Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bittersweet Sylvanus - a poem

Bittersweet Sylvanus

There is a river flowing beside my footprints
Made of the tears of those who never truly got over their faults.
A bittersweet river made for a bittersweet time
To reflect what others feel without a waste of words.
From time to time, I help in the construction,
Forcing the thorns up my throat and out my mouth. A season
Of dying leaves prepared to occupy the river
Are of the utmost importance; the leaves are draped in spiders’
Dreams and rotting breath.
A cyclical force churns the river,
Giving it animation where Death was once King.
Slivers of rock adorn the river, adding substance
To another year, perhaps.
Dryads dance to an inner song, teasing me of my flesh prison;
It is never my fault. They think the river
Is a chance of a new life, a chance beyond their wooden prisons.
So, we are prisoners, small and immense, trapped but in favour
With one another, giving homage to the waters
Flowing freely, wishing us its own success. Cool breezes
Flow backward, distant and careless, succeeding in areas
When there were none to give or win. Despite all of this,
Despite my own words that I swore I would never use, this river gives me
A strange hope through my own fingers, typing furiously away
To make sure that others will understand me. My fingers, filled to the brim
With tears, bittersweet, remember, are fast as they pour forth
My own confession. The Rapture comes slowly, ticking away
As I sit and now watch this saline river sluggishly churns by me, offering no
Splashes on my feet. No baptism for me for I no longer need it.
I was already baptized, I tell the river, making clear that it understands me.
I was already baptized.
This, then, is a new experience.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bibliophile Dementia


I just finished reading This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald - magnificent! If you have not read this book, what the hell is wrong with you?

OK, enough of that. We Bibliophiles tend to get a little . . . hot under the collar when we've just finished reading a book that we think the WORLD should read.
So, I am about to read a new book: The Floating Book by Michelle Lovric. It looks good and so why not?

However, I feel as though something is missing right now. True, I am in my somewhat quiet apartment (my cats love to meow at me when I am TRYING to be quiet) and I have a new book to read, but still, I feel as though something is lacking, something that needs to be here, right here, right now.

What is it?

I think I know and yet I really don't want to express my thoughts so plainly; it tends to cheapen them.

Earlier, I spent some time with a dear friend of mine and, as always, I learned something new about him and myself as well.
So, why is it that I want to cry right now, not out of sadness but out of happiness? Have I truly gone over the edge?

What am I feeling right now? Wish I knew.

Does anybody out there know what is going through my mind, because if so, can you PLEASE tell me?

No, I don't think I'm crazy (more so than usual). No, I am not sinking into a depression (I feel a sort of happy, remember?)

So, why do I want to cry right now?

I am missing . . .

No more to be said, dear readers. If you know me, you know how I would have ended that incomplete phrase. And to tell you the truth, you would be right.

Thanks for reading, as always.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

La Vie Nouvelle


Yesterday, I attended a celebration of the human spirit. My mother is the founder of the Carin' and Sharin' group, a support group for African American women who have been diagnosed or are survivors of breast cancer. This group has been around for 19 years and it refuses to die down.

Every May, the group holds a May Celebration, honouring those who are still alive and those who have passed on. Every year I attend not only as my mother's daughter but as a supporter of finding a cure.

Yet this year, it was different for me. Normally, I love watching the older women take their place at the microphone and state their name and how long they have been a survivor. This year, however, I felt something inside of me flutter even more so than normal. I stared at their wrinkled yet proud faces, wondering about their lives; were they a part of the Civil Rights Movement, were they movers and shakers when they were younger, did they have any passions in their lives that they still carried or squashed due to peers, families, or their own thoughts?

There is one woman whose name I forget who is heavyset and uses a walker to walk. However, once she reached the microphone, her voice literally blows you away. She sings with such passion that I found myself with tears in my eyes and my heart lifted with the hope that HOPE is just around the corner.

Let me be honest: I love my mother. I respect her. She is one of the few people in my life who has been a constant inspiration to me with reagrds to my writing and my love of books and knowledge. Without her guidance, my life would have been radically different.

I always feel a sense of bittersweet honesty during the May Celebration: joy for those who are survivors and who are still alive, and sadness for those who have sucumbed to cancer.

My thoughts last night turned to my friends: how many of them abuse their bodies, how many of them have self esteem issues, how many of them refuse to truly live because of a past wrong or event. We can no longer continue our grip on the past. It is the present and the future we must look forward to.

I also thought about my own life last night: I now have a literary agent for my children's book The Bookstore Bus and I am excited. Finally, one of my dreams is coming to fruition because I stopped worrying about what others thought of me, or my own self esteem issues. I stopped all of that crap because that is exactly what it is: CRAP.

Just like those women last night, I want to live with a clear mind, breath in my body, and concrete confidence of who I am and what makes me me.

