Sunday, April 30, 2006

Sunday Scribblings: Why I live where I live

Laini let me pick between two of her ideas this week and I chose 'Why I live where I live' because it was the post that I didn't want to write. I knew that meant I had some unresolved things that I needed to sort through. (I apologize for being so selfish in my choosing. Have no fear, I will convince her to use the other option soon!!) For the past few weeks I have been really struggling (and pretty boring to read I'm afraid) with homesickness and an inexplicable sadness. I haven't been emailing or blogging really (very unlike me!) or even reading other people's blogs (VERY unlike me) and I couldn't figure out what was going ON. Normally I can shake these sorts of feelings but lately there has been a definite funk.

Then today I was doing the links on the Sunday Scribblings site and I went to Claudia's site to find her permalink and I found myself dreamily reading her post. Her pictures of her house and her descriptions of her home made me tear up. She describes her house like this: "Here there is colour and laughter, it´s our haven, we can be ourselves here, we decide how people are treated, who comes in the door and what goes on inside these walls. Here are the people we love, some in flesh and blood and some smiling from the walls. Here we live, love and dream."

I live where I live because of choices I began making over ten years ago. I live where I live because I moved to England a couple of times. First it was to waitress, and to find out what it was I wanted to do with my life (ha!) then I came back to teach high school. It was while I was living in London and teaching English that I started to date Mark. He and I had been friends since my very first move here in 1998. I commuted four hours on the train each way almost every single weekend while we were beginning to 'date.' By the end of that year we decided that I would move back to this little place to be with him.

So when I read Claudia's words light finally dawned on me. This building has never felt like HOME for me. Mark and I are always talking about where we are going to go next, what our house will be like someday, and how much we can't wait for a home of our own. Since we don't look on it like our home, the only home that I really know is the one that I left in Canada. 'Going home' means going to a place where I still have a lot of my things (sorry Mom & Dad,) where my family is, where my old friends are. It's where my stability and a great deal of my heart still is. This year I will not get to go there until December. I feel a very long way from home.

So thanks to Claudia and to Laini and to Sunday Scribblings, I think I finally am able to come out of my funk a little. I think that I need to stop looking at this place as 'where I live' and start looking at it as 'home.' I need to get some more pictures on these walls. I need to see that where we are - where we laugh and dream, where we are ourselves, where we live - is our HOME. Regardless of whether or not it is the long term solution, it is where we are now. I can still miss my family and my friends and my home across the sea, but in the meantime, I need to stop waiting for that magical day when we have the house of our dreams. I need to start being home here, and to take that with me wherever I go next.

I live where I live because I followed my heart instead of my head. I live where I live because my home is wherever he is. I live where I live because the rent is cheap! I live where I live because we are following our dreams, planning where we are going to live next, and because for now it is home.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Poetry Thursday

I think that I have posted this poem before but I know it wasn't for Poetry Thursday... so I am going to post it again!

Autobiography in Five Chapters

I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the road. I fall in. I am lost... I am hopeless. It isn't my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the road. I pretend I don't see it. I fall in again. I can't believe I'm in the same place. But it isn't my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the road. I see it is there. I still fall in... it's a habit. My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the road. I walk around it.

I walk down another street.

-Rodney Wilson (I think)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Last week the prompt for Contagious Creativity was Self Care. It says a lot about how my brain has been working that I wasn't able to post anything for this until the week after! One of Kat's suggestions was that we spend some time trying affirmations & she suggested Louise Hay's Power Thought Cards. My intention was to pull out one card a day for the whole week and post what happened at the end of the week.

Well, day flowed into day, my emails piled up and I got further and further behind and I found that I wasn't able to do myself this small favour. Self care went onto the to-do list underneath several emails I still owe (you know who you are and I am still really sorry!) learning the ropes on my new temporary job (that officially started today,) and other things I will not bore myself or you by repeating here. "Ahhhh...." I hear you murmuring as you look at this, "but self-care is the most important thing..." yeah. I know. And you know it too but you also know as well as me that sometimes it is pretty bloody hard work - which defeats the whole purpose in the first place!

