The Delicate Balance of a Book Review


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For those who’ve followed me for any length of time on here, you’ll know I share pretty much whatever happens to be playing out in this head of mine at any given time.

And I am entering the realm of a published author now trying to determine how I let the rest of world know that I’ve written a book.  They may want to read it….then again…they may not.

I’ve written letters as of late to ‘promote’ my product.  I’ve set them aside for a week then went back to see if the brainstorming session that had been initiated still held appeal.

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In the last few weeks nothing has been promoted as I’ve recoiled from first few attempts to try to ‘win’ attention of a media person of interest to review my book.  I’ve got this damn weird sense of humour that tries to slip in between the sheets  and (wow) the recipient of a letter just may feel violated!

Mind you, I did send that letter to Ellen…..hmmmmmmmmm!

Some of what I’ve written has been quite good.  However, closing the letter by saying things like…”my friends will tell you I am a good and dependable person.  They will also tell you I’m a little bat-shit crazy at times with a smile on their face in the telling.”

I then challenge the recipient of the letter (who has never met me…never heard of me) to read the book and decide for themselves who I am.  And this book isn’t really an introduction per se of who I am.  It is telling you the nasty business of how I got here.

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Oye!

So having pondered the best approach and a starting point I began to look for book reviewers online. Find someone who appreciates and/or has a preference for memoir and submit the book for an honest review.  The other aspect of this is to find credible reviewers.  I mean I want to garner more traffic and interest in my book.

That’s the point of the marketing.

One of the best ways to create interest is by word of mouth.  Get the buzz happening and people will check you out.  Hopefully the product will then entice you to purchase and read.

I’m wearing a different hat these days.  I’ve gone from being the ‘creative genius’ to being the ‘business mastermind’.

Am I not humble? (Insert a glaringly funny and obscene smiley face here).

In all honesty what I’m finding is that due diligence in this area is extremely necessary.

Many sites request a fee for their time and I can certainly appreciate this.  So far I’ve found sites that request $30 for their services and others that ask for $500 and up.

Then I got to wondering…if you paid the $500 then the $30…what type of reviews would you get? Money can be such an influential thing, can it not?

If I paid $500 for a book review wouldn’t I expect it to be decent and favourable?  And I don’t really have that kind of cash to toss into the arena.  The sum of $500 may well be the entire budget I want to invest in publicizing this book.  I’ve already spent $90 approximately on copies to send out for promotion.  The dilemma at this moment is who to send it to.  Who will have the most impact and do they appreciate this form of literature?

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I read one site that guaranteed honesty in their review.  And I wondered how I would react to someone not liking what I’ve written, not understanding and completely trashing me.

Indeed it would hurt.

But not for long.  I’d have to be pragmatic and ask the reviewer where I lost them and what they found so unappealing.  After all there is the business aspect to this.

And besides, what I’ve lived can no longer hurt me. There will be the odd sting or two no doubt.  And I’m not out to convince this world of anything.

I just am who I am.  No more.  No less.

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As I venture into the wide and wild world of publishing and marketing let me assure you in many ways it’s like seeing the sun rise for the first time even though you know you’ve watched it a hundred thousand times before.

There is a beauty that I just love.  And an innocence that,  damn, I wish I could hold onto forever, and a boatload of desire and passion to expose all that is in this heart of mine

And that’s what I must use as a compass point in this venture.

Take nothing for granted, appreciate any and all comments.

And always remember that I’m only human after all.

Peace out!

 

 

Can You See Me Yet? The Great Marketing Campaign!?


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Three weeks into publication and I’ve sold ELEVEN books!

Pretty damn good considering the majority of this world doesn’t know that I exist nor do they know I wrote a book!

My daughter kindly did some research and sent me information on how to market a book.  It would seem I should have been exciting the masses at least a year ago.

It would seem I forgot about the foreplay.  Oops!  Also, I have to sell myself to some degree, get the public interested in me.

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And I’ve never done that before.  In fact I’ve deflected attention more often than not.  I’ll downplay compliments…that sort of thing.  In truth, I really am trying to get better with accepting love and feeling worthy.  I know this sounds rather absurd but there is truth in this.

Am I a remarkable woman?  There are those that will tell you I am.

I will tell you we all are.

That odd little spot light that at times I shine in but more often than not will find me slipping off into the shadows once the awareness of its presence is known.

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If I want to sell my books, as well as sell and represent others, I will have to develop a sense of self that is comfortable in the public forum.

I will use my passion that fuels what I do!

I am growing and really am looking forward this new challenge.   I’ll be criticized from time to time no doubt.  I do expect this.  There is this odd little thing with how I receive criticism or praise.

Knock me down?  Hell, I’ll be back on my feet in no time.

Shower praise on me and I’ll become awkward and so completely out of my element.

And yet I do understand this reaction.  And I just need to work through it.

So back to the topic at hand.

Ellen

I’ve written Ellen DeGeneres and asked if she would review my book.   She has yet to respond.

I’ve called a few radio stations and was given names of the people who do book reviews.  I’m formatting letters of introduction to try and ‘entice’ the person to want to know me better?

Yikes!

I’m trying to be to some degree mysterious…HA! HA! HA! HA!

I’m trying to be to some degree mischievous, interesting, curious…?

And I’m really trying to just be me and not try too hard.

Selling a book is a business.  And in truth, I really am good at ‘business’.

I’ve just never partaken in this form of it before and well, I am excited.

Like a child with their first bike…no doubt I’ll fall a few times.  But the thing about me is I always get back up and I just get better.

Can you see me now?

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The Responsible Writer…


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I got together with my writing group tonight.  The topic for tonight’s discussion was a provocative one.  It had in fact sparked a weird conversation on the Meet-up site. I had found the conversation rather amusing in that obscure and animated manner that we at times come across.

