Poetry, RIP, Shows and Events, This Day In Literature, TToT

TToT: From Longest Month To Shortest #AllOverNow #10Thankful

“January so far has been a month of cold gray days, with an occasional storm whirling across the harbor and filling Spook’s Lane with drifts. But last night we had a silver thaw and today the sun shone. My maple grove was a place of unimaginable splendors. Even the commonplaces had been made lovely. Every bit of wire fencing was a wonder of crystal lace.”

Letter from Anne to Gilbert ANNE OF WINDY POPLARS

Though I took a few weeks break, I am still full of gratitude and I am finishing off the month, looking ahead to February and beyond.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for the sound of Canada geese out my window.

I heard them out in the cold January sky, just as I heard sad news from the literary world, and something about it felt less coincidental and more like a sign of a poet leaving this world.

I am thankful for poetry like that of Mary Oliver and her love of nature and the natural world, which she showed through her poems.

I am thankful for orchestral musicians and their conductor who keep up and play the beautiful music of a Harry Potter soundtrack, as I watched the movie on the big screen with a bunch of other crazed HP fans.

I am thankful for snow that’s like cotton balls, like the kind that makes me feel its cold, but also like maybe I’m living inside of one of those snow globes.

I am thankful for the energy of a productive violin lesson where I know why it is I love the instrument so much.

I am thankful for a few minutes of time with my niece playing beside me, even while on the phone. She is the sweetest, coming and sitting beside me and cuddling, then hiding under the blanket.

I am thankful for our thing together where I sing the Elton John line: I’m still standing … and she then sings the next part, yeah yeah yeah.

As cute as it is that she now does high fives and fist bumps, that’s more of a silent action, whereas the singing is an audible one.

I am thankful for new Dido music:

I am thankful for classic love songs, duets, and for beautiful musical talent.

Lots of sadness in the music world, with love song guru James Ingram dying and I end off January with one more glimpse of the voice we lost, one year ago:

RIP to them both and to Mary Oliver too.

I am thankful for the end of January and February arriving, a short month (my birthday month) now beginning.

Well, if I am living inside of a snow globe, time to shake things up! Bye bye January and hello February to come.

The Garden In Winter

Frosty-white and cold it lies
Underneath the fretful skies;
Snowflakes flutter where the red
Banners of the poppies spread,
And the drifts are wide and deep
Where the lilies fell asleep.

But the sunsets o’er it throw
Flame-like splendor, lucent glow,
And the moonshine makes it gleam
Like a wonderland of dream,
And the sharp winds all the day
Pipe and whistle shrilly gay.

Safe beneath the snowdrifts lie
Rainbow buds of by-and-by;
In the long, sweet days of spring
Music of bluebells shall ring,
And its faintly golden cup
Many a primrose will hold up.

Though the winds are keen and chill
Roses’ hearts are beating still,
And the garden tranquilly
Dreams of happy hours to be­
In the summer days of blue
All its dreamings will come true.”

—L.M. Montgomery

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel, TravelWriting

Up There and Out There #JusJoJan

I wonder and I wander. I need something to ponder, while pain interferes, some nights, with sleep.

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I read a
magazine
that’s all about
curiosity
and named that too.

***

Curiosity Magazine’s readers are, well, curious. They’re curious about backgrounds, politics, ingredients, and people. They love stories. They ask questions.  They look for local insight. They try to gain perspective. They want to be immersed in a place. They don’t have to be well traveled, but they aim to travel well. At Curiosity Magazine, we want to fill the world with better travelers. Join us.

***

Though I love it, curiously, I don’t strictly call myself a travel writer because I write about plenty more than travel alone.

I am, overall, a
curious
person and travel and adventure are made up of just that at their heart.

It’s the people and the places. It’s the feelings and, sometimes, the fantastical. It’s the traditions and the tourism. It’s the history and the holiday. It’s the wilderness and the wildness. It’s the nature and the natural. It’s the sensations and the stories told by me and by mysteries left untold and still telling.

