1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, RIP, SoCS

The Heather By The River, #SoCS

Journalists. Photographers. And I use the term loosely.

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As a woman in my thirties, one who writes about things as my oxygen, I wonder what any of us would do for enough money. Would I write about people, even intrusively, for a living if given the chance?

Have I done it now? Already? Before?

How can it make anyone feel good about themselves to hound another human being, with their camera or their pen?

Responsibility: direct or indirect.

A world’s grief. Anger toward someone, needing to direct blame somewhere, the press. The press reports. The papers are printed. People buy the papers and mags.

More. More. More. We always want more.

From birth,
the two boys asked for none of it. That’s mostly where my thoughts return to.

I am not British and barely knew who Princess Diana was when she died. I wasn’t alive for the wedding seen around the world.

A sea of people, rather than water. That is what Diana must have seen when she looked from her vantage point, after saying her vows.

I would rather see a sea of Red or Black, blue or green, but the press fed off of the woman and she fed off of them, in a way, at least at first and for a long time afterward.

She was a fashion icon and a princess, but not only that. She used her position as a bit of an outsider, under the thumb of the monarchy, to become a change maker, by reaching out to those in need, those no one else wanted to associate with.

HIV and AID’s, in the 80s, when the hysteria about both was growing and at its greatest fever pitch. She shook hands, hugged those diagnosed and dying of the feared and misunderstood disease.

She came here, to Toronto, to sit by the beds of dying patients in hospice care. She walked a minefield, literally and figuratively. Danger signs.

Such grief of so many, I would not cry. As a fourteen-year-old child, fresh off of a kidney transplant and a thrilling wedding – I attended, my first of my oldest cousin. That was my wedding of the century.

Of royalty, I knew nothing. A fairytale life gone wrong is more like it.

Fairytales. I was familiar with these…the concept, the ideals, as a young girl. My Disney fairytale movies were my favourite. Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, with the bright pink dresses and dancing with their handsome princes. I may have had similar dreams at the time, but what did I know? A lack of life experience and my own understandable immaturity.

What do titles represent, really? Sometimes, they bring just the right kind of attention and sometimes the wrong kind.

Now, upon reflection, twenty years later I do feel sad. I know of celebrity of her two sons. They are the British royalty of my generation.

I do perk up when I hear their names on the news. I bought the fake imitation giant ring, modelled after that of the one worn by both Kate and her mother-in-law, still lounging in my drawer. I woke to watch the wedding, once again broadcast live.

Prince William and Kate came to Canada after their marriage, the same date as my big brother’s own marriage took place. I hope one generation learns from the previous one, in certain cases, that sometimes it happens we grow wiser with enough knowledge.

They’ve come again since, since then, and with their two small children, touring parts of the country in which I live, that still sees itself as the child of Britain, past and present.

What is Kate wearing? Where are the couple going next? Are they in love, for real, or is it all just another fairytale?

But I do feel for two boys who, in August of 1997, woke up to the loss of their mother when I clung to mine for dear life, during some of the hardest and scariest times of my own childhood.

Are those boys/men in some ways like their mother, under scrutiny of duty, feeling hunted or like outsiders, wanting to reach out to those in need, perhaps not born with some of the advantages? They grew up with cameras as their mother tried to navigate a life of celebrity and being followed. She was hunted, more even than Prince Charles.

Now that I am more aware, I watch documentaries on the weekend after the anniversary of her death. I listen to stories of a nineteen-year-old who got married much too young, to an older man who shouldn’t have ever proposed to her in the first place, who was likely always in love with another woman. He should have been with this other lady all along and now appears that he is.

People marry the wrong person all the time, every single day and have babies with them. In these cases it is my hardest task not to judge because none of us are perfect. This challenges me as an adult who wants to see everyone happy, no matter whether they’re famous or not.

As a writer, this is my obituary of sorts, no matter how stream of consciousness based it may be, twenty years on.

From birth to death: Diana, 1961-1997

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

Echoes Heard Through Chambers, #SoCS

“Look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities. Forget about your worries and your strife.”

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My favourite Disney film growing up was The Jungle Book.

It takes place in a setting that seemed so far away, the jungles of India. It’s populated, clearly, with all kinds of animals and it’s premise is whether an abandoned human boy can survive and even fit in among them.

My favourite characters are favourites for a variety of reasons. I like the panther’s sensible demeanour and I like the bear for his adventurous nature and willingness to go with the flow.

The Bare Necessities – Jungle Book

The father elephant doesn’t think a boy belongs, but when that boy goes missing it’s the mother elephant who tries to make him understand that any young deserves to be safe.

The ape king wants to be a man and the boy wants to stay with his animal friends. My favourite is actually the snake, but he only cares about his next meal.

🙂

Well, first off, I had to go to my trusty Dictionary App to confirm the difference.

