my momma told me there would be days like this–my momma said…..

 

 

blank page before me

a layer of blank white outside

blank brain sputters and hesitates

to spit out meaningful words,

grasping at clichés

reaching for metaphors ~

white flag flutters

no more reaching and grasping.

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Published in: on January 30, 2014 at 2:34 pm  Comments (13)  
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Winter of Discontent

  “Now is the winter of our discontent.” ~ William Shakespeare

            We have hit record snowfall totals for the month of January, and almost broken the low temperature records. Small comfort in this deep freeze we have been caught in, but maybe we need a change of attitude and should try to embrace this cold snap.

            Luckily I do not have a job that entails working out in this weather, and when I do have to venture out I bundle up in layer upon layer. But, I do love the cold weather when I am inside looking out, with a cup of hot chocolate in my hand, a good book to read, and a warm throw over my legs. Unfortunately real life gets in the way and we cannot assume this position of comfort for long. Since we have no choice in the matter if we do not have a warm weather vacation in the offing we have to adjust as best we can.

            I found a few winter quotes—some inspiring, some hopeful, some funny, and others—well I think they were observed in a winter such as we are having now.  I like Robert Frost’s attitude, which lives up to his last name. He says: “You can’t get too much winter in the winter.” Now if I had said that people would have thought “duh”, or “yes you can”, but because it came from the pen of a great poet, we take note and ponder his wisdom.

            William Blake perhaps does not reflect how many of us feel but he does have a sunny way of looking at winter: “In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.” Okay Bill, I will enjoy this winter keeping in mind these words from Percy Shelley: “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” Hope obviously sprang eternal in Shelley’s human breast, adhering to Alexander Pope’s words that “Man never is, but always to be blessed.”

            Comedian and actor Billy Connolly wryly says: “There are two seasons in Scotland: June and Winter.” Being partially of Scottish origins, perhaps that is why I do not mind winter—I harken back to times in my ancestral home when I and Shirley MacLaine were living out one of our lives together there.  Hall of Famer, Bill Veeke also believes that there are only two seasons: baseball and winter.

            Dave Barry is clearly not a Canadian and his words bear this out: “The problem with winter sports is that – follow me closely here – they generally take place in the winter.” Dave, Dave, Dave – where would the Olympics be without the winter sports?

            Andrew Wyeth is rather poetic in his assessment of winter. He says: “I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn’t show”.

            And what would a column on quotes about winter be without a little input from that young sage, Taylor Swift who harmoniously states: “I love the scents of winter! For me, it’s all about the feeling you get when you smell pumpkin spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, gingerbread and spruce.” I feel a song coming on……Another musician, Bob Seger is inspired in the winter—he says that he writes 80% of his stuff in the cold months. “Give me some of that old time rock ‘n roll….music that will soothe the soul…..”

            A few more quotes that need no embellishment but may just sway you into thinking winter is not so bad:

1. Tom Allen says: “While I relish our warm months, winter forms our character and brings out our best.”

2. “There are three reasons for becoming a writer: the first is that you need the money; the second that you have something to say that you think the world should know; the third is that you can’t think what to do with the long winter evenings.” ~Quentin Crisp

3. “Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.” ~ Pietro Aretino

4. “Winter is not a season, it is an occupation.” ~ Sinclair Lewis

            I will leave you with two final comments on winter. They sum up how we all feel at one time or another. Robert Byne believes that: “Winter is nature’s way of saying ‘Up yours’”, while Anton Chekhov makes this very valid point: “People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.”

            So enjoy, be happy, and don’t throw snowballs at me when you see me!

 

All quotes from brainyquotes.com/keyword/winter

If something is worth doing…………

WordPress prompt: We all know how to do something well — write a post that teaches readers how to do something you know and/or love to do.

There is nothing I do better than procrastinate. I am the President of the Procrastinator’s Club. There are no other members as anyone who wants to join has put it off to another day.

Henry Ford is purported to have said that anything you put off for six months and is then forgotten was probably not worthy of doing in the first place. Or something like that. I would like to adhere to his philosophy which seems to be: If something is worth doing, it is worth procrastinating to see if it is really worth doing. If it is still around in six months then do it. This does not work with filing your income tax though—the government has a long memory.

A good procrastinator plays the system; a great procrastinator knows when their number is up and when not to procrastinate. I am a great procrastinator, and what keeps me in line is work deadlines—I generally do not fool with them as the powers that be are not usually forgiving.

So to be a great procrastinator, here is my advice: “Don’t procrastinate.” I have learned the hard way, despite Ford’s advice that there is very little joy in procrastinating—it causes anxiety, stress, and the reward is fleeting.

Published in: on January 25, 2014 at 7:32 pm  Comments (11)  
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Glory Days

 Today’s prompt from Michelle at WordPress: “Write the blurb for the book jacket of the book you’d write, if only you had the time and inclination.”

