Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Special Occasions, TravelWriting, TToT

TToT: Vermilion Hearts and Lucky Clovers – May Day! May Day! #10Thankful

I learned a new word this week. Want to know what it was?

OPSIMATH

Are you one? Am I?

Is she one?

Immediately, upon seeing the letters “math” made me think it had something to do with mathematics. I had already discounted myself.

As it turns out, the word actually has nothing whatsoever to do with my favourite numerical subject.

Read on…

Opsimath, noun: One who learns late in life.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For the chance to learn a new word every once and a while.

In this particular instance, thank you goes to Stephen Fry for the latest.

And to one of his literary heros: Oscar Wilde of course.

That is where I learned the word “Vermilion”, which I originally thought meant something having to do with vermin, but glad it actually means a shade of my favourite colour: red.

For “April Showers” which round out the month, giving way to the promise of “May Flowers”.

I was told of a new one, a wild flower called a “May Apple” and I love the name.

I’d include a photo, if this dying old laptop would allow it.

For the perfect weather.

At this time of year, I can step out my door and the air carries the scent and the freshness of multiple seasons.

I can be out without shoes on and not freeze, but yet the breeze still hasn’t become humid with summer. There’s still the faintest glimpse of crisper fall memory, winter frostiness.

All seasons combine into one perfect feeling on the air.

That I met the “Ten Things” group, almost exactly one year ago.

For a retelling or a continuation of one of the most beloved stories by one of them.

ALMIRA STORY

I’m really loving this one.

For the opportunity to be a member of a special group.

They are a gathering of talented writers and I am lucky to count myself as one of them.

In this place there are fascinating literary travel writing discussions.

Interesting topics come up and I’m getting the chance to learn so much from so many varied perspectives.

That the celebration of a very special one-year-old’s birthday was enjoyed this week.

I was the lucky one to get to be there for the first several months of her life.

I was sorry to have to miss the chance to actually celebrate with her and her mother. I spoke to my friend, who now lives on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a rough time, lately, partly because I miss them both so much, but I am grateful for everything that precious little girl has brought into the lives of all who love her.

For my first “Wilde”, as this week I read my first Oscar Wilde novel.

The man sure could weave an odd tale. I would say that “The Picture of Dorian Gray” was not at all what I was expecting when I started it, but I’m glad I read it.

That April is over.

The month had its good points, but it wasn’t an easy month overall.

This is a hard time of year for me, for several reasons, and there’s really no guarantee May and beyond will turn out any easier, but I have a lot to look ahead to.

That although this laptop has pretty much had it, as I discovered officially earlier in the week, that at least, while I figure out my next move, I have more time for violin practice and reading all those books (Wilde and otherwise) that I put off for my writing and blogging.

🙂

All about those silver linings, am I right?

Which rounds out my thankfuls this week.

None of these guys could be called “opsimath”.

“The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.”

–Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake, Spotlight Sunday

Music Makes Me Happy, #1000Speak #InternationalDayOfHappiness

“Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.”
–Oscar Wilde

“Aw, Dobby’s sad,” my three-year-old nephew says about my dog, sounding sad too.

I am constantly in awe at how very small children sense sadness in other people and in animals. They sense it, feel it, and acknowledge it, hoping the big people in their immediate vicinity will recognize it and make it all better, like their parents do for them.

Sadness is the opposite of happiness?

I guess, but there are many shades of both.

On this,

International Day of Happiness,

I wonder if I am happy, if the world is all that happy either.

Standard of living, poverty, oppression all play a role, but I believe there are those who have very little (in material possessions) yet are happier than some who have more.

Scars – Emmanuel Jal Feat. Nelly Furtado

Of course material possessions don’t automatically guarantee happiness. This got me thinking on what does make people happy, all across the world, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s one universal thing, other than love I’d think, and that one thing is: music.

This week I did what I never thought I could. I wrote lyrics for a song. I know my singing talents are few at best, but I know I can write, can convey a feeling through words.

Soon after I’d written and worked with my musician brother to set them to the song he’d written, he and a singer recorded it. I’ve heard a rough draft and, after the shock I felt at hearing my words laid out through song, I felt pride and happiness.

Music comes in so many forms and it evokes so many, varied, unique yet universally applicable feelings and emotions. It connects us all around the world. It brings people together. How can any of that not produce happiness?

So, as I’d seen recently on Facebook that people were listing the albums that most affected them, I thought I’d try it. Maybe someone will discover some new music that makes them happy or will be recalled to a time, of happiness, or something else, but at least we’re feeling something. I believe that is important to realizing we’re all human, fallible, deserving of love.

(These are all listed, not in the order of their original release, but in the order of which I feel happiest upon hearing them.)