So back to the Power Thought Cards. I actually am lucky enough to already own one of these decks. It sits on my desk between my carved wooden duck named Charlie and my notes pile. Every now and then I open up the box and leaf through the cards, hoping for inspiration. At some point I went through and sorted out the ones that I thought were especially pretty. The first card on the top of the deck is always the one that reads, "All is well in my world." (I'll tell you that story another time!) Also tucked into the box is a small piece of paper that has this quote by Rachel Snyder: "Be as healthy, as vibrant, as beautiful, as authentic as you possibly can be, in a way that speaks silently to others, You can be this, too." I like this quote because it is how I really want to live my life.

So ANYWAY, back to the deck. Determined to use the cards the way Kat suggested, I took them out of the box, fanned them out, closed my eyes and picked one. I wasn't sure that I would find that anything would be able to help me care for myself right now, but the card that I pulled absolutely kicked my ass:

"Every thought I think is creating my future."

That really made me stop and think. I've done a lot of thinking and reading about this concept in the past little while and I am intrigued by the whole self-fulfilling prophecy thing. The concept is: if you believe something hard enough, you will see it in your life - good or bad. It's like Dr. Phil saying, "You're fat because you choose to be fat." Lately I've been worrying about so many things. By concentrating on them, am I just perpetuating them? Have I chosen to believe that we are broke? Are my thoughts keeping me overweight? Unpublished? Stuck?

So this week, rather than choosing a different card every day, I am going to work with this one. I am going to focus on choosing to BE as healthy, as vibrant, as beautiful, as authentic as I possibly can be. I am going to pay attention to my thoughts and see if I can see what sort of future I have been creating up to now. By doing that I hope to sort out the old negative beliefs, and allow the new ones to creep in. I want so much in my future. Hopefully by setting the right intentions, it will all be possible.

"You'll see it when you believe it." - Wayne W. Dyer

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Sunday Scribblings - Chocolate

Ever since I saw the movie Chocolat with Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche I have loved it. I love it for its magic and its bewitchment as much as I love it for its celebration of chocolate. For many years I did not eat chocolate. I would react quite heavily to caffeine so anything with caffeine in it was off limits. I started eating it again some time ago but even now I have to be careful. Too much of the cheap stuff and I end up with terrible eczema. But let me tell you, once you have eaten the good stuff - the really really good stuff - you will never look at a Snickers the same way again.

Whenever I would watch the movie Chocolat I would dream of finding a shop like Vianne's. I would still love to have a place to go that is full of the kind of passion and friendship and feminine closeness of that fictional shop. There doesn't seem to be room for that kind of place in a world where McDonalds and huge box stores are king.

Last autumn, Mark and I went to Edinburgh to visit our friends Sean and Mike. It's a remarkable city. It's full of magic and ghosts and oozes history from every cobble. We spent a lovely few hours walking up a street called the Royal Mile. It stretches from the Palace of Holyrood House at the bottom of a hill, to Edinburgh Castle at the top. Along the way there are a number of quaint and unusual shops nestled beside each other. We had Scotch bottled for us from a cask, saw new-fangled leather kilts, and generally had a wonderful time.

Ready for a refreshment, we tried to find somewhere special. One shop was closed but referred us to its sister shop that was back down the street a few doors. (HOW could I have MISSED it the first time?!?!?!) It was called, Plaisir du Chocolat. Mark looked at me as we went in and said, "Oh, Meg, you aren't going to like this at all!" There it was in front of me - Vianne's shop. Decorated in sumptuous Art Deco style, with swirls and chandeliers, in shades of green and soft beige, it was mouth-wateringly beautiful. After lingering at the counter to decide upon a delicacy, we were taken to our seats and given the extensive tea and coffee and hot chocolate menu. I had "Green Tea Memory" that tasted like cherry blossoms smell. With my simple chocolate tart, I was in complete chocolate heaven!

Sean and Mark both decided that as they were probably never going to be back in this 'tea salon,' they would indulge. They ordered huge pieces of cheesecake and chocolate cake. Sipping tea and eating so much sweetness soon took its toll and the three of us were soon chocolate-drunk! Nibbling and giggling soon turned into full blown tear-spilling laughter as we finished our treats. Before we left I couldn't resist buying a few beautiful chocolates for Mike. It was truly an afternoon to remember.