The topic for tonight’s discussion was the role of the ‘responsible’ writer.

An interesting notion regarding the ethics of what we write and how they impact the reading public.

Certain things were declared to keep us in the realm of respectability regarding our writing.

One was to not take a real person and fictionalize their life in a derogatory manner.

The second was not to be deceitful. Michael Moore’s ‘Bowling for Columbine’ was used as an excuse as apparently not all the things in that movie / documentary? were factual.

Still, sometimes you have to stand back and look at the message….yes?

Drive the point home by whatever means but some felt he’d been rather deceitful in the execution of telling the tale.

A lot of questions sprang to mind as I listened to the views expressed.  We all agreed that journalism is held to a very different standard than your run of mill book.

And it should be.

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The term ‘literal truth’ was a raised a few times and I sat considering what meaning this held.

It is a factual term that cannot be disputed. For example the Moon circles the Earth every twenty-eight days.  It is a literal truth that is a proven fact and cannot be altered.  Now that I had reconciled it’s meaning in my head then came the ’50 Shades of Truth.’

And I say this with tongue firmly planted in cheek.  This particular book was mentioned a time or two as well tonight.

While almost everyone and their dog that I have spoken with will tell you how poorly written it is, I ask you this?  What then was the appeal?

To say that a lot of bored housewives were out there smacks of a certain duplicity and insults women in general.

I read the first book.  Didn’t like it.  It was billed as erotica and in truth it was a poorly written romance.  Nothing more.

But I will take my hat off (if I wore one) to E.L James.  She sold this book through brilliant marketing.  Sex and controversy!  Hell, now that is combination that is irresistible.  Get the public curious and they will take note.  She also used social media much to her advantage as well.

I can recall when Michael Jackson wrote ‘Moonwalk’.  The lead up to the release was hyped to the max and ‘promised’ to give us the skinny on the ‘gloved one’ in his own words.

Personally it was a disappointment for me.

Michael was trying to sell a story he’d been parroting for years and in many ways it read as though he was trying to convince himself as well. I didn’t buy it.  And it made me sad.

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The responsible writer…provocative.

What if a woman writes about her love and adoration for her husband who happens to be extremely abusive and controlling to the outside world?  Does this set a poor example for our youth?

If a woman is raped in book and confesses to ‘liking it’ what message does this convey?

At the age of 12 or 13 I slipped beneath the covers with flashlight in hand and read my father’s copy of ‘The Happy Hooker” unbeknownst to him until I was caught.  Back in 1970 I wasn’t too certain what much of what I was reading meant, but I can assure you I was not inspired to go out and fuck a German Shepard.

We need to respect that our children are not mindless sheep who will believe everything that they read.  Also we must infuse a sense of kindness and love in them and teach them by example.

Mark Chapman read “Catcher in the Rye”  It triggered something in him and he killed John Lennon.

Is the book at fault?

No.

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Mark Chapman was mentally ill and unfortunately the object he fixated upon was a brilliant musician.  I love John Lennon’s music. His gift of song spoke to me on such a personal level.

There are many who condemn him for being and an abusive asshole.

I do not condone this type of behavior.  What  I saw was a man trying to change, wanting to be a different man, wanting to be better.

I have not always been the lovely woman I am today either.

John was not afforded certain opportunities as his life was cut short.

In high school we read two books back to back in social studies.

“Mein Kampf” and “The Diary of Ann Frank”

Quite simply the lesson was ’cause and effect’ intimately woven together and it was an incredibly powerful lesson.

One was the progression of an intelligent and extremely impotent and insecure man who was falling into the obscene and frightening belief of his own myth that he had created becoming the epitome of evil.

The other was the beautiful innocence of a girl hiding in an attic with her family experiencing the tender chutes and passions of youth only to be discovered and effectively killed.

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I have always been fascinated by the human condition and what we choose to accept or reject.  We can alter our memories particularly those that are extraordinarily painful. We can press them back and deny them simply because they are too raw and savage.

Human kind has a dark history in this regard.  Through the ages the manner by which we’ve killed our own is truly disturbing.

And it continues.  Atrocities still exist.  I see the intolerance that hate has blossomed into and the false bravado these  men try to wear.  Very sad.

Young people are taken at such a young age and fed a litany of propaganda that they later act upon.

Think about this.

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We tell our children there is a man named Santa that comes every year and flies about the world in a sleigh pulled by eight magical reindeer and delivers a gift to each and every child.  Mall Santas’ sit listening to each child’s wish list and Canada Post will even send a child a letter back if they’ve written to the North Pole.

This is of course isn’t harmful to them, is it?  There is a sweetness to it.  Oh they will eventually grow up and know that it’s not true and when they have children of their own they too will carry on the myth of Santa.

I am simply using a very base example of how myth can affect the mind of a child as I can well recall laying in bed on Christmas Eve wondering if Santa would come.  For a time I believed.

Now think of how they take young boys in the middle east and feed them fear, conditioning them to close their minds and only accept a ‘truth’ bound in darkness.  Because to raise a child up believing that by forfeiting their life serves their ‘god’ and a higher purpose is truly tragic.

What I took from the meeting this night was more in keeping with free thought, free speech and the responsibility to ensure we always have it.

 

Peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for this Magic Moment


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I am truly humbled by everyone who has offered up their best wishes and congratulations.

I feel so truly blessed at this moment.

I am recording the facts and etching the beauty of all of the love that has been afforded me through this project and throughout my life by family and friends.

I couldn’t have done the things I’ve done without them.

I was listening to the radio on the drive into work this morning.  Willy and the gang were discussing this oddity that has happened with some ‘A’ listers in the entertainment industry.

