March 20

This is going to be a particularly self-indulgent blog but at the moment let’s just embrace the idea that all expression is self-indulgent so why even try to draw lines. ūüôā As long as I don’t wander into self-pitying territory, I’ll call it a win.

There have been three ‘events’ that have been taking centre-stage in my life this week.

1) I’ve been sick this week. Some of you know I have¬†fibromyalgia but I’ve also had a chest infection that left me desperate for oxygen for¬†a few days.¬†I’m feeling stronger tonight so hopefully¬†I’ll be¬†back to ‘fighting form’ soon.

2) Anto and I released another cover. He’s singing some more Goo Goo Dolls and as always, I’m very proud of him. Working together is a strange and wonderful combination of passion/love/job/partnership… It is¬†a¬†job¬†(being his personal manager and of course writing together) that few¬†people in¬†my personal¬†life take seriously¬†or respect, but I’m more committed to it than any other work I’ve ever done. This is who I am. The fact that I love it and get to create and build something together with someone who loves me, is one of the greatest blessings in my life.

3)¬†This is a bad week¬†for my family. Twenty years ago tonight my brother was killed in a car accident. I know twenty years sounds like a long time to some of you, but his loss is always with us. Every year is a bit different. The week¬†leading up to¬†this day is full of other milestones like¬†his birthday and¬†my parents’ Anniversary. It’s also packed with other milestones that seem to haunt us – every March something disastrous¬†seems to happen to our family! Except last year. Last year nothing horrible happened and this year, crossing my fingers, we’ve done okay. (My mother would likely disagree since I’ve been so sick. I’m sure she chalks¬†emergency room visits¬†up to the curse of March¬†but..)

So the bottom line in all this is that I’m¬†particularly grateful to the people who are by my side in this moment.¬†My¬†natural reaction is to focus on who isn’t there for me – and admittedly I’ve done that.¬†I get frustrated that I don’t see support from people who I wish would support me. When I’m excited about stuff I’ve written, stuff that I’ve been working hard on and no one in my personal life bothers to check it out, it depresses me. I know this is a common complaint amongst creative types but sometimes it really does get me down.

And now I’m getting to the end of the post and I don’t even remember why I started writing… I think it has to do with the day. I wish I could write something brilliant for my brother, I wish I could touch people with my writing more, I wish I could make Anto’s and my¬†dreams come true faster, I wish I could’ve spent more time with my son this week rather than being cooped up in this bedroom…

Guess I wandered across the line into self-pity…¬†

So time to dust myself off and get back into fighting mode. Tonight will be a long night but tomorrow I know I’ll feel stronger.

PS РTo those people who ARE there for me, I love you and I never take you for granted. You are the reason I believe in everything good. 

Grey

Foggy shadows pass by –¬†disguised as the world,

laughing and unaware that you’re no longer here.

Colour fades beneath the pain –

everything’s stripped away,

                 except the colour of grey.

Update and “Everything”

Life has been busier and more difficult¬†than¬†usual lately – if that’s even possible. I try not to complain¬†though because I’ve learned the hard way that¬†life can always get worse. Hardships disguise themselves as trials but I think positivity is the real challenge. Every once in awhile though,¬†pure joy shines and a¬†sense of calm¬†bliss finds its home in the centre of my being. Most often, those moments resemble this one:

 

Whatever else is going on, I have the best friend and partner that even my imagination couldn’t conjur before I met him. There are many things about our relationship that people don’t understand – and I couldn’t care less. We work together, we love each other, we cry and laugh and worry together…and sometimes he just plays me music while I find my bliss again…

I’m working on that positivity…and “if the¬†while I think on thee dear friend, all losses are restored and sorrows end.” (William Shakespeare, Sonnet 30)

 

The Vampire Effect

Social interaction is a basic need of the human psyche. It helps define our identities and is a critical building block¬†of self-image and self-esteem.¬† We may hate to admit it, but¬†how we see ourselves is coloured by how we think others see us. The looking-glass self can be blamed on evolution and the survival instinct to be protected by the group, but it still has real implications in today’s society – especially in a society that’s erected on Bluetooth and Skype.

We may ‘connect’ with more people and chat with people all over the world but we’re becoming vampires.¬†We have conversations in under 140 characters and catch up over news feeds and comments. As society evolves devolves, people are losing the ability, maybe even the desire to interact in meaningful ways. Do we really know who are ‘friends’ are online. Do we ask? Do we¬†have dialogues?¬†Do we even respond to their messages or just ‘unsubscribe’ from them?