Bare/Bear, #SoCS

I think stream of consciousness writing can become a very dangerous thing because it could lead me to writing about all the things that worry me about this world now, but I did think of that catchy song from a Disney movie instead, to help me focus on something.

A movie about not fitting in and not being accepted fits well with the atmosphere lately and always.

I have recently been watching a Netflix series by Oliver Stone and it’s a history lesson and a critical look at his country. He spoke in it of the mistrust of foreigners, in America’s past, such as the Japanese during World War II and anyone Jewish, at many points. He spoke of Communism and all the hysteria, but what has changed?

“That little boy is no different than our own son.” The mother elephant in Jungle Book states emphatically when it’s announced the boy is missing.

A line like that passed me by all the years I watched as a kid, but lately it hit me hard. Moving words.

I don’t know how some people can bear knowing the damage they have done or are doing with their words and/or actions. They just don’t appear to care.

It was one year ago that Canada welcomed 25 thousand refugees from places like Syria. That doesn’t mean all Canadians welcomed them.

I care about people having their lives torn apart by war caused by terrorists and governments, whatever the reasons are for the fighting. I care and I wonder how they bear it.

The U.S. seems to be heading in a dangerous direction, their most recently elected leader threatening to cause so much harm, and I wonder how he bares all that he is and people still revere him. They think he will solve all their problems.

The media is in trouble and people don’t know who to trust. Doubt is being planted in the mind of society. The chasm appears to be widening, something people say they haven’t seen before, but if Stone is to be believed at all, these things have existed, in one form or another, all along.

I see positive stories about a pair of Syrian refugees who made it to Berlin and found fitting in to be a huge challenge. All the bureaucracy is hard to navigate and I listened to their story of the dangerous trip over on unpredictable boats. Now they face an uphill battle. So many awful and negative stories are what we hear, about how men from the Middle East are dangerous, with messed up values, raping German women. They are often unwanted and what else is the world to think?

Well, these two men are doing their part to make a difference. They studied coding at a program offered and have developed an App to help refugees and migrants figure out how to set up a bank account, for example. How can anyone have such a lack of compassion that they cannot put themselves in the place of someone who left their home, took such risk, for safety?

I hear doubt about why Canada should offer a hand to people from other countries when we have our own issues. I want to figure out where I bear any responsibility for making things better, but I can’t do anything about so much of it.

I get people jumping down my throat for daring to compare this time to the 30s, as if I am committing some horrible sin. I guess my fear is causing me to act/react that way, but we can all look in the mirror when it comes to fear. Fear is why so much hate develops. I won’t let that happen to me, even in my moments of anger that ignorance was allowed to win, when so many talk of 2016 being an awful year, for reasons we could all take a good guess at.

The U.S. seems to be headed in one direction and Canada gets together and makes a plan for the environment, but I ask which will result in a bigger price paid? People say these ideas our leader has for boosting the environment will cost us, but which cost is the riskier one?

Fear is hard to bear. I know it. I feel it. I fight it. This kind of writing asks that one bare all if they choose to.

I choose to bare it all, my truth that is, without losing honesty or compassion. That makes me proud to be Canadian but I am human too, my vulnerability for anyone to see.

I rely on kindness and compassion all the time. I would be nowhere without both. I am determined to give some back, as much as I can give, even as the world fights hate and bears witness to the worst of humanity.

Here’s a theory I’ve come up with. I figure DT plans to focus on science as long as it means getting to Mars. Then, he can feed all his greedy business masters what they demand and when nature takes her revenge, he will stay hold up in his golden tower in the sky, in New York City, which will be destroyed everywhere else. As soon as the water finally does rise to his floor high up there, a spaceship will be there to take him off this planet and away to ruin the next one.

I worry about a bear from the north, once blending in with ice and snow, as the water warms. What will our refusal to admit that we as humans do bear responsibility for what we have done to this world cost them. Polar bears are feeling it, even if some other fools are not.

Gee, I sure hope I got this bare/bear thing straight. I had to go for the challenge of using both and couldn’t just pick one or the other.

I guess I wish I could go on singing that carefree tune from Jungle Book, but even that happiness ended, if you know the film at all, by a sudden danger from above.

I just wish I could say we as humans have made more progress from the state of the world as discussed by Oliver Stone and today. We still like to feel superior to anyone who looks different or speaks different or lives different. No acceptance. I couldn’t say all I wished to say about that, even if I could write stream of consciousness forever and ever.

It is a necessity that we try to find acceptance, but sometimes I feel like I am trapped in some giant, empty echoing chamber and my words leave my mouth and vanish into thin air, as if I’d never uttered them at all.

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Back and Forth, #TGIF #FTSF

I often feel like these last twenty-two years have all been a dream, that I’ll still suddenly wake up and be back in the fourth grade, that ten-year-old little girl who has no idea what lies in store for her: both good and bad.

