The fMRI and PET scan research promotes nonmaterialist science of mind. Beauregard’s University of Montreal studies and other research he documents in Spiritual Brain demonstrates that mind is not just an illusion of the brain or that the brain alone is souly responsible for all human activity.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
The fMRI and PET scan research promotes nonmaterialist science of mind. Beauregard’s University of Montreal studies and other research he documents in Spiritual Brain demonstrates that mind is not just an illusion of the brain or that the brain alone is souly responsible for all human activity.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
That night at the Firehall restaurant and cabaret,indeed a red brick towered firehall with a well used firepole, the smoothest jazz saxophone along with stand up bass,soft drums and very hip singer lead guitarist played one great set after another. Between sets an hillarious and attractive burlesque dancer re enacted brief camp routines reminiscient of the Gold Rush era.
Rossland today is the extreme skiing capital, site of the pond hockey championships and a destination for all those who love to back country mountain bike. The people on the streets, in the gift shops, and sports wear stores, all seemed to radiate health and vitality.
I was delighted by the cozy book store and expresso bar whose stock may not be large but whose selection and diversity is superb. It's a mixture of Banyen Books, an Oxford library collection and the latest in paperback thrillers and Canadian childrens' stories.
Much to my surprise I found the following cutting edge neuroscientists writing. I'd read a remarkable paper by him in a scientific journal recording his studies of Carmelite nuns. But here was the book which I quickly bought up. It's called the Spiritual Brain by University of Montreal researcher Mariol Beauregaard and writer Denyse O'Leary, Harper Perennial, 2007.
Drinking cafe latte across from an opera company with snow falling outside Ifelt real contentment as I began this latest treasure.
I was invited to Rossland for an exquisite evening meal at an extraordinary wood stove heated home surrounded by appealing spiritual art. Even the dog seemed a happy reincarnated soul. The gathering of cosmopolitan international professionals had humorous tales of their various jaunts but all had been captivated by the outdoor adventure of Kootenay living and stayed to raise their charming university aged children. My gracious hosts glowing with health and good humor looked hardly old enough to be the parents of lawyers and epidemiologists.
And yet they seemed representative of this community. Refined, energetic, world travelled, ecologically conscious and personally compassionate.
I was reminded of the demographic trend that suggested given the advances in communication technology that cities with their onerous traffic, lack of parking, urban crime and street filled crack addicted pan handlers were quickly becoming second choice to those who wanted to raise their families safely and now could do so with all the advances of modernity and insights of postmodernity.
Rossland was certainly such a place.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
As I've a friend living now in Kirkcubright it was a joy to see that name mentioned here. Tranter's descriptions of geography brings fondly to mind my own time visitting Scotland. At times I think I should have the music of Old Blind Dog playing in the background. Either that or the Simon Fraser Pipe Band. Soon Robbie Burns dinner will be here and I'll again be hearing the glorious toast to the hagus before the annual partaking of that sacred fare.
With the snow outside ever deeper I'm so thankful to have found this Nigel Tranter in the hospital gift shop so that I can curl up in warmth in bed and be whisked away in time and place by that most enchanting of story tellers.
Excuse me now I must leave this motel room and get back to escorting a princess on mission for the king on a sailing ship bound for Holland.
When I recently had the joy of working with a compassionate american hospital lawyer, I thanked him with a hard cover gift of William Deverell’s “April Fool.”
In book charades I once symbolically stabbed the lawyer son of the most remarkable host and hostess who’d graciously invited me into the warmth and charm of their talented family and luxurious home. The quote from Shakespeare came to the mind of one of the other guests but none knew of William Deverell’s book. I felt a fool explaining that it was a book, really, by trial lawyer William Deverell. The very sharp and amusing young lawyer responded, “Not to worry, I’m a contract lawyer“.
Meanwhile his mother clearly a female bear about her children eyed me suspiciously. She’d just told a story of her mother arming her to fend off attackers in the night during an African rebellion. One doesn’t jest even symbolically of harming an African mother’s child.
Now what would Author Beauchamp have done in my place? Somehow got the lovely lady off for justifiable homicide citing my long list of past dinner party faux pas, no doubt.