Do you?

Thanks for listening.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Poem from the Goth Librarian

He looked at me with eyes
Stolen from a creature not yet named by Man.
Such an ocular moment
Would last only seconds
And yet my body stayed rooted
To the spot, a slave and servant to what lay
Beneath the flesh, of a tease that I refused
To acknowledge.
He was here, among the glassy eyes,
Searching for someone, thing,
A possible reason for his own existence.
Never has the desire to fall on my knees
Ever been stronger – shall he think me weak
And unacceptable of this gift?
Black, like ravens, are warmer to the touches
Under my fingers; I dare not lick the
Sheen from them. His sweat shall poison me.
Within his arms are oceans, of waters
Created and destroyed everyday,
Calling me like a vengeful Siren;
No sailor am I.
This, then, is the time to surrender all
And dream, lest I forget how.

19 May 2008

Friday, May 16, 2008

Poetess - A Story from the Goth Librarian


We used to go for walks on the forest trails when we were younger, when Time was all that we had. She would lead and I would follow close behind, my eyes focused on the back of her head and slender neck. We were two college students, ready to tackle the world and everyone that was stupid enough to stand in our way. We were important, thinking ourselves to be goddesses, never to be soiled by mortal hands.
After our last class on Wednesdays ended at approximately 1:45pm, we would grab our backpacks and run to the cafeteria where we would load up on obscene amounts of fruit – our lunch during our walk. The trails that we walked were behind our dorm building, giving us easy access to Nature and peace.
Not a sound could be heard from the university while we walked; to us, it was as though we left our current world for something better, some that only we could understand. The trip would always be the same: after walking for some time, she would find a secluded spot for us to rest and eat, usually finding several trees close together so we could rest our backs against the rough yet stable trunks. There, under the cover of trees and silence, we would eat our fruit and read poetry to each other.
We would read from tattered and marked books containing the works of Plath and Millay, of Dickinson and Sappho, and many other women poets from the past and present. It was during this ritual that we dreamt that our names would be spoken with them as great poetesses, being seduced by their words and in turn, hoping that we would seduce others with our own.
Her favourite was Sophie Jewett, a Victorian poet whose life was not well known. She discovered her by accident one day while looking through a poetry website and soon was captivated by her words. She loved reading her poems out loud because they felt cool and slick gliding across her tongue; she was clearly in love with Ms. Jewett.
“I want to know her like a lover,” she told me after spending five minutes one day telling me about her discovery of Sophie. “I want her to breathe through me.” Others thought her to be mad and desperately lonely, but I knew better. I knew exactly what she meant although my passion for the written word was not as fervent as hers. Perhaps I should have known then but I was young and in love as well. We both were.
The years came and went and soon we both graduated from university with degrees in English. We then enrolled in graduate school for our M.A.s and then our PhDs and within the blink of an eye, we were professors, pillars of the academic and literary societies. We were also published writers in both poetry and literature, winners of awards and special recognitions. At first, people did not take us seriously, thinking us to be just young spinsters with nothing better to do but soon even the most discerning voice was soon silenced in awe of what we had accomplished. We lived together, wrote together, and sometimes made love when our writing passions seemed to overtake us. Our bond was beyond that of any romantic friendship or relationship. We understood each other in ways that many people could and should not. We were each other’s Muse, giving each other constant fuel for our souls. We were truly alive.
I still ask myself if I could have changed what happened to her; was the progression too fast for me to stop? Was I blind to what was truly going on? I still don’t know. Maybe I should no longer care.
I still remember the day: Friday, the day for us to order Chinese food and then crawl through a bookstore. On Friday, I always arrived home first then she would come home thirty minutes later. When I arrived home, I stretched out on our very plush couch and pulled one of my books off the side table to read in peace.
Suddenly, I heard a strange noise coming from our library. I stopped reading for am moment, trying to listen to it and figure out its source. It sounded like paper being ripped apart. After several minutes of listening, I nervously got up and walked down the hallway with my book still in my hand, wondering if I needed to get one of our baseball bats in case it was a burglar. I noticed that the door to the library was ajar, the noise becoming louder and louder with no sounds of it stopping.
When I reached the door, I could barely see into the room but I did see a figure seated on the floor, calmly tearing out pages from one of our books. With anger now in my sight, for who would be so disrespectful towards a book like that?, I slammed the door open and almost fainted at what I saw. There was my roommate and friend, sitting on the floor with a book in her hand, tearing out each page with precision. Her hair, usually pulled back into a ponytail, was loose and limp on her head as though she had been sweating profusely. Her eyes were focused on something that only she could see, something that seemed to hold her in its thrall. She ripped a page from the book then placed it in her mouth then she ripped another page and threw it on the ground. She chewed what pages she had in her mouth, swallowing them as if the book was a part of a five course meal