🙂

First, Jann Arden even has an entire album she’s dedicated to the feeling of the day, as the album is called “Happy”, but here are ten other albums that don’t need to say it, although sometimes they do, to make me happy.

***

No Need To Argue – The Cranberries

“Unhappiness where’s when I was young, and we didn’t give a damn

‘cause we were raised, to see life as fun and take it if we can.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Need_to_Argue

I discovered this Irish group at a time when I was very confused and scared. This album in particular brought me peace from the storm that was raging in my world. Peace was much needed. Listening to this one, still to this day, makes me happy.

Heart of Stone – Cher

“Memories haunt you, feelings you won’t forget
Learn to live a lesson in love, walk away without regret.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heart_of_Stone_(Cher_album)

Nostalgia is not a big enough word for what I feel about this Cher album. I listen and I am immediately brought back to a simpler time, to happy childhood days.

Vespertine – Bjork

“I have a recurrent dream
Every time I lose my voice
I swallow little glowing lights
My mother and son baked for me”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vespertine

This album is a favourite of my youth. The lyrics are wonderfully weird and I feel wistful wild happiness when I listen.

Jagged Little Pill – Alanis Morissette

“I’m broke but I’m happy. I’m poor but I’m kind. I’m short but I’m healthy. Yeah!”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jagged_Little_Pill

I was still a little girl when this hit album was released, but it made me happy, even if I didn’t understand a lot of the things she sang about at that time. It got me through a really hard time and it helped me feel happy, sad, angry, scared. It taught me a lot about self expression.

Halcyon – Ellie Goulding

In March 1011, when asked about the album’s musical direction in an interview with gossip website Dean Piper’s World, Goulding stated, “It’s started to sound very dark and very weird. This album is going to be even more emotional (…) I wanted to make it so there is hope. I want to make an effect whether it’s happy or sad.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halcyon_(album)

Without sadness I don’t think happiness would mean nearly as much as it does. I feel both emotions, in quick secession when I’m listening to it.

Songs from the Big Chair – Tears for Fears

“And I believe that if you’re bristling while you hear this song
I could be wrong or have I hit a nerve?”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songs_from_the_Big_Chair

More nostalgia with this one. Simply a kick-ass bunch of songs. It is from my favourite decade of music, released almost exactly one year after I was born, and I consider to be a gift my father gave me. Well, my father or my big brother, but which one doesn’t really matter because they have both made me who I am. They both have done so much that has made me happy.

Surfacing – Sarah McLachlan

“Make me a witness. Take me out, out of darkness, out of doubt.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surfacing_(album)

Being a teenager is hard. This album brought me happiness through its powerful lyrics. It’s imprinted on my mind and heart.

It’s Not Me, It’s You – Lily Allen

Don’t you just love the title of this one? Reminds me of that Seinfeld episode. Know which one I mean?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It%27s_Not_Me,_It%27s_You

Jagged Little Pill was written when I was still a little girl, but I discovered this album when I was finally grown. It sort of became my outcry on so much I saw as I was now a grown woman myself. It makes me happy to hear it and to know I can do this. I can get past so much. I can handle whatever life throws my way.

Left of the Middle – Natalie Imbruglia

“‘cause intuition tells me that I’m doin’ fine
Intuition tells me when to draw the line
Should have turned left
Should have turned right
But I ended up here
Bang in the middle of real life”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left_of_the_Middle

This one reminds me of my first taste of independence. I loved it then, it made me happy, and I will love it always.

Rumours – Fleetwood Mac

“Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow. Don’t stop. It’ll soon be here. It’ll be here, better than before. Yesterday’s gone. Yesterday’s gone.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumours_(album)

Before my time, again, but I like it for the classic record it is. It makes me happy to listen to its snappy beats and its catchy melodies.

***

There you are. There were the ten albums that make my list, music to make me happy.

I am listening to music as I write this post. It’s increasing my level of happiness. I do it often.

Now, I realize this, of course isn’t always possible. Since Bobby McFerrin told us to simply “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” in the eighties, it sounded like a good solution to all of our problems. Unfortunately, not all that practical all the time, but I hope there exists, somewhere out there, a piece of music…or an entire album for that matter, that makes you happy.

And so I hope everyone can find a little piece of their own brand of happiness, on this day set aside for that very thing, if not all the days of the year.

I have no doubt there is a deep connection between happiness and compassion. When we are happy we want to spread it around, (like the sharing of a song), which is compassion in my mind.

I am happy also that I can take part in yet another

1000 Voices Speak For Compassion

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Beyond the Reach, #MindfulMonday #LoIsInDaBl

“You’re twenty…something years old. It’s time to get over birthdays.”

–Don Draper, Mad Men

Oh really Don? I will be thirty-two.

