Thursday, July 24, 2014

There's nothing wrong with nice

Whatever happened to niceness?

To manners?

To being considerate to your fellow human beings?

I'm the first to admit I'm naive and old-fashioned, but for 53.5 years I've gotten by on the notion that you should treat others like you want to be treated, and generally speaking, I have had a peaceful, productive, happy life. I'm not all crazy about being nice 24/7, and have been known to lose my cool in less than nice ways. Not proud of it, but I'm human, and shite happens. But I do try. I want people to say of me, "Oh that Cathy, she's a pretty nice person," and if that appears on my tombstone, hey, I'll be smiling six feet under.

Lately, though, I've come in contact with internet folks who don't value "nice" the way I do. In fact, I am absolutely gobsmacked at the mean-spirited name-calling and generalizing that has pitted gender against gender, race against race, religion against religion. It just seems everywhere I turn, I see little but venom and hate.

Screaming epithets at each other is like throwing kerosene on a campfire (although, admittedly, sometimes it feels really good to spout off). Not wanting to get burned, and realizing the futility of name-calling, I would like to try to ice these ongoing battles with niceness. Again, maybe I'm naive, but it's hard to be mean to someone who is being nice to you.

Maybe that's the answer to the troubles of this world. Niceness. Saying I'm sorry when it's needed, or excuse me when you bump into someone at the grocery store.

John Lennon used to say that love is the answer, but love isn't something you can make up out of whole cloth. Being nice, on the other hand, is easier than you might think.

Perhaps we should try it.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I'm Crooked, I Guess

Does anyone else have this problem? It's my neckline. It's fecking CROOKED.

No matter what shirt I have on, it slides to the left, exposing my bra strap on one side and strangling me on the other.

It's not like I'm some dimestore tart who flaunts bra straps like overcoats. I prefer my straps hidden, mostly because they're as wide as planks with yellowish-grey colouration that's supposed to be white, and yet most closely resembles lace-trimmed barn-board.

I'm all HAWT, yes, that's what you're thinking.

So what the feck is WRONG with me? Do I slump? Am I shorter on the left side? Is my left boob magnetized? I mean, WTF?

Monday, July 7, 2014

The bestest kind of poetry

I just finished reading a short and infinitely sweet collection of poetry called Interrobang, written by a woman I've come to know a wee bit in the magical world of internet: Jessica Piazza.

Jessica is smarter than you, me and your bestie put together. At least she's got a ton of higher education which, in some people, isn't saying much. But Jessica has all kinds of smarts, all the smarts, actually, not to mention she's young and she's sassy and she's spirited like I used to be back when I didn't fart when I coughed, and my knees didn't howl after a trip through Walmart like the bellowing hounds of hell.

Interrobang is the sweetest kind of poetry, the blue denim kind, the real kind. The kind you'd see Springsteen writing, the slow easy kind that is rife with humanity and insights and what's going on in the deeper parts of that thing we call a soul. This isn't snooty poetry. This is fresh and easy to read; even easier to savour. I have spent the last couple nights with it, enjoying each poem like I'd let the world's best ice cream melt on my tongue, and I recommend it, highly, to anyone whose heart yearns for truth and wonder.

Monday, June 30, 2014

OMG, I have to post SOMETHING!


JUST HAD TO ... sorry, the all-caps was on and I was too lazy to undo it. See, that's my problem. LAY-ZEE. Do I want to blog? Meh... Do I want to write? Meh-meh ... Do I want to make dinner, clean the kitty truffles and cut the grass? No, wait, I mean NO, but if I don't, Dave will make me get off my lazy backside and get a job. See, if I don't blog,  no one is going to make me work. If there was a choice like that, I would be blogging my head off. Blog, blog, bloggitty blog, all day, all night.

I'm only posting today because I got a message from three bloggers who are infinitely more enthusiastic than me (which isn't saying much), asking me if my cats were plus-sized and I was attracting flies, and if my blog space was available at a discount because my pustulating corpse was stinking up the joint.

I feel like Tom Sawyer going to his own funeral. Only there isn't a funeral, because I'm not actually dead, and even if I was, nobody came and nobody made those little crustless egg salad sammiches that go so tasty with church lady coffee.

And if you tell me you don't know who Tom Sawyer is, I shall have to beat the ever-living snot out of you. Seriously. No sammiches, either. You are SO cut off.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

An amazing, must-read story - The Reasons

Just now I finished an amazing book.

It had such power that I feel like I've had the wind knocked out of me.

I can't really recall many books that have made me feel that way, and for some reason I am doubly surprised that I know the author. How can someone I know write that damned good??? Stupid thing to say, isn't it? Besides, I know many tremendous writers, but Kevin Craig, well, I've talked to him. I've shared meals with him, and I knew he was good – he's won the Muskoka Novel Marathon about a hundred billion times (four, actually) – but, shit, I had no idea he was that good.

The Reasons is a family story centred around a mother – Maggie Reason – with severe mental illness and her helpful and troubled son, Tobias. There's more to the family, a couple of sisters and an ex-husband, but the story is told by Maggie and Tobias, switching viewpoints at the beginning of each chapter.

Some bad stuff happens to the Reasons. Stuff that would destroy even the sanest families. I can't tell you exactly what, or I'd be spoiling it for you, but the plot isn't what grabbed me. Sure, it kept me turning pages, but it was the way Kevin wrote it that absolutely blew me away. He is a master of prose, truly, a master, and his insights into the human condition (which are Oprah-worthy, I kid you not) coupled with is easy style and his earnest prose, put me in mind of some of my all time favourite novels: The Shipping News, for example. Or anything by Margaret Laurence.

Take this quote, for example. It's the first time I ever highlighted anything on my Kindle and I almost screwed it up – for a moment I thought I'd erased entire paragraphs! But it touched me deep inside, these words from the mouth of Maggie, and I wanted to share them with you:

Like icebergs, we are all mostly under water. A faint glimmer of each of us rises above the surface and is visible for a short pocket of time. When those islands disappear, though ... they are not lost. They flourish beneath the surface. We are still attached where it matters ...
I am a ship. The ocean is vast. But I am not leaving the island of Deja and disappearing off the horizon. I am moored to it. And she to me. Like time, the waters rise and fall. Her time is beneath the surface.
But that is fine with me. I have nothing but time. I will bide it.

Oh be still my heart. Such glorious, meaningful writing. I flew through this book; absolutely couldn't put it down, and when I had finished the last, heart-stopping chapter, I went back and read the final pages again and again.

The Reasons isn't Kevin Craig's first book. He is also the author of Summer on Fire and Sebastian's Poet, both available on Amazon. He's also an accomplished poet, playwright, father and grandfather, and, just this week, he walked the Camino de Santiago, the Way of St. James, with conviction, and with joy. (And probably with sore feet.)

I always knew Kevin was a cool person, but until I finished The Reasons, just now, I never understood the sheer brilliance of his written work.

By the way, nobody asked me to write this. Authors very rarely ask me for reviews. But when I come across something really amazing, I want to share it with you.

And this – this is amazing.

You can find Kevin's books on Amazon here.

You can find his blog, here.