Blogging, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Podcast, Poetry, TToT

TToT: Yearnings of the Heart and Soul – Seriously? #10Thankful

Red or blue? Coke or Pepsi? Apple or Android?

What a week. Ruined colours for me forever.

Okay, not really, but my examples do showcase our differences and what separates us, the teams we often feel we’re on and the people we most closely identify with, as opposed to those other people. I wanted to cry all week, but couldn’t quite get the tears to come. So I play this song.

By now, we all know who the next guy in charge of the US is going to be, and he’s eating that worldwide attention up like we all knew he would. Then Leonard Cohen died. People say these things are final and we must get over it, well that first one, and so I can’t simply listen to a song like Don’t Worry, Be Happy and accept the way things in the world seem to be going. I am afraid of that and I’m afraid I can’t.

Saturday Night Live found the best way to help out the grieving Americans and to pay tribute to a favourite poet/artist at the same time.

Then there is this song which comes from the “This American Life” series:

Seriously?

I was afraid of where this election was leading and this song is the perfect mixture of intense jazz, sad realism, lyrics that make me want to cry and cry out because I don’t know what has gotten into the US and not just them. I am critical but I know that if it were happening here in Canada, I wouldn’t want to be forgotten and forsaken. I would want help in understanding and whatever else and these things tend to spread eventually anyway and already seem to be doing just that. My knowledge of history has me rooted in fear and apprehension, but thankful to be Canadian at this time. I feel powerless amongst my existing and somewhat even more clearly defined thankfuls.

I’m thankful for the chance to express my thoughts and distract myself with a task during the night of the US election.

We thought we would do a before/after, from our Canadian perspective. Our hope was to focus on a lot of tough issues discussed and a few laughs thrown in there from time to time also, to try and lighten the mood a little wherever possible, but I haven’t been laughing for a while, not about this stuff.

It didn’t look good to me, not from the start, and in that case I did not relish being right with my instincts. We recorded a bit during the night, as the results came in and again the next day, once the results had time to sink in somewhat.

Bad dream or a sign that the end is near? Yes, either way, I had a sound effect for the occasion. If you aren’t sick of hearing about it in a few weeks, our podcast and the third episode should be available on iTunes. After all, we wouldn’t want to forget this event would we? Well, now we have it recorded forever.

I’m thankful the election is over.

I did feel relieved. It was painful and surreal. Now those long months are behind us and the nightmare of the next four years is just beginning.

I’m thankful for The Paris Climate Agreement, a step in the right direction.

So many countries have gone together on this. Who knows what will happen going forward, but I am proud Canada is represented and hopefully doing our part.

And then there’s the setting aside of ocean reserves, with the three oceans Canada exists within and the work President Obama has done. Oil spills, like the one on Canada’s west coast recently, these can do a lot of damage, and hopefully Prime Minister Justin Trudeau understands this. I am proud to be flanked by the three, Pacific, Arctic, and Atlantic.

Whether it’s the ocean in the northern hemisphere or the opposite pole, down at the bottom of the world, I hope we realize how valuable it all is.

I’m thankful that my family reads my blog as much as they can.

And they put up with me and some of the things I say here.

They never quite know what to expect I’m sure and, truthfully, neither do I most times when I sit down to write.

They are incredibly supportive and I can say the things I want to say, though I hope I never hurt any of them too much in the process. I am lucky to be able to speak my mind, as I do appreciate at this time of year.

I’m thankful that I discover new and different music through the music expert in my life.

My brother is the music guy and he has so so many internet radio stations and is always playing something new and different to my ear. This one was just the kind of fast tempo I needed to perk up my spirits. I hadn’t heard anything quite like it.

I’m thankful for strong women who are fighting for women and minorities, even as I feel the bleakness of powerful forces out there.

What Hillary Clinton’s Fans Love About Her

So many wanted to see a female president and a secret Facebook group for her popped up and certainly left a mark.

Then there are wonderful women like this one.

She is a strong woman too and she is leaving her own mark, on me certainly.

I’m thankful for those who fought, though I do find it difficult to wrestle with my conflicted feelings on war and everything that goes along with it.

Leonard Cohen recites “In Flanders Fields'”

Instead of sharing one of his songs, I thought this might be better.

It’s one of my favourite poems, though the subject matter is one I struggle to understand.