🙂

On what was practically my Birthday Eve I could not sleep. I was finding it hard to turn off my brain long enough to drift off. I went from watching Friends, to Stephen Fry Live: More Fool Me, to Mad Men. I had so many thoughts swirling around in my head, so much inspiration in the words and lessons and themes, and I wanted to say everything, right then and there, but my body and also my mind craved rest and a few hours of reprieve from the onslaught.

I wondered if all the modern conveniences of things like NetFlix actually make it worse for insomniacs like myself. As much as I enjoyed all three of these distractions, I kept thinking about what it means to grow ever older with each passing year, with all the modern connections and conveniences at our collective fingertips.

Don’t know if you are familiar with Mad Men, but Don and Peggy are in the office, after hours, mostly alone. In my opinion, upon re-watching this particular episode, it seems to me to be the most pivotal turning point of their relationship, both professional and personal. It’s brilliant really, in all of its stripped-down rawness.

It’s easy to watch a show about what life was like in the 60s, to look at my own life fifty years later.

The whole episode is based, like many of them are, around an actual true historical event that took place, in this case being some all important boxing match, not unlike Super Bowl 50 of 2016 that just took place.

And then, as I first listened to the NetFlix special, the one-man show put on by the brilliant Stephen Fry, for the 2014 release of his memoir, I thought still more about time, reflection,

and MINDFULNESS.

Fry is a brilliant brilliant man. He is full of stories of his eventful life. Some made me laugh and some made me think. I did not grow up in Britain and thus I had no clue about his fame with another well-known and talented Brit, in the 80s and 90s, as I was a Canadian child who did not see British television programming all that often.

My first intro to one half of this dynamic duo was Hugh Laurie in his role in the early 2000s, as the perpetually grouchy and complicated Dr. Gregory House.

Then I learned of my favourite Harry Potter audio books being narrated, over in the UK, by someone named Stephen Fry.

Fry has stories to tell, about his long-time friendship and career with Hugh, one memorable New Year’s Day tea with Prince Charles (Charlie) and Princess Diana, and his childhood and discovery of the work of Oscar Wilde.

His time working on The Hobbit movies in New Zealand with Peter Jackson and his connection to Harry Potter writer J.K. Rowling make him someone of great interest to me already, but also because his knowledge of literature and his gift for linguistics and storytelling make him a man I am to be in awe of.

He begins his one-man show by going through a list of countries that showed him on screens in their cinemas, offering up some little anecdote or story of each country as he goes along. He speaks with sagacity of how the world is connected today, in ways both he and Wilde never could have imagined, and how we’re all so different yet the same all at once. I can’t help but to love him for his creativity and his genius. I want to listen to his words of wisdom and know I, too, will be alright.

I want to not let each passing birthday make me bitter or hard. I want to take Don Draper’s words and put them in the proper perspective, although the episode I reference here includes moments of pure disgustingness, with a business/personal rival attempting to defecate on his desk and even after Don proceeds to vomit horribly, from all the liquor he consumes throughout the show. These moments juxtapose nicely with those of deep, honest truth and sadness between the characters.

Don tells Peggy: “No use crying over fish in the sea.”

At one point Peggy (on turning twenty-six) is told by a colleague’s wife that “twenty-six is still “very” young), as the wife is referring to Peggy’s still good chances that she can find a man, settle down, and have a baby, but is that what Peggy wants?

It made me think about the phrase, most common for women of multiple generations now: having it all.

I don’t have it all. You might even say I don’t have any of it (husband/children/career) at this time. Not by a long shot. What are we supposed to want, at what age, and how do we learn to live with what we may never get?

Men don’t have to deal with this in the same way as women have and continue to have to. I don’t have to face some of the things Fry has had to face, but I feel I understand what it’s like to feel different in some way. I hope to use language and literature to help me in some of the same ways Fry has used it during his lifetime, to help make sense of the biggest parts of life, things I can hardly fathom otherwise.

To believe in something bigger than ourselves is to be mindful.

And thus I present the App I have found, that I love, that helps me stay grateful and mindful, that I have been using to keep track of songs and lyrics for Love Is In Da Blog and for my own love of music.

“Shazam!”

It allows you to take a couple seconds of a recording of any song you come across in your daily wanderings and it will tell you exactly who is singing/performing. Next it keeps a record of any of these songs, which has allowed me to return to so much music I love, anytime I want. It’s a right handy little thing.

Try Everything – Shakira

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TToT: Making Winter Great Again – Take It Easy, #10Thankful

“I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

–Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

There was a tragic school shooting, here in Canada, at a high school in Saskatchewan. The snowstorm to rival all storms hit parts of the US. Sounds like a rough week, right?

As for me, I keep letting social media get to me, but if it weren’t for Facebook I still would have heard the news. The other day there was another birth announcement, in the family, and even though I am incredibly happy for the new parents, I found myself having a moment.

