1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND

There’s BOUND to Be One, JusJoJan

I languish in the calm here. I try to convince myself it won’t happen here, or even anywhere close to where here is.

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Canada is my peaceful place, but that isn’t the case for so many, I feel even the circumstances here are biding their time before something shifts and cannot be put back right.

Just Jot It January, #JusJoJan

Governments and corporations like the money and the power, as humans tend to do, when presented with either. It is classic stories that make this clear for me, but shut the book and I am back in cold, hard reality where there is no cover to close.

How long people like myself stay mostly ignorant before blowing it all up in protest is the question on my mind sometimes.

It’s protests in the streets, but often even the biggest of those fizzles out. Or maybe not really. What will Iran do, I wonder.

It’s a rebellion I read about in history class, in Canada’s not so distant past. Those seem like heroic tales from long ago. I stay out of such things. I try to keep away.

The ridiculousness of politics baffles my mind most days. Countries are just trying to function, their citizens only wishing to live a nice life, and all this thought/talk of rebellion and revolutions is simply stirring things up.

My mind gets carried away often and I have to struggle to get it back under control, to where I need to listen to something like the rushing and roaring of the waves, the only thing that puts it all in perspective and calms my racing thoughts.

Fears I have of such discourse as what’s happening in Canada’s neighbouring country ending up no other place than
open revolt of some kind
keep me unable to let it go. It’s ongoing.

As I picture what history books one hundred years from now might look like, I am starting to see that writing in that book in my mind.

I’m being silly, right? Tell me that I’m just being overdramatic. Go for it.

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A Stranger Returning Home, #MLKDay #JamesBaldwin #JusJoJan

Just. Juice. Prejudice.

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These are three things that come to mind when I think of the word
“justice”
because they look similar in my mind, not because they have anything really to do with the word itself.

Just Jot It January, #JusJoJan

Okay, well, maybe justice and prejudice are related, but really I say this now because I am delaying the moment when I have to write about serious things.

Today hasn’t shaped up the way I was expecting it would. I was trying to figure out how to write something about Martin Luther King Jr. and then Dolores O’Riordan died.

Well, that’s not really a topic of justice. It only adds to my blue mood on Blue Monday as it stands.

I relate to the fight for racial justice, in that I can take my disability and think how discrimination manifests. Still, the subject is a sensitive one, as it should be.

It’s like the reconciliation discussion I learn about, with Indigenous Peoples, daily, here in Canada and in other places, all over the world. I am just sad, sad we haven’t come far enough and in some cases, have slid backwards with time.

This is the type of writing that evolves and changes throughout a day. I started this (mid month Monday) thinking about how to address MLK Day.

I’ve spent most of today lamenting the death of a one-of-a-kind voice in music, and I’m ending it by watching a documentary I have known about for months about writer James Baldwin, being shown on PBS.

I haven’t read his stuff and I know very little about him to be honest. I do know that these issues of rights, of where privilege lies, and on how to fight oppression and for justice, are bound to be found throughout Baldwin’s doc, in his own words, years before I was born.

He watched the young girl try to attend school and be spit on, chiding himself for not being there to help her.

Disgust and anger. How to move past this and into making it all better?

Baldwin didn’t miss America while he was in Paris. He didn’t miss it, but he did miss his family and his culture.

MLK knew he wasn’t likely to live long to see any sort of change.

It is painful for James to return, though he is home again.

James Baldwin said: The line between a witness and an actor is a fine one.

This feels so intensely true right now.

So poignant all these years later.

All about class and culture and race and so many other classifications I cannot seem to parse.

James did not stay, as witness. He was free “to write the story and get it out.”

He saw Martin and Malcolm X both go and he wrote about it.

Malcolm, Martin, martyrs both. Baldwin was the writer.

He writes: I Am Not Your Negro

How to reconcile any of this?

And so goes the clicking of the typewriter’s keys.

If you get the chance, watch I Am Not Your Negro.

Things sure have changed, since last century, but we writers still will write.

The story of America,” Baldwin said, “is not a pretty story.” “Aimless hostility.”

“This is not the land of the free.”

