1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Bucket List, History, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Poetry, RIP, Special Occasions, This Day In Literature

In Flanders Fields’: One Hundred Years Later, #JohnMcCrae #InFlandersFields

Somewhere out there there is a field, a field full of silent meaning and distant regret.

I’d like to see this field, to experience the meaning of a poem up close. I will get there one day. I will stand in that spot.

It’s a field full of red…red flowers that grew out of the mud and the graves.

Red blood, having made way to red flowers.

I don’t know why I’ve developed such an attachment to this particular field, so far away. Why does its sadness mean anything at all to me?

Most times I get concerned when November 11th approaches. I feel anxious, like I don’t feel what everyone else is feeling. I know it’s no jolly holiday to celebrate, but there is a certain intense pride that comes out in the hearts and voices of many Canadians, with the ceremonies and the laying of wreaths in remembrance. Canada has lost a lot in war and I can’t feel proud of this.

I am proud of the poem one Canadian doctor wrote, one hundred years ago. He lived, not so far from where I live. He did, what I know can be done with literature, he used words to mark so many things, a shared humanity.

He went to fight in France and Belgium and he lost his life, but not before he composed a poem that would one day be read to me, every single year, in school, when November arrived.

In Flanders Fields’: Canadian children recite our 100-year-old poem

What did my four-year-old niece’s school do, with her and the other children today?

What did they say to explain today to her and the other children?

I can’t even explain it to myself. I listen to stories of loss and death and suffering. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.

I don’t always understand poetry, as much as I love literature, of all sorts. So why do I want to cry, any time I hear the lines about those red flowers?

Pieces of red velour, representing all that valour. A moment of observed silence. Eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

The pride I can’t quite feel makes me worry about my level of respect toward so many humans, those who lost their lives, fighting for so many reasons, but I know it’s not about me anyway. I am not the point. I did not have to fight directly, to sacrifice, for the freedoms I have.

The closest I’ve seen the affects, happened, not in a distant world war, but in the 21st century.

http://www.honourthem.ca/masterDetail.cfm?ID=165

It happened to family, family of family.

I did not know Tyler Todd, but he was only one year older than I am, when he died. This fact practically knocks the breath from my body.

I feel like a jerk because I don’t know why we were there, why that happened, why why why?

Afghanistan is so far away, farther even than Europe, even as the veterans from the conflicts of the last century fade, there are those who are suffering the loss, new and again.

I am just some silly idealist, who doesn’t understand why peace can’t be maintained. I want peace, don’t understand why we can’t just have it. What am I missing? The realist in me knows.

And so I return to the poetry, because that, at least, is something strangely beautiful I can cling to, when I need to feel more. When I need to try hard to understand. It makes sense of the nonsensical, or at least attempts to put the images and the realities into an order out of all the disorder and the chaos.

It’s a hard life. It’s a hard life. It’s a very hard life. It’s a hard life wherever you go. And if we poison our children with hatred, then the hard life is all that they’ll know.

It’s A Hard Life

And so I look to the markers of the past, like poppies mark graves of unknown soldiers, unknown to me anyway.

Ever since I wrote about the start of World War I,

100,

I think about the war that began these rituals we follow.

And I will mark the occasions, as 1914-1918 and one hundred years hence.

I try to write in eloquence, as McCray wrote on that battlefield, but I fall short of the mark. When I hear the stories, when I think about the life that was lost, of the family who know loss now…

I can’t just sit back and feel pride, when I put my own brother in that place, when I think that he could be that one taken by war, in a day when we should not romanticize the idea of war, as was done in 1914 and I am unable to let go of my reaction to this day.

This is not the time or the place, some would say.

Or is it the perfect time to say so?

I can’t speak the words “sacrifice for one’s country” without the lump in my throat and the feeling of something so wrong. No disrespect meant, really, to all.

With the swearing in of Justin Trudeau I hope for peace, with Canada leading the charge. I hope for it, while so many acknowledge the losses suffered.

I want to explain myself, to discover my own paying of some tribute. Instead, the lines of “In Flanders Fields’” run continuously through in my head.

I am sure the feeling must be strong there, on 11/11/11. I have never experienced those bagpipes up close. I’ve only listened on the television. I hear the pain in the voices of the families. I watch the broadcast, live today.