Certain celebrities insist on movie sets that no one looks them in eye.

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Now this is pure ego…nothing more.  It is also a show of extreme insecurity in my mind.

Holding someone’s gaze is a very revealing and intimate exchange.  So much can be shared in this simple act.

Yet for someone, who happens to be a well known actor / actress, to say that anyone who looks them in the eye should be immediately dismissed for their insubordination smacks of an elevated ego and a weird and convoluted idea of power.

Money can have an odd effect on people.

And the names that were mentioned today are not particularly ‘gifted’ in their field.  If anything, they got lucky.

The thing is if someone scores big in a role, or happens to be stunningly beautiful or both…they are marketed like any other commodity.  The problem is several of them begin to believe the ‘legend’ that they are being sold as.

I hope my book does well.

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But you know, I’ve a host of other things I want to do.

A few years ago I got the idea for a fundraiser for women.  I thought it might be beneficial to have an annual event to raise funds and awareness for several non-profit programs that assist women in crisis.  I formatted the letter head, the idea, and took down names of organizations that would participate.

I had roughed out the schedule of events and the female celebrities that I would approach to participate.

I had letters drafted ready to be sent.

I needed to approach the venue that I wanted to use and get the skinny on that.

Then an issue arose regarding my heart.  I muscled through deciding to get myself good and healthy before I continued on with this endeavor.

On the heels of the heart stuff, cancer paid a rude and uninvited visit.  While I eradicated this from my life I made the decision to start my own company and launch the book.

Keep in mind I’m still working full-time and taking care of an engineering company.  Gotta have a cash flow to pay the bills, you know?

Now I’ve got to figure out how to sell this book that’s I’ve just launched.  What has also resurrected my attention is this fundraiser I thought of a few years back.

So I will fine tune that too.

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If I sold a million books and made a boat load of cash there is this part of me that knows I would never live to excess.  It’s not me.

It would of course be nice not to have to worry about financial issues but I’m not one who would run out and purchase a mansion and hire a staff to maintain it.

The idea of someone else washing my underwear is a little creepy to me, but then that’s just me.  Perhaps it’s my ingrained independence.  I’ve always taken care of myself…kinda sorta.

And what really is a perfect world?

Perfection doesn’t exist, not really.  As much as we want that physical sense of timeless and youthful beauty with all the perceived accruements that go along with this, understand the cost for this conceit.

And when those ‘beautiful people’ who grace our movie and television screens look down at us meer normal mortals, that is typically when  I  lose interest…fast.

We are all connected.  We always will be.  To think otherwise can be very lonely.

What happens on the other side of world will have an impact on me in some form or another.

When I was invited to run in Rick Hansen’s “25th Anniversary Relay Race”  and was awarded a medal as being a difference maker, I can assure you I took this honour seriously.

I want to make a difference through the power of love and forgiveness.

And I know that I’m just one woman and can only do so much.

But at this moment I feel a certain magic. And at the very beginning when I began this blog I spoke of what magic means to me

There is a radiance, a wellspring of wonder that I’m feeling.

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And such a debt of gratitude to each and every person who has ever loved me.

It is this love that has sewn together a heart that was so badly broken and allowed it to heal and expand in a way I could never have imagined even a few years ago.

So thank you to all the people I know and love for encouraging me to find my voice and share it through the written word.

You have saved me.

Peace.

 

 

 

 

Not Your Average Bear!


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I’m not too certain what made me thing about Yogi, but the smile that curled my lips when I did was immediate.

Saturday morning cartoons.

It was a ritual growing up.  Two hours of nonsense where I could get lost in an animated world.

Characters got blown up, had humongous rocks fall on them and fell from cliffs regularly.

But they never died.

If a cat has nine lives then animated characters are indeed immortal.

Silly pranks were played.  Scheming villains tried in vain to execute their various brands of treachery.

Every week their debauched visions were crushed by sly intellectual bunnies or awkward buffoonish bears.

Yogi and Boo Boo ruled ‘Yellow Stone National Park’ much to the chagrin of Ranger Smith.

This was and still is a sweet innocence for me.  There was no hard sell.

It was always a simple formula, one that I came to expect and it was offered week after week, year after year, and it worked.

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A capricious bunny, an enamored skunk, a witty road runner, a southern rooster or a hero of a mouse…just to mention a few.

We were blessed with so many lovely characters.

Back in the 1990’s though, we were all grown up and adult animation became a demand and began to move to the forefront.

Some of the creations were a delight.  Pinky and the Brain, Future Cat & Friends are a few faves.

“The Simpsons” truly changed the landscape or animation.

Some very dark characters emerged during this time.  Then gaming exploded.

I got to thinking of cartoon from the Merry Melody collection called ‘One Froggy Evening’ done in genuine black and white.  It was likely produced in the 1950’s.

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A man finds a frog who can sing like  Pavarotti.  Elated he thinks he’s struck gold.  He advertises this and fills a concert house.  The frog, however, will sing only for him…alone.

This has been a favorite of mine for a lifetime it seems.  There is a joy in its simplicity that is so endearing to me.

These days its hard to find a cinematic production that is just plain old fun.  Making movies is first and foremost a big business.

Last weekend as I was curled up suffering from a dreadful cold and convinced I would never smell the sweetness of a rose again.  I watched ‘Guardians of Galaxy’.   I enjoyed it.  Now perhaps it was the fever but hell, there was a quirky innocence to each of the characters.

This doesn’t happen often in movies such as this for me.

It was silly, goofy and totally predictable, but what sold me was the depth of the characters.  I liked them and wanted to get to know them better.  When this happens I’m hooked.

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I read an article about a year ago that stated that movies follow just twelve various formats.  That’s it!  And as I pondered this I likened it to be true.

