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So Many Books … now’s the time


With the need to self-isolate I have lots of time to read.  I have read about 20 books the last few months, and haven’t recorded them here.  But my latest book was a good read.  ‘Casual Vacancy’ by J.K. Rowling produced many different reactions as I read it.  It is emotional, and triggered my sense of politics and local meetings and activism and so many of my values…. it took me halfway through to just see the humour and enjoy it.  Definitely worth a read, and it reminded me what a good writer she is.  It’s not Harry Potter, for sure, but it looks at small towns in England with a universal eye.  Check it out!

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Gratitude > Greed


Gratitude is greater than greed.

I have learned from Andrea that taking chemo has strong immediate reactions but good consequences.  Her last chemotherapy session was 10 days ago.  When I told her I thought it must be very hard for her, she said, “Oh no.  I’m grateful for it.”

Something like enforced self-isolation, it is short term pain.for long-term gain.

Pain: for not being able to  hug my partner.

Pain: for not being able to chat to a friend over coffee in a cozy cafe.

Gratitude for my partner.

Gratitude for my friend’s voice and words as I sit in my rocking chair with a cup of coffee beside me.  We laugh together!

Gratitude for a walk at my neighbourhood park,

Gratitude for living here, in my home and my city and my country. I am safe.

Gratitude for my life.

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I have tried to access this page with several different names, so I can include a link to interested people who have responded to my email on “my opinions”.  A few people have said they don’t do Twitter, other people have said they will phone me, and few want a link.  So my Twitter page will have mostly philosophical, spiritual, or political posts.  This page will have more personal posts, and is more likely to have photos and shares.   I hope this works!

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Thank you Paul Dewar


I am so sad to learn that Paul Dewar has died.  What a remarkable man!  I have followed his career for years.  As I read Rick Mercer’s book ‘The Final Report’ I thought about Paul Dewar, and how he did not fit Rick’s frequently expressed views about politicians.  Paul was consistent in his beliefs, and in sharing his wisdom and optimism.  We are a sadder country without him.

 

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At the writing course this morning, our homework assignment was to write about a mystical experience, a dream, or personal vision.  My back went up and I realized I did not want to do that.  Understanding why took a few minutes, but it mostly ended up as “It’s nobody else’s business.  That experience was for ME, not others, and I don’t want to cheapen it by writing it down. ” Of course I did write the experience down within 24 hours of an occurrence.  Somewhere in my old journals are the accounts of what happened.  I have told a few trusted friends about a mystical experience, but I have no intention of sharing mine with a group of  people I don’t know well.

Then I remember reading a book by Theresa of Avila.  I was fascinated by her accounts of mystical experiences.  If she hadn’t written about them, no one would know about them.  Mysticism, forgiveness, and dreams would remain as seen as “woo-woo”, earning skepticism and judgement from most people in society.

Perhaps I will do the homework.  I don’t have to share the writing with the group/

 

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Another writing course


Yesterday I attended a writing course offered by Carolyn Pogue, whom I respect.  I’ve read most of her books, and I know I can learn from her.  So, too, do the thirteen women and one man who attended this first of 4 sessions.  She asked us to draw our life, comparing it to a river.  All our drawings were different, and people shared brief thoughts explaining them.  I wasn’t fond of my drawing.  I did the exercise, ending with the thought of ‘untapped energy’.  There are parts I don’t write about, because too many living people would be affected.  So I will write about what I have learned in my 80+ years of living.  I can still learn.

I am mindful of Jung’s comment “In our dreams one is never 80”.  However, I dream A LOT and I write some in my journal.  This morning I had a compensatory dream.  I was with my partner and another friend, relaxing on a beach beside a warm lake.  How nice!  Much better than the snowfall outside my windows.

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Almost there!


I will continue to find a way to do this… now to find my settings, or preferences, or another page that will allow me to do what I want.

 

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Ripe When Wrinkled


How do I add a new page to my website, Words By Montgomery, wherein I will write a separate blog called Ripe When Wrinkled?  I tried to add it to my profile, and it accepted 2 other sites I manage, but since I haven’t established my page and accompanying blog, it didn’t have a  URL.  I’m in a loop that seems endless.  Besides, I want it to be accessible without readers going to Words By Montgomery first.  I have tried to open a new website called Ripe When Wrinkled through blogger.com, but it hasn’t worked.  Help please!

