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TToT: Let Us Try This Again, Shall We? #WorldBookDay #FreedomToReadWeek #WorldWildlifeDay #10Thankful

Last week I meant to share one picture, of the flowers we brought my sister after giving birth to my new niece, but I somehow ended up posting only the flowers.

Nothing wrong with flowers, so that one becomes “the flower flower flower flower post”.

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I am still thankful for the big things, for eight pound baby girls, but will sprinkle in a few smaller items, if I can as well.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for new music.

Lorde – Green Light

I am thankful for Mya Lynne and for my violin.

😉

Haha. Get it?

LuwA3RQ.jpg

I’m thankful that I went for it and submitted the travel memoir piece I wrote in Mexico, about my evening with the mariachis, to
CBC Literary Prizes.

I spent all of February, editing madly, and I would say I am proud of what I sent in. Now for the long wait.

I’m thankful to have made contact this week and am now in communication, by email, with the man I met in Mexico. He is doing amazing things with his life.

Everyone Has A Disability

We both know a little something about living with a disability and I appreciate his perspective.

I’m thankful for the bond already forming between my nephew and niece.

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Now, anytime I go to visit them, he always starts by saying, “Auntie Kerry, do you see my baby sister?”

Now that’s the question of one proud big brother.

I am thankful I got to read the words of a talented family member. He wrote a kickass spoken word piece about his wife and surprised her with it for her birthday last weekend.

It’s amazing to me that someone can love another person like that.

I wish I could have heard it in person, but I read the words and his writing was so sweet and so creatively epic.

Proud and thankful to be related to those two.

I would share it, but I’m not sure they’d want me to. Let’s just say, the word “citadel” is used at one point. It’s a song about a strong and one-of-a-kind woman. That’s spot on.

Ed Sheeran – Eraser (Live)

This new live Ed Sheeran song is another example of music, but with spoken word, poetry thrown in the mix.

I’m thankful for winter weather, while it’s still winter.

We went from above seasonal and warm temperatures at the beginning of the week and we’re ending it back firmly in winter, but spring is only officially a few weeks away now. The end and a new beginning, as many think of the arrival of spring, is on its way.

I enjoy a chilled night, without a harsh wind preferably, and feeling the gentle sprinkling of snowflakes coming down around me in the air. I’m going to miss that crunching noise when I walk outside in the packed snow underfoot.

I wish everyone could see that winter is supposed to be cold, to have snow, and to not show such love for the climate change that has an effect on nature and wildlife, and not in a good way. We should think about them a little more and less about our temporary discomforts. I know it’s hard. I don’t like freezing either, in the moment. But I do care about species such as butterflies and bees who pollinate. Those guys need spring to come in its own time. We shouldn’t try to rush it just because we are sick and tired of winter.

In the comments for TToT this week I say where I am from and what I love about living here. I love the four seasons we in Canada are lucky to experience. I grumble and groan my share, when I am shivering or sweating, but I want the planet to maintain itself, for my nieces and nephews, for a long long time to come.

The cousin and his wife I listed above, as a thankful, they work with nature and the environment. They’ve seen signs that aren’t good signs. They worry because they see it up close. They’ve taught me a lot.

I am thankful for people like them, doing all they can, to teach about the natural world we often neglect.

I’m thankful for the feeling of holding a baby.

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She is such a contented baby too. As long as she’s not hungry, she’s happy to sleep a lot.

For me, I can feel disgusted with things happening in the world or whatever, but then I hold her and I feel the slight pressure of her in my arms and her breathing as she sleeps so still. It’s peaceful.

I then watch my nephew, all his energy, and how big he is. I am thankful for these children, at the separate ages that they are, and I know they grow so fast.

I am thankful for books and the freedom to read any book I want to.

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss (read by Neil Gaiman)

I have shared stories read by Neil Gaiman here in the past. I enjoy his readings.

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss.

