Sunday, August 28, 2011

We can change the world

I'm in the midst of losing two people I love deeply. Losing the Leader of the Opposition was hard for me, if for no other reason than that. Yesterday's televised funeral was truly a celebration of Jack Layton's life. I want that for my friends. I want the world to know how precious they are, not just to me, but to everyone who was ever lucky enough to know them.

Layton left a letter to Canadians. Regardless of your agreement with the man's politics, how can disagree with his closing statement? There's a reason it has gone viral. It's not just a rallying cry to his political party, to Canadians, but to people everywhere.

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

All my very best,

Jack Layton

We can change the world.

Bryan and Kate, you have changed my world, and made it better, by sharing it with me.

Thank you.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ugly Eyes

I'm often accused of seeing the world through rose-coloured glasses. I only see the good in people, places and events. That's not entirely true. I'm aware of the ugliness in the world. I don't focus on it. I do focus on the positive.

Of course there are times when I have my ugly eyes on and nothing is rosy. Everything is nasty and depressing. I only see vindictive behaviour or cruel intentions. I see oppression, depression, and obsession. Ugly eyes only see ugliness no matter what else is around, or what is true.

How you see the world is dependent upon your expectations. If you expect to see only the negative, that's what you will see. You look for it. Ugly eyes block out light and colour and throw things into shadow.

It's difficult to swap out that view when you're looking at the world that way. You can't hand rose-coloured glasses to someone with ugly eyes. They will think you're trying to scratch out their retinas. Ugly eyes have a strong survival instinct. They expect everyone else to conform to their world view.

I usually take my rose-coloured glasses out of their line of sight and play with all of the colours until Ugly Eyes get tired and fall asleep. That's when dreams can give some perspective and restore vision to a more balanced view of the world.

If you have Ugly Eyes, or know someone with Ugly Eyes, don't despair. The world won't stay this dark and nasty forever. Pain will subside and beauty will slowly creep back in.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Good reads

I've been slowly going through my TBR pile. Every single book has been a keeper. That's not helping me make room for new books but I don't mind. I've been enjoying every single read.

I've already mentioned When stars go blue by Caridad Ferrer.

but equally worth savouring, I recommend:

Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson. That woman has such a wacky, and insightful, way of looking at the world. Her characters are unusual in expression but at heart they are the same as each of us. I love her voice. You don't have to have read Gods in Alabama to understand Backseat Saints but as they're both great books, why not?

The map of true places by Brunonia Barry. I can never quite figure where she's going with her characters but am never disappointed with the ride. Her voice has a dreamlike quality that fits in well with the character's uncertainty.

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen also has a dreamlike quality to it. I loved the tree that was sentient being, the little girl who knew where everything belonged and the adults who didn't.

Then there was Blackout and All Clear by Connie Willis. It's hard to believe that 1100 pages were infused with such fast-paced urgency. Incredibly well researched and full of detail about WWII England it would be easy to imagine Willis was a time traveler herself.

I cared so much about the welfare of the characters in all of these books. The settings were great and diversified, as were the story-lines but well-drawn characters were the common denominator.

Go get yourself a copy of each of these books. You can thank me later.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Dog tears

I've been lax with writing the last few months as you all know. There's no real excuse but plenty of reasons. However, now that my writing group is meeting every two weeks, I have to have something to share. That means that Casey's story is back out of the drawer.

Two things I've noticed. 1) Writing non-fiction is the same as writing fiction. You need to have lots of drama, emotion and a hook. Casey has that. 2) I forgot the emotion in all of the facts. The reason we stuck it out through everything was the emotional aspect of having Casey in our lives.

A simple thing to remember yet so essential. How did I forget that? Even for an instant?

I took the laughing dog to the hospital to see my mom last week. They've been separated for fourteen weeks. While he doesn't understand what's going on, he did seem to grasp the idea that there was something wrong. Or at least something that required him to be gentle and cautious around her. None of the wild enthusiasm he's noted for was on display.

He sidled up to her chair and sat down beside her, on guard and protective. She petted his head. They were together. And when we separated them again, he cried.

Emotion. The motivating factor for so much in everyone's life. It's time to put it back in Casey's story. He certainly feels it.