It’s cold outside. Snow has come, gone, and come again lately. As Christmas approaches in a few short weeks, I love the air this time of year. I love the thought of a silent night, snow softly falling, but then there’s the bright lights and the musical spirit of this season.
I am not Jewish, but I was listening to an all Hanukkah edition of a radio show my brother likes to listen to, a college radio station out of New Jersey I believe.
I don’t get annoyed by holiday themed music this time of year because it’s really only a short time out of the year. It makes me happy, from older classics to newer stuff, unless the singer goes too wild with their own rendition.
I see all the articles about the banning of Baby It’s Cold Outside, on certain radio stations since this whole #MeToo movement. I have read people’s thoughts and opinions on Facebook and thought about adding mine, but as usual, I am somewhere in the middle when it comes to whether the whole thing should have occurred in the first place.
I know the song well enough and I am not a fan of it personally, but other people have their own connections to the song and are upset that there’s any kind of pulling from holiday tune rotations.
I’ve always found it creepy, but it can be interpreted lots of different ways. Many artists and performers have done their individual renditions and made it sound differently, come off in a unique way, all depending…
I grew up knowing of Red Skelton from my father and grandparents too. He is a part of my childhood, but kind of from a different time. This song I came across is from the 40’s and things were different than they are in the 21st century we’re living in now.
In one version, the male sings certain parts and the female sings the rest. In another version of the song, there is a reversal in lyrics, in lines.
Is it a song where one person is pressuring another to stay, to spend the night? Is it more about both wanting to stay, but in those times, concerns over what people will think, a purity thing? Or is it a harmless flirtation?
I don’t necessarily think a song should be banned. Many songs, a lot from the 40’s or the 60’s come off, today, sexist and pushy, even inappropriate. People today should be more aware of boundaries and what messages we’re sending. Songs of today can be just as inappropriate, in my mind, but harmless in anyone else’s.
Thursday, December 6th, 2018 was an All Women’s Voices day, in remembrance of the 14 women in 1989, Montreal (mostly engineering students) who were murdered, by a madman who hated feminists and didn’t think women should dare go into the traditionally male fields of study.
On a university radio station near my home, (for 24 hours straight)
they played and aired all women’s music and interviews with women and girls, about their interests and their fears and the issues they care about, how they’re making a difference.
I was interviewed for this, where I wanted to speak about myself, as a woman who is working for more equitable treatment for everyone in our society. These things weren’t taken into as much consideration in years gone by as it is today. Some still think we’re overreacting.
Again and again I hear about snowflakes and safe spaces. I know people think we’re making too much of things, politically correct as people like to say, far too sensitive for our own good, but this is a tactic of minimizing someone’s lived experiences and a brush off of possible trauma.
I just want people to try and put themselves in someone else’s shoes for a minute. If a song made someone feel uncomfortable, due to experiences they might have had, can we not stop and think about that for a moment at least?
The song Baby It’s Cold Outside is still available. It hasn’t been banned from the earth. If certain radio stations choose not to play it now, can you not just go find it elsewhere?
On the other hand, we’re not going to get rid of everything. There’s been progress, but there’s still so many discussions to be had. I may sound wishy washy, but I prefer to have a stance, somewhere in the middle of the road. I see both sides, but want to respect all people if I can.
It’s exhausting really, sifting through all the memories, as I write them down for posterity. Still, I write first-person essays and other non fiction, memoir pieces. All this is most undoubtedly good practice for the book-length memoir I am determined to someday complete.
I am sometimes overly self aware, leaning heavily on reflections, in order to better see myself and others. I look back a lot, in total disregard of the lyrics I once wrote, as I reflect on the past thirty-four years. Yes, I will soon be turning thirty-four and I have a lot to look back on.
The waves of memory just keep on coming. I try to jot them down whenever and wherever I can, always holding back the force of each and every wave, so the threat of being washed away doesn’t ever come too near.
This Flashback Friday, flashing back to all the Friday’s of my past, the prompt word is “memories,” brought to us by Cage Dunn
and feel free to share any of your own memories with me in the comments.
I heard the song he played, for me, and I proceeded to dance/flail around my living room to it. Good workout and a reminder that Christmas isn’t so easy, for everyone, all of the time.
Bah Humbug is too strong for me, thankfully.
I am thankful for a Christmas visit and generous gifts from my 2017 neighbour.
