Category Archives: politics

In the Night

It is well into the deepest shadows of the evening and the Midnight Pen (inside joke) writes again.

When all is dark and it is best to be at home wrapped in a quilt by the fireplace, books and teapot by my side, the old cat nestled into the other comfortable chair in my woollen shawl, there is no sound from outside as the night is quiet and sleeping. Rain or sleet  and maybe a forlorn twig tapping against the window pane would be preferable but one can’t have everything.

More than likely the members of a writers group I recently visited are all sound asleep.

From the discussion about personal writing habits and routines I seem to be the only one attending that night  dependent on the night for the comfort to write.

Dynamics of the gathering convinced me that it is a wonderfully unique experience to walk into a meeting of assembled strangers and bravely say a quick hello before sharing your work in a round robin of readings. Once this was done and supportive nods and comments ensued, the task of writing on demand was a slight jolt to the system and yet accomplished. We  wrote together, in our own worlds on our own notepads.

The few minutes left over were even convenient  for my own jot notes of the experience as a whole in my designated Celtic design inspired  journal ( a gift form my niece) for book talks and writers events. Personal characteristics, body language, off hand comments of the other attendees impressed me.  No doubt I also gave off a variety of vibes in the other directions. At times I found myself to be too talkative, too much an attention seeker and too nerdy in my references to plays and theatre and books and travel.

In the course of two hours stories and poems about a wide range of experiences tumbled out in little heaps around the tables originally set up as a quilting room. There was laughter and there was quiet listening, head nodding and maybe a cringe or two. I myself cringed at least once.

The markings from measuring and cutting fabric on the tabletops distracted me a bit during the meeting. Was there some kind of message or connection between the slicing and cutting marks on the surface and the patches of stories and poems available that night? Was there a thread of connectivity between us to make something more out of the experience or was it to best left as pieces and frayed parts of something private and personal to be gathered up again and stored away.

I left the writers group that night feeling that the work of the contributors made me think of long forgotten things and that was the kind of creative relief I desperately needed. I remembered my own stories of books, theatre, travel and other nerdy things  because the writing of others had inspired me, I was using my notebook, new fluid black pens, my special Celtic design journal and even had my note pad ready for jot note action. Simply writing, awkwardly sharing at times with strangers at a quilting table in a rural arts centre and finding pieces of myself again. It was all good.

The daylight hours today were spent in  reading, cooking, housework, watching news programs and late night comedy shows. The really late hours of now, in the dark and in the night I wrote this blog.  Wrapped in the quilt, beside the fireplace, the cat making little sleep noises in my woolen shawl on the other comfortable chair, the night completely quiet outside, I write, In the dark. In the night. (Thank you S.J.)

 

Leave a comment

Filed under books, cooking, food, friends, gardening, health and wellness, history, inspiration, local traditions, motivation, paranormal, pets, poetry, politics, retirement, routines, social issues, storytelling, theatre, Uncategorized, weather, writing

Wizzy’s Protest Flight, All Over This Land!

Oddly, whenever Wizzy ( an owl, if you haven’t been reading her old adventure stories) ventured out of her hideout in the boreal forest something always happened to startle her and she flew back to her favourite old branch.

She had hidden from the chaos for a couple years of several confusing seasons due to her vulnerable and sensitive nature. The final straw of weird and reckless nonsense surging through the little blue button in her nest riled her up  however and brought her back to the border between the Land of Pinecones and Maple Vistas and The Land of the Right and the Left.

It was time to dive in and try to straighten things out once and for all. The survival of bird values was at stake. More than her feathers were ruffled. Wizzy felt inspiration for protest welling up in her craw and it was time to sing out, loud and clear once more!

Where to begin?

The situation was dire!

Everyone was in a flap!

Baby birds in cages, separated from their parental flocks and ….no reason,  no plan or solution in sight for restoring things to the natural order of give and take, live and let live or don’t be a bird brained fool if you can help it. What a mess!

Apparently advised by a few cuckoo birds who were of questionable pedigree and enforced by pterodactyl wannabe’s the attack seemed focused entirely on the exotic southern song birds seeking refuge by migrating  from terror and destruction from deranged and violent gangs of vultures straight out of a Hitchcock movie.

After a long and difficult journey, expecting only a chance for rest and possibly acceptance,as other tattered and torn birds in the past had hoped for and flocked to these shores and lands, the songbirds had a terrible experience of detention, rejection and separation from their young. Identification slip ups galore ensued and you know what hit the fan, big time!

