Tag Archives: reading

Don’t Make Me Do Research

Oh, my goodness.

I had great plans on writing a post about church budgets, Communion and tarot cards, but a co-worker blow-up caused me to want to write about music at work, but alas, I don’t want to do that now. There is no use complaining about the denial of access to brain-saving devices if no one is there to reverse the decision.

I am still coping with the effects of the accident. I get so tired, yet as I am the only one able to drive right now, I need to be more attentive. This is affecting my ability to do my normal tasks, like making coffee and climbing the stairs to sort papers. Climbing stairs … please, just the thought causes grief. My mental state was being tested and I think it was going well. I almost fell apart, but thanks to my music and collection of audiobooks, I had come out less battered.

Until the Friday meltdown about the music. This time it was not me.

Step back a bit, for just a moment. One of the saddest results of this accident is my ability to read and type for long periods of time. I need to use email at work and our accounting program is on the computer, but I need to take eye breaks more often. My last post took a few tries to finish. I have needed to use a dimmed screen to and even enlarged the display size on my laptop at home and computer at work. Reading from books will come back, I hope. In most cases, the fonts are too small for me to read for long periods of time. My doctor does not think this sidestep is permanent. If I had a concussion, it was a very mild one and is healing quite well. He knows I have to drive and told me to make sure to do it in stages.

I give Richard a lot of credit, he is ready to go back to work tomorrow (10 Jan). I do not think I am ready yet, but there is nothing physically wrong with me. Mentally, I am a shambles, but not bad enough to take leave. Now that the one solace I have at work has been taken away, I am afraid of going mad; again.

I have to speak the words: “it is going to be okay” out loud so I can believe them.

Oh, there will be a post about church budgets, Communion and tarot cards (a continuation of a previous report I put up), but it will be less angry and may include videos of cats.

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Filed under Health Check, Mental Illness, Musical Fruits, Work

Juss Cuss

If you feel you don’t fit in with a group, whether it being your workplace, a family function, or a Facebook collective, please remember that you were hired, born into, or invited for a reason. In some cases, the very people who roped you in may feel the same way. I am not saying you should do a survey, but I have a sneaking suspicion I am pretty close.

You may have people tell you to adjust your behaviour, yet it seems the one who has served thirty years at the same job (for example) did not get the same message. This may be true, but you also don’t know what changes they’ve made before you arrived on the scene; they may have been a lot worse. Stuff went on before you/me arrived. That is not to say we do not need some improvement, only thing to do is review the criticism (as this is what it is 98% of the time) and take stock of what can be changed versus what you think should be changed. Remember, you may feel you are in a place that is the personification of inbred cocker spaniels doing human things, but your introduction may have off-set the balance. You may have to re-calibrate yourself at first then slowly introduce your real self.

Goodness gracious, change can be good … for everyone. Speaking on a personal level, I am so lucky to have been able to express my innermost feelings (at a price), my dreams (no matter how far-fetched), and my artistic abilities (relating to finished projects). Take pride in change, even the bad ones. Of course, the bad one is not good, but the good one will not be bad.

I am not the same person I was two years ago or five days ago. We all have something holding us back and something pushing us forward. I have made concessions, agreements, and promises – some of these welcomed, some through sheer disapproval. Now, you know that not everyone will like you, and in turn, you will not like them. That is part of human nature. Actually, not all lions get along, so it is a NATURE thing, human or Panthera leo. Do not be upset; yet on the flipside, do not be the one upsetting. The thing about relationships is sometimes it is not about you, me, him, or her. Other times is is always about you, me, him, or her. Developing a good relationship comes with altering behaviour and accepting behaviour.

Forget the saying “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.” That is a ridiculous concept. You should be prepared to support, or as I do, carry people in your heart. You cannot experience a person’s joys and sufferings, and they cannot do the same for you. We are only witnesses to each other’s happenings, whether we are physically there or we hear about it over the waves. Compassion is the key to surviving the relationship thing. When I was a practicing Christian, I found it more difficult to care about someone, for fear I was doing it wrong. No, I take that back, I cared differently. Now that I have stepped aside, I see compassion exists. There are people who I have worked with who believe in the power of the Ouija even though it is a made-up game. I giggle, but I have learned not to mention this out loud. I have seen charitableness in a thousand-million forms from my Christian brothers and sisters with no judgement (well, maybe a bit, but they are human). My Atheist and Agnostic cohorts are some of the first to step up and help someone in need. That is awesome!

