1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Memoir and Reflections, Special Occasions, TToT

TToT: Special Snowflakes and Safe Places – Wham! Bah HumBug! Whoosh! #SnowInTheSahara #10Thankful

: You’re a foul one, Mr. Grinch / You’re a nasty, wasty skunk / Your heart is full of unwashed socks, your soul is full of gunk / Mr. Gri-inch / The three words that best describe you are as follows, and I quote: Stink, stank, stunk!

—Dr. Seuss

Two holiday favourites I like to watch this time of year are The Grinch and A Christmas Carol. I wonder at if the real life Grinches and Scrooge’s of this world could grow a heart and see the error of their ways, but sadly, I doubt it by this point.

Neil Gaiman Reads “A Christmas Carol” – NYPL Podcast

Also, as I was sitting in the gymnasium from my youth, watching a new generation of children singing about Santa and snowflakes and all the other traditions of this time of year, I felt the ghosts of my own childhood, all the years I spent in elementary school. I also listened to songs about snowflakes and I thought about that.

I get on my own case for letting it bother me at all that the idea of a snowflake has been hijacked by those who have started referring to “liberals” as “special snowflakes” and saying all the “special snowflakes” need to go and hide out in their “safe places”.

So just what exactly is so wrong with that, anyway? Huh? Hmm?

I want a break from worries. As much as I love the advice I’m often given, to try not to focus on those things that upset me, I refuse to let something as beautiful as a snowflake be a negative thing. Or, as if a safe place is somehow a bad place to be.

Oh, no no no. I…Don’t…Think…SO!

So, here I am, starting this pre-Christmas TToT with a rant or two, but I wish I didn’t have it on my mind to rant about anything at all. I do plan to give myself the gift of a break from all that once Christmas does come.

(this is a real single snowflake showing all of the tiny details)

cH6gv6W.jpg

I’m thankful for snowflakes.

Snowflakes are special, this is true. They are nature at its finest. They are the most delicate things and I am lucky to have grown up with them, here in Canada. I recently had a fascinating conversation with someone who didn’t grow up with the kind of snow we have here. He spoke of his thoughts about it now. I enjoyed hearing his perspective, so different from mine.

They are all different, snowflakes, and that makes them special, not one being the same as another. They may be delicate on their own, but as more and more of them fall, eventually they become a collection of flakes, which makes snow and the results of enough snowflakes, all packed together, this can become the most unstoppable of forces: an avalanche.

I’m thankful for safe places.

Wait until war ravages where you call home and then see if you look for a safe place to run to.

In a world so full of harsh weather and cruel human behaviours, and a safe place is something we all would cling desperately to.

I thank everything I have for home, which is my safe place/space, where family are and where I know I am loved by someone. I desire greatly to explore the world, but I’m sure thankful I have the safe place right here to return to. If that makes me winy or pathetic to some, so be it.

I’m thankful for solstice. Man, do I love that word.

🙂

December 21st is the first day of winter. I am ready for it.

Snow Falls In The Sahara For First Time In Over 37 Years – Bored Panda

I think there is something beautiful about winter solstice in the northern hemisphere. People are thrilled this means the days, from here on out, begin to lengthen and commence in June. That will be another big month in my life, but for now, I enjoy what transpires in this part of the world and astronauts have seen it and word it best:

***

Generations of astronauts, after looking at Earth from space, have professed a profound new understanding of it. Edgar Mitchell, who, in 1971, became the sixth man to walk on the moon, said, “From out there . . . international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.’ ” Michael Collins, Neil Armstrong’s crewmate on Apollo 11, expressed similar sentiments in his memoir, “Carrying the Fire,” which was published in the midst of the Cold War. Seeing our home planet from afar, he wrote, prompted an epiphany: “The earth
Must become as it appears: blue and white, not capitalist or Communist; blue and white, not rich or poor; blue and white, not envious or envied.”
Mike Massimino, in his memoir, “Spaceman,” reports having spent almost a full day staring out a window of the Space Shuttle Columbia, watching sunrises and lightning storms (“like a form of communication, like a sequence, like the clouds are alien creatures speaking to each other in code”). On his second spacewalk, Massimino told me recently, he had a spare moment to “take in the view.” He recalls being struck not only by Earth’s incredible beauty—“We are living in a paradise”—but also by its fragility. From out there, he said, especially during night passes, “you can see the thinness of the atmosphere,” a bluish-green line. This sudden perception of Earth as a delicate, intricate system is so common among astronauts that the writer Frank White coined a term for it: the overview effect.
Astronauts are endlessly fascinating to me, in part because they have a knack for poignant quotations. Buzz Aldrin, for instance, described the lunar landscape as a vision of “magnificent desolation,” a grand phrase for a bleak truth. Unlike our paradisiacal, blue-and-white Earth, the moon has no atmosphere and no real sky—just gray dust and black space, such that color photographs from moonwalks appear mostly black and white, as though someone colorized the American flags after the fact.
NASA brought six flags to the moon, on poles outfitted with horizontal crossbars so that the stars and stripes would show, as though caught in a nonexistent breeze. The flags are still there, but radiation is presumed to have left them in tatters—monuments to our love of Earth, or maybe just litter.