—James Baldwin

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TToT: The Fog Can Be Pink Sometimes – Plucks and Strums, #Blues #10Thankful

Bomb cyclones, bombshell tell-all’s, and a night out at the symphony. Oh My!

And Dolores O’Riordan is dead.

It’s been a few weeks since I wrote one of these, not since the start of the new year and my niece’s birthday post.

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My family at Christmas.

It’s only halfway into the first month of this year and I am already exhausted.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for Dolores’s voice and lyrics and music.

I am deeply saddened, but I am thankful. I can’t believe she is gone. I’ve loved The Cranberries since I was eleven or twelve years old.

I’ve been on the verge of tears, giving in to it a few of those times, ever since I heard.

I don’t know all of what to say exactly, but I’m sure it will come to me.

I am thankful for the cello and a feature celloist.

Such a deep and rich sound, such a melancholy sound to the cello.

He was making his debut. He was amazing. He even strummed and plucked the strings of his cello along with the fast-paced classical stuff. What a solo with a terrific orchestra to accompany you.

I am thankful for an invite to my very first symphony.

I felt like the least sophisticated in that place and I was definitely the youngest.

Ah well…no accounting for my generation’s lack of taste. It was a first time for me, as classical isn’t necessarily my thing, but I am glad I went.

I am thankful I got to see the newest Star Wars with my brother and my sister.

We, the three of us, went between Christmas and New Year’s.

I was pressed to my seat the whole time, with every new twist and turn of the plot. I realize the giant debate for true fans of this franchise. For me, I like the story, as it stands. I like Adam Driver in his role as villain.

One really frigid December night, my older siblings and I ventured out to check it out, and I’m glad we did. I owe my brother, for his description skill, until I can make it so every theatre, even in my little city, has audio description to offer.

I am thankful I have a temporary replacement braille display.

I can read my own words and the words of other people. I can feel it, under my fingers. I am back, up and running, at full steam ahead.

I am thankful I have parents who are perfectly willing to take me to pick up a shipment at the border.

There was an issue with a temporary replacement for my braille reader and my options weren’t looking good for resolving it.

I had to drive a bit of a distance to sort it out and I am lucky I have family willing to make that drive, over an hour, so I could have the package in hand.

Now I can get back to editing and reading, for however long it takes for my own machine to be fixed.

I am thankful for my sister’s knowledge of hooking up a new router.

Things with the Internet have been lacking around here lately. I went, on a hunch over Christmas, and found and purchased a new router, thanks to my brother’s recommendation.

It came in the mail and I wouldn’t have known how to hook it up myself. Thankfully, my sister took time from her busy life and came and got it done for me.

I hope to get back to yoga over Skype again soon, without the connection failing continuously.

I am thankful for not a no.

Sometimes, the postponing of a for sure acceptance to a writing pitch is nice. Some people may not enjoy the extra time, not knowing, either way. I think I needed it, this week anyway.

I am thankful for an organization of interested people to stand up for ourselves throughout Canada and the US’s Foundations/Federations of the Blind.

Canadian Federation of the Blind

I have no need to put down all that the CNIB has done for me in my life, but for the first time, it feels nice to know I am given a say in making things better.

I end this week’s shorter than usual and (at times often depressing TToT) with an uplifting song from The Cranberries, one of their later albums. In it, she speaks of not analyzing every little thing and I often need that reminder.

I am thankful for this lingering piece of optimism, even in sadness.

Thank you, Dolores, from the bottom of my heart. RIP to the powerful voice and the woman who possessed it.

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I’m No Smuggler, #JusJoJan

I didn’t feel any sort of an ominous, heavy weight in the room until I was told of the real situation at hand.

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The men behind the desk had guns strapped to their sides and wore bullet-proof vests, or so I was told, a voice whispering in my ear.

Just Jot It January, #JusJoJan

Oh, there was still some lingering aggravation on my part, but by that point I was going along with the program. I would soon have my package.

I’d been aggravated for weeks, on account that my braille display (electronic braille machine) had stopped working after only one year’s use. I wasn’t particularly hard on it and I’d done nothing to damage it, unlike my dear departed first Mac laptop.