What War Memorials Say About Us

I can now say I’ve been at the memorial, in Ottawa, but the crowds weren’t there. The day, though just as grey, was silent and still.

I don’t wish to stand amongst the crowds, but I do long to stand in that silent field.

I want to write (a blog post, a poem, a work of fiction about WW I/II). I want to pour out my idealist/realist thoughts. I need to see it for myself, that field.

I’m rambling, I realize this now, and still I press on. I’m free to pour out my thoughts, to write, and no war rages on around me as I do so.

John McCrae fought and wrote, in that war so long ago now, so one hundred years later I could write in a peaceful time and place, about war, about peace.

My country is silent now, but I write. And as I write…

“Fire!”

The planes fly low and the bagpipes play their mournful song.

Gun shots. I will never understand such symbolism as this and I hope my insensitivity isn’t a problem, but I need to speak.

Isn’t that why all the fighting was done? So I could be free to state my feelings on what war means to me, how we mark the peace and the lives lost to achieve it, and why I just can’t follow the crowds?

McCrae wrote of poppies, crosses, larks, guns, torches, loved ones…

***

We are the dead.

Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved, and were loved,

and now we lie

In Flanders Fields.

***

I feel pride in the poetry and I always will. This is why I keep writing, why I wanted to write, not to let these words ever be forgotten.

Why I am proud to be Canadian.

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Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Writing

2015 October Platform Challenge: Day One

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October has arrived, once more. Hmmm. This is not very Halloweenish, but here goes.

Growing up, we started getting a subscription for Reader’s Digest. Soon, very soon, the wall of our computer room in the basement was lined with Reader’s Digest volumes, in braille.

I read one particularly gruesome story in RD, on the way to a family function, and I never read from those braille editions again.

Eventually, we got rid of them, when I moved out and we were cleaning house.

I was delighted when I discovered, not only was there such thing as Reader’s Digest (as much as I loved to read) but that Writer’s Digest existed too.

A lot of selling of their products, but I loved to write and I am now participating in their month long

2015 October Platform Challenge

As for platforms, I have mixed feelings.

I know it is important, in this modern moment in time, to have one. I have one and am trying to find my voice there, but the mood comes and goes. I am not quite sure why.

Here goes and I am not participating in the commenting on WD’s website. It involves all that fun stuff I just love about websites. I tried to sign in and it wasn’t a simple process.

Surprised? Not at all.

😦

I don’t care about winning some prize of a huge book for writers, one I can’t even read anyway, so I will go with the daily promos and see how that goes. See if I make it through the month.

I have never gone and done any monthly challenge, posting every day, so I hope this will not annoy the hell out of any readers I have gained in almost two ears of blogging.

My platform is this blog and the second blog I began a year ago, I guess it was now.

Name (as used in byline): I am Kerry Kijewski

AKA

Kerry L. Kijewski

Kerry Kay (a future author’s website title idea)

Her Headache

The Insightful Wanderer

Kerr

Kerr-Bear

Take your pick.

🙂

Position(s): published author, writer/blogger, public speaker, travel writer, interviewer/interviewee

Skill(s): writing, literary writing, creative writing, fiction, non fiction, memoir, reviews, interviews, poetry, articles and blog posts, speeches, public speaking

Social media platforms (active): I am on Facebook and Twitter most often.

I have a LinkedIn page, but not sure I like it.

Also, an Instagram account for any future travel, but not sure I like it. Need a photographer on staff.

😉

I started a Pinterest page a few weeks ago. Don’t yet understand that platform at all.

Did I do that, trying to find more of a platform, just because everybody else did it first? Why do everything everyone else does anyways?

URL(s):

This blog.

http://www.theinsightfulwanderer.ca/

Accomplishments: being a blogger, published author, Certificate of Creative Writing, public speaker, guest blogger on many blogs

Interests: creative writing, fiction, non fiction, memoir, doing interviews, blogging, reading, travel, movies, psychology, marine biology, astronomy, feminism, women’s and gender studies, history

In one sentence, who am I?

Kerry is, first and foremost a writer, but also she blogs and she is interested in honing her writing skills for any and all future possibilities which might present themselves.

I am bad at summing up, at being brief, and that is why I hate these one sentence questions.

“Feel the rain on your skin. No one else can feel it for you. Only you can let it in.”
–Natasha Benningfield, Unwritten

THIS IS MY PLATFORM!