It is also a crutch.

We all have background things to deal with, some are more frontal than others. I am not afraid to share. Hey, it’s all part of healing. I have learned to be nice to everyone, obvs. I have also learned to carry secrets. I have experienced high-school behaviour amongst forty year old adults. We all have. Granted, some of us are guilty of being one of the accused. Be honest. 

Please, let’s all just be good to each other. Stop collecting info on Facebook, start collecting Pokémon. I do not have the capacity to work at your high-speed level. You may not be able to comprehend the works of Geoffrey Chaucer. Teamwork, I think is the word I am looking for. We are in this together, but sometimes others are more enthusiastic than their partners. Punishing a friend or a co-worker for a meltdown is not how we are supposed to get things done.

Humiliation is not the key to compliance. I do not like a clean desktop (the one on a desk not a computer). You may not like photographs in silver frames. As I mentioned earlier, we need to accept the fact we need to make adjustments, we have quotas to fill, we have cupcakes to make, and sometimes the procedures change. Like living in a new city, we have to learn to read a new map.

We need to rely on each other to make sure the squeaky wheel gets greased. We need to follow the rules, yet be prepared to change things up. We all have gifts and skills along with issues and problems. If a co-worker does something to piss you off, say something. Don’t shun and play favourites; it makes you look silly. It is up to us to encourage each other and break down barriers.

By breaking down barriers, I do not mean break the coffee pot.

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Filed under Atheists Are People Too, Family and Friends, Fretting Muchly, Just Because ... Everyone Has This Kind of Moment, Musical Fruits, Progressive Christianity, Work

#WorldBookDay

Oh my gosh! I have been looking forward to this day for a while.

The UK recognises the first Thursday in March as World Book Day. Children (and I am guessing some adults) are encouraged to dress up as book characters. The rest of the world celebrates this day on 23 April, St George’s Day, which is one reason why the date in the UK was moved. I guess you can’t have people dressing up all crazy on a saint’s day.

image

(Morris dancers celebrate St George’s Day at Leadenhall Market Picture: Alamy)

I acknowledge the worthiness of books every day, but I showing it a bit differently. I am sharing books with friends. I have started by sending copies of my cousin Adele Dueck‘s books:

Anywhere But Here
Nettie’s Journey
Racing Home

I am also sending some of my favourite books by Canadian authors. I believe in sharing books. Mind you, if a book is beyond repair it should be re-purposed into another form of art. Sometimes books get sent for recycling, but this should only be done if there is no other course. My husband’s job depends on paper and book recycling. The books I have shared are, as stated to my friends, gently used and loved. Sending a care package of books is a great way to learn about someone.

I also promote books suggested (and written) by friends on Facebook. A newly acquired friend, Matt Bolton, has written a hilarious book: The Kumber In Norway: The Adventures Of The Kumber Of Kew (this is the Canadian link). I am just about reading it and I hope there is more!

Through book recommendations I have learned about the places in which my friends live. One of the most entertaining book I was suggested is Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North by Stuart Maconie. I now want to to see Manchester and Liverpool more than ever. I have a ton of books that reference Regina, none as fine as 100 Facts About Pandas by David O’Doherty.

I have been connected to authors of all types: Carmen DeSousa, Louis Hemmings, and Matt. I love the chance to talk about books and how they have changed the way I think about human existence. I love the chance to delve into a genre I never would have thought I would; ever. I am so glad for meeting and conversing with such a rich group of friends that can expand my reading universe.

I did not dress up today, but the thought did cross my mind.

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Filed under Contentment, Downtime, Writing and Reading

My 2015 Reading Challenge – Met!

Happy 2016!

