1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Special Occasions, TravelWriting, TToT

TToT: Holy Humour, Creativity, and Family Guy Batman! – Cross Fading, #10Thankful #Panorama

Walking this morning through the old cemetery in Montreal, where the sun shone down, and flowers grew, and insects busied themselves about the grass and shrubbery, the gravestones stood collected and collectively silent. I observed the names carved thereupon, of generations come and gone, resting beside each other now. And I took note. All those names fading on the stones. Names from all number of nations. Names, all shuffled together on the hillside and beneath the trees. Scottish next to Italian, English and Irish next to French and Spanish, Greek side by side with Polish and German. Names of immigrants, each and every one, come here from the European continent to make and live out their short lives. Names all silent now, long gone, indifferent, forevermore in company, lying in the same ground.

Alexi Murdoch on Instagram

What is an electric blue cloud? What is red? What does an orange sky represent?

Orange Sky – Alexi Murdoch

What a crazy world we live in. I usually write about that in a segment I like to call, “In The News and On My Mind.” However, I just can’t today. I know very little about all the bigger than big factors playing all parts concerned.

What’s happening, when British MP Jo Cox is murdered last week? Venezuela is apparently in crisis. And Brexit is all over the news?

Is it really every man/country for itself now? Do we help each other out, or do we tear each other down, only look out for our own best interest? How can the world survive if we all think like that?

On the other hand, as the US has told itself many times, especially in the last fifteen or so years, one country can’t fix/rescue/control all other countries.

I just don’t know. Canada, where I live, honestly feels more and more like an island in a drowning world. We may be one of the more peaceful, quiet players, but that can’t possibly last forever either.

Canada Day is coming up next week. Perhaps I can figure more out about it all by then, to write more of my thoughts on it, but for now, here is my list of thankfuls.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For the chance to shout, through my words, to the world about the kind of man my own father is, on Father’s Day and every day.

Her Dad Gave Her New Life and Rebirth-Where’s the Father’s Day Card for That? – Good Man Project

Clever title, right?

😉

For my sister and mother and their help.

Update on my email and technology issues is that my sister and mother helped me delete many thousands of emails. I am an email hoarder. I appreciate their patience.

For fresh strawberries/a strawberry moon on the first day of summer.

I am obsessed with moons of all sorts, be they blue or red or super.

Summer solstice and it made me think of the story I wrote about strawberry moons, a few years back. May share that in spoken word format on the new podcast.

For the discovery of electric blue clouds, which I used as an image for my #1000Speak theme for June.

Electric Blue Planet – 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion

For the chance to be a part of an important Kickstarter campaign, on a literary travel magazine start-up that is going to bring attention to all the perspectives of travel writing which exist and, up till now, may not have been heard.

If you love to read about travel, exploration, adventure, and place, check out the amazing work they are doing.

Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel – Kickstarter Campaign

They are working to raise a certain amount, before launching their first issue this coming September. They have a goal they hope to meet, so they can pay their writers and contributors a little something, which many places don’t do.

The debate over paying writers is ongoing and I know, like world issues, is two-sided. I just like what Panorama is trying to do.

Maybe journals like it can help stem further divisiveness between cultures, countries, human beings, in the wake of all that’s happened and is happening. Can’t hurt to try anyway. Could end up making all the difference in the world.

That Brian and I finally got our first podcast episode recorded.

Phew!

More work than I ever imagined it would be. Lovely feeling of accomplishment when we did finish though.

In the process, he taught me about “cross fades” and so much more.

It’s not only the recording, but it’s the editing too. We hope to make it sound somewhat professional, while holding onto our authentic style. Entertaining and educational at the same time.

We will be releasing it this coming week.

It’s like jumping off a cliff, metaphorically of course, but exhilarating.

For the challenge of writing new lyrics to a song my brother first wrote several years ago and of which has quickly grown very important to me.

This song is not your typical radio hit. It’s made up of several parts which are almost like their own little, individual songs, inside one longer musical framework. It’s a musical/lyrical journey.

🙂

The theme is getting lost for a decade of your life. What does that feel like? Well, I equate it with getting swept up and sent adrift on an ocean of endless uncertainty.

We just had to work to make my lyrics fit the parts of the song. It needed a melody and further arrangement. It had to be structured. I hope it comes together, just like “Don’t Look Back” came together in the end.

