A Dance in The Hurricane

The following is a reblog of a post I wrote two years ago. It reminds us to take a breath and appreciate our connections and relationships; to value each day and each person we encounter along the way. Stay connected, my friends.

KJ

The other day I was cleaning out our closet.  It was time to do some much needed purging.   I decided to gut out everything and go from there.  I ended up finding some old cards from a few years ago when my mother passed away.  I opened each one and read them again, this time with five years behind me.  They were sweet and sympathetic.  My Aunt had sent one reminiscing about when she and my mother were teens and very close.  Some I kept and others I didn’t.  So much for the big purge.    In amongst the cards I found a letter that was written by a childhood friend of the family.  Her kids were friends with us when we lived in the old neighbourhood.  She and her husband were friends with my parents.  We used to visit them after they moved away into a new house.  She wrote to say how dismayed she was of my mother’s passing and that she hadn’t realized my mother continued to reside in Chatham.  She assumed she had moved in either my brother or myself.  She was disappointed she had not made the effort to reconnect.  I think she was disappointed neither had my mother.  I don’t think it was anyone’s fault that they got disconnected.  It was just life.

 Kids grow up, graduate, move on to university or not, tragic events unfold, weddings and new houses, new babies, new lives.  It’s everything that happens over a lifetime. We get disconnected. We get disjointed and enmeshed in the everyday.  We forget the connections that were made years ago on a summer’s day when the children were small, who later walked to the bus stop hand-in-hand on frosty fall mornings, caught “all things squirmy and squishy” (her words) and played basketball until nightfall.   

Those days get lost in band practices, packed lunches, hockey games and baseball tryouts.  People get older, move to other streets or to other towns.  They work, they make new friends, they move on to other hobbies, other occupations and other past times without the old acquaintances that have become a part of their past.  The present is different.  Its fluid and changes with the seasons and the ever-speeding passage of time.  We don’t notice the children becoming adults until they are there.  We don’t notice our hair changing colour until our hairstylist points it out (while saying loudly WHY ARE YOU NOT COMING HERE MORE OFTEN?!  )  we don’t notice the deeper cracks in the sidewalks outside the house,  how the maple tree has grown exponentially or how few little children are out playing street hockey these days, until all of that suddenly seeps into our consciousness and we take a look around with clearer eyes.  And older eyes.  How did this happen?  When did we get HERE? 

I understand her disappointment and dismay.  It seems like a sudden about-face of one minute she’s there, the next she’s gone, but really it wasn’t like that.  It was a lifetime of being, of living and of surviving.  The disconnection of relationships is unfortunately, an everyday occurrence that can be prevented if we take the time.  Aye there’s the rub.  TIME.  We never have enough. It flies away so fleetingly.  If only we had more time to connect, to say ‘hey’, to reminisce, to support, to actually stop and watch everything grow and change without having to be awoken to its transformation.  It’s a difficult dance.  Maybe we don’t want to watch because if we do, then we’ll have to admit that we are getting older, life is flying by without us even moving or flinching in this hurricane.   Maybe we don’t really want to see the children getting older or the sidewalk cracking or the maple tree growing so big we can’t see across the street, anymore.  We’d rather hold on to today, to live in the present, just let me have one more day!

Connections are our lifelines.  We crave them, we seek them out and some we hold dear.  Our intentions are for connections to last as long as we take a breath, to be eternal and constant, but sometimes those bonds get weaker and grow more distant, then they are suddenly lost in the gale force wind.  It’s not wrong.  It’s life.  

I’m thinking after all of this time, to send her a reply.  To let her know I did receive her letter and I did read it and I still have it.  That I remember everything she said was true. 

 Maybe, that could be one little dance in the hurricane.

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Dinner With February

Christmas is over and packed away.  January is winding down and the dreaded month of February is rearing its ugly head.  NO ONE likes February.  There is nothing magical or lovely about it.  Oh sure, there’s Valentine’s Day but that’s brief and fleeting and overly annoying.  February is fraught with unpredictable weather (at least here) and blue moods, and muddy porches and dirty windows and bone chilling cold.  What exactly is there to like?  Even the dog can’t stand February.  It’s too cold to go outside to pee, she is cranky that she can’t get in her walks and she gives me that sidelong look when I try to get her to play.  At all.  It’s like she’s too tired to even lift her head from a pillow and why would I even suggest she chase that stupid ball?!  