I was recently asked to list the books I read for the @goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge. Though I am proud of reading 75 books this year, the selection may not be considered too … juvenile? Yes, my list contains some books for children, young adults, philosophers, literary reviewers, and everyone in between. I have placed them in reverse chronological order – most recent read first:

1. Dodger Terry Pratchett
2. Night and Morning, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
3. Wordsworth: A Poet’s History Keith Hanley
4. The Temple Of Glas John Lydgate
5. English Poetry from Chaucer to Gray: Part 40 Harvard Classics Charles William Eliot
6. The Christmas Santa Slept Nick Sheridan
7. Great War Britain Leeds: Remembering 1914-18 Lucy Moore
8. Miracles C. S. Lewis
9. The Complete Works Robert Henryson
10. Complete Works Baruch Spinoza
11. Beasts and Super-Beasts Saki
12. The Complete Poems Philip Larkin
13. The Problem of Pain C. S. Lewis
14. The Screwtape Letters C. S. Lewis
15. The Great Divorce C. S. Lewis
16. Mere Christianity C. S. Lewis
17. Reggiecide Chris Dolley
18. Anglo-Saxon Sagas and Songs Christopher Webster
19. The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy, #1) Charlie N. Holmberg
20. The Chronicles of Clovis Saki
21. Outside In: Ten Christian Voices We Can’t Ignore Cindy Brandt
22. How I Kissed Evangelism Goodbye & a Collection of Other Essays On Faith Cindy Brandt
23. Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things Jenny Lawson
24. The Cloud of Unknowing Anonymous
25. An Anglo-Saxon Primer, with Grammar, Notes, and Glossary Henry Sweet
26. 1000 Cornish Place Names: Explained Julyan Holmes
27. Cornish Curiosities: A collection of oddities, frivolities & downright stupidities Margaret Caine
28. Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People Nadia Bolz-Weber
29. Troublous Times in Canada A History of the Fenian Raids of 1866 and 1870 (Sir) John A. Macdonald
30. The Shepherd’s Crown Terry Pratchett
31. Reginald Saki
32. Reginald in Russia and Other Sketches Saki
33. Carnival of Secrets (Grim Hill, #6) Linda DeMeulemeester
34. Forest of Secrets (Grim Hill, #5) Linda DeMeulemeester
35. The Family Secret (Grim Hill, #4) Linda DeMeulemeester
36. The Forgotten Secret (Grim Hill, #3) Linda DeMeulemeester
37. Johannes Cabal and the Blustery Day: And Other Tales of the Necromancer Jonathan L. Howard
38. Exeunt Demon King (Johannes Cabal, #0.75) Jonathan L. Howard
39. Awkward Moments (Not Found in Your Average) Children’s Bible – Vol. 2 Horus Gilgamesh
40. Awkward Moments (Not Found in Your Average) Children’s Bible – Volume #1: Illustrating the Bible Like You’ve Never Seen Before! Horus Gilgamesh
41. Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience Shaun Usher
42. An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments Ali Almossawi
43. Gaspar The Thief (Gaspar the Thief, #1) David A. Lindsaay
44. Alice, or the Mysteries Book 11 Edward Bulwer-Lytton
45. Alice, or the Mysteries Book 10 Edward Bulwer-Lytton
46. Alice, Or The Mysteries Book 09 Edward Bulwer-Lytton
47. Alice, or the Mysteries – Book 08 Edward Bulwer-Lytton
48. A History of Ancient Britain Neil Oliver
49. The Coming of the Friars Augustus Jessopp
50. Alice, or the Mysteries – Book 07 Edward Bulwer-Lytton
51. A Collection of Old English Plays, volume 4: Two Tragedies in One by Yarrington, The Captives by heywood, The Costlie Whore, and Everie Woman in Her Humor Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
52. Happy Valentine’s Slay, Children of Hamlin, Tooth & Nail & Fairy Tale, Ember in the Wind, Jar of Hearts, Welcome to Sorrow (The Grimm Diaries Prequels #11- #14) Cameron Jace
53. Alice, or the Mysteries Book 06 Edward Bulwer-Lytton
54. Alice, or the Mysteries Book 05 Edward Bulwer-Lytton
55. Alice, or the Mysteries Book 04 Edward Bulwer-Lytton
56. Alice, or the Mysteries Book 03 Edward Bulwer-Lytton
57. The Secret Deepens (Grim Hill, #2) Linda DeMeulemeester
58. The Secret of Grim Hill (Grim Hill, #1) Linda DeMeulemeester
59. The Historical Works of Venerable Bede Bede
60. Runaway Radical: A Young Man’s Reckless Journey to Save the World Amy Hollingsworth
61. Murder on the Hill (Harley Hill Mysteries, #1) Kennedy Chase
62. Murder on the Page (Harley Hill Mysteries, #2) Kennedy Chase
63. The Chronicles of Narnia(Chronicles of Narnia, #1-7) C. S. Lewis
64. Thomas Adès: Full of Noises: Conversations with Tom Service Tom Service and Thomas Adès
65. What Ho, Automaton! Chris Dolley
66. Russian Fairy Tales Alexander Afanasyev
67. A Bright Moon For Fools Jasper Gibson
68. Gaspar And The Fantastical Hats(Gaspar the Thief, #0.5) David A. Lindsay
69. The Ludwig Conspiracy Oliver Pötzsch
70. Dying for Dinner Rolls (Chubby Chicks Club, #1) Lois Lavrisa
71. Music as Alchemy: Journeys with Great Conductors and Their Orchestras Tom Service
72. The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries William Guild Howard
73. Raising Steam Terry Pratchett
74. The Clue in the Diary (Nancy Drew, #7) Carolyn Keene
75. The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical Shane Claiborne