I’m thankful for beautiful TToT bloggers and their messages of hope and peace.

Bluebell Sounds,
which sound divine.

Just Remember This,
a kiss is just a kiss.

Cruising Through,
most of us just doing the best we can do, but with lovely memories and photos in this case.

I’m thankful for the peek into the rest of the world from a story I’ve loved since childhood.

‘there’s always more to the story’

This song is for you Clark and for Almira.

I’m thankful for more comedy to keep me smiling.

I love Vince and Jimmy.

I was escaping into some Lord of the Rings movies to distract myself from the things I fear, but the similarities to the power men crave and the ring, a physical symbol of that greed, it was all too obvious. But there is hope amongst the uncertainty.

And so I am determined to end this post on a positive note, among all the bad news, the protests going on around the US, and my spot, from where I sit, feeling helpless, here in Canada.

What are the things that bring us together? These are the things we have in common.

If we cut our fingers, we all bleed.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, The Blind Reviewer, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel, TToT

TToT: Sadness, Euphoria, Sul Ponticello – “BELIEVE ME!” #Disbelief #10Thankful

“Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. a
link hashtag happiness
weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one.

It would explode high in the air — explode softly — and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth — boxes of Crayolas.

And we wouldn’t go cheap, either — not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest.

And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.

~ Robert Fulghum

With all the reality TV run amuck this week, disguised as politics. With an unarmed mental health worker getting shot, right in front of his autistic client. With violence in Munich and Afghanistan and Syria.

I read the above quote and the image of that made me want to spread colour and vibrance and imagination. It made me want to create.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

That I am not American in 2016.

I don’t mean that to come off sounding disrespectful to anyone I know there.

I just do not know how things have arrived at where they are. I can’t do anything about it. I feel like I am taking a front row seat to the spectacle of this election and I am afraid, so I tell myself I am thankful that I have at least some distance.

It’s not all that comforting frankly, but I’m just starting my TToT list. I’ve got nine more to go.

To be a Canadian, living here in Canada.

Honestly, as much as I do love a lot about the US and highly respect many people there, I am thankful to be living in this country.

I say it, I think it, and I feel it in my heart, any way you slice it. Luck of the draw. Again, the comfort is short lived, but it’s something. I don’t know what else to say.

I couldn’t resist the line in the title of this week’s TToT, the one the GOP nominee kept repeating: “Believe Me!” and I don’t. I just can’t believe what I’m hearing.

For a Canadian, female writer, whose blog I love to check in on.

“To be responsible is to be forced to confront vulnerability. That is my observation about growing up, generally. The older I get, the more fragile the structures around me seem. The more tenuous. The more invented , in a way. What I mean is that the security of everything I hold precious and dear, even my beliefs, is supported by a certain level of cognitive dissonance, but also by the suspension of disbelief. To dig in, to help build, to get my hands dirty, to make or unmake, is, for me, to witness the complexity and arbitrariness of experience, of life itself, against which there can be no absolute assurances of safety and security.”

Carrie Snyder – Welcome To My Office

She has taught me a lot and continues to teach me, including the fascinating resources she often shares with her readers.

In this post.

She writes about having lost her own physical voice from illness, but I believe it speaks to a bigger way in which so many people feel like they don’t have a voice to speak up for themselves.

For comedians who make me smile when the sadness threatens to overtake me.

Brexitbot 3000

Speaking of British comedy…there’s nothing better than Last Week Tonight’s John Oliver being interviewed by Jerry Seinfeld, for his show “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”.

With Oliver’s signature British humour and Jerry’s own unique brand of comedy, which he’s perfected for these fascinating interviews he conducts, with the sound of a soft trickle of coffee being poured in between clips of their coffee shop chatter and banter.

http://comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com/john-oliver-what-kind-of-human-animal-would-do-this

For the developing of my violin muscle memory and “sul ponticello”..

I’m loving the possibilities and more of the terms I’m learning.

Sul ponticello is a style of playing, where you move the bow up closer to the bridge of the violin. It makes a higher sound with harmonics, or so I’m told and have read.

It’s like what’s often said about writing. It’s important to know the rules so they can be broken properly. I’m getting there.

That I can apply for a passport to see the world.

Who knows what will be going on in the world at any later date.

