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Tongue Tied #Language #SoCS

“Language is your medium and use it to the max.”

—Anne Rice

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

I think about language as I sit in the quiet room of my local library on certain Wednesday nights. I am trying to come up with a bit of story to read out loud at the end of my writing group and I want to use the right sort of words and sentences.

Anne Rice is one who believes in adverbs, even though many so-called writing pros condemn the use of them. Ugh!

How am I supposed to know what is the right way to go?

I’m just glad I’ve managed/mastered the English language this far, when I wish I’d focused harder and done better at learning French when I was in school. I am proud that Canada is a multi-language nation and it can only serve as a benefit.

My family doesn’t all speak Polish or German. I wish we did. My father’s parents didn’t teach him their native European languages, by speaking them at home when he was young. I think they were so focused on learning English, as still fairly new to North America, that they couldn’t be bothered. I hope they didn’t feel any sort of shame surrounding the speak of their birth countries, being recent immigrants to Canada.

My mom learned German, as my grandparents always spoke it, but a certain dialect of the language. My grandpa used to tell me stories of how he didn’t even speak English before going to school. It was always German in his home as a child.

My mom speaks some and understands it. This allows her to speak to my uncle who visits from Germany every few years.

I was recently blown away by the beauty and rhythm of Spanish, as I prepared to travel to Mexico. I tried, for months, to learn some so I wouldn’t be totally lost when I went down there. By the end of my week, I’d gotten better at recognizing what was being said around me, but I would have needed many more weeks there to be able to speak any with much confidence.

Language is hard. It is one of those things that gets harder and harder to learn as you age. I am so set on learning to play the violin, at age 33, that I can’t possibly fit in learning any other language on top of that.

Ah well…there’s always my forties.

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TToT: Da Da Da, Sa Sa Sa – Black Moon Yonder, #10Thankful

Here’s a little flashback to finish off the week and begin a whole new one.

me on bike
XqMu800.png

For the record, I don’t generally like motorcycles. They are loud and they make me nervous, but this one wasn’t moving.

I’m not enjoying this perpetually dreary start to October. I haven’t been enjoying this cold I’ve picked up and had for over a week now. And I’m certainly not and never have been enjoying the nonsense of the US election, as they count down, one more month to go.

Music will help. Music and good deeds and fresh fruit.

I am thankful for all the beautiful violin music that author Anne Rice shares on her Facebook page.

I much prefer this version to the original Coldplay song.

It’s a shame Anne Rice has quit posting political articles and she doesn’t even attempt to have discussions about politics right now. I miss her views, though I didn’t have to deal with all the nasty comments. Her page, her rules.

I’m glad she still shares music though, mostly violin stuff.

I am thankful for rough bikers.

me with bikers
OhKFL2P.png

I used to hang out with quite the group, wouldn’t you say?

This was who sponsored my trip to California when I was sixteen, through
The Sunshine Foundation, Canada.

I am glad to see bikers, somewhere out there, are doing it again. This is where “don’t judge a book by its cover” couldn’t be more applicable.

A Cycle Broken – The Guardians of the Children

I am thankful that, despite my cold symptoms being rather irritating, the second episode of the podcast
Ketchup On Pancakes
is complete and we’ve beat our previous episode
(Episode 1: Intro To Us)
by extra time, going more like 70 minutes, instead of the previous one hour.

We went over time, but it is a good episode, which includes us adding in more sound and effect, compared to our first try.

We plan to create a shortened, all make-it-up-as-we-go-along episode next time though.

Actual new episode still to come in the next week or two.

I am thankful for an interview I finally got posted.

The Other Awkward Age: My Interview with Jennifer Niesslein

I am thrilled about this actually and have been for some time now.

I should have had this posted a while ago, but I was so over-the-moon that Jennifer had agreed to be a featured guest on my blog, that I wanted it to be perfect.

It’s up now and she even shared it with her Facebook friends/followers too. She has been so open to speaking with me. I try not to come off like too much of a stalker, but I really admire the work she does.

I am thankful for help in making it look more visually appealing.

My sister helped me to make the interview stand out from my usual blog posts.

I am thankful, though this cold has been bothersome, that it’s starting to ease up.