Why is it that some movies just blow us away?  Certain catch phrases are adopted or personality traits are adopted and emulated.

Others movies are forgotten before we leave the theatre.

Why did one leave an imprint and the other fade away?

This principle applies to the written word a well.  Those books that capture our imagination and allow it to expand.

In a nutshell, it is character development and plot execution.

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How do you take something that has been told a million times or more before and tell it again…originally?

What I’ve learned may sound simple but can really be the toughest thing you’ll ever do.

Tell your story as only you see it.  That is what makes it unique  because none of sees or feels the same about anything really.  Individually we all have variations.

This perhaps, is the most endearing factor in the human equation to me.

Perfection is a myth.

Forgiveness is the key to freedom.

Love is absolute.

…and how each of sees the rise and set of each day is as infinite as the sky we gaze into each day and each night.

 

A Blogger’s Life


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Okay, I am feeling decidedly playful tonight. I’ve been editing.  And I must say, despite the topic and issues raised in this work of mine, I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve produced to date.

I’m polishing it up.  Taking those phrases when last I passed through this book of mine, which was a year ago, and defining them in a way that is more conducive to the meaning trying to be conveyed.

A year ago I had read through this work of mine approximately seven times or so.

And truth be told I didn’t want to look at it again.  For two years I’d worked on it and during that tenure, I had been living part of the book.

Emotions were at times volatile.  Behaviours were erupting in a tidal wave that I found myself swept up in with the only hope that when all settled, I would have survived and grown as a result.

Then on the heels of all these momentous changes came the health issues, shifting this life in yet another direction.

Really there was no other choice than to run with it.

Things have settled considerably now after some four years of some rather extreme challenges.

And now as I read back the words, let me tell you, I got it right this time.

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I have told  something so very personal that it exposes my vulnerabilities and fears to the world. I put out all my flaws and weakness’ without excuse .  I’m happy with the effort and result.

If you’ve followed this blog for any length, then you’ll know I want more than anything to become a respectable wordsmith.  To take this craft and be able to lend the words to such a favorable position that their meaning might well touch the reader in a manner that is positive and profound, that quite humbly is my only wish.

There is a blogger that I follow on this site with some 70,000 plus followers.  I loved his writings and his depth.

Now it seems every post is requesting finances from his followers for some crisis he seems to be having in his life.

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I’ve not reached such popularity, however, I have remained true to the purpose of this blog and shall remain as such.

I will never ask you to donate for my aging computer equipment,  nor I will never ask you fund my online subscriptions, for my health care, my rent, etc.

It has truly saddened me where he’s taken his blog.  This makes me wonder why we are all on this forum.

I, for one, read all the posts I’ve signed on to.  If I am moved to comment then I do.

Still, this morning, when I rose and checked my email and saw the blog from Christian stating ‘Help!” I knew he would again be asking for money.

I sighed wearily.  It’s just such a turn off.  Time to sign off.

For me this forum is where we can all come and express ourselves.  There is no expectation, and hopefully no judgment.

You either like it or you don’t.  It either speaks to you or it doesn’t.  This is a place where we can all share our thoughts and ideas.

But for fifty dollars, I could pay Christan to upload one of my posts!  After all he has some 70,000 plus followers.

Don’t we all wish for that?  And then I saw the posts being re-blogged as he said he would.

In some there was an odd desperation in these writers trying to gain exposure for their work.  Like me they probably don’t know shit about marketing.

He got lucky. What you have to understand in this world, is that sometimes people just get lucky.

There is an old saying that it’s 25% talent, 25% who you know and 50% luck.

I don’t know.  I’m not into statistics.

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I see this happen all too often though.  Someone becomes popular in their writing or delivery of words, written or oral.

And the price goes up.

Think of these so called prolific wisdom gurus such as Tony Robbins and the like.  Hell, the fees attached to their seminars are exorbitant.

If you’ve attended any of their seminars, what have you learned?

I can tell you now, they will not disclose any information to you that you’re not already in possession of.  What they’ve become masters at is unveiling such information in a manner that seems new and invigorating.

And I feel like that with a many of bloggers whom I’ve followed.

Then you have the ones that seem to be buying into their own ‘greatness’ after all, how could 70,000 plus followers be wrong?

And admittedly for a time, this confused me. I blogged about it.  Why were the words and thoughts I was expressing not being acknowledged by WordPress?  Why had I never been ‘Freshly Pressed’?

Then it came to me.  I am here only to practice the craft I love.  I will never ask for any compensation other than you like what you’ve read.

It’s just that simple.  I have no agenda to separate you from your hard earned cash.

If, what I’ve written, brings an emotional connection to you in any way, then I’ve done my job.

It’s just that simple.

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If we cannot share our words and expressions with honesty, then what?

Last evening, as I have done for the last six years, I boarded the Britannia here in Vancouver as a staff volunteer to kick off a cruise for the Pride weekend in Vancouver.

I have many friends who are gay, and you know, I learned a long time ago to judge people by what was in their heart.

So if I can assist my friends’ and make this celebration that much more exceptional, then I will.

I took my camera and snapped some 300 photographs on the cruise last night.

I spent another three hours today reviewing and correcting any inconsistencies then uploading onto my friends Facebook page, along with mine.

And as I did this, I felt blessed for the people I have in my life and even more so that I can write the things that I do.

Enjoy your day and thank you for stopping by.

Peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I\

For Art’s Sake


 

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I’ve been out for the majority of this day. It’s been a good one, a rich one.

The plan had originally been to head out to Deep Cove and hike up Quarry Rock then grab a nibble.  A late night and the uncertainty of the weather had my daughter and I going for breakfast in Deep Cove and later exploring Cates Park.

Now that I am working over in the area its time to reacquaint myself with my surroundings.