Wine and Dutch wafer cookies made with honey.
She gave me a bracelet and necklace, with my birthstone and a heart, and other charms.
I appreciate her in my life, starting this year, and a dear one for years to come.
I am thankful for the love of earth and the natural world in a family creation.
Picked up a mossy world, with a gnome riding a turtle for my dining room’s table’s centre.
My cousin was selling them at the Saturday morning market. They find glass jars and other things, like mine which was an old fish tank or possibly a cookie jar at one time. Then they add moss and other things, creating its own little world in a jar.
I am thankful for a Christmas Eve morning visit with my friend and her daughter.
A two-year-old into Peppa Pig and I found the perfect Christmas surprise: Peppa Pig’s pizza parlour.
She loved it and warmed up as the visit progressed.
I am thankful we were played and up in the first hour.
The audio story I wrote and recorded with my brother was aired on the 25-hour Christmas Eve/Day marathon, on a little college radio station in New Jersey.
Jon plays lesser known seasonal songs and a story from a listener, one per hour. He has been doing this for years now and has loyal yearly listener/fans like my brother. It was one of our goals, since he listened and familiarized me with the show last Christmas. We made a plan to send in a contribution from the two of us and we got it done.
It was odd hearing it on that show, but a nice way to finish off 2017 on a high note.
I am thankful for another Christmas Eve to watch A Christmas Carol with my father.
I love Harry Potter. I was late to the party though, on becoming one of the obsessed. I was twenty-four to be exact.
I often say, like here on my About Me page,
that my three most visited topics throughout my mind and my writing are birth, death, and love. At the heart of most of what I write, those are the three subjects that are fueling it all.
The Harry Potter books are about the transformative effects of love, but it is also, in many ways, a book about death, if you look at the books critically. It’s about a villainous wizard who is so afraid of dying that he does whatever it takes to make himself immortal. I understand that, to a point.
It is easy for many young people, as I often hear, to believe that they are invincible and that death is so far off that it’s pretty well preventable. Maybe a cure to death will be found by then, they think. Maybe I can avoid all the darkness of the unknown of death, for myself or those I love.
But is that what we really want?
I had a discussion once, on a long drive home with a boyfriend, about death. There’s the science that’s working to put a stop to the inevitability of death. There’s the discussion about aging and suffering that often accompanies an aging human body. Then there was the added level of disability and medical conditions we both knew a little something about.
Did we want to live forever? We were several decades, ideally, from death. I don’t recall how this conversation came up.
Suicide is heard a lot more about these days, while stigma and misinformation still exist. A sudden or not so sudden end to a life, by choice is a frightening topic for most people. It’s a reality faced, by friends and families, for many of us.
Then there’s the fact that I never had my own brush with youthful carelessness or exuberance in the face of death, thought to be yet many many years down the road of life.
I lost dogs, several by our family’s admitted rotten luck. I’d lost a grandparent when I was ten. It didn’t get any easier with age to accept that I wouldn’t see certain people again.
While most kids are going through puberty I was also going through multiple surgeries. Then my little brother followed my medical path in a similar fashion. I then truly worried for someone else more than I cared and worried for myself. I wanted to take his pain away, add it to my own, still in progress.
As we got older, some of his medical issues became more serious and life-threatening and I feared death more than ever.
I can’t say I ever thought, right as I found myself on an operating table and about to do the paediatric anesthesiologist’s suggested countdown from one hundred, that I might never wake up. I just didn’t think it. I wasn’t worried, in some strange way. I can’t say now how I would feel. I have been lucky to avoid surgery for anything in many years, but I will likely face it again in the future, unless a cure for kidney disease is found in the meantime.
Now I am past losing grandparents. I just lost an aunt. I fear losing my parents. I fear the topic even being breached, as when my father brings it up in a nonchalant manner, as I know he is afraid too.
I live with a lot of fear about many things. I wish this weren’t just one more of those. It is inescapable and Voldemort is just a fictional character, but it’s his strangely relatable characteristics that I found most fascinating as I read, as fear of death is universal. It’s his deeds to avoid it, with how extreme and evil they are, that make him one of the greatest villains in literature, in my opinion.
I would like to write an essay of some kind, but it feels like such a huge undertaking. I feel like it would, by necessity, end up becoming a form of college term paper. I am not experienced with those.