So now, whenever I think of proper chocolate I think of it as an experience - a morsel to be savoured. I remember how beautiful the surroundings were. I remember how truly special it all seemed. I remember being high on cocoa, laughing with people I loved, and enjoying the whole experience. Chocolate will never be the same again.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Ten Beans to Spill

Susannah tagged me days ago to do this and I completely forgot about it until this minute. (If you haven't read her blog yet, she's only a week into blogging and I highly recommend her site!)

I'm supposed to spill Ten Beans About Myself. So here goes:

1. I was born on October 25, 1974. This makes me a Scorpio and an autumn baby - both of which I really love.

2. I have a joint honours degree in History and in English and a Bachelor of Education.

3. I am a hoarder and a collector - mostly of quotes, inspirational writing, postcards, poetry, books, ribbons (accidentally,) and sea glass. (And pj bottoms - I LOVE them!!)

4. I have over 100 people directly related to me! My parents are still happily married and I have one younger brother who is about to be a dad (momentarily) which makes me very homesick.

5. I love the smell of fresh basil.

6. I have been a construction worker, the Arts and Crafts director at two summer camps, a teacher, an ice cream girl, and a costumed pioneer who got to bake bread for a living.

7. I once won the "best actress in festival" award at a drama festival in high school. I loved being in plays but the theatre people in my university were intimidating and scary so I haven't been in a show since.

8. I moved to England after university with no job, no contacts, no money, and no plan. My Mom was scared for me so she bought me three nights in a hotel. I still can't believe I did it.

9. I can't eat raw fruit. Well... I can eat it but it doesn't stay with me very long.

10. I have a tattoo.

I would like Jamie, Laini, Alexandra, Claudia and Tara Dawn to do this if you don't mind girls - I always like learning new things about you! And if anyone else is inspired - I'd love to read more about you, too!!

P.S. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the words of support this week. I'm truly okay - but I am so glad that so many of you found inspiration to be all of yourselves as well. We can't be afraid to put it all out there if we want to. Truth is where power is in writing. And talking about things helps us heal. I really believe that! xoxo

Poetry Thursday

I have tried writing a post for the last twenty minutes about why I like this poem and why I wanted to share it today. I can't seem to get it right so for the first time ever I am just going to let the poem speak for itself!


Let them be as flowers
always watered, fed, guarded, admired

but harnessed to a pot of dirt.

I'd rather be a tall, ugly weed

clinging on cliffs, like an eagle

wind - wavering above high, jagged rocks.

To have broken through the surface of

stone, to live, to feel exposed to the
madness of the vast, eternal sky.
To be swayed by the breezes of an

ancient sea, carrying my soul, my seed,

beyond the mountains of time or into

the abyss of the bizarre.

I'd rather be unseen, and if then

shunned by everyone, than to be a

pleasant smelling flower, growing in

clusters in the fertile valley, where

they're praised, handled, and plucked

by greedy human hands.

I'd rather smell of musty green stench

than of sweet, fragrant lilac.

If I could stand alone, strong and free,

I'd rather be a tall, ugly weed.

-Julio Noboa

Monday, April 17, 2006

a blue day

" matter how 'bad' a feeling is, it is only a feeling... The truth is we can survive any feeling as long as we allow ourselves to experience it without judging it." - Jane R. Hirschmann

I've been avoiding posting lately. I said before I had been neglecting you but I think that I have been avoiding posting and leaving comments for people because I have felt uncomfortable - not with blogging or with people but within me. I didn't want to come on here and be all sad and pitiful because truly nothing is really wrong. I didn't want you to think I was writing for attention or for sympathy but I just haven't felt able to post anything properly. I think, though that I have finally realized that this blog needs to be about all of me - not just the Writer. It's all real, isn't it? The happy, thoughtful sides and the warty bitchy sad sides both have to be a part of this if it truly is going to be about who I am. Sometimes I read about what people are going through and I think that I have no right to be unhappy - but sometimes I just can't help it.