Thank goodness for tissues.

I am thankful for the black moon.

It was the perfect way to say goodbye to September and usher in October.

The Dark Side of the Moon

I am thankful for the autumn arrival of my favourite in-season apples.

DWZ0pTF.png

This is my diet for the time being. What else do you need?

I am thankful for a rather productive weekend, even with everything.

And finally this evening, I am thankful for
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
and another new episode, because he makes me laugh, even when talking about some pretty crappy things.

Off to see if I can find his latest thoughts on the week that just was.

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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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SoCS

I’d Turn Back If I Were You, #SoCS

I had a strange dream the other night. It was one where I was on my own, trying to find my friends, to meet someone. I walked and wandered long halls looking. I found myself being approached and manhandled by someone, but strange…I can’t remember now who it was.

It was one of those dreams that seemed to drag on and on, like being stuck in the Land of Oz. I called for help, but none came.

It was one of those dreams, like when you fall asleep with the TV on and it enters your dreams, but this time it was smell that was the problem. I was smelling something, so strong, that pierced my nostrils. I couldn’t get away from it and I tried so hard to wake from that.

All so strange.

SoCS

Strange, stranger, strangest.

I do believe in spooks. I do believe in spooks. I do I do I do. I do.

So, it’s the night before Halloween and I’m watching The Wizard of OZ on television, right.

Witches.

Halloween equals witches. Wizard of Oz equals witches.

A yellow brick road. A pair of magic, ruby, red slippers. What magic powers could a pair of red shoes contain anyway?

Hourglass counting down the minutes till doom would arrive.

I’ve always feared this film, at parts, and I’m certain I am not alone in that, but more than feeling afraid, growing up I just thought this story was odd, bizarre, weird, but it also felt strangely like home.

I was definitely no writer or storyteller when I was a kid. I don’t think I had much of an imagination, anyway, and maybe that’s why I still lean toward nonfiction today, when I write, although I now really do enjoy reading fiction too.

There’s no place like home. I will forever equate Oz with my grandparents. This movie will always remind me of them. It’s set during the thirties, on a farm, and with a tornado. My grandparents and their farm lived through a tornado in the late seventies.

I’m now watching Wizard of Oz with descriptive. Even when I watched as a kid, I had more sight than I do now, but I’m still learning things about the movie, by listening to the descriptive track. I must have seen this film a hundred times, but must have missed a lot every other time I watched.

I can understand always feeling like I’m a bother, that I’m in the way, as they tell Dorothy she is at the beginning of the film.

That feeling of wanting to get away, the one she expresses during her “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is one I like to think about, beyond everything, but how do you get there? Does it require a twister every time?

Like entering Narnia through the wardrobe or through a picture of a boat on the waves, of which I’d read years later. I could compare and connect so many of these stories, showing that all ideas are a part of one another.

Well Dorothy gets her wish for adventure. The Wicked Witch was scary.

It’s a frightening part, when they scream for help in the magic poppies, but it’s that strange sensation you have during a dream, during those times where you know you are dreaming and yet you want to wake up, but can’t. Your mind isn’t quite ready for consciousness.

😉

It’s a helpless feeling, but the feeling of complete and utter fatigue is one I knew well when I was going through kidney failure, twenty years ago. It’s a scary feeling, that exhausting fatigue that drags you down, leaving you feeling like you’re lost in a fog.

The witch bewitches poppies, attractive to the eye, but poisonous. Not so different from the poisoned apple in Snow White. More of that literary connectedness that I love.

Back to witches, as it is the time of year for those.

Even the Wicked Witch of the West reminded me of my grandma, sometimes, when she would say a specific line, not that my grandma ever talked with wickedness, but again it’s the accent, the way they spoke in those days I guess.

A horse of a different colour? Trees that talked, men made out of straw, tin, and a lion that spoke like a man. Yeah, that’s right. Absolutely no ability to imagine things different from what they were. Why couldn’t the seven-year-old me let go of all that I knew?

I knew it was make believe, but it was the strangest thing to me. I couldn’t quite let go of the logic I was so familiar with, even as a child who knew how to play make believe myself.

