28 Feb 2014, 11:57am

A Little Personal History, part 2, flat-earther in a planetarium

Can people change or just change manifestation of the same? I’m wayback time machining for the next few days I’m considering 20 to 30 years ago.

As of 1991 I had been born again for 10 years, expecting a life in the ministry and a lifetime of celibacy. I didn’t know the route how to where and it really wasn’t up to me. I’d pray and listen to instinct and watch what doors opened and kept moving.

I wanted a hard science degree, or to go into journalism or translation, but again, that wasn’t up to me. It was complicated by being convinced I was no good in math (wrongly) but I was also a skeptic of whatever the school system fed me. In high school I could be asked to write an essay on Duddy Kravitz and write a report on why the book should be banned and still get an A because it was considered “critical thinking”, which it wasn’t. It was just distinct from what mainstream taught. It was a natural extension of what I was feeding my head.

I was accepted to Bible College but on a tour of campus I got asides from the student guides to not worry about the division of dorms by gender and the curfews. Or the ban on smoking, alcohol and drugs. There were ways around those. And boys, there was a system to getting them to your room too. And then there was the tour of room plastered with boy bands, and the student art gallery which was indistinguishable from secular art. There was Bible Study too but the sample was more a quickie reading, no discussion, and singing kumbayah.

It looked like the kids were cowards taking free rides off their parents to where they had no interest in going themselves. I figured I’d be better off in secular university where there might be less childish rebellion but an actual interest in learning. (I had snuck drinks and smokes in primary school. It was out of my system by the time I was 15.)

I subscribed to a magazine which had an article on a woman who was doing her degree to disprove carbon-14 dating to prove creation. This comforted me that the intellectual life wouldn’t be in direct opposition to faith.

As a teen undergrad the geology building glittered for me. As much as I found the displays on tectonic forces and the garnets appealing, as much as the quiet calm of the halls centred me, I could feel the nattering in the head of anger prickling at the hot-faced lies of how the earth formed and was billions of years old. That the devil planted fossils to test faiths didn’t seem unreasonable. It’s a funny thing about being in a consensus society. Everyone you know doesn’t give flack to the “facts”.

The Onion has a beautiful story on a Close-minded man not even willing to hear out argument placed in neutral terms of how gays are hell-bound.

It’s important to remember past selves. No one knows your own story except yourself.

Some of it was invisible. Who knew I had scripture on me at all times? Given that I was given a Christian Award from the school in primary school and high school, maybe it showed. Or maybe that was from giving our mail-order tracts. I remember the dismay on the face of the Danish exchange student as I gave him a bible tract in Danish. I can’t escape this even in Canada? he asked.

That was at the peak, when I was doing 25-30 hours a week in formal structures of faith. That’s a lot of energy to buttress against the world at large that would eat my soul for breakfast if it could.

Any one group may not have known about the others. For two years I was going to Seventh Day Adventist Church three times a week, for the Saturday Sabbath, and Bible Studies, and to the Baptist Church for Lord’s Day Sunday and to two bible studies and church youth group. At school I was at the Interschool fellowship which met before school and after school for a scripture reading and prayer. At home I had my morning and nigh devotional studies. In a spare I’d walk over to the Anglican church and have quiet time. I had a few heart-to-hearts with the religious man there who made gentle sounds and assured me my life wasn’t over if I did or didn’t fail or fail to get an A in some course.

Do I still feel driven to succeed? Yes. It doesn’t matter the particular outcome of the era. Then it was my ticket to university and out of the town where there were crass bullies and poverty and people who couldn’t treat one another decently. Maybe over the scholastic rainbow was civilization and respect for the world as I projected it. I’d go on spec.

27 Feb 2014, 11:57am
1 comment

A Little Personal History, part 1

When are we straightjacketed into our futures? Into our fixed self? Until our options are reduced to one?

I used to think one course can be intuited. Then set a mandate for perceiving for myself that there always are at least 3 ways of going. Does a base personality govern anything?