Wizzy flew directly to The Roost on The Hill searching for Old Samuel the Eagle but he unfortunately was gone and wouldn’t be barack (unsure of spelling here) and was somehow replaced by a huge stiff looking Leghorn with small claws scratching around in the dust and raising a twittering ruckus to beat the band.

Surrounding this old bird was a tired gaggle of geese, hissing and spitting in frustration and threatening to quit and take off at any moment. Looming overhead was a very sneaky falcon, surveying the damage with elaborate swoops and smirking into his well preened wings.

Oddly enough there seemed to be dens of foxes everywhere on the grounds as well, mostly muttering to themselves and whispering updates into the Leghorn’s ear frequently, just adding to the general uproar and confusion.

Fortunately for all, the Fearless Birds of Intelligence were quietly on the case and almost ready to send out their pecking order of charges to expose the whole darn thing and set the record straight on the scrambled mess of rotten and cracked shell games afoot.

Wizzy  returned home, back to the Land of Pinecones and Maple Vistas, protest singing loudly and flapping wings of strong support in hopes of encouraging the terrified fledglings and heart broken and confused flocks of adult jailed birds.

What else could she do?

Well, she would turn on that blue button to keep abreast of the daily squawks and keep her beady eyes on the situation for starters.

Wizzy, the owl was a Canadian bird after all. She would politely and respectfully protest the situation for the sake of the downtrodden and of course not let anyone push her around.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under allegories and parodies, family relationships, health and wellness, history, humour, inspiration, motivation, poetry, politics, protest, retirement, satire, social issues, storytelling, teaching, Uncategorized, writing

From Longwoods to Green Onions

As you drive along the old King’s Highway (Hwy 2) from Delaware to Melbourne, Ontario it seems to be a quiet, sweeping path back in time. Some modern homes and signage are along the way of course. There is something though, gently pronounced in the atmosphere, so many stories untold. It is something difficult to explain. I will try.

As highways go it is well surfaced and an easy journey as it swoops along over a bridge and into lots of farmland. Many large and sturdy yellow brick farmhouses of yesteryear, set back from the road document the family life of the community. Another heritage style home of red brick with it’s lineage date carved on it’s front facade attracts the traveller’s eye. Few of the old wooden barns remain but some have been beautified with barn quilt art.  Some bush lots remain and large trees planted years ago provide windbreaks here and there.

Thinking of all the families, the history, the heritage of the First Nations people, the battles fought circa  1812-14 makes one wonder. A beautiful gated woods, Longwoods, beckons with some stories preserved. All of these thoughts surfacing along the drive and wondering all the time what untold  stories can be unearthed, but now are so quiet, undisturbed.

Turning around just outside of downtown Melbourne and driving back through it’s one two way stop intersection I see a familiar family name on a vintage sign that had escaped my attention earlier. A connection, another remote and distant relative perhaps but still part of a story yet untold.

The old school, just off the main drag, closed up. Compelling the sensitivity of a retired teacher to turn around once more and drive up the lane for a tribute glance. Stories of families and community glint from the windows somehow and are felt but are unexpressed.

Back in Delaware, the best thing to do at this latter part of a Sunday afternoon is to shop the market there. It is rural village style but with some trendy touches such as an outdoor patio, a deli counter,an ice cream station, groceries, baked goods, some barbeque items  and an assortment of small gifts and souvenirs.

With a chicken in the crock pot at home I just picked up a few things for supper, some whole wheat rolls and green onions…and bananas for a treat (instead of giving in to the glorious pies for sale.)

Cashing out at the register, I had a brief visit with the most pleasant mature lady who worked there with a couple of equally pleasant younger women. You could tell she loved her work as she moved from one thing such as sweeping the floor to another such as straightening up a display of items.

We discussed the power outage problems from the recent windstorm, the frustrations some had with technical issues and shared the realization that it was all minor inconvenience compared to what some folks have had to deal with.

I don’t know this lady at all but imagine her backstory would be very interesting and one of a strong work ethic and positive outlook. I’m glad to have met her along the old King’s Highway today.

Leave a comment

Filed under family relationships, food, friends, health and wellness, history, inspiration, motivation, politics, retirement, routines, social issues, storytelling, teaching, Uncategorized, weather, writing

Long Standing

A long time ago, in this land of sandy soil, evergreen trees and old houses, I started to write some posts. Stories began to appear sprouted from little word gardens scratched into the keyboard. Sometimes poetry surfaced, usually with a reflective tone, sometimes with a satirical voice and occasionally with a slight edge of humour.

Life at that time carried on quietly and some attention given to my writing was most appreciated.  With the passing of time I wrote a little less and then stopped. Blow sand covered my work.

