No posts this week— back on November 1, 2016!
Closed for maintenance?! No — I just love this photo! Taking a bit of a break. 🙂
No posts this week— back on November 1, 2016!
Closed for maintenance?! No — I just love this photo! Taking a bit of a break. 🙂
Blog Post #191
The last weeks of October is always a favourite time of mine. The air is cooler and it is rainy with the occasional glorious sunshiny day. The trees are resplendent in their red, gold and yellow foliage.
The end of October is also the time when authors, poets and readers from across the globe descend upon Vancouver for the widely acclaimed Vancouver Writers’ Festival.
The festival is a week-long extravaganza of readings, performances, intimate talks and special events. The only problem is choosing which events to attend and getting tickets before they sell out.
After poring over the festival schedule, my good friend and fellow Novel Thinker, decided on two events that we most wanted to go to — This Really Happened, an event that we loved from last year and The Literary Cabaret, one of the most popular events.
The first event, This Really Happened, featured five authors who spoke, not about their work or their latest books, but instead gave a short talk about something that, you guessed it, really happened. The rules around this talk is that the story must be true and the author give it without the aid of any notes. The authors: Iain Reid, Zoe Whittall, C.C. Humphreys, Lisa Charleyboy, and Omari Newton, stood up in front of the audience in turn, microphone in hand, and shared with us a moment in their lives that heralded their coming of age. Some of the narratives were hilariously funny, some were sweet and some were incredibly sad and heart-breaking. The audience was honoured with a glimpse of the writers’ personalities in a way that was more intimate and personal than if they had shared a passage from their work instead of a piece of their own history.
For a taste of this event, listen to TJ Dawe’s story from the Vancouver 2015 Writers’ Festival.
At the Literary Cabaret, six authors read selections from their latest works, accompanied by music led by Sal Ferreras and his band, Poetic License.
Over the summer, Mr. Ferrerars reads each author’s book and chooses music to complement each author’s selection. He and his band have 30 minutes to rehearse with the authors before the show. The result — a mesmerizing performance unlike any other. Each reading, unique and powerful, enhanced by music that transported us to the heart of the authors’ words — it was magical.
The authors that were showcased at this year’s Lit Cab, were Anosh Irani, reading from his new novel, The Parcel, journalist and novelist, Susan Perly reading from her book, Death Valley, Irish Poet, Billy Ramsell, sharing poems from his collection, The Architects Dream of Winter, Madelien Thien, reading from her novel, Don’t Say We Have Nothing, Alexander Chee, reading a passage from his new novel, Queen of the Night and Iain Reid, related a funny story that had been cut from his non-fiction book: The Truth About Luck — What I Learned on My Road Trip With Grandma, instead of his new novel.
I remarked to Michelle on our way home, that she and I should provide all the choices for next year’s book club picks as we certainly had a long list of must reads gleaned from this festival. Lol!! For sure, the stack by my bedside will grow by more than eight books!
Blog Post #190
Tonight, John Cleese and Eric Idle, brought their act, Together Again at Last … For the Very First Time, for their last performance of a three-night run in Vancouver.
I loved Monty Python’s Flying Circus, and still watch Fawlty Towers every now and then, when I’m in the mood for some belly laughs. Needless to say, I was a little bummed that I was unable to attend this performance of the two veteran comedians in what was sure to be an entertaining night of hilarity and dry English humour. Watch the Argument sketch, you’ll see what I mean.
As consolation, I cheered myself up by watching a couple of episodes of Fawlty Towers and a few of my favourite clips from the Flying Circus tv show that I found on Youtube.
Below is clip of Basil Fawlty taking out his frustration on his car in episode 5, Gourmet Night! (full episode)
And the hilarious clip of Basil giving Manuel an English lesson
Who can forget Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks?
or the beloved Spam sketch?
Blog Post #189
In ten days, the streets will be filled with mad-eyed monsters, ghouls, zombies and a mob of storybook characters and superheroes. They will march up the steps of your front porch and demand that you give them a treat — or face the dire consequence of a trick.
On October 31st, trick or treaters will once again rule the night — dressed in their costumes and giggly with joy in the anticipation of a sackful of sugary goodies! I’m ready with my cache of candy and gum! Are you?
Here is my spookiest six word story to go along with this post!
Blog Post #188
Okay, okay, I admit it — I am exhausted — I thought I had caught up on some much needed sleep, but it seems like I need a little more uninterrupted shut-eye. Sooooo, I’m in my jammies, I just finished a soothing cup of Sleepytime tea and I’m ready for sleep! I’m turning out the lights, now, and hitting the hay!
Good night ~ sweet dreams!
Blog Post #187
Wow! Today I was on the receiving end of a Random Act of Kindness and I have to say that it felt fantastic. Of course, I have experienced many kindnesses throughout my life — from friends, family and even total strangers. While, I recognized and appreciated all those acts of generosity, I did not consciously think about them in the same way that I do now. These days, I think of RAKs with intent — I try to purposely “do nice things” for people whenever I can. I try to notice those moments when an opportunity to act with kindness presents itself.
Today, when I was standing in line at a Starbucks, waiting to order a coffee — I received a RAK. A sweet young woman paid for my drink when she was paying for her own and her friend’s salted caramel mochas.
