Thursday, March 29, 2012

Adrienne Rich ( 1929-2012), Poet, Feminist, Shaman

The world is somehow a lesser place with the death of Adrienne Rich yesterday.

A few of her insights, gathered by me:

On learning from our elders:

The danger lies in forgetting what we had. The flow between generations becomes a trickle, grandchildren tape-recording grandparents' memories on special occasions perhaps—no casual storytelling jogged by daily life, there being no shared daily life what with migrations, exiles, diasporas, rendings, the search for work. Or there is a shared daily life riddled with holes of silence.

On the absence of female history:

Of artists dying in childbirth, wise-women charred at the stake,
centuries of books unwritten piled behind these shelves;
and we still have to stare into the absence
of men who would not, women who could not, speak
to our life—this still unexcavated hole
called civilization, this act of translation, this half-world.

On women trying to make it in a man's world:

No woman is really an insider in the institutions fathered by masculine consciousness. When we allow ourselves to believe we are, we lose touch with parts of ourselves defined as unacceptable by that consciousness; with the vital toughness and visionary strength of the angry grandmothers, the shamanesses, the fierce marketwomen of the Ibo's Women's War, the marriage-resisting women silkworkers of prerevolutionary China, the millions of widows, midwives, and the women healers tortured and burned as witches for three centuries in Europe.

On Emily Dickinson:

Narrowed-down by her early editors and anthologists, reduced to quaintness or spinsterish oddity by many of her commentators, sentimentalized, fallen-in-love with like some gnomic Garbo, still unread in the breadth and depth of her full range of work, she was, and is, a wonder to me when I try to imagine myself into that mind.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The World is on Loan From our Grandchildren?

Whatever happened to that wise old saying? If we carried this truism like the sacred trust that it is, deep in our consciences and the minds of those we elect to safeguard us, would we have this current dilemma:

Man's catastrophic damage to the environment and disparities between rich and poor head the daunting challenges facing the Rio Summit in June, experts said on Monday.

The summit must sweep away a system that lets reckless growth destroy the planet's health yet fails to help billions in need, they said.

"This century is special in the Earth's history. It is the first when one species -- ours -- has the planet's future in its hands," said Martin Rees of the Royal Society, Britain's academy of sciences.

"We've invented a new geological era: the Anthropocene," he said referring to an epoch shaped by Man, not nature. [...]

"Under a worst-case scenario, it's very likely, I think, that the Earth's system will move to a new state of some sort, with a very severe challenge to contemporary civilisation," said Steffen. "Some people have even talked about a collapse." [...]

The UN's goal of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) is already out of reach, said Bob Watson, former head of the UN's climate panel and chief advisor to Britain's environment ministry, as he presented the laureates' study.

"If you look at the commitments today from governments around the world, we've only got a 50-50 shot at a 3 C (5.4 F) world, almost no chance of a 2 C (3.6 F) world, and to be quite honest I would say it's not unlikely that we will hit a 5 C (9.0 F) world," said Watson.

"That is clearly a world with significant adverse consequences for ecological systems, for socio-economic systems and for human health."

He added: "We have to realise that we are looking at a loss of biodiversity that is unprecedented in the last 65 million years... We are clearly entering the (planet's) sixth mass extinction."

Read more here.

Where is the Invisible Cosmic Housekeeper when you need her?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fasten Your Seat Belts

Yeah, I know there's room for all of us and our opinions on this good planet but seriously, my paper (The Telegram), published this letter this morning. Extracts below and offered without comment by me. (Reminder: This is 2012 and scientific data, blah, blah)

I would like to make a few comments about the recent increase in warmings and threats about global warming. “If ” the temperature increases the ice caps will melt and cover the whole world with water. How much money has already been wasted on this false information?

Just think of all the cold weather we have had this past winter; it was 50 degrees below zero in Russia less than a month ago. Europeans were freezing to death according to the news reports. So which report should we believe?

Did you ever read the story of how Henny penny tried to convince all the animals in the forest that, “the sky was falling,” just because an acorn fell on her head? She caused such a flurry of panic among all the other animals they all ran around like chickens with their heads cut off. The sly fox though, convinced all the animals, mostly poultry, to come into his lair and he would save them. However, he had them all for lunch instead. I hope we are not all chickens in Canada.

If people would read the Bible in Genesis, chapter 8, verse 22, God made a covenant with Noah and his family after the flood which destroyed all living creatures except the ones who were saved in the ark. In verse 22, God says while the Earth remains, seedtime and harvest and cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night will not cease.