We’re becoming too insular. The more our worlds expand, the more closed off we are – and¬†when we look into our¬†proverbial mirrors, there’s no reflection staring back at us.

People are becoming invisible. 

We say we want friends, but maybe we just want an audience.

Ask a kid today what he wants to be when he grows up; he says ‘famous’. He wants to be heard and seen. He wants attention because our society is void of it.

I used to consider¬†generosity in terms of material or monetary value. Now I tend to use the word to describe people generous in spirit – giving of their warmth and their heart, giving of their time, their compassion and their positivity. We don’t just look for our own reflections in others, we also give them theirs, and being a reflection is a big responsibility. As human beings we should shoulder that responsibility with grace and kindness.

The more I look at the troubles and strife in this world, the more I think the root cause of it is someone just wanting to be heard, to be noticed. Hidden underneath people’s anger, hostility and apathy, are people who feel invisible.

Respond to others. Step out and embrace them, physically or metaphorically. Give a compliment, be a shoulder to lean on. Smile at the person standing in line that looks tired. Comment back, ‘like’ a picture, give of yourself – and maybe in doing so, you can find your own reflection¬†again, smiling back at you.¬†

Read My Mind

I saw a survey that asked “if you had a superpower, what would it be?”

Other than the obvious¬†altruistic powers¬†like eradicating¬†diseases or¬†orchestrating world peace, I’d wish for the power to manipulate time – at least that’s always been my quick default response.

I may have to rethink that answer.

“The path Fredric took through the tents brought Eragon into close contact with more minds than he had ever touched before. Hundreds of thoughts, images, and sensations pressed against his consciousness. Despite his effort to keep them at a distance, he could not help absorbing random details of people’s lives. Some revelations he found shocking, some meaningless, others touching or, conversely, disgusting, and many embarrassing. A few people perceived the world so differently, their minds leaped out at him on account of that very difference. How easy it is to view these men as nothing more than objects that I and and a few others can manipulate at will. Yet they each possess hopes and dreams, potential for what they might achieve and memories of what they have already accomplished. And they all feel pain.” – Christopher Paolini

To read minds….maybe if everyone possesed such a¬†superpower we’d already live in a world free of war and needless suffering.¬†Imagine what the world would be like¬†if we could all see through each other’s eyes, hearts and scars.¬†If we could look at a person and feel their insecurities and fears… and if they looked at us and felt ours… just imagine.

I Feel You

As the birds harmonize over the sound of traffic and the leaves rustle and whisper like ghosts in the shadows, I feel you here – away from time – in a world that exists in our hearts – wide open and free, intimate and deep…

Choices

We have so few choices in our lives. Sure, we have millions of little decisions every day, but I’m talking about the big ones. We’re brought into this world, into a country and economic bracket that wasn’t of our choosing, into a skin that we didn’t get to choose, into a complex jumble of neurotransmitters and other biological determinates that weren’t of our choosing… We cling to the notion that¬†we are products¬†of our own design –¬†but we forget that the foundation on which we build ourselves, was handed to us without options.

I hate my looks, curse my weaknesses, wish I could’ve won a bit more in the DNA lottery… I am haunted by what I’ve lost and what I couldn’t reach. I get so caught up in wishing I could’ve been born with more, that I forget that I was born with so much.

I wasn’t born in a place where water is scarce, or where bullets fly over my head on a daily basis. The fact that I’m a woman doesn’t condemn me to a life without rights, where I am someone else’s property. My child has food. My child has dreams. My child is able to be a child, not a soldier.

Sometimes it’s hard to look at your own life with perspective but flip on the news and¬†see what life could’ve been like – what it IS¬†like for someone else – through no choices of their own. If you feel safe in this moment, if¬†you feel loved, if¬†you have food and a roof, then maybe you’re luckier than you think.

Late Night Freud and the First Glimmers of a New Idea

It’s too late at night to ponder too deeply… my head is heavy and my thoughts are muddled. A thought just occurred to me though and I can’t believe I didn’t figure this out before now.