I cannot describe the joy that this small gesture gave me. This unexpected act of generosity filled my heart and lifted my spirits. The brief encounter had everyone around me smiling, the happiness was not only mine, but it spread around and touched everyone who witnessed the exchange.
That cup of coffee was the most delicious coffee I had ever tasted and I am more determined than ever to spread kindness all over the place!
This experience, at this moment in my life, has enabled me to understand the power and importance of spreading acts of kindness everywhere we can. I know these actions make me feel good when I extend them to others — but now, I understand the joy that receiving a kindness brings. I understand how simple it is to bring a moment of happiness into another person’s life and how it is possible to make a difference in someone’s world with one small act.
Who wouldn’t want to do that for a fellow human being?
Blog Post #186
Sunset red and gold / the light fades as darkness falls / dreams are beckoning
Is it weird or funny that my haiku lately have focused around night, darkness, SLEEPING?
No, I guess not, since it seems that I am usually composing this blog post and a short poem late on Tuesday nights. I’m not sure why, but I seem to be turning into a night owl. A reluctant night owl — I’m definitely feeling tired but I also am delaying getting ready for bed…
Share your haiku in the comments section.
Blog Post #185
I have to admit that I have been paying more attention to the coming American election this year than any other previous election. I have been, like many others, mortified and, yes, sickened by what is happening to our neighbouring country — but like looky-loos at an accident site — I can’t seem to look away.
But I have found someone to admire during what I consider to be one of the lowest ebbs of American history — and that person is Michelle Obama.
Her calm, reasonable tones and thoughtful, intelligent comments are a welcome voice in the dismal arena of the 2016 American election campaign.
I’ve always thought of First Lady Michelle Obama as a strong, intelligent woman who was not afraid to be genuine and to show her true self to the American public and the world. Her compassion shone through her efforts to empower young women and her work on the task force to combat obesity in American children. Mrs. Obama exemplifies the strength, confidence, and power of women that I would like to see embodied in women everywhere especially in our young women of today.
I, like, many others around the globe, listened to Michelle Obama’s speech endorsing Hillary Clinton at the Democratic Convention and heard her quiet strength of conviction, her intelligent persuasion and her reasonable assertions that “she’s with her.”
I believe she, along with her husband, is more accessible to the citizenry of America, and of the world. And she isn’t afraid to be genuine and show the fun side of FLOTUS, as when she rocked out with James Corden in carpool karaoke!
or when she danced to Uptown Funk with Ellen
Or her witty, amusing, and easy-going interview with Steven Colbert on the Tonight Show.
But my favourite public address, so far, was the speech that she gave in Manchester, New Hampshire on October 13, 2016, where she spoke about the qualities needed to be the President of the United States. It was the best. speech. of. this. entire. campaign.
I think she would be a great President of the United States — don’t you agree?
Blog Post #184
I love dance and I love TED talks — so when I saw these talks centering on dance in different themes, I was excited and wanted to share them with you.
In this first session, science writer, John Bohannon proposes that companies and organizations use dancers instead of PowerPoint when making presentations. In this captivating talk, he illustrates how science and art can combine to educate and inform us in ways that simple slide shows cannot. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to watch a seminar where the points were presented as a choreographed dance?
Watch this beautiful and powerful, improvised performance by choreographer, Bill T. Jones and TED Fellows cellist, Joshua Roman and singer, Somi. This mesmerizing creative collaboration, entitled The Red Circle and the Blue Curtain, was performed at the TED conference in Vancouver in 2015.
I’m not a huge fan of ballroom dancing — I don’t watch shows such as Dancing With the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance?, — but I have seen some stunning examples of paired dancing on stage a few times and I can appreciate the training, talent and choreography that comprises this entertaining art form. However, I haven’t thought much about the stereotypes that this type of dancing perpetuates. Until I watched this TED talk video. This presentation by Trevor Copp and Jeff Fox, inventors of the Liquid Lead dance form, are breaking down gender roles and binaries by adapting traditional partner dancing.
These compelling videos are inspiring and compelling in their beauty and their explorations of dance. They also raise the point of the importance of the arts in all it its forms to our world. What do you think? Do you believe that the arts are integral to the well-being of our society?
Blog Post #183
It’s been a wild and crazy time out here on the”Wet Coast” as we call it (or sometimes, “Raincouver”). We’ve had Environment Canada, local meteorologists, and news stations warning us about the severe weather that was coming our way. We’ve had power outages, rain streaming down by the bucketful and fierce, blustery winds blowing through our streets. Stormy weather, for sure!
Today, though, during a lull in the severe weather system — when the rain had stopped and the wind was nothing more than a gentle breeze — I thought to myself how much I like the climate here. The rain doesn’t usually bother me much — it’s better than snow! As long as I have a good umbrella and my Bogs, I love to be out splashing about in the rain. And there is something about the sky and the air that is breathtaking after the rain stops and the sun comes out bringing light and warmth.
Even though, we are all snuggled in now, waiting for tonight’s next forecast onslaught — I’m thinking of tomorrow when the storms will have passed by and there is nothing left but light showers and big puddles. I’m thinking that — I love people who smile when it is raining!
For your listening pleasure: Stormy Weather, sung by Etta James