***

I’m thankful for the chance to return to my childhood for an afternoon.

It was a tad emotional, I admit, but it brought back a lot of worthwhile memories that had me thinking.

I have so much wrapped up in that building, both good and bad. I found it highly moving to return there. It gave me a lot to think about.

Why Do People Tell Ghost Stories on Christmas? – The Smithsonian

Speaking of ghosts at Christmas time, they were everywhere there.

I’m thankful I got to see my nephew’s Christmas concert.

Oh, aw, ah all those little boys and girls, trying so hard and singing their hearts out. They tried their best, especially the youngest ones like my nephew, to remember the words they practiced and my nephew, for one, was nervous when he walked on stage and saw how many of us there were in the audience.

I couldn’t pick out my nephew up there, as I am unable to see anywhere that clearly upon returning to that school as an adult with considerably less sight, but I am still glad I went, even if he couldn’t see me either.

I’m thankful for safeguards and protection for natural places.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/obama-ban-offshore-drilling-arctic-atlantic-1.3905384

President Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau working together once more, for one of the final acts together, to preserve parts of the Arctic Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean.

They are protected against off shore oil drilling in those places. I don’t know how foolproof it will be, if what they’ve done will stand the test of time and Trump, but we shall see.

I am glad the two men are working together, once more, at something worthwhile. Sure, it may not be protecting everything that needs protecting, but it is something.

I’m thankful for a return to my library writing group.

I had missed a few, but I am glad I returned for this final meeting of “The Elsewhere Region” of 2016.

There were cookies and chocolate with mint and chocolate and raspberry tea. I don’t normally drink tea like the rest of them like to do, always afraid I might spill mine all over my electronics, but this time the tea sounded just too good to pass up. I took precautions, but the tea was delicious. Just the perfect thing for the occasion.

I wrote a story, dialogue and a conversation between two young women. The mystery object one member brought in was a strange family Christmas decoration. It was a frog wearing a fancy outfit and hat and his tag said something about him being named Mistle Toad.

Okay, so I guess he was a toad, not a frog, but it made for some interesting ideas for a writing prompt. We discussed and most wrote about the popular idea of kissing a frog and making it turn into a handsome prince.

My story confused some, but it really illustrates how, like snowflakes, all our writing styles are so diverse and so very much our own.

My imagination is a lot different from many of the other writers in the group. This always makes for a fun time.

I’m thankful for understanding doctors and nurses.

I have a doctor who hasn’t given up on me, even though I am a bit of a difficult case, and who promises I can call and come see her if anything comes up, even if it’s before our next scheduled appointment. That’s the sort of empathy and understanding I have always hoped for.

Also, I have a nurse offering to give me an iPhone case she no longer needs.

I’m thankful for my flu shot.

I know many people think it totally unnecessary. Some have gotten sick soon after getting one in the past and feel it can cause more problems than it helps prevent. I must say that I do take my low immune system seriously enough. If I can ever prevent getting a bad flu one of these times, I will get the shot.

My arm hasn’t even really bothered me this year, since getting it, and after the initial stinging and burning of the injection itself.

For those who are in perfect health, who are young and strong, there’s likely no huge need for it. Either way. I don’t get too worked up. It’s easy enough to get and so I do.

I’m thankful for a surprise Christmas card.