Author Beauchamp is one of Deverell’s most delightful characters, an aging Victoria barrister married and deeply in love with a vivacious modern environmentalist. It’s tempting to ask how much this characterization resembles himself and his lovely wife in their Gulf Island home. Successful trial lawyer he became the writer of outstanding television series Street Legal. His early book, “Kill all the Lawyers” has been followed by his latest 2008 book “Kill all the Judges”.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
The creator creates out of self or non self but regardless the zero or one become the many and now the many become zero or one. Old Jerusalem and New Jerusalem. The linear occidentals favour one and while the circular orientals favour zero. It's an east-west thing. The story's in the middle east so it's mostly transcendental.
Jesus was born in tough times: mass baby killings and crucifixions. Old Romans were far worse than the New Roman Americans. They were bad guys despite their latin poetry and road building comparable to the nazis without their autobahns and volkswagons. Engineers had better press in the old testament. The Old Romans supported the Herods like the New Romans supported Saddam Hussein.
Sometime after spitting up and baby talk Jesus said, "My father and I are one." He also did the Keanu Matrix stuff like walking on water and raising the dead. Aldous Huxley showed that the Perenial Philosophy had been around a long time so it's not just the Q teachings that got and kept people's attention.
Armies of lepers followed Jesus. It's said he's all or nothing. Imagine all the HIV positive and those with AIDs marching on Washington. Sick peope are the least likely to get up and walk. That's just what they did around Jesus,albeit, he gave them a helping hand.
His disciples weren't the swiftest, either. Once he was gone they whacked the first thief among them even though Jesus talked mostly about forgiveness. He died between robbers and told one he'd join him in heaven.
Jesus was a criminal. He'd get the electric chair today. Contemporary Christians should be wearing gold electric chair jewelry . Which is just one more reason for denying the government capital punishment. It's not like it's been infallible.
"Forgive them for they know not what they do," was as inappropriate as Jesus' politically incorrect injunction to "Love your enemy."
He revealed the Trinity 'relationship' God, the three in one, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Identify with the crucified son and no doubt someone will say ,"Get off the cross, we can use the wood." We're all victims or sinners and the father is Joseph or God depending on perspective. It was an immaculate conception.
Only as an adult did I know my Mom was the Holy Spirit.
She knew when we were bad or good better than Santa. But it wasn't until much later that I learned the CIA,NASA and the gadget guys from James Bond and Get Smart let mothers beta test their latest lie detectors, tracking devices and eyes in the back of their head surveillance systems before any of us kids knew such things existed.
Jesus preached the Family God. Interlocking triangles.
I sang car0ls this week in Heavens Waiting Room among wheelchairs and drool. The local minister brought cheer with her piano playing and carole singing. She rallied the troops. All around me they looked pretty beat up. They were smiling though. Maybe some were grimacing. Dementia probably looks worse on the outside like alot of things.
Meanwhile I’m reading the Shack, by Wm Paul Young, a Christmas gift from my friend George. MRI studies have shown that giving lights up the brain nucleus accumbens and hypothalamus in the same way chocolates do.
"Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachtani?" (My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?) Jesus said it first. But that's the middle of the story.
Now it's Bethlehem, shepherds, stars, angels, wisemen and donkeys.
Monday, December 22, 2008
James Forbes wrote the impressive Historical Portraits of Trail (Trail City Archives, 1980) stating that two prospectors , Joe Morris and Joe Bourgeous “staked five claims on a mountain across a narrow creek valley that they were working that straddled the trail. These 5 claims were to become the nucleus of a rich gold-copper lode discovery that gave birth to the cities of Rossland and Trail.” P2-3
The mining legislation of the day only allowed each miner to stake 2 claims so when they travelled to Nelson to record their claims they offered the fifth one to Eugene Sayr Topping in exchange for him paying the recording fee. Forbes wrote that “Col. Eugen Topping…and another American, Frank Hanna, formed a partnership and in June 1892 pre empted 343 acres of flat land at the mouth of Trail Creek….Topping and Hanna continued to promote their townsite to anyone who would listen but Trail Creek Landing was little more than a supply depot and shipping point for the Rossland mining camp up the valley.” ibid P5
Steam powered Sternwheelers travelled the Columbia River – Arrow Lake and Kootenay Lake System before later railway development and road developments. A two seat wagon stage also served the area until cars appeared as early as 1912. In winter sleds or sleighs were used.