My writing has changed over the past couple of years. I attributed my change in focus to many things –¬†mainly the¬†fact that I acquired an¬†amazing writing partner. Almost everything I write now is a shared labour of love and we¬†get so caught up in ‘our’ stuff, that the latest novel keeps getting pushed to the side.¬†Inspiration pours out of me in the form of poems and lyrics now and it’s¬†a very different mindset and process than when I write¬†a novel.

When I write the novels, I sit by myself and step into a world that’s of my creation – but not mine. It’s pure fantasy.

When I write songs and poems, I write with and for my partner, about a world that’s ours. It’s our reality.

Continue reading

Strength

The magic in strength is that it can travel across oceans, from one soul to another, hand in hand with love and faith. And by making the journey, it empowers both souls at once.

Exhausted

If you fight until you’re exhausted,¬†until every bit of anger and ego, every ghost of past hurts is extinguished, until you’re so spent that all that remains is¬†the ability to listen…then you’ve done it right.

To Jamie

You are not forgotten.

You walk with us every day.

The pain never fades.
The anger never fades.
The absolute horror never fades.

Losing you destroyed us.

It’s been so long that I can’t remember what it was like…

We used to measure your absence by days, then months, then years…
Now we measure it by what you’ve missed.
You didn’t know Mickey.
You don’t know Cooper.
You don’t know Anto.
You don’t know this house or where we’ve gone…

You don’t know Brandon.

Would you recognize us now?

Someday I will write something eloquent to honour you but at the moment, I’m not worthy. I need to learn more. And I need to grieve less.

You are not forgotten.

Addiction

There it is….

It doesn’t last long but damn it’s worth it. Like a slow wave,¬†warm¬†bliss washes up from my belly, flooding out all the stress, all the pain, drowning every fucking care. Calm and energizing at once,¬†it’s¬†perfect balance. Synapses fire and the fog lifts. Words turn lyrical as emotions slide into¬†inspiration. Music pulses,¬†ideas dance and¬†words flow.

All is love.

All is creativity.

All is attainable.

The highest high is brief – the crest of it is so fleeting that nothing else matters as I ride¬†the bliss. I know it won’t last – but the brief romance¬†drives me to take more. Not every hit cimaxes so beautifully but it’s the possibility – the chance that for a few exhaulted moments, I will feel only joy.

To the Wordsmiths – and the other people who write

Being a wordsmith is born of passion – the need to put pen to paper is as innate and as necessary as breathing. Motivations obviously differ between writers but the drive to create and express is a point of solidarity.

The artistry of writing is as unique and varied as the authors. Ability aside, there are fundamental differences in the way they approach their work.

Some writers sweat blood over the structure of the story. Plotlines, story arcs and character development are orchestrated with precision tuning. Evolving and refining the craft is part of the thrill.

Some writers get lost in the struggle between the rigidity of grammar and form, and having a singular voice that resounds with creativity. There is a constant battle between the ‘proper’ way and the path that leads somewhere new. Continue reading

My Partner in Rhyme

I’ve never been a team player.

Oh, I work well with others – I share my toys and encourage everyone, and I’m really good at being in charge – but I’d much rather work alone. Too independent, too impatient and frankly, too resistant to authority, I hate being part of the crowd. Even as a child I’d do anything to avoid the dreaded group projects at school. “Pick a partner” was the battle-cry of sadists posing as teachers.

So imagine my surprise to find out that there’s one person in this world with whom I can write. Write! Personal and deeply introspective, the process of writing has no rules or universal truths. It’s as individual as each writer – even from project to project the process can change dramatically. So then how is it possible that I can not only write with someone else but¬†revel in the joy of it…

I write with my best friend.

We don’t always write together;¬†I have my novels and whatever else¬†sparks my imagination, while he has his songs and stories, his poetry… But there are times when we come together to work on something and it surpasses anything else I’ve ever done as a writer. Suddenly, there’s joy in finding the right combination of words. There’s excitement¬†when we¬†realize at the same moment that¬†a sentence is perfect.¬†There’s a bond in creating something together. We know each other so deeply, know how the other one¬†thinks, how the¬†other one sees the world…¬†I think we create something together that neither one of us could create on our own.¬†¬†

I’m still not a team player.¬†I couldn’t¬†duplicate this experience with¬†anyone else¬†– nor do I want to try. There’s a trust and love¬†that doesn’t exist anywhere but inside¬†of us and it’s that bond that allows us to go¬†beyond¬†building worlds. It’s about¬†creating¬†something intimate. It’s about what exists between us… Maybe that’s the magic…