If I did write it, it would be about the theme of death in the Harry Potter books.
Through the obvious, as I mentioned before, but also through J.K. Rowling’s use of other characters and symbols, such as ghosts and a black spectral dog, which when seen in the wizarding world, means death is near.
This isn’t my favourite of the Harry Potter films, by far, even if Emma Thompson is one excellent actress. I just include this clip to show you, if you’ve never read the books or watched the movies before. Though the third book, Prisoner of Azkaban, was one hell of a roller coaster ride when I first read it in 2008.
There’s some connection, a connective circle, as I mentioned dogs above, but I don’t know yet what it all is or what it all means.
I don’t know what that’s like when death looms ever closer, but I have come closer than many at my age and younger often do.
All these myths of black cats bringing bad luck and black dogs bringing news of demise. I will write about these things, as hard as they sometimes are to face, until the day I die.
Read her feelings on the FTSF prompt for this subject if you can. They are lovely. As for myself, I have been away from this particular Friday prompt for a few weeks now, but I couldn’t resist coming back for this one.
“I can’t get no peace, until I dive into the deep, blue lullaby.”
—Blue Lullaby, The Jellyman’s Daughter
Of course everyone can recall, with at least some detail, just where they were on the morning of September 11th, 2001. Most then speak of staring at the television, watching the horror unfold.
I remember the feelings. My father driving my sister back to college, starting to hear things on the radio in the car. I went into school, my teachers listening to radios and talk of World War III. That was my fear, but although I watched the news with my father all evening, our family just recently acquiring CNN, I wondered where all this might lead.
I wonder now when people speak of not getting that image out of their minds, but even then my vision was bad enough that I wouldn’t see those towers fall, people jumping for their lives, to their deaths. Am I less affected somehow, because I didn’t see it with my own two eyes?
What about anyone, such as children born after 2001, like my niece and nephews, who weren’t alive yet to know that day? Well, I suppose it would be like Pearl Harbor for me and also my parents. It’s the way I’ve heard those who witnessed that describe the feelings, but the difference being that lead to war for the US, a world war that had already begun for Europe. This time there has been no declaration of another world war, not in the 15 years hence, and hopefully never again.
If I were to have cried at the end of this strange week, would anyone be all that surprised? Whether from having to make more decisions about my health, to decide on medication coverage and possible effect on my transplanted kidney, which is coming up on twenty years. My fear, no matter how unlikely, ratchets up ever higher. Or from the fact that time rushes by, ever faster, as my niece enters an actual number grade, her brother soon to follow their cousin, who himself just began junior kindergarten this week and oh how little they seem for that first day. Perhaps it’s that I can’t possibly manage all my email and technology issues on my own which required having to accept help from one who knows so much more, or else maybe it’s that I realized I can do more than I thought I could. It never ends. Or from a painful part of being Canadian or a sombre day for the US, fifteen years after-the-fact.
And so I let all that sink in and I let my gratitude germinate and I feel all those overwhelming things and then I move forward and I find my list of thankfuls.
I’m thankful that I get to see my first big concert of a violin player live.
I’ve loved the sound of the violin for years, but now more and more I hear it everywhere. Wherever it appears in a television or movie’s soundtrack I zero in on it immediately, sometimes still uncertain, but at my core I know that sound.
I’m thankful that I found a doctor who seems to have a few suggestions for possible medical treatments.
After a while, you feel like you’re losing it and maybe you should just suffer silently because nobody could possibly understand. At this point, I take what I can get with my health, which sounds bad, but really I don’t believe, in spite of all doctors have done for me, that they have all the answers or can cure everything.
The question then becomes: how much can I put up with, how much do I just need to accept, and how then to focus on the good things in my life?
I’m thankful that I got to attend a truly unique and wonderful secret performance.
This wasn’t only a gig to them. It was held in the bachelor apartment of that friend of my brother. I happened to know where the show was being held, but only because M had volunteered to host it. I still had to apply on the Sofar Sounds website and wait to see if there was a spot left for me.
Intimate doesn’t begin to describe it. There were at least thirty people, mostly twenty-something’s, all crammed into a small house apartment in London, Ontario last Tuesday night. It was air conditioned, but this made little difference once all musical equipment was set up and everyone filed in to watch the three performances.
