Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Spotlight Sunday

The Lovable Punk, #JusJoJan

In April it will be ten years since my guide dog Croche passed away from cancer. After she died, I grieved and was lonely. This loneliness made me want another dog, but I couldn’t even think of going for another guide dog. I decided I wanted a little lap dog. I never could have imagined what I would get.

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Dobby, you are a pain in the butt. You really are. You’re so possessive, but you’re just my pet. You don’t control what I do or with whom I do it with.

Sounds harsh, but lately he has been super protective of me, not letting me have any sort of social life whatsoever. He annoys the hell out of my company, family and friends, dates. He bugs me so much, but I have had him for nearly nine years now and I am no dog trainer, even if it weren’t looking like it is pretty much too late at this advanced date anyway.

Did you drive away past men in my life? Well, okay, I can’t say that, though sometimes it feels like he helped, even in his own way.

I love Dobby. I named him after a character from Harry Potter and many people have complimented on what a cute dog he is, until they spend any real time with him I must add.

He barks madly at any visitor I happen to invite into my home. He thinks he must protect me and our house from any intruders, even though I told them to enter. Whereas, if I really had an unwelcome someone stopping by, for any less than welcomed reason, I doubt he would be able to protect me at all.

Sometimes he feels like a stocker dog, following me wherever I go, unless he can get a bit of the cat’s food or sneak into the litter box. So gross.

Some guard dog. He is not a guide dog. But…he is my dog. Boyfriends have come and gone, but Dobby is here to stay.

I just sometimes wish he could take it down a few degrees. I truly wonder what is wrong with him. You have to see it to believe it.

When I heard the prompt word for this second week of
Just Jot It January
I immediately thought of my Dobby.

What aa mongrel!

Week two of this month-long blogging exercise is commencing, of which I’ve only written twice for this year because of other things requiring my attention, but today it’s being guest hosted by
Dan of No Facilities.

I may be back again, a time or two, but the prompt today just seemed to fit,
which came from this here website.

I’m stuck with my punk of a dog, lovable and yet so incredibly irritating, all at the same time.

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

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

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

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

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

What a ride! Would 2016 be anything else?

And so, I give you – 2016!

JANUARY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FEBRUARY

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

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

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

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

Happy Birthday To Me!

I turned another year older.

Harper Lee dies

MARCH

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

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

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

This was the best I could do.

I will keep at it.

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

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

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

As for those we lost in the month of march:

Rob Ford (former mayor of Toronto)

and

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

APRIL

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

Don’t Look Back

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

Why Oh Why

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

April’s #1000Speak was all about vulnerability.

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

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

Spotlight On Single Strides

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

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

MAY

Back And Better Than Ever

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

Taking A Chance

Next, it’s the month to celebrate mothers.

Solid As A Rock

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

Frozen In Time

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

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

Born Again and Forever Grateful

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

JUNE

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

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

Electric Blue Compassion, #1000Speak

JULY

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

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

Would the moment ever get here?

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

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

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

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

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

What is courage anyway? #1000Speak

AUGUST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SEPTEMBER

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

Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel

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

Collecting Furniture, Memories, and Emails

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

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

The Other Awkward Age: My Interview with Jennifer Niesslein

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

OCTOBER

Episode 2 – Ingredients Listed with Ketchup On Pancakes

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

The Brevity Podcast

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

NOVEMBER

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

Nano Nano Nano

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

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

Stalemate, #1000Speak

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

DECEMBER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hello Darkness… #SongLyricSunday

Hello darkness, my old friend

I’ve come to talk with you again

Because a vision softly creeping

Left its seeds while I was sleeping

And the vision that was planted in my brain

Still remains

Within the sound of silence

Song Lyric Sunday

Such a difficult choice.

Here is the theme for the week.

So many songs, made up of powerful lyrics, to choose from.

Hmm.

Well, if you hadn’t guessed by the sampling of lyrics at the beginning of this post, here is the song and its remaining words.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zLfCnGVeL4

I’d known of this song of course, but it wasn’t until it appeared in a film about the night Robert Kennedy was assassinated, that came out about ten years ago, I never would have heard its words and felt their meaning so deeply.