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Travel Ling, Lingering #TGIF #FTSF

“Oh, the places you’ll go.”

Thanks, Dr. Seuss, for that one. I love that and the travel it hints at, alludes to. It’s thrilling, just writing that quote and reading it back to myself. I recently carried that quote with me, on my first solo trip to Mexico, reciting it in my mind whenever I needed a shot of bravery.

When it comes to travel, I could go for days and days, writing about it I mean. That much travel, while sounding just as thrilling as Seuss’s quote, would exhaust me. I do it in my imagination though, all the time.

If I had the money and the energy, I’d be off. Sure, I’d always come back to my home, as that’s how travel is most appreciated, but I would not be satisfied to simply stay in one place all my life. I would suffocate in that bubble.

Pop!

***

I long to break out of that. I want to see new places. I have a list, a long, long list. I call it my
Bucket List (the very first blog post I ever wrote),
though that name is well worn with travellers the world over.

***

I thought it the summer my parents left on a road trip out west, through the U.S. and Canada. I came up with my travel blogger title and I was off.

The Insightful Wanderer (@TheIWanderer on Twitter)

It was in me, of course, ever since forever. My grandparents lived in just such a bubble, but they didn’t stay. They left sometimes, though always coming home again.

My most favourite treasure from my grandmother are the journals she kept, for years, where she jotted down the daily events of her life and family. Then, just a short distance from where she kept those, were the stakcs of photo albums, full of photographic evidence of the places her and my grandfather saw during their fifty five years together: all throughout Canada and the U.S., Europe, the Caribbean, and Australia.

Life and reality are just as important as a life of travel. Some can avoid that, I suppose, but not me.

I have limitations. I fully acknowledge those, but recently I challenged them too.

***

I immediately started thinking about what I would write, upon reading this week’s prompt for
Finish the Sentence Friday
and my first thought was Mexico.

I would write about my recent trip there. Why not? What else could I possibly write about now, while the memories are fresh? But wait…

I have things I want to say, but I can’t get back to it, whether in my own head or when trying to explain to others just why that trip meant so much. I try and try and try to explain the feeling, but somehow, my experience doesn’t come through. I feel unsatisfied with how I am describing it and how they are hearing it described by me. I guess the expression “you had to be there” is right. Oh, so right.

I travel back to every moment of that week, from my fear and intense anticipation. To my sense of peace and calm and rightness with the world and my place in it at that instant. I don’t want to say words now fail me, but perhaps they do. The envelope of photos I now carry in my purse of my trip don’t do the thing justice either, somehow locked in the past of the actual purse I carried with me. Nor does the bracelet I wear on my left wrist, every bead carrying that week’s sense memories within.

***

I went so far as to create a whole travel website, separate from this blog, while the force was still strong to attempt the world of the travel blogger. I had it all mapped out, saw things so clearly in my mind.

I wrote up an About Me page there, before the new site went live. It laid out all my most favourite spots: Niagara Falls and Ireland.

I put forth an illustrated list of the places I’ve been so far: Cuba, Florida/New York/Michigan/D.C./California, and Germany.

I spelled out everywhere I dreamt of going: Hawaii, Palau, Australia, and New Zealand. I wanted to be adventurous, surprising even myself, and in this dream I stood at the bottom of the world, surrounded by ice and penguins.

I didn’t truly believe I’d have the stamina, resources, or opportunity to make it that far, but, really, who could say?

Then, my website fizzled out. I let myself down. I studied travel blogs galore and somehow, I couldn’t become them, social media and pitching tour companies and all. I couldn’t. I was not a list maker and a personality so strong. My fantasy of becoming someone, I perhaps wasn’t meant to be.

I am a literary writer. That’s who I am. I can take all the travel blog success courses I want, have as many Skype sessions with an already established travel blogger as are offered in any given online course, and I still failed.

***

But I didn’t. I found a way to travel anyways. I found a group of my people, other literary type writers, somewhere full of magic and reality, all wrapped into one.