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/2015-october-platform-challenge-guidelines

Guidelines were made to be broken, right?

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Who are you? What is your platform? Can you sum up who you are, using just one sentence? Or do you need more than one, like I do?

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Blogging, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Interviews, Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake, Poetry, Shows and Events, Special Occasions, TToT, Writing

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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Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, Poetry, SoCS

So CS: Not For Nothing

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***

Naught for nothing – I try and I try.

Naught for nothing – I am barely holding on.

Naught for nothing – I thought I had it and I lost what it was.

Naught for nothing – I can’t quite get a grip.

Naught for nothing – the knots in my stomach just tightened again.

Naught for nothing – I am not sure where I belong.

Naught for all the nots in my stomach that are not loosening, no matter how much I try.

***

WOW!

What the hell was that?

Okay, was that a poem?

I am not sure.

🙂

I just considered the prompt at Linda G Hill’s:

SoCS for March 28

blog post and I let stream of consciousness take over.

It’s a rather perfect first attempt for me at this blog prompt. I am glad to participate with so many other bloggers.

The prompt naught/knot/not was a cool one, if I do say so myself. I read it and just had to give it a try.

Excellent choice Linda.

This most imperfect of first stream of consciousness contributions of mine is a poem, if I do say so myself, and that’s what’s funny about both poetry and stream of consciousness writing is that I usually don’t consider myself a poet.

It is not my kind of writing, most times. It’s when I am not planning, just like stream of consciousness writing itself, that the rare poem from inside me shows itself.

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Happy Hump Day, Kerry's Causes, Special Occasions

International Day for Persons with Disabilities 2014

MICHIGAN’S FIRST BLIND SUPREME COURT JUSTICE

The United Nations has set aside December 3rd as

International Day of Persons with Disabilities:

“Throughout human history technology has shaped the way people live. Today information and communications technologies in particular have impacted a lot of people’s daily lives. However, not all people have access to technology and the higher standards of living it allows.”

I know I am lucky. I have things some people, in other parts of the world, do not.

I thought I would take this occasion to explain how technology has helped me.

I am writing this blog using the Mac laptop I own. On it I serf the net and write my blog posts.

I use the Mac’s built-in voice software, VoiceOver it is called.

If you have a Mac, go ahead and press Command F5 on it right now and see if you hear anything.

🙂

Technology is continually being developed, with people like me in mind and that is a wonderful thing.

Why did I start off this post with the story about that blind Michigan supreme court justice?

I showed it to a friend the other day, a friend who is successful in his career and intelligent, philosophical, and writes poetry of incredible depth. He also just so happens to be going blind.

We talk about the difficulties he faces as a professional who just wants to do his job, but this doesn’t mean that it isn’t made challenging.

We both agreed that it’s nice to see stories like the one from above, but that it’s a shame we are still at a place of being so amazed, as a society, that someone who just so happens to be blind could make it all the way to becoming a supreme court justice.

Headlines such as the one at the top of this post are eye-catching and awe-inspiring. This is not a bad thing, but it does single us out at the same time, keeping us separate, like we are some strange other species that most people wouldn’t have believed could have done the things men such as this clearly are doing.

The theme this year is

Sustainable Development: The Promise of Technology

“With an estimated one billion people living worldwide living with a disability, and 80% of them living in developing countries, access to technology is key to help realize the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities. Under the theme of “sustainable Development: The promise of technology”, this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities will look at this issue in the context of the post-2015 development agenda.”

The Michigan supreme court justice couldn’t likely have come as far as he has without technology. I know I would be worse off, more isolated, and less informed.

🙂

This doesn’t mean I have to stop longing for a time where a day set aside, once a year for people with disabilities, is not needed, a day when the things most people do aren’t seen as some extra unbelievable feat for others.

A girl can dream.

For now I will simply take some deep breaths and remember that most people have nothing but the best intentions. That days set aside by the UN bring much needed attention to making things better for the future.

I need to remind myself to be patient and that the rest of the world will eventually see it, eventually catch up.

Alexi Murdoch, Breathe, YouTube

What do you say when you read articles such as the one I started this post off with? Is it still amazing to you when you read things like this?

What do you think the significance of International Day of Persons with Disabilities is? do you think it necessary at this point?