Why does it happen for some and not others? How will I be okay if it never happens to me?

paulbrianyousophiaonsled-2016-01-24-09-35.jpg

I need to keep writing it down, reasons why I am grateful, and marking the little things that are infused with beauty and sweetness. That’s why I am here, to find the good in life when sometimes, well sometimes it just sucks.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For finally getting to live in such a hip country.

The New York Times Gives Backhanded Compliment, Describes Canada as “Suddenly…HIP?”

Finally!!!

Trudeau praises Waterloo’s brilliant, innovative minds on world stage

Thanks for making us hip Justin.

🙂

Okay, so I’m aloud to begin with a bit of a sarcastic thankful once and a while, aren’t I? Can I still count it?

For snow, even when it’s cold, which it always is.

🙂

(Just a little something for any of the US bloggers who read the TToT, to maybe cheer them up, if the storm didn’t knock out power that is.)

Hashtags: #AwwHellSnow

I don’t know why, but I include snow in this list. Perhaps it’s one of those hip Canadian things.

🙂

littlesnowmanbetweendoves-2016-01-24-09-35.jpg

For perspective, as shown by this photo, and which connects nicely with my next thankful.

Both Sides of the Story – Phil Collins

For forgiveness and the chance to explore my thoughts on the concept.

Both Sides of the Forgiveness Story, #1000Speak

Getting a little perspective on a situation often leads to a better chance for forgiveness.

For rejection.

I can’t believe I am saying this. I sure didn’t feel it in the moment, but I am trying to let each rejection of my writing give me more and more of the determination to keep working at it.

It was painful, just like one of those first rejections I received, almost exactly this time, on another cold January day a few years back.

I don’t know yet if I believe all that stuff about not giving up, letting rejections fuel you, but I know it’s true deep down, somewhere. Even the biggest writers have been rejected at one time. Not every place is going to love or want your writing. I am just thankful I have found the nerve necessary to share, to try, and to get back up and try again.

For an unexpected reminder of what colours look like, something I miss everyday, and from the beautiful mind of a child.

If I Were a Crayon

I apologize for all the pingbacks Lisa.

🙂

For a successful vidchat with blogger friends.

It took a couple weeks to get back to it, but I’m glad it worked out for so many.

There they all were, and there I was, communicating through my phone.

That technology really is pretty cool. Speaking of technology…

For past, present, and future.

As I wrote out some homework of sorts for the writing workshop I was attending in the morning, I thought about days of homework past.

I needed to be able to just read out loud in class, so I pulled out my old, heavy duty Perkins machine. I had forgotten how hard on the arms it can be to jam away at those keys.

The next morning, at the workshop, I brought my Braille Sense, instead of my laptop this time. A Braille Sense is an electronic typewriter of sorts. I could write braille, like with an old broiler. There are three advantages: not so heavy a machine to carry, easier on my arms, and much quieter in class. My old schoolmates know what I mean and only wish I had today’s technology back then.

😉

Technology is always improving, bigtime since I was growing up, and a full tactile/braille tablet is up next. I can’t wait to get me one of these.

For the second of three Saturday morning writing workshops I’ve been attending with a wonderful instructor and for the one who made sure I didn’t miss out. Thanks for the ride. Thank you both for giving me the chance to do what I love.

In the creative writing workshop I am doing at the moment the writer/instructor is helping us appreciate moments, as we write, small things in life.

This is kind of what Lizzi is speaking of here:

In Small Moments

It’s what Carrie was speaking of, to one of the mothers in the group, that the special things and the funny things and the wise things come and go and come again, but some things are over and gone. Small moments. Then Lisa found a way to capture one of them, a snapshot of what her own child is thinking and how she sees the world at a young age. The world will never get something quite like that again. Now it’s caught in writing.

For some new friends showing me a new experience.

I don’t know how many of you know anything at all about Dungeons & Dragons, but I knew only what The Big Bang Theory showed of the game.

I didn’t want to go in with too many preconceived notions. I did not want to judge until I saw for myself.

I guess what I was thankful for about it was the chance to not be myself, not really, but instead to become whatever else I wanted, for a few hours. I was a neutral sorcerer. I wasn’t Kerry for a while and that break from the harsh realities of life was the welcomed part, that and laughing with some interesting people.

The Eagles – Take It Easy

“Take it easy. Take it easy. Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy. We may loose and we may win, but we may never be here again.”

We say goodbye to Glenn Frey, another rock musician, but these words calmed me down this week when I needed to hear them.

“Life is terribly deficient in form. Its catastrophes happen in the wrong way and to the wrong people. There is a grotesque horror about its comedies, and its tragedies seem to culminate in farce. One is always wounded when one approaches it. Things either last too long or not long enough.”

–Oscar Wilde

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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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