1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Feminism, Happy Hump Day, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Special Occasions

In The News and On My Mind: School’s Back In Session

“Watching the news in the evening is a bit like being on an emotional Tilt-aWhirl. “Isis now sets people on fire.” “Harper Lee has a new book out!” “Some oddballs are bringing measles back because they’re scared of autism, which is a bit like saying I’m worried about birthday candles, so let’s start a forest fire.” “It’s going to be gorgeous this weekend!” “Look, a politician being deliberately rude.” “And also, look at these adorable puppies!” My limbic system does not work that fast!”
–JEG

Labor Day was Monday and now it’s back to school. This week is, thought by many, to be the end of summer.

A lot of what’s been going on in the news, I’m not sure, should be talked about. I’m not sure those I am referring to deserve to be mentioned by name, so I am going to try my best not to.

Instead, because these stories are still on my mind and, many are extremely bothersome, I will focus on recognizing those who do deserve it, just to balance things out a little.

***

Not sure how I feel about the British monarchy, but I did watch

“The Queen”

in theatres, on its release, and again, on television the other night.

It’s sixty years of Queen Elizabeth and Britain is celebrating her this week.

At the moment, those making the news with names I hesitate to mention include: a “comedian” who believes fat shaming is acceptable, another “comedian” who has gone on the record and defended rape, and the continuation of the circus around next year’s US elections.

There is a difference between honesty and bullying behaviour. It’s a fine line and I don’t know where that line is. We’re much too serious these days, we must learn to laugh at ourselves, but that can hurt when you constantly feel as if you are the one being laughed at and the universe always seems to be making jokes at your expense.

I don’t know what right anyone has to say any woman is “unrapeable”. I’m sick and tired of men like this, making stupid statements like that, falling back on the “innocent until proven guilty” line. I also don’t care how important of a TV sitcom doctor/father icon anyone was for the African American community during the eighties.

As for all talk of building a wall and kicking people out, splitting families up, this is likely a non issue anyway, but, I must admit, I do look forward to Colbert’s Trump jokes over the coming months.

Then there’s the judge who is becoming some kind of right fighter for the cause of religion and biblical belief. She has the right not to do anything she doesn’t feel sits well with her and her God of course, but she does not have the right to go against the newly set law of United States, as it has been set. The world is becoming a more accepting place, overall, and those who wish to fight this will get left in the dust of the past. Why do we seem so keen to stop progress and challenge love? It’s fear. We can’t let fear rule over common sense.

There’s been more news, stories every day, about the flooding of mostly Syrian refugees, into neighbouring, European countries. Boat. Train. On Foot. They keep on coming.

Images are powerful. I heard something about the image of a dead child on a beach. I can’t see it, but the visual in my head is still heartbreaking.

Germany is being praised for its acceptance of these people, so desperately in need and so is Iceland.

What about Canada? Would we here step up as well? What if I had to flee my home? Wouldn’t I want a safe place to open their arms wide for me and my family?

The decline of the once so self righteous Ashley Madison cheating website continues and I was, admittedly, happy about it from the start.

Then, last week, a literary website that featured a short essay of mine back at Christmas ran into some issues. There was a hack or a virus and the person running the site wasn’t sure everything would survive.

How Cranky is Our Little Editor? – Brevity Magazine: Precise Literary Nonfiction

I have included a link, in a past blog post of my own, to my essay on that site. I was worried that would be lost forever, as sometimes backlinks fail. This has happened with things I’ve written, guest posts I’ve done previously.

Surely, my glee at the misfortune Ashley Madison’s been having wasn’t resulting in karma being directed right back at me, was it?

🙂

I offered up that possibility, on Brevity’s Facebook page, that it may have all been down to it being my fault, and thus issuing my sincere apologies to them, assuming this might be the case.

All the names of those caught using the cheating website have slowly been released. This included a member of America’s most notorious TLC family of religion, and multiple children, so recently known to have been outed for sexually abusing his sisters over the years. Not to mention, the head of the cheating website himself.

He swore, although he ran it, he never used it personally. Yeah right!

One of my favourite late night television segments joked about the hack:

Jimmy’s Thank You Notes – Ashley Madison

Although the fate of Ashley Madison may be in question, Jimmy is right. Like a phoenix that rises from the ashes, it could always become OKStupid! This is because I believe people would continue to share their private details and take foolish risks and engage in secret keeping against those they claim to love.

Again, I hate to pick on them and specifically the guy who ran it. Anyone who can convince so many men and women to hand over their most precious personal information (names, addresses, credit card info, fantasies) may think he’s clever, but may not be making the wisest of choices, even for himself.