***

And in the naked light I saw

Ten thousand people, maybe more

People talking without speaking

People hearing without listening

People writing songs that voices never share

No one dare

Disturb the sound of silence

***

It’s fifty years since that assassination, but things feel similar, with the racial tensions in the US lately. How much really changes?

Okay okay, I shouldn’t leave it like that. Change does happen, however painfully slowly it might do.

Lyrics for Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence”

“Fools” said I, “You do not know

Silence like a cancer grows

Hear my words that I might teach you

Take my arms that I might reach you

”But my words like silent raindrops fell

And echoed in the wells of silence

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TToT: Greatness, Audacity, Tragedy – “Wow and Flutter” #10Thankful

“…Courage, my word. It didn’t come, it doesn’t matter. Courage, it couldn’t come at a worse time.”

Courage – The Tragically Hip (For Hugh MacLennan)

I don’t know how much of a lot of Canadian music always makes it out of Canada sometimes, but the big news here this past week is the announcement that a nationwide musical icon has been diagnosed with a terminal brain cancer. I just figured I would share one of my favourite songs from Gord and his band. I learned something new and interesting about the origin of the song “Courage” and it seems apt.

I know I have looked to these lyrics, searching for courage at different times in my own life, and now it appears courage “couldn’t come at a worse time” for Downie.

😦

Here’s what I learned about a Canadian writer who inspired “Courage” the hit song:

Who’s Hugh MacLennan?

Onward and to my thankfuls for the week and there are some, for sure.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For just how good my parents really are to me.

I honestly, sometimes, feel I really don’t deserve them as my mother and father. This was brought home to me in a big way this week.

I was on the phone with my mother early in the week about something. When I hung up, I found myself feeling emotional about how they have always looked out for me, in both big and small ways, and how even now they are preparing for the future. It is a hard thing for me to think about sometimes, how much they have had to worry about me, but that’s how life goes. I can’t fully express, as we’re in the middle between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, still upcoming.

For that ability to turn on my AC when spring suddenly makes the leap into summer earlier than one might have expected.

For a local, provincial television station.

TV Ontario

I guess it’s like PBS or something, but again, this one would be something only those living in Ontario, Canada would likely be aware of.

I watched this channel since I was a kid and now I watch it for so many fascinating nature, science, social issue and travel documentaries. I love a lot of their historical programs. I learn a lot, as far as media goes, from TVO.

For the sharing of ideas that make me better and believe I deserve to strive for more in my own life.

Lidia Yuknavitch: the beauty of being a misfit, TED2016

This woman’s words made me cry because I’ve felt out-of-place too, many many times in my life, but I still want to believe I will figure out where I fit in.

For hash tag Greatertorontoday and the good deeds that were done.

All across the city of Toronto, for one day, acts of kindness were done for others. I would hope this isn’t just a one shot sort of a thing, that it could go on for more than just one single day, but it was nice to hear the reporter on the Toronto news reading the Tweets from the random acts of kindness that were happening.

#Greatertorontoday

My feelings on Toronto as a city run deep, but I know it has a great respect around the world, for its multiculturalism. I hope this, in itself, helps people to realize we are all human and deserve the same kindnesses shown to us all.

For gestures put forth and peaceful acts, amongst so much nasty rhetoric and angry attitudes throughout the world.

First, mid week, it was nice to see Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, taking one day off during his trip to Japan, to celebrate his anniversary with his wife.

Many thought this worth commenting on, criticizing, but I was glad to see that he values his relationship with his wife, while still performing his duties for Canada.

But then came the real uproar, at the end of the week, when President Obama visited the site of the bombings, on Japan, at the close of World War II.

Misinformation spread like wildfire, that he was offering an apology. He was simply pausing, at a place of great significance and destruction, while already in the country on official business.

It was the respectful thing to do. I know all the arguments, I realize I didn’t have loved ones directly affected by Pearl Harbor, but I know when peace is called for. I’m thankful he made the gesture.

For several more steps forward in the planning and execution of this podcast idea with my brother.

We did a trial run and it was not bad, but I couldn’t truly focus until I was happy with the name and then my brother’s friend reminded us of something memorable, an image that comes to his mind when he thinks of our family: Ketchup on pancakes.