Dorothy reminds me of my grandmother for her clear naivete
Glinda the Good Witch, for her kindness, the light, love, and warmth that radiate from her, that pink bubble that she floats in and out in.

All the men, the wizard, and Uncle Henry all reminded me of my grandpa, when they said certain words and in the tone of their voices. Even the Witch’s guards sounded like my grandpa when they spoke.

Now it will forever help me feel closer to both my grandpa and grandma. Someone once said the whole story made no sense. Of course not, but in a strange way…

There’s no place like home?

Home is this terrible place, where Dorothy was always in the way and some nasty neighbour woman was trying to take Dorthy’s dog.

Many people are forever trying to escape the reality of their own lives, to discover what’s waiting for them (over the rainbow), only to discover that the grass isn’t necessarily greener and home really isn’t so bad after all.

Well, Oz didn’t seem like such a merry old land to me. It may have been in colour: yellow brick road, ruby red slippers, and the Emerald City, but everything about it seemed frightening to me. A bad dream, but I was used to those, or just a strange dream, the strangest. I had plenty of those.

I didn’t really know, when I was a little girl, about the books the movie was based on. The film made recently, Oz the Great and Powerful, with James Franco and Mila Kunis playing the future Wicked Witch of the West I feared so much. This film was even stranger than the original.

The witch’s guards were only doing what she said because they were afraid? Because she told them, ordered them to do it? This question puzzled me. They would cheer when she was dead. How strange.

Also, a witch could be killed by having water thrown on her?

That seemed strange, a stranger way to kill a witch, I had not heard. If it were that easy, why didn’t someone do that much earlier?

There again came my rationalizations. I was a bit of a strange kid, to be honest.

But that feeling that Dorothy almost had a way home, the wizard planning on taking her with him, but then the dog ran off and the balloon floated up and off without her, leaving her there for good, or so it would seem.

Couldn’t she just recognize the scarecrow, tin man and lion, not to mention the wizard and witch were people in her real life?

Dorothy was crying so much. Strange.

Other characters cried a lot too. The man who let them in to see the wizard and the lion. All of it, strangely reminded me of my grandparents.

All she had to do, it turned out, was click her heels together three times and say: “theres no place like home.”

Really? That’s all?

She couldn’t do it before, really?

Because the movie needed to run its course, but Glinda said it was because Dorothy wasn’t ready, that she had to figure it all out for herself, that there was no place like home. She had to go on the whole strange journey, to learn the lesson she needed to learn.

“Oh, what a world!”

–The Wicked Witch of the West

Is it strange that I felt sad once the witch was gone?

I thought all the costumes and makeup were strange. The one actor playing the Tin Man had to back out of the role because he was allergic to the silver makeup, nearly dying I think I read somewhere.

So strange that the wizard, thought to be all powerful, “very good, but very mysterious,” according to Glinda, wasn’t what he appeared. How many in power are not so mysterious or so smart or strong as they want people to believe?

Looks are deceiving, or something like that.

The Lion cries, as they stand before the wizard, begging to go home. More crying and that’s not even including the big goodbye scene between Dorothy and her friends.

“Dorothy…small and meek.”

–Dorothy Gale

Your Honour, Your Excellency, Your Wizardry.

–The Scarecrow

They had to prove they were brave before he would grant their wishes. Who was he to demand bravery anyway? What kind of magic was this?

They call the wizard: “Humbug!”

Again, reminding me of the square mints my grandma always had.

Universities where men go to become great thinkers?

Oh right. A strange feeling I get when I realize the time of these stories, when mostly men, if not only men would have gone to university, whereas now we don’t give it a second thought that we, as females, go to university right there along with the guys.

The Cowardly Lion had been Confusing courage with wisdom. He was given a medal to prove his bravery. We need medals to prove bravery these days. They have a medal. Like soldiers. Or witch slayers.

“Aw, shucks folks. I’m speechless.”

–Cowardly Lion

I feel self conscious when I’m told I’m brave too, Lion.

Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable. The Wizard of Oz says this and he is quite right.

Good deed doers.

Testimonials.

“A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.”

–The Wizard of Oz

Happy Halloween:

http://lindaghill.com/2015/10/30/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-oct-3115/

The night before Halloween, every year, author Anne Rice is the guest of honour at a ball named for her most famous character from her books.