As the new school year begins, there is more of an uproar on the newly revised sex education curriculum in the schools here, last updated back in 98 and as school has begun, certain parents are keeping their children out of the classroom.

I don’t know what these parents are imagining. It’s as if they are picturing daily sex ed classes, all day every day, all year, from September until June, with a continuous bombardment of sexually descriptive indoctrination, but, from what I heard, the sex ed program is only days long and isn’t even scheduled to begin until the spring. So, these children aren’t missing anything, right now, other than the usual: math, science, and language arts. The only damage being done is that the children are pulled out of regular classes, with their peers and friends, into a make-shift class, organized by the fearful parents themselves.

I like how Canada and the US seem to be so afraid of the proper education, our priorities so horribly messed up on so many things, but something as important as sexual health and physical safety are left up to the internet and tales told out on the playground. Maybe we should have Last Week Tonight’s John Oliver explain the whole thing to us all:

This week, not only has school resumed, but the late night TV wars are beginning.

I like Stephen Colbert and I have been looking forward to his taking over of David Letterman’s spot.

I watched the premier and it didn’t feel all that different. Speaking of the cheating website’s troubles:

“With this show, I begin to search for the real Stephen Colbert. I just hope I don’t find him on Ashley Madison.”

Sure, he is now no longer playing a role, but just being himself. I just couldn’t tell. The tone in his voice and his style of speaking were very nearly what they were on The Colbert Report. I am glad because that’s what I like about him, all political affiliations aside.

I’ve always loved Conan and Fallon is always entertaining. I rarely have stayed up until midnight to watch, often preferring to check specific clips out on Facebook and YouTube after-the-fact:

Letters From Kids – Suggestions For Jimmy

A lot of these shows have been bringing the children into their skits lately. The other Jimmy has been asking kids a lot of interesting questions in his segments. It’s always a slam dunk with the audience.

***

I just saw a goofily-captioned picture of a puppy right next to a photo-story about the awful things we did in Hiroshima 70 years ago. How can we be the same species who loves cute puppies and came up with such a terrible idea as an atomic bomb? This being human is a strange thing.

Indeed, JEG, indeed it is. Let the stories about cute puppies and children always be there to balance out the horrible headlines about injustice and hatred.

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Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Special Occasions, This Day In Literature, TToT

TToT: Once in a Wild Blue Moon

“We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”
–J.K. Rowling

July has come and gone. I’m going to miss it, I will admit.

This week, if there can be a slight theme to my TToT, it would definitely be the innocence and imagination of children.

Plus, multiple birthday announcements to mention.

It’s been a week of cheesecake, mustard, and friendship. I am thankful for all these, but I’m not including them in my official list because I can only handle so many thankfuls.

🙂

Happy Cheesecake/Friendship/Mustard Day to all of you, before I forget to wish it.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For time spent with my brother.

He shared a song with me which he and a group of other Music Industry Arts students had to perform for the class.

He did one of the synthe parts, a girl in the group sang the words, and he wrote a part for the end of a cover they did called Kids by MGMT.

Funnily, I had that exact song in my head. You know what it’s like to have a particular song stuck in your head, so much so to where you can’t help singing/humming it to yourself, over and over again?

Well, that is the exact one he and his classmates chose. They were going to choose Taylor Swift’s Blank Space, but another group chose that one first. I like both.

For the songs he shows me, for his pancakes with Ketchup, and for his support and the fun we have, so much so that time seems to fly by.

For guest posts and the ability to write them for other blogs, as well as having them on mine from time to time.

It’s a great way to get my writing out there. I had two out this week.

Well, one,

Monday Inspirations: Color, Light, and Magic – guest post by Kerry Kijewski,

but the other was technically posted a few weeks ago.

Original Bunker Punks: Triskaidekaphobia,

which I did not realize had been posted right after I’d been contacted, a few weeks ago now.

Thanks, again, to both these blogs for the chance to showcase my writing to your audiences.

For another book released, discovered years after the fact.

Dr Seuss’s “What Pet Should I Get?” came out this week.

This children’s author had such a rich vocabulary and rhyming ability. It was magic how he could string words together, in a way that would totally captivate a child into wanting to learn to read.

If it’s a good book, anyone will read it. I’m totally unashamed about still reading things I loved in my childhood.”
–J.K. Rowling

For the ability to read myself.

I know literacy is a big problem in the world today, in many places, and I am thankful I have the ability. I don’t know where I would be without words and books.

For ice cream, but not just any old ice cream. I am thankful for soft ice cream. It is so much better and there is this little place (Bartley’s Dairy Bar) in my town. It makes the best, smoothest, creamiest soft ice cream around. I got their Salted Caramel Sundae.