It felt lovely to me though, even though I was overheating and realizing I was possibly the oldest person there, at thirty-two. It was just so wonderful to see the love of music and the teamwork that these young men and women showed to bring people together through music. It frankly restored my faith in people, younger generations, or any generation for that matter.
I’m thankful that at said secret, exclusive performance, I got to learn of a duo I’d not heard of before, one I likely never would have heard of otherwise, and one which included cello.
This young musician couple from Scotland were on tour in Ontario and they were happy to be playing at their fourth Sofar, after Edinburgh, Hamburg, and Amsterdam. They were a team also, in the guitar, mandolin, and the cello he played, and her singing with him backing her up. They played a nice mix of Scottish music, bluegrass, and even a Beatles cover with a brilliant new spin on its classic sound.
I m thankful my niece started grade one and my nephew began junior kindergarten.
I was emotional all week, thinking about it, how my niece is learning how to read and write and next it will be my nephew’s turns.
I was emotional as I saw people I started school with, more than twenty-five years ago now, sharing the news of their own children’s first days of school, on Facebook. I was emotional because time flies and that’s both a good and a bad feeling, with nothing to be done about it either way.
I’m just lucky that my niece and nephews have access to all the tools they need to grow and learn in the right environment.
I’m thankful for new members and old ones, at my writing group, who share their varying perspectives with me.
I get to witness the different writing styles, experiences that are unique to each individual writer in that room, and they trust me as one of the few they feel mostly comfortable reading their words out loud to.
This is a term that just happened to come up at the most recent meeting and I’ve decided that is how I will refer to this group from now on. I am a huge fan of names and titles for things. Saying “writing group” or “writing circle” just never has had quite the same ring to it.
I’m thankful my ex could make a dent with my email problem.
I have collected thousands and thousands and thousands of emails and my ability to stay on top of that, deleting or organizing, it got away from me. It was so bad my computer’s voice program couldn’t even speak anymore, making it impossible to check my own email. It felt like a runaway train.
I resist these things, such as calling in the expertise of an IT ex boyfriend who knows his stuff. I don’t like to be a bother to those who are currently in my life, let alone those who chose not to be.
The hard part is that someone is a decent enough person to want to help anyway. The worst part is knowing that decency exists always.
Dent made, but still I feel like I can’t quite get a grasp on this, which feels like a silly complaint to have really.
I’m thankful that a favourite blogger and writer of mine has returned, after a fruitful summer off, to blogging and writing again. And who has made her return by sharing something I did not already know on her blog.
Next year isn’t only the year I celebrate my twenty-year anniversary of my kidney transplant, but as a much broader celebration, it will be Canada’s 150th birthday.
So, on September 10th, CTV, the national television broadcaster asked Canadians to film a minute of their life, a reason they are proud to live in this country. All clips will be compiled together. Sounds like a lovely pride project.
I mention several reasons, just here in this week’s TToT, why I am proud to be Canadian. This doesn’t mean I think we are a perfect country or that we shouldn’t try to learn about mistakes of our collective past and make an effort to do better for the next 150 years.
One musician is doing just that before he runs out of time:
STATEMENT BY GORD DOWNIE clickable
Ogoki Post, Ontario clickable
September 9, 2016 clickable
Mike Downie introduced me to Chanie Wenjack; he gave me the story from Ian Adams’ Maclean’s magazine story dating back to February 6, 1967, “The Lonely Death of Charlie Wenjack.” clickable
Chanie, misnamed Charlie by his teachers, was a young boy who died on October 22, 1966, walking the railroad tracks, trying to escape from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School to walk home. Chanie’s home was 400 miles away. He didn’t know that. He didn’t know where it was, nor how to find it, but, like so many kids – more than anyone will be able to imagine – he tried. I never knew Chanie, but I will always love him. clickable
Chanie haunts me. His story is Canada’s story. This is about Canada. We are not the country we thought we were. History will be re-written. We are all accountable, but this begins in the late 1800s and goes to 1996. “White” Canada knew – on somebody’s purpose – nothing about this. We weren’t taught it in school; it was hardly ever mentioned. clickable
All of those Governments, and all of those Churches, for all of those years, misused themselves. They hurt many children. They broke up many families. They erased entire communities. It will take seven generations to fix this. Seven. Seven is not arbitrary. This is far from over. Things up north have never been harder. Canada is not Canada. We are not the country we think we are. clickable
I am trying in this small way to help spread what Murray Sinclair said, “This is not an aboriginal problem. This is a Canadian problem. Because at the same time that aboriginal people were being demeaned in the schools and their culture and language were being taken away from them and they were being told that they were inferior, they were pagans, that they were heathens and savages and that they were unworthy of being respected – that very same message was being given to the non-aboriginal children in the public schools as well… They need to know that history includes them.” (Murray Sinclair, Ottawa Citizen, May 24, 2015) clickable
I have always wondered why, even as a kid, I never thought of Canada as a country – It’s not a popular thought; you keep it to yourself – I never wrote of it as so. The next hundred years are going to be painful as we come to know Chanie Wenjack and thousands like him – as we find out about ourselves, about all of us – but only when we do can we truly call ourselves, “Canada.” clickable
It’s painful for me when I hear about stories like these, boys like this, lives who mattered and who deserved to feel safe in this country, like I’ve felt. These are things I too would rather not have to think about, as I can plead ignorance growing up, but I can’t continue to bury my head in the sand any longer.