The line of braille is little metal dots, poking up, and then, one day, some on the left side just decided they no longer wanted to do their job. This made reading the first few words of each line nearly impossible. What a way to aggravate me.

I waited and finally I phoned the necessary number and requested a repair. Mine would be sent back, across the border, and a temporary replacement would be sent to me in the meantime.

Quite the switch. Still, I didn’t anticipate any problems until I was notified that the delivery service could not deliver it to me.

I needed to fill out, print out forms and take them to Canada Customs for clearance.

It was a whole thing, for a time there, but now that I have the loaner here, all that aggravation feels so far away.

I can, once more, read articles and essays, thanks to the magic of Bluetooth and my iPhone.

I can write and read back what I’ve written. I can spellcheck my writing and edit my own work.

It’s so nice to have all that aggravation behind me, for now, and I am thankful I held my temper and frustration/aggravation in front of those customs guys with the guns – only for precaution of course.

Easy gentlemen. I’m no smuggler.

End of the week prompt word for Just Jot It January
This, That, and the Other
with “aggravate/aggravation”.

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Humbug: Review of “The Man Who Invented Christmas” #Humbug #AChristmasCarol #Review #SoCS

A little
yuletide and humbug for you
on Christmas Eve Eve, or however one might say that.

And now, here we are, and you’ll forgive me if it’s now officially Christmas Eve. I am about to watch A Christmas Carol with my father, a Christmas Eve tradition.

Please enjoy this brief summary/review of the tale of the man who came up with the story in the first place.

Light in places, nearing the absurd, but it took me back to the times, those days.

The year was 1843 and Charles Dickens was under pressure to come up with his next big hit. He’d toured the United States of America and the crowds there loved him, but Christmas was coming and he wanted a seasonal story for the ages.

He swore he could come up with one in a matter of months/weeks.

His home was filled with beautiful new things, purchased from his previous book’s success, and a family full of life. The more he pressed himself to come up with a Christmas tale, the more consumed by it he became.

His household employed a young Irish woman who loved to tell the children old Irish ghost stories. What a thing to share at Christmas I say.

Ghosts at Christmas…well I never!

Charles overheard her telling on of these tales and ran with it and a story of an old miser being visited by three spirits came to life in his head and soon onto the page.

Literally, it came to life, as soon I was confused, as a viewer without sight or an audio track to explain.

Scrooge was there and Dickens was talking out loud. Soon, his room was spread out with papers and his characters, talking to him.

Tiny Tim was apparently inspired by a real life nephew who was ill and whose progress was uncertain when the family came to visit the Dickens’ home.

How did A Christmas Carol come to be? – BBC

Charles deals with a father who was the root of many of his son’s issues, growing up poor and with debts owed. Charles fears the fame drying up and his own future debt, making his own family suffer the way he did as a boy.

His memories of going to a poorhouse and having to work in a factory, being teased by other boys, and all this with deadlines for what was shaping up to become A Christmas Carol.

So, we all know the book does get written, obviously. No mystery there. He did it when he was younger than I am now. Times were different then, or not so much as we’d think. This story still applies.

I only read it (the novel that is), for the first time, a few years ago. To me, the title of this film is apt, as Charles Dickens, in many ways, was the inventor of Christmas, to me, a lot more recent than two thousand years.

My father has been watching that old version of the classic story, the film, since my childhood. When once I couldn’t quite grasp the whole story, finding it boring in parts, I now treasure it for its lessons on compassion and humanity.

I can think of a few souls, in need of a lesson on mistakes of the past that cannot be undone, realities of the present in other places and in the lives of other people, and the chances still available in the future to make things better.

This film told a behind-the-scenes story that made for a pleasant and sometimes gritty glimpse into poverty and one’s life work, in this case being writing. Such a career and success can dry up as fast as from whence it came.

I am inspired, as a writer myself, by a story created, as Charles did, in those stories that span the test of time, from England to North America and around the world.

I’d add this one to any list of movies to view around the Christmas season, for sure.

Humbug and Scrooge to view, for you.

“And God bless us, everyone!”

The Real Reason Charles Dickens Wrote A Christmas Carol – Time

I once mistook the author’s main character for the author himself. Charles Dickens was no humbug!