But that’s a story for another time.

IF I could travel in time, it’s the 80s I would return to.

Not only is it my favourite decade, for the music alone, it is the one me and all three of my siblings were born in. It was when we were young and we didn’t have to worry about filing taxes, basement flooding, and the future quite so much.

Save a Prayer – Duran Duran, 1982

Both Duran Duran and Back to the Future mark the 80s, in both music and film, better than almost anything else, in my opinion.

Marty McFly and Doc Brown’s DeLorean are giving me a ride and we’re traveling to the date…well, I don’t know because it all depends on my mood, sometimes from moment to moment: 1982, 1992.

I really liked Back to the Future, but only the first and third, as I thought the second one jumped around too much. It couldn’t make up its mind, thinking the future would be so much better, re-writing things too much, but I guess I am not recalling it very well.

I liked BTTF because the star of the film, Michael J. Fox, he’s Canadian and I always thought he was cute, sweet, different than all the other actors in Hollywood, starting from the eighties onward.

Well, music changed, Duran Duran, once it hit the 90s

changed quite a lot in its sound,

But it’s still the same band. They are still performing, all these years later,, for outrageous ticket prices if you ask me. It really costs a lot to travel back in time from the year 2016 apparently.

😉

Past, present, future. It really shows that things don’t change that much, and yet they change more than we know when time feels like it travels so slowly in the moment.

A time machine could bring me back or forward to any date I might wish, but what would I have to sacrifice for either one?

Duran Duran, in 1992 said:

“But I won’t cry for yesterday.”

I guess I shouldn’t look back, a concept I am exploring a lot lately, though it’s hard not to look back at all.

I don’t have the time traveling vehicle featured in Back to the Future, (although I did ride in one like it at Disney World once, with my family in the 90s), but I do have music. It

makes me happy

and it is my time machine, taking me wherever I wish to go, any time I might need a little reminiscing.

And that is a precious thing, one that doesn’t exist only in the movies, or in a science experiment, or at a Disney theme park of my childhood memories.

This was a Finish the Sentence Friday post, thanks to:

Michelle Grewe of Crumpets and Bollocks

&

Kristi of Finding Ninee.

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Flower of the Night, #SoCS

This is the thing.

March has arrived and I am back to my regularly scheduled

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

after a busy couple of blogging months.

The heat seemed to be absent when I woke up earlier, but that’s all set right and so there’s no frozen fingers as I type this now.

I’ve decided to take a blogging break during the weekdays, to focus on some other writing (un-blog related) and for focusing on practicing my violin, which I have rented for the next two months. I begin lessons, officially, starting this Monday night.

I am working toward finishing my memoir. Also, I have the baseline for an essay topic for an online publication I’ve wanted to contribute to for a long long time. Come September will be ten years since my sister and I bought a house, with the help of our very generous parents. I think this should make an excellent subject. Next I must brainstorm further ideas.

I keep seeing publications I would like to contribute to, but I must prioritize and sort out what can be worked on first and what can wait. There are a few things, possibly in the works, in the early stages. I hate to jinx myself at all.

I am nervous about my violin lesson in a couple days time. I waltz around my kitchen, kind of like dancing as if nobody’s watching, but instead I’m holding my violin proudly. I stop for a brief moment to question the risk in doing this, as I could very well drop the instrument or whack it on a wall that I do not see.

Not my violin and so I slow myself down, curb my enthusiasm a little bit, but I hold the bow outstretched into the middle of the room. I don’t know what it is exactly, but something about holding both in my arms/hands just feels right. Holding a bow, I guess I can understand, to a point, how it must feel to hold a gun.

That’s a rather drastic statement for me to make, but the item I’m holding couldn’t wound or kill. Yet, I feel a strong sensation run through my arm, into my hand and the fingers I’ve likely placed wrongly in position.

🙂

I prefer to compare it to holding a wand, like I’m a character in one of Rowling’s Harry Potter novels. The bow chooses the player. When I hold it, I can detect its power at a deeper level, at the core of the bow in my hand, which can (if utilized in just the right way) produce beautiful sounds which is better known as music. Or, magic.

I attended a violin recital at the University of Western Ontario last night. It was not packed, as most attending may have been students. However, let’s face it, Friday night and most of them were out doing something a little more exciting.

Depends on with whom you’re posing just such a subjective question.

🙂

I liked that it wasn’t a crowded event and we got excellent parking. I sat in my seat and let the music take me away somewhere. I closed my eyes and let the two playing the violins and the piano accompaniment whisk me off into a dream-like state of bliss, all unsettled thoughts of US clown-like candidates forgotten for a time.

The violin players were a UWO music professor and a visiting musician, all the way from Brazil.

The first part was the three of them, then the piano was absent, and finally the guest played solo.