Please check some of these out. I am trying for another 75 for 2016. Let me know what you think.

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Filed under Downtime, Hobby Go Wild, Writing and Reading

Between Friends

I am sharing a post from a blogger friend Cinda (C. C.) Yager. We have had some good discussions about writing, poetry, politics, and coffee. I have chosen to write a response to each of question asked on her post listed below:

What are your reading habits?

1. Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

I used to be able to read in any room, but I find my bedroom the most comfortable and comforting. My favourite chair in the living room is possibly a close second. I tend to gravitate to a place where I my OCD will not have a breakdown. When visiting my parents spot is the right-most side of the chesterfield (sofa, couch) and in the bedrooom, the furthest right side of the out of mirror view. The stress of finding the right spot has its moments, but once found it is awesomeness from that point forward.

2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?

I used to collect bookmarks as well. Now I use whatever piece of paper I find. I would like to find my collection again, as some of them mean a great deal to me. I have some bought for me by my cousin, some made for me, and some I bought for collecting only. Why have bookmarks if they are never used to mark pages? I really need to get back into the habit.

3. Can you stop reading any time, or do you have to stop in a certain place? 

I try to stop at the end of a chapter, or if there are no chapters, a double-space between paragraphs (Terry Pratchett-style). I will occasionally stop in the middle of a page, but only if it to fall asleep with utter exhaustion or a wee break. Sometimes the wee break will turn into a stays update on Twitter or Facebook, which means the book will not be looked until another time. That is when it is a good time to break at a more efficient spot.

4. Do you eat or drink while reading?

I do both quite often. I read whilst eating my lunch at work, at home, and sometimes on the bus (for the one in a hundred times I take the bus). I do not like sitting at the lunch table at work with noting to do, as most time I am by myself. Reading at home during supper is a no-no, but I will eat my breakfast and read in the morning while waiting for the husband to finish his shower. I need to get some knowledge and culture in before I make myself physically clean to start the day.

5. Can you read while listening to music/watching TV?

It is easier for my to read while listening to music – any music – when reading, but in the last few years I have found it difficult to read with the television on. Now I find myself closeting myself away when Richard watches television in the livingroom. I will say it is more difficult to read with a panel show or BBC 3’s Music Matters playing in the background. Something by Haydn or Thomas Tallis will do just fine.

6. One book at a time or several at once?

Several. One at a time all at once. I am so guilty for starting something and not quite finishing it. I want to get the complete collection of Philip Larkin poems done, but first I have to read something by F Scott Fitzgerald. No! I need to start the collection of Spinoza before I even think about getting past page 27 of the book by that author. Oh, it is a terrible place to be in.

7. Reading out loud or silently in your head?

I do not think I have ever read out loud, not counting school. I try to keep the writings inside my head, as my Kindergarten teacher wrote my parents – I do not share well. Actually, I have a tendency to share too much, but these writings are mine for the moment and I would like to keep them to myself.

8. Do you read ahead and skip pages?

I am too afraid to miss something. I will be honest, I have on occasion skipped pages, and due to that I got put into the remedial reading class in Grade 6. I was so bored with what we were taking that I jumped to read the Norse tales of the reading textbook. I was labelled as “slow” because I refused to answer the questions listed at the end of the section we were studying. I still hold a grudge over this.

