To the child alive and well
caught in her thoughts
on this Monday with things to do
she heads toward the lot
where Sunday she’ll be laid to rest
… … …
To Tuesday’s student
… … …
To the young woman of the morning
who will be mowed down
at five in the evening
her place is marked already
under snow that flies up
behind her muted step
… … …
To the schoolgirl of late morning
who will die a violent death
her adulterated history lesson
… … …
You are in danger
in your classroom
as the setting sun glints
off your cheek
… … …
(parts of: The Ideal Site For The Crime by Louky Bersianik)
In the book: The Montreal Massacre by Louise Malette & Marie Chalouh; translated by Marlene Wildeman. Charlottetown, PEI: gynergy books, 1991.
Je me souviens … Geneviève Bergeron, 21; Hélène Colgan, 23; Nathalie Croteau, 23; Barbara Daigneault, 22; Anne-Marie Edward, 21; Maud Haviernick, 29; Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz, 31; Maryse Laganière, 25; Maryse Leclair, 23; Anne-Marie Lemay, 27; Sonia Pelletier, 23; Michèle Richard, 21; Annie St-Arneault, 23; Annie Turcotte, 21.
If you follow my book commentary tag, you’ll notice that I read a lot of depressing (quasi-realistic) fiction – mysteries, dystopias and apocalypses pepper through the books I read.
I am old (oldish, middle-aged if I reach my death goal). Thus, I’ve seen a lot of disasters occur around me and occasionally impact my everyday, work-a-day life.
These disasters/tragedies in my life coupled with fear and tension and the worry over the possibility of apocalypses or struggling to live in a dystopian world leaves me too often fearful. I’m tired of living with fear.
The older I get, the more it seems as if disasters are over-running our media sources. It took weeks for everyone to know the Titanic had sunk; it took mere hours for everyone to know about what had happened at the Boston Marathon.
I was a teenager in the 1970s and it seems that the 1950s were the last idealized time to grow up. It’s all about perception.
Jeff Guinn, in his book Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson (N.Y.: Simon & Schuster, 2013) writes:
“There was a lot going on in America and the world, much of it tragic on a larger scale, that was featured on front pages and broadcasts. News of wars …. there seemed to be no end to those stories. The root causes were complex, and people were sick of thinking about them.” (p. 333)
As a child of the 70s, Manson was the first bogey man to worm his way into my frontal lobe. I have vague recollections about Vietnam and Kent State but Helter Skelter was the first book that made me think that the world might not be safe. If a famous actress (Sharon Tate) wasn’t safe, how could I be safe?
Then the Patty Hearst (she was rich) kidnapping happened and the world shifted just a little bit more into bad and evil.
Things were looking up – the Berlin Wall came down and it looked like maybe all of us (human beans, inhabitants of planet Earth) would choose hope over fear.
The day that a Korean airplane supposedly invaded Russian air space I was a nanny for a sweet baby girl and the worry penetrating from the news drove us out of the house to take a calming walk and to rationalize all the reasons war was not imminent.
When 9/11 happened I was working in a school library where the news was on all day which only feed the young students’ worries. How could I tell them that their world would always be safe when I knew otherwise?
How many disasters (man made and otherwise – Katrina, Sandy) can one expect to impact her life span?
I read, write and think too much (or so everyone keeps telling me!).
What do I learn reading dystopias, apocalyptic scenarios and mysteries.
I learn how to survive.
I learn how to fight.
I learn that we are more the same than different.
I learn to have hope because every mystery is solved, the apocalypse rarely happens and if it does we learn how to get beyond it and I know how to recognize the signs of a world becoming a dystopia and can thus do something before it is too late.
What do I learn when I read, write and think?
I learn that hope is stronger than fear.
First snow today (or at least, the first snow that will last longer than a few warm days). Big flakes. Lots of wind. Invigorating to walk in. I have been out and will now stay in until Monday.
Sunday is applesauce and home-made soup day. Reading Doctor Sleep day. Hibernating.
I have a full freezer, full fridge and full cupboards. I have cable (after six months of only having one channel) and internet. I need nothing else.