In 1895, F. August Heinze, a Montana mining promoter, sent his lieutenant to Trail Creek to scout for a suitable location for a smelter to treat the Rossland Ores. Topping offered Heinze 40 acres of bench land above his townsite and one third interest in the townsite itself. Heinze had secured a contract with the LeRoi Mine to supply ore to the smelter and agreed to Topping’s terms. Construction began on a small copper smelter in late 1895 and in the spring of 1896 a narrow guage tramway from the river through the smelter to the LeRoi Mine in Rossland was begun.” Ibid p9
The smelter remains today. As a result of ecological concerns sulphur emissions were limited early and the ‘greening’ of the valley became a central concern of the people of Trail. Today the valley is a favoured tourist destination for outdoor enthusiasts and a recreational wilderness paradise.
Dr. W.T Hoyes, was the first doctor to arrive in 1896 followed by Dr. Douglas Corsan who built Trail’s first hospital at the corner of Cedar Street and Helena Street. In 1906 the building was sold and converted into the Aldridge Hotel. Subsequently Dr. Thom, Coughlin and Ney bought the building back and turned it into a clinic. A second hospital was built by Dr. Frank Patterson kitty corner to the Aldridge. In 1926 a 50 bed hospital was built but the city soon outgrew this so in 1954 the present Trail regional hospital was built at its present site overlooking the Columbia River Valley.( Ibid p63-64)
Today it’s called the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital.
The 12 bed inpatient psychiatric ward is located in the Daly Pavilion.
Friday, December 19, 2008
"You can't imagine what it was like living under communism," she told me. "Everyone can accuse you of anything and the very act of accusing makes you a friend of the state. You never knew who to trust. Even your family and friends could be awarded financially or with priviledges for testifying against you. And there was no defence. It wasn't as if there had to be any paper or anything like that. Any person could say you were saying things that were objectionable and anything could be objectionable depending on how it was taken."
There is no threat to false accusation, here. All manner of government service encourage neighbours to 'testify' against neighbours promising anonymity. An argument between two mothers not uncommonly is followed by a visit from Family Services.
Just as there is no whistleblower protection here when the whistleblower correctly exposes true crime, there is almost total protection in anonymity for those who bear 'false witness'. In this way what is literally gossip and character assassination is 'institutionalized' and as such given credence where none is deserved. All too often outright lies are cloaked in the most innacurate and nonspecific of languages the 'doublespeak' of beaurocratese too.
Once a statement of lie was significantly demonstrated then the individual was called a 'liar' and the information that followed was deemed equally untruthful by design. There was never a need to 'prove' each and every lie because the court called upon the individual to 'tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God". Yet today, a judge told me, 'everyone lies' in court, and "frankly I can't do anything about it."
At a legal conference doctors were told not to diagnose 'malingering' so that no longer could a physician report that the patient who claimed to be paralysed from the waist down ran out of the room. Well, perhaps he could report it, but heaven forbid he draw any conclusion about the behaviour.
Somehow it has become offensive to describe the offender thus, no matter how offensive the offender is. It has become important to 'validate' the liar as if validation itself was now removed from the very truthfulness of 'validity'. Lying meanwhile is principally done for personal gain.
Where this occurs "might is right' becomes the'truth' because truth is no longer arrived at by logic or scientific investigation or even closed ballot consensus. No one is considered of 'good character"either because 'good' like 'truth' has fallen in the cesspool of 'social relativism". The basis of character was once thought to be truthfulness and veracity, even though it was always recognised that truth without compassion could be deemed cruelty.
The courts perhaps, the state, the beaurocracy for sure, and certainly the criminals especially liars all stand to gain by this proposition. Those groups alone that are part of all totalitarian regimes otherwise institutionalized gangsterism, have the most serious conflict of interest when it comes to the assessment of truth for truth sake and clearly would not promote punishment of false witness. I won't even comment on politicians.