9. Break the spine or keep it new?

This is rather an interesting thing – I tend to break the spine. Oh, only on my own books! If I borrow a book, it is always returned the way it was borrowed, except read by one more person than it was before.

10. Do you write in books?

I think this counts as writing:

2015-10-16 21.34.05

This is after three years of Music History (we used the same text for all three years). I do not write much in books anymore, as I rarely need to. I write what points I want from a book in notebook and store that in a place where I will never find it again. Either that or highlight the passage in my Kindle then delete the book after I am done reading it. Note to self: do not keep notes.

11. Electronic or print format?

I cannot answer this question without causing myself stress. I like the feel and the touch of the printed book. Paper books offer photographic offerings in better detail than you can find on the computer version, oddly enough. I do like to 968-book option available on the Kindle, though. Right now I am reading books on ly Kindle more often than paperback or hardcover. I spend, at times, 99¢ on a self-published book for Kindle that may not be available in printed form. Then again, I prefer some books to be in printed form, as the book itself is a work of art. I will not get into the carrying problem of paper books and the battery problem of e-readers.

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There are so many more ways for me to answer these questions, but I open this up to you. Please leave me note here or on your own page with your own answers. I will challenge you with a twist: answer these questions with as much humour as possible. Canada is going through a horrible election campaign right now, and like most of us, I have become rather depressed with the whole thing. Photos would be even more awsomer!

I ask that you read Cinda’s complete blog collection here: Anatomy of Perceval. She is a fine writer and I want her to know what a great influence she has been on me.

Thanks Cinda, you’re awesome!!

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I Did Not Celebrate National Poetry Day – Oops!

I have been reading the works of Philip Larkin, but for the last few years I have delved into the art of poetry by Canadian, American, Chinese, Japanese, Irish, Welsh, and English writers. Though some have been translated into Modern English (I need to distinguish it this way, as a number of my collection is in Old English).

On Thursday I did try my hand at writing a poem, but it was a reminder for me to finish The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within by Stephen Fry. I think I need to learn how to do this. Modern poetry does not have the a-b-a (so on …) format and there is no need to have rhyming bits. You do not need to have a poem look “normal”:

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)

By E. E. CUMMINGS

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart) (1)

Of course, you have your standards:

The Song of Hiawatha (excerpt, you will thank me)
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Part I: The Peace-Pipe

On the Mountains of the Prairie,
On the great Red Pipe-stone Quarry,
Gitche Manito, the mighty,
He the Master of Life, descending,
On the red crags of the quarry
Stood erect, and called the nations,
Called the tribes of men together.
From his footprints flowed a river,
Leaped into the light of morning,
O’er the precipice plunging downward
Gleamed like Ishkoodah, the comet.
And the Spirit, stooping earthward,
With his finger on the meadow
Traced a winding pathway for it,
Saying to it, “Run in this way!” […] (2)

OK, that is all I can take.

And here is one of my favourites:

“To a Mouse”

By ROBERT BURNS

On Turning up in Her Nest with the Plough, November, 1785

Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
          Wi’ bickerin brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee

Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion,
          Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,

An’ fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave
          ’S a sma’ request:
I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,

An’ never miss ’t!

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
          O’ foggage green!
An’ bleak December’s winds ensuin,

Baith snell an’ keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste,
An’ weary Winter comin fast,
An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
          Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past

Out thro’ thy cell.

That wee-bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,
          But house or hald,
To thole the Winter’s sleety dribble,

An’ cranreuch cauld!

But Mousie, thou art no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
          Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,

For promis’d joy!

Still, thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e’e,
          On prospects drear!
An’ forward tho’ I canna see,

I guess an’ fear! (3)

In case you are wondering, quotation marks are used for individual poems, e.g. “To a Mouse”, italics or underline is used for a collection, e.g. The Canterbury Tales or The Divine Comedy.