It really is beautiful.

Later we went back to my daughter’s home and had some tea.  I then left to meet up with some friends to take in Douglas Coupland’s exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

This, quite frankly, was one the best exhibits I’ve seen a good long while. It pounced and stung quickly.

A table containing a chewed up plastic container with rusted out aerosol cans and the like inserted into the slots greeted us. The table base of styrofoam and plastic was rigged with wires….

An explosive thought, yes?  This was going to be good!

Photographing the pieces was highly encouraged. Lego structures were featured quite prominently. Then I began to think about what these plastic pieces were made from.

Can you destroy a Lego piece? I’m really not too sure.

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Images and structures continued to assault and intrigue the senses. Each section of the exhibit was deliberate in its intent. One display held one hundred housing constructs made from Lego. All were identical in their suburban design. This was the dream sold to the masses after World War II.

Everyone would have the home with the white picket fence, a car in the drive, two and a half children, with two weeks vacation every year.

It was the ideal that was sold to a war weary world and we bought it.

Consumerism was born in a big way.

Now you had to have the automatic washer and dryer, then the colour TV. Of course, TV dinners came into play and my God, the things that decorated our homes!

Plastic fruit in garish bowls adorned our coffee tables. Velvet Elvis’ hung on the wall while red shag carpeting covered our floors.

Polyester clothing became the rage.

And do you know the one thing these all have in common? Oil.

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They have an oil based compound in their makeup. All plastics do.

We came into a room that housed a miniature town of nuclear reactors, an automotive assembly plant, electrical grids galore and cameras everywhere.

I leaned in to study the intricacies of this designed piece. One of the cameras moved to watch me and so now curious I moved to my left.

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It followed me.

I moved to my right and yes, it followed me. I repeated this several times with the same result.

I stepped back then repeated my movements. Nothing.

So they had set it up with a sensor. Brilliant!

Big brother is watching. Always…should you happen to get to close.

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The next room screamed at me.

“I miss my pre-internet Brain”

The walls were filled with identically sized canvases of various colours with phrases on them such as the one above. And perhaps because I’ve started a new job where I am stepping back in time in terms of technology and using a DOS based progam, there is a certain appreciation and reflection of how far we travelled on this technological yellow brick road.

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And like those erstwhile characters who travelled to Oz, will we find that we had everything we wanted but were just to sidetracked or blind to see it?

We stepped into the next room and I felt the swell of emotion hit me. In the center of the room stood two structures designed to replicate the twin towers in New York. The walls were covered with geometric dotted art pieces.

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They didn’t look like much visually. It wasn’t until you raised your camera phone that the image came through.

And tears stung my eyes.

The dots were the people jumping from the twin towers on that fateful day. One was of Bin Laden.

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I stood for a moment contemplating the obscurity of these images.

Do you know how much our world changed that day? It changed dramatically and irrevocably for the worst. Fear championed that day. We were collectively horrified at the darkness humanity had fallen to.

And for no other reason other than it is intrinsically instilled in our DNA, we laid the blame on one man.

Bin Laden, who would live out his days in the caves of Afghanistan. He’d surface from time to time uttering the all too common phrase ‘Death to America.’

And this was the face of evil personified.

The final room of the exhibit held a plethora of items, all made from plastics and other manufactured textures.

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Several oil cans were bunched together surrounded by toys that had been produced with said product and with the intent of being inconspicuous was the plastic model of a duck drowned in oil.

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This was tucked at the base and could have been easily missed. Perhaps that was the point as all too often in this life we turn the other cheek so to speak. Easy to adopt the out of sight, out of mind kind of crap.

We then went upstairs and checked out the other features that were being displayed.

Some of the pieces are interactive art. And I really like these pieces. One that has been up for awhile shows a red curtain. A few moments later an older woman, rather dowdy in appearance, rather bookish as it were steps through the curtains. She is wearing a shapeless deep blue suit with sensible black shoes.

She stands with hands folded in front of her. A nervous smile plays upon her lips.

I’ve seen this before and I know what this piece intends.

So I stood next to my friend and watched.

She was feeling anxious, a tightness in her chest. This would shift subtly to exasperation. Then the sense of being a little annoyed would wash over her.

About seven minutes in the woman is shifting a bit….though it is very subtle.

I asked my friend. “Do you feel fatigued? Tired and heavy?”

She did.

“Does the woman appear tired and exhausted from standing before an audience?”

My friend nodded.

Then the woman turns and disappears behind the curtain.

Not a word is spoken…yet the emotional kaleidoscope provoked is intriguing.

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What do you see in this image?

Douglas Coupland is an author as well, best known for penning “Generation X”.

There was a portion that totally intrigued.

He took the pages from his book and chewed them into pulp. He then shaped them into hornet nests. He also had real hornet nests in attendance (minus the hornets) to provide an honest comparison.

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The challenge in this piece was the longevity of the written word.

Art should make you think. It should inspire on some level.

They had a feature upstairs that displayed landscapes, portraiture and the like. What could possibly be interesting about portraiture, you ask?

I like to try and divine the expression that’s been captured. That is the intrigue for me in this form.

Landscapes can be dramatic or just plain.

Again, art is very subjective. We are not going to like all of what we see.

It is those moments when the pieces scream at us and yes, we get it. That is what I look for, that is what I live for.

When someone’s work speaks so eloquently to me, then the artist has done their job.

And I leave myself open daily. Each day I exist has an altruistic element to me.
And this is what Douglas Coupland had to say regarding this exhibit and I quote.

“I look back at myself two decades ago, and I think of how different me and my brain were back then…and how differently I looked at the world and how I communicated with others. The essential ‘me’ is still here…it just relates to the universe much differently. What will the world look like when anywhere becomes everywhere becomes everything becomes anything? We’re almost there.”