When the Bible was removed from government and court tradition it seemed truth went as well. I personally don't suggest the Bible return but indeed would suggest that perhaps courts and beaurocracy go further along the bizarro path they've thus far embraced. Remove all penalty for lying so all of us can collectively gain from the new deceit called "my truth".
Honestly there are crosses burning in Prince George. I'm sure I heard him say, what was that thing you told me was the most offensive thing, yes that's it. He said that and shes' one of those too.
"I'm tired of lying in court," she told me. "I didn't mind doing it at first for friends. But after a while you think a person should get paid for that sort of thing. "
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
The trouble was that they were all in disquise. Obviously paranoid about being recognised they had got out of their pyjamas and house coats. They'd washed their hair. Some had shaved. Others had slept for the first time in weeks. By all external appearances they looked largely normal. A little bright eyed, a bit too eloquent, laughing excessively, they were trying not to let some cat out of some bag. Otherwise they were normal.
No one would have guessed that they wrote steamy romance, dirty sex scenes, devious intrigue and gruesome cadaver strewn mysteries. Properly dressed in brown tweeds and white sweaters, talking of their work, they ate fettucine or fish and chips with knives and forks. An historian even showed around pictures of her latest grandchild.
The technical writer spoke quietly to the person next to him about artic terrorism. A dozen conversations about a myriad of highly suspicious subjects obviously embedded with arcane code were happening all around me. A former minister claimed to write urban fantasy. Two fellows in golf sweaters talked about the various methods of war time killing. It was all highly irregular.
Pirates, lovers, sexpots, spys, adventurers, irreligious , rebellious, and sometimes even inspirational, they were a dubious lot indeed. Story tellers. Writers, scribblers, jotters and word processors. They'd been at it along time. Some of the young had even gone white haired with their craft. Outrageously original, they claimed to use their imagination. At the same time some were delving into obscure sources for lost secrets claiming it was research for their latest work. Subversives, all of them. Vainly autobiographical and gossippy biographers. You couldn't tell which was which.
I confess I tried to put a face to a particularly incisive bit of political satire or wonder if that rather fetching woman had written that downright mischievous bit of romance.
Yet on the outside, overall, you couldn't tell them from the Kiwanis or Rotarians for instance. Maybe one or two clutched their wine glasses a bit possessively. The coffee drinkers showed nail and cuticle damage. Someone spoke a touch hurriedly. Perhaps the waitress hovered a bit more until the bills were individually paid. But otherwise they could easily have passed as normal humans.
At least until the book draw took place. As each person's name was called the individual proceeded to a table full of published works. That's when the madness or transcendence occured. Each of these otherwise innocuous looking beings took on an otherworldly sheen and glowed uncannily as they touched the treasure of their fellow authors. It was some kind of reverent communion. As each took a book in their hands it was as if they were suddenly complete. A faraway look appeared in their eyes. The meeting ended abruptly thereafter. They all almost scurried out of the restaurant
I followed of course. I had a book too and felt inspired just holding it. A warm and cozy feeling. Electrifying even.
Perhaps I wouldn't report this to the authorities, I thought. I didn't quite know where it was leading. It was clear that I was returning. These people warranted serious study. Maybe not research, yet. But someone had to keep an eye on them. Left to their own devices they were producing books. And alot could be said with a book. I'd already been right to suspect them of having words. I'd be back. No doubt of that!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I've just come home from the Blue Water Cruising Association's Annual General Meeting and Awards night. My friend Tom sailed back from Hawaii this summer with me on my SV GIRI. 2700 miles in 34 days slowed down just a tad by a broken mast a thousand miles from Hawaii. Tonight Tom received the BWCA's 999 Offshore Sailing Award. I'd already received the offshore skipper award for solo sailing to Hawaii in 25 days over the Christmas of 2004. It was good to be in the audience hearing Tom graciously receive his award. We'd seen alot of water together and he commented on just how much water there was "out there" . That brought appreciative laughter from those who'd done their share of ocean crossing. With pause for inspiration he said, "I'm glad to have gone where you can be sure of finding the unexpected. " Looking around the room I saw the 'elders' of that august sailing community nodding. He'd touched a chord.