For the gift of colours in my life, even for a little while.

What Is Red?

Red is my favourite colour, but how to describe why and what it is to someone who has never seen it? Hmmm.

😦

My brother asked me, during the podcast, and I thought and thought and thought.

I am grateful that I ever saw orange, blue, red. I lose sight of that sometimes, as I’ve now lost colours from my life, but my brother reminds me to be grateful again.

Oh, and thanks going out to Kristi from

Finding Ninee

for having me along as a guest co-host again.

For hot June days. Hot but not humid.

Big contrast from the weather we had at the beginning of the week to the end of it.

Sure, getting into a car after being in somewhere was like entering a sauna, which I am not fond of, but at least it was a dry heat, not a humid, sticky heat.

For the chance to see Finding Dory in a comfortable chair at the movies (which is a bit of an oxymoron) and for getting to see it with family.

It’s a film about the ocean, which I love. It was my first movie theatre experience with my three-year-old nephew. It was comfortable seats and popcorn and other snacks for breakfast, as it was a children’s morning movie showing.

I also must praise the theatre, not just for their foot rests and lounge recliners, but for their excellent audio description services. I’ve had lots of problems other places, for other movies, but this time it all went smoothly.

Finding Dory was moving for me, in a few places, and I am writing a piece on why that was. Not sure where to try submitting it, but I think it’s worth highlighting.

So, I made something this week. I took a chance and went for it. The world had its moments of turmoil, but I choose to remain cautiously optimistic, for now at least.

Mercury Falling – Sting

I explain to my almost totally blind younger brother about colour and he shows me all the music I didn’t know I’d been missing.

I like the tone of “Mercury Falling” and I like the imagery of it, as sometimes it’s not so easy to feel our world is headed in the right direction, but even winter and lower temperatures aren’t all bad.

“I was free with every road as my home. No limitations and no commitments. But then summer passed and winter came and I fell short for safety. I fell for its spell, slowly humming me to sleep, because I was tired and small, too weak to take or handle those opinions and views, attacking me from every angle. Against my art, against my self, against my very way of living. I collected my thoughts, my few possessions and built isolated walls around my values and character. I protected my own definition of beauty and success like a treasure at the bottom of the sea, for no one saw what I saw, or felt the same as I did, and so I wanted to keep to myself.

― Charlotte Eriksson, Another Vagabond Lost To Love: Berlin Stories on Leaving & Arriving

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TToT: At the Heart of the Star, Not the Shape of It – Ten Years and Ten Things

“Oscar Wilde said that if you know what you want to be, then you inevitably become it – that is your punishment, but if you never know, then you can be anything. There is a truth to that. We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing – an actor, a writer – I am a person who does things – I write, I act – and I never know what I am going to do next. I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun.”
–Stephen Fry

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

I think Mr. Fry and Mr. Wilde to be two incredibly wise men.

A Rainbow over Titanic Belfast.

I’ve decided to stick, somewhat, with the theme of storms and rainbows that I’ve been going with for most of the month thus far. Since we’re nearly finished with the month of August, I can start fresh next week, but I’ve added a little something more, to make this final week of summer, for the most part, its own.

10 Years Later

I have been thinking about the last ten years since Hurricane Katrina happened. My life wasn’t directly affected by that storm. I remember watching it on television, all the horrible news reports that were coming out of New Orleans, and wondering what my grandmother might have thought of it, as she had just died a few weeks earlier.

Now, I come across so many things, in the course of my week, that I want to share because they make me happy or because I just think they are note worthy.

The TToT has become a place where I can make note, as I don’t know if all the technology and extra information since my grandmother’s death and Katrina, if it’s all that good or not, but I like to share it anyway.

Ten Things of Thankful:

For the first so-called autumn evening of the season.

I know it’s not officially fall yet, but this week I felt the air coming in through m open window, and it smelled like fall.

When I say that people flip out. Yeah, I know the sooner fall comes and summer ends, the closer we are to cold and snow of winter (I know), but maybe I want fall to start now, even just a little bit, and maybe it can be an extra long one, so as to not bring on winter for months and months.

But I’ve already come across things like this, a sure sign that people are starting to think pumpkins and changing leaves:

Ontario Pumpkin Patches, Corn Mazes, Hayrides, and More, Find Halloween and Fall Fun in Ontario! – Pumpkinpatchesandmore.org

and

Haunted Mansion Drops in Price But Still No Takers

For my brother arriving back in Ontario, safe and sound, after one hell of a summer road trip through Canada’s Maritime provinces.