Canada in a day is a great thing, but it’s truly impossible to sum up what Canada has been, what it is now, or what it should be or could be or might be in the future. It’s important that I speak for both here. I want my blog to be a place where I show both sides of our Canadian coin.
For the first sound I heard the other morning, as I awoke.
The cooing of the morning dove.
I love that sound and it was fitting, for what was to come, along with the April rain.
For different viewpoints, from a friend.
We had a nice early morning talk, when we both couldn’t sleep.
She knows me as only one of a few blind friends. She thought a site called “The Blind Writer” would get me read. She was only trying to help.
Not my thing. Had to follow my heart, but the site could turn into something, even if I don’t take on the name myself. There are lots of writers who don’t know what they are doing. That word “blind” can mean many things.
For a lot of interesting writing discussion.
The group at the library was a few short, but we still managed to have some excellent Writer’s Circle talk, even though our table was more of a square.
Also, I asked them a question, to get their opinions, as I am starting to trust them.
I asked about what they think of me as “The Blind Writer.” They answered same as me. Just confirmed my thoughts already.
They are writers too. They love writing too. They know me as Kerry now and understand I want my writing to stand on its own.
For another successful violin lesson.
I drift a lot, when I lose concentration or a bit of the strength I’m building in my arm, but when I am in that little room I block out all the rest of life’s stressors.
For 80s music.
With the death of Prince, I am reminded why I love the music of that decade so much.
It is nostalgia and a flashback to my childhood, from the earliest days, as I wasn’t even born until halfway through those ten years, but my family was all younger then.
Seems now like a simpler time, even if that is simply an illusion.
For the newest Michael Moore film.
Some would say pure propaganda, but he makes excellent points, makes you laugh, and moves you throughout.
For our earth, and my favourite oceans, on this Earth Day.
For my brother’s completion of the year of his current college semester, for the most part.
When it began, back in January, he’d just had his accident. we weren’t sure what would happen, but he is almost done and has some big plans.
For William Shakespeare.
All this time, 400 years on, his work still resonates. Even if I don’t know it all. Something lasting the test of time must have something special to offer us all.
For literary children’s programs.
With it being 400 years since William Shakespeare, language is a valuable lesson, even language a child is too young to comprehend.
My nephew is three, already so curious, and on his way with the alphabet.
The word was “flustered” and my nephew was repeating it, even if he didn’t know it had meaning.
“The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation. The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.”
He is going to school, college, to learn how to better produce great music, a talent he had already.
This never would have happened for me if my brother hadn’t asked me, trusted me, encouraged me to write the lyrics for the song he had to produce for his final project in his Music Industry Arts program.
I’d wondered, for a long time, if I could transfer my skill of writing to the writing of song lyrics. I needed the music and Brian gave me that to work with. From there, I just let my mind open up, and out the words came.
Thanks goes to those who brought this song to life: Imogen Wasse with the vocal power, Andrew McIntyre who offered his tremendous skill as a drummer, and Carl Peter Matthes for mastering the track. (Yes, I am learning about mastering.)
And, of course, Brian Kijewski on guitar and bass.
So much work goes into putting together a single song. Most people have no idea. I know I didn’t, before all of this. Thank you, Brian, for showing me how it all works and for giving me this chance to fulfill a long held dream of mine. I got to check another item off of my bucket list and I will always be grateful.