Thank you
Lizzi
for the surprise. I also enjoyed the tactile parts on the front of the card and the surprises to be found inside.

I admit I don’t do up Christmas cards myself. I find it hard, all so visual and I guess I’ve lost a little of my artistic streak, which I could draw on to make cards still for people.

As for Christmas cards, having them sent to me, not many are. I suppose many people think I won’t be able to see them anyway, so what’s the point? I don’t know. I may feel somewhat left out, but there are other ways of expressing holiday cheer. It’s just nice, once and a while.

: He puzzled and puzzed till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas, he thought… doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps… means a little bit more!

Is Montreal’s Christmas tree ugly, or are we just looking at it wrong?

: Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart, and hand in hand.

—Dr. Seuss, 1956

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FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, RIP, TGIF, Writing

Why Oh Why, #FTSF

Two things happened this week worth mentioning here, now: a friend of the family passed away from a long-fought cancer battle and I secured myself a writing mentor.

You may wonder what those two events have to do with one another. Well, one is terrible and the other is exciting, but they are both big things to have happened.

They both give me pause, when thinking about my writing, why I write.

At the heart of life, the topics I write about: birth, love, death.

When someone passes away I am left whirling, in my own head, and writing helps me make sense of the nonsensical of life. Death is going to happen to us all. We can’t say when. We don’t normally have the ability to decide how it will end. I know I am a very small person, in a big big world, and I need a way to put the things that I don’t quite understand into some kind of perspective.

We won’t be around forever. I won’t. Life will pass me by, like that!

Sometimes, I wonder about my writing. I wonder about it and question it, like many writers, and I try to figure out why I continue to write, what makes me do it, again and again and again.

I write because it helps me figure life out. I write because I can, because I’ve been told I am good at it, by myself on good days, by other people, when I need to hear it, at just the right moment.

I didn’t see it coming. I’d wished for it for a while, but how did one go about acquiring a writing mentor anyway?

Sure, there were writers I admired, but I didn’t know how to approach them, to ask them if they would teach me or guide me or help me. I couldn’t decide how to make my request known, and so I continued to write.

This week, all the stars must have aligned.

On those bad days, I doubt my writing and the point of it all. I know writers do this all the time. I was not alone in this. I may ask it, in those darker moments when I feel like we’re all doomed to die and what’s the point of so much of what we do in the meantime, but then I get on with it and I don’t doubt it anymore.

I don’t know where it will lead me, but maybe it’s time I started to figure all that out too, to find a direction and take the steps necessary to do something with my writing.

Thanks, Kristi, for another excellent

Finish the Sentence Friday

writing prompt. I am figuring things out right now and FTSF always helps.

Finally, I am including my entry for a writing contest from last June:

How Writing Has Positively Influenced My Life

I did not win, but as long as I continue to write, to grow into my destiny as a writer, I am winning.

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Bucket List, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Happy Hump Day, Piece of Cake, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel

My Perfect Day

Okay, so I am a week behind on this, but I like this particular writing prompt and wanted to still take my shot at sharing my dream for a perfect day.

“Our theme this week is to write a day in your life where there would be no boundaries and you could do anything you want.”

http://originalbunkerpunks.com/blog-battle-zone-1/

I have been published on this witty, satirical, thought-provoking website, full of writers who want to get the conversation going and who do that very well.

Check me out here.

Then, earlier today

I ended up reading a piece on this site

and I went on to expressing my feelings, which meant criticizing the authors involved in the writing.

They were only being humorous, provocative; yet, due to the news of a two-year-old girl and her father being murdered in Alberta (which could be the inspiration for a more on time response I could write for this week’s prompt), this heartbroken Canadian wasn’t able to see any humour whatsoever.

It made me think about writing and its possible consequences because I was able to have a productive discussion with these writers, after-the-fact, and I wanted them to know why I may have sounded at all harsh. That is not how I usually am. Just a bad day.

Thank you,

Original Bunker Punks,

and now…onto my perfect day.

***

Something seems odd about this day. What could it be?

Oh yeah, I am pulling into my driveway. Yes, me.

For years it was me, in the passenger seat, the passenger. Shotgun was where I was designated to be.

Now I am driving. All those self driving cars in the works, for so long, well they are out and they are becoming the norm. Sure, it could lead to some sort of science fiction nightmare, cars becoming intelligent and driving their riders into trees and over bridges, but I overlook this fear because things are perfect now, right here, as I don’t have to have sight to operate a motor vehicle.