MMMMM.

Bartley’s Dairy Bar – Facebook

For the birth of my greatest literary influence: J.K. Rowling.

Rowling once said about juggling writing and her family:

My youngest child asked me the other day, “Mummy, if you had to choose between us and writing, what would you choose?”

And I said, “well I would choose you but I would be very, very grumpy.”

Get to Know J.K. Rowling with 50 Quotes

It’s the big 50 for Rowling and she has achieved something, in those 50 years, that most of us will only ever dream of.

For the birth also of her greatest literary hero, the one that gave me back an imagination that I hadn’t even realized I missed so much:

Happy 35th birthday, Harry Potter!

For the blue moon the other night. I love everything about the moon. It’s so magical and wonderful, so remote and mysterious. It inspires me to want to write and to write well.

Okay, so I have no stunning photos of what it looked like in the sky. Truthfully, I’m glad it isn’t actually blue because I wouldn’t be able to see that if it were anyway. (Feel free to describe how it looked to you, if you saw it this time. I love to hear about it and to imagine it.)

I am thankful for the fact that I can see the moon at all. There are those who are blind, more so than me, who have never seen the moon.

When it’s full it does help me see it better, when I am able to locate it. Often it appears as a street light to my very limited sight. that’s why living in town can make it hard to spot.

I used to recognize it, as we were driving, as the one light that did not move as we drove.

🙂

I have never seen the stars and that sometimes makes me sad, but you can’t have everything. That is why I thought it was interesting when a friend posted this on Facebook:

How can blind people “watch” fireworks?

I can still see fireworks somewhat, can still see the moon’s brightness, and so that’s clearly something to be grateful and thankful for and to never take for granted.

For this past year with my little Lu.

I sometimes regret the sort of snap decision I made to get him that day, with the trouble he sometimes likes to cause me, but Im glad I now have him. I love my not so little anymore kitten.

At what age does he become not a kitten but a cat anyway?

I named him Lumos, a term from the Harry Potter universe, and speaking of…

http://www.wearelumos.org/

Lumos is the spell to ignite the tip of a magic wand with light. Lumos brought light into my life when it felt at its darkest and he still is.

For these last two years.

It has been exactly two years since my family were given the gift of our little superhero/Bubble Guppy, depending on the day or time.

I am thankful that I have my nephew in my life. He is smart beyond words and growing smarter by the day. His enthusiasm is infectious. I can’t help feeling it whenever I am around him.

His big sister is the greatest ally, as siblings should be, and his parents are going to continue to nurture his spirit and his sweetness.

Happy Birthday Buddy!

Okay, so I believe that was a little more than Ten Things of Thankful, but so what if it was? I felt like being loose with the number this week.

🙂

Note: the following song is the original version of the one my brother and his group covered in class.

MGMT – Kids

“Those who write for children, or at least those who write best for children, are not childlike or immature, but they do remember with sometimes painful intensity both what it was to be small and confused and how wonderful was that fierce joy in in the moment that can become so elusive in later life.”
–J.K. Rowling

Whether it’s a musical group, books written for, or the kids themselves, I am grateful and thankful for all things “kids” in my life.

July was a great month, full of the unexpected and memories made and August is Nephew Birthday Month in my family. That makes this coming month one of the best there ever was.

The kids in my life are what make life so sweet. Well, them and soft ice cream of course.

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Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Spotlight Sunday, Writing

Spotlight Sunday: Single Strides

Welcome to February: first day of a new month, shortest of them all, and just days away from celebrating one year of having this amazing platform for expression and sharing that I’ve discovered.

More on that to come.

Before that, today I am pleased to highlight my first Spotlight of February: Sonya Matejko, more commonly/well-known as:

Single Strides.

Below I question her on all the wisdom I have found at her blog, on writing, and more importantly on life.

There is a second part, a set of travel questions I hope to post on my travel website very soon.

But now I am thrilled to bits that she has agreed to speak to me here. So here she is.

***

She says, first and foremost on her blog, that Single Strides is:

“A blog about falling in love, falling apart, and traveling the world in between.”

This, I read on discovering her, and I was totally hooked. These are the things I write and think about every day.

In this first of her blog posts I wanted to highlight amongst my questions, she speaks on how to deal with the “what if’s and the what not’s”.

You Are So Much More Than Your Mistakes

She says:

“If you were to look up and see the sun you’d realize there are things bigger than your past mistakes.”

Some excellent perspective she offers here.

K: Explain, what is your website all about, what does the name mean to you, and how did you come up with it? What made you start it when you did?