First half was sharper and I was transferred back to the mid-20th century. Some of the time I felt like I was an actress in a silent film, with violin as the soundtrack.

Then, I was in a Disney movie from the 40s or 50s. Perhaps I was little Bambi, being chased through the forest.

Next moment I was half expecting the “WEE…WEE…WEE” sound of the shower curtain being yanked aside, as Mrs. Bates began her wild slashing of poor, caught-off-guard Marion Crane.

At one point I heard someone in the audience clicking away, trying to get a few pictures for Instagram or Snapchat, but the professor immediately put a stop to that, with a stern reprimand and wave of her bow. Kids these days!

I was entirely unaware how one is to conduct oneself at a violin recital. Do I clap? When do I clap, if at all?

I was told to clap only when other people clapped first. No problem there. I did just that. I even heard a few little cheers, from someone behind me, but not sure that was ideal.

Then the player from Brazil stood up, speaking in his thick accent, and tried his best to explain the pieces he was about to finish off with. One, he said, was a piece really anyone could create. Perfect! That’s me.

I imagined, as he played, I composed it. I pictured myself up on that stage. I had listened to how the two violinists complimented one another in their playing. Fast paced. Slowed right down.

The last piece was called “Flower of the Night” and I tried to imagine, but all that came to mind was a scene from an Anne Rice novel.

His solo stuff felt much warmer, more romantic sounding, and I melted into my seat, eyes closed, and let the sound flow through me. I’ve never been to Brazil, but I felt as close as I may ever get, as he played his last notes.

I left giddy and inspired to keep trying. Likely not ever progressing to the level of those I heard last night. I continually ask myself and am asked what my eventual goal for learning to play violin is. I am thirty-two, to be honest, and I don’t intend to go pro. I just want to be able to close my eyes, hold that bow to those strings, and feel the music.

So what have I been up to? What am I up to really?

#SoCS

Oh, you know…little of this…little of that.

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Just Jot It January: Circles, Spirals, and Song Lyrics #JusJoJan #SoCS

What a morning I had.

This is one of those mornings I am afraid to venture out into the world. It would be so easy to stay in bed and to not go out there, to hide away from other people and meaningful experiences possibly had.

What if I embarrass myself? What if I get lost? What if…what if…what if…

I have been reading this Canadian writer’s blog and her writing for a while now:

http://carriesnyder.com/

Last year I wanted to finally attend one of her author readings:

How I Celebrated World Book Day 2015

I wanted to meet her in person and to put a voice to the words I’d become so accustomed to reading.

This time I had the chance to learn from her by taking one of her workshops. I jumped at this chance frankly. Carrie Snyder is a writer who uses powerful images and all the best words to express so much of what life is all about. I wanted to get to know a fellow Canadian, someone who has had some success as a writer, but who was still fairly local. She doesn’t live all that far from me really.

She doesn’t call what this morning was a writing workshop. She says she prefers to look at it as a creativity workshop, using writing as the medium.

The room is fairly full, when we all make it into a conference room of an office building, the second floor of a building in the downtown area, above a fancy restaurant that doesn’t open until noon. Now that I know where to go, through the door in the entrance way and up a double flight of stairs, in through another door – I think I can relatively confidently find it on my own next time.

The number attending is more than a dozen. It was icy on the roads early this morning, but we all made it. I bring my laptop because I can’t find my cord to my braille display. This means I won’t be able to read back what I write today to the room, but it’s better than nothing.

Some days I don’t have it all figured out. There are those days where being visually impaired (blind), well it just sucks!

I want to be spontaneous and a discoverer of my inner thoughts, my deep well of creativity I want to tap. I want to be able to walk into that room with a beautiful notebook and a pen. I want to write by hand, as messy and unreadable as that might make me, but I can’t.

All that talk about accepting life and how it is is all well and good, but today I wish I could be without this limitation on my senses.

Of course, writing is all about the senses. I have my others.

I need a spot in the room near a electrical outlet. I come early so I can set up. The room begins to fill, as steadily other people who have signed up start arriving.

Carrie hasn’t forgotten my name since we met last year and with all the times I have commented on her blog since then.

😉

There is one large conference table in the room and another table set against the wall. I sit by the wall, in the corner. It is going to be a bit crowded around the table, we discover, but that means it is me and one guy of the two guys who are in attendance, who sit at the table separate from the main one.

Why is it two guys to a dozen women at this creativity workshop? Don’t guys like to write?

I feel a bit out of place, being separate from most of the others. I am just glad the chairs are those office chairs on wheels, which allows me to turn to face everyone.

Carrie speaks very softly, but she is full of creativity and ideas. She has experience, not only as a writer, but teaching creative writing courses. That is how most writers make a living to supplement their own writing.

There are short introductions (surprising how many around this table don’t consider themselves a writer) and she reads us poems, one to start the morning off, the other left until the very end. These poems are meant to get us thinking and to open our minds up. This is not a critique group. We are just supposed to write, to not think too much, and to turn off our inner critics. I could definitely use some practice with this particular skill.