I enter my house and notice a suitcase sitting out, ready for packing to commence. We are soon off on another trip.

We met at TBEX, a travel expo I finally made it to a few years back. It was in Honolulu, my dream spot. I’d always wanted to visit there and this travel writing/blogging conference was the perfect chance. Two birds with one stone as they say.

I didn’t expect to meet him, but, I must admit, I hoped it would happen, sooner or later. I am comfortable with some independent travel now, after a lot of practice, but it’s still nice to have someone there to experience the world with.

He is a photographer and knows about technology and websites.

I may be able to drive a car, but I haven’t wished hard enough for perfect sight, at least I guess not. Huh.

If I had that, I wouldn’t be The Insightful Wanderer, as the whole position of my travel blog would be altered. I am insightful, just as I am, but I will never stop wandering. It does not have to be a bad, lost, aimless way to go through life.

I struggled to learn about my blog and website, for a few years, but am glad I can leave that responsibility to him.

I am still The Insightful Wanderer and Her Headache. I am KerryKay.com too. Bought that domain ages ago, as my writing needed my real name to be known and featured more prominently.

Branding is a strange thing, but I have embraced it and now am known as three brands in one.

I haven’t given up on my writing, memoir and literary mostly, because fiction is a beautiful thing, but not where my natural talents are.

I walk past one of the many bookshelves in my house, and there are some of my books there, a few are fiction. I had modest success with that, beginning with the anthology I was accepted into, my first real big break really.

I have written three books and am currently working on a fourth, two memoir and two fiction: Piece of Cake, Connecting the Dots, Till Death, and Out Beyond the Hedgerows.

The first two are memoirs about my life, struggles, with disability, being a visually impaired woman in a mostly sighted world.

The third is a fictional story about how death and loss affect three different generations of one family.

And the fourth is an historical novel, based on family who lived through World War II.

I did not start to write a string of genre books, ones that get put on Amazon and Smash Words and of which I would have needed to keep on putting out to gain any momentum in the book world. I found my own path to success.

I have books everywhere, which brings me peace and solace when I’ve had a bad day.

It’s so nice to have found a partner who loves travel and we are a team. He takes care of the site and its visual elements, while I write. Writing has its place, but the world is and always will be a visual one.

I think a world of all blind humans is worse than the one where the cars take over, but I can’t say. Science fiction writing is not my area of expertise.

I have checked off many of the items on my bucket list, which brings me great pleasure, but it’s nice to know I will soon have a husband who is committed, not only to me, but to helping me achieve the rest. Life is precious and it goes by like that! We are making the most of every day.

I have broken the record for longest living kidney transplant recipient and the medications have made it possible that this won’t change anytime soon. When I reached my twenty year mark (June 5, 2017) I had a huge party to celebrate and everybody I know came.

In this fantasy, we have not cured cancer yet, but we are actually getting close this time, no fooling.

We’re still trying to decide what kind of a wedding to have and where to have it. Being the travellers we are, a destination wedding is most appealing, but I don’t want to put that pressure on the people I hope will attend.

I want to have it at the hotel in Niagara Falls, the one from my childhood and its precious memories, moving to the closest hotel to the falls for the wedding night. I will finally feel that vibration of the roaring falls through the window of our room.

Maybe we’ll get married on a beach or on top of the CN Tower in Toronto. I loved it up there, the first time I tried it, and a wedding on that ledge sounds strangely perfect to me. After all, isn’t marriage a little like standing on a ledge?

It’s scary but exhilarating. It’s freeing, once you find love and let yourself feel worthy of having and holding onto it.

I can admit, finally after years, that wanting marriage, a wedding, this does not make me weak. I am not some Disney fairy princess, waiting to be rescued. I want a partnership and that commitment is and always has been important to me. I’ve been shown what that can be like, through the examples of my wonderful parents and their parents before them. It’s in my bones, just like writing and travel.

I can make a living from my writing now. I was afraid that was holding me back from finding a guy who could understand, accept me for me, and not let money and pride and the pressures of that get in the way. I am not rich, but I am rich in all that I really will ever need.

I have seen my words in print, in a book, on my shelf and in a bookstore.