S: Single Strides is a blog about falling in love, falling apart, and traveling the world in between. I started it, truthfully, after a breakup.  Now it survives as a place to share my journey of falling back in love with life and the world around me. Because sometimes, in order for someone to be a muse… they have to be the heartbreak too. 

“There are far too many expectations – don’t meet them. There are far too many rules – go break them. There are far too many risks – take them all.”

6 Things Every 20 Something Should Be Grateful For

The second of her posts I’ve chosen to highlight is one for all the twenty something’s. It is a very popular blog niche out there, as it is a decade for learning and growing in this generation’s youth. I especially loved points 5 and 6 for her unique perspective on the morning commute and on the promise of a new day, every day.

K: Have you always loved writing and why? 

S: Yes. Ever since I can remember I was a writer. Even in Kindergarten we were to all publish a book, and mine made it to the city’s newspaper. From there my love for writing only grew. It’s an escape to a different world. As a writer, you live in your imagination and it brings a different kind of light into your life. And now, I’d have to say my biggest joy from writing comes from messages from people who have been positively effected by my writing. It’s an indescribable blessing to inspire.

“She dreams of better days and of feats achieved. Her imagination runs as wild as the breeze and it joins with the rain while it floods the fields – only so life could grow. She dreams of a bloom but fear is keeping her from planting the seed. So she lives in her past and smiles out of practice. She’s happy with the present as slowly as she lets it come. but she’s stuck on the memories that no longer ring true. And the people that are gone but she still clings to.”

This third of her posts I’ve selected is my favourite, for sure. I had trouble picking just one quote from this one. Do yourself a favour and check out what she had to say. She so perfectly describes the state of me at many times in my life. It’s kind of scary actually, as if she has seen into my mind.

🙂

Sitting With The PAst

She has inspired me with all she says here about how to live with and accept the past, while learning to let go and move forward.

K: Where and how have you learned the most about how to become a writer or how to improve and grow as a writer? 

S: Honestly, I still work on it every day. My grammar is still not where it needs to be, and I could definitely increase my vocabulary. Yet I do think my most valuable lessons on writing have all come from the simple mantra of “write what you know.”

“To my ex thank you for breaking my heart. If it weren’t for the heartbreak, this blog would never exist. This is the home of all the emotions that you spilled out of me that had nowhere to go.”

Thank You For 2014

In this post she thanks people, from her friends and family to her readers and to the one who broke her heart. This is giving credit where credit is due because love, even when it ends, shapes us and it brought her to the point where she had to write this blog. Very glad of that.

K: What do you believe writing can bring to our world or achieve for a better world. if anything? What, for you, is the connection between love and writing? 

S: Writing can change you once you’ve read it – even if for a moment. There have been countless books that have inspired me to live my life a different way. Countless articles that can given me the courage to act, the will to laugh, and the hope that things will get better. Writing has an intense power to sway your heart and your mind. Us writers need to keep sharing our words not for the sake of sharing, but to change just one life.

“Single strides will get me there. They may not always be straight, they may sometimes be clumsy, but they will always be moving forward. So how many decisions did it take me to get to where I am now? I could ask the tide, or I could just let it cool my feet ant just be happy I am simply alive to feel it.”

Ramblings and Reflections

This has been her path and I can’t wait to continue to follow her through her posts.

K: What are your future hopes, plans, and dreams for your writing and for Single Strides? 

S: I really would love to grow my brand. I’d love for people to really resonate with it and look forward to upcoming articles. I’d eventually like to have a big enough fan base to begin (or edit) my novel. My end goal has always been to publish a book, and not just to get on the B&N shelves… but to be the book people tell their friends “you absolutely have to read this.”

“Because you’ll never get to where you’re meant to go by standing still.”

Six Months of Single Strides

And here’s to many many more.

***

I want to thank Sonya for agreeing to answer these questions I had for her and for being her true, authentic self. She, in her early twenties, has discovered things I am just now learning as I enter my thirties. She does it all, by sharing her journey with heartbreak (which is what I first majorly related to in her writing) and by being independent and strong in every single stride forward she is taking in her life.

Sonya has been published in such publications as:

Elite Daily,

and

Thought Catalog

And has written guest posts for:

The Fickle Heartbeat

As Told Over Brunch

and

Young and Twenty

Also, you can keep up with her on the following social media outlets:

Twitter

and on

Facebook

Sonya is making single stride after single stride and little does she know it, but she has helped me work through hard times and difficult transitions. Her story, my own, and many others is:

“PROOF HOPELESS ROMANTICS AREN’T SO HOPELESS AFTER ALL”

10 Reasons Why Hopeless Romantics Aren’t Hopeless After All

Good to know.

🙂

Thank you, Sonya, for all this and much more.>

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