My heart is actually aching today. I've felt wobbly and teary and just plain sad. I'm calling it homesick but it's family-sick and friend-sick and Canada-sick. I'm a bit fed up - with being worried about things, about money, about the future. I want to get ON with all of our plans. I come on here with great whalloping plans to move and write and BE and then reality hits and I get a bit bruised as I go. I even feel uncomfortable writing this - it's mostly for me, really. I think I just need to put it out there so that I can accept it for what it is and not judge it or let it keep me from writing other things. It was blocking me.

BUT! I have to find a positive so I am gratituding right now - counting some blessings to help me get some perspective back.

1. I am grateful for my gorgeous, wonderful boyfriend and also for his ability to cook (see photo above - yes, he made that WHOLE MEAL!!)
2. I am grateful for my friend Colleen and her sweet words and her gorgeous girls.
3. I am grateful for Skype. (FREE international phone calls!)
4. I am grateful as always for the amazing group of bloggers I get to be a part of.
5. I am grateful that I have this tool to get stuff like this out of me so I can get back on with getting on.
6. I am grateful for you.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Sunday Scribblings

This week's Sunday Scribblings prompt is: "When we were wee." The minute Laini suggested it my brain went back to when I was a little girl. I have posted about my grandfather before, and I have also posted a picture of when my grandparents were young. But when Laini suggested that prompt I started thinking about my grandparents and the rest of my family more than I have for a long time.

Until I was six my family lived at a summer camp. My Dad was the director and my Mom was the administrator. I lived in a land where both of my parents were around most of the time. Thanks to the camp I also had dozens of surrogate big brothers and sisters. I had young aunts and uncles who spent lots of time with us and I also had young and active grandparents. I realize now how unusual and creative and special that time was.

When we moved away from the camp we moved to a large farm house in the country. Cold, drafty, leaky, and with a lane that filled in every time a flake of snow fell, 'the farm' has become a legend in our lives. My brother and I never really paid attention to the work that my parents had to do to keep us warm and dry. As children we saw it as a lovely big house with a secret passage closet and a creepy root cellar and a barn big and empty enough to play in. We played in the snow that my Dad had to plow, we explored the fields and watched for deer, and generally enjoyed helping to put buckets under the drips that came through the ceiling in the spring, or eating pancakes Mom cooked over the wood stove when the power went out in the winter.

The other legend that has grown in our family is that of my Grandfather. I often feel sorry for people who have joined our family since he died. We all speak of him with such reverence and so often that I am sure that the new additions will soon grow tired of hearing about him if they haven't already. When he was alive he wasn't perfect. He was a real worrier. But he was also very honest and very loving. He was a man who worked all of his life for Canadian General Electric. I remember waiting for him to come home from work when I was staying with them. He would walk up the drive carrying his lunchbox and gloves and he would stand under the window and wave at us until his gloves flew off and he had to chase them. We would reward him with gales of laughter. Then he would come inside and give us hugs. I remember that he smelled like working and fresh air.

As a family we would spend a few weeks every summer camping at Algonquin Park in Ontario. Happiest when he was canoeing or hiking or camping or walking, Grandpa would be the center we all played around. I remember as a teenager when I would be trying to sleep in (as teenagers do) Grandpa would open up the tent, or lift the side of the canvas trailer and present me with a piece of toast with jam. Not leaving until I'd eaten every bite, he would succeed in getting me up when most other attempts would have failed. He wanted us all around him as much as we wanted to be there. He was a man who loved his family. Full of mischief, he was always the one to give a baby its first taste of ice cream. He would put pennies in a plant for me to find and tell me that the leprechauns left them. He wanted his grandchildren to believe in magic.

I think that that is the reason that he has become our legend. I also think that it is the reason that we continue to be such a close, loving family. No matter what was going on, it was important to him that we be around. Family was the most important thing in his life and he taught us to feel the same way. He made each and every one of us feel like he loved us best. My most precious memory of him (and the one that makes me tear up every single time I think about it) was something that did not happen just once. Every single time I saw my Grandpa he would give me a hug and say, "You're a pretty special girl you know." And right then I believed him.

