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Reading Like a Writer: On Uncertainty

Uncertainty is what I’m dealing with, as I am trying to write the story I feel I need to tell. This post comes at just the right moment. Maybe, I am meant to keep learning and growing as a writer and a person, as I try different things, in pursuit of the final story.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

By Jennifer Berney

Several weeks ago, Elizabeth Bruenig’s essay “What do we owe her now?” ran in the Washington Post. It tells the story of a teenage girl in Arlington, Texas who, in 2006, accused two of her peers of rape, and was immediately doubted, mocked, and driven out of her community. It’s a remarkable piece of writing—part literary personal essay, part investigative journalism—that tries to understand “why [the victim] wasn’t just doubted but hated, not simply mocked but exiled — and why it had always lingered on my conscience like an article of unfinished business.”

The way Bruenig grapples with unfinished business provides us with a model for working through uncertainty in our own writing—and in doing so, greatly enhancing the depth and tension in our work.

[If you haven’t read it yet, click through to read it here (CW for rape) and come back for discussion.]

Bruenig’s…

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Bucket List, Feminism, FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Shows and Events, The Insightful Wanderer, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

Can Hardly Wait, #SecretMission #WomensTravelFest #FTSF

It’s always a good thing –
10 things I’m looking forward to
having something or some things on the horizon.

Ten things I’m looking forward to are:

Getting myself a new pair of jeans.

I have hand-me-downs and old pairs. Time for a nice, new one that fits me just right.

Presentation night at the end of the storytelling workshop I’ve been taking.

We are telling a story from our life, in front of people, and working out how to best present it to keep an audience’s attention. I thought I would take this workshop, to get more comfortable with going from writing to speaking, with amazing results from myself and the other members in the class. On the final night, we are inviting family or friends and speaking our stories to a wider group.

The new Fantastic Beasts movie.

Of course, staying at my local cinema to see this one, my older brother will have to describe what’s going on because there’s no audio description, but it’s Dumbledore as a young man. Exciting.

Starting to complete the final two credits toward my high school diploma.

This one causes me a bunch of anxiety to talk about and embarrassment when I do, but it’s been many years and I don’t want to let my chronic pain win. I will complete these last two credits and then I can get on with the rest of my life.

Christmas.

Some years were better than others, some years harder than others, but I know I’m not alone in becoming a happier version of myself around that time of year. It makes me happy. It just does.

For the second Harry Potter movie (Chamber of Secrets) to be shown nearby, along with an in-house full orchestra.

I saw the first HP film, after missing it the first time round in theatres, last January and loved hearing the live musical score, including the string section.

Women’s Travel Fest in New York City.

Check it out and join me there to celebrate International Women’s Day, 2019.

My secret mission while I am visiting New York City.

I know how much I dislike it when people announce they have something exciting to say/something going on and yet they can’t say what that is, for whatever reason. Unfortunately, this thing I am looking forward to is quickly becoming an important part of my trip to NYC and I am not sure how it will play out. I am doing something big, new for me, but it will make a statement. I’m just not sure if I should go on and on about what it is, as I’m not sure how well it will be received. I may need some help and will need to do some research into a particularly notorious landmark in the city.

And, to finish off on a travel theme, to hopefully make it to the
Canadian Federation of the Blind’s
yearly national convention in Vancouver, British Columbia.

And, the
National Federation of the Blind’s
convention being held in Vegas for the first time.

Really, my 2019 isn’t all that well-known at this time, as I am hoping 2018 will wind down as calmly as possible in the meantime.

Keep making plans and finding things to look forward to,
along with those from Finish the Sentence Friday,
as it does a world of good and helps to boost the mood.

Here we are in November already: 2018 on its way out and 2019 on its way in.

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Happy Hump Day, Interviews, Podcast, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, Travel

KETCHUP ON PANCAKES: Episode 14 – Orange, So It Is (feat. Barry Toner) #Ireland #Belfast #Blindness #Travel

One of our best episodes yet.

Episode 14: Orange, So It Is (feat. Barry Toner)

We interview our extra special guest, our visitor from September, all the way from northern Ireland.

We have fun, even while the serious topics come up, as we talk travel, blindness, and why our Irish friend would move to Canada in a heartbeat, if the circumstances were right.

In the meantime,, we were thrilled to host him for a few weeks and to have him come on Ketchup On Pancakes for a laugh and a chat and hope he’ll be back for Canada visit number seventeen again some day.

Thanks for listening and also check us out
on Facebook,
where you can give our page a like, if you like.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, FTSF, History, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, SoCS, Spotlight Saturday

Bad Words and Battlefields, #FTSF #SoCS

As the days grow darker, I wonder about why darker is harder for people.