This short post (look only one picture) is participating in Ailsa’s weekly travel theme – this week the theme is Travel theme: Short.
This day, I am always so conflicted about this day.
My younger half-sisters are not so conflicted – they think nothing of changing their Facebook pictures to poppies.
I’ll buy a poppy. I’ll wear a red poppy though I’d prefer to wear a white poppy.
My father was a soldier. His father was not (too young for the first world war, too old for the second). My father’s father was a farmer – a steady man. My father wanted adventure. My father joined the army as soon as he was able but he never fought in an active war zone. He was in Germany, in the 1960s, as part of a peace-keeping effort.
I cringe every time the news announcers says celebrate the day (they should say commemorate). Remembrance Day is not a day of celebration.
The poem, In Flanders Field, should not be set to music and sung.
Conflicted. Conflict. If I remain lucky, I will never experience a war on my own soil, in my own country. This is a privilege and I know this.
I Google “last war on Canadian soil” and I get this. The last battle occurred not far from where I grew up but I’ve didn’t learn about this war in school. Even now the question remains was this a rebellion or a resistance? The victors control the language.
I hope that we, as a species, can find a better way to solve conflicts.
I fight for the courage to keep speaking up.
I have faith that we, as a species, are better than this.
The English writer Vera Brittain wrote that at a certain point the living have to break faith with the dead.
That we must question and decide and commemorate as we see fit.
This is how I remember:
by talking about White Poppies,
by discussing my views about the Vimy Memorial,
This is What Freedom Looks Like, to me,
“For one whole season, Audrey kept a bucket of glitter next to our front door. Every morning, as she headed out the door to school, she’d toss a handful of glitter in the air, walking through it as she headed out the door, leaving faint, barely discernible flecks of gold in her hair and on her clothes, her eyelashes even. And our floor. No point in vacuuming. And anyway, I liked it. ” (p. 18) (No Elves in the Night by Joyce Maynard. pp. 11-19 in Dirt: the quirks, habits, and passions of keeping house edited by Mindy Lewis)
It is the day after Halloween and I am in the midst of El Dia de los Muertos. No idea why my mind has defaulted to thoughts of glitter (glittery thoughts). Perhaps because my artsy little sister painted a skull for Halloween and I, once again, wished I was even a little bit crafty. I’m not. I hate the messiness of great art. Great art is so seldom created precisely in small spaces; you need mess and largeness, fearlessness and the ability to make messy mistakes to create great art. You need to be willing to drop and break and fling things about to make great art.
And I can’t. I can’t be messy! My world must be neat and clean and precise!
I am a perfectionist and a procrastinator. I can not create something imperfect even if it leads to something great. I can not live in a mess. Every night, before bed, my house is straightened and my dishes are done and my clothes are neatly lined up waiting for tomorrow. I was raised this way and I took the lesson too much to heart. My other siblings did not – they have the ability to feel safe in a dis-organized space. They have the ability to try and fail and try again. I envy them this ability.
Thus, I hate glitter. Once used, glitter invades a space and never leaves. My mother loves to get glitter; she loves it when tiny glitter hearts or shamrocks escape from the cards her friends send her. She loves it even as she curses the inability of her vacuum to clean it up. She loves it even when six months later she is picking up tiny green glitter Christmas trees off the kitchen floor. The great grandchildren love grandmother’s glittery house.
She’d love to bake with edible glitter if she baked. She cooks; I bake. No gold glitter in my banana bread, I say!
And no, I don’t need to glow in the dark either!
I think that glitter is more trouble then it’s worth. No glitter eyeshadow, nails, or hair for me. No shiny bits of plastic sparkling unexpectedly from the floor months (nay years) later. No pixie fairy dust at my house folks! I like my fey more traditional than that.
Want a quick way to clean-up glitter – try this.
But, oh some days – days when the sun creates rainbows in gas filled puddles or days when the crisp, blinding snow sparkles. Days when skulls need glitter and cats creep below an orange pumpkin moon. Then, I long for glitter.
Glitter as bright and shiny as the two nail art creations that follow.