I am torn over how much wiggle room I have. Am I my chemistry, history, or also my future choices? Each person has a range. Is mine narrow? When someone says, you’re just like you were at 6, climbing up trees and ladders and being fearless, is that true in any way? Most of what I remember of my childhood is fear and anger.

Can I dredge me wider? Change has always been a pet interest. What can I open? What’s around that and that and that. Why, but why, but why wasn’t a phase I grew out of.

I remember being about 14 and standing in a particular spot with a notebook and deciding to test if I can induce multiple personalities. Whenever I got too crushed down by all the rules I made for myself, I could invoke my alternate persona and see what she would say. She never said, she only wrote, in handwriting different than mine. She was permitted to be angry and to name who and why. She was permitted waves of grief. She could smoke. She was a release valve.

[For the next 5 days, bits of memoir of the last 10-30 years will be posted.]

20 Feb 2014, 12:17am
Glad Game

Glad Game

Glad Game: To start with the obvious, bananas, the blessed herb. All other fruit may taste plastic and smell like wax but at least there’s banana.

Glad that there’s some food my body doesn’t reject. Choco-fruitarian may sound like a glamourous all-you-can eat fondue life, but is pretty limiting.

Glad I’m not getting the visceral wall at the sight, sound, taste, smell or idea of meat. It makes it easier to walk in the world.

And muscle relaxants. Walk, baths, stretches, music can go a distance but at times, what a wonderful invention.

Glad for them all, ibuprofen, antihistamine and knowing the migraine meds are there in the wings.

The understandingness of hubby who does not hup-hup, c’mon get up at me. Some nights it takes me hours to sleep and then I wake for an hour or two in the middle. By 8 a.m. I may only be towards hour 5.

Glad for the release and for things made.

Thankful that sometimes I can write like 6 hours flat out yesterday. No need to eat or pause, rapid edits and clarity in groove. The fishing about for something to care about as I read or write is all washed back onto shore like so much bleached deadwood.

Glad for the joie de vivre of the cwazy cat that seems to mistake herself for an anklet that play-bites my feet.

Blessed are those who retweet or favourite on twitter so there’s an indication of saying something of interest.

Thankful for those who reply to emails with any length.

Glad that mom is gradually remembering that phoning after 10 a.m. is almost infinitely better than before 7 a.m. even if both seem like nearly afternoon to her.

Feeling blessed by people who are willing to read what I write and say I hear you.

Thankful for Wally Keeler and his uploads of videos of people hearing poetry on the street of Cobourg.

Glad for fresh safe water to drink.

Glad to anticipate chapbooks coming in the mail.

Glad for chapbooks received and such a richness of creativity.

Glad that rob mclennan can make so many ephemeral events and chapbooks and connect people.

Glad to see Versefest coming in 5 weeks.

Glad to have people who love me even when I seem to be bottomlessly futile,

  • such as carrying the bag for photo walk, bring the lens but not camera body,
  • such as sending the address to pick me up at but dyslexically flipping the numbers,
  • such as finally nailing the pre-recorded segment of 2 Things I’m Reading This Week, but the mic was not switched on,
  • such as setting out the clothes for the morning but it rarely matching the number of appendages I have (2 pants, no shirt, or 1 pants, 1 shirt but 3 pairs of socks or half a pair, etc ad nauseum)
  • such as stammering and umming and mumbling and pretending that silence or omission can speak on my behalf
  • etc

Glad I can still have time to learn, improve and accept.

Glad my self-talk is better and that I can recognize that there’s a noisy head roar of criticism that doesn’t make sense to oppose point by point. Let it wash.

Glad to get to a place where there are feelings and there is body and there is intellect and they aren’t at war or all shut out. There is a working peace in the kingdom most of the time.

Glad to get the bathtub cleaned. If the shoulds are monkeys on the back, a bathtub’s one heavy monkey.