It makes me say “what?” and “why?” and “for how long?” as I stumble upon more of what’s out there.

It’s the map and the globe and the app and the questions and exclamations in my future. It leaves me thinking endlessly about taking that next step, like the road Tolkien spoke of that’s just outside your door, waiting out there to take life’s travelers away.

That’s why literature makes me think, makes me wonder, makes me meander.

That’s why psychology makes me ask about another’s passions and fascinations.

It’s all up there, in my head and out there, just out of reach and keeping me reaching, arms all outstretched wide.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, RIP, Shows and Events, The Blind Reviewer

Whistle A Tune As You March Toward Hell #FilmReview #JusJoJan

The documentary begins and ends with their voices, ghostly, from the past.

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All of them, their collective voice is a powerful
echo
of a war with no discernible point, but massive waste and loss of life. But still, they must not be forgotten.

I love Peter Jackson for his bringing to life of Middle-earth and now he shows us what fresh hell war was/is, and not the kind of war in fiction where men and elves and dwarves (with the help of a wizard) defeat the orcs in an epic battle. It’s reality at its worst.

From what I hear, the grainy old footage moves into vivid modern colour and then back into the old shots, but I see none of it.

I don’t see the ugly part of war, bodies blown apart and such, but I do hear the bursting of artillery in battle, the men crying out, shots and screams coming from all around me as the surround sound has me sitting on edge, forward and stiff in my seat.

Archival recordings from the 1960’s and 1970’s, of the First World War veterans, all the way back to actual British army camera shots and film that was taken, live on the western front. Lip readers were even brought in by Jackson to interpret what was being said in those shots. Actual interview voices speaking, with no narrator. I wasn’t sure what to expect, if I could get enough from the film, but these kinds of documentaries are usually accessible, for the most part.

From the boys they were, lying about their ages to sign up and on into their basic and specific training. To heading into misunderstood horrors of war. To the trench life to off duty time. To the lead-up toward the battle itself. Then to the aftermath and home once more, for the lucky ones.

It ends where it began, with the time passing habit of whistling and the innocent sound that portrays, the nonchalant spirit of such a tune.

It’s all ringing
echoes
of history in Jackson’s latest film, which played in theatres in Canada on January 21st, for only one day and two months after the anniversary of the armistice that finally ended World War I – They Shall Not Grow Old is a solemn phrase of fact for millions and a gripping title for Peter’s latest. Check it out when and where you can.

It’s not about why the war happened, but rather what it was like being there. And still, I left asking “why?” anyway.

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Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections

Measurements In Love and Mathematics, #JusJoJan

This sounds suspiciously like measurement. Translation, math I mean.

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I guess, in relationships, we’ve got to learn to give an
inch
or two. That’s what’s known as compromise, right?

Sometimes, I wonder if I am any good at relationships and love at all, that maybe I can admit when I am wrong, okay. Other times, if I am truly passionate about something, I can get rather heated in defence of my principles.

Maybe, it’s less about measurements of love and relationships and more that I don’t think I’ll ever be enough for someone. I think I’m better with human relationships than with mathematical measurements, but perhaps not so much.

Yeah, I’m incredibly cheery all this long January of the jot.

Thanks,
John Holton,
for the rather mathematical sounding word for the 17th of January.

The depression many feel during this long month, for me, will only be increased with the mathematical, but there’s always a jot to be found in there somewhere.

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Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Memoir Monday, RIP, TToT

TToT: Whether In Mirrors Or Lakes (Special Reflections Edition) #RIP #BeardGuy #JusJoJan #10Thankful

Another week has gone by. We’re back at another
Ten Things of Thankful
and,
like last week,
I’ve figured out how to link these two.

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I like me a good
reflection
blog post.

In doing that is how, where and why I discover my gratitude lists from within.

Thanks to this feature blogger,
for this word that’s fitting,
right along with a list of thankfuls.

I am thankful for
the reflections
of other creatives.