That’s right. It’s a family favourite around here, for breakfast, or whenever.

🙂

Our podcast is officially “Ketchup On Pancakes”.

So now we think we’ve figured out the microphone issues, settled on a catchy name, and have begun a proper outline for our introductory episode. We hope to record next week. I am excited and just hope my brother doesn’t get sick of me too quickly, as I can actually see this podcast going somewhere in time.

For a rebounding, a super positive, as in my latest violin lesson.

Sometimes, you’re just not feeling it. Other times, everything, the energy in the room, it seems to flow and I leave feeling super pumped about this choice to learn to play the violin at thirty-two years old that I’ve made.

That was the difference between the previous lesson, as I prepared to play Happy Birthday for my sister and this latest lesson, where I felt I could handle it, whatever it may be, and I took in every single word and concept my teacher explained to me.

For the support (past, present, and future) of audacious women writers, editors, dreamers who make their dreams come true and who show me guidance and kindness along the way.

Every week, twice a week, I read one particular website religiously. I have been trying to get a feel for the sorts of essays they publish, in the hopes of writing one. I have the idea all ready to go and again, this week, I came across one essay and it spoke to me, being about a similar topic.

REPAIR – FULL GROWN PEOPLE

Well, the editor of the site has been supportive of me submitting (actually resubmitting, as I was rejected early on, but feeling more and more confident to try again), as she seems to be encouraging me to give it another shot.

And, of course, there is my long developing support from an editor who reads my blog occasionally, who has followed my progress, and sounded intrigued about the podcast.

Change It Up Editing

And…

For the premiering of a brand new website, publication, and a truly panoramic take on literary travel writing

Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel

The word “panorama”, as I’ve understood it in the past, seemed out of my reach, as something visual. Now, I see things differently with this project,, begun and run, in part, by my writing mentor.

I may actually have used the following quote before, but again it fits. It is all about the writing, the courage, the courage to write.

“Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”

—Gloria Steinem

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TToT: Snow In April – That’s Disgusting! #10Thankful

Besides being an enduring metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life,

an aspect of Japanese cultural tradition that is often associated with Buddhist influence

and which is embodied in the concept of:

Mono no aware

The transience of the blossoms, the exquisite beauty and volatility, has often associated with mortality

and graceful and readily acceptance of destiny and karma; for this reason, cherry blossoms are richly symbolic

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I’ve been obsessed lately with cherry blossoms, which I hear are popping up in many spots around the world, from the west coast of Canada, to D.C. USA, to Japan of course.

Sakura

I found several songs (Japanese folk songs) about cherry blossoms. I found, through further investigation and coincidence, that they have a meaning closely related to one not-so-thankful thing that did happen this week, along with the colder weather around here.

Here in Ontario, Canada it has been bitterly cold this weekend. Here’s my list of thankfuls, in spite of the weather, which I hope will improve very soon.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For a chance Facebook Messenger chat last Sunday evening, after months of a developing online writing relationship, and suddenly I had myself a writing mentor.

I wasn’t altogether happy with where I was with my writing and she saw that in me, rightly so. She volunteered and I eagerly reached out for her offered help.

For a return to my violin lessons.

Finally, there was no more interrupted holidays or illnesses. I couldn’t get by with only one lesson, if I were ever going to become even halfway decent.

For one hour, I go into a small practice room, on a university campus, and I funnel all my energy, all my mental power, into what my fingers are doing, holding the bow, how my arm is held to have a proper reach on the notes, and all the while making sure I don’t raise my right shoulder. It all takes incredible focus for me. I think nothing but violin, often forgetting many other basic facts and details about my life.

Sound dramatic? Well, it’s all true.

🙂

For the 100 year celebration of a life.

A master at work. Powerful performance.

Gregory Peck would have turned one hundred and I thought it worth mentioning the performance of a lifetime he gave. It makes me tear up when I watch, every time.

I like his reaction when he asks Scout if she knows what a compromise means. When she answers with “bending the law” as her guess, his reaction is priceless, not to mention the part about how “you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view”.

For the sense of bonding with those who understand.

It’s just nice, even when I’m not feeling always up to going, to get out and spend a few hours, one evening every few weeks, at my favourite place: the library.

