Category Archives: politics

Happy Valentine’s Day Bat Boy !

A little bit of a chorus line, mixed with a gospel revival and a tad of mid summer night’s dream..oh and some my fair lady with a dash of Saturday night live …and that’s how my valentine’s celebration at the theatre tonight turned out.  The production of Bat Boy at the Mc Manus Theatre, (Grand Theatre) London, Ont., Canada runs until February 23. Tonight was opening night and I plan to go again several times. To say it is an unusual story is an understatement. What I experienced was an intriguing night of entertainment and I took away the message that the ones we shouldcomfort, love and protect are vulnerable to danger, mistrust and ignorance and we are often too damaged ourselves to really sort these problems out. Pretty much, that’s the lesson in a nutshell. Oh yeah, did I mention that my wonderful son, who never thinks just inside the box, is the director…?.(and set designer…and other stuff.) Quite the musical !

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Eclectic, Random and Impressive

When I went on the prowl I didn’t really know what I was looking for but I wanted something good. As soon as I went through the door, there he was, on display. I bought the entire display of eighteen used books by the same authour, Kurt Vonnegut. I also bought some other used books by five authors I had been looking for and keep their names handy on my wish list. The wonderful, young artsy used bookstore clerks gave me a great deal and I made off with my bulging shopping bag like a bandit.

Vonnegut is my son’s favourite writer and I made the purchase with him in mind. Thinking he would enjoy this wonderful assortment for a gift I started in on the other books chosen for myself but within a very short time I pulled out the eighteen books and started browsing through them. I’ve put the other books I picked out for myself aside, for now.

The Vonnegut writing is so very good, sometimes challenging to follow and I have to reread a few sentences here and there but I feel like I’m spending time with someone quite cool, intelligent, humane and with an amazing sense of humour. I’ve only read about a hundred pages of the one book so far and I may change my mind once the novelty of my big find wears off but Mervyn Peake and the others will have to wait for the time being. Now, Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast…..that’s quite a read on a dark and stormy night isn’t it?

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On The Fringe

Approximately a whole month has gone by since I posted a blog but I’ve often thought about it, so I guess that counts for something. It has been a month of some home reno projects coming to relative completion, dealing with my on going issues with my sore leg, babysitting my son’s active bulldog puppy Moneypenny (renamed Cannonball by me when she is here tearing things apart) and being glued to events unfolding in the form of hurricane Sandy, watching news coverage of the big election and all the news about international politics and unrest.

Somehow, my little blog of musings seems insignificant by comparison.

As the home renovations are finished up I’m faced with putting back the furniture and tossing out the unnecessary things that have been clutterring up the place for months. Some stuff I’m simply bagging up and getting rid of it either in the form of garbage or donations.An example of this is the assortment of inspirational wall plaques I’ve collected over the years. Seems like I’m happy to let them go now but maybe I could hang on to them and hang a different one up each week on a rotating basis for old times sake. Things I’ve hung on to for many reasons but no longer need could be better used by someone who really needs them.

Having the puppy ricochet around here for overnight visits is simply wearing me out but all in all I enjoy having her around, buy her treats and drop everything to take care of her. Her nutty antics make me upset at times as she is too much dog for my sore leg to handle but she makes me realize my limitations and forces me to work on improving my health despite the aggravation, pain and aches. Her nutty antics also make me smile and provide lots of material for my storytelling. let’s just say she keeps me on my toes.

World events, politics and the impact and recovery from Hurricane Sandy have shaken me out of an apathetic mind set as I truly wish for solutions for all concerned.As a result, here I sit at the fringe of the blog world simply checking in, showing up and letting you all know that a simplified life is my personal goal, I’ll do what I can to keep on going strong and work on my global understanding and rely on my faith that better times will somehow overcome these present difficulties.