Strange or not strange?

I am not a fan, but many people love the world Rice has created. Who’s to say what is strange and what is not?

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TToT: Thanks and Thankfuls – That Was Awesome! #10Thankful

“The more I see, the less I know for sure.”

–John Lennon

Not sure why,

😉

but I love this one.

oct2015-322-2015-10-11-01-53.jpg

“Living is Easy with Eyes Closed.”

I often have my eyes closed in pictures taken. I am told this is a pretty good shot, so they should be open.

🙂

The Lighting of the Peace Tower.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRhq-yO1KN8

Should I say thanks, be thankful for the thanks or thanks for the thankfuls?

This week I am not sure.

10 THINGS OF THANKFUL

Yes, I am Canadian and that means October is when we celebrate Thanksgiving, not November like the US does. Okay, so the actual day isn’t until the 12th, officially, but I celebrated two days early.

For me, this holiday is not and never has been about pilgrims coming across and landing to a grand celebration with The Natives. In Canada, for this Canadian girl in particular, it’s more about celebrating my favourite season (and we get em all in this country), the pumpkins, and the colourful leaves as they fall. Family is the best part, not the pie.

Sure, my family have always eaten turkey and It is true, that I am thankful, but I am just as thankful at Christmas and every other day of the year.

I am a little muddled, as this is my first Thanksgiving as a part of the TToT group – lot of being and feeling thankful going around here. I am a little overwhelmed with that word, “thankful” and all the thankfuls I have running around in my head.

Here I go anyway.

Ten Things of Thankful:

For friendly and down-to-earth writers like Anne Rice.

A couple years back I went ahead and read Interview with the Vampire – my first and only Rice book so far. I am not her biggest fan, but not in a “not a fan” sort of way. I just couldn’t quite let myself grow comfortable with her dark and mysterious writing style I suppose. I look down the extensive list of books she’s written in her three or four decades as a writer and I am impressed, even if the world of supernatural she’s continuously creating remains still unfamiliar to me.

It’s her devotion to her fans, as shown on her Facebook page, that really draws me in and of which I truly admire. As someone beginning to think of herself as a writer, I don’t necessarily think social media is for every author, but I do admire Rice’s dedication to her readers.

Anne Rice Fan Page on Facebook

She is quite obviously the one to handle the page. She doesn’t just post occasionally. She only has her assistant post when she herself isn’t feeling well. She posts daily and is clearly glad to do it.

She engages regularly with her millions of fans, saying good morning and goodnight to them, and having discussions, posing questions, and posting articles.

For friends and graciousness and people willing to help spread the word.

Amy Boviard Author

and

Original Bunker Punks

in particular.

I thank you for your thoughtful shares and I am thankful that you took the time to talk about or publish me, and then go ahead and share that with your website’s readers and then on your Facebook pages.

For the ability to go and turn on the heat.

The weather is turning to the autumn crispness I love so much, which means I have been going back and forth, unsure which type of weather there might be outside my door in the mornings. Things are changing

On a particularly rainy and windy day I broke down and, instead of just loading up on heavy sweaters, took that step and turned on my home’s heat. I am thankful for this because I have it so easily accessible to me. I’ve been going on and on about humidity, heat, and my air conditioning since I began with TToT, but Canadian winters always end up as cold as Canadian summers are hot.

For familial beta readers and editors.

I am not a writer with a publishing contract and an editor on hand to read the things I write, able to give their feedback and offer their suggestions. I don’t have the money to pay people to read all the stuff I’m writing nowadays, but I have managed to cultivate and maintain a number of relationships with these people. I don’t ask them to help, as I am glad to just have their expertise and knowledge to occasionally learn and draw upon. This is where the family obligation comes in.

🙂

Okay, they wouldn’t say it that way, but I still feel bad imposing. Of course, I could impose a lot more often than I do, only asking them to read over something when I really need it.

I apologize eternally to any readers of this blog, as I edit myself, as best I can, but don’t have someone read over my post before hitting publish each and every time.