You’ll forgive me, Mr. Dickens sir, won’t you?

Yule tidings to you all.

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TToT: Shrill Robots and Thumb Slam, #10Thankful

“I dreamed I saw a great wave climbing over green lands and above the hills. I stood upon the brink. It was utterly dark in the abyss before my feet. A light shown behind me, but I could not turn. I could only stand there, waiting.”

—Lord of the Rings

I was recently brought back to my love of LOTR and this quote jumped out at me when I heard it again. I feel this way a lot now.

People tell me not to be scared, but I can’t help it. I can take up violin and yoga and other things, to keep focused on the positive, but I feel this quote intensely and I wish people would stop trying to make me feel something that has taken root and is, for better or for worse, how I feel.

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It’s nearly Christmas and I am making my way through these last few weeks before it arrives upon us. The news around the world, this week, was not much improved from previous ones.

Here in Canada, in the last week or so…
a young man was only trying to stand up for someone else
and he lost his life.

Then, another man and his family were targeted,
in a racially motivated attack,
by a man with a bat in a WAL-MART parking lot.

And this was just in Ontario mind you.

So, I sometimes start off my weekly TToT post sharing my fears and concerns and the things that feel so out of my control and which are so often wildly unfair about the world.

Then I list what I am thankful for, to help me get through the week and focus on the beautiful things and the magic to be found all around me.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for a quick reply/acceptance.

From last week’s TToT…the audio piece I did with my brother will be included in the holiday marathon radio show.

The man in charge asked how to pronounce our last name. He isn’t the first to ask that. He also asked how we’d like to be billed and the question was a new one, hadn’t been asked that way before.

Whose name should go first?

I am thankful for more writing support/discussion with those who know and understand.

My two writer friends, I originally found on Facebook, are such a pleasure to spend a few hours with.

We talk writing and I found out one of them wrote a children’s book about Helen Keller.

The other is a knowledgeable scientist/science writer.

I learn so much from them, have learned so much, in this last year since we first met.

I am thankful for a pleasant holiday mall experience.

I found a bright and friendly deer.

I found my favourite holiday scent, vanilla bean. I got myself some hand soap, shower gel, and body spray.

I found a few gifts in my favourite store, that which is full of mostly books, but not all.

I went in for books and came out with a super soft blanket. Still, I hope bookstores never disappear like Blockbuster has.

Santa was, of course, also there.

My Grownup Letter For Santa

I am thankful for my writing group on a bad day.

My internet was causing me problems and I was stressed out by the events of the world. I needed to escape to “The Elsewhere Region” for a few hours.

These people are clever, creative, and fun. It cheered me up in a major way, just being in their presence.

I am thankful for a most pleasant surprise gift from the heart.

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Anything coloured or any sort of writing/drawing tool makes me sad, as someone who once lived for colours and drawing colourful pictures.

Still, it was a sweet gesture and a bit of an inside joke/had to know the giver, to fully get how meaningful it really was.

Mine is yellow and you can write on just about anything with it. It’s gel and smells like heaven in crayon form.

I am thankful for an enjoyable lunch with a new friend.

On a limited amount of time, a lunch break, I found it hard to both eat and be able to say all the things I wanted to say.

She started out as my travel agent when I went to Mexico, but we formed a kind of special connection since then.

I trust her now, as I plan out future travels in the years to come.

I am thankful for my violin teacher’s invite to an all strings concert.

I knew little about baroque music and I still don’t.

I would have recorded the actual concert I attended, but I was advised against it.

Oddly Shaped Pearl

I researched the word and found out that is what Baroque means.

I am thankful for a new possible public writing spot.

Burnt Brick Cafe

I am thankful for my mom’s delicate and detailed Christmas care.

Clever, original, and inventive.

She decorates my home, even though I can’t see much. I don’t put in the work and she comes over and makes the place feel like Christmas.

This year she only made the pine branches she had look the shape of a Christmas tree, but soft pine this time. I see the bright white lights she adds and then comes the star.

No photo can capture it, but the star wouldn’t stay up on such a soft pine branched tree and so she used one of my old white canes. She put it up the back and this was enough to steady the star on top.