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Out and About

The auditorium at the university was packed tonight, a total sell out. I was on my own attending the lecture by Maya Angelou at The University of Western Ontario, my alumni. The ticket to the event was my birthday present from my son who knew I would appreciate the experience. Parking was horrendous and I had to park way off campus, at the edge of a dangerous construction site, cross a busy roadway and hike over to the hall with my temperamental sciatic backside acting up. Out of puff, I settled down at the first available seat, (general admission), and politely engaged in conversation with the lady beside me. After a moment I  realized she wasn’t much of a talker or maybe just shy. The program started shortly and I became engrossed with the storytelling, poetry and wisdom of the sassy, lovely, wise Maya. I took lots of notes and was gently moved to tears. That’s the way I roll.

When the evening was over I just sat back and waited for the crowd to leave before attempting to maneuver the stairs and congested hallway to the main exit. I had already made up my mind to take a cab back to my car to avoid falling etc in the construction area on the walk back to the car. As luck would have it a nice shiny cab was waiting and I jumped in, a bit like Cinderella, in my own mind. As the traffic was terrible with everyone leaving the campus, the driver and I chatted. He was a wonderful guy. By the time I finally got to my car I had learned about why his family had left Turkey and how he felt about the politics surrounding his homeland and how he is managing life in Canada. We also discussed Maya Angelou books as he had looked her up on the internet when he heard of the big event tonight. He had “Not the end of the book;” by Umberto Eco and Jean-Claude Carriere on the seat beside him and wanted to know what I enjoyed reading. ( I haven’t had a man ask me about my reading preferences for……well, never…..excepting of course, my blog friend. I told him about the book, The Royal Game by Stefan Zweig that I just started ( recommended by my blog friend) and he knew it was short stories but hadn’t read it. Amazing! (No, I’m not being gullible here.)  When I told him I liked Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath , he grinned and at length, discussed the politics of the great piece of literature. Safe and sound at my car, we shook hands and I paid the fare. Darn, I wish he had been sitting beside me at the lecture.

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Taking It On The Chin

The plan was to submit a couple of stories to a literary contest by a certain time line and I’m happy to say that I managed to do it! So now I wait about six months to find out how the contest turns out. At this point I’ll be happy to get the confirmation  that the stories  were received electronically safe and sound. I don’t really trust computers as I was recently hacked or whatever it is called. That is quite an annoying experience as you feel quite helpless in the  process and just have to start over again. A misunderstanding on a computer is a weird thing as you can’t go face to face with anyone and correct it. So, if you are reading this and need my new email address let me know.

Misunderstandings between people are also not much fun but at least you can stand up for yourself. Often someone in the background is jealous and has stirred things up and misled the parties involved. Sometimes it is purely unintentional and can be easily addressed. I find that these misunderstandings often can come right out of the blue and you just have to be prepared sometimes to just let it go. I am a quiet type so I can sometimes be a target for the more aggressive personality wanting to settle a score. I have learned not to overreact but it does still feel a little unnerving to be under attack when I for one, don’t go looking for trouble.

In my personal writing I consistently have dilemmas about not wanting to offend or upset anyone. This is partially due to my gentle nature but is also due to my training as a teacher. Whenever I had to face big situations in teaching such as calling in the authorities due to child abuse or dealing with an obnoxious colleague it was not easy. Through life, I’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff but I will face unpleasant things when I have to deal with them. Some of the situations I’ve dealt with in my divorce long, long ago were like straightening out a very confused soap opera with a terrible plot. I’ve handled arrogant and decitful jerks when I much rather would have let someone else deal with them. I have drawn my line in the sand whenever faced with difficult situations. I just wish sometimes that it wouldn’t have to happen.

A sense of humour doesn’t hurt in life and thankfully I was blessed with one.

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Aisle 8, Row 0, Seat 55

I don’t know how your day was but I just spent mine with over 1300 public school and secondary students at the end of season production of Twelfth Night at The Stratford Festival. ( I had no idea when I bought this spur of the moment ticket that it was a student performance but after teaching for 31 years it was like old times.) It was a wonderful way to spend a cold drizzly fall day! The production was great and the kids were really enjoying themselves. It was fun to get caught up in their enthusiasm for the whole experience. I came away from the play today realizing that like Shakespeare it is always good to mix it up , try new things and be just a little naughty in order to make sense out of our everyday lives. The great vibe from the kids and the over the top, eclectic performance has compelled me to try to just open up my own mind and see where my imagination takes me. It takes some courage to relax enough to just let thoughts, senses and feelings take over for a while in my daily writing routine.  To give this some structure I intend to keep up with the news of the world around me and also let it find its place in this fusion of writing.