I am thankful for other bloggers. They offer endless reading and character in their owners. I can reflect back on all the bloggers I’ve gotten to know here, and even over on BlogSpot.

I am thankful for soda water. I have always loved water, back when I used to get a glass of the refreshing liquid, out of the jug in my oma’s fridge or from the tap, in the glass from my grandma that I now drink out of to remember her and the love of water we both shared. I like to drink less pop/soda and so bubbly water is refreshing and a nice compromise, no sugar.

I am thankful for violins in their beauty as my favourite instruments. I can reflect in how far I’ve come since I started to learn, from starting soon after turning thirty-two to soon turning thirty-five.

I am thankful for this blog, which will soon celebrate five years in existence here on WP.

I am thankful for WP. It is a platform I can at least minimally use, as a place to share my writing. I remember back ten years ago or so, when I tried to set up a blog here, but then I had different voice software and it was nearly impossible. Oh how far I’ve come, along with the technology I use every day.

I am thankful for the haircuts I get at my cousin’s salon, as I reflect back to the earliest days of me dying my hair, in my early twenties. She started out at someone else’s salon, and now she runs her own.

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Caption: me with my re-darkened hair for winter, in my new outfit.

I am thankful for gently used clothing. I can reflect on the person I used to be, afraid to wear anything secondhand, even though I’ve always loved and believed things used by others come with a story. I found a few things at the little shop she has, including a pair of boots to take when I travel in a few months, assuming #45 doesn’t hold his government hostage on an ongoing basis, making airports chaotic by the time I am scheduled to fly.

I am thankful for dinner with my father, lunch with a friend, and a spot on my municipal accessibility committee where I was well received my first time there.

I am thankful for the Christmas tree that is now a light tree, just outside my living room window. Thanks to my mom. Thanks, also, to my brother who is going to help me get a better deal on a plan for my phone.

These are simple yet powerful thankfuls, alongside all my reflecting.

I am thankful for this song. I used to love it, for a long time, without realizing who it was. Then I heard the news of the death of one of the members of the group. They had a memorial of music, in his memory, not far from me.

I can reflect on the year since Dolores of The Cranberries died suddenly and I understand that life is short.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bt-FHaFVH8

RIP Beard Guy.

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Blogging, Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, The Insightful Wanderer

The Beauty Is In The Process, #JusJoJan

I love the violin, love everything about it, including the instrument itself. It is curvy, smooth, and so dear to me now.

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As I returned from a break from my weekly lessons, this first full week of the new year, I reflected on all I’ve learned and how far I’ve come.

Still, I won’t ever entirely
master
the instrument I love so much, but that’s to be expected.

My bow stays straight now, which is an achievement. My teacher sees my progression of skill, even if I have trouble seeing the same.

I am fascinated by everything to do with this beautiful instrument. When I started, that’s all I knew. I knew I loved the sound and I had no idea, at that time, all that a violin is made up of. I got a rather pleasant sound out of it, even on my own, before the lessons first started. This leading me to believe it might not be as hard as I’d always heard.

Was it harder than learning the piano? Would it be more difficult to learn to play than the clarinet, which I played briefly, in high school?

I knew I loved it and wanted to learn to play, more than I’d ever wanted to learn to play guitar. You played it with a bow, but I’d never really seen one, let alone held one in my hand.

I was turning thirty-two, (it’ll be three years now) next month. I rented a violin for my birthday. I liked it so much, with no guarantee of how the practicing would go, where it might take me or not. Yet, after only a few months, when I went back to renew the rental, I walked out as owner instead.

I didn’t grow up loving classical music and still don’t love that style. I do have a lot more appreciation for it now though, whenever I listen to some. I do see, after knowing my own violin teacher for all this time, all that it takes (the commitment and the skill) to become a strong player. I mean strong, physically, which is something I couldn’t have known until I myself felt all the muscle groups it takes to play.

I want to set myself a 2019 resolution, if I can bring myself to use that word, for what I want from the violin this year.