When I do use my newly acquired passport for the first time, who knows who will be running the country I will be flying over to get to Mexico.

So many people are afraid to travel, to leave the familiar of their everyday surroundings, thanks to perpetrators of violence and intolerance and the spreading of fear. I am lucky I can apply for a little booklet which allows me to explore place away from my immediate home.

Of course, I must pay attention to the very real concerns I face as a visually impaired traveler, while at the same time not allowing so much uncontrollable nonsense stop me, getting in my way. I wish that for all of us.

That I have writing group friends who show their concern.

I wasn’t feeling up to attending my writing group this week, which I hate to have to admit. It has slowly grown to be one of my favourite things.

So, imagine my surprise when I received an email later that night from one of the members, checking up on me, making sure I was okay.

For an excellent interpretation of a classic.

Victor Frankenstein

I remember listening to my friend, who was in medical school at the time, telling me a few stories of her classes. It was often more graphic than I was looking to hear, but that’s the reality of medicine, which I have benefited greatly from.

Now, of course, any story of Frankenstein is going to an extreme, but it explores the issues of life and death, challenging mortality.

This film was brilliantly done and the actors played their [parts very convincingly. Also, the descriptive narration I found was some of the best I’ve heard.

For the heartbeat of hope.

It beats in time, with rhythmic steadiness, and I hold onto that. It translates into a very real hope for the future, for so many.

It’s how I am able to go from sadness to euphoria, all in one week.

For beautiful lyrics to explain these times we’re living in.

Timeless really.

Summer, Highland Falls (Live at Shea Stadium) – Billy Joel

They say that these are not the best of times, But they’re the only times I’ve ever known, And I believe there is a time for meditation in cathedrals of our own.

Now I have seen that sad surrender in my lover’s eyes, And I can only stand apart and sympathize.

For we are always what our situations hand us… It’s either sadness or euphoria. And so we argue and we compromise, and realize that nothing’s ever changed, For all our mutual experience, our seperate conclusions are the same.

Now we are forced to recognize our inhumanity, Our reason co-exists with our insanity. And though we choose between reality and madness… It’s either sadness or euphoria.

How thoughtlessly we dissipate our energies. Perhaps we don’t fulfill each other’s fantasies. And so we’ll stand upon the ledges of our lives, With our respective similarities…

It’s either sadness or euphoria.

(Lyrics)

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Feminism, Memoir and Reflections, Special Occasions, TToT

TToT: Created, Creative, Creation – Boourns, #10Thankful

“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”

–Sylvia Plath

I’m spending my Easter Sunday under the weather, so I will be making this list uncharacteristically short and abbreviated, but I’ve been thinking a lot this week about creativity.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For drumming.

Our creation “Don’t Look Back” is all done. My brother has a friend who is a brilliant drummer and he agreed to play on it.

He wanted to be a part of this project so much he even took the morning off work to record his drum part for the song.

It definitely has a different sound to it with drums added. It fills it out and it is so beautiful.

Once my brother presents it in class I hope to be able to share all the hard work we all put into it. After all, what else is making music for but to share it with people?

For now and then.

I spent time this week hanging out with my youngest nephew, sitting in his favourite spot on the couch, while we watched a movie.

As we sat there, I couldn’t help thinking back to the first time the two of us sat in that corner of that particular couch. I held him in my arms when he was only days old, while he slept, nearly three years ago.

For family fish and chip dinners.

A lot of fun is had when you get a family, people all the way from two to sixty, around a dinner table.

We all crowded into one van, on a rainy Wednesday, and off we went.

For humour.

With all the crap going on around the world, sometimes it’s nice to just laugh a lot. My brother, father, and myself did just that, for a few hours the other night. It felt good.

We watched the Jerry Seinfeld series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” and if you have not seen it yet, you really should check it out.

It’s available online, on YouTube and on a free streaming website:

http://www.crackle.com/about

Basically, Seinfeld goes out and rents a car, fitting to the comedian he is about to have coffee with. He then spends the first few minutes explaining what kind of car it is and why he chose it. Then he picks up his coffee companion and they go for a ride in the car to the coffee shop, discussing everything from show business and comedy, to family and hobbies, and cars of course.

We watched episodes with people like Jim Carrey, Stephen Colbert, David Letterman, Will Ferrell, President Obama (one of the best episodes in my opinion, but they couldn’t acquire the proper security clearance to leave White House grounds), a few of Seinfeld’s former co-stars, and Howard Stern.