See what happens when I go to the theatre on my own?

 

P.S. I wonder if my copyright comment on my previous post will transfer to this one. If not, read it. Thankyou, AEOF.

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We Missed You

In our provincial election yesterday, only 49.2% of Ontarians voted.  We have an easy voting system and days of advanced polls to accommodate voters. Obviously some might be unable for varied reasons to go out and vote as stuff happens but over half the province had the flu or car trouble or forgot? If we didn’t have the opportunity to vote would this group of people even care enough to demand it as a right? There are some important issues out there people and it is up to all of us to show up and vote. In my recently acquired style of brevity all I can say is, what were you thinking?

Just to name a few things that might irritate you enough to get out to vote next time might be the economy and job situation, education of young children, standardized testing , cuts to library funding, medical issues and funding, social problems and concerns such as homelessness, drugs, violence, abuse,environmental problems and how we fit in to things federally and world-wide. The problem is lack of knowledge and apathy and the solution is to start paying attention, ask questions, contact your government representative to get some action and start to care.

Be aware of bias in news reports, check out different points of view, read up on the policies of the political movers and shakers, talk social and political issues things over with family and friends and show up for duty and vote when there is an election. Put on the coffee and deal with it.

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Pick Your Poision

As a result of all this writing I’ve been doing lately I have decided to try entering a literary contest. I’ve thought about this before and didn’t do it. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to make the effort  despite reading over the criteria for entering. Last year I looked the contest up again and read some of the winning selections.  Personally I found them all depressing but interesting. The winning piece was about suicide. The runner-up piece was about dealing with drug abuse. Considering I mostly write about my garden and cherished old family memories I put aside any urges to compete  in the yearly contest. But not this year. Heck why not?

I’m wound up now and my writing shows it . I can write depressing and interesting stuff too if I try really hard. Many friends, family and neighbours are reading my blog now and most find it either amusing or revealing. Some read it and don’t know what to think, I’m sure. They are reluctant to discuss it with me as if I have a frightening illness and don’t want to set me off emotionally by mentioning their reactions to it. Sensitive girl that I am, I can read their minds and some of them are confused or a bit worried about me. Others grin and wave at me in the grocery store or lean out of  their car window and quote little goofy things I’ve written as they drive by me when I’m out walking the dog. It’s rather fun for me and now I know how vulnerable other writers feel when they shared a completed work. My task right now for the next month is to write my entry for the contest and I’ve made a good start.

The contest material has to be original and about 1500 words. Neither, can it be something already published on the internet such as my blog stuff. If it was any good at all  wouldn’t hurt my chances either. I’ve decided to write three short fiction stories but they will be inspired by my varied dark side life experiences. Then I will have a choice of material and make my selection for the competition.

The first story which I’ve already started is about an arrogant and untrustworthy son of a gun. The second in the trilogy will be about a mean, old son of a gun. Finally, the third will be about a disturbed, lying son of a gun. Does anyone out there appreciate the pattern evolving here? Apparently I can find the inspiration to rage and rant with the best of them.

It is worth your while to look up the origin of the phrase” son of a gun” . Shakespeare had an appreciation for the character type and referred to it in his own special way using different words in King Lear. I can’t remember the quote but it involved  several choice put downs. Look it up yourself why don’tcha! (See what I did there.)

Once I have these stories written out and polished up I intend to perform them for my drama coach. She helps me with my voice and presentation skills as I continue to refine my storytelling performance art. Poor girl didn’t know what she was in for when I signed up. Over the next couple of weeks I will be in this mode of writing, editing and performing for one weary, paid listener. I can’t post these stories until after the competition, but rest assured they will be humdingers .Think of me sitting in the local coffee shop, church meeting or town hall gathering, writing furiously away while the locals come and go, shaking their heads.