I think God is true and every man a liar. Just imagine how much money could be saved to do better things in this world, feed and clothe the nations of people who are hungry and destitute as we read this.

If the nations of the world would eliminate the atomic weapons and bombs as they used to in the past, along with better forest management, maybe the Earth’s environment would be safer for human habitation.

And then I toddle over to this, another gas-oil leak, but this one with the potential of a catastrophic blowout:

Jake Molloy, of the RMT union which represents offshore workers, was asked if the incident was the most serious in the North Sea since the 1988 Piper Alpha oil platform tragedy which saw 167 men die.

He told BBC Scotland: "Fortunately we have dealt with the human side of it, but the potential exists for catastrophic devastation.

"If it somehow finds an ignition source we could be looking at complete destruction." [...]

Are we a planet of cretins?

Monday, March 26, 2012


Stan Carey of Sentence First explains the Irish language (Gaeilge)title of my blog post better than any translation I've seen.

I've been knawvshawling (the phonetics and pronunciation of the above word if you're up for it) far too much lately. Whinging, whining, complaining - yeah, that's where I was at.

Isn't it odd that when stress and "too much" and "OMG not another problem/task/item/project!" takes over the brain there is very little room for joy or just plain presence in the moment.

One of my cast members reminded me of that after rehearsal today. I had told her last year that I never miss a sunset and she said since I said it to her she has taken the half an hour every day to drink them in and see life through a different lens.

I was too ashamed to say I'd just been peering out my office window at them for about a minute (busy, donchaknow)recently and needed to get back into the saddle of gratitude and joyful reflection.

So enough with the cnáimhseáiling and on with the attitude adjustment.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Aging - A Story From Where It's At and What I'm Missing.

Multi-tasking ability from 10 down to 2 and maybe an extra half on a good day.
Speedy onsets of Da Tireds.
No more caffeine after 6.00pm.
Panic when the car acts up in dark places. At night. Without cellphone coverage.
A fresh version of obsessive compulsiveness kicks in when something small goes wrong or something doesn't get done.
Word hunting.
Noun hunting.
Masses of hair on head eliminated need of hat. Knitted another hat to add variety to this new collection of daily wear.
Slow, gentle, soft days now whipping by at warp speed.
Taking sense of balance for granted.
Tight jeans.
High heels.
and oh, what happened to:
Derring Do
Devil Make Hare (Heir, Hair)?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Five Glorious Things

1. I was on TV last night. Yes, I was. Speaking about the importance of commemorating an Irish speaker's legacy. And more I can't say until I hoover up this blog and breach my own anonymity. Fame. Such a fleeting thing. Note to self: make the most of it.

2. A blue jay starting to build something outside my window. Awfully sloppy if it's a nest but she's busy so this must be - whatchamacallit again - Spring?

3. A lovely lovely lovely St. Patrick's Day lunch out in the middle of the country. I felt I was part of a movie set. You know, the big open fire to the ceiling welcoming all guests, the gallopping horses outside the window, the table groaning under the weight of all the food. Getting a prize because I was the most "Irish" there even though I disqualified myself at the outset. And getting to sing a duet - The Isle of Inisfree - with another guest.

4. Gordon-the-Gift freshly at home from his Labrador work life, putting many of the finishing touches to The Tigeen. We now have beachstones set in around the wood stove. Pics to follow.

5. Finally meeting someone I really, really wanted to meet for a long time last night and HIM saying to me - I love your writing, I'm so glad your words were in our local newspaper! Gulp. Silence. What on earth does one say? This man is one of my heroes.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Blog Jam

Thanks for all the good thoughts on my last post, some of you took the time to email me privately and I am so grateful for that. I am truly amazed at the circle of love out there both in blog land and in my own personal sphere. Two particular friends of mine have been like bodyguards in the last few days and another friend dropped in unexpectedly as she had some sort of vibe that things were not so good. They still aren't. I've got an action plan but patience is running thin as to implementation and/or success.

Courage! Said in the French way. Always.

Elsewhere, I found this nugget on the web. Something that prods my thinking and my creativity is always welcome.

Right now I'm doing the stuff that earns me a sorta-living. Taxes. And editing a collection of short stories along with the editor. And both promoting and planning a series of rehearsals for fresh performances of Da Play.

All a little half-heartedly. A little sadly. Sometimes a little dramatically: Why me?? Oh Gawd why me?? enunciated loudly to the dog from the bottom of the stairs as she blinks at me from the top step, head on paws, waiting for the command to descend said stairs if I could get my act together.