The Divine Comedy is not to be confused with The Divine Comedy:

Poetry, at its core, is essential to writing. Some of the earliest English stories were in poetry form: Beowulf by an artist unknown, The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, Confessio Amantis (a 33,000-line poem by John Gower, friend of Chaucer), Nibelungenlied or The Song of the Nibelungs by another unknown poet (this is considered to be one source for Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen). I think we take for granted the value of poetry and we label it as avant garde, beatnik, a form of protest, you name it. Then again, when you see poem spoken you do get the sense of hippage:

After the murder of King Richard II (starved to death in the Tower of London, put there by King Henry IV), John Gower was forced to rewrite portions of Confessio Amantis due to hints at support for King Richard II. Up until recent times poets, composers, and artists were commissioned to create works of art. The threat of death influenced a number of commissioned poets to change allegiances. Today poets are using words to protest established laws and current governments. Some writers are still being threatened with torture or death for their writing. Unfortunately, the idea of freedom of expression through word art is just not allowed in some places.

OK, I lied, I have written a few poems in  my day, as found in my book Short Poems 

“Unnamed 11” (4)

2015-10-10 10.50.56-1

________________________________________________________

(1) “[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]” Copyright 1952, © 1980, 1991 by the Trustees for the E. E. Cummings Trust, from Complete Poems: 1904-1962 by E. E. Cummings, edited by George J. Firmage. Used by permission of Liveright Publishing Corporation.
(2) Steve. “The Song of Hiawatha.” Poets’ Corner. © 1994 – 2009 Poets’ Corner Editorial Staff, n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2015.
(3) Pechman, Alexandra. “To a Mouse.” Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2015.
(4) Jensen, Wendalynn P. “Unnamed 11” Short Poems © 1982 Used by permission by the author.

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Hey, This Niceness Is Not So Badness

I am on my way to being OK. Though I am in need of a holiday, overall, things are coming along.

After considerable thought, I have decided to go the short story route for my book. I do not want to give too much away, but there will be happiness, sadness, and weather. Oh, that weather can be a right ruiner of stuff.

The development of my characters will take place throughout the course of the work. I tried the point plan in character modelling, but human lives don’t happen on paper, so why should my pretend ones? Don’t get me wrong, certain events and traits will have to be carefully documented, like eye colour and favourite jam flavour; otherwise, the rest of it will come when it comes.

Sarcasm will abound. If done properly, it can be funny and biting at the same time. I hopefully will not need to announce when it will be used, like Neighbour/Co-worker. But then …

No.

I am glad to be on track again with this writing thing. My detour was a blessing in disguise. This election has added a new spin on the record. Developing my characters is, in my opinion, possibly the most fun I am going to have in the next little while. I have so much to prepare for.

Until then, I have Christian Persecustion Complex Season to look forward to. That’s always something.

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Positivity Challenge – First Attempt

‘The great charm about me (concluded Reginald) is that I am so easily pleased. But I draw the line at a “Prince of Wales” Prayer-book.’ – Reginald by Saki

I am back on the writing road. I always seem to do a reading trip before I start a writing binge. Whist doing this, I am surrounding myself the glorious sounds of the BBC Proms. I have not been reading as much as I hoped and I have missed a few episodes of the Proms. Thankfully books will always be available and the BBC keeps the Proms performances up for thirty days. I have a few weeks to catch up on the Classical music front.

I have been introduced to some great authors that have been around for what seems like forever and some new one that hopefully will make more greatness. Here are the ten authors I have discovered through friendship, Twitter, and television:

1. Saki (H.H. Munro) (1970-1916) – Finding a good biography of Mr Munro that does not include adverts for skin cream and Oprah magazine was tough. I have just started his complete collection, meeting the character that may actually be my hero – Reginald. The short-story method used to describe the adventures of Reginald is perfect; one in which I was considering for my project. Mr Munro died in 1916 while serving in Mailly in World War I – Saki (H.H. Munro)

2. Philip Larkin (1922-1985) – Beowulf not counting, I do not normally read poetry. He also wrote essays, plays, two novels, and letters. He was very keen on preservation of his works, a process most writers do not think about until it is too late, or they are dead – at that point it is too late. – Philip Larkin

Don’t read much now: the dude

Who lets the girl down before

15 The hero arrive, the chap

Who’s yellow and keeps the store,

Seem far too familiar. Get stewed:

Books are a load of crap.

