolate for others, not just himself. I almost melted, right there, surrounded by chocolates, at his thoughtful request.

As my sister loaded him and our treats into the van, I held my niece in my lap. She’d hardly cried or fussed the entire day. Later that night, I’d hold her in my lap as she chattered away and watched her big brother playing, with great interest.

My nephew wanted me to come to his house to watch Pooh’s Grand Adventure and I did. I am so happy I did.

Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search For Christopher Robin

I’d seen it before with him, but never had I paid as close attention to the dialogue and word choice. I was impressed at what a smart story it is.

As we sat, the song from above played, about being together forever and ever, as my nephew crawled into my lap and cuddled, sitting still for what could have been a shot at forever and I nearly cried, thinking of how many days there will be like that granted to me.

“Inshallah.”

It means God Willing. It’s an Arabic word I heard mentioned twice this week, from Sting during his interview and then in a piece I read somewhere.

I’m thankful for my boys.

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Never before had both Dobby and Lumos sat on either side of my chair like that.

I think Lumos was still wanting me all to himself, as Dobby had been away the previous few days because of all the commotion with the roof repairs.

And to end the post, a song that one of my favourite bands wrote after Diana’s senseless death.

Paparazzi On Mopeds – The Cranberries

Goodbye summer/August, the final long weekend of the season, and welcome to a new month and season of autumn to come.

And to my nephew, starting school for the first time and his big sister and cousin, I want you all to know:

“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

—Pooh’s Grand Adventure

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Podcast, Writing

Brevity Podcast Episode #5 Dinty W. Moore

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

Dinty W. Moore has always stood out

It’s time once again for the intermittent Brevity Podcast! Listen right from this post, or click over to iTunes, Soundcloud or Stitcher. If you’re subscribed, we’ll show up in your podcast app queue. And wherever you listen or download us, please take a moment to leave a brief review–it helps us show up in searches and recommendations.

Episode #5 features an interview with Dinty W. Moore, our very own Editor in Chief and founder of Brevity. Dinty will be keynote speaking at the Hippocamp Creative Nonfiction Conference September 8-10 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Show notes and links to people, places and things we’ve discussed are below. Next episode, we’ll be talking with Donna Talarico-Beerman, Editor in Chief at Hippocampus and the Hippocampus Press.

Show Notes: Episode #5 People and Books

We’re guessing you already know who Dinty is if you’re here…

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FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, TGIF, Writing

Oh August! #FTSF

It’s August and I get giddy at the thought of autumn approaching ever closer, like a week ago when the night air felt like fall. Others disagree strongly and hate to see summer come to an end.

Otherwise, I eat fresh peaches, on top of soft serve vanilla ice cream and I inhale the flavours, eagerly waiting for the apples of September to ripen.

But then I remember what I’ve been working on, including one project that I hope will take my writing to a whole new level and I change to a nervous, anxious feeling.

By the end of this month I will have sent in two more drafts to publications I hope to see my finish product appearing on soon. I work on these in little chunks, wanting to write convincingly on my trip to the Yukon and to accurately portray the special bond I had with my guide dog for so many years.

I must locate photos to go with my words, a task made all the trickier because I cannot see them. I must read over contracts and worry about giving up the wrong things, while also signing and returning them with my permission. Getting paid has its drawbacks, but I won’t complain, just as long as everything goes smoothly.

Seriously, I worry too much about things that might happen or not happen come September.

I won’t likely see the total solar eclipse taking place on August 21st, the one many are driving long distances to view and that which many writers will no doubt pitch and write about.

It’s August and I can’t believe my nephews are now four and five years old consecutively. This is the month of both their births. Special and memorable. The older one had a breakdown when his foil birthday balloon got caught in an updraft and was gone, “up to its home, the sun” my nephew said, between bouts of sadness and tears and a wisdom of loss he’s picked up somewhere wonderful.

Dinosaurs. Curious George. These boys make my life better.

So I’m back to deadlines and working to control my expectations and impatience. I must buckle down and write, edit, and write some more.

I am dying to announce my upcoming published pieces along with their locations. I am proud of the publications that have decided to help this newly budding writer. If I do though, I fear (logically or not) that something will go wrong and my announcement being premature.

Instead, I focus and I try my best. I fear letting someone down, myself mostly. I have, in some ways, had one of the better summers in a long time, though I won’t see the results of this until autumn comes.

It’s August, the end of another week, and time for another
Finish the Sentence Friday
with Kristi from Finding Ninee and the rest of the FTSF gang.

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SoCS, Writing

In The Loop, #SoCS

Life is a series of limbo moments.

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I need to learn to deal better with the never-ending reality of it. I continue to live and write about my summer of writing.

Limbo

I am waiting to hear back from editors, one or another. Just a few more days and I can follow up, right?

I need to focus on all the other writing, completion of assignments in the works, and not think so much about what might/will happen.

This is a hard part of freelance for not just me. I could give up because it is uncomfortable. Go back to, who knows what else.

Or, I could learn extra patience, (which is what the yoga is for). Learning how to become more limber, in mind and body.

If I gave up now, I’d only be trading one type of living in limbo for all the others anyway, for not feeling like I am doing something proactive to take care of myself and be my own person, with something of value to contribute.

Any of what I’m dealing with now sounds majorly better than having to do the actual limbo, so bring on another week of the freelance writing life, still so new to me.

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Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Happy Hump Day, Writing

What Do You Love More?

I like writing and taking the chances on submitting more than I dislike the alternative. I can deal with the sting. Thanks for the lesson Allison.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

Not even her best backbend

Before I was a writer, I was an acrobat. Not the kind that flips through the air–the kind who holds up other smaller, younger acrobats who look better in the same spandex costume. A “base.”

I loved it. I loved being the one who makes sure everyone is ready, calls the move, Hup!, then adjusts while the flyer holds still. Stay straight, tight and trusting. Don’t balance yourself, let me balance you.

I loved that I could lift men bigger than me and women in acrobat class who were also bigger than me and had spent years not letting anyone lift them because they felt “too heavy.” That I could grab someone the right size and move them through a basic routine right away, as long as they did exactly what I said. I got really good at giving directions, verbal cues, nudging with…

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