The land of sandy soil, evergreen trees and old houses remained the same and quietly waited. Wet winters and hot humid summers, fast windy springs and stunningly golden short fall days swept by. Snow fell once for days and days and days.

Slowly seized and creaking passages of time lengthened my reading and I found it challenging to find the right book to fill my escape. Searching for the right book to inspire, uplift and relax with proved to be an all encompassing goal and yet it was never really found.

Oddly enough, a lover of books, a devoted reader, a timid writer and an occasional speaker I found myself tossing aside some very well thought of books and not feeling the inclination to finish the work in front of me.

With a weariness in mind and body surging into atrophy fortunately some small and sustained healthy efforts took hold and gave me a good shake. Further details here are not necessary and perhaps just as well kept to myself as that is a long standing family trait.

Something that can be shared is the renewed search for the perfect book, a sudden burst of interest in creating something visual which could be considered spontaneous joy art, continuing the quest for the perfect quirky coffee shop, settling down to a quiet journalling time, dignified writing and living life in an artful and kind way ,another long standing family tradition.

I missed you.

2 Comments

Filed under allegories and parodies, books, family relationships, friends, gardening, health and wellness, history, inspiration, motivation, poetry, politics, retirement, routines, social issues, storytelling, teaching, theatre, weather, writing

Half Done

The book is well written and poetic but it doesn’t appeal to me.  I will finish reading it because it is for book club. It is the kind of book I have to take to my reading hideout in the market parking lot and finish as I eat an oversize sandwich on whole wheat with choice of pickle, celery or carrots and drink dark roast coffee. I can’t read this book at home.More to the truth, I won’t read it at home. The afternoon sun will fade. Grey nothing best described as late afternoon surrounds the car and I drive home. It is the way this book is tolerated. In a few days there will be a meeting and we will have a good time as usual for this is the book that has brought us together. A well written, poetic book,complicated and thoughtfully done, it has merit. Historical, educational, sensitive and bluntly graphic with images of sunlight on the feathers of geese and the flight of a terrified child falling into defective net,a flag held by other children,breaking both arms and no one coming to help. It has become a chore and most likely worth finishing to get the full benefit.  My book, which I’ve never written glints in the moonlight. No geese.

Leave a comment

Filed under allegories and parodies, books, friends, history, inspiration, motivation, poetry, politics, retirement, routines, storytelling, Uncategorized, weather, writing

On A Loop

Watching from the recliner with supper on the tray

it seems to be more

than enough

let alone all the opinions

waiting or interjecting

to be heard

while the others on split screens try to dazzle with a smile that is brightest or fake a frown or shake a well groomed head in argument

while the program host tries to either clarify or aggravate the debate even further

the outcome being an observation of two distinct sides

willing to argue but not willing to see

the point

that might be a consensus or at least promote some understanding

it is a game

where it is fun to fight in a sport of trash talk

that makes it meaningful somehow

for them

and the references to…

doubling down or walking back or finding the come to Jesus moment or sending in a Hail Mary pass or insisting that… here is the thing …that a fact is not what it is because it isn’t a fact on their side of the aisle and never will be and so there…

(fake smile, hair toss, serious frown and repeat as required)

everyone, myself included, recliner engaged

just sit back and let the battle rage

in front of ever accumulating flags with waving signs and huge groups of supporters standing there

in support

or lining up

in front of pavilions

to boost

rallies and protest …take your pick

and it never really looks like there will be a solution

unless someone can

control

nonsense

serious, very serious, scary nonsense

3 Comments

Filed under health and wellness, history, poetry, politics, routines, satire, social issues, storytelling, teaching, Uncategorized, writing

Waking

overhead

the ceiling fan and the surprising chill

the night caused me to wrap up in the summer quilt

 

suddenly changed

catching

me off guard

my dream worked

itself

out

seeing someone surprised at me being in their house

checking on things and scaring them no doubt by hearing my footsteps

stop

at their front door

shocked at what was

outside

and then only a few moments to make the morning coffee and see the neighbour

before finding out the news

yet again about the crazy

things

that happen oddly

enough

a form of shock

had the impact of overwhelming

fatigue

and a need to either go back to sleep or find a place with flowers and trees where some beauty remains

Leave a comment

Filed under allegories and parodies, poetry, politics, routines, social issues, Uncategorized, writing

Opening Night and They Fight and Fight and Fight and Fight and Fight

Well now, if you are tired of the old run of the mill kind of song and dance type theatre offered up by the typical theatre companies and would just like to check your disbelief at the door and join in something that is a disturbingly funny storytelling and theatre experience, Have I got a show recommendation for you!