What I wouldn't give to have one of those hugs again.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Poetry Thursday

I have been thinking about which poem to add this week. I was scared of poetry this week - yes, scared. I was scared because I have joined Contagious Creativity and the theme is poetry - writing your own poetry. I froze when I saw the theme. I am nervous about it. I always used to write poetry. I have books full of it. But I haven't written any for years now. I think the last one I wrote was the day after 9/11. It went something like this:

September 12, 2001

The sky is clear.
The birds have it to themselves today.

I wonder if they notice

No engines roar,
No metal glints in the sun.
It's only clouds and sunshine.

The only wings have feathers.

I wonder if they notice
That for the first time
they are alone in the sky.

Eep! Now I have put one of my poems on. I've fooled myself! But I know it kind of doesn't count. I need to put something on that I have written in response to the post. So watch this space. At some point I am going to put one of my recent poems on here. But I can't do it yet. In the meantime I am going to put up a poem that I love. Claudia also sent me a book by Maya Angelou and I have been reading it. Every time I read one word that woman writes I think of this poem. I just love it.

by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies
I'm not cute or built to suit a model's fashion size
But when I start to tell them
They think I'm telling lies.
I say
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips
The stride of my steps
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please
And to a man
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees
Then they swarm around me
A hive of honey bees.
I say
It's the fire in my eyes
And the flash of my teeth
The swing of my waist
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say
It's in the arch of my back
The sun of my smile
The ride of my breasts
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say
It's in the click of my heels
The bend of my hair
The palm of my hand
The need for my care.
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

lucky girl!

"... and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." - Anais Nin

What a lucky girl I am! Yesterday when Mark picked me up at work he told me that there was a package waiting for me. I asked him if it was from my Mom and he said no. He said that it actually looked like I had sent it to myself because it was decorated like I do when I send mail out to people! (The hilarious thing is that he said the exact same thing when I got a package from Laini & Alexandra too!) Inside was the most gorgeous pillow that was hand-made by the very VERY talented Claudia! (Thank you, Claudia!!) I absolutely love it!!!

Then today when I was got home from work, Mark said that there was another package for me. He shook his head and laughed because AGAIN it was all decorated! I was doing my dance of joy and laughing as I opened a fabulous package from Jamie! Inside was a tin of Tim Horton's coffee. (Yes, Jamie, your timing was perfect!!) We were giggling about these wonderful friends that I have made and he said it's like a social experiment happened. We decided that it must have been that all of these kindred spirits were sent all over the world to see if they would be able to find each other again.

I sometimes wonder if I had started blogging at a different time if I would have still connected with the same people. There are so many bloggers out there, I could have ended up talking to any of them - but I like to think that we were all supposed to connect. I'm so glad I took that leap and started blogging when I did. I'm not exaggerating when I say that it has changed my life. xoox

Monday, April 10, 2006


I have been neglecting you.

For the past few weeks I haven't been myself. What with my job starting and immediately changing, Sunday Scribblings beginning and being met with unimagined enthusiasm, trying to rewrite some of my book and get a package ready to send it out into the world again, and trying to have a relationship, it's been a bit mad here. To top this cake off with the appropriate cherry, I am also nursing a whopping case of homesickness.

None of the things on my to-do list are 'bad' things - quite the opposite in fact. I've realized, however, that in the fullness of my flesh-and-blood world, I have been neglecting my blogging one. Four months ago I did not know that any of you existed, and now I am feeling sad and lonely because I haven't been able to do my daily check-ins!

I've been thinking quite a lot about my to-do list in the past few days. I am one of those people who can get more done if they have a lot to do. When I was in school I usually had one or two jobs and was involved in at least one (sometimes two or three) theatrical productions in a semester. I thrived. When I was teaching I was able to get into school for 7:30 so that I could get things done before the children (and the other staff!) came in. These days my deadlines are my own; I am not involved in as much outside of work and home, and things have tended to sit on my to-do list for much longer periods of time.

It's amazing how your attitudes towards yourself can change so much. That girl who was constantly on the go would shake her head if she could she me now. But all of that is beginning to shift again. My job has changed quite a lot in the past two weeks and I am going to be taking on a lot more responsibility. At first I was really nervous. I wasn't sure I wanted the job. I didn't want to lose the time writing, and I didn't want to be unable to drop everything and go to Canada when I needed to. In reality I was making excuses. I had slipped quite comfortably into my slower mode. Speeding back up seemed like a frightening prospect.