I’ve have a lousy practice schedule. I don’t play for very many people. I don’t realize, well enough, how far I’ve actually come.

I do know, something inside me, it keeps me going with it, when setting it aside and just not picking it up often feels like the easier option. Of course, it would be easier, but why would I want to take the easy rout anyway?

I think often on what it takes, the mastering of something, anything but especially a tricky instrument such as the violin.

Some people would be super impatient by now, with the level of progress I’ve arrived at, but I choose to not look at my situation in quite that way.

We spend our lives, working to master one thing, before we think we can move right on to something else. I’d settle for having confidence to be able to play a violin part, a solo, on a song my brother wrote. That would be nice.

I’d like to master the craft of writing and the art of it too. Same goes for the instrument that I love. Fingers crossed, but I think I’ll ask other people to do that, as I need my fingers, uncrossed, to be able to play.

Next week’s practice theme: harmonics.

This has been day six of
Just Jot It January
and the word giver for today was
Sadje
to round out the first weekend of the month.

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History, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, RIP, Song Lyric Sunday, Spotlight Sunday

Boy, Oh Boy, #RIP #SongLyricSunday

December gloom.

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I haven’t been participating in
Song Lyric Sunday
for several weeks now, but December brings with it a whole lot of emotion: both joyousness and gloominess.

I’ve been thinking about those who were once boys, who eventually turned into men, and of whom we’ve lost in the month of December.

This song reminds me of family who were lost, seven years ago, as we approach the anniversary of his passing:

This is a month of joyousness at Christmas, but of sorrow in life lost to suicide too. The two contrasting emotions are stark when I experience them now, every year since.

***

If I die young
bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song
Uh oh uh oh

Lord make me a rainbow,
I’ll shine down on my mother
She’ll know I’m safe with you when She stands under my colours,
oh and Life ain’t always what you think it oughta be,
no Ain’t even grey, but she buries her baby
The sharp knife of a short life,
Well, I’ve had just enough time

If I die young
bury me in satin.
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song

The sharp knife of a short life,
Well I’ve had just enough time

And I’ll be wearing white
when I come into your kingdom
I’m as green as the ring on my little cold finger
I’ve never known the lovin’ of a man
But it sure felt nice when he was holding my hand
There’s a boy here in town says he’ll love me forever
Who would have thought forever could be severed by
The sharp knife of a short life,
Well I’ve had just enough time

So put on your best boys and I’ll wear my pearls
What I never did is done

A penny for my thoughts,
oh no I’ll sell them for a dollar
They’re worth so much more after I’m a goner
And maybe then you’ll hear the words I been singin’
Funny when you’re dead how people start listenin’

If I die young
bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song
Uh oh (uh oh)

The ballad of a dove Go with peace and love Gather up your tears, keep ’em in your pocket Save ’em for a time when your really gonna need ’em oh

The sharp knife of a short life,
Well I’ve had just enough time

So put on your best boys, and I’ll wear my pearls

Songwriters: Kimberly Perry
If I Die Young lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

***

Here we go again, I thought, as I was given the news and had to tell my loved ones the horrible details.

This wasn’t my family’s first time dealing with suicide of a loved one. Different side of the family, but same shock and grief.

As I recently listened to cassette tapes with my brother of our childhood, I listened to old Christmas parties and of all the kids playing, the boys playing rougher, as sometimes they are known to do. I never did hear him, as he was always a quiet boy, but I heard other cousins calling his name. Stevie, he was often called.

December is my month of pure happiness, as I remember the innocence I felt, as a young girl this time of year.

Now, that happiness is tinged with a gloominess that slices this month in half for me, as far as the festive mood I try to find.

John Lennon was also a boy once, in the biggest boy band of the day, in the 1960’s, and he is being mourned all over again, as every December rolls around.

This is my favourite John Lennon song to end this post:

A song of a sincere apology given after jealousy.

RIP John and Steven.

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