For an excellent spotlight interview on the American program 60 Minutes with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Not sure how many people saw it, but I was watching, and I was proud and thankful to have him speaking for my country.
He spoke about being born into a politically royal family, his feelings on boxing and how it’s all about risking being knocked down but then getting right back up again, and he was asked what Canadians would like from our neighbours, what we’d like the US to know.
Oh boy! This was the interviewer’s attempt to start something and some Americans were very definitely offended and showed it on Twitter.
But I thought it was funny when an image on screen of Justin’s Father, with his supposed wife and mother to his children, actually turned out to be a shot of Pierre on a date with Kim Cattrall. Thought Americans at least were familiar with “Sex and the City”.
For the ability to be there when my sister needed me.
I want to be available to watch my nephew when she is at work, whenever possible. He’s learning, growing, changing so fast.
The other day, when she walked out the door, he stood there and clung to me for what felt like ages and ages. It was as if, without words, he was reassuring himself it would be okay…that his mother was gone but that he still had me. I never wanted that moment to end and wished it could have gone on longer than it did.
For snow drops.
There are flowers all over the place, starting to spring up.
Then, the other day my mother (lover of all growing things) placed a small flower, on its stem, in my palm. It felt droopy, and I was then informed it was called a “snowdrop”:
She came on the local college radio station and I immediately liked the song, its signature Electropop sound.
I looked into her further later and discovered I knew one of her songs already, but I found a new favourite.
Halsey is another young and emerging artist, like Lorde for example, but she has a definite Ellie sound to her.
I am happy to have found another like Ellie Goulding, but a change from Goulding too because sometimes certain memories that go along with a specific singer or voice can still hold painful recollections. I’ve found a new voice to focus on for a while, even though I will always love Ellie in a way nobody else can top.
I love standing in them. I love being surrounded by my favourite things, books, but I can only be in them for a short time before the fact that I am unable to simply reach out, grab a book, and start to read will wash over me and I will realize my limitations. It is at this point that I am thankful and grateful, but I must flee because the urge to burst into tears becomes a difficult one to hold back.
For World Kidney Day
Exactly twenty years ago was when I was first diagnosed with kidney failure. It was March, 1996, and finally my family doc sent me to a paediatric specialist, who immediately confirmed what my blood tests already showed. I was very sick and needed dialysis within a few months.
That was a scary time and, even all these years later, I will never forget what it felt like to be so ill.
For the option of doing dialysis to treat end-stage renal failure, like the kind I was in twenty years ago.
I am lucky to have a kidney from my father, for nineteen years now, and I was lucky, at that time, that there was such thing as dialysis as a treatment for kidney failure. Other organ failure did not and does not have just such a stabilizing treatment option, which is no cure, but is better than nothing, better than the alternative. I am lucky to be here.
For a successful visit in Washington, D.C. between the first families of the US and Canada.
The two men (Justin Trudeau and Barack Obama) they are a lot alike, see the world similarly.
No matter what else is going on with the US and their elections for a new president for November, now, in Washington, I liked to see peace, lighthearted humour, and harmonious relations between our two countries.
Trudeau might just be starting his time in office, while Obama and his rational good sense is on the way out, but I just liked the week that was. It made a nice “bookend” to the interview that started my week off right.
Finally, for the fact that I seem to be able to escape many people’s issue with losing that hour last night.
I had a nasty headache, sure, but I really don’t think I can blame that on Daylight Savings.
I woke up in the middle of the night last night from the pain, but I usually don’t detect a problem in my sleep pattern.
I am choosing to give this whole Daylight Saving thing the benefit of the doubt because I get headaches all the time, and I have a feeling I can place the blame squarely on something else entirely.
As I finished off my weekend and welcomed the lost hour and its additional light to come, my head began to pound. This song and all the signs of spring promise better days ahead.
For a genius and the world of Middle Earth he created.
There are so many wise quotes to choose from him. I could hardly decide which one to start of this week’s TToT with.
Happy Birthday to Professor Tolkien, who gave me something amazing with his writing. It opened me up to the possibilities, showing me that I shouldn’t close myself off to something like the fantasy genre, like so many other things in life.
The inventor of braille makes my thankful list on a continuous loop, as he is all of why I have words to love so much to begin with, but I am recognizing him now, as he would have celebrated his birthday on the beginning of the week, beginning of the year, with a second early January birthday.