But now I can sense the glimmers of my old self coming back. I am starting to get up earlier so that I can get a run and some email in before I go to work. I am setting deadlines and keeping to them. I am remembering how to use time wisely. I am beginning to remember that indeed I am the girl who gets the most done when she has a lot to do. I am the woman who thrives under pressure and who can handle responsibility. I can do this.

But I have been neglecting you. For this I am sorry. I'll be back to my bloggin' self soon, I promise. I just have to get you onto my to-do list!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Sunday Scribblings (and a quote.)

The Sunday Scribblings prompt this week is "Real Life." When Laini and I talked about it I kept getting this passage from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams in my head. (If you have never read this book - DO.)

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

My original 5 minute response to the prompt was the nitty gritty of life. I wrote:

Real life is dirty. It's the stains on your cuffs and under your armpits. Real life is being too tired to get up in the morning. Real life is doing the dishes and the laundry over and over and over again. Real life is expensive. It's fixing the car and paying the bills and going to the dentist. Real life is three mugs with a quarter of an inch of tea in the bottom sitting on your desk. Real life is suicides and rejections and break-ups and make-ups. Real life is the pile of shoes inside the front door. It's the pants that are too tight, the phone calls at 3am, and the clutter of your junk drawer.

And then I went - WHOA! That's not all of what I want to say about life. So I wrote this:

Real life is also warm legs to put your cold toes on in bed. Real life is sticky kisses and warm hands and ignoring the dishes because you have better things to do. Real life is unexpected. It's phone calls and emails and letters from buddies that arrive just when you need them most. Real life is flowers and trees blooming in the spring. It's the leaves falling in the autumn. Real life is snuggling down into the covers at night. Real life is making big, grown-up purchases. Real life is knowing what makes you happy and getting to do it sometimes. It's about making the big, scary decisions and living with them. It's periods and poo and farting and snorting and burping and barfing.

Real life is belly laughter and wracking sobs. Real life doesn't happen to everyone. Lots of people never get it. Real life is about noticing it all - the good and the bad, the fun and the mundane, and the clean and the dirty. The way I see it is the Skin Horse had it right. Real Life is about becoming Real.


P.S. Jamie is starting something amazing! Since I started reading her blog she has been inspiring me deeply to move this body of mine and to appreciate and enjoy it. Now she is creating something that is even more inspiring!!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Poetry Thursday (a bit early!)

"We don’t see things as they are, but rather as we are." - Anais Nin

When I was in university I did a joint honours undergrad degree in history and in English. By my fourth year I was down to a mere 10 hours of class in a week and up to a mighty reading list that meant I should have been doing nothing but read - except, of course when I was sitting in the tutorials talking about the reading or writing the 40 page essays that were also about the reading. When I finished university I ran away. I ran away from a very bad relationship, from a very bad friendship, and from the possibility of going back to school again right away. It was too much. I moved to the UK to be a waitress and I did not read properly again for a long, long time. Even then I refused to read anything but SARK and escapist fiction. When I started again it was like taking a deep breath of country air after a weekend in the city. I finally remembered what it was like reading for pleasure.

When I found this poem I immediately scribbled it down in one of my notebooks. I loved it. I loved the line in it about people swallowing poetry whole. That's how I want to read now. I enjoy talking about things I am reading; I enjoy the way that an author has written, but I am no longer reading in sections so that I can pull out all of the nuances of a chapter. Instead I am now enjoying books and poetry in great gasping gulps. I can't get enough. I have just finished Joanne Harris' new book in under two days of reading. I closed the book feeling spent and slightly wrung out, but filled up with my immersion in the story. I am thrilled once again to just be loving writing for what it is. I can feel it again. I am back to my old self.

This poem is dangerous: It should not be left
Within the reach of children, or even of adults
Who might swallow it whole, with possibly
Undesirable side effects. If you come across
An unattended, unidentified poem
In a public place, do not attempt to tackle it
Yourself. Send it (preferably in a sealed container)
To the nearest centre of learning, where it will be rendered
Harmless, by experts. Even the simplest poem
May destroy your immunity to human emotions.
All poems must carry a government warning. Words
Can seriously affect your heart.