Douglas Coupland

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My friends and I later went for a nibble and discussed some fascinating topics. We spoke of the tragedies of this world, of its beauty and our responsibility to it.

In that context I have only myself to hold to account in how I interact with the world that has been provided to me and that, like a blank canvas, is up to me to give back.

It struck me today this odd sense of entitlement we have. These gadgets we’ve been told that will make out lives unspeakably happy.

The house that once looked like a million others, has now escalated to a family room (aka great room?), a living room, a kitchen, an eating area, a formal dining room, master bedroom with full ensuite (shower, soaker tub or Jacuzzi, double sinks and a walk-in closet). Then of course all the other bedrooms should have a bathroom. Balconies and BBQ pits and hey, you really should have an in home theatre. A bliss room is good along with an in-house gym as long as you’re in it for the long haul.

When did this become normal?

Do you know the ecological footprint you’re leaving in wanting and having all this?

And what is the point?

Are you above me because you’ve managed to assemble these accruements into your life?

It takes a lot of energy to produce this and a great deal more to maintain it.

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And personally I want to focus more on sending out the love that I feel so blessed to have in my life back out into this world.

Things won’t make me special or important. Just living with a grateful and forgiving heart will, and in my mind, give back to this world that has offered so much.

If there is a secret to this life, I haven’t a clue. I’ll just venture down this avenue and seriously enjoy all that’s been afforded to me.

Douglas Coupland’s exhibit gave me serious cause to pause and really look at how I can improve my interactions with our organic world.  After all, I am an organic being.  We all are.

If you live in Vancouver or have access to the VAG I would strongly suggest you check out this exhibit. It is my understanding that this show will be moving to Montreal at the end of September.

Any feedback you have is always welcome and thanks for checking out this post.

Namaste.

Trailers……You Lost Me at Please!


It has been absolutely beautiful weather wise here in Vancouver!  Summer has settled in quite nicely and the temperature is rising.

Nights are spent with a sheet covering me at most.  Even then it is often too hot.  I have one fan that is a good size that I lug from room to room.  I think I will head out this weekend and get a smaller one for my bedroom.

Last year I had taken the fan apart and cleaned it. (They can get quite dusty)

I put it together forgetting to screw the butterfly nut onto the propeller.  Propped it up in my room, turned it on and went to sleep.

A thunderous crash about an hour later had me leaping scared as hell from my bed.

You guessed it.  The propellor inside its cage had come off because someone we know (and love) (hey, I’m gonna milk it, okay?) forgot to put the screw on to hold it in place!

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I can assure you it took quite some time to fall back into a blissful slumber after that little incident.

I am babbling though.  Gee. Haven’t done that in while, now have I?

So, yes, I need a smaller fan.  Not one that if it fell apart could potentially kill me.  That fan has never graced my bedroom since this occurrence. I have a far too active an imagination.  Visions of propellers flying through the night air slicing and dicing me like a kitchen chopper doesn’t induce one into the realm of relaxing nirvana.

As I drove into the office today I greeted the morning and cranked the radio up and rocked out to a few good tunes.

Lately the radio has been running ads for up coming TV summer series.  One is for ‘Extant’ that features Halle Berry.

The premise of the show is that she is an astronaught and goes out into space….alone…for a year. She is doing a bunch of strange experiments and somehow she manages to get knocked up though she has no memory of this.

(What did they put in her Tang?)

A line from the trailer played on the radio has Halle asking this question. Not too certain who she is talking to either.

“Please, just tell me what you did to me?”  Halle beseeches. 

And I couldn’t help myself and just burst into laughter.  it just had such a strange connotation to it.

Truth be told, I really don’t know if I’ll check it out.  The premise for it sounds ‘odd’?

Thing is I like Spielberg’s body of work, so it may be worth a gander.  There are a few things though that don’t add up right off.  First, I don’t think they would ever send just one person out into space.

Too expensive. 

The craft that she’s on appears to be quite big too.  That’s alot of work for one gal.

It seems to have the premise of the creepy old abanodoned house feel to it  that we see in horror flicks but it’s a few hundred thousand miles away floating about in space.  Hmmm.

(Halle… just don’t go into the ‘basement’ of the ship, ‘kay?)

Then of course she does go into the ‘basement’ and wakes up not knowing what the hell happened and pregnant to boot. 

I wonder why they always make aliens look so creepy in Sci-Fi movies?  Quite often their appearance is lizard-like. I’ve always liked the aliens in Star Trek and Star Wars.  They were what we affectionatley refer to as ‘humanoid’.  They resembled us but had distinctive attributes that dictated what area of the galaxy they were from.  Better not be from the Eastside of intergalactic hood.

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The wise ones and Cap. Kirk’s battle buddy.

As we well know, life forms can take on a multitude of images and they might well not be in a state that we would recognize.  

Still something to be said for our collective imagination.  

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Careful, ET, my friend. An Alien dude from the Eastside is stirring up shit.  Ate the teacher and left the apple.

If I were to put together a sci-fi outer space series, I would want to explore the big picture.  Really get into the meat of other ‘civilizations’.  Whether they are civilized by our definition of this term, well, that would be a shrouded mystery, now wouldn’t it? 

Next Generation was my favorite in the Star Trek series.  They explored a lot of psychological aspects that were really cool.  

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I would want to put together a series that took it even deeper than that.  One thing I would explore is the idea of ownership in space.  

Kind of like how we, as humans, section off not only the land we thrive upon but the deep blue sea that surrounds us as well.  A portion  ‘belongs’ to Canada, to the USA, to Europe, to Africa, to Asia, etc.  The thing is, what one country does to their ‘piece of the ocean’ affects us all.  Just as what happens in another country on the other side of world does have an impact. It always will  Yet we have this NIMBY attitude.  Outta sight, outta mind as long as it doesn’t appear in my neck of the woods…I’m cool. 