Glitter with ghosts…
Or oh my this … inspired by my eldest sister’s favourite Halloween candy.
Candy Corn glitter…
Glitter for my nails and glitter for my hair and glitter for my eyes.
Damn the mess and full speed ahead!
“On the morning in question, she wore white shorts and a pink T-shirt that featured a green dragon breathing a fire of orange glitter. It is difficult to explain how awesome I found this T-shirt at the time.” -John Green
October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came -
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.
~George Cooper, “October’s Party”
One for sorrow
Two for mirth
Three for a wedding
Four for a birth
Five for silver
Six for gold
Seven for a secret not to be told
Eight for heaven
Nine for hell
And ten for the devil’s own self.
One for sorrow
Two for joy
Three for a girl
Four for a boy
Five for silver
Six for gold
Seven for a secret never to be told.
One for sorrow
Two for mirth
Three for a wedding
Four for birth
Five for rich
Six for poor
Seven for a witch
I can tell you no more.
But the witch lived on till all had forgotten her, past memory, past pity, and was never rescued.
And Who Would Pity A Swan?
by Connie Willis
Issac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine
That black cat up there (4 pictures up) needs to have a bloody doll clutched in its claws. Don’t you think?
I worry (as a single woman who’s lived alone for 75% of her life) about being forgotten. Will anyone a hundred years from now even know I existed?
Past memory. Past pity. Who will rescue me then?
Do I need to be rescued?
No, a witch always rescues herself.
This week’s photo challenge at the Daily Post is The Hue of You (cute wordplay, by the way – it made me smile).
“For this challenge, we want to keep it simple: share a photograph with a prominent color (or assortment of colors) that reveals more about you. It could be a symbolic, meaningful shade; a color that expresses how you currently feel; or a combination of colors that excites you and tells a visual story.”
I’ve always been drawn to the primary colours of yellow and blue.
From the brightness of local playground equipment….
To the pattern on the bathroom wall at Wanuskewin Heritage Park…
To the yellow and blue house that I use to pass on my daily walk.
Here it is before it sold…
And here it is after (repainted in the same colours). Hooray, I was worried the new owners would replace the colour scheme with something different!
So, what does this say about me. That I’m still childlike (primary colours), that I’m attracted to what makes me smile (aren’t we all) and that right now, I need smiles (it’s been a bad year).
Some weeks I really don’t want to blog; you may have noticed I have participated in a lot of photography challenges this year.
So, what hue are you?
We remember this:
We have food while some have none
We have each other while some are alone
All you demons and hungry ghosts
Whose desire is never satisfied
Share it with us
Be at peace
We are grateful for this food —
The work of many hands
And the sharing of other lives
The True Secret of Writing
N. Y. : Atria Books, 2013
I’ve been waiting all my life to be a little old lady.
All the women I admired when I was growing up were little old ladies. There was my witch. There was Mama H. There was our landlady. There were the two honourary grandmothers who lived across from us (one on each side – I was the mouse in the middle). There was my first librarian. Little old ladies all. Independent, husbands long gone or invisible to me. I wanted to be like them. I wanted to spend my afternoons sipping tea and gazing out the window.
Then there were all the nursery rhyme old ladies. There was old mother Hubbard who lived alone with her dog who she couldn’t feed (remember her cupboard was bare). There was that old woman who lived in a shoe and had too many children (were they all hers?). There was that old lady who came to ruin because she swallowed a fly. There was brave mother goose writing down all those rhymes so that the little old ladies would not be forgotten.
And the Fairy tale witches – they were always little old ladies. The witch from Hansel & Gretel. The witch in Rapunzel. Snow White’s queen turned hag. Baba Yagas. Independent women all. With their own houses and no need of anyone to support them. They lived where they wanted and did what they wanted.
I want to go back. I want to be that 7 year old sitting on the stoop shelling peas with her grandmother. I am tired of being in the now. I want to go back to when I had all the time in the world stretching out in front of me.
And if I can’t do that I want to be a little old lady sipping tea and reading books and (occasionally) scaring the children with tales of witches.