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Fiction Friday

Fiction Friday: Mine and Others

April is Camp NaNoWriMo, a variation on what I took part in last November. It’s all in how it is set up, with a camp setting, organizing participants into cabins, which basically means writers are linked with other writers, for support throughout the month.
I am not taking part this time. I found the site a little tricky to use with VO (VoiceOver) and had trouble keeping track of my daily word count.
I hadn’t been able to find the necessary motivation before that time to actually write down the story I had swirling around in my head for several years. I went forward and used Twitter and kept track of my word count on my own.
I found it successful in that I managed to reach 50K words in 30 days.
Now it is happening again. They host this event every November, April, and July, along with their Young Writer’s Program.
I am not a camper for several reasons, the technology issues being one of them. The others are, simply put, that I still haven’t finished the ending of my first NaNo experience. I suppose I could have joined up and written another 50K words again this month; maybe the second half of my story or a sequel to it. I still have not decided.
However, I have way too much work I need to get done for school and that must take precedent right now. I do have a first draft of the first part, eagerly awaiting attention and major editing I am sure. I hope to share it here at some point.
***
April is also National Poetry Month in the US, which I’ve previously spoken about. Another event put on this month is called NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month). The challenge is to write a poem a day for the 30 days of April.
I marvel at anyone able to pull this feet off, as I struggle sometimes to write one poem, let alone thirty. I love poetry and wish everyone who is taking that challenge on all the luck in the world.
***
I have no more of my own fiction to offer up today, but I can lastly comment on someone else’s.
I am not one of those blogs which exclusively writes and posts book reviews for authors. Some of them, like the lovely young lady I have convinced to join me in the Blog Hop I will be posting for on Monday, she does this. Her site Brittany’s Book Blog, posts and hosts books from many independent authors and she hosts a lot of them for book take-overs. These consist of the author speaking directly to the fans over Facebook, posting teasers and teaser pics from their books, and having give-aways of book related swag and prizes.
I admire her and the work she puts into this, plus a full-time college work load. She is simply a lover of books and does so much to support authors.
I have considered going into this area of blogging, but think, for the most part, I would prefer to focus mainly on my own writing. I am still trying to figure out what this blog is, but it is a bit of a confusing question. I was just hoping it would come to me, without having to consciously think about it.
I hope to be an author myself and greatly admire the authors who do all the work themselves. A lot goes into it. I want to support as many authors as I can and that is why I’ve seriously considered the book review blogging rout.
Today I will give a quick try at it with a book I was just recently given to read, by an up-and-coming independent author. I tried the Amazon/B and N/GoodReads thing, but think I will need extra practice navigating all those sites. I don’t have the largest following on here, but I can give it a try and maybe someone will read this and check her out.
Her name is Komali da Silva and her book is Angels Dawn. (Wow. I feel like I am writing a book report for school.)
If you are a fan of teen/Ya (young adult) you will love this story. It is a tale of young love, first loves, and the turmoil of being a teen.
Dawn is turning sixteen and living a good life with her family, her best friend, and her other life-long friend/boyfriend.
She and he have been friends for years and it finally turned into something more. He is reliable and the good guy, but we all know girls like that bad boy at one time or another, even if it gets her into trouble.
She is swept up in the heat of emotions she feels stronger than she’s ever felt before. He comes into her life, this stunningly good-looking stranger, seemingly out of nowhere, after she is attacked on the school grounds while her family and friends are waiting to celebrate her birthday with her.
When she wakes up in the hospital she remembers very little. It was her trusty boyfriend who came to her rescue, or was it?
This new guy might be the answer to all of her prayers or might just lead her into danger and trouble.
She must choose between the dependable friend who loves her or the guy she feels an intensity for that can not be explained.
The cliff hanger ending comes up upon you as a reader and you are left with another mysterious attack and more questions to be answered about everyone involved than answers.
Who is this mysterious and powerful female who seems to find Dawn as a threat and is doing her best to get rid of her? Is this guy really her saviour and the one she should be with or is he dangerous? Should she follow her heart or her head?
I look forward to the second instalment in the Angels Dawn series. I hope to learn all of this and more.
Thank you Komali, for sending your book over to me and I hope you find all the success for your future writing career that you are working so hard for.
Angels Dawn is the smart and fast-paced story of teen angst and a bunch of the supernatural thrown in to make a winning combination of a developing love story and a growing roller coaster of suspense.
Do you enjoy supernatural beings in the stories you read or do you prefer gritty reality?

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