-Elma Mitchell

Monday, April 03, 2006

me and the elphanets

After my Sunday Scribblings post and after another earlier post where I mentioned me working at an elephant orphanage, I had several people ask or comment about this. I thought I would explain my apparent obsession with elephants!

I have always loved elephants. (When I was a little girl I called them elphanets.) There is just such a depth and a majesty about them. I love that they live in family groups with a matriarch in charge. I love how gentle they are. I just think that they are absolutely beautiful.

A few months ago the BBC ran a series of programs about an elephant orphanage in Nairobi. I watched enraptured every week as lost baby elephants were found and helped. As elephants are such social creatures, the keepers at this orphanage even slept in the pens with the babies. Keepers became surrogate parents, bottle feeding and teaching the little ones skills that they will need when they are reintroduced into the wild. One of the best episodes showed keepers and elephants all playing a strange game of football together. Watching the babies frolic and play made me laugh out loud. All I wanted to do was get in there and play too.

Shortly after this program ended I found an article in a magazine about a woman who spent her vacation working at an elephant orphanage in SriLanka!!! I clipped the article and pasted it into my Illustrated Journal. Since then it has been one of the top things on my life TO DO list. I found a similar trip on line, and this website is where the photograph I have included comes from.

So that explains my elephant orphanage fantasy. Someday that will be my 'holiday.' I'll be up to my knees in elephant poo and happy as a pig in very similar stuff.

P.S. I have changed the settings on my site & now you don't have to be a member to leave a comment!!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Sunday Scribblings

This is the very first week of 'Sunday Scribblings!' The picture above is the banner that Laini made especially for the site. She has already graced the site with three pieces of her artwork. I am as excited to see what else she makes as I am to write and read the scribblings that people come up with!

When we talked about what we wanted the site to be like I knew that I wanted it to be lovely. I mentioned the idea of a personalized header to Laini & she sent this image back to me. After one look I knew that it was the right header for the page. That all seemed like a good idea at the time. Whew. Let me tell you - appreciate it when people have incredible things on their websites. It is not easy! I have now learned a little something about CSS thanks in large part to Denise and Mark and a few hours of typing things, hitting the preview button on the template page, holding my breath, swearing, and starting all over again! I still am fighting with dividing lines so if anyone knows how to make them appear, I'd appreciate any input! I am now trying to learn how to make a button so people can put a Sunday Scribblings icon on their sites if they want! Woowoo!

BUT, it is time for my very first Sunday Scribblings post. I am going to do a 5 minute timed writing on here & see what happens! The prompt this week is:

What would you attempt if you knew you would not fail?

What would I do if I couldn't fail? I have answered this question before in lots of tests and self help books. It really is the ultimate question for following our dreams. But I like the way that Laini phrased the question because it is different, somehow, from the other question. It is not about what would I DO if I knew I couldn't fail - it's about what I would ATTEMPT. That's a whole different Ball game!! That question opens things up a whole lot wider. I don't want to be a famous politician, but if all I have to do is attempt it, it might be fun to run for office! This question means that it doesn't have to be a life choice - just a try- it- once- to- see- what- it's- like choice!!

What would I attempt if I knew I couldn't fail? I'd try: skydiving, baking a 14 layer cake, running for Prime Minister (or President of the US... even though I am not a citizen - never mind, this is a fantasy,) show jumping, writing the ultimate self-help manual, snow boarding, having children, doing a one-woman art show, sailing on a tall ship, running a marathon, driving across North America, perming my hair, contacting my favorite writers and asking them for tea, opening an outdoor education center in the UK, winning the lottery, making jam, being a movie star, being a spy, being in the circus, growing all of my own vegetables, dying my hair purple, photographing my world, traveling on a 'round the world ticket, caring for elephants in an elephant orphanage, swimming with wild dolphins, getting my book(s) published, writing a hit movie, writing a top ten song...

That's five minutes. I'm going to resist the urge to edit. I could have done that for hours! I think I will continue this in a different place. I enjoyed that. I'm excited for next week's prompt!!