And why not me? Drops of rain and all that.

Friday, March 16, 2012


Free-floating anxiety.

I am rattled. Yes, there's a lot on the desk. Scads of tax-work to do. Editing. Planning. Grant applications. If I shared it all it would make your head explode. So I won't. I'll just try and glue my own head together.

Overlaying all of it, constantly, is worry about my disappeared daughter. I was able to track her doings on Twitter and a few more professional sites for a few years. But it is nearly 60 days now and her Twitter account has not been updated and she is no longer a member of the other sites.

And my head can't take this constant barrage of 'what ifs' that I've had in the last two weeks. Through the wonder of this technological age I observed a flutter of activity and accusations as she barged off a film set half way through production a couple of months ago. At the time I thought, OMG, she's at it again, this is kinda sorta public, she will get blacklisted by the film industry. How we do one thing is how we do all things. She's blacklisted her entire family. She's been barging off, huffy, since she was two years old. Nothing has changed. I get so scared for her.

Do we ever stop being parents? No. I'd like to stop. I'd like to be a wise old crone and que sera, sera myself into karmic bliss. But I can't when it comes to my kids.

I find this whole not knowing about her well-being, ill-being, is affecting my perception of everything. The dog threw up all over my bed the other night. Barf bed. Yeah. Horrible. And I must have cried for two hours. My dog was dying. But only in my head.

(Ansa is just fine, she probably ate something on the shore that had been dead for a month and decided to share a midnight feed with me).

My elder daughter had a severe episode of her MS (necessitating emergency intervention) when I was in Toronto last month and my mind keeps going back to that. She is fine too and off with her dad and her daughter (Grandgirl) on March break in Montreal as I write.

I'm just niggling away at all worrisome things at the moment and need to put a positive spin on my life.

All is seriously well. Really. Isn't it amazing what can do one's head in, in spite of this?

And there's nothing I can do about any of it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Photo and Cartoon of the Week

This has been kicking around Facebook but I thought it worth further exposure here as it so bloody well said, yeah?

And when this shyte has to be posted isn't it hard to believe we're in 2012 and not 1812 ?

How long will it take for the females of our species (50% of us) not to be perceived as growbags?

And for those of you who may not have seen the following due to your newspapers' censoring, here's Garry Trudeau shouting out about another serious erosion of women's rights in the USA:

Monday, March 12, 2012

Five Glorious Things

I've meant to post this weekly, to keep myself mindful and thankful. Mondays. Must remember.

1. Some would view this as a chore but I don't: Every morning in the cooler temperatures I come downstairs and set and light the fire in the woodstove while the dog runs around the meadow in joy at her morning release and I put on the coffee and oatmeal and get her food together and come out again to the now roaring fire.

2. My daily walks along the shore where I get to see the scene above called "Winter Blues".

3. The postmaster, yeah, I've written about him here, but where else would I get a call from the post office to tell me in an awestruck voice: yeah, there's four packages for me today. Two with work. So come down today.

4. My tax software wasn't working. I de-installed, I re-installed over the past 24 hours. Nah, wouldn't work. At all. I called the software support line and just as I started to tell the technician my problem it began to work, all by its little ol' self. We laughed for 5 minutes as I insisted it was her particular ether magic that got it rolling.

5. Finding a new editor through my daughter and her huge network of fab people. And this time, maybe this time, I'll be finally putting out the book of short stories. Soon.

Friday, March 09, 2012

One Hundred Years

He thinks: A hundred years. One. Hundred. Years.

That's how long the old store has been smack dab in the middle of the village. Selling everything way back in the day from anchors to sausages and still doing so. Used to be they'd take lumber and fish in trade. He'd heard rumblings of long ago - grudges passed down through the generations. Of unfair pricing. Of rejecting the wood if it wasn't up to par. And then going back in the middle of the night and taking it anyway, free. Of one of the store's boats being sunk in revenge for this.

But he'd tried. To be fair and honest that is. Well almost honest. If he added up the bills for some of his more trusted customers to settle at the end of the month, he'd always round the pennies up. He'd make a few dollars that way and call it interest. Sure wasn't he entitled?

First it was the gas. Over ninety years they'd run a single pump of it outside the front door. And now that was gone. A flimsy excuse from the oil company, they couldn't come down around the corner in their new big rig. He pretended that was true. He knew it was a losing financial proposition to send out a truck from town to fill up his little one pump underground tank.