If my blog title doesn’t ring a little bell in your head try singing it in a jingle way…meh, maybe you won’t ever get it by doing that. Perhaps just google for the sake of time.

( Mr. Burns, A Post Electric Play, McManus Theatre,London, Ontario. )

Everyone involved in this madness of art, tonight, opening night, “bravo”in an old school way and I’ll be back to see it again!

( Yes, I am the mother of the director but this is my blog and I’m plugged in, shamelessly.)

2 Comments

Filed under allegories and parodies, family relationships, friends, health and wellness, humour, pets, politics, social issues, storytelling, theatre, writing

Talking Books

Thick with dust, the two very old military history books were stored on a neglected shelf in a damp glassed in veranda in the farmhouse. Not the most interesting looking, they were somehow saved in a box and moved to storage. Condition ranging from musty, torn cover to musty and fair shape, the two books didn’t attract any attention at a family garage sale. Next stop was going to be the charity store or the recycling bin. However, the books seemed to speak to me as I drove home with my other more practical treasures from the sale. The chatter was enough for me to call back for the books and they were given to me, free of charge. Family garage sales are excellent for such bargains!

Plans for the two old books are of a decorative nature. They will be displayed together on a fireplace mantel or coffee table along with other battered, ancient books  . The books evoke a kind of dignity to me that is difficult to express but easy to feel. Oddly enough, I found myself reading them well into the night not minding the mustiness or faded pages. They will open again in due time anytime a guest notices them and maybe someday be used as reference material for a story or two. That is the beauty and value of these books that somehow seemed to speak to me. Listening seems to come naturally.

2 Comments

Filed under books, family relationships, history, politics, retirement, social issues, storytelling, Uncategorized, writing

Shelf Life

Here and there and everywhere little sentiments are in the forefront of my rather significant collection of favourite books on my bookshelves. A picture of  my Dad and myself, another of my mom and a niece, my ( retirement) brass school bell,  “Mumma’s” delicate rose and blue china cup, my son’s baby photo, a neutral faced  theatre mask, a carved wooden angel holding a bountiful floral garland, two die-cut cards from my son, figurines of dogs, birds, old souls and a snow globe shaker containg a picture of my sweet departed cat, are a fair representation of what is gathered there.

These things sit usually at the corners of the bookshelves but often are moved to centre place when access to the books hiding behind them are sought. Books are so plentiful that they are stacked vertically on the shelves rather than horizontally. Another bookcase might be purchased soon if my budget can stand it.

My books are organized at this moment in my life. The two top shelves are dedicated to classic literature as I feel that is only fitting for Shakespeare and those I’ve grouped with him there. On the next level are two full shelves of Canadian literature full of strange, often grim but treasured thought. On the shelves beneath contemporary American and European literature balance each other well.Further down, the two lower shelves begin to appear archive like holding assorted children’s books, art books, (several) books on the monarchy, some of my Aunt Bea’s book club books, baskets of CD’s and a few photo albums. Dear Maeve Binchy has an entire lower shelf dedicated solely to herself as she helped me survive my divorce twenty eight years ago. She provided the wholesome comfort of gentle romance when I was dashed and broken by my own decision to remove myself from my marriage. She stays on her shelf for all time, not ever in my lifetime to be culled in a book clearout as she deserves a permanent home.

The really old books that I collect are relegated to my bookshelves built into my bedroom. Among this assortment are my treasured old school readers, honoured for being the delicate rare taste of literature I was exposed to as a very young child. Along these shelves are little ornaments my mother kept so special in her heart. Things like little wooden shoes that have their own story,small framed pictures of Dad, my brother and an eccentric uncle, little flower vases she liked are arranged amongst the books and Bibles stored there.

All the cookbooks I’ve collected fill another full bookshelf in the small family room beside the kitchen. Several of these books are hand written or collections of recipes from my family’s heritage pasted into old scrapbooks. Many books about gardening and healing are also propped up there. These shelves are decorated with some funky pottery and woven baskets.

The spillage of books and sentimental clutter often needs to be tidied and refreshed. At the moment,  a good couple of hours dedicated to decluttering, putting things away, sorting through some recently acquired books from the used book store and other housekeeping duties is most likely a good idea. If only I had  the luxury of a daily domestic helper, like Maeve often described in her books these things might be more consistently done.  It is perhaps better that I do this work myself. After all, I know where things belong.

1 Comment

Filed under books, cooking, family relationships, gardening, health and wellness, history, pets, politics, retirement, social issues, storytelling, teaching, theatre, Uncategorized, writing