DON’T YOU KNOW IT’S ALMOST FEBRUARY?!  

It’s like I’m being ridiculous for even mentioning life goes on and it’s worth trying to make the best of it, isn’t it?  

NO. NO IT ISN’T.  IT’S FEBRUARY.

The least favourite of the more popular months, February is like the annoying relative that nobody likes and dreads him arriving to any family gathering.  It’s like the other 11 months are sitting around the dinner table all reveling in their own positive energy, and then HE walks in. 

 There’s December holidaying it up and drinking eggnog.  January is still recovering from ringing in a new year with December who steadily hands him water and Ibuprofen, not to mention January trying to keep up with all the resolutions he said he was going to make, but didn’t bother because there was just. Too. Much. Wine.  March is sitting stoicly playing with his grean beans because he is both feared and loved.  The older generation is adhering to the “Beware the Ides of March” bullshit and the younger ones are readying the beer kegs for March break.  Duuudddde.   Then April is laughing hysterically at the other end of the table about the first day for all the foolish pranks, the rain that will undoubtedly ensue and the whole Easter Bunny charade that brings CHOCOLATE.  Then he turns to May and starts talking smack about how one affects the other.  “There would be no flowers without my showers, you idiotic twat!”   May sits and laughs because there’s Queen Victoria’s birthday and the traditional May 2-4 weekend which brings yetanother camping extravaganza.  Duuuude.  June is warming up to July and August who all sit glowing in their inner warmth and bestowing happiness and rainbows to September, who has hit menopause.  Her hot flashes give way to cold snaps.  One minute she’s too hot and the next she needs a sweater.  October is chillin’ it and scaring the crap out of November with a Jack-o’-lantern he just carved and November resumes her knitting of a beautifully multi-coloured blanket of red, gold and orange.   There they are, all sitting waiting for HIM to walk in.  Finally, the door swings open and in strides February, soaked with freezing icicles dripping from his nose, his face blue with depression and a random red cinnamon heart stuck to his chest.  He takes a seat and his hands shake from the cold.  

Everyone stops what they are doing and stares.  “Oh.  You’re here” they say.  “Yeah.  What’s for dinner?” says February.  And then he starts, “Hey, January are you STILL hungover?!  HAHAHA!!   Pass the beans, March, don’t hog them.  Hey, October that’s one ugly whattya-callit?  Geezuz, JuneJulyAugust, can’t you three stop all the happiness and sunshine and rainbows bullshit?!   IT’S A BIT MUCH DON’T YOU THINK?”  

They all roll their eyes and continue with their dinner.  When it comes right down to it, as annoying as he is, he’s family.  “Gaawwwdd, did you guys SEE the amount of ICE I brought to the partay??!!  It’s EPIC!”  

What’s The Colour of Paprika?

I was having difficulty writing last week, hence the non-blogging, non-posting non-thinking non-action from me. Saturday, I decided to head to Chapters to see what’s up with books lately and wandered in with my expensive coffee and daughter in tow. Whilst perusing the aisles, I thought in order to kick start some ideas I would invest in a daily writing book. I wandered to the back where all of the discounted we-still-have-these-and-price-them-ridiculously-low-so-you-think-you-are-getting-a-deal books are located. I found one stuffed on a shelf under the heading ‘Writing and Other Shit’. I swear that’s what it said. Anyway, I bought the book for ten dollars and really should have taken a deeper look at it. It hails that it has 365 writing prompts to “INSPIRE YOU EVERYDAY!!” It looked good to me, so Sunday I cracked it open. The first prompts were to write about colours of herbs and spices and describe something that same colour.  I shit you not.  

What am I, in Grade 1?

By the way, BOOK OF INSPIRATION, I have no idea what the fuck herbs and spice look like other than salt and pepper. They’re spices, right? All I know is that most grow out of the ground and are green. Basically, you want me to describe everything that’s green. Awesome.