I couldn’t hold onto that week forever. It came and went. I may feel a little aimless since then, since arriving home, but that’s okay.

The world is a giant place. Anyone who doesn’t open their mind first, it doesn’t matter how far or how nearby they go or stay.

Travel all sorts of places, in your mind, through reading/watching a good book or movie. That’s just more ways to open your mind to the vistas (boy do I love that word).

Read travel blogs, as I still do, if that makes it all more real.

Acknowledge your limitations while challenging what still might be.

Meet people. Meander through a place. Taste a new food or sample a helping of another culture, far flung from your own.

***

I may not have that beautiful travel site I saw in my mind, but I am still wandering through this big, beautiful world and I am doing it with all the insight I can manage to unearth as I go.

I will linger here a bit yet still, but I know I will be off again, sooner or later. If you linger too long, you risk getting stuck. I hate to burst your bubble, but it must be done.

I meander and linger and meander some more. I look over those vistas I can no longer see. I meander with these words and with myself. Still figuring it all out.

I’ll be sure to let you know, here, when I’ve been everywhere. In the meantime, Dr. Seuss’s words keep me going, moving, living.

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TToT: Special Snowflakes and Safe Places – Wham! Bah HumBug! Whoosh! #SnowInTheSahara #10Thankful

: You’re a foul one, Mr. Grinch / You’re a nasty, wasty skunk / Your heart is full of unwashed socks, your soul is full of gunk / Mr. Gri-inch / The three words that best describe you are as follows, and I quote: Stink, stank, stunk!

—Dr. Seuss

Two holiday favourites I like to watch this time of year are The Grinch and A Christmas Carol. I wonder at if the real life Grinches and Scrooge’s of this world could grow a heart and see the error of their ways, but sadly, I doubt it by this point.

Neil Gaiman Reads “A Christmas Carol” – NYPL Podcast

Also, as I was sitting in the gymnasium from my youth, watching a new generation of children singing about Santa and snowflakes and all the other traditions of this time of year, I felt the ghosts of my own childhood, all the years I spent in elementary school. I also listened to songs about snowflakes and I thought about that.

I get on my own case for letting it bother me at all that the idea of a snowflake has been hijacked by those who have started referring to “liberals” as “special snowflakes” and saying all the “special snowflakes” need to go and hide out in their “safe places”.

So just what exactly is so wrong with that, anyway? Huh? Hmm?

I want a break from worries. As much as I love the advice I’m often given, to try not to focus on those things that upset me, I refuse to let something as beautiful as a snowflake be a negative thing. Or, as if a safe place is somehow a bad place to be.

Oh, no no no. I…Don’t…Think…SO!

So, here I am, starting this pre-Christmas TToT with a rant or two, but I wish I didn’t have it on my mind to rant about anything at all. I do plan to give myself the gift of a break from all that once Christmas does come.

(this is a real single snowflake showing all of the tiny details)

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I’m thankful for snowflakes.

Snowflakes are special, this is true. They are nature at its finest. They are the most delicate things and I am lucky to have grown up with them, here in Canada. I recently had a fascinating conversation with someone who didn’t grow up with the kind of snow we have here. He spoke of his thoughts about it now. I enjoyed hearing his perspective, so different from mine.

They are all different, snowflakes, and that makes them special, not one being the same as another. They may be delicate on their own, but as more and more of them fall, eventually they become a collection of flakes, which makes snow and the results of enough snowflakes, all packed together, this can become the most unstoppable of forces: an avalanche.

I’m thankful for safe places.

Wait until war ravages where you call home and then see if you look for a safe place to run to.

In a world so full of harsh weather and cruel human behaviours, and a safe place is something we all would cling desperately to.

I thank everything I have for home, which is my safe place/space, where family are and where I know I am loved by someone. I desire greatly to explore the world, but I’m sure thankful I have the safe place right here to return to. If that makes me winy or pathetic to some, so be it.