– “A Study of Reading Habits” by Philip Larkin (v. 13-end)

3. Alan Bradley (1938) – His Flavia de Luce series is probable one of my most favourites. If I was not so inept at maths and science, I would be Flavia. I have stated that I was born forty years old, but I think I would have to say I would have been Flavia when I was eight. I named my bike after hers; Gladys. –  Alan Bradley

4. Mrs Stephen Fry – Edna Fry is possibly one of my most favourite authors and expert on all things wifey and motherly. I think being the wife of someone as famous as Mr Fry, I am sure, has its moments. Having five, six, or seven kids can surely be a blessing and a curse. I really need to consider keeping a diary; it may be cheaper than therapy. – Mrs Stephen Fry

5. Geoffrey Chaucer – I first read the modern translation of Canterbury Tales when I was ten years old. I fell in love with the poetry even though I did not know of his works of prose, such as Troilus and Criseyde and Book of the Duchess. After finding a book containing his complete collection of poetry and the book Who Murdered Chaucer? A Medieval Mystery by Terry Jones (#6) did I fully understand the works, trials, and tribulations of being a writer in the 14th century. – Geoffrey Chaucer

6. Terry Jones – Of course, we all know Mr Jones from Monty Python; however, I also know him from his Crusades, Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives, and Terry Jones’ Barbarians television documentaries. I also have the accompanying books as well. Along with documentary films and go-long-with books, he is also a fantabulous children’s book writer – Erik the Viking and Fairy Tales and Fantastic Stories.

7. Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) – A speaker at the church I used to go to said we need to have Atheist friends. Mr Hitchens would have been a bit to forceful for me to consider a friend, but I admired his ideas about why he was no longer a Christian. God Is Not Great was a good book. I encourage all – believers, non-believers, Vulcans and Broccoli – to read it. I did not stop believing in God, but I got a better understand as to why someone would not. – Christopher Hitchens

8. Alexander McCall Smith (1948) – I love his No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and Isabel Dalhousie series. His serial novels 44 Scotland Street and Corduroy Mansions have both influenced my short-story idea for my book. Mr Smith’s books make me smile. Through all the troubles I have been going through lately, reading his books again have brought back some of the jive in my step. – Alexander McCall Smith

9. Stephen Fry (1957) – I had a crush on him in university and lasted well into the 2000s, even though I knew he is gay. After reading The Hippopotamus just after university (I was late getting into his books) I knew I found a friend. I did watch his television series Jeeves and Wooster, but his novels and subsequent autobiographies were what sold me. Though, I will be honest, I will never be a poet (in reference to The Ode Less Travelled; Unlocking the Poet Within). – Stephen Fry

10. Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) – My brother introduced me to the Discworld series with Moving Pictures. I saved writing about Mr Pratchett until I finished his last book The Shepherd’s Crown, which I finished 6 September, 2015. I do not remember reading books that made me cry and nearly pass out from laughter as much as those from Mr Pratchett. His passing this year hit me very hard. After reading The Shepherd’s Crown, I am no longer sad. – Terry Pratchett

I think I may do a Ten Favourite Music post next, though I am not sure if I should split it into Classical and Popular, or combine them both. We’ll wait until I decide. Feel free to drop some suggestions.

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It’s About That … Oh, Nevermind

I am 100% guilty of being the reason people find joy in my Christian sufferings. I labelled this under Progressive Christianity because that seems to be the place most people gravitate to. I have posts about history, music, books, and the odd one about sewing.

Today I am writing about my book. I really should not call it a book anymore, maybe it is more of a collection words that form sentences, which in turn cause paragraphs. A collection of ramblings that may end up being short stories. I have thought about writing my book as connectable short stories, but Richard calls those chapters. I have alluded to this line of thinking sometime ago.

My brain works 37 hours a day. I occasionally read books so fast and sometimes forget whether they are good or not. I think that is why the short story line is the best format for me: easy and less complicated to organise. You can still have a complicated set of circumstances in a short span of time, and I think I can do complicated. Heck, my everyday life is one odd array of stuff after another; most being my own creation.

I thought about writing a Young Adult book, then I remembered I was born forty years old, so I would have no idea what it would be to think like a teenager. I know I was 12 once, but don’t ask me what it was like, as you would not understand. I did not fit the mold, much like I do not now. I was too busy worrying about my schoolmates finding out I still played with dolls. Reading books for teenagers now makes me wonder if some adults even remember what it was like to be younger. Some of the “conversations” do not sound like real people of any age, let alone seventeen.