Although we were communicating, every few days while he was gone, it was nice to receive the full rundown, both over the phone and in person.

For see shells, red rocks, and other seaside treasures.

For my brother’s effort in finding me something Anne of Green Gables related from his time on Prince Edward Island: postcards, a fridge magnet, and even a little straw hat. He says he considered, for a moment, getting me the full sized version that I could wear, but on further consideration, went with the miniature one instead.

🙂

Good idea.

For lunch out with family, even a three-year-old nephew who thinks he should stand up on the bench seat, but we block him in. He just wants to be closer to our heights at the table, and that is equal to him standing when we’re sitting. I can’t say I blame him for that.

For the perfect combination of Irish culture and Italian food.

The name Muldoon’s Pizza speaks for itself, but our waitress had a rather thick Italian accent.

For another guest posting spot:

#BeReal – KERRY KIJEWSKI

Thanks, Hasty, for the chance for being real, as this is on the list of things that scare me, thus means it’s completely worth doing.

For my returning brother’s highly appreciated assistance with technology matters this week.

He helped me figure out that I could fix one more thing, made wrong by the computer issues I dealt with back in the spring, by downloading software from the Internet.

When It Rains It Pours

I can, once more, use my scanning device, known as an EyePal, to start work on the final few high school courses I need to complete my high school diploma.

Close But No Cigar

Of course, now I have no more excuses. The only person standing in my way is me. This is something I have battled with for years, since I was unwell and unable to graduate, and I have been left feeling unaccomplished, ashamed, and embarrassed for years since that time.

I have made some progress and am half way to my goal. I have completed two out of the final four credits necessary, over these last few years, and that means I am all the more close to being finished.

This scares me because I then have to decide on what my next move should be. As long as I have something standing in my way, be that technology problems or lack of the education necessary, I don’t have to make the really tough and frightening decisions about my future.

No more excuses means facing my fears, head on!

For the chance I’ve had, of late, to get to know an old friend, a friendship that has become new again.

I attended a farewell party, a drop-in brunch as it was called, and got to wish her well as she and her husband start fresh in California.

For more opportunities to face my fears and work on my issues with crowds and unfamiliar situations.

I attended this goodbye party, with a friend, and we both faced our nervousness at these things. OFten, much of what we are afraid will happen doesn’t end up happening, and the worst turns out to be all in your mind. We wanted to wish someone well and, by going together, we had the support we needed.

Then, my friend and I were at our local county fair and we very nearly had a reunion with an old friend of ours.

She was actually a best friend. At one time, it was the three of us, inseparable. We have grown apart from this old friend and I had it on pretty good authority we may run into her, as the county fair is a common place to find her and her family every summer.

We ran into her sister and her father, but just missed her by a narrow margin. I can’t decide if this was for the best or not, unavoidable or something else altogether. Missed opportunities are disappointing, because you never know if they were meant to be, but I guess not this time.

Things have to come together, at just the precise moment in time:

You’ve Never Seen Clouds Like This Before

I don’t like to turn down things. In fact, I’m making a huge effort, in my life, to not turn down chances and opportunities when they present themselves. It’s a work-in-progress, but I am determined not to let my shyness and awkwardness win out.

The Milky Way Over Yellowstone is Impossibly Beautiful

So whether it’s the destruction of a storm (past or present) with the anniversary of Katrina or this week’s Hurricane Erica. Or maybe it’s another terrible story of a shooting of two news persons. I see no reason to shy away from living life and paying attention to the beauty of the world, all of which makes for a much brighter existence.. That’s why I write down what I’m thankful for every week.

I listened to two interesting things this week. One was a conversation between writer’s Chimamanda Adichie and Zadie Smith and the other was an interview with poet Mary Oliver.

Between the Lines: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie with Zadie Smith

I could listen to conversations such as these, all day long. They teach me about writing, about feminism from strong females, and about facing my fears.

In other words:

Never Surrender – Cory Hart

So whether it’s the beautifully explored character development in and of a novel or the splendid simplicity of nature in poetry – I liked the idea of examining a star, or anything for that matter, not only by the shape or form it comes in, but by what’s at its heart. You never know what you’ll find in both.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

–Mary Oliver

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