I’m thankful for solstice. Man, do I love that word.

🙂

December 21st is the first day of winter. I am ready for it.

Snow Falls In The Sahara For First Time In Over 37 Years – Bored Panda

I think there is something beautiful about winter solstice in the northern hemisphere. People are thrilled this means the days, from here on out, begin to lengthen and commence in June. That will be another big month in my life, but for now, I enjoy what transpires in this part of the world and astronauts have seen it and word it best:

***

Generations of astronauts, after looking at Earth from space, have professed a profound new understanding of it. Edgar Mitchell, who, in 1971, became the sixth man to walk on the moon, said, “From out there . . . international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.’ ” Michael Collins, Neil Armstrong’s crewmate on Apollo 11, expressed similar sentiments in his memoir, “Carrying the Fire,” which was published in the midst of the Cold War. Seeing our home planet from afar, he wrote, prompted an epiphany: “The earth
Must become as it appears: blue and white, not capitalist or Communist; blue and white, not rich or poor; blue and white, not envious or envied.”
Mike Massimino, in his memoir, “Spaceman,” reports having spent almost a full day staring out a window of the Space Shuttle Columbia, watching sunrises and lightning storms (“like a form of communication, like a sequence, like the clouds are alien creatures speaking to each other in code”). On his second spacewalk, Massimino told me recently, he had a spare moment to “take in the view.” He recalls being struck not only by Earth’s incredible beauty—“We are living in a paradise”—but also by its fragility. From out there, he said, especially during night passes, “you can see the thinness of the atmosphere,” a bluish-green line. This sudden perception of Earth as a delicate, intricate system is so common among astronauts that the writer Frank White coined a term for it: the overview effect.
Astronauts are endlessly fascinating to me, in part because they have a knack for poignant quotations. Buzz Aldrin, for instance, described the lunar landscape as a vision of “magnificent desolation,” a grand phrase for a bleak truth. Unlike our paradisiacal, blue-and-white Earth, the moon has no atmosphere and no real sky—just gray dust and black space, such that color photographs from moonwalks appear mostly black and white, as though someone colorized the American flags after the fact.
NASA brought six flags to the moon, on poles outfitted with horizontal crossbars so that the stars and stripes would show, as though caught in a nonexistent breeze. The flags are still there, but radiation is presumed to have left them in tatters—monuments to our love of Earth, or maybe just litter.

***

I’m thankful for the chance to return to my childhood for an afternoon.

It was a tad emotional, I admit, but it brought back a lot of worthwhile memories that had me thinking.

I have so much wrapped up in that building, both good and bad. I found it highly moving to return there. It gave me a lot to think about.

Why Do People Tell Ghost Stories on Christmas? – The Smithsonian

Speaking of ghosts at Christmas time, they were everywhere there.

I’m thankful I got to see my nephew’s Christmas concert.

Oh, aw, ah all those little boys and girls, trying so hard and singing their hearts out. They tried their best, especially the youngest ones like my nephew, to remember the words they practiced and my nephew, for one, was nervous when he walked on stage and saw how many of us there were in the audience.

I couldn’t pick out my nephew up there, as I am unable to see anywhere that clearly upon returning to that school as an adult with considerably less sight, but I am still glad I went, even if he couldn’t see me either.

I’m thankful for safeguards and protection for natural places.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/obama-ban-offshore-drilling-arctic-atlantic-1.3905384

President Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau working together once more, for one of the final acts together, to preserve parts of the Arctic Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean.

They are protected against off shore oil drilling in those places. I don’t know how foolproof it will be, if what they’ve done will stand the test of time and Trump, but we shall see.

I am glad the two men are working together, once more, at something worthwhile. Sure, it may not be protecting everything that needs protecting, but it is something.

I’m thankful for a return to my library writing group.

I had missed a few, but I am glad I returned for this final meeting of “The Elsewhere Region” of 2016.