If a capital letter or punctuation is missed now and then, or perhaps more often than that, I am sorry. These days, with the VoiceOver and Mac, my writing and blogging programs usually catch any incorrect spelling.

As for a week where I have written a piece I’m sending off somewhere to be evaluated and possibly published, to grow a more expanded readership, I look to my family to read my work and offer ideas and first impressions. Usually, this means my big sister. She has a life of her own, you know, with a husband and young son to attend to and spend time with. She works some days and has her own interests, so when she takes the time to help me out I am incredibly thankful.

For my mother and the very fact of her birth. This is worth celebrating and declaring my thanks for, as without this and her, I would not be here to write these words.

For everything she does and everything she is, I am thankful and grateful. I may not always show it, but I mean it from my very soul, with all the feeling words can muster.

I have never been more thankful than for her. Happy Birthday Mom. Xoxoxo.

For purring.

My cat will come over to me and walk across my legs. I don’t know, but I choose to believe he knows the pain therapy he is providing in that moment.

My chronic pain is an all over sort of deal. My legs are sensitive and just the right amount of pressure helps.

As for the purring, when he rests himself against my legs and purrs, I feel better. This is worth a bunch of irritating cat hair on my clothes and furniture.

oct2015-044-2015-10-11-01-53.jpg

For a fun Thanksgiving day at the farm, pumpkin patch, and corn maze with the fam. Got an excellent view of the place from my watch tower perch.

Leaping Deer!

oct2015-049-2015-10-11-01-53.jpg

My first time through a corn maze. I loved the sound of the rustling corn stalks in the cool fall afternoon, but it would have been creepier in the dark. They said you were supposed to give them your names when you went in, presumably in case they needed to find us in the event that we became lost, but we were rebels and told nobody – well, the family knew, I think.

For the pleasure of getting to give my niece and nephews a little something, a small gift, out-of-the-blue.

It wasn’t a holiday where presents were expected, and that made it all the better. They were surprised and I am thankful I got to make them smile.

They are learning and growing, with each Thanksgiving that passes, and that makes me sad, but in a really grateful way. I get to love them and be there, and that’s worth an unplanned and a surprise puzzle, book, or sticker set now and again.

For optimism, without which, I could never find a thing to be thankful for at all.

Whatever else I give thanks for, I am thankful for the TToT and others who have thankfuls in their lives as well.

This one, from this week’s group, is the perfect example of finding the silver linings, all done with beauty and humour.

A Moment In Time – Summertime Wandering

I can use all the optimism I can muster today. I am off to watch the Toronto Blue Jays play, what could be their last game, and the end of any possible hopes their fans had of a World Series win after more than 20 years eager anticipation and hope.

I am thankful for all the togetherness that is shown around here, after being in Toronto a few weeks back and feeling the energy of the baseball fans, the Toronto supporters growing, and I know today is their last hope and the odds are against them, but until that hope is dashed for certain I choose to be positive and optimistic.

It could happen. As Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

Okay, I’ll see where things stand by this evening, a week from now, at next week’s edition of the TToT.

OK…BLUE JAYS…LET’S…PLAY…BALL!

I’ll end this week’s post with one of the most optimistic quotes I know, in the hopes of something sticking, and, as Anne Rice always says to her FB fans,

Signing off.

“It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”

Lucy Maud Montgomery

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TToT: A Rainy Day In Paradise, #10Thankful

Love does not appear with any warning signs. You fall into it as if pushed from a high diving board. No time to think about what’s happening. It’s inevitable. An event you can’t control. A crazy, heart-stopping, roller-coaster ride that just has to take its course.
–Jackie Collins

Jackie Collins and Phil Collins: One is known for writing salacious novels and the other for his drumming, song writing, and singing, both as a member of Genesis and as a solo artist.

The only connection, for me, between these two has been their last name, up until this past week. One writes memorably and the other has had a huge influence in my life. Guess which is which.

10 THINGS OF THANKFUL

This week has had its ups and downs, pierced by the news story here in Canada, about the little girl who went missing and whose father was found murdered.

Hope turns to heartbreak.

Well, in this case, there was no happy ending to be had. I listened to the mother of the girl, during a press conference, and I was reminded all too sharply of the events that took place in my town over five years ago.