This is a bit off the cuff but I took up the challenge and this is what I came up with in 15 minutes:

            If she was dead, why was she in this classroom listening to a professor drone on about the linguistic beauty of the workaday language of English? She had often been told when she was alive that when you went to hell you were trapped in the circumstance you hated most on earth. And the circumstance she hated most on earth was being bored. And doing paperwork. She was bored but at least the paperwork, which had been her nemesis when she was alive was not present—so maybe, just maybe she was not in hell. The prof wore a belt with a peace sign buckle. He had wild gray hair and a suede vest—why was she back in linguistics class at university listening to Dr. Ivy? And why was she in her least favourite class?

            Cecelia had crashed into the back of a semi that jack-knifed on a foggy day in September, 2010. Even if she had seen it, there was no way to avoid the massive truck. She was returning from an unsuccessful business trip to Toronto and was eager to get back to home and hearth. The midday sun had been bright, the radio loud, and the trip slowly becoming a memory until she reached Cambridge. A grey curtain of heavy fog descended on the 401. It was not just a haze—she was caught in clouds of billowy pewter. She was disoriented—but she continued on in her quest to get home.  She knew that she should pull off the road but she did not know what she would be pulling  into.

            Then she was no longer in the car. She had been escorted to a ledge where she was allowed to see through the fog to the chaos below. Her body was slumped over the steering wheel………..

            In this tale of death come to life, Cecelia gets to relive what she often thought of as the best part of her life—her days at university. But relived again with the wisdom of decades behind her, would those days turn out to be the great time she remembered, or was the life that had been taken away from her not so bad after all.

            In this novel of second chances, the main character gets a chance to do what many of us dream of doing—returning to our glory days. Was she reincarnated? Was it a miracle? Was it all a dream? Or was she really dead?

Published in: on January 24, 2014 at 2:07 pm  Comments (37)  
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No “Woe Is Me”

 

I have lost a lot of my readership but what I have left are those who are closest and dearest and mean the most. Some bloggers have gone by the wayside, some are on sabbatical, some are tired, a few are dealing with events beyond their control, some are ill, others have dropped me as I am no longer a faithful reader of their blog, and a few have returned full of vim and vigour. Such is the cyclical nature of the blog world. I am a small fish in a big world, but I am a happy small fish—and grateful for the true friendships I have made in this my alternate but very important world.

We often hear of the “next dimension”. I believe that bloggers who form friendships through their blog posts are members of this dimension. We form a community, and by careful weeding and nurturing, the community we form is one of our own creation. My blog world consists of those who are not too critical (a little critical is okay), warm and loving and supportive.  Many of us share deep bonds that are not so fragile that they can be broken by a little time away.

I also have some friends and family who follow me and do not have blogs—and I want to thank you along with my blogging friends. Thank you for taking a little time out of your day to read my postings.

I guess this is a Thank You Blog – I would never have imagined that a world that is at my fingertips would be so fulfilling. I have friends from all over the world that I would never have met without this. And one more time—I would like to thank my niece Chay who inspired me to blog—and even set me up on WordPress, lo those three or so years ago. And my sister Peg who has been with me since the beginning, and my brother John who I know reads me even if he does not comment much, and Krista …..okay this is not an Oscar speech so I cannot possibly thank all of you by name—but you know who you are.

Has your blog audience changed?

Throw Your Fears to the Fire!

Waiting for the Karma Truck

No words from me will really do this justice – the least I can do is share it with you.

 

 

Throw Your Fears to the Fire!.

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Published in: on January 23, 2014 at 12:57 pm  Comments (8)  

Warning: Introspection Ahead

Today’s prompt from Michelle at WordPress: Look in the mirror. Does the person you see match the person you feel like on the inside? How much stock do you put in appearances?

The person that I am is not reflected in the mirror. I am ageless, a quiet rebel, a sage (in my own mind). In the mirror I see the soft face of a woman in the last half (okay let’s be honest—last third) of her life. She does not like the wrinkles she sees under her eyes, but the rest of her face is holding up, except for the somewhat gentle ravages of gravity.  She looks younger than she is (and whether or not that is true—she feels younger than she is.)

As a younger woman I put more stock in my “looks” and that attitude does not fade easily or quietly—I am going kicking and screaming into an adulthood that most people reached at half my age. My hair is gray underneath a very thin layer of dyed golden brown—that is receding as we speak—I no longer have just roots of grey—I have lengths of it—yet the decision to go fully gray has not yet been made. If my hair were a lovely white there would be no hesitation—but it is mottled and not all that pretty.

Do I still care about being pretty? Yes. Am I still pretty? That is left to others to decide—but, personally I do not mind my looks.