We are kind of like an ostrich with our head in the proverbial sand at times.  

I would also want to explore the idea of intelligence.  The concept of it.  This really fascinates me. How we actually measure intelligence and decide who and what are bestowed with this gift of sorts. 

I recently watched a documentary on ‘The Nature of Things’.  The show followed the migration of the Monarch butterfly and how its migration was discovered and mapped.  

Such delicate creatures that undertake an amazing journey!  Why?  Don’t know. And they are equipped with sensors that are just incredible!   Is all that they do based upon instinct alone? 

I would want to explore the crop circles as a language and turn them into 3D images.  (And yes, I do believe they are a language)

And maybe one day I will have the opportunity to develop such a show.  

I wonder sometimes what would result if shows were created theoretically.  If ratings and advertising dollars weren’t an issue. 

What would it be like to create…just because.

What would it be like to live….just because. 

What would it be like to have no borders?

What would it be like to collaborate collectively on a global scale just because we are human.

The good of the people.  The respect and earnest interest in our well being…everywhere.  The desire to share knowledge freely.

We’ve put a price tag on so many things in this life.  Lebron James, for example plays basketball.  Yet the dude is worth multiple millions of dollars. Why?

I played basketball in high school.

Okay, I wasn’t very good and I’m a girl but I had fun! And I’m nice dammit! 

My point being that what if the challenge wasn’t monetary?

What if the challenge wasn’t power and control?

What if the challenge was…just because.   Hmmmm.

In any case, I will toddle off now.  Enjoy your day and as Mr. Spock so fondly states,

“Live long and prosper.”

 

Five Hundred…But Who’s Counting?


Hey mista!  Yeah, you.  Hey buddy!  Get over here!  I said, get on over here!  Got somethin’ I gotta tell ya!  Yeah, you!  Don’t make me hurt you!

(Insert sound effects from an old black and white B-movie of the gangster variety where they get into a little of the fisty cuff stuff)

Now that I have your attention I’ve got this to say.

THIS IS MY 500TH POST!

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Not that I’m counting or anything.  But I wonder if WordPress will send me some kind of acknowledgement.  When I first started writing on here they used to send me a little ‘Congratulations!’ icon with every 10 posts I completed.  It has been a long time since they’ve offered up anything.

So let’s do a brief recap.

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First I would like to thank all of you who’ve signed onto my blog and followed me over the last 2 1/2 years during this little journey of mine.

As you all know, I can be a little long-winded at times.  I’ve started projects on here that didn’t seem to get much in the way of response so I tucked the idea away and carried on with it in another manner.

We first met the day after I had a heart procedure done.  A stent was inserted for a blockage I wasn’t aware that I had.  We kind of just happened on it in a backward kind of way.

Things seem to go like that for me at times.

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For the next year I pounded out my first book, a memoir.  I joined a few writing groups and took photography classes.  I finally dealt with some of the most painful and darkest issues that have plagued this life of mine.

I had gotten into running would carry on and commit to it.  During 2012 I was on blood thinners so that the stent could become properly embedded into the walls of my aorta.  I was told to be careful as being on blood thinners would lead to easy bruising.

I don’t think there is a year that I’ve fallen down, tripped, bashed into doors, walls, corners, etc. more often than 2012.  I was, it seemed, something of Georgia peach….a bruised one at that.

As 2012 closed out I said ‘good-bye’ to the blood thinners. In celebration I signed on to do the 2013 BMO 1/2 Marathon.

I decided to write about the experience and the series was called ‘In Training’.  Fifteen weeks were recorded and about half way through my training….I began having health issues.  My energy had begun to do a vanishing act.

The Head

Still, I muscled through.  My fear was that some other heart ailment had come up but the heart was doing fabulously.  The cardiologist couldn’t even stress it out to the max.

More tests.

Four days after I completed the BMO 1/2 Marathon I was diagnosed with Uterine Cancer.

And so began a year battle.  I have, as you well know, shared my experiences regarding this on here as well.

I am still kickin’ it.  My hair is growing back…oddly.  I’ve gained 42 lbs. as a result of treatment.  I am easing back into my fitness regime.  Still, its been tough.  The weight is sitting on me in an odd manner.  I don’t know how else to describe it other than when I do run I feel like I have a lifeless belt strapped on.  I have begun to refer quite affectionately to this portion of my anatomy as the Dead Zone.

I am checking out a few varieties of exercise now.  One is Tabata training.  It may be able to kick-start a few things.

It is my understanding that it takes time for all the toxins to be cleared from the body and for me, it has not yet been 6 months.  Am I expecting too much?

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In any case, I’ve found a series of foods that should assist in cleansing the body of the toxins and help to restore the good bacteria that was killed off along with the bad during chemo and radiation.

And between these health issues that I’ve really tried to treat as just a minor inconvenience, I’ve written about any number of topics that have popped into this head of mine.

I finished the memoir which will be released soon.  In the mix I decided to start my own publishing company.  I’ve got six other books of various genres on the go.  I want to make a go of this and write on a full-time basis. I want to publish other writers as well.

If all goes as planned, and I’m sure it will, I will be quite successful.

In the meantime I will carry on posting on this blog of mine.  This began as a writing exercise.  I’ve had my moments where I’ve questioned why I am doing this.  I’ve questioned why I’ve never been featured on anything.  I’ve questioned a lot of things.

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At the end of the day, it comes down to marketing.  Admittedly, when it comes to this blog of mine I am woefully bad at trying to market the thing.  I decided to stay true to the original intent which was to use this forum to write regularly and hopefully improve my skills as a wordsmith.