She tells us to write a list of ten cars or other vehicles we have known, have been in during our lives, something with a memory attached. I don’t know enough of how cars are spelled, different kinds, and I worry someone will read and see this. I need to stop being afraid of criticism. That’s not what today is about.

We have seven minutes for each chapter, she is calling them. She will be timing us. We must build on the car list. We must write, using our five senses, and dig deep into a memory or develop the writing from there.

There is no right or wrong here. I can’t do this incorrectly. I don’t know still, if fiction is my speed, so I will write. Mostly it’s memoir that comes from the typing I am doing in rapid succession.

I end up writing about my family’s old blue van, the one we drove to Florida in when I was in the second grade. I write about the bed on the floor, where the middle seat normally was. My mom made it, so we could sleep while we drove, but this is unheard of, considering modern safety requirements.

By Chapter Six I have traveled to Florida, told of how my mom’s map was sucked out the front window, how we visited Disney, and finally arriving at my favourite Sea World. I explain, from a child’s point of view, what I thought of the whales, but with a bit of my adult perspective on marine animals in captivity.

My dream was to have a killer whale as a pet, in a tank in my big back yard, at my house. Eight-year-old me starts to realize this will never happen.

They are to start a new page with the sound of the timer, at the end of every seven minutes. I hear the flipping of notebook pages, but all I can do is hit enter and go down a line or two.

She tells them to draw a spiral in between each. I don’t quite know what this would look like anymore, but I try to picture it as I hear their pens scribbling away. Carrie loves creativity, and is incorporating a tiny bit of art into the exercise. I miss art.

We all go around and read one of the chapters we’ve written. We aren’t to offer any comments or suggestions, but instead just thank the writer/reader for what they’ve just shared with us. I listen to all the different stories and bits of people’s lives, as it could be truth or fiction they are speaking. No rules, but Carrie did read a few rules about there being no rules. Go figure.

🙂

The two hours flies by. I am last. Carrie asks another woman, sitting nearby me, if she might read my chapter. She reads it well. I worry she won’t be able to read, that I’ve made many mistakes, but of course my computer would have already caught those. I am happy with how my writing sounds read aloud back to me and to the rest of this room. I haven’t always been able to say that about my writing. She reads the part where I included the first song lyrics that came to my mind, as we were all instructed to do. Somehow this fits in with the rest of the story we’ve written.

(See my About Me page for the lyrics of the song I thought of.)

I loved it. Even though I felt separate, like I often do in the world, and even being unable to write by hand – the morning was a success because I made the effort and had the experience. I wanted to learn from Carrie and I did.

Words. Glorious words.

#SoCS

For Stream of Consciousness Saturday,

Linda debates what she should write about, from a quiet hotel room, all by herself:

Just Jot It January 16th – What #SoCS

This is also another

#JusJoJan post,

the rules of which can be found

HERE.

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TToT: Faith and a Spinster’s Gratitude List – Harvest Moon, #10Thankful

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
–L.M. Montgomery

In the books, Anne Shirley believed, for a long time, that she would end up an old maid or spinster, instead she got her happy, storybook ending. Montgomery almost ended up one herself, but she still ended up unhappily. I sometimes fear the same will happen to me, either one, but it could always be worse.

10 THINGS OF THANKFUL

It’s been a strange week. Goodbye September and a beautiful September it was, but I do love my Octobers.

I’ve just been thinking a lot lately, as September has bled into October. It seems that big things are happening to people, from my past. This has made me remember certain things from days gone by.

R. E. S. C. U. E.

Catchy, catchy song.

🙂

Do you remember Disney’s The Rescuers, a highly underrated Disney film in my opinion with arguably one of the nastiest female villains, the sweetest little cartoon orphan, and two brave and adorable mice?

Someone’s Waiting For You – The Rescuers Soundtrack

I have been thinking about how my ex became a father for the first time last month. Also, an old friend’s younger brother just got married; not to mention, that’s the second one, little brother of a friend, to do that this week.

I remember that little boy, at three years of age, and how I used to lift him up and twirl him around and around as a game. It’s a strange feeling to remember him that way, then be brought back to reality, to realize he is not that tiny child anymore.

It made me search out a few movies from my childhood, on NetFlix: Homeward Bound (The Incredible Journey) and The Rescuers. Major doses of nostalgia for sure.

The Journey – The Rescuers Soundtrack

Life is a journey and this week’s journey, for me, starts off with an apology.

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

Montgomery was right, as usual.

Ten Things of Thankful:

First thing’s first…

For forgiveness.

I’d ended last week on a bit of a sour note, with my lack of appreciation for a friend’s generous hostessing of me in Toronto.