Sometime though, when I look in the mirror, I do not see me. Me is made up of a person who loves life (most of the time), hates life (some of the time), loves her family unconditionally, enjoys her friends, loves to read, writes because it is part of her—because she has to, is compassionate to a fault (in that the problems of others sometimes take over her life), loves to learn, and wants to be taken seriously (sometimes) and appreciated for what she likes to refer to as her wit (others may refer to it in other manners but who needs to go there?)

There is a depth to all of us—one that transcends the person we see in the mirror. I like to put my best face forward (most of the time), and my best foot forward (all the time)—but I do not always achieve these things. I think we are all a work in progress—forced by the hourglass of time to take stock of our progression. I would like to celebrate my wrinkles but I am not there yet—I would like to achieve wisdom, but that changes every day—things that I once took as the gospel have been blown apart, and things that I once rejected are now something I am beginning to understand.

My hope is that we live several lifetimes and use what we have learned in this one to make the next one better. But, I also want to recognize the good things that have come out of this life—and use those discoveries now. My reflection does not necessarily replicate me. Or does it?

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Published in: on January 22, 2014 at 3:07 pm  Comments (24)  

Frozen Souls

 

Sadness permeates

Frozen winter souls

A warm thaw of hope

Melts the core ~

Published in: on January 21, 2014 at 4:27 pm  Comments (25)  
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Something else, something more

I am reblogging this because I want it on my blog so I can look back at it….and I like believing in something!

Live & Learn

deer

The universe is always speaking to us. … Sending us little messages, causing coincidences and serendipities, reminding us to stop, to look around, to believe in something else, something more.

~ Nancy Thayer


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Published in: on January 21, 2014 at 1:58 pm  Comments (11)  

The Silence of Listening

    “The word ‘listen’ has the same letters as the word ‘silent’.”  ~  Alfred Brendel

         

          How many times have we barked the word “Listen!” in a plea to be heard, silencing the chaos that supposedly serves as conversation, but is really a soliloquy?  And how many times have we delivered our own monologues with little thought of the person listening?

          Austrian pianist, poet, and author, Alfred Brendel’s observation that the word ‘listen’ has the same letters as the word ‘silent’” says volumes. In order to listen we have to be silent. Not waiting our turn to talk and take centre stage but giving the rostrum to another, and actually hearing what they have to say. In silence we can hear, but the silence has to be one that not only silences the tongue but quiets the mind.

          I practice listening. It is not easy.  Ernest Hemmingway’s advice to “listen completely when people talk” sounds simple—but his addition that “most people never listen” is unfortunately not merely the surveillance of a curmudgeon, but the truth of a scribe. Practicing listening takes patience but it is rewarded ten-fold. I am starting to get beyond just practicing and incorporating “listening” as a something that comes naturally, something I do not have to think about, and something that adds to  my body of knowledge.

          As a writer, I have at my fingertips (quite literally) the ability to be heard, and that is why I write. I am not a particularly effective speaker—one liners are my speciality, but scratch the surface and you will find a tongue-tied scribbler. I have on occasion tried and failed to enter conversations—perhaps my entry into the fray is not passionate enough, loud enough, or, and this could be the whole crux of the problem, interesting enough.

          Writing gives one the chance to silent conversation and finally be heard (to an extent—I realize you can always stop reading me in mid-sentence, mid-paragraph, or even after the very first sentence—but I try not to think about that).  I can focus when I write about a topic—my mind is organized in such a way that saying what I mean, sharing what I know, and sharing the knowledge of others is not difficult when I put words on a page.  But when I open my mouth, many times my brain shuts down—it seems to me I have a flap that opens when I write and closes when I talk. So it behooves me to be a good listener as I am not a good verbal storyteller.

          Silence is also something I cherish. I have never been able to understand news writers who work in a noisy environment—the few times I have worked at the newspaper office have been enlightening but certainly not my creative best. Even when I worked as a full time reporter, I wrote my articles in a corner of my home office (also known as my dining room), sometimes with a toddler at my side—but mostly when the rest of the household was asleep or out. As I write this, my youngest son is asleep upstairs and my husband is out—there is no radio or television on, and all I hear is the reassuring hum of my refrigerator (reassuring, because if there is no hum, it is not working—and that is not conducive to writing).

          Chaos reigns in all of our lives. Silence is the cure. Listening is also an antidote to chaos, because by listening, you are silencing your demons and opening yourself up to something new, something worthwhile, and something you might not have discovered with your mouth open.

          Listen. Silent. They both have the same letters. Listening to silence, a/k/a meditation is another way to “get in touch with ourselves”—certainly a mantra of the 21st century. But think about it—in silence you get to listen to yourself, and though sometimes I bore myself silly—other times I figure out a new way of looking at things.  A way I would not have discovered if I had not stopped to listen in silence.

          I will end with this quote attributed to that sage of all wisdom, wearer of red suspenders, and really old guy, Larry King: “I’ve never learned a thing while my mouth was moving.”

Published in: on January 20, 2014 at 1:47 pm  Comments (47)  
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