The Dark Mark

What kind of sick monster would do this? How does the world make sense to anyone at any time?

In comes creator of TToT

Lizzi,

Who has been touring around parts of the US for over a week now and I know she was worried about something, before she left. I made a promise, I would help make sure her friends back in the UK weren’t totally forgotten about, which I am sure she hasn’t stopped thinking about them, even as she’s having the trip of her lifetime.

Still, it’s important to be thankful and grateful, and that is the theme of my post this week, although it is every week, but this week I make it a double dose. There is so much I can’t do to help people, but I thought I could do this.

GO FUND ME: Home For Jenny

Ten Things of Thankful:

For My grandparents, although they are all gone now, and for the grandparents my own parents have become to my niece and two nephews.

This week was Grandparent’s Day and I want to highlight the things that make grandparents so great, both the big and small things, especially my parents, as they are now grandparents, and have been for nearly five whole years.

I miss mine every single day, but when I watch my mom and dad interacting with my niece or either of my nephews, I feel better because I see all the memories being made, so many things that remind me of everything I loved my grandparents for, all those years. It is one of the most special bonds in life.

For another guest post, this time with a musical theme, that I had out at the start of the week.

Perfection – Jingle Jangle Jungle

Some albums leave a lasting impression and “Jagged Little Pill, 1995” was one of them.

You Learn – Alanis Morissette

For strong female examples and the possibilities borne from these women: Jackie Collins, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, or Malala Yousafzai.

He Named Me Malala

“Our voices are our most powerful weapons.”

Malala is right. This film trailer and this quote give me goosebumps and bring tears to my eyes.

Happy Birthday, Chimamanda and Malala, who celebrated this past week.

These are three examples, of reasons to celebrate life, the lives of females who do not apologize for who they are and for what they stand for.

It gives me hope – a representation of past, present, and future for women.

For the honour of two writing assignments I’ve been asked to do, one of them from one of those strong females I’ve alluded to, and for the surprise invite I received to be interviewed, next month, on an internet radio show.

I am now nervous because I now have to deliver. I am thrilled to be asked for these things, but now comes the fear of disappointing these people or of not being able to give them what they were hoping for.

I am working on developing my confidence and pride, to know in my heart I can write something worthwhile or speak up for myself, but I am going to need to focus to be able to give them my best.

I hope this will lead to more good things and I think I need to get down to business, to get writing, to show what I can do.

For repeat thankfuls.

That’s right. I am thankful, once more, for my first published story.

I used this one last week, in previous weeks before that, in different ways, but I am using it again because I am still grateful, so incredibly thankful.

kerrsbook-longshot-2015-09-19-22-59.jpg

I forgot, last week, to include the link to where the book is now available in print. I’d been waiting for that for months and months.

After the Scars: A Second Chances Anthology

Also, I believe this thing warrants a spot in the thankfuls, two weeks in a row, because I believe we should pay special attention to those things we are truly thankful and excited for and about, especially when so many other parts of life are so shitty sometimes.

Plus, I have barely let the print copy of the book with my story in it out of my presence since it arrived last week. I sleep with the thing pretty much. I can neither confirm or deny this to be 100% the case.

😉

I am not too ashamed to admit I hug it against my chest sometimes, hardly able to believe how lucky I feel. How proud I am. The best feeling in the world.

For the fresh apples I’ve been waiting so long for.

Honey Crisp apples are expensive, in the grocery store most times, but it’s at this time of year that they are in the markets and are most worth it. They remind me of fall and they are so juicy. They are what good apple juice is made of. They are the perfect mixture of sweet and sour, and so wonderfully crunchy. Huge too. I have been looking forward to the start of the fall season and these apples, even more so, ever since visiting a giant apple back in July.

this photo is of brian, dad and you on the stairs in front of the apple.
img_5869-2015-09-19-22-59.jpg

For my brother’s help, as I am once more in need of pictures of myself, and seeing as he takes pictures for a living and has done it for years I am glad he is happy to help and not to expect a fee.

🙂

It ended up being a joke between us, when I texted him to ask if he could take a few pictures, and he ended up taking nearly two hundred. I wouldn’t blame him if he did ask for payment, but that’s what is so amazing, the generosity to be found in my family.