There were cookies and chocolate with mint and chocolate and raspberry tea. I don’t normally drink tea like the rest of them like to do, always afraid I might spill mine all over my electronics, but this time the tea sounded just too good to pass up. I took precautions, but the tea was delicious. Just the perfect thing for the occasion.

I wrote a story, dialogue and a conversation between two young women. The mystery object one member brought in was a strange family Christmas decoration. It was a frog wearing a fancy outfit and hat and his tag said something about him being named Mistle Toad.

Okay, so I guess he was a toad, not a frog, but it made for some interesting ideas for a writing prompt. We discussed and most wrote about the popular idea of kissing a frog and making it turn into a handsome prince.

My story confused some, but it really illustrates how, like snowflakes, all our writing styles are so diverse and so very much our own.

My imagination is a lot different from many of the other writers in the group. This always makes for a fun time.

I’m thankful for understanding doctors and nurses.

I have a doctor who hasn’t given up on me, even though I am a bit of a difficult case, and who promises I can call and come see her if anything comes up, even if it’s before our next scheduled appointment. That’s the sort of empathy and understanding I have always hoped for.

Also, I have a nurse offering to give me an iPhone case she no longer needs.

I’m thankful for my flu shot.

I know many people think it totally unnecessary. Some have gotten sick soon after getting one in the past and feel it can cause more problems than it helps prevent. I must say that I do take my low immune system seriously enough. If I can ever prevent getting a bad flu one of these times, I will get the shot.

My arm hasn’t even really bothered me this year, since getting it, and after the initial stinging and burning of the injection itself.

For those who are in perfect health, who are young and strong, there’s likely no huge need for it. Either way. I don’t get too worked up. It’s easy enough to get and so I do.

I’m thankful for a surprise Christmas card.

Thank you
Lizzi
for the surprise. I also enjoyed the tactile parts on the front of the card and the surprises to be found inside.

I admit I don’t do up Christmas cards myself. I find it hard, all so visual and I guess I’ve lost a little of my artistic streak, which I could draw on to make cards still for people.

As for Christmas cards, having them sent to me, not many are. I suppose many people think I won’t be able to see them anyway, so what’s the point? I don’t know. I may feel somewhat left out, but there are other ways of expressing holiday cheer. It’s just nice, once and a while.

: He puzzled and puzzed till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas, he thought… doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps… means a little bit more!

Is Montreal’s Christmas tree ugly, or are we just looking at it wrong?

: Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart, and hand in hand.

—Dr. Seuss, 1956

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TToT: Woman In Black Blouse Holding Black Bow – Shadow Bowing, #10Thankful

“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself on all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited.”

–Sylvia Plath, “The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath”

img_1082-2016-03-6-06-49.jpg

Caption: Woman in black shirt smiling and standing.)

There is an App for the visually impaired where you can take a photo of anything you are in need of describing and send it away and, within seconds, an answer is given by someone somewhere who has viewed it and explained it to the best of their ability. Well, that’s the first reply given when I asked what the above photo showed. The second I used for the title of this week’s TToT because I thought it strangely eerie.

🙂

Have you heard of “shadow bowing”?

That is what I am doing. Supposedly, (as YouTube is a totally reliable source on this), I’m quite sure – if you want to practice moving your violin’s bow in a perfectly straight line, you take an empty toilet paper roll and work at moving the bow through it, over and over again. Well, let’s just say, I thought it worth a try, yet highly amusing at the same time.

The week started out badly. It wasn’t a great week at all, to be frank, but I still think I can come up with 10 things to be thankful for. Come along with me and let’s see if I can.

🙂

I made a decision, as February and its extra day came and went and March began, that I will cut back from the daily blogging I’ve been doing since the start of 2016, and will cut back to only weekends and these blogging hops and link ups I so enjoy.

I will use my weekdays to focus on my violin and writing for other places, specifically the memoir I’ve wanted to write since I was fourteen years old.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For rare disease awareness.