Well, I made sure not to go to bed without apologizing of course, but I wasn’t certain she’d fully accepted my apology.

In the morning we talked about it again and she assured me there were no hard feelings, that she doesn’t let little things get to her like that.

I appreciated her saying so because it wasn’t so little really. I am grateful and thankful for the ability for other people to forgive because I would hate to leave things in a negative state, with anybody, if I can help it. I know many relationships are severed everyday because insensitive things are often said, anger is thrust at others, and apologies aren’t given when they should be. I know, firsthand, just how hard it can be to apologize, as more and more time slips by. Either you are afraid they won’t accept it or they will make you feel even worse than you already do. It can be hard to take that leap, but so worth it and a giant relief when all is said and done.

For giant book fairs.

wots_imag4880_towncrierprincess_yes-2015-10-4-00-11.jpg

wotskkwithposterimag4900_yes-2015-10-4-00-11.jpg

I attended my very first

Word on the Street, Toronto.

This was just like those book fairs, back when I was in school, always held in the library. Well, it was exactly like that, only much bigger and better.

For the bookish version of my rockstar/groupie moment.

wots_kkdoug_imag4888_yes-2015-10-4-00-11.jpg

He is Canadian publishing royalty. Honestly, if I’d known who I was standing next to, when we were first introduced, I would have been a lot more intimidated.

He has published Alice Munro and a couple past Canadian prime ministers and I listened to his witty and insightful reading and then we chased him all over the place, before finding where copies of his new book were being sold. I was totally over-the-moon ;-), about his inscription in my book:

“To Kerry. From one writer to another. Best, Doug Gibson.”

“All photos taken by Glenda MacDonald)

@glenda_macd on Twitter

For a relaxing lunch by the waterfront.

This began with a humorous and entertaining waiter, and it continued with some excellent discussion with my friend about writing, a cool and refreshing glass of sangria, the most delicious salad I’ve ever tasted (full of kale, walnuts, and chickpeas), and a wasp landing on me at some point during it all.

Okay, so that last one wasn’t the great part, but it’s even worse to be there with a writer who uses words like “burrowing” to describe the wasp’s movements on my skin. She can’t help it. It’s the writer in her.

For the magic of a super moon/eclipse, even if I didn’t get to see it live.

Harvest Moon – Neil Young

I wonder what I’ll be doing, what my life will be like, in the year 2033 – the date of the next super moon, lunar eclipse.

I know there seem to be a lot of these lately, or several variations, but the moon is endlessly fascinating and I will never grow tired of any of it. Is there anything more romantic, more inspiring, more beautiful than the moon?

I was on the eleventh floor of an apartment building, in the middle of the city of Toronto that night, but I did see a great shot on the news the next day. I am able to see the moon, in the sky, when it is full and bright enough. From everything I know about the super moon, I would definitely have seen it if I’d been in the position to look for it. On the screen I saw the bright outline and the dark centre of the eclipse. Don’t think I could see that if I were outside.

I am thankful I can see the moon at all.

Here is a post from a blogger and Fellow Canadian with some shots of the night before.

Close enough.

For an unexpected and a highly lovely dinner out with a friend.

I discovered I had some extra time, a free evening in Toronto, and decided to invite an old friend out for $5 Margarita night at

El Rincon Mexicano Restaurant.

I would happily recommend this place. We ate an authentic Mexican meal, out on their covered patio with the orange walls and sombreros.

For the ride home I nearly got to ride in style, in a Mercedes. Instead we rode, less in style and more what felt like being in a clown car or video game actually.

🙂

Fun just the same. It was one of those smart cars. Very bumpy.

My friend had a membership to one of those car sharing services, offered in big cities, for people who it makes no sense to have a vehicle of their own, but for whom a car can sometimes be necessary or simply handy to have, as an option in a pinch.

For making it home from the big city, safe and sound…eventually.

🙂

I missed my ride in Toronto. Oops. It happens.

I was supposed to have help to locate my correct bus, but I waited and waited and the guy never showed up and before I knew it, it was too late.

These situations are annoying, for sure, but they’re ones to be thankful and grateful for because they help me, force me really, to become a better and more independent traveler. I figured it out, late yes, but I got home in the end, both tired and invigorated.

For the chance to officially celebrate the birth and the arrival, of a beautiful little girl. I think it is nice to have the baby shower after the baby is a part of our lives.

She’s five months old now, but it was nice to celebrate with that little girl’s mother, their family and a few friends and I am proud to be one of them, maybe even a bit of both, in some small way.

It was just nice to fit in, to blend in, and to feel like a part of the group. I had the perfect seat, one of those high bar stools at the kitchen island. This allowed me to spin my chair around, from the kitchen to the living room, depending on where people were at the time.

I felt like just one of the gathering and I didn’t feel like I was in a place I was all that unfamiliar with. The gathering wasn’t too big or too small, but just big enough. There were snacks, punch (both with vodka and without), and ice cream cake.