I have an advice column which helps people. I can write and offer my advice, which can be a tricky thing to give others, but I know I’ve had more experience with the hard stuff than most. Plus, this side work allows me freedom to travel. I can answer people’s questions from anywhere I might happen to be.

I hand out my business card:

The Insightful Wanderer

http://www.theinsightfulwanderer.ca/

And on the other side.

KerryKay.com

Her Headache

Blog. Writing. Travel writing is my first love because the world is everything. It’s all around us. We are it.

I had to build up my writing portfolio. I had to practice my craft, art as pure as anything.

Now, I can admit that making a reasonable living off of that is no crime. People are paid for all kinds of things, some that might seem less deserving, but that’s how the world works. It’s all about money, for so many, but it doesn’t have to be.

We discuss having children, after we decide on a wedding spot, but the jury is still out on that. I can accept that, even as I know the rules of this writing challenge aren’t at all limiting, because sometimes life means accepting some realities and hard truths.

It’s still open for discussion. Age doesn’t have to matter because I want to freeze this day, in time, so my parents are here and the children currently in my life stay the sweet age they are.

We will deal with the future tomorrow, but let this day and the moment linger.

Anyway, we are off, to make our flight. I will finally get my chance to swim with jellyfish, in their lake home, on the island of Palau in the south pacific.

***

Why do we feel so guilty, why do I, just for speaking up and admitting what it is we want for ourselves?

Why do I feel so selfish and awful to be so open with the things I dream about having, the life I would ideally wish for myself?

Do you ever feel that way?

If you could have an ideal day in your own life, what might that include?

I know I am worth it, I am worth everything, and I want to say so. I know what some people say, about the universe and just by saying it, you are actually letting into your life the things you believe you deserve. This is what I am doing here, today, because I am tired of holding myself back.

Yes, believe it or not, this blog has been me holding myself back, up until this point.

🙂

I have been blogging for a year and a half now and I continue to be myself, to let my self shine through here. That is what is at the essence of Her Headache.

Check these guys out on Facebook.

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Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, SoCS, Special Occasions, Spotlight Saturday, This Day In Literature, Writing

September Streams and Dreams Come True, #SoCS

SoCS

September almost qualifies for this week’s prompt, but not quite. So, instead, I will write about how my September is going, so far.

Not bad. Not bad at all.

***

I am watching only the fourth episode of the new Late Show with Stephen Colbert. His guest is writer and author Stephen King. I am listening to these two brilliant guys, Stephen speaking with Stephen, as they discuss writing. I am left to contemplate writing: Stephen’s and my own.

Now, what makes me think I should even bother with the contemplation of my name and his in the same sentence?

This week I can finally refer to myself as an author.

I have read many things about writer VS. author. What makes someone a writer? What makes them, me an author? When is it okay to call myself the first or the second?

King has written dozens of books. His newest book of short stories is being released in November. What an astounding catalog of writing the man has produced. He writes. He is an author.

My first short story to be published is out now, in print. It was finally placed in my hands just the other day.

I will never forget the feeling. I wonder how that feeling has changed, for Mr. King, from the first time to all these stories and years later.

I contemplate what being a writer means to me. It means that I write. I don’t just talk about it, but I put my money (words) where my mouth is/are.

I can string sentences together, words, correctly spelled…you get my drift.

It doesn’t yet feel natural to me, fiction that is. Writing comes very naturally. All so uncomfortable, unnatural, even though it feels, at the same time, like I’ve been doing it all my life.

I contemplate with confusion.

I hold the book in my hands, flip through the pages, turning to where I perceive my words to be, as I’ve been told how many pages in, my story can be found. I can’t see my own writing. I am told it is there, but any book could be handed to me, anyone telling me the words are mine. I would never know if it were true or not.

So it’s only there when I believe them, when I believe it and let the reality wash over my heart and my mind.

I don’t know, can’t possibly stop contemplating what it must be like to have the kind of creative and artistic success that Stephen King has had.

I don’t know how many more times I will experience my own publication, as I did in the month of September, in the year 2015, but I will never forget this week. Never, as long as I live.

***

September and this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday, inspired by:

http://lindaghill.com/2015/09/11/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-sept-1215/

Linda’s blog and the writing prompt, “temp”.

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