They should worry.

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Etc., Etc., Etc.

Hmmmmm, what will I write about now? It is very late and so quiet  and my eyes are grainy with much-needed sleep. It’s interesting to be just sitting here and doing this while all my neighbours and family are asleep. Even the dog and cats have more sense than I do and have found their beds for the night. It seems that I have found a happy place and it is very late, quiet and grainy in my little writing nook. having absolutely no idea what I want to write about except the fun that I  have found in writing. Hence and furthermore, I will continue this little piece for my own selfish enjoyment. (Apparently the spell check is not working at this hour so I’ll be saving this draft but believe me when I say it is 1:54 am. Proving perhaps I need a life.)

Initially when I started to blog I thought it wud (spell check didn’t catch this so I left it in) be about cooking or books, possibly gardening with a dash of pets. In fact I wrote several posts along those lines. Alright, I wrote way too many. Then I tried out other things like memories, reflections and strange artistic writing exercises that got interesting reactions from my readers. Along the line I made contact with other writers  and examined their content and styles. Some have even blogrolled me ( cool) into categories like Life, Writing and Storytelling. Having subscribers sign up to follow has been exciting even if one of the subscribers is myself! Whoops. Now I just have to figure out how to blogroll other writers and use embedded features etc. etc. etc. (Don’t laugh at me.)

I meditated, examined my book shelves, sorted through my collection of books, music and scraps of previous writing attempts. Browsing expeditions in the library, bookstores, music shops and on-line have filled my days in September. Researching art, literature, politics and history, a tad of science (what the heck is a neutrino?), questioning my assumptions and generally opening up my mind to new ideas has been renewing. Writing some vulnerable material released bottled up grief. Some wacky allegories came out of nowhere and lifted my writer’s spirits and awareness . Edgy satire, although intriguing is out of my league at present. Abrasive satire is an acquired taste like sauerkraut .

Becoming an obsessed fiend for improving my reader stats I made more contact with other bloggers and enjoyed having a peek into new vistas that otherwise would have been off-limits.  I started using terms like vistas in my writing and making dreadful puns and not caring who liked it or not. I found out from a friend (hey there) that I should just write what I want as I am judge and jury of my creative life.  I found out I don’t know enough about certain things that I should care about like  politics and social issues. I intend to change my ways.

Realizing that first and foremost I am a storyteller with the soul of a poet (aw …) I will try to find a worthy niche to share these stories. Gentle humour seems to be my style for now but it may get testy unexpectedly. I need to read a wider variety of writers , think deeper and challenge more.

This stage of my writing life feels wonderful but that may just be all the vitamins and supplements that I have also recently tried to take…. kicking in.

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Judge Wizzy

Finally… a nice evening alone in the old  hollow tree with nothing to do except chill out and listen to a little night music. Wizzy was using her acute hearing to  concentrate on the out of district indie lark that had attracted her attention along the wire she sometimes perched on. His music was  intriguing as it had a wide range between an angry vibrato and a husky sub-amplitude croon. With this appealing entertainment and the sparse comforts of her home she was savouring the groove that her quiet  life had evolved into, give or take the odd adventure. The coolness of the night didn’t spoil her comfort. In fact she liked it enough to stay put in her forest home rather than go in for the winter time shares in the warm pig barn over yonder. No assisted living for her!

Oddly though, the normally chilly nest was  becoming uncomfortably warm. Thinking at first she was having a hot flash as could be expected due to her maturity she loosened up her neck feathers to let the cool breezes in . Little relief was found until she decided to clear out her nest of moulted feathers and other unmentionable debris. Digging way down deep she found her treasured button and to her great surprise found it was very warm to the touch. No wonder she was so uncomfortable. Wondering what to do with this developing hot button she was distracted from the cool music and vibe in the woods. Picking up the button like a hot potato with her beak she flung it outside onto the ground below. The eco- omen radiating out from the button was revealing itself to her. She was getting quick(er) to pick up on these things. (?!*#&!)