Adventurers. That's what we were. And the sea is the mother of surprises.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Medical Post's physician-writers win prestigious Folio award October 09, 2007
NEW YORK Those amazing “doctors who love to write for us” have done it again for the Medical Post, garnering a glittering gold award in late September at the prestigious Folio: Awards show here.
THE FOLIO-WINNING ARTICLES
Blind to all the signs
Seeing beyond despair
A sinking feeling of helplessness
Approximately 3,000 entries were received overall for the competition, billed as the largest and most prestigious awards in the North American magazine industry. “Eddies” were given for excellence in editorial content and “Ozzies” recognized excellence in magazine design.
Spirit of medicineThe Medical Post received a Gold Eddie award in the Business-to-Business Healthcare/Medical/Nursing “Best Single Article” category for its “Spirit of Medicine” series. The articles were personal accounts from Drs. William Hay(“Blind to all the signs,” Nov. 14, 2006), Larry Kramer(“Seeing beyond despair,” Sept. 26, 2006)and Paul Caldwell(“A sinking feeling of helplessness,” May 25, 2007)on the emotional struggles they face daily in their profession. It marked the third time this year Medical Post doctor-written columns has been honoured in industry award competitions.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
"What's the opposite of being paranoid? Thinking you're following someone?"
"When they outsourced the suicide lines overseas, an american called and upon saying "I'm suicidal," was asked, "Can you drive a truck?"
Anthropologists asking new tribes what they call themselves usually hear the same thing in whatever language, "The People". So their next question is what do you call "others." In this regard Inuit means the people whereas the Cree word, for their northern neighbours, Eskimo, means 'fish eater'. In Borneo asking the latest tribe what they called themselves, they were told, "The People" so they asked what do you call others, and were told others were called "The Edible Ones".
Given this understanding of tribalism, sociopaths can be considered those who belonging to some tribal grouping do not consider 'outsiders' , for whatever reason, 'kind'. A new useful term for this tendency is to call this 'othering'. The psychopath in contrast is solely a loner without any real identification with humanity and therefore metaphorically considers all 'others' as 'edible'. Jay Lifton, author of Nazi Doctors, in his discussion of the psychology of war states that alienation is a central tenet of the propaganda campaign. Each sides engages in dehumanizing the other for the justification of their own ends.
Looking for similiarities as opposed to differences is the methodology of compromise and peace. The mind subtracts and divides whereas the heart adds and multiplies.
"It's a good day when you're on this side of the grass."
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
This is the Annual Vancouver Toy Run! Every year motorcyclists all over the world have 'toy run's' to give kids in hospitals toys at Christmas. Those are toys on the back of the bikes. It was awesome to be apart of something so good. Riding my Harley in that staggered line that weaved through Vancouver with the police themselves out on their bikes, it was a really fine feeling. I'd been part of the Ride for Dad earlier in the year which raised money for prostate cancer research. That run started from Trev Deely Harley Dealership on Boundary with an opening prayer from the minister of the Westcoast Biker Church.
Monday, November 24, 2008
G A7 D G
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Saturday, November 22, 2008
The Central Vancouver Library is a wonderful place.
Researching a book on Sexuality I was able to access the Janus Report on Sexual Behaviour and read,not wholly to my astonishment, "Age and aging are a spectre for Americans....our greatest fear connected to increased aging is fear of dimished sex."
I was equally interested in Bert Archer's, The End of Gay (and the death of heterosexuality). He considered Gay as a phase like feminism on the way to a more liberal but different view of sex, sexuality, gender and identity per se. Jeffrey Weeks, Invented Moralities: Sexual Values in an Age of Uncertainty was somewhat less engaging though came to similiar conclusions. Bert had included some stories from his own sexual experience. This made Bert a 'wetter' read to Jeffrey's 'drier' text.
Lieberman, a New York sociologist describing the traditional "functions" of the family said that as an institution it was so 'weakened' that its very survival was in doubt.
Alot of Essentialist versus Social Constructionist debate underlay the various books I perused. One book, Beyond Queer, argued for conservatism and that sex might well become a non issue in how we view the neighbours.