We may all be of different ages and have a wide array of writing interests, but we all are there because we love writing/storytelling in some capacity.

For a wide open release of our song.

And now…I present to you…

DON’T LOOK BACK

If you listen to one song today, make it THIS ONE! Lyrics written by – THIS GIRL!

🙂

For a dinner with my parents, after an afternoon where it was brought home to me how lucky I am to have them both.

We went to pay our respects, to an old family friend, someone who means so much to so many. He was a wonderful family man: husband, father, grandfather, brother, friend.

He fought hard, battling the cancer, that would eventually take his life.

I thought harder still about the cherry blossom, once I learned its meaning, the only actual flowers I saw (with the weather being as it is) this week was what I could detect the scent of, as people send flowers as a condolence to the grieving family.

For a history of 90s music remembered with a legend.

You Know You’re Right – Nirvana

Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain died, twenty-two years ago, but he will always be what the nineties were for my brothers, who introduced the grunge world and this band in particular, to me. It was a kind of music none of us had ever heard at the time.

For the first voice-to-face meeting with my new writing mentor.

What would we do without the invention of a little thing called Skype?

It was nice, though I was nervous originally, to finally hear her voice, after months of online interaction.

We had a beneficial first meeting, discussing writing and nothing but, for more than an hour. She told me some things I needed to hear, things about my abilities as a writer. She let me learn from her and the road she has traveled into the world of mostly literary travel writing.

I left the call, by the end, feeling highly energized and hopeful.

For another extremely enjoyable family gathering.

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For my siblings.

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It’s Siblings Day today and I celebrated yesterday: had some excellent discussions with my sisters, have enjoyed collaborating on a song with my younger brother, and had my older brother do what he does best and that’s take photographs. This, however, means he is rarely, if ever, actually featured in any of our photos himself.

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I would not be the person I am today without these guys.

And so, all and all, it was an overall success of a week. Big things are happening. I can feel it.

While, at the same time, life isn’t always easy and things happen we’re never going to be ready for.

Seasons in the Sun – Terry Jacks

Traveling to pay our respects, driving through the old neighbourhood of the deceased and his family, my mom talked about the people and the history of the area.

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The past felt so long back, to me, but it all felt very present just then, and I was left wondering about the future.

***

Goodbye Michelle, my little one

You gave me love and helped me find the sun

And every time I was down

You would always come around

And get my feet back on the ground

Goodbye Michelle it’s hard to die

When all the birds are singing in the sky

Now that the spring is in the air

With the flowers everywhere

I wish that we could both be there

We had joy we had fun

We had seasons in the sun

But the wine and the song like the seasons

Have all gone

All our lives we had fun

We had seasons in the sun

But the hills that we climbed were just seasons

Out of time

***

http://www.metrolyrics.com/seasons-in-the-sun-lyrics-terry-jacks.html

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Why Oh Why, #FTSF

Two things happened this week worth mentioning here, now: a friend of the family passed away from a long-fought cancer battle and I secured myself a writing mentor.

You may wonder what those two events have to do with one another. Well, one is terrible and the other is exciting, but they are both big things to have happened.

They both give me pause, when thinking about my writing, why I write.

At the heart of life, the topics I write about: birth, love, death.

When someone passes away I am left whirling, in my own head, and writing helps me make sense of the nonsensical of life. Death is going to happen to us all. We can’t say when. We don’t normally have the ability to decide how it will end. I know I am a very small person, in a big big world, and I need a way to put the things that I don’t quite understand into some kind of perspective.

We won’t be around forever. I won’t. Life will pass me by, like that!

Sometimes, I wonder about my writing. I wonder about it and question it, like many writers, and I try to figure out why I continue to write, what makes me do it, again and again and again.

I write because it helps me figure life out. I write because I can, because I’ve been told I am good at it, by myself on good days, by other people, when I need to hear it, at just the right moment.

I didn’t see it coming. I’d wished for it for a while, but how did one go about acquiring a writing mentor anyway?

Sure, there were writers I admired, but I didn’t know how to approach them, to ask them if they would teach me or guide me or help me. I couldn’t decide how to make my request known, and so I continued to write.

This week, all the stars must have aligned.

