Saturday, 20 July 2019

The Moon & I

Today is the 50th anniversary of the day the Apollo 11 astronauts landed on the moon.

Today is also my birthday, so on July 20, 1969, on the same day that those guys were bouncing around on moondust, I was turning 18. Sitting in my aunt and uncle’s sunporch watching the coverage of men in space gear doing something huge for the very first time. A July 20 birthdate makes me a Cancer on the astrological calendar, and guess what…the moon rules Cancer. I’d just graduated from high school the month before and was heading off to university in a month or so, and these guys are walking around on my moon.

As a new 18-year-old, I was old enough to know that the moon landing had nothing to do with me personally. My brain knew it was, of course, just a cool coincidence. But the rest of me was also young enough, and starry-eyed enough, and hopeful enough about life to believe that this was some kind of sign. Maybe an affirmation (though nobody used that word much in 1969) or a promise that was for me personally. At least, it felt that way to me.

In any case, it felt truly significant, and I’m not talking science, I’m talking life. My life. My place on the planet. Maybe I had some value, something of promise if this momentous event was happening on my 18th birthday.

Through the years following that moony day, I have occasionally remembered those grainy TV images, that girl, those dreamy hopes…and I have never quite escaped her rather sweet optimism and belief in the mystical. I still think it’s kind of cool, and I’m not really interested in dissecting it because, well, it’s just cool.

So, the other day I was telling one of my brothers about the whole thing, and he said, “That’s what I call a Day of Convergence.”

Oh, yes!

He had told me about his idea of Convergence a few years ago, and I agreed then that it was a neat concept, and one that I’d experienced on several occasions. According to the dictionary, “convergence” means “the act of converging and especially moving toward union or uniformity.” According to my brother Bill, anyone can have a Day of Convergence, a Moment of Convergence, any period of time that feels loaded with seemingly separate pieces that come together and feel significant. Times of Convergence are not something we can engineer or even anticipate. They simply appear.

Moments of Convergence are fun! They energize me and cause my inner self to float around in the lovely soup of chance, possibility, connection and hope.

And, so, on this July 20 in 2019 I easily recall that July 20 in 1969. Through the roller coaster of fifty years, through dusty times and bouncy times and dark sliver-of-hope times, I remember that girl with the moon and stars in her eyes, and I give her a metaphorical, time-ignoring high-five. I think she had things way more figured out than she realized.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

A Long Time Away...

Anyone who gets to this blog will see a large gap in time between the previous post and this one. A long illness made it impossible to write, let alone work on my website or other social media.

Fortunately, my health is improving, so I hope to return to regular or at least semi-regular posts. Thanks to everyone for the support I have received over the past year and a half.

Kate

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Books

Today is World Book Day (WBD), and it's celebrated in many countries and languages. Created by the United Nations to promote reading, publishing and copyright, WBD provides a particular opportunity to think about, enjoy and share books.

Many people love to read. Many people don't like to read at all. Many, many others rarely or never get the chance to read.

I am one of the lucky ones because I learned to read as a little girl. I remember the Dick and Jane stories that got me started and, as I write this, can feel the pleasure of sounding out the words. A bonus for me was that my oldest brother is named Dick, and my middle name is Jayne (I allowed myself to ignore the "y" in my name), so somehow the books felt even more like mine.

I remember consciously feeling the pleasure of the words, stories and pictures. As I got older, that love extended to Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys and great stacks of biographies and autobiographies I'd cheerfully lug home from the library. (Don't get me started on how much I love libraries.)

At this stage of my life I recognize factors that I didn't as a child. In university I did a project called "Sexism in Children's Literature." It was rampant. A few years ago, I gave my Early Childhood Educator students an assignment to look for sexism in children's books. Some things have changed on that front, but we have a long way to go in our still-male-dominated societies.

I've also come to see how racially slanted many books are. The images that meet us in most magazines and advertisements still sport mainly white faces. The stories reflect primarily white experiences. Of course, many stories are universal in their themes of struggle, love, victory and strength, and it's good that this is so.

Yet the contexts for those experiences are so different for so many. Fortunately, more and more people of all races, genders, abilities and ages have access to the publishing world and to the writing that is produced.

How can you help move us all along? Write. Read. Tell the stories you live and imagine. This way, we all learn and grow.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Snow day!

Today I was slated to go to my very part-time job at one of the local newspapers. I work in production (mainly proofreading), and I love this little gig. I enjoy the people I work with, and on my breaks I run into friends I don't often see otherwise. I worked at this paper years ago, having done proofreading, cutting and pasting (back when that was the only method available), writing and even selling ads. But after a while of doing the last job I suggested to the owner/friend that he might want to find someone else to sell ads; I was simply no good at "encouraging" people to buy ads if I sensed the slightest hesitation. No saleswoman, me.

Yet today is such a welcome respite! Not from the Monday job but for a day to write and stay in my comfy clothes and...just...not go out unless I feel like it. When I knew last night that my co-worker would take my shift (she lives in the same town as the office), I felt a little thrill of excitement and nostalgia.

When my sons were in public school, my job was in education, so if they had a snow day I did, too. It was like the best gift for all of us to get to stay home and just hang out...usually in our pajamas until at least noon. Maybe even right up until bedtime. Snow pants can be worn over pjs, you know.

We might watch a (very rare) daytime movie, read to each other (usually Chronicles of Narnia or The Lord of the Rings) or just doodle. One of the boys is an artist, so he loved having hours to draw without interruption. At some point we might throw on our outside gear and go play in the fresh new snow. Then back inside for hot chocolate. With marshmallows, if we were lucky.

It was a sad school year when we didn't get at least one snow day. And even though I work from home, and even though I enjoy my Monday gig at the newspaper, today is a special treat day for me to hunker down and get a few things done that were going to have to be squeezed into the rest of the week. Best of all I get to simply meander through this snowy bonus day.

I am blessed, indeed.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

#WordWednesday

I am inspired, if that word can possibly be used in this context, by the completely ridiculous nature of the weather in my part of the world. It's snowing. It's April 11. That, my friends, is ridiculous. It's supposed to be daffodils and jonquils time, boots&jacket-in-the-basement time, bright-colours-of-spring time. Instead, my boots and jacket are nowhere near the basement, and I don't see any pretty colours out there at all.


So, having muttered, "Ridiculous!" a couple of times to no one at all, I decided to abort the original #WordWednesday mission for today and look up the origin of the word I was muttering.

I didn't learn anything terribly exciting (and, so, therefore, you won't, either), but at least writing this has kept my mind and hands busy. SO! What do we know about this amusing little word? Well, it goes back as far as the 1540s, so at least it has a venerable history. It was spelled ridyculouse at the time, having hatched from the Latin ridiculus, meaning "laughable, funny, absurd."

Absurd and not remotely funny. Ridiculous.