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Sleep and internal clocks and SAD (seasonal affective disorder) are the ones that are most felt this time of year.

I get my time from my iPhone, which turns back an extra hour automatically, (will do so again tonight) rather than the clocks on appliances. I like that hour, as there’s a time for everything, even the chance for more sleep, something I blame pain more on than anything else when I don’t get enough of it.

Darker is the start of winter, but it is summer somewhere. Australia and New Zealand are down there, waiting for me, but life goes on until then. I go in to the colder, darker season in Canada with an appreciation for where I live. Christmas means darker, but with that five o’clock darkness, come Christmas lights. Christmas makes me happy. I let the additional hours of darkness bring me peace and reflection. I try not to focus on word meaning all of the time, letting my sensitivities get the better of me, but why is dark bad and light good anyway?

Our fears hide out there, just waiting for the right moment to leap out and scare us?

I’ve written about this before and probably can’t sum it up any better now, as Daylight Savings comes upon us for another year. I do wonder why and then my answer comes, as to why blindness is feared like it is. The idea of being left in darkness for the rest of one’s life is scary, I get it. Still, black and dark are so entrenched in our consciousness as things unwanted and feared. Whether it’s skin colour of another or a state of seeing/not seeing the world. Will we ever get away from such associations?

November is one of those more difficult months for me, at certain moments at least, as I look back over past experiences with these thirty days. Things happened to me in this month I won’t ever forget, things that have left solid impressions on the person I am.

Zooming out to a broader picture, it means solemn thoughts of war for Canada, with Remembrance Day (November 11th) and this year’s 100year anniversary in particular. I feel worse about the subject of war (the lessons we’ve learned and those we yet haven’t) than I do any dark morning or evening come too soon. Just as many lives were lost in the four years of World War I during bright, daylight hours, just as much death and carnage. Likely, more, as the armies needed the daylight hours to see what they were doing. Night would have been when it was smarter to hunker down in separate trenches wherever and whenever possible.

I think of every ghost, set adrift across those European battlefields, and I am haunted by the heaviness of so many souls lost.

And I go onward to November 11th this year with a heavy heart once again, though I don’t know exactly why that is.

I think of that word often and I don’t need Halloween or a day devoted to wars to do so. This month holds memories, like the hauntings of a shadowy realm.

I have all things monsters and ghosts on my mind still, even with Halloween in the rearview mirror for another year. Darker days mean winter and winter means ice.

I had to go to the easiest accessible book to me and that was my shelf of all seven Harry Potter stories to find my random word.

I did
point
and a wintery word is what I got.

Black ice can be a danger on the roads in Canada, in the months ahead. Scary.

Harry Potter stories use ghosts and monsters to great effect. The ice forms when the monstrous, hideous dementors show up. (Read the series to learn more about those.)

A fascinating representation of the things that scare us, threaten to remove all happiness, like the depression that is sometimes seasonal and sometimes all year round.

If you can, look at what darkness brings that is pleasant and happy, rather than those things it hides or covers up or frightens you with. Maybe, one day, we can change some of the feelings around what darkness represents.

What’s good could be bad and what’s bad could be good.

This is the weekend of
stream of consciousness prompts
for another
Finish the Sentence Friday
in early November.

I am back and taking part, after several weeks of distractions and elsewhere’s. Also, I’m writing blog posts and prompts, while avoiding something I should really be doing instead. This is okay, I suppose, but I know I need to get back to it shortly.

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Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel, TravelWriting

Travel Sensations: My Maritime Adventure #NewBrunswick #PrinceEdwardIsland #Canada

Sure, I can’t see the stars (never have). I can’t see the wonder of colours that are the Northern Lights. I can’t see the mountains, the land, as I fly over in an airplane.

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Caption: myself and an ocean view.

This month, I got to share my love of travel with Expedia.ca in an interview, Travelling While Visually Impaired: An Interview with Blogger Kerry Kijewski”, for their Travel Sensations series, to show the world that there is more to it than the sights we see. My delight in these journeys I go on is in every other part of the experience of it, the wonderment of it, the thrill of it.

I could not see the famous red, iron-rich soil or the green, rolling countryside of Prince Edward Island in September, but I could feel the breath leave my lungs and the raw wind whipping and numbing my cheeks, as I stood at East Point on that same island. The East Point (or End of the World as it’s also known) showed me the wild force of the Atlantic Ocean.

Whether I was enjoying a peaceful, lone walk along the boardwalk and beach of Summerside. Or, the discovery of my perfect spot along the shore at a place called Red Point. Or else, wrapping my arms tightly around myself, as my ride on a lobster boat found me bumping along, from Charlottetown Harbour, out to sea.