For a friend I’ve known for enough time, many years, that I am just “Kerry” to her. She doesn’t treat me any different or make me feel like I don’t belong or that I am any different than anyone else. I feel at home with her and with her family.

She understands me and would defend me to most anyone, in most any situation or circumstance.

She is a mother now, but she isn’t someone who would make me feel any different because I am not one myself. I value her for all these things.

The guest of honour at this particular party wasn’t feeling very well, but part of it could have been all those different faces and voices. I understand how intimidating a group of people can be. I thought this song was an appropriate fit for her day, for the occasion.

It’s My Party and I’ll Cry If I Want To.

The shower was held on a day, most appropriately, of showers – rain showers and wind that nearly blew me over and that’s October for you.

Tomorrow Is Another Day – The Rescuers Soundtrack

Life is a journey and tomorrow is another day. I appreciate the reminders of these facts.

I was watching a documentary about Georgian times and there was a lot of talk about what it was like to be a spinster during that period.

I suppose I would be considered a spinster: over thirty, single, and childless. I can’t pretend that new babies born and weddings of those more than five years younger than me don’t make things difficult sometimes, but that’s why I am here to find the silver linings, why I am writing down my TToT, and why the following quote from The Rescuers meant so much to me on this particular week, even more than most…

Faith is a bluebird, we see from afar. It’s for real and as sure as the first evening star, you can’t touch it, or buy it, or wrap it up tight, but it’s there just the same, making things turn out right.

–Rufus the Cat.

Another one of my favourite characters from the movie, one who always reminded me of my grandfather, and wisest one of them all.

Whether it’s love, the moon, or a bluebird, I know what it’s like to believe that these things exist, even if I can’t actually see them or feel them at every moment. This is what faith is and what having faith means.

Sincerely,
Spinster at Thirty-one

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Bucket List, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Happy Hump Day, Piece of Cake, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel

My Perfect Day

Okay, so I am a week behind on this, but I like this particular writing prompt and wanted to still take my shot at sharing my dream for a perfect day.

“Our theme this week is to write a day in your life where there would be no boundaries and you could do anything you want.”

http://originalbunkerpunks.com/blog-battle-zone-1/

I have been published on this witty, satirical, thought-provoking website, full of writers who want to get the conversation going and who do that very well.

Check me out here.

Then, earlier today

I ended up reading a piece on this site

and I went on to expressing my feelings, which meant criticizing the authors involved in the writing.

They were only being humorous, provocative; yet, due to the news of a two-year-old girl and her father being murdered in Alberta (which could be the inspiration for a more on time response I could write for this week’s prompt), this heartbroken Canadian wasn’t able to see any humour whatsoever.

It made me think about writing and its possible consequences because I was able to have a productive discussion with these writers, after-the-fact, and I wanted them to know why I may have sounded at all harsh. That is not how I usually am. Just a bad day.

Thank you,

Original Bunker Punks,

and now…onto my perfect day.

***

Something seems odd about this day. What could it be?

Oh yeah, I am pulling into my driveway. Yes, me.

For years it was me, in the passenger seat, the passenger. Shotgun was where I was designated to be.

Now I am driving. All those self driving cars in the works, for so long, well they are out and they are becoming the norm. Sure, it could lead to some sort of science fiction nightmare, cars becoming intelligent and driving their riders into trees and over bridges, but I overlook this fear because things are perfect now, right here, as I don’t have to have sight to operate a motor vehicle.

I enter my house and notice a suitcase sitting out, ready for packing to commence. We are soon off on another trip.

We met at TBEX, a travel expo I finally made it to a few years back. It was in Honolulu, my dream spot. I’d always wanted to visit there and this travel writing/blogging conference was the perfect chance. Two birds with one stone as they say.

I didn’t expect to meet him, but, I must admit, I hoped it would happen, sooner or later. I am comfortable with some independent travel now, after a lot of practice, but it’s still nice to have someone there to experience the world with.

He is a photographer and knows about technology and websites.

I may be able to drive a car, but I haven’t wished hard enough for perfect sight, at least I guess not. Huh.

If I had that, I wouldn’t be The Insightful Wanderer, as the whole position of my travel blog would be altered. I am insightful, just as I am, but I will never stop wandering. It does not have to be a bad, lost, aimless way to go through life.

I struggled to learn about my blog and website, for a few years, but am glad I can leave that responsibility to him.

I am still The Insightful Wanderer and Her Headache. I am KerryKay.com too. Bought that domain ages ago, as my writing needed my real name to be known and featured more prominently.

Branding is a strange thing, but I have embraced it and now am known as three brands in one.

I haven’t given up on my writing, memoir and literary mostly, because fiction is a beautiful thing, but not where my natural talents are.