I shared, back when it first came out, an article I wrote which was published on The Mighty:

Rare Disease Day, 2016: Even Rarer Than A Leap Year

Well, the official day of recognition was on a leap year this time round, making it extra special.

For a song that inspires me.

Scars – Emmanuel Jal Feat. Nelly Furtado

I was shown this one by a friend, but although I could tell just by listening that there was depth and significance in the words, the music, and in the visuals, I could not see what was taking place in the video for the song.

Well, my friend explained what happens throughout. I could tell it was important, with the sound of the train at the beginning, but I now listen to this every night before I go to bed. It reminds me that we all have our struggles and our burdens to shoulder. I want to write my story, to tell of my particular tale, while this song plays on repeat in the background in my head.

Check it out if you have a moment. It’s beautiful.

For books and their creators.

As the quote at the start of this post shows, I love books for so many things. I will never be all the things I want to be, but books get me a lot closer.

This week was World Book Day.

I found myself in my nephew’s room, one day in the middle of the week, and my mom began reading “What Pet Should I Get?”, unaware that its author was celebrating a birthday on that exact same day. I celebrate Dr. Seuss and the genus he was with words.

He was highly skilled with them, words that is. He was able to stand out, reach children, and as I would love to write a children’s book someday, I try to study his brilliance, hoping always that something of it may rub off on me.

For a much needed laugh or two to brighten up a rough week. I love the coming together of a child’s imagination and the acting talents to bring it to my screen.

I did not watch anything surrounding Academy Awards mania, but I think this is better than any of the movies that actually got nominated for a trophy.

🙂

I was riveted by both these performances.

Kid Theater with Tom Hanks (Bridge of Spies)

Hanks deserves the award for that, don’t you agree? Possibly even Jimmy. If you need to smile, watch only this one Oscar performance.

For a hot shower to help with head and limb pain.

For another chance to share my writing, as part of a wonderfully important blogger series:

#BeReal – KERRY KIJEWSKI

I was glad to get some of my feelings out and on the page in a supportive environment like Hasty’s blog.

For new car smell.

I don’t know exactly what that fragrance consists of, so feel free to enlighten me, but I know it is in the materials of a newish car and it doesn’t last forever – just like most things in life.

🙂

Whatever it emanates from, it brings back nostalgic feelings that are indefinable, but warmly welcome.

For my first actual violin recital.

Not playing. Oh hell no!

🙂

Just attending, but it was highly inspiring and motivating.

I write about the experience here:

Flower of the Night

For the chance to work creatively with my musically talented brother.

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Caption: Smiling man playing violin.

🙂

This was the explanation we received for the photo of my brother holding my violin.

He is a guitar player mainly. He and I decided we would try to write a song together. He has written the music and now I am faced with the new challenge of listening to it, letting the music move through me, and feeling the words and letting them come to me.

I try to lighten the mood because I have written lots of things, but never song lyrics. It’s a bit like poetry and I always doubted my skill with that. I hope it is something I can do. The challenge to myself is a tough one. I just think it would be neat to do that with him.

For beautiful pieces of writing, from such creative and talented bloggers and writers. This lovely memoir post I just had to share.

Where Is Home – Yvonne Spence

Several months back I came across multiple beautifully written blog posts and shared them here, stating my intention to share a couple that were particularly influential on me, here on the TToT every week.

Well, I didn’t follow through, but better to do it when inspiration strikes.

Home – Phillip Phillips

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where to go.”

–Dr. Seuss, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”

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TToT: A Rainy Day In Paradise, #10Thankful

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

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

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

10 THINGS OF THANKFUL

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

Hope turns to heartbreak.

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

The Dark Mark

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

In comes creator of TToT

Lizzi,

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

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

GO FUND ME: Home For Jenny

Ten Things of Thankful:

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

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

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

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

Perfection – Jingle Jangle Jungle

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

You Learn – Alanis Morissette

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

He Named Me Malala

“Our voices are our most powerful weapons.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For repeat thankfuls.