For literacy, education, and the grandpa there to pick up his granddaughter from school.

When I read about all the young girls around the world not allowed to receive a proper education and so many people who’ve never been given the chance for literacy I am particularly thrilled to know my niece is getting the opposite of all of that.

She’s learning to read and she has a good school to go to every day, with teachers who happily teach her, help her develop her own gifts and creativity.

And she has a grandpa who can pick her up after the day has finished.

For rain.

Okay, so I wasn’t really prepared to consider this one as a positive at the time.

I love to go for a nice long drive, but if rain is falling hard on the windshield I can’t quite relax in the same way.

This was our drive home the other night, in semi heavy traffic, but on reflection I realize I was lucky to make it home safe and even hard pouring drops of rain are something of beauty.

For another Friday up on Good Men Project.

For the second Friday in a row I had my writing featured on the site:.

Where Are We Since International Women’s Day Last Year?

Sure, being that the subject again involved the issues surrounding feminism, I received a few more somewhat angry comments from those who took my writing to mean I don’t think men around the world suffer at the hands of oppression and discrimination, or that I don’t believe men and boys deserve the same attention as women and girls and the issues we face.

I should expect a little backlash when writing about something that seems to divide many of us. I am still thankful I got my message out there and I know in my heart that I believe in fair treatment of both genders. You can’t possibly make everybody happy, all of the time anyway.

For date night.

I am thankful one couple in particular could have one night away, in a beautiful spot, as they truly deserve that.

I am happy that others can enjoy Niagara Falls like I do and they deserved some time to themselves now and then.

For inside jokes, group texts with brothers.

It’s nice to have a Friday evening group text with myself and my brothers, about a cherished eighties band (Duran Duran) and that we can share an inside joke that most people would be utterly confused about if they heard it.

For mendacity.

Feeling unwell of late has given me a lot of time to watch some films I’ve never gotten around to watching before.

This included one, based on a play, I’ve always wanted to see. I was aware of the main character, but I was unclear on just exactly what the storyline was for “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”.

Well, I like returning to those films that are mostly all dialogue. Of course, I was watching one with descriptive narration, but it would have been unnecessary really.

Well, I enjoy old movies, with dialogue so different from the films of today, and so many issues of the day, late 50s were interesting to me.

I also learned a new word. I’d heard of “menacing” but “mendacity” was a new one, repeated multiple times throughout. It means deception. I love learning new words.

It’s funny I started off the week watching “Ray”, one Jamie Foxx film and I ended it watching “Django Unchained”, which I’d heard was harsh and raw but to be expected when having to do with slavery, but Fox was so good, not to mention all the other actors.

It did really show how cruel we humans have been to one another. I’m sure this could lead directly into the themes of redemption surrounding Easter, but unfortunately I am far too tired now to explore those any further this year.

Check this out. Creativity and just lovely.

And Happy Easter everyone.

I’m starting to feel warm again so I think it’s off to bed with me. Have a good week.

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Wine’s Fine But Whisky’s Quicker, #SoCS

“Closing time – one last call for alcohol so finish your whiskey or beer. Closing time – you don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here.”

I like this song from the nineties. I thought it fit well, it came to mind, as soon as I finished reading, or should I say listening to an audiobook today and here is my review.

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

Ever hear of the saying from my title of this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday post?

Okay, so how many nights are bars and clubs full of people, looking for something, but just what are they looking for in those places?

It’s right up my alley. The topic of love, romance, and relationships and it is all from the hilarious comedic mind and heart of the Parks and Recreation star.

I will admit he wasn’t my favourite character on that show. I was more of a Ron Swanson fan, but since the end of the series I have watched some of his comedy specials. He is about my age and he is just trying to figure out the relationship questions facing many people of our age group.

Many of the topics he first covered on stage and in his jokes and humorous observations are what he put into his new NetFlix series, “Master of None”, a semi autobiographical snapshot (which I am in the middle of watching).

Here they now are in book form. Normally, I like to read books on my own. Occasionally though, the argument can be made to listen, especially when the book is narrated by the author himself. It brings a level of personality and humour that I wouldn’t get if I read it.