My eighty year old Baptist aunt in a whisper, though no one else was present, told me after we'd talked with a couple of nearly as old men, 'they're a bit light, you know , but they're very good neighbours."
All the sexologist reports do say there's far more going on than meets the eye. Frankly that's probably good for straights as well given the American penchant for couch and calories. Maybe with the aging population we should all go back into the Victorian closet if it hasn't been outsourced.
I wrote my friend in Scotland about the goings on over here and she wrote back, 'there's all manner of men wearing skirts over here too." She's praying for a flat in Edinborough. I saw my first Scottish tattoo there.
In the midst of these studies my boat surveyor, Tim McGivney recommended I not use my mast until repairs have been made to it. I'm praying that isn't synchronicity at work.
August Rush, the charming movie I just watched on TV caught my attention because of the inspiring music and Robin Williams. He's really just one of the gang with the real leads, being three children. It's one of those beyond colour movies with black people and white people naturally mixed throughout as if they all belonged there and weren't just a product of some quota system. Perhaps that's what we can expect with regard to sexuality one day. The story is about a child protege lost to his musician parents and found again through music. "The music is all around us, you just have to listen," the boy says. The family, despite Leiberman, still functions spiritually and the movie is uplifting.
Like this picture I took of two deer last summer. The beauty is all around us, you just have to see.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Seeing this old car there in the field I thought that a lot of memories had ridden it. Many men measure their lives through vehicles as women so commonly remembered theirs through children.
Tim Curtis from Joy Division suicided at age 23. I watched the movie his wife Deborah made only because the band's name had come up in Peter Robinson's , "The Summer that Never Was", the "Inspector Banks" novel I've been reading since my trip to Texas Creek. Like Socrates Tim had epilepsy. Like Dylan Thomas he drank too much. I'd say his death was a waste but who am I to judge.
I was talking to a hairdresser who having watched the Three Faces of Eve was telling me about reading the work of Dr. Colin Ross, the psychiatrist who wrote the book, Dissociative Identity Disorder.
What did I think of the past, she asked, Could we change it?
I told her I thought the 'events' were God's will. What's done is done. As Omar Khayyam elegantly said, " the moving hand writes and having writ moves on." A negative event in the child's past had given rise to a whole series of events that followed in Eve's life. Yet equally had that event not occured the child might as easily have died. Too often people romanticize the road not taken without considering what is, is or may well be the 'best of a bad lot'. Then there's string theory, multi dimensional reality, black holes, relativity and the whole question of the validity of time.
If I suicide and St. Peter gives me a brand new harp and puts me at the head of the band then perhaps suicide isn't so bad after all. If on the other hand suicide lands me in a worse pit than the one I thought I was escaping then it's really isn't worth the bother.
The events of the past remain fixed but the spin that we put on any event so commonly depends on the events that follow. It's not over till the fat lady sings.
What we believe depends on our individual view about life itself. We don't like to admit that. We don't want to talk about it. But suicide means different things to different people.
The past is open to interpretation. The meaning, the thoughts and feelings with which I view these events is a 'social construct' even if the events themselves may be 'essentialist." If I believe that life is secularly separate and individual then I'll believe and feel wholly different than if I consider life sacred and everyone of us spiritually interconnected.
My friend asked if she could have my stuff when the rapture came.
The rusted car is central to the picture but life is all around it. Enjoying T.S.Elliott's, The Hollow Men, I really enjoyed hearing that 'Spirituality is growing love inside". Before my mother died, she told me she was tired. It was easier for my brother and I to decide we'd not wake her than it was for my father at 89. My friends' mother before her death on being asked why she hung on, answered, "I want to see how it turns out." "Don't leave until the miracle happens."
Since death is as inevitable as taxes it seems the most one can say for suicide is that it's impatience. It never seems to be timely. Given the elements I was glad to get this picture now.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Vincent Massey High School reunion is coming this 2009 spring and Guys' nostalgic reminiscence has pushed me one step closer to returning again despite the old home being sold, Mom death and Dad living now near Ron in Ottawa.