Then it was the tickets. He wasn't selling enough to justify stocking him up every week. Plus he'd never had a winner even though there were some that bought fifty dollars worth a day. All hoping for the big win. A tax on the poor, he thought privately. All giving up their welfare checks in the hope of winning a few million dollars while their children scraped by on bread and cereal.

Ten years ago he buried the wife. She suffered a lot. And then his lady friend followed the wife, exact same type of cancer and suffering, four years after that. So he decided to fly solo. Spent all his days and most of the evening in the shop.

And now, well now, he was going to cut back on all those lonesome hours at the shop. Walk around a bit, look at the sea. Hustle up his memories of when the kids were small and Patsy was alive and think about the time they took an extra one in because he wasn't being treated right by his mother. There were a lot of mouths to feed then but a lot of laughter coming out of those very same mouths too. Yes, surround himself with those kind of thoughts and not think about how sick he was feeling lately. As if his own cancer had come back and was now stretching its muscles and playing the waiting game. A shame that their eldest, Marcie, was never right in the head. Stayed stuck at nine years old. And now she was nearly fifty. A right care she'd been, Patsy was good with her but he had had to keep her sedated so she was more docile. Otherwise her rage would eat her up from the inside. He couldn't bear to think of who would soon care for her. His guess was no family member would step up to the plate and he couldn't ask any of them now could he, so it would be a facility for sure, but he shoved that thought quickly out of his head. All the rest of his children were in Alberta making staggering amounts of money off the oil sands. Along with a hundred thousand other Newfoundlanders.

The shop would close soon. Of that there was no doubt. Inside his head, he apologizes to his father, to his grandfather and his great-grandfather. Soon it was going to be time to see them and explain himself.

He was ready.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Death and Other Jokes

Looking out the window
In the space of five minutes
I see
~A funeral hearse (and yes, I saw her death in the paper) with 9 duckling cars trailing it
~A school bus – grade school
~A furniture delivery truck
~Another school bus – high school
~A meat truck
~A milk truck,
~A jeep
~Three passenger vans
~Two private trucks with boat trailers
~Six or seven cars
~Two walkers
~One black dog who walks herself and never crosses the road, hello Bella!
Which goes to show me
In no uncertain way
That life goes on. And on. And on.
Even when we die.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Best Laid Plans

Sweet Maude.

I know I am the middle of tax season when something untoward and unexpectd happens to yank my chain and wrestle me to the ground.

Beware all ye who read here of the most atrocious computer virus EVAH to attack without provocation. Known to those in the know of such things as "Internet Security 2012", it looks exactly like Microsoft Security Anti-Virus down to the logo. Sorry can't link to the details as I am on my netbook very far from home having entrusted my laptop to the wunderkind who has saved my techie-arse many times before.

This may take a while, he tells me, grave of face, sad of demeanour, we would have to do a full scan once we remove it, it is one of the most insidious ones yet.

You don't have to push a button for this one. This installed itself when I had my back turned on the screen while talking on the phone. I shut down right away and fingers crossed I got away with it before it took charge of my bank account, etc. -

Murphy's Law # 89: The busier I am the behinder I get.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Outside Looking In

Outside Looking In

Of all the slaps
Slung by love
None hurts so much
As a shove

Out to the blizzard
Deep with snow
Shivered by the
Sudden blow.

Baffled, hurting,
Cast aside,
Puzzled, frightened
Holding tight

To mem'ries of
Precious years
Which slowly melt
Away to tears.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Thursday, March 01, 2012

And Out The Other Side

Amazing possibilities are out the other side when I suit up and show up.

We have this amazing theatre troupe I've written about and a pretty damn good play. So everyone says. For how can I speak of it, all the characters are dear to me and spring from my fertile imagination. I get to love my characters, they are my babies. And the brilliant cast makes them even more real. And people ask me about them.

"So what happened to Phelim," they ask. And I am flattered. He has become real to them too.

And for years, many times, I drive by this place, a very old church, oblong. Tall and sleek-ed. Lovely old windows. White and blue. And another dream takes hold. And I think, ridiculous. No. This could never be.

And a friend has the dream too. Independently. And we find out the building is for sale. For a song and some TLC. And we go there today. And say to each other as we look around this gorgeous place, key trembling in our hands.

"This is where the box office is. This is where the washroom will go. This is where the dressing rooms can be built on."

And maybe, just maybe, our theatre, our very own theatre will be birthed. Yes, overlooking the ocean. You are all invited to the premier performance. We counted. It will seat 90. Comfortably. How perfect a dream is this?