It begins with some catchy, smooth, chilling music as he introduces the book. It fits the romantic feeling he wants to bring across, until he can’t help his comedic style and starts yelling and calling us, the listeners lazy for not bothering to read on our own.

JK aside

🙂

I love this book because he discusses a lot of really interesting parts of modern romance in modern times, but he does it with little bursts of his signature sense of humour.

He tackles such topics as social media, online dating, sexting, what he terms the act of being “monogomish”, cheating, and our generation’s give-up attitude, not sticking things out and the fear that, with all the options of a wide open world, that we’re never happy and always wondering if there’s something better out there.

He uses some of his own life experiences in the dating world, focus groups and ReddIt forums, and studies and expert opinions from psychologists, anthropologists, and journalists who study love and relationships.

He even went into a retirement community and asked people from previous generations about love and marriage from their standpoint. One old guy was only there for the free doughnuts, but the rest did offer valuable insights into how they met their partners, when and why they got married, and how they feel their lives turned out.

The only way we can learn is by studying the past and by asking questions of those who have gone before us, but times do change. Okay, so sometimes the more things do change the more they remain the same.

This is both different and similar, as the years pass, but as the clock of our lives ticks on, what will we look back on at the end and regret that we didn’t do or feel?

Aziz and his team of interviewers and experts speak with people in North America, Europe, and Asia.

There are some interesting insights into how monogamy is handled in France when compared to the US. Either one going to extremes.

Women’s options were fewer and roles were measured in different ways years ago. Respect should be timeless and for everyone.

Can love really last?

Of course it can’t, not in the mad and passionate way spoken of in the book and desired by most of us.

His expert scientists share scans and, he points out there are graphs and charts in the book, but that they can’t be translated in the same way when listening to the audio version.

He talks about what I would think is obvious, but is one of the lesser obvious things from what I’ve seen: that new love is exciting and it lights up the brain just like a drug, but that this feeling can’t possibly last, nor should it. If someone chooses to continuously chase that high all their life, rather than accept life’s inevitable ups and downs, well there’s really nothing to be done to convince them that the benefits of finding one person to have as a partner and a companion could ever be more than enough.

I can’t fault social media and technology. My iPhone and the Internet are invaluable to me. Online dating websites have helped me open up and find people I never would have met otherwise. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Can these things make jealousy and deceit easier? Of course they can. Doesn’t mean these things did not exist before them. Shakespeare is proof of that.

In the book he quotes rapper Pitbull and a line in Spanish, translated to say:

“What the eyes don’t see the heart doesn’t feel.”

This is exactly the level of immaturity that exists out there, when people only care about themselves and have no consideration for anyone else.

I recently wrote about having faith, now that we’ve arrived at the Christmas season, that just because something can’t be seen with two eyes, doesn’t mean it isn’t there, happening, or could potentially hurt or harm other people.

Myself and every other blind person could tell you that many times the heart feels things, without having to see with the eyes. This just shows the many and varied beliefs, opinions, and experiences of love and romance.

This book was not a literary classic, but it was an excellent story and well told. You just can’t get the same affect without Ansari’s voice and his acting.

Has he himself found the kind of love that will flow from mad and passionate into a long term respectful companionship? Hard to say for sure, but if you enjoy audiobooks or books on love and relationships, I would recommend Modern Romance.

So, in closing…with one final piece of advice from the book:

He calls it, “acquired likability through repetition”, instead of nothing more than an “option that lives in your device”.

Okay, well it’s all often in the wording. Of course, he is simply referring to the picky way some people look for love, giving up on someone after one date, if they weren’t ready to see fireworks. Smart phones make it much too easy, he points out, to think of someone on the other end, side of a phone screen as one dimensional words in a little speech bubble, instead of a human being with feelings, hopes, and a heart.

What are your thoughts on these topics? Have you heard of monogomish? Do you think love can last? Is there any situation where cheating is acceptable? Are you an Aziz Ansari fan? Have you heard of the song I quote above?

SoCS

There you go with some music to start, a little book review, and my stream of consciousness ramblings for Linda’s weekly prompt:

http://lindaghill.com/2015/12/11/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-dec-1215/

Only one more left to go before Christmas is here.

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Memoir Monday, Poetry, Special Occasions

All of My Life: Giving Words On My Father’s 60th Birthday

familyatfalls-2015-11-30-10-28.jpg

What do you get for the guy who has everything, for the father who wants for nothing?