If I had more time then perhaps I could devote a bit more of this commodity to marketing.

As it is I’m stretching it.  Perhaps that’s why my sleep as of late has been off.

I’ve shared my heart with all of you along with some of my photography which is another love of mine.  I hope you’ve been able to take a little piece here and there and been able to either relate to a situation or given pause and been touched by something I’ve written.

What matters the most and is the highest of compliments, is that you, the reader, can walk away after reading one my posts and feel that the message conveyed is understood, heartfelt and honest in its diction.

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And always I am humbled by those of you who do follow my ramblings.  This isn’t a popularity contest…at least not for this gal.

What this is and always has been is my deep love of the written word and wanting to become better at it with each passing day.

Many blessings to all of you.  Thanks for checking in.

th

 

 

Gravity


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Many preponderances have been dancing through this head of mine as of late.

I’m on fire. Focus, now.

I have been devouring my fellow blogger’s articles

Helen has had success with her Lymph Node Transfer and I couldn’t be happier for her.  Cristian is trying to raise funds for a medical procedure that he needs.

People are chatting about anything and everything these days.  I can dig it..

There have been several articles regarding health and body image offered up.

Women cry out vehemently about the state of the ‘Barbie Syndrome’ and how it is affecting our culture, sub-culture, confidence, health, relationships, etc.

There is a whole hell of a lot more going on here, folks.

Cristan posted a sketch the other day depicting what ‘real women’ looked like.

This was interesting considering he is a young man who lives in Romania and is now disillusioned by the truth of the female anatomy.  Of course, I say this with tongue firmly planted in cheek.  I’ve never met Cristian.

It got me thinking though.  What I pondered briefly is what would I look like with a boob job?

I’ve got big enough ones, by the way.  Size isn’t the issue here, stamina is quite another.  Trying to prop these babies up is a lesson in futility.  They fight me every step of the way.

When the bra comes off I swear the ladies heave an enormous sigh of relief.

Now if I were successful in getting them to be the perky little darlings they once were, what picture would that paint?

The beauty of aging is that everything begins to sag in unison.

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I would look rather foolish with boobs that were army ready when the rest of me began to succumb to the laws of gravity a few years back.

And if these lethal weapons of mine were plumped up like an Oscar Mayer wiener all the time, then the massage I had tonight would have been incredibly uncomfortable.

I was laying face down and lifted myself briefly to sweep my boobage into their respective armpit.

I’ve never liked Barbie, by the way.  She’s always kind of pissed me off, though I don’t know why.  She is a doll after all.

I can’t tell you how proud I felt when my daughter and her friend at the age of eleven years laid their dolls out on the road in front of our house to watch them get run over.  Ken was included by the way.  He and the gal both went down without a fight.

I might well have strutted about like an abstract peacock, albeit quietly.   After all throwing someone, even a doll, under the bus isn’t a good way to teach problem resolution.

The other thing though is just how reliant we’ve become on what is on the shelves in our grocery stores.  It’s changing us, messing us up.  Processed foods are killing us, slowly.

I picked up a can of Lobster Bisque soup.  It had 46% sodium content.  My arteries began to harden at that point.  I never made it to the sugar and saturated fat percentages as I returned the can to the shelf.

Soup is one of the easiest and least expensive dishes one can make.  Perhaps not Lobster Bisque, mind you, but chowders, bean soups, etc.  Good stuff.

I don’t buy into the ‘stick woman’ ideal.  I never have.  A healthy weight for me is in the 145 to 155 lb. range.  I’ve got to drop about 50 lbs. to reach that goal.

The effects of the Cancer treatments threw me into a tailspin of sorts.  But hey, I’m turning it around.  I’ll get my health back.  I’m easing back into my fitness regiment now and will step it up gradually.

We all want to be beautiful, I suppose.  We chase it, covet it…but what is it?

Like art, beauty if very subjective.  What I may find incredibly beautiful another might well scoff at.  In turn, I might shudder in horror at someone elses choice of ‘beauty defined’.

A while back I was at a friend’s house watching the Rolling Stone’s 50th Anniversary special.

Scary, eh?

In any case, Rose and Kathy gushed about Mick.  They would have sex with him in a heartbeat.  Rosey’s hubby seemed to be in agreement that should the occasion present itself, then yes, his wife should do the nasty with Mick.

I shuddered as if a thousand creepy crawlers were on me at that moment.

As the show progressed, The Boss…the one and only Bruce Springsteen came out to do a number.  I felt the juices begin to flow.

“Now there’s a real man!” I proclaimed

My friends both shuddered in horror emitting an exaggerated ‘Ewwww!”

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I’ve stood in art galleries spell-bound by the piece before me.  Emotions that are elicited are at times incredibly deep.  I’ll glance around to see if others are having a similar response and at times want to scream incoherently ‘Don’t you see it?  Don’t you get it?’

Of course what I see and feel is mine alone to experience and appreciate. That is the beauty of it. Pun intended.

What message then does it send when men tell us they like women with a ‘little extra meat on them’.  Later you catch the guy jerking off with a picture of some emaciated model gazing back at him from a magazine.  Her breast implants seemingly a workout just to maintain her balance on a daily basis.  No wonder the poor girl is so thin!

Hmmm!

The idea of beauty is definitely being marketed big time.  Packaged up and offered for a hefty price.  Women are not the only ones buying into this.

The boobs will cost you $5,000 to $10,000.  A tummy tuck…facelift…Botox…skin resurfacing…

It will add up quickly.

Now as you stand before the mirror having gone into debt to buy the perfect ‘beauty package’ designed to give you the life you thought you wanted, that you thought you deserved…I have just one question.

Was it worth it?