I am constantly in awe at the things she comes up with. It’s always been that way, as long as I can remember.

That’s my mom alright, all three of those, the exact definition of ingenious.

I am thankful for a second favourite Christmas gift.

My sister loves Pinterest and found a Harry Potter quote, printed it out and framed it for me.

This has been the week of surprises, let’s call them semi Christmas presents, both I was not expecting.

As for another Christmas present I was given early, Canada and all the snow might want to put a damper on that one tonight.

Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UV4F2yfEt9o&app=desktop

Just not on this day/night…okay? Please! I wanted to go to Toronto.

More on that next week, if I actually get there that is.

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RESERVED! #TGIF #FTSF

There is a new coffee shop/bakery/cafe in my town. It reminds me of one I discovered and wanted to take home in my suitcase when I was in the Yukon six months back: Burnt Toast Cafe (Whitehorse) and Burnt Brick Cafe (Woodstock.

Both have similar names and beet salads. The similarities start and stop there.

Yes, while trying to envision the decor of this new cafe I have felt the brick wall next to my table. I called ahead and reserved a place. This means I was expected by the staff when I arrived, like I belonged there.

As I sit and eat my beet salad with goat cheese and candied pecans, I decide this will become my new out-of-the-home writing spot and I will be a local that will soon become a regular, maybe even with my own regularly reserved table where I will drink lattes and write all the things.

I would belong there.

When it comes to belonging, I know everyone says it, or at least feels it, at one time or another. We all struggle to belong somewhere. I am no exception.

I think of myself as a bit of a misfit and I have claimed the title with pride, though I live with feelings of not being enough or those of embarrassment a lot.

I want to blend in, to belong there, to belong anywhere. I want to be just another customer.

Customer. Decor. Furniture.

In the cafe today I was finding my way back to my table, after paying the bill, but before eating my dessert. I do hope to come often enough that soon enough I know my way around, but this was only my third time.

Friends either give me their arm, speak directions, or suddenly I am on my own, just me and my white cane.

It taps the metal of table legs and people stare.

Okay, so I don’t know if they do, or if they are nervous I might knock a table over or what, or maybe neither. Today, either way, one of the staff silently pushed me from behind in the name of guidance.

They didn’t do this violently or rudely, just in an attempt to show me how to find my table again.

And did I pull away, whirl around, and correct them, asking them not to put their hands on me without saying something?

Did I say politely that wasn’t the right way to go about that, to help the blind costumer who’d just spent $40 at their establishment?

No and no. I continued to use my cane to find my place and I sat down to enjoy my mini Oreo cheesecake.

I can’t just expect people to know the proper procedure, but it’s hard to explain, n the proper tone, in the moment.

I definitely don’t know how to blend in, to be just another customer, to feel like I fit in, when I feel like an object that must be moved. I say I feel like a misfit, or like a piece of miscellaneous furniture they move into its proper spot in their cafe so I am not in the way.

But do I even go with the rest of the place’s decor?

Hmm.

I should have explained why silently pushing me from behind was not the way to help someone, me, who can’t see. Somewhere inside I have the urge to whip around and tell them to take their hands off me. Or, that they should at least say something before doing it.

Anger and rudeness isn’t the answer. I want to soon be a regular there, to support the community, and to eat good food. Maybe I will even write great things there.

First, I must become comfortable there, with all them, and they must become comfortable with me too.

I want to belong somewhere, a community, even its businesses, such as interesting cafes like those you hear about in Paris, where people drink their lattes, observe people, and write.

Okay, so Woodstock is no Paris, but right now, I am the blind woman who clearly hasn’t figured out her way around quite yet. Friends don’t always know how to help and staff doesn’t yet know me either. If I wait, let time do its thing, I can hope to belong there, the woman who comes in with her laptop and her stick once a week, to her reserved people watching/writing/latte drinking table in the corner.

I can hope. I can dream.

I can do that. I can be. I can belong.

Finish the Sentence Friday:

Finding Ninee
and
Hillary Savoie
hosting.

I belong at this end-of-the-week blog exercise. I am back where I belong.

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