But there are gems:

“Acts of Courage” by Pamala Horner (first chapter)

Sex is another problem. I do not feel comfortable reading books with explicit adult communicating. I am not uncomfortable with the subject itself, just how it is described. I think I may leave it out altogether. Yes, I think that is what I will do. The story will not be about a monastery or convent, as there were some interesting happenings going on between some of the brothers:

Saint Aelred the Queer – The Surprising History of Homosexuality and Homophobia

The assumption that the main character is active can be determined by the mention of a spouse. Or not. There will be people in my book that will not be married; a situation that is so commonplace it does not need explaining.

The inclusion of religion is for another post, so you’ll have to wait.

I still have my ten-minute journal hanging around – somewhere. No, I know where it is, and it is looked at periodically. When I read some of the offerings I actually sound like a teenager, now that I think about it.

Thankfully my livelihood does not depend on me writing the next-best thing.

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“We Are One”, Young Artists Day, and Bartolomeo Cristofori

This post is gonna be a-longen.

Today has been a busy day for celebrations. I will not, however, mention the Star Wars one. It was fine for the last couple of years, but now it has to stop. Thankfully it will only be for today.

For me today was all about music. As I work the front desk at work I am not able to listen to the radio. That is OK. I get an hour lunch, which I spend reading the many stories and anecdotes on the Beeb. Channel The Third, that is.

Today was special on a homebase musical front. It was Music Monday. This day is set aside to remind students of the value of learning music in school. I always valued music in school, even getting in trouble from my Kindergarten teacher for wanting to sing instead of doing work. Check out this page to get the full meaning of what music in the classroom is all about:

Music Monday

I became interested in piano when some friends took piano lessons from a woman, Mrs Apple, who taught during lunch hour. I was mesmorised. Though I knew we did not have a lot of money, my parents agreed to make the investment to buy a piano. From Grade Three until the end of university that piano served me well, and I, it.

Neither my elementary school or high school offered a band program. I was not interested (at the time) in learning a brass or woodwind instrument. I did not like the uniforms of the Lions or Police Junior bands. I am not devaluing my music teachers in school, as they taught with what they had. As I stated earlier, funding was a bit tight, so band was not an option.

The Coalition for Music Education would have been wonderful for kids like me. It has been around for ten years, and today on Music Moday we celebrate the Music Monday Anthem written by a 16 year-old Connor Ross:

Music Monday Anthem – “We Are One”

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Today on the BBC 3 side of things (UK Bank Holiday as well) there is Young Artists Day:

Radio 3 – Young Artists Day

On my breaks I had the opportunity to listen and read some great stories about young adults creating life experiences through music, art, dance, film, photography, literature, and so much more.

These young men and women make me suffer from at least one of the seven deadly sins – envy. My compositional skills, as mentioned by Dr Schudel, were “severely lacking, somewhat.” Yes, the drive and the want were there, but I was not (and still not) able to accomplish nearly what these talented young people have.

When I finally got to take Brass and Woodwind Techniques in university, I realised I should stick to piano.

Again, it is not the fault of a teacher, a professor, or a parent. I just think my attempts make for better stories and songs than they would if they were finished. I love these young women and men.

Finally, we celebrate the 360th birthday of Bartolomeo Cristofori, the man who has been credited for inventing the piano. I don’t normally celebrate birthdays of people who have passed on, including family (yes, that will get a right sour face from those still living); however, the idea of creating an instrument that would be part of some of the best music in the world is something worth commemmorating.

Bartolomeo Cristofori – ‘Who invented The Piano?’ (1)

I have stated before that I am not very keen on listening to piano music, but I love playing it. A good friend from university, a piano major, would not listen to piano music at home because it would make her physically ill. I am not that bad, thankfully, but I do understand. Computer gurus often spend time away from the computer at home.

I had made the attempt to relearn the piano, but with recents events at my old church, the practice piano had become not an option. Mum and dad gave me the old keyboard from my church in Regina. I took it out of the case, stared at the keys, then made my way to put it back in the case. I see it in the basement and I think I need to try again.

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I will never be a concert pianist, not with only having Grade 2-and-a-half of Royal Conservatory training.

To end my little discussion, I will leave you with this debate. Luckily I did not get into this deep a debate in uni, as I don’t know how I would have survived. In the end, it is not something worth arguing over:

Fortepiano vs Pianoforte

(1) The Guardian, ‘Who Invented The Piano?’. 2015. Web. 4 May 2015.

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