What do you get or say for or about the father who gave you the ultimate gift eighteen years ago?

When a kidney is the ultimate gift you could give someone, how could anything from the daughter who received her father’s kidney even compare?

You write something?

If you are a writer you do. But wait…

What can you say that doesn’t sound silly and disingenuous?

How can words, yes even words, how can anything fully express what this man means to his family?

To his daughter?

Thanks Dad, thanks for making any gift I could possibly ever give you fall much too short. Thanks for upping the bar so high, that someone as short as I am could never hope to reach it.

🙂

He gave me his kidney, but I did actually need it. Not the kind of thing he usually does.

Okay, okay, so I won’t be giving him the gift of a comedy routine anytime soon, if this gift of words is any indication so far.

He’s the father so he would do anything for his child. I don’t know how to do this though, to be a daughter.

I want to do more, to be more, to show him what he means to me, what he’s done for me. To push through these massive blocks, these writer’s blocks in my head, to slush through the muck in my brain, to pass the wall of tears that threaten to burst forth. To master the gigantic lump at the back of my throat as I type.

That would be nice, just to get these words out before his sixtieth birthday comes to an end, before he’s sixty and one day. Before one more day goes by without him knowing, without him hearing, without him feeling the impact he’s had, the influence he’s had on the person I am.

For what would I have to do, to say, for him to know his value by degree?

For this is not Father’s Day, but somehow, it is. No tribute for his sixtieth could sound all that different, when written from a daughter’s point-of-view.

And what music could I possibly settle on, to include here along with my words? All the songs and the artists he showed me, of those he loves, which could I choose for this gift?

Take Me Home – Phil Collins

I have your fears and your doubts. The way you doubt yourself, fear you’re enough, good enough for anyone or anything: I have that too.

But don’t begrudge this. These things bond us, relate us, give you and I a place to go, the tie that binds.

You brought me up on music, a constant background noise, a soundtrack for living, for pain, for joy of life.

For all the beautiful places you’ve shown me, for as far back as I can remember. These places, near and far, they’ve provided me with lasting memories and the gift of travel. Your love of the world is where I found my own.

The sensitivity I carry is yours. You gave that to me.

Another Day In Paradise – Phil Collins

The empathy you feel is the one I feel too. Those truly terrible things in the world that have happened, are happening, or ever will are the things you’ve taught me to notice and to not let pass me by.

All the gifts I could ever give you for all this are none I can buy, but I can state it all for the record, to imprint them permanently, somewhere where they may never be lost.

Does it help, does it matter, if you hear how these last sixty years have harboured all this? If I told you these things, would that make you see, make you know, give you peace?

Because you, your very existence, your place as my father gives me all that and more, as much as I could say that would give me peace too.

That we could share this gift, the words, those that are more than I could ever give you in things.

It’s that Father of the Year prize you never did receive, though you’ve qualified ever year since the 1980s.

It’s that perfectly wrapped birthday present, that perfect card no store could ever stock.

True Colours – Phil Collins

Be proud of the birthdays you’ve had, of these years you’ve seen go by. Have pride in the hard work you’ve done. It’s been instilled in your children. I’ve seen that clearly of late.

It’s those tiny, seemingly insignificant things, the ones you shrug off and let slip you by.

Don’t discount anything you’ve done. I have what I have because of you, not in spite of.

There’s nothing I could find to give you, anything that’s worth more than the words I write. I give them to you, present them to you, with love and pride for the man that you are.

All of My Life – Phil Collins

Happy Birthday Dad
xoxo

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Fiction Friday, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Shows and Events, TGIF, The Insightful Wanderer, Writing

Why Men Lie – Not What It Seems, #VIP, #BlogShareLearn, #BluSkyFriday, #LinkYourLife

“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.

VIP is all relative.

Journalism fuels Linden MacIntyre’s fiction writing

For the answer to the question of why men lie, guess you’ll just have to read the book to find out.

And if you are someone who is offended by the assumption of men as lyres, Linden wrote the book.

🙂

Not me.

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Blogging, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, TGIF

Special “In The News and On My Mind”: Original Bunker Punks Edition, #IStandWithAhmed

Discrimination and prejudice are real. I hear story after story, with discrimination at the core, and I look for signs that it is simply the media, blowing things out of proportion for ratings.