The only thing this book has accomplished so far was to make me even more of a sarcastic wise ass. Which is not really a bad thing and pretty par for the course, but I was expecting something a little deeper. More meaningful. More adult and less Grade 1 and what colour is Paprika? Answer: Reddish orangeish like Pippy Longstocking’s hair on acid. Kinda. I’M SO DESCRIPTIVE.

Today’s writing prompts were three events from different eras in history and it asked to describe a mundane event that may have happened on the same day. The first date was William Shakespeare’s death on April 23, 1616. Now, I’m no historical expert, so what the hell do I know what folks did on a daily basis in fucking 1616?!

This sucks.

Want to know my answer for that one?

Here it is:  

Too bad for William Shakespeare. 1616?! How am I supposed to know what folks did in 1616?! Killed kittens? Planned murderous plots against the King and Queen? Had their pantaloons tailored? Wrote shit poetry and answered everything with ‘where art thou?’ WTF…

If nothing else, I get to be a sardonic jerk without actually failing a course or having an actual writer person tell me I suck at this.

Which I do.

Tomorrow’s prompt?

Jesus Wept

Why? Because He read my last answer? Great. Can’t wait.  

Jesus isn’t the only one weeping.

Ugh 
 

Lovely Car Noises and Bad Book Reads

The episode-that-shall-not-be-named has been hitting the rounds these days.  I’ve got a few people who know what happened and are only too pleased to tease the fuck out of me whenever possible.  It’s fun until someone loses an eye, people.

I recently read a book that I don’t usually read.  Just for kicks.  Have you read this stuff that is hitting the best seller list?  It was a new release by one of those authors that writes a bunch of books in a week and everyone reads them incessantly and the Best seller people decide to bestow the grand title of Best Seller and there’s mad dash to read a bad book…or three.   Gawd, it was like the cliché-monster was roaming around and decided to vomit all over her pages.  WTF was THAT?  The ending was bad…just bad.  If you happen to read it…just don’t.  Don’t waste your precious and valuable time.  Read something else.  Read Fifty Shades if you have to.  Really.  I’m fucking serious.  It wasn’t that it was THAT bad, it was just….kinda sappy and…uncomfortable.  Yeah.  Uncomfortable, that’s how it made me feel.  I didn’t care if the protagonist got her revenge and I didn’t care if the guy she slept with twenty years ago at a random college party and had a secret love child with (and neglected to tell him that little tidbit) and to whom she sent letters to every year for eighteen years ( so as to get some attention and perhaps cash to help raise the child) only to find out she HAD THE WRONG FUCKING ADDRESS!!…I didn’t care if he lived or died.  It just didn’t make me want to read more.  It kinda made me want to suggest an alternate ending.  Or suggest the protagonist find another hobby. Or stick cocktail forks angrily in my eyes.   Hmmm…So now that I’ve told you the ending, wanna read the book?   I should have posted a spoiler alert….

The WRONG Michaels....she is NOT the author I was referring to..

The WRONG Michaels….she is NOT the author I was referring to..

I’ve been wondering where I’ve been getting all these wonderful readers from lately who drop by and sign up or even read a bit.  And comment.  That’s so nice.  Especially since I am feeling a bit lonely out here underconnected and isolated.  How did they find me?  I wonder…

My lovely car is making a lovely rattling noise that nobody seems to know how it got there. Or where it’s coming from.   Further investigation is warranted, but I’m procrastinating.  AND, the bottom part of the bumper now has a permanent split in it where D1 slid into a snow bank.  Thanks for that, by the way.  Really.  It was better than her slamming into the rear of another car and she felt bad about it until I told her it was cracked before anyway…she just helped it along a little by splitting it completely in half.  I bet the tires will give out again soon just to round out my car-asspain-bit.  Awesome.  At least I’ve never run out of gas at an intersection nor have it completely stall out on a highway.  At least I have THAT TO BE THANKFUL FOR!  Yay me!

So, to round out today’s little bit: I’m getting the shit teased out of me for the episode-that-shall-not-be-named, I read a book that was a bit on the shitty side, my lovely car is making a strange lovely noise and I love my readers…thanks for checking in!!