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

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

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

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

After the Scars: A Second Chances Anthology

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

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

😉

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

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

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

this photo is of brian, dad and you on the stairs in front of the apple.
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For my brother’s help, as I am once more in need of pictures of myself, and seeing as he takes pictures for a living and has done it for years I am glad he is happy to help and not to expect a fee.

🙂

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not all children are so lucky. I am lucky.

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

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

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

RIP Jackie Collins (1937-2015)

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

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

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

Another Day In Paradise

Just think about it.

–Phil Collins

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

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

Pup Quiz

RIP sweet Hailey.

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Fiction Friday, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Interviews, TGIF, Writing

Not My Interview With Robert Munsch

Hi Kerry:

Thank you for writing. I am sorry but Mr. Munsch is not available for
interviews. He had a stroke a couple of years ago and more recently a heart
attack. He is no longer visiting schools, touring or doing interviews. He
is concentrating on his over 200 unpublished stories.

I have copied below an interview he did. I hope it answers some of your
questions.

***

Lunch with Munsch

Canada’s most beloved children’s writer goes nuts with story-telling but
takes kids seriously

by Barb Williamson

Journal Staff Writer

Edmonton

When Robert Munsch tells a story, kids listen.

Perhaps it’s the animation in his face or his booming voice or the way he
waves his arms wildly to illustrate a point.

Munsch has kids captivated.  At 54 he has sold over 30 million children’s
stories.  About 20,000 letters from fans reach him in Guelph, Ontario every
year.

Munsch made a stop in Edmonton last week on tour to promote his latest
book, Up, Up, Down, a story about a girl named Anna who loves to climb.

Set all expectations aside when sitting down for lunch with Munsch.  His
best-seller status has not turned him into a snob. What you see is who he
is, not who he pretends to be.  Mild-mannered and soft-spoken, Munsch is
surprisingly the exact opposite of his boisterous stage persona.

He smiles a lot.

Sitting down to lunch, he begs the waitress for black coffee and orders a
tropical fruit plate with two croissants.  It comes with banana bread.  No
complaints from Munsch.

Throughout the interview he is honest and direct, and most refreshing,
seemingly untouched by his success.

*What were you like as a kid?*

There were nine kids.  I was in the middle. There was no individuality.  And
I was a kind of very smiley nutcase.  The older kids had all the sane
family roles.  I guess I tried to be a clown.

*What intrigues you most about children?*

Kids are so new.  They’re so open-ended.  I can look at a kid and wonder
what they’ll be. The job of children is to be professionally appealing to
adults.  That’s how they get what they need.

*Tell me how Up, Up, Down came about.*

This is an old story that started in 1978 as just a finger play with
two-year-olds.  I gradually turned it into a book for older kids.

*What’s the best way to read to a child?*

People do it a lot of different ways and they’re all right.  But I have a
few general rules.  If the book isn’t working, say “The end” and get
another one.  Feel free to change the text.  That’s what I do when I tell
stories. Reading can be an interactive game.  It can be more than just
decoding the text.

*What do kids really want in stories?*

They want to be able to identify.  To kids there’s only one character in a
story and that’s themselves.

*Is there anything you won’t write?*

I won’t write stuff that kids don’t like.  A lot of kids’ books are
actually adult books in disguise.

*How do you define your success?*

I guess sales or recognition or something like that.  One of the nice
things about audiences of little children is they’re not impressed by my
reputation.  They don’t care.  Here’s a man who’s going to tell stories.  If
they like the stories they’ll be nice and if they don’t like the stories
they’ll be brats. Their impression is not filtered through some idea of
reputation, which it might be with adults.  They’re sort of like, what has
he done for me in the last five seconds?

*What’s the best thing about being a writer?*

Being able to construct my own life.  It gives me a lot of freedom.