I can’t fully express in words what it has meant to my life to have the groupings of six raised dots, forming words, that one man dreamt up once upon a time.
Braille literacy is one of the skills I am most proud of. I owe this man a great great debt of gratitude, forever and always.
For the news that my friend, her baby girl, and mother/grandma arrived safely in Ireland.
There was, apparently, a little bit of a snag with their rental car, on a deserted Irish road, but a couple helpful policemen showed up on the scene and saved the day, helping to repack all the baggage in a replacement vehicle.
Or so the Facebook status update said.
I read the word “police” and my heart nearly stopped, before I went on to finish reading.
For a brand new year beginning and my inclusion in and amongst so many who are looking back with gratitude and looking forward to a year just as great or better.
I was quoted, with my pride in the story I had published last year, in one of my favourite blogger’s 2015 posts.
For a return I made this week to my writer’s circle.
I was even missed. How about that.
For the bonding time afterward.
We all went out, as a group, and I got the hangout with them that I missed out on just before Christmas, thanks to unforeseen events. One was even kind enough to pay for me because I hadn’t come prepared, asking for nothing in return.
For my schooling on Dungeons & Dragons and other nerdy things.
The best thing about this group, other than all the writing and talking about writing we all do, is when we aren’t just discussing writing. We are all geeks for whatever it may be: literature, video games, television or movies and trivia. There were a few Simpsons quotes thrown in by myself and a few other members throughout the evening too.
For my brother’s remarkable recovery in just one month and his triumphant return to his college program.
He is so close to graduating later this spring and I know it’s hard to know for sure when is the right time, not wanting to push himself. We didn’t want him to take on too much, too soon.
He still has time to make a final decision, but he did well.
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.
For a newly discovered blogging challenge that came around at precisely the right time for me.
I was struggling a bit, wondering what the next twelve months might hold for my blog and my writing and my life. This extension of the weekly Stream of Consciousness Saturday I participate in was welcomed strongly by me.
It’s giving me an entire first month of 2016 to just imagine what my writing could look like this year.
“Access to communication in the widest sense is access to knowledge and that is vitally important for us if we (the blind) are not to go on being despised or patronized by condescending sighted people. We do not need pity, nor do we need to be reminded we are vulnerable. We must be treated as equals and communication is the way this can be brought about.”
–Louis Braille (1809-1852)
Braille’s above quote may sound critical, to some, but he was a product of his time. I wonder what he would think if he were alive today.
“I’m sorry,” said the server, with a tap on the shoulder, “But this is a VIP lounge. Not that the two of you aren’t important or anything, but…”
Two girls had been looking for the bar, while waiting for the official author event to begin. They’d wandered through a revolving door and into a world of words.
Okay, so now what? They’d stumbled into the wrong place. What a way to begin the evening. It’s hard enough to feel like she fit in there, even though she loved it so. It’s strange to feel so at home in a place, and still feel completely out-of-place all at once.
Where had they stepped into, being excluded from, politely excused? Who were those very important persons? They did not ask. The two girls simply continued to wander. Up the stairs, where the server had directed them, to the cash bar they were looking for, just to check the prices of the drinks.
By now they were afraid of entering somewhere else they did not belong, so when they approached two closed doors, they hesitated and right back down they would go, until they noticed others going the way they’d just come. So, back up they went, feeling more than a little ridiculous.
She was a doctor, not a writer like her friend. She was leaving her baby girl at home, for a couple hours, at the request of her oldest friend, who had wanted someone to accompany her to a literary event.
The main event was a question and answer session with a local arts reporter and a well-known Canadian journalist. He’d been an investigative reporter for Canada’s CBC Television for many years. The girl, relatively new to the world of writing, she had no aspirations to become like him, not as a journalist. She simply liked to listen to his maritime accent and the way he told stories about a diverse array of people, places, and things.
On this night he spoke about his books, works of fiction she hadn’t known he’d written. She only thought he was a reporter and a TV personality. Her respect and admiration grew, for this man, when she learned of his fiction. She was on a continual mission to collect books and have them signed by their writers. Her collection was growing. First Carrie Snyder, then Douglas Gibson, and now Linden MacIntyre.
The talk on this night was about the question:
Does a good journalist need “fire-in-the-belly” to be good at their job?