They need to be high resolution, (of which I have no clue) and are travel themed. I will have them to share in a future post, but let’s just say I ended up dangling in the apple tree in his back yard with my white cane. All for the writing.

For the chance to give my nephew his birthday present, as he turned two last month, but it’s taken a few weeks for the summer excitement to die down and for us to see each other again.

I’m thankful he liked his present so much. I got him my favourite thing, a book.

No. I did not give him a copy of the book with my story in it. Not exactly his level of reading material, at age two. I did bring his father, my brother a copy of the book though. I was excited to do that also.

As for my nephew, I gave him the new Dr. Seuss book and a singing and talking toy iPhone.

After all, shouldn’t all two-year-old children have their first cell phones?

For the chance to get to know my youngest nephew, as he is the third.

My niece is almost five and has known me the longest. She is in school and has been talking for a couple years now.

Then there’s my middle nephew and he lives close by and sees me on a weekly basis. We are incredibly close, as a result.

It’s my youngest nephew, youngest of the three, and he is just recently growing his vocabulary and changes so much, every time I see him, which only happens every other month or so. I sometimes worry he won’t remember me from the last time, but this is changing, slowly and surely, as he grows and with every passing visit.

Each time I can spend time with him and he can become a little more comfortable with me, and me with him, hopefully our bond as nephew and aunt grows a little stronger.

I am thankful we were able to spend a little time together, just the two of us, playing trucks in his bedroom, after his initial shyness wore off upon seeing me with his sister and daddy, when he wasn’t expecting it.

For the life he and my niece have, for everything they have, that their mom and dad work so hard to give them, when so many children have nothing nearly as good. They are tucked, in their beds and safe at night, and I can hug them goodbye, after a day of fun and games, and sleep securely in the knowledge that the most important children in my life are safe and not in danger.

Not all children are so lucky. I am lucky.

And now, the answer to the question I posed at the beginning of this week’s TToT:

I loved Danielle Steel’s romance novels, as a teenager, but I have never even read a Jackie Collins book. I just thought, after the years of writing and the career she’s had, she deserves to be mentioned here, on her passing.

I didn’t get into her novels, but I did follow her on Facebook. Up there with authors like Anne Rice and Danielle Steel, Jackie Collins was one of those authors I enjoyed getting to know a little on her author page.

RIP Jackie Collins (1937-2015)

As for Phil Collins, I have been focusing so much on the things I am thankful for, for months now with Ten Things of Thankful and a particular Phil Collins song has always made me realize how lucky I am and how thankful I am, for the life I do have.

As the week came to a close – as I let certain recent events upset me, as I felt like crying because I could hardly make out my nephew’s shape, and because I can no longer colour with him and my niece – I thought about why I need to keep making these weekly lists.

It’s just another day, for you and me, in paradise.

Another Day In Paradise

Just think about it.

–Phil Collins

I’ve thought about it, Phil, many times over the years – many, many, many times. I will never stop thinking about that, being grateful, and staying thankful.

And, as I was in desperate need of something to totally counteract that part I mentioned about a poor child being taken from the world, here is a video that made me smile from ear to ear, which I desperately needed mid week when the worst was confirmed about her disappearance.

Pup Quiz

RIP sweet Hailey.

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Fiction Friday, TGIF, Writing

What’s in a Pen Name?

If the rumours are, indeed, true:

Hillary Clinton to Announce 2016 Run for President on Sunday – New York Times Politics

It’s funny that I mention her in this post from just over one year ago,

(Women & Books),

as I spoke about women, on International Women’s Day, 2015 and as I thought about feminism, equality, writing, and the pen name.

I wrote about two specific women writers in that post last year: L.M. Montgomery and J.K. Rowling.

I have a lot to say on women’s rights, but today I wanted to focus on another issue that has been at the back of my mind lately. The two things come together in the end though, as is often the case for me these days.

For this week’s Fiction Friday I wanted to discuss pen names and both L.M. and J.K., other than the fact that these two follow the order of the alphabet,

🙂

they also represent actual ladies, with real, full names: Lucy Maud and Joanne Kathleen.

Why do authors use pen names?

