Bucket List, RIP, Special Occasions, The Insightful Wanderer, TravelWriting, TToT, Writing

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

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

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

and which is embodied in the concept of:

Mono no aware

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

For a return to my violin lessons.

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

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

Sound dramatic? Well, it’s all true.


For the 100 year celebration of a life.

A master at work. Powerful performance.

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

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

For the sense of bonding with those who understand.

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

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

For a wide open release of our song.

And now…I present to you…


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


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

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

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

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

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

You Know You’re Right – Nirvana

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

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

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

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

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

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

For another extremely enjoyable family gathering.




For my siblings.


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


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

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

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

Seasons in the Sun – Terry Jacks

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


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


Goodbye Michelle, my little one

You gave me love and helped me find the sun

And every time I was down

You would always come around

And get my feet back on the ground

Goodbye Michelle it’s hard to die

When all the birds are singing in the sky

Now that the spring is in the air

With the flowers everywhere

I wish that we could both be there

We had joy we had fun

We had seasons in the sun

But the wine and the song like the seasons

Have all gone

All our lives we had fun

We had seasons in the sun

But the hills that we climbed were just seasons

Out of time



Fiction Friday, Writing

Dusty Old Books

        This week on Fiction Friday I wanted to mention a story about Harper Lee I had been hearing. It wasn’t until I thought about her and looked into her more that I learned some really fascinating facts I did not know before.

        Nelle Harper Lee turned eighty-eight just the other day and she used her birthday to announce that finally, after all this time, she has decided to catch up with the rest of the world.

        The Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction has, up until now, kept a pretty tight hold on the rights for To Kill A Mockingbird. She finally agreed to release it as an E-book.

        Lee has said: “I’m still old-fashioned. I love dusty old books and libraries.

        This I can totally relate to. I feel the exact same way. There’s just something not quite right about some of the greatest stories of all-time displayed on screens. Where did all the books go? I know they are still everywhere, but sometimes it feels like they are slipping through our fingers.

        Harper Lee wrote an open letter to Oprah Winfrey and inside she is candid about how times have changed.


        I read To Kill A Mockingbird when I was in high school. She writes it as if it were a series of short stories, of life in a southern US town, during the Depression. Wasn’t I surprised when I read she had started it out that way, before it became the novel we know it as today.

        I must admit I found parts of it boring and slow-paced, as if the lazy humid days in the story, based in Alabama, were bleeding out onto the pages. I felt parts of it drew on and on, away from the story at its heart, the part I loved and which has stayed with me ever since.

        Lee’s main character, the narrator, the young girl Finch Scout is loveable and maddening and full of adventure and life. She ties the whole story together. I have come to love her so much by the end that I couldn’t help worrying about her and fearing for her safety, not only physically, but emotionally as a young and impressionable girl at such a turbulent time of injustice. It is clear by the end of the story that she has grown up and her character has been developed through all she has seen.

        The father and lawyer for the side of good, Atticus Finch, is quite possibly the best character in literature. He is a man and only human, but he is pretty close to perfect. He is calm and gentle. HE is a symbol for justice and decency. I learned a lot about humanity from him and from Lee’s story.

        His closing arguments during the trial of Tom Robinson, the black man wrongly accused of raping a white woman, touched me and shook me to my core. Fictional though it is, I compare it to real life speeches such as Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have A Dream speech for it’s power and impact.

        I feel unfit to make this sweeping judgement, but I must say that in my opinion, this is one of those rare occasions where the movie could top the book. It is a rare thing, but the movie takes all the best parts of the novel and pulls them together perfectly. The actors cast for the roles were magic. Gregory Peck is Atticus and always will be.

        I did not know that Nelle Harper Lee was good childhood friends with a young Truman Capote. It is clear they both influenced one another’s writing: supposedly he was the basis for the Finch’s neighbour boy Dill and it’s said that Capote writes from his relationship with Lee and uses her for a character for In Cold Blood.

        As I strive to become a writer, I love learning the most interesting things about the writers I look up to. Harper Lee always was and remains a reclusive person. She had something to say and she said it through To Kill A Mockingbird and then, other than a few essays and rumoured attempts at other novels, she basically never published anything again. Most writers, once they get a taste of life as an author, want to keep writing and putting out more and more books. Not her. I want to know how she could resist.

        She is now in an assisted living facility, after suffering a stroke; she is in a wheelchair and going deaf and blind. I hope, wherever she is, that she realizes the impact that story has had on the world. As far as books about race and prejudice go, hers is at the top of the list. It is the perfect snapshot of a moment in history, a moment in time.

        Hers is one of my all-time favourite book titles. As someone who loves to explore the symbolism writers layer throughout their stories, TKAM is filled with lots of it. The Boo Radleys’ of the world need to be recognized and valued. The sweetest most gentle souls in the world are constantly at risk of being walked all over. It seems Harper Lee had something to say, a message which she gave to us all and then was satisfied with that, glad to fade away into the background. She has made this most recent decision after hoping the pages and cover of a book never will.