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I just finished reading a provocative article in the May 2017 issue of CCPA (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives) The Monitor, which is called Views of Canada.  In it, an indigenous writer, Tara Williamson, writes about the current move toward reconciliation as just another attempt by white settlers to assuage their guilt at forcing assimilation on the first peoples of this land.  She writes “If reconciliation were actually about making amends from the past it would involve actions that accounted for the ongoing legacy of colonization.  We would be having conversations about land repatriation.  We would talk about dismantling structural inequities.  You would give us back our children:”.  (CCPA The Monitor, May 2017, p. 22)

Harsh words.  Hard for us settlers to hear and understand, let alone accept.  Land repatriation won’t happen.  No elected government would ever support that, and I don’t think any government anywhere (nor in recorded history) has ever repatriated land.  Armed struggle and revolution is the only way that land has been redistributed.  Yet there is truth in Williamson’s words.  So what now?

What would Jesus do?  Did he live in a land that had been stolen from its inhabitants?  Oh, yes, the Romans ruled Israel during Jesus’ lifetime.  Yet he said, “Love one another, as I have loved you.  Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Who is my neighbor?  What would it mean to love first nations people as we love ourselves?

How would we see land use and land ownership differently?  The early Jewish people believed they were stewards of the land, not owners.  Could we get back to that?  What would it take for our society to change from land ownership to land stewardship?  Would the banks suddenly stop collecting interest on mortgages?  Are the environmentalists who believe in land respect and stewardship in line with aboriginals?  Do aboriginals and environmentalists work together?

As I weeded my back yard I realized I would not give my land away, not to anyone, no matter what colour their skin or their needs.

“Terra Nullius” is one of the principles followed by the European settlers.  It means “land belonging to no one”.  That belief justified making the Indian tribes who lived on the land invisible, despite their initial welcome to newcomers and their principles of “sharing the land”.  The key words are “belonging to”.  Land ownership is at the heart of settler mentality and colonization.  After all, most of our European ancestors came to the new world as impoverished tenants with no resources, and they came because of the promise of free land upon which to start over.  Are we willing to look at that?  Is land ownership just another of the structural inequities that we must examine?  Could “terra nullius” also mean “land belonging to no one yet everyone upon it”?

Without a common understanding of the land and our place upon it, and without an agreement to live in love and respect for all our neighbours, reconciliation is just a word.

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I bought ‘Away’ at a thrift store, because I always browse the book section when I visit a thrift store.  I had heard of Jane Urquhart so picked this up.  ‘Away’ was one of her earlier books, and it just grabbed me and kept me spellbound while I read it.  This could be because of my Irish heritage, or maybe my desire to be a better writer, or perhaps the combination of dreaminess and rugged poverty.  I thought of others who have mined their families for historical myth and fact.  Sad and brave people.  Our ancestors.  The early settlers, searching for a place to start anew and to grow their own food and be sustained in safety.  I had tears frequently.

Another of Jane Urquhart’s books was ‘The Stone Carvers’, which I read mostly on the weekend of the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI.  The Stone Carvers tells the story of a broken family of settlers, whose children were raised by a woodcarver father and a distressed mother.  Eventually the brother and sister move to become carvers of the Vimy memorial, but that doesn’t happen until near the end of the book.  Leading up to that is a tale of loss and pain, of love and despair.  Magical, which Urguhart is so good at displaying,

When I read her book ‘Night Stages’ I was carried away again to Ireland, but not a part that I have visited.  It also makes me want to visit Gander Nfld to see the mural at the airport.  This book was well-researched.  I thought a lot about marriage and mistresses, and sibling rivalry.  Sad.  However, one part I wrote into my journal, because she tells the legend of Oisin. She writes how Oisin thought he had been asleep for only 3 days, and he wanted to find his hunting companions.  St. Patrick met him and told him he had been asleep for three centuries, and his companions were long dead.  It had been a long time since the wars.  Oisin wept.  Patrick said, “I will instruct my monks to write down your stories and those of your kin, so they will not be lost.  for your world has been vanquished my my world, and will never come back.”  (P. 155)

This part moved me to tears, because I thought about the First Nations desire for restoration and our settler need for reconciliation.  This is sadness.  Acceptance of loss.  Sorrow.

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