I walk past one of the many bookshelves in my house, and there are some of my books there, a few are fiction. I had modest success with that, beginning with the anthology I was accepted into, my first real big break really.

I have written three books and am currently working on a fourth, two memoir and two fiction: Piece of Cake, Connecting the Dots, Till Death, and Out Beyond the Hedgerows.

The first two are memoirs about my life, struggles, with disability, being a visually impaired woman in a mostly sighted world.

The third is a fictional story about how death and loss affect three different generations of one family.

And the fourth is an historical novel, based on family who lived through World War II.

I did not start to write a string of genre books, ones that get put on Amazon and Smash Words and of which I would have needed to keep on putting out to gain any momentum in the book world. I found my own path to success.

I have books everywhere, which brings me peace and solace when I’ve had a bad day.

It’s so nice to have found a partner who loves travel and we are a team. He takes care of the site and its visual elements, while I write. Writing has its place, but the world is and always will be a visual one.

I think a world of all blind humans is worse than the one where the cars take over, but I can’t say. Science fiction writing is not my area of expertise.

I have checked off many of the items on my bucket list, which brings me great pleasure, but it’s nice to know I will soon have a husband who is committed, not only to me, but to helping me achieve the rest. Life is precious and it goes by like that! We are making the most of every day.

I have broken the record for longest living kidney transplant recipient and the medications have made it possible that this won’t change anytime soon. When I reached my twenty year mark (June 5, 2017) I had a huge party to celebrate and everybody I know came.

In this fantasy, we have not cured cancer yet, but we are actually getting close this time, no fooling.

We’re still trying to decide what kind of a wedding to have and where to have it. Being the travellers we are, a destination wedding is most appealing, but I don’t want to put that pressure on the people I hope will attend.

I want to have it at the hotel in Niagara Falls, the one from my childhood and its precious memories, moving to the closest hotel to the falls for the wedding night. I will finally feel that vibration of the roaring falls through the window of our room.

Maybe we’ll get married on a beach or on top of the CN Tower in Toronto. I loved it up there, the first time I tried it, and a wedding on that ledge sounds strangely perfect to me. After all, isn’t marriage a little like standing on a ledge?

It’s scary but exhilarating. It’s freeing, once you find love and let yourself feel worthy of having and holding onto it.

I can admit, finally after years, that wanting marriage, a wedding, this does not make me weak. I am not some Disney fairy princess, waiting to be rescued. I want a partnership and that commitment is and always has been important to me. I’ve been shown what that can be like, through the examples of my wonderful parents and their parents before them. It’s in my bones, just like writing and travel.

I can make a living from my writing now. I was afraid that was holding me back from finding a guy who could understand, accept me for me, and not let money and pride and the pressures of that get in the way. I am not rich, but I am rich in all that I really will ever need.

I have seen my words in print, in a book, on my shelf and in a bookstore.

I have an advice column which helps people. I can write and offer my advice, which can be a tricky thing to give others, but I know I’ve had more experience with the hard stuff than most. Plus, this side work allows me freedom to travel. I can answer people’s questions from anywhere I might happen to be.

I hand out my business card:

The Insightful Wanderer

http://www.theinsightfulwanderer.ca/

And on the other side.

KerryKay.com

Her Headache

Blog. Writing. Travel writing is my first love because the world is everything. It’s all around us. We are it.

I had to build up my writing portfolio. I had to practice my craft, art as pure as anything.

Now, I can admit that making a reasonable living off of that is no crime. People are paid for all kinds of things, some that might seem less deserving, but that’s how the world works. It’s all about money, for so many, but it doesn’t have to be.

We discuss having children, after we decide on a wedding spot, but the jury is still out on that. I can accept that, even as I know the rules of this writing challenge aren’t at all limiting, because sometimes life means accepting some realities and hard truths.

It’s still open for discussion. Age doesn’t have to matter because I want to freeze this day, in time, so my parents are here and the children currently in my life stay the sweet age they are.

We will deal with the future tomorrow, but let this day and the moment linger.

Anyway, we are off, to make our flight. I will finally get my chance to swim with jellyfish, in their lake home, on the island of Palau in the south pacific.

***

Why do we feel so guilty, why do I, just for speaking up and admitting what it is we want for ourselves?

Why do I feel so selfish and awful to be so open with the things I dream about having, the life I would ideally wish for myself?

Do you ever feel that way?

If you could have an ideal day in your own life, what might that include?

I know I am worth it, I am worth everything, and I want to say so. I know what some people say, about the universe and just by saying it, you are actually letting into your life the things you believe you deserve. This is what I am doing here, today, because I am tired of holding myself back.

Yes, believe it or not, this blog has been me holding myself back, up until this point.

🙂

I have been blogging for a year and a half now and I continue to be myself, to let my self shine through here. That is what is at the essence of Her Headache.

Check these guys out on Facebook.

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