Like a bad penny, she wasn’t all that surprised to see Splat, the creepy carrier pigeon turning up within minutes and cooling his heels in the shadows under her tree.  His cryptic message for her from the White Roost had also been also authorized by The Big Hill. It instructed her to take an emergency flight to the Northwest Pinecone Territories immediately to attend an urgent meeting.  She had been granted dual authorized clearance of this no fly zone by both to be a mediator in the tense standoff going on there. Leaving the button to cool down, she merely covered it up a little with some wet mud from a puddle. Hopefully no silly goose would eat it.

Next thing she knew, she had arrived safely but windblown on a drifting ice floe. Ancient Samuel the Eagle, leader of the flock from the Land of Right and Left was presiding over the gathering much to the growing frustration of Old Snowy, the bird boss of The Territory of Pinecone and Outer Freaking Cold Limits. Both leaders had approved of having Wizzy mediate the heated argument they were involved in. Wizzy had previously impressed them both by her skills of observation and communication. Her interpretive swooping and avant garde staring were second to none, not even Sanderson Blooper. She would therefore mediate the debate without bias and bring about a quick resolution so that both leaders could get back to other issues demanding their attention such as…. what to do if you put all your eggs in one basket and it all goes terribly,terribly wrong… and how to win friends when nobody cares or even likes you.

The feathers had started to fly rather unexpectedly when Old Snowy had screeched his objections to Ancient Samuel trying to just take over the icy waters surrounding the islands of the Freaking Cold Outer Limits of The Territory of Pinecone. Samuel wanted access to the previously frozen waterway passage so that he could use it and mess it up for the sole benefit of The Land of Right and Left. Complicated, frozen stiff access to the disputed area in the olden days had been a deterrent but now with the onset of climate change the temptations of low- saline water, prime security vantage points and other buried hidden secret resources any birdbrain could deplete  was making it a place of renewed interest.  Snowy had somehow mustered enough guts to try to put a stop to it. Realizing what was at stake, Snowy had refused to participate in Samuel’s silly icebreakers at the onset of the meeting such as the Chicken Dance or the Manhattan Hokey Pokey.  He was not going to be fooled this time.

As the standoff continued, Wizzy witnessed the sad sight of thousands of terns committing suicide by unexpectedly flying directly into a cliff. Whales from oceans apart were swimming in dazed circles through the melting waters of The Freaking Cold Outer Limits unable to locate their bearings. Ominous clouds of mosquitoes descended all around them and threatened a terrible, deadly strike.

Faced with dealing with both cantankerous old birds and this dire turn of natural events Wizzy drew on her inner Owl and laid down the reality of the situation. Samuel, you think you can just come here and go through the melting waters and have your own way. Well, no you can’t and you can’t twist things such as ancient geographical coordinates to get your own way. So knock it off and leave and don’t come back uninvited until trust is reestablished. Snowy, you have stood your ground in this crisis and it shows some long over due grit. You have suicidal birds and dazed and confused whales to deal with and that is just the melting tip of the iceberg. You need to fix what can be fixed and not allow any further interference for the good of all, bird and beast. So smarten up before it’s too late.

With a deep disappointed sigh Samuel puffed out his elegant chest and extended a wing to Snowy. With an equally gloomy stare, Snowy did likewise. Meeting over, common sense restored by an (almost) impartial third-party the two seasoned old birds waddled off to the all day, early bird buffet at Lemmings Fast Foods. Avoiding any contact with Splat and his carrier cronies Wizzy took a cheap flight home stopping along the way to enjoy the deepening colours and scents of the season probably blissfully unaware that this was unique to her as a bird of prey.

Finally home, safe and sound Wizzy restored the remarkable button to her little pit of weird and wonderful bits and pieces in her hollow tree nest. Somehow that button with all its quirks was a comfort. Knowing it was there as a tool to be used wisely, Wizzy relaxed again and tuned in once more to listen to the songbird with attitude and soul.

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