The journalist’s answer:
No. Fire-in-the-belly could get one into trouble. It could lead to emotional reactions and lack of professionalism or the required objectivity.
Wouldn’t fire-in-the-brain be more appropriate?
He made a good point. Many in the crowd nodded in agreement. While the writer girl cringed at her least favourite word, since childhood, “belly”, the doctor thought of physical conditions that might be the cause of “fire” in the belly or the brain: appendicitis or meningitis.
The girl with the literary aspirations sat and glanced around at the other tables, full of local college and university students mostly, and wondered what she was doing there with them. Did she fit in? Did she belong there? She tried to squash her insecurities, as she listened to the murmuring and the muttering, because, maybe, she wasn’t the only one who felt that way. After all, wasn’t insecurity and self doubt not uncommon for writers?
She knew only the doctor sitting beside her, her closest childhood friend, who felt more at home in the world of science than literature, but who put her heart into the evening and gave it her best, because that’s just the sort of girl she always had been. This wasn’t the first event the writer friend had dragged the doctor along for in recent months, and it always worked out, turning into some of the memorable times they’d always been capable of having together. The doctor and her little girl had been around, as fate or life’s cruel irony would have it, but this wouldn’t last.
A professor of humanities had organized the festival, with all the authors and events, spread over the weekend, including a poetry night, lectures on creativity, and much much more. He went on to introduce the panel of other writers: political writers, comedy writers, and poets.
After the panel answered questions and promoted their work, the two girls stood up, along with everyone else. They weren’t sure where to go next, but the literary one was determined to get her next signed book.
Immediately, upon the wrapping up of the presentation, the featured authors were swarmed by people from the audience. There was no other option. And so, back down the stairs the doctor and the writer would go.
Back down in the lobby and the doctor’s resourcefulness shone through. No lack of VIP status would stop her from helping her friend.
“There’s one of the authors. HE’s right behind you. I could walk us right into him, if you want. That’s how close.”
The doctor was one-of-a-kind and made even awkward literary events fun, disarming the beginner writer, making her feel less uncomfortable, in hopes of more less uncomfortable literary events for her in the future. They got themselves a copy of one of Linden’s novels, “Why Men Lie”, and off they went, on a search for possible answers to the question.
Very soon the doctor spotted him. He had made it down and away from the throng at the stage upstairs, down into the group mingling in the museum’s lobby. The doctor waited for the opportune moment, when he was not speaking to another, and introduced her shy writer friend.
“What’s the name of the one this is for?” Linden asked this to the two lovely young women standing before him, unsure which one it might be.
“It’s Kerry, spelled K…e…r…r…y.” People couldn’t be blamed for getting it wrong, but to avoid another Ricky Martin incident, clarification was necessary. “I remember, about ten years ago, when you did a story on the whale from the Free Willy movie. Not sure if you remember.”
“Yes,” he said immediately. “I went to Iceland for that one.”
He seemed pleased that someone would remember him for that one in particular.
“Well, I love writing about marine biology specifically,” the girl spluttered. These encounters were always a little uncomfortable for her. She took her newly signed book and the two girls departed.
But, before leaving, back out the revolving door and into the still November night, the doctor home to her baby and the writer home to her books…
“There’s the professor who interviewed all the authors,” the doctor spoke, conspiratorially. “Wow. He’s shorter than I thought he would be.”
“Shorter than me?” the 5 foot 2 writer asked.
“Maybe. Let’s go see,” suggested the nearly equally short doctor. This was just the sort of crazy idea she often had, of which made spending time with this particular doctor anything but boring.
And so the doctor and the writer followed the professor, darting through the people, until the two girls and he were standing only feet from each other.
“Well…is he?” the writer asked, attempting to speak quietly enough so she wouldn’t be overheard, but she already knew the answer.
The two girls had to leave then, as their attempts to remain inconspicuous would not last long if they remained in that serious literary environment. They then took their non VIP selves out of their and did not look back. They never did find out why men lie, but then again, some questions have no tangible answers.
Note: The writer girl in this story is, it turns out, a VIP (visually impaired person).
And, in that VIP’s opinion, so is the doctor. After all, aren’t doctors very important, in their own right, in the work that they do, everyday?
Not to mention the importance this particular doctor has played in her writer friend’s estimation, since the two girls were ten years old. She will play an extremely important role for so many patients who count on her expertise and her compassionate care.