I already went through this once…


“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~ E.E. Cummings


It is a rite of passage and a fact of nature that, when we grow from a child to an adult, our voices change.   Perhaps I hadn’t realized when I began my blogging journey that I was a child of writing.  I was a mere toddler grabbing at words like they were all mine but contrary to a toddler’s way of thinking I wanted nothing more than to share those words.

Recently, I have been going back through the moments of my childhood.  I have not been pouring over photographs in family albums but I have been going back through the early stages of my blogging days and I am amazed at how dissimilar my writing voice is from then to now.  The nuance of my phrasing is a far cry from what it once was and my voice has changed to signify the growth in my writing.

Contrary to going through that awkward teenage phase in life, my progress as a writer has been uncomplicated and relatively steady.  I feel comfortable in my writing skin and I walk down the hallways of the writing school in my mind with great confidence.  There are no cliques to contend with, no teachers to please and the only club I wish to join already has my name on the roster of its members.

I want to write, plain and simple.  I want my voice to continue to develop and be able to show the experience I gain each day by simply writing more words on a page.  I want my voice to whisper.  I want my voice to sing.  And I want my voice to yell at the top of its lungs when it has something to say, anything to say.

Maybe this is the puberty stage in my writing.  And just maybe I have reached the cusp of adulthood and I can finally embrace the voice that will truly represent who I am as a writer.  There may a be a few breaks in the inflection and the tone but I think this voice is here to stay.




Being a human pinball isn’t so bad


The Christmas Spirit has ruthlessly stalked me, once again, and dug its talons into my inner-elf.  Yesterday I spent the better part of the afternoon spending money that has been generously donated to our 3rd Annual Toy Drive at Shamrock Lodge and strategically placing those purchases around our tree in the front office.


I have never been a big fan of Christmas shopping but the last three years of managing this toy drive have given me a reason to slightly alter my thinking.  My dad was a big fan of fighting holiday crowds to shop at the largest malls in Toronto.  My traumatic experience with that is described in this post.  But I now understand a bit of the glee he felt.

I became immersed in the spirit of giving and the outside noise of the store slowly fell into silence.  I was in a holiday bubble and the more I shopped the happier I felt.  Feeling like a pinball in an super-sized Christmas pinball game was a minuscule annoyance compared to the immense reward.  A few hours of doing something I am not fond of to make a child smile at Christmas was well worth the discomfort.

Time to schedule a disconnect


It crashed.  It simply crashed and, for a few panic-stricken moments, I didn’t know what to do.  The internet went down at work yesterday afternoon and I felt like a Roombot slowly spinning in circles, bouncing off of walls and random pieces of furniture, lost in a world that was absent of instant communication.

I was moderately frightened for myself when I realized how much I have come to rely on technology.  The increasing ease and speed at which we can sail through mundane tasks makes me forget my humble beginnings of pen-pals and library sessions with encyclopedias and the Dewey decimal system.  I have become a member of a mutated generation that is driven by immediate knowledge and gratification.

I feel somewhat sad that my nephews, who are currently 15 and 12, and like-generations, will never understand what we had to endure to communicate with our friends.  Gone are the days of writing letters in long hand (do kids today even know what that is??), putting those letters in envelopes, dropping them into a giant mail box and waiting weeks, maybe months, for a response.  Making long distance phone calls to a town 15 minutes away is a thing of the past.  And don’t even get me started on the friends who didn’t have answering machines.  I’m sure I still have phone numbers burned into my finger tips from dialing them incessantly until somebody finally answered the phone.


(image credit)

Our society has gracefully surpassed hand written letters, DOS programming and the annoying pings and bleeps of the dial-up connection but throughout that process we seem to have lost a bit of our patience.  If a text message is not responded to immediately, we think we are being ignored.  If an email goes without a response for 24 hours, we question if we have offended the recipient in some way.  And (God forbid) if the internet crashes, our world seems to crumble right alongside of it.

I am certainly not saying that technology and all of its advancements are not wonderful things.  If that were the case, I would not be pontificating my polysyllabic profundities through this medium.  I am simply stating that we are so anxious to feel instantaneously connected to everything and everyone that we forget how to merely connect to ourselves and slow down the pace of our lives, if only just for a moment.

I feel the need to purposely unplug for a day. No Kindle, no texting, no surfing the web.  I want to put a touch of history into how I spend the hours of my day.  I want to write a letter, a real hand-written letter, to the friend in Halifax who will only send letters this way.  I want to hold a paperback novel in my hands and I want to be able to have my brain work the way it was trained to work and not just be distracted by the millions of images on the internet.

The internet may have changed how we communicate, how we learn and how we conduct business, but it should never have the power to change us or the things that make us infinitely human.  Technology is just a tool.  And although it can teach us many things, patience and a capacity for perseverance are not contained in its syllabus.




Is the omission of truth really like telling a lie to your parents?


It is interesting to see how my life has evolved over the last twenty-five years.  I’m certainly not going to tout that I walked uphill to school both ways in the snow in bare feet but there are some long-forgotten truths about things that happened when we were surviving our impressionable years, some that our parents were oblivious to…..and for good reason.  Back in the days when not wearing seat-belts and driving under the influence were almost socially acceptable, there were some essential unwritten rules shared by siblings and friends.  The most important being – “Things that happen in your teenage years, stay in your teenage years”.