Even now my memory conjures up a kaleidoscope of fond reminiscenses. There's the red brick house, Dad's garage and Mom's garden. Then the parks and the surrounding wheat fields. Fort Gary, Portage and Main, the YMCA, Manitoba Theatre School, MTC, and Royal Winnipeg Ballet. I'll never forget walking to University of Winnipeg, the snow flakes falling and the beautiful young faces. Neil Young's song's words 'all my changes were there' comes to mind as I remember church coffeehouses, hospitals and OR's. I loved my own first house in Riverheights. The memory of my friends taillored word work creations, dinner parties, dances. It's all a gift of a city where people are as warm as the outside is cold.
Even here Winnipeggers greet each other as ex patriots might in a foreign land. And I for one look forward to passing on the news of this tribute to an extraordinary city in the heart of the heart of the heart of the continent.
All beginnings are like children learning to walk. Falling down and getting up and falling down and getting up. The smile is what separates the child from the adult. The adult somehow thinks they are entitled to wings. Just because they learned to walk as children doesn't mean that rocket science should come easy. Yet there they are grimacing with the complexities of new knowledge, demanding that politics and love should progress smoothly and rapidly without a myriad of little falls or big kabooms.
The child laughs and cries where the adult trudges and groans. Walking on water would be standard despite the critics of myth busters and deceit of Ninja. A man has done it. But just because Daedalus melted his wings before the sun didn't stop the Wright Brothers. Learning is a natural curve of fits and starts and steady progress only with application. To parphrase Einstein, genius is 99% perspiration and 1 % inspiration.
I hear so many people saying they are unhappy where they are but are so unwilling to change one minutiae of their daily lives. And when the galaxy and universe conspire to push them forward a micron they give up with tears and pouts insisting they'll never be good at anything. Today there is so much reward for inactivity. The drug culture surplants the television world. Free heroin is the latest halcyon cry of government when we were only just trying to break them of the habit of offering free lunches we all but them must pay for.
Writing is just that. As a teen ager I made a decision to write, so admiring the books I found in the library and the lives and words of poets and authors I encountered there. The daily journal became a thing I carried along with keys and wallet A little black book that fitted pockets and went everywhere with me in an age of slide rulers and atom bombs. Looking back today I see I've been keeping a journal for nearly 50 years. Today I can write with greater ease and that connection between fingers and mind is a product of hours, days and years of writing. My favourite writers have but written more.
The mind is just a muscle. The famous nun studies showed that those who used theirs most were least likely to develop dementia. In addition to journalling I remember consciouslly trying my hand at different genres of writing. There was even a period of time when I wrote letters to the editor long before I wrote editorials. Anything can be done in this way. The proverbial baby steps with their crawls and falls and standing tall. It's beginning in the day and continuing in tomorrow.
That was the message of the last writing class I took to deal with my continued struggle with the sheer volume of the 'novel'. I'm now a master of a page or 10 pages even ,but am as overwelmed at the thought of 100, 200 or 300 as I was once at crossing continents or oceans in various conveniences. Jobin, that brilliant, witty, much published raconteur told us how she'd begun with one hour a day and a year later had a book that's gone on to television syndication. Her writing makes me laugh and I've always enjoyed the special connection that writing brings between my insides and the insides of others. Emotionally and intellectually we share this intimacy of idea, word and feeling.
But it really just is in the doing. Reframed, writing for me is just another way for "quitting" inertia, just overcoming sloth, the age old addiction today so commonly called "I can't" and "Yes, but". If I want to be a writer I must write. Writing is taking the mind and fingers out of park. Once in motion then I can drive to whereever I would go. A jaunt around my own community, out there on freeways to a foreign country or over here to some form of multiplicity machine.
I must remember though that publication never made me more than just that single gift to myself or lover, as in the Song of Songs. In the alpha and omega I am not writing for magazines or libraries but just for you. The you that Buber called Thou or just the you who laughed after falling and got up again to continue on when no one else was smiling and the unmoving were dead in the water. The writer must continue on despite rejection and just a little afraid of acceptance. It's really just another form of sharing. What was that line of Kurt Vonnegut's: all we are is just communicating peep holes on reality.
Hey, you, over there, are you listening. Yea, you. I saw you falling out of your peephole and think it terrific that you got back up. Have a great day!!! Sure, I'll pray for you too.