I don’t want to believe any of it of my fellow human beings. I really don’t.

I am a woman with a visual impairment. There are plenty of stories about inequality for both women and people with disabilities to go around. I am right in the middle of it and I would like to think I could recognize it when I see it, to be able to sense someone’s true intentions.

The two big stories this week both involve cries of discrimination and there are criticisms flying from all directions.

First, there’s the story of talk show hosts on The View and the remarks made about nurses.

Second, the case of a ninth grade boy who took a clock to school for a science project and ended up having the cops called on him, for fears of a bomb threat.

I am the first to say I am a fan of nurses and the work they do. The doctors get to go on their rounds and see their patients. They make the diagnosis and prescribe treatment.

It’s the nurses who are the ones to empty bed pans and change catheters. I’ve been on the patient side of this exchange, countless times, and I appreciate them. Believe me.

I’ve had two spinal operations, a kidney transplant, and several other surgeries and procedures. I don’t include this for any other reason, but to show that I support the work nurses do. I wouldn’t have gotten through any of that without the wonderful care nurses provided me with.

This particular nurse read a monologue for the talent part of the Miss America pageant. The View ladies weren’t the first, that I heard, to comment on it. I heard the clip of her and I could not see it, but I thought it a bit ridiculous myself.

Of course alzheimer’s is a terrible illness. This woman is doing good in the world. She probably deserves little of the attention she’s gotten. I don’t know why anyone would enter those competitions in the first place, but she could expect to have people make their comments, as she was on television. I am just as offended by the existence of those competitions as nurses are of the comments made about one of their own. Why would any intelligent, hardworking woman choose to take part in an outdated ritual, when what she does for sick people every single day is more than sufficient?

As for The View, well the name of the show says it all. They are live and giving their opinions. This is not scripted TV. These co-hosts spoke up , in the moment, and you get what you get. So they did not realize nurses use stethoscopes. It was said out of humour and Joy was doing the job that show hired her to do. She is a comedian.

The question then becomes, when is comedy going too far? Who is allowed to say something controversial? I love you all, nurses, don’t forget that the next time I find myself as a patient, but you need to lighten up. I could be offended, all the time, about so many things involving blindness and disability, but I would drive myself crazy. What is someone’s intention? that is the question we should be asking.

In this case, it was scathing, but it was made about a participant in an event that many women find offensive or ridiculous. Joy is likely one of them.

Of course the apology made a few days later isn’t enough for many. Nothing else to be done, but I happen to respect Joy more than I do anyone involved in a show which goes against the feminist I guess that makes me.

Then there’s Ahmed Mohamed, the teenager who dared to bring in his science project. Did the Texas school overreact? Would they have done the same for a white, caucasian student?

It was a clock, but they feared it was more dangerous. A cloak ticks and so does a bomb? Well, okay then.

In the end, he was not in trouble with the law, just a misunderstanding. He was suspended, but has decided to transfer to another school. Can’t say I blame him. I wouldn’t want to go back either. The charges were dropped and so many supporters have stepped up.

President Obama has tweeted:

“Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.”

Astronaut Chris Hadfield has invited Ahmed to be his guest at the Toronto Science Show. He’s received support from Hillary Clinton, Mark Zuckerberg, and has been invited to come to MIT.

This student is obviously smart and inventive and we need more bright and innovative youth like him in the world. He did not deserve all the attention he received. Why do we, here in North America, why do we have such a fear of other cultures and religions?

Oh yeah, 9/11 right? Too many are sullying the memory of that event and those affected, by using it as an excuse to let their prejudice out without consequence.

It’s a bunch of bull. This problem is deeply imbedded in the western world. I just hope, as we really think about it, that we can do better.

Of course, there will always be prejudice in the world and the media will always be on the lookout for the next big, sensational story. That’s the way it is. Just remember to look for someone’s intent and signs of character. And don’t take yourself quite as serious. There is enough negativity in the world, so much so that we should try to find the good, but criticism, I feel, deserves a place because we will also always want to give our opinions on the things we see going on all around us.

Today I am participating in a Friday addition of my series, which usually appears on Wednesday:

In The News and On My Mind

with others on a linkup.

This can be found here:

http://originalbunkerpunks.com/blog-battle-zone-2/

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