I have heard several reasons for the act of writing by one name or another, or more, when publishing several books or series of books.

Funny how I wanted to write this post and then, suddenly, I come across a few blog posts on the subject.

I am including them here, but I want to mention that I have not yet read them, as I write this.

I know writing is repetitive. It’s hard to truly come up with anything original anymore, so I did not want to have read another blogger’s thoughts on this topic, before I could explain my own.

Pen Names-Necessary Evil or Ticket to Crazyville?

and

What to Do When You Absolutely, Positively NEED a Pen Name

Anne Rice is best known for her novel Interview with the Vampire.

She had written so many novels over her career, but I only recently heard about her romance/erotic series of novels: Beauty’s Kingdom.

With the release of the Fifty Shades of Grey books and movie, Anne has been discussing the place erotica takes up in literature.

I visit Ms. Rice’s Facebook page on a regular basis.

Anne Rice on Facebook

And so I heard about the release of her newest Beauty’s Kingdom novel, on April 21st, first one since they first came out in the 80s.

Back then Rice wrote these erotic fiction stories under the pen name A.N. Roquelaure.

Funny how her initials are AN, so close to her actual name. What a coincidence.

😉

She said on Facebook that she preferred a pen name back then because it distinguished her persona, from one genre to another.

I happen to think that vampires can be a highly suggestive and erotic creature. It isn’t such a stretch from one to the other. I can’t say I was totally surprised, when I first heard about her alter ego.

From mainstream author to the indie world:

On Facebook I became aware, recently, of a female writer named Joanna Penn.

The Creative Penn

Perfectly literary name and the perfect name for today’s topic.

🙂

Joanna writes thrillers, under the “penn name” of:

J.F. Penn.

She goes by Joanna when she does podcasts, interviews, and speaking engagements.

She writes non-fiction on writing and on being an entrepreneur.

Anne Rice was trying to separate her writing personas, but in the 80s erotica was mostly secretive.

Nowadays, with Fifty Shades, it is becoming mainstream.

There is no more need to hide. Or is there?

It’s still important to keep separate, even when the audience knows the truth.

Hiding in plain sight I suppose.

Today’s world is a lot different from the one where Anne Rice wrote Beauty’s Kingdom.

It’s not the 80s anymore and nobody can keep a secret in the technological age we now live in.

Why does Joanna Penn even bother with the distinction now? Why do any of them?

When Harry Potter came to an end and Rowling wanted to go in a different direction, she first wrote The Casual Vacancy.

After a mixed review, she moved even further away from wizards, with a good old fashioned who-did-it detective story.

Only Rowling did not write this.

A man named Robert Gailbraith did.

J.K. Rowling to Publish Another Book Under Pen Name

So she has already fiddled around with her name in the past, using initials to disguise the fact that she was a female writer.

Now she chose to go with a male’s name, surprise surprise, when writing in a genre that has historically been known as a male genre.

This makes me mad and it confuses me. I love her and Harry Potter, but I can’t say her choices since have impressed me.

I wish I could talk to her about why, as a writer who has been given the extreme honour of writing books, why she has done what she’s done.

So I see it, still, partly as a fear of being unable to sell as many books if people realize you are a female. If you use initials, at least it may fool readers or customers, in the moment.

Is this a male writer or a female writer?

Hmmm.

Oh well…

But the creation of a whole new male author, Gailbraith, this is baffling to me on many levels.

No room for ambiguity with initials here.

On the one hand I know all about the importance of branding.

I have branded myself as Her Headache, for my writing blog.

I don’t disguise the fact that I am female or hide my real name, but I do put myself out there in a certain light.

Even more recently I have rebranded myself, for my “alter ego” as The Insightful Wanderer, with the creation of my travel blog.

So I have two names now, plus my real name underneath.

I see the value in having separate titles, to distinguish oneself in separate areas of one’s life. I just wish there was no issue, from a feminist perspective, but I believe there is.

I guess I just wanted to explore this topic, here, and to hear your thoughts on branding and pen names.

Do you understand why these authors and others have chosen, in the past and in present, to go by different names?

Okay, now I will go and read those other blog posts on the existence of pen names.

🙂

What’s in a name anyway?

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