But, after the Earth had orbited the sun a sufficient number of times, I felt a little more comfortable regaling my parents with a few of the stories that happened in the good ol’ days since I had a nice cushion of “time gone by” and didn’t think I was eligible to be grounded anymore.  The sealed records had been expunged, the statute of limitations had expired and I was ready to open the locked vault that contained the evidence of our teenage shenanigans.

Running with scissors would have been a much more acceptable behavior and a much easier tale to share over a cocktail or two but my folks took everything in stride, just like I knew they would.  All things considered, after leaving a 19 and 15-year-old home alone while they went to Florida, they were not as shocked as I thought they would be to find out why the kitchen linoleum had tiny burn holes directly in front of the stove (it wasn’t the bacon) and why the giant satellite dish was perched at a precarious angle at the top of the steep hill behind our house.

My brother and I, for all intents and purposes, were respectful human beings and responsible kids.  My parents knew our friends well and we were trusted to roam about town in our pimpin’ ride – the Pontiac Acadian.  If I had to guess, I would say my brother had a Rum and Coke held firmly between his legs (maybe not so responsible) when the little blue car crested the hill.  It was winter and the steep decline was more than treacherous.  All of the defensive driving techniques my dad taught us could not have prevented the outcome of this evening.  The momentum carried them down the hill and my brother strategically maneuvered the tiny car as it tipped on its side and wedged itself between a tree and a telephone pole at the bottom of the hill.  My brother impressively “stuck the landing” and all of the occupants were completely unharmed.  The car, that only weighed about 100 pounds, was pushed out, righted and driven away with minimal damage.


(ours was a 4-door, but you get the idea)

After spilling the goods to my parents, a little bit at a time, they seemed unnerved.  I always wondered if they had known these things all along and were just waiting for us to come clean.  Was the omission of truth a lie?  Were we terrible children for wanting to shield our parents from the horrors of the real world?  Was it wrong to want to keep them in their safe little bubble?  Only time will tell.

Now that they have both passed and have access to all of the details of our lives, my brother and I may eventually be in for a long overdue time-out when we are all together again.

I’m hearing the voices again….


I have had a debate going on in my head for a long time.  I am a very spiritual person but I don’t devote myself to a particular religion. I don’t grace the interior of a church on a regular basis but I do believe in a higher power and life beyond this place we call our reality.

As I child I had a few “imaginary” friends.  I don’t recall their names, nor do I remember how long they graced me with their presence but I know, undoubtedly, that they were there.  I watched a movie years ago called ‘Heart and Souls’ with Robert Downey Jr. and the discussion I was used to only having in my head came barreling, full force, into my here and now.  Perhaps the innocence of my childhood allowed me to hear things beyond my three-dimensional limitations.  Just maybe my mind was permitted to be open to hearing the spirits that chose to help me on my journey through this physical world and those voices in my head were not merely conjured by childhood imagination.


Similar to the plot line in the movie, those sounds in my head were slowly extinguished as I got older.  As my childhood innocence was replaced by teenage angst and the stress of being a young adult, the voices were unable to permeate the reality that had stolen my youth.  My ability to connect with those ethereal intonations was replaced by the clanging, brash sounds of adulthood.

I have been to mediums and people who are able to channel the spirits of those who have moved beyond the physical world.  Some have been a pure hoax and some have been truly blessed with the ability to connect with those voices that wait patiently on the other side for those who are able to hear them and willing to listen.  Through those people I have learned more about spirit guides and souls who have passed but are still connected to my soul.

I can occasionally hear those murmurs again.  Faint whispers land gently on my ears, each with their own unique way of communicating.  I like to believe that those voices have always been with me but I became too surrounded by the cacophony of life to hear them.  I take solace in the fact that I am never truly alone and if I listen closely enough, if I really stretch myself beyond the closed walls of my mind, the whispers of those friends and family will follow me through this journey into whatever adventures lay in wait for me after this one.


The prodigious exultation of being a word-nerd

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Blogging has allowed me to become a true, and very contented, word snob.  I have always loved words.  As a teenager, I kept a duo-tang (who remembers those?) filled with lined paper and would make note of all the unfamiliar words I came across while devouring all the books I used to read.  Those words that eluded my pubescent mind became a staple of my vocabulary once I had defined them and cemented them into the library of my brain.  They circled my imagination and urged my cerebrum to come out to play.  They tickled my tongue and they began to flow like blood in my veins.


(look at how lovely my penmanship was in high school)

I assiduously began to incorporate those words into as many scenarios as I could.  My teachers were duly impressed.  My fellow students merely looked at me like I had three heads.  My flamboyant wordiness was an ephemeral fantasy and I had to tone down my elevated rhetoric to become a conventional high-school student filled with angst rather than synonyms.

Today I still continue to incorporate those words into my daily conversations, not to sound more intelligent but, because I enjoy the way those words sound when I say them aloud.  I relish being able to use the phrase ‘alarmingly verbose’ instead of just saying “he talked a lot”.  I enjoy describing winter as arduous and not just “shitty”, although shitty can truly encapsulate the past winter months and potentially the ones to come.  And I will forever want to be mystified by language and not speak simply to communicate.  I want to thrive in my love for words.

My enthusiasm for articulate phrases has never waned.  It has followed me throughout my journey.  It has haunted my sleep and clandestinely pursued me during my conscious hours.  May those words forever churn in the maelstrom of my imagination and may I always be able to maintain my romance with the language of expression.