On those bad days, I doubt my writing and the point of it all. I know writers do this all the time. I was not alone in this. I may ask it, in those darker moments when I feel like we’re all doomed to die and what’s the point of so much of what we do in the meantime, but then I get on with it and I don’t doubt it anymore.

I don’t know where it will lead me, but maybe it’s time I started to figure all that out too, to find a direction and take the steps necessary to do something with my writing.

Thanks, Kristi, for another excellent

Finish the Sentence Friday

writing prompt. I am figuring things out right now and FTSF always helps.

Finally, I am including my entry for a writing contest from last June:

How Writing Has Positively Influenced My Life

I did not win, but as long as I continue to write, to grow into my destiny as a writer, I am winning.

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Bite Me! #SoCS

Don’t you ever just feel like telling the world to, “Bite Me!” Reality really can bite sometimes.

“I’m here for my appointment,” I said, approaching the window in the doctor’s office.

“Kerry?”

“Yes.”

“That was yesterday actually.”

The receptionist said this, without sounding at all annoyed at this latest inconvenience of her precious time, but I would find out later that it happened a few times a week usually. In fact, one girl came in after me, only to learn she was, in fact, a day early for her scheduled appointment.

Immediately I felt like crying. I couldn’t believe I’d done that. I’d checked the card, several times over the last few months, and I swore I had the right day. Maybe they’d written it down wrong. Maybe this wasn’t my mistake at all, but theres instead. Maybe?

I wouldn’t normally have felt like bursting into tears over something like this, but I hadn’t slept well, fallen to sleep after finding out another terrorist attack had taken place, and even the death of a famous Toronto mayor, of cancer, this had contributed to my state of sensitivity.

I don’t know. Something about the situation I was in, the coming together of the events already that morning, it all felt kind of unreal.

“Really?” I said. “Thank you very much.”

The receptionist must have taken pity on me. “It’s her OB morning, but I can squeeze you in somewhere.”

“Oh thank you very much,” I said, grateful I wasn’t going to leave without finding out what my test results were, without getting a chance to speak with the doctor about my situation.

I took my seat, preparing to wait as long as possible, as I knew I was lucky to still be seen. All around me, women were arriving, being weighed and getting their blood pressure taken, being shown to exam rooms to see the doctor for their varied, so-and-so month checkups, all in different stages of pregnancy. Here they were. I didn’t know their stories and they didn’t know mine, but I began to feel out-of-place and silly amongst them.

One woman came out to meet her husband and young child. I wondered about all the women there alone vs the one there with, likely, her supportive partner. But maybe the other fathers had to work and couldn’t get off. Who knew. None of us truly knew another’s life and circumstances. That would, likely, be too much of a weight to carry anyway…even more than any fetus.

Speaking of unborn babies, I wanted to cry, at the realities and the uncertainties. But I wasn’t going to cry, there, in front of all those pregnant and expecting mothers, some already mothers, whose hormones and the huge event to soon happen to them actually had more of a physical reason to burst into tears than I had.

But of course I had a reason, my reasons, several reasons, but I didn’t do it, not there in front of everyone, receptionist and patients, in that waiting room on a Tuesday.

I wasn’t there, on that OB morning, for the same reasons as everyone else and I didn’t think I ever would be. I really really didn’t know what I felt about that likelihood.

Forty-five minutes later, I left still wanting to cry. So many things about that day felt unreal to me. Yet another global terrorist attack. Yet another life taken too soon from cancer.

And as for myself, I was sick of yet another symptom with nothing causing it. No blood test or examination result could be connected to how I was feeling. I’d stumped yet another medical professional, but I definitely wasn’t there for the same happy, blessed occasion as the rest.

I’d been through this before. Really had enough. Really sick of it. Real ridiculous. No, really.

So, the list of the unreal grows and grows and grows.

It’s really unreal that certain people are in the running for the US presidency.

It’s so unreal to me that people, the book buying public, that they seem to require life to be spoon fed to them, as someone pointed out to me how unlikely any publisher is to want a memoir when they can have yet another how-to.. diet or get-rich success story.

And it’s really

unreal

to me that I’ve been doing this

for almost exactly one whole year,

At least I have stream of consciousness writing to help me work through the realities of life.

Where, oh where, would I be without you?

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