I held a large clam in my hand and explored, by touch, the seaweed that hangs from giant rock formations or washes up with a receding tide. Where once I walked on rock, water appeared there, in the matter of a dinnertime meal. What sounded to me like the voice of a whale, was really only the boats, along the dock, as the oncoming water lifting them, their creeping hauls, up and up.

My hotel faced out to the beauty of Fundy, as I heard distant clanging bells at sea and the hushing night song of that incredible tide lulled me to sleep.

I got to experience the island home of a great Canadian author (Lucy Maud Montgomery), the quiet early twentieth-century life she once lived there, loving it like my own.

As I explore more of this country I adore, I miss what I won’t get to see, while embracing what my other senses can tell me about where I travel.

There’s a new term I came up with, as I stood at the railing of the stairs that took me back up from Hopewell Rocks, Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick.

Like that line I once saw with greater clarity, the one where the sky meets the water, as the water meets the sand – “brush” is the sound of an intermingled roaring, rushing waves and blowing wind. Sometimes, like at that lookout point where I saw not a thing, I heard the blowing of the wind in my ears and the roaring of a coming tide and suddenly I realized I could not tell one sound from the other. They had become one, an echoing in my head.

Such sensations in me, travel provides these, and much, so much more yet awaits.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Interviews, Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, Podcast, Shows and Events, Spotlight Sunday, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

KETCHUP ON PANCAKES: Episode 13 – Pell-mell Claptrap (feat. Erik Burggraaf) #Podcast #Friendship #Disability #Advocacy #Accessibility

He knows all the best words, like those in the title, from his love of reading. He likes to drop them into everyday conversations, catching us (always) off guard. He’s one-of-a-kind and he has a lot to say over beers with friends.

Right around our two-year anniversary of the start of this whole thing, after one chaotic summer, we got to interview a good friend of twenty years and an ally in the work to challenge stereotypes about those of us living with disabilities.

In
Part I,
we discuss friendship, how we met, and the fun we’ve had throughout the years. It’s the more lighthearted part of #13. (Guide dogs, mice, and Toronto adventures.)

So much to say, we had to break the interview up into two parts.

In
Part II,
we hear from Erik in his role as (Executive/Chairman of the Ontario chapter of the Canadian Federation of the Blind).

He has high hopes and big dreams/plans for the CFB, both hear in Ontario and nationally. At the heart of it all though, he is fighting for a better tomorrow, starting now, for all of us who believe society holds the low expectations for its blind citizens that must not continue.

He’s our twenty-year pal and his passion for the things he cares about is contagious. Here’s to the next twenty years.

Also, check us out on
our Facebook page
for more.

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Memoir and Reflections, Song Lyric Sunday, The Insightful Wanderer

All Of My Life, #SongLyricSunday

“There’s too much I need to remember. And there’s too much I need to say.”

—Phil Collins

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That’s how I feel, on this final day of September, 2018 and so off I go, into October.

This song makes me feel sad. It makes me long for something. It makes me wish for something, though I don’t know what:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6hqjzPQA4M

As the final months of the year approach, October first and then November, before December rounds things off, I think of my parents because they both have birthdays in the next two months.

This song, especially, makes me think about my father. He is responsible for my love of Phil Collins in the first place and I’m grateful for that, for him.

***

All of my life,
I’ve been searching
For the words to say how I feel.
I’d spend my time thinking too much
And leave too little to say what I mean
But I’ve tried to understand the best I can
All of my life.

All of my life,
I’ve been saying sorry
For the things I know I should have done
All the things I could have said come back to me
Sometimes I wish that it had just begun
Seems I’m always that little too late
All of my life

Set ’em up,
I’ll take a drink with you
Pull up a chair,
I think I’ll stay
Set ’em up, cos I’m going nowhere
There’s too much I need to remember, and there’s too much I need to say

All of my life,
I’ve been looking
But it’s hard to find the way
Just reaching past the goal in front of me
While what’s important just slips away
And it doesn’t come back but I’ll be looking
All of my life

Set ’em up…
I’ll take a drink with you
Pull up a chair,
I think I’ll stay
Set ’em up, cos I’m going nowhere
There’s too much I need to remember, and there’s too much I need to say, ah yeah

(Guitar solo)

All of my life, there have been regrets
That I didn’t do all I could
Making records upstairs, while he watched TV
I didn’t spend the time I should
It’s a memory I will live with
All of my life.

(sax solo)

LYRICS

***

I’ve been away on vacation for a few weeks, but now I’m back and on this
Song Lyric Sunday,
I immediately thought of this song when I heard the prompt word.

I’m searching for something, for someone, some place, still looking, and I wonder if I won’t be doing that all of my life long.

But, also, don’t you just love the saxophone in this one?

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