*When people ask you how to become a writer, how do you answer that
question?*

When people say I want to be a writer, the first thing I say is get a
job.  First
get a job, make sure you’ve got a job to make money.  Adults will say,
“Well, I’ve decided to become a writer” and I’ll say “Well, what have you
written?”   They say, “Well I haven’t written anything yet but I’ve decided
to become a writer.” There’s something wrong with that.

*Do you still climb trees?*

I still climb trees.  I take my dog on walks out in the country.  There’s a
couple of really big white pine trees.  First I have to climb up a spruce
tree, go across at about 10 m up, then I climb a white pine tree so I get
really high and deathly scared because the tree is swaying in the wind.
Yes, I still climb.  I’m the only 54-year-old I know that still climbs
trees.

*What did you do before you wrote children’s stories?*

In high school I was a dweeb who just read.  I went off to study to be a
Catholic priest for seven years.  That didn’t work massively.  I left that
job, moved to Ontario, went into day care because I wanted a year off to
figure out what to do with my life.  I thought, “What could I do with a
degree in philosophy?” But I decided I liked day care.

*How did you become an author?*

I started telling stories in day care because it was just something I was
good at.  I actually started, and this is what I still do, I make up
stories in front of kids and see how they do.  In day care I was making up
one story new every day and then they’d ask for one old one.  So the kids
were a filter.  A lot of my first books were in my head in day care but I
didn’t know they were books.  I thought they were just stories.

*You have a reputation as an amazing storyteller.  Where does that talent
come from?*

I don’t know.  I used to think anybody could do it. Then I tried teaching
it to people and I found out they couldn’t do it.  I’m not sure where it
comes from.  Maybe a little bit that I’m a bit of an obsessive compulsive
manic depressive who goes nuts with stories.

*What’s your favourite colour?*

Black, because nobody else has the favourite colour black.

*What’s your favourite food?*

Hot, hot, hot, hot, hot chicken wings or Indonesian coconut and lemongrass
soup.

*Favourite book?*

Of mine?  I Have To Go.  I also love The Cypresses Believe in God, by Jose
Maria Gironella.

*What kind of dreams do you have?*

I have a lot of dreams where I’ve lost something and I’m trying to find it
and I can’t.  It’s just sort of those panic sort of dreams.

*What are you most scared of?*

Getting burned.  Flames.  I love fires and I like to build fires but I’m
deathly afraid of getting burned.

*What do you find most comforting?*

Pancakes with real maple syrup.  That’s my big comfort food. I make my own
pancakes from scratch with real maple syrup and black coffee and the world
is just fine.

*Why do you write children’s stories?*

I don’t know.  Why are carpenters carpenters?  Because it’s something
they’re good at.  I’m good at this.  Why not do something I’m good at
instead of something I’m lousy at?

*Do you have children?*

I have three kids: Julie who was the kid in David’s Father AND Makeup Mess,
Andrew who is the kid in Andrew’s Loose Tooth; and Tyya who is the kid in
Something Good. All three of my kids are in the book Finding Christmas.

*And what kind of a father are you?*

I was lucky because I didn’t have a regular job by the time my kids were
growing up.  My kids just got used to the idea that daddy was always around
to play with or to come and talk.  I really liked having kids.

*Do you consider yourself a big kid?*

No, I just take kids seriously.  If you look at my books they’re mostly
about apparently trivial situations.  They’re everyday events in kids’
lives.

*What was your favourite book as a child?*

The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins by Dr. Seuss.  The little kid kept
getting in trouble no matter what he did. That seemed to be my role in my
family.

***

On this Fiction Friday I decided, if I couldn’t get an interview with the man himself, I’d at least share one done by someone who had.

🙂

I have sent email requests for interviews to three writers since I started this blog: Alice Munro, Jean Little, and Robert Munsch.

Thanks to:

Sharon Bruder, Assistant

I at least received a response back this time.

http://robertmunsch.com)

Looking forward to hearing more about some of the 200 previously unfinished stories, mentioned above.

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