Glad to get an excuse to use the paper cutter.

Glad the cat thinks I’m much more interesting when I cut paper into small squares than when I stare and move ideas around. Maybe she’s right.

Glad to get to share people and ideas that I think should be shared on the radio show.

Glad to find a bit of information that someone mentioned looking for and passing it on. Being an information clearing house always feels more useful.

Glad to have used up most of the food so I could clean out the fridge. Glad to get more food to restock because frozen mixed veggies is pretty dire.

Glad to be moving outdoors in the snow where there are no people and no gender count of what is said or not said by who.

Sorry to be in such an apocalyptic urban space with so few species visible and people hating what is here. But glad I can get away to wilder areas to breathe and restore.

Glad for the support of hubby and glad to work in symbiosis with him to make a small world where compassion, harmony and making each self better matter.

Glad to have access to computers and ability to use them for words, for images, for ideas, for people.

Glad for free flowing times that makes blocked times worth waiting out.

Glad for heavy sleep and sweet dreams, and visitations by grandmother and all past groups of people and places in life integrated.

Glad for being able to expect good in tomorrow.

Double Quote: “Give what you have to somebody, it may be better than you think.” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and

“Is life too short to be taking shit, or is lie too short to be minding it?” ~ Violet Weingarten

19 Feb 2014, 9:19am

Obvious White-Outs

the signs are obscured
Just read the signs. Sure. I’ll just wade in closer.


Quote: “”We all need encouragement. We are small and brief and highly bio-degradable, and the world is large and on many fronts, in need of tending. But we are also resilient, connected and contributing every day to shaping the world by our choices about how to be here.” ~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer

17 Feb 2014, 2:38pm
Comments Off on March 25-30, 2014

March 25-30, 2014

Karen Connelly, Mary Ruefle, Stephen James Smith, Sue Goyette, Sarah de Leeuw, Michel Pleau, Souvankham Thammavongsa, David McFadden, Moe Clark, Jenna Tenn-Yuk, Mary Pinkoski, Andrew Faulkner, Amanda Earl, Brandon Wint, Stephen Brockwell, D-LightFull, Sandra Alland, 2 Dope Boys, Susan Gillis, Tim Bowling, Michael Burkhard, Elizabeth Bachinsky, Katherena Vermette, Kathryn Mockler, Marilyn Irwin. Dozen of poets There’ll be a film screening of the docu The Line has Shattered (trailer at the link) with panel discussion of those who were there in 1963.

If you’ve been hiding away from the great collective monolithic blurt which is Valentines Day and somehow missed hearing that Versefest is coming in 6 weeks, well, we’ve remedied that haven’t we. Unless you skimmed ahead and I lost you at the V-word.

Versefest 2014 is back. A thank you and call for more volunteers was last week at Pressed Cafe with poetry and music as entertainment and free books.

There’s contact info on site if you want to volunteer at doors, with driving out of town poets, postering, etc.

Call Me Katie
Call Me Katie did some of their own songs, new and older, and some covers. That’s a musical massage with bass, violin, guitar, and voice beauty.

Birdie WhytePrufrock
Birdie Whyte did some banjo music including the song “We don’t have to have fish”. She’s a regular performer at the Laff (each Sunday? Some Sundays?) and Prufrock shared some stories and poems including how to tell if someone is a douchebag. Hint if they drink 12 beers and say they’re okay to drive after they just urinated on your sofa. And a story of walking the streets as a kid talking to adults and finding out one of the streetwalkers used to be a teacher.

fries at Pressed CafeDavid O'Meara
We had some sweet potato fries. David O’Meara read some of his poems from his last few books and some of the newly confirmed readers at Versefest.

With any luck this Thursday at 6:30pm CKCU fm 93.1 I’ll be on the air with an interview with the Versefest Hall of Honour inductee Danielle Gregoire.

Quote: “You must stick to your conviction, but be ready to abandon your assumptions.” Denis Waitley

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