The Taller The Chair, The Harder I Fall

I had a post all ready to go in my head at 7am and now it’s gone.  I hate it when that happens.  I should have immediately gotten out of bed and written the damned thing down.

Who am I kidding? There’s no way I would have gotten out of bed at that hour on a Saturday morning just to write something down.  Pfffttt….

I think the post had something to do with the Stephen King  book I’m rereading…or the stories I’m trying to write…or …hmm…I can’t remember.

I’m thinking it was King’s advice on writing that has me almost on the edge of throwing myself from the tallest chair in my vicinity and ending it all right now.  His expression of ‘there are bad writers everywhere’ has me hoping his finger is not pointing in my direction.  Not that it should…or it would.  I just think ‘Gawd, I don’t want to be that girl.  The girl who writes so badly everyone holds their collective noses in disgust and turns in rapid repulsion.’    Geesh…that would be just, just..fucking sucky.  Ugh.

I like that he suggests writers should read as much as possible.  I like that he attempts to be encouraging without trying to be too condescending or arrogant.  He actually comes off as your buddy who’s just trying to help you out a bit and he may have a few words of advice for we lowly lot…Not that he’s any good himself or anything.  Pfftt…he’s only Stephen King for God’s sake!!

Since my infamous and showy New Year’s resolution to ‘write more’ takes the cake in articulate and profound proclamations,  I guess the King advice may come in handy.    Then again, my new chairs are just the right height….

War Stories

My solitary confinement is beginning to drive me batty.  It’s lonely and smelly in here and I want out.  So, I have relegated myself to writing shorts and sending them haphazardly in the wind to see if anything comes back.  Entertaining as that is for me, there’s only so much story I can write and rewrite without losing what shreds of sanity I have left.  It’s depleting quickly, I’m afraid.  So much for mental health.

I’ve begun doing research on women in WWII and the important roles they played while manning nursing stations during bombings and trying to decode German intelligence while housed in a solitary room with a damned machine and their brains working non-stop.  I want to write a period piece, which is difficult to do.  I want to get a sense of what it was like to live in that time, so reading reams of stories about WRENS and nurses and the ladies of Bletchley (located in England, the house manned women on around-the-clock decoding details, interpreting encrypted messages intercepted from the Germans)  is what is keeping me occupied as of late.

I read a story about a woman pilot who happened to be giving her student a final lesson in the air over Honolulu in December of 1941…not a bad gig, really,  when she spotted a few Japanese bomber planes float by…then she witnessed the onset of what was quickly becoming the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  Unfortunately, those Japanese bombers noticed her and she and her student became a target.  She landed the plane successfully, albeit quickly, with only a few bullet holes in her plane. She then witnessed the carnage that ensued.  Her name was Cornelia Fort, an American flight instructor at John Rogers Airport.  There are so many more stories of brave women who lived through the heartbreak and ravages of war that it’s hard to wade through them all.  All of these stories are true testaments to the strength and fortitude of the female sex and our willingness to get involved.  Our dispositions to be the ever-nurturers and warriors despite what is going on around us propelling us into action.  That’s how we roll, ‘yo.

So I sit here reading these stories and studying the pictures and try to imagine myself in that time.  Hard to do with all of the technology we have around us and the ease of how we are privileged to spend our days.  These women contributed so greatly to the war effort, yet received little recognition for their contributions that it’s shocking.  Oh, sure there were medals handed out, but sparingly and with little fanfare.  Their actions somewhat dismissed as ‘duty’ instead of courageous acts of martyrdom for the retention of freedom for their beloved countries.  They may not have fought directly on the battle lines, but they tended to the sick and dying casualties of war with compassion and as much empathy as their young lives permitted.  They stayed home patiently waiting for their heroes to return, only to be forced into raising young families alone.  They worked long hours in factories, they joined movements to support their troops by sending care packages, they organized dances to raise money for the war effort.  They kept nations intact and families going at one of the most tragic and horrifying times in history.

I’ll keep reading the stories and attempt to get my head around their humility and strength during a time of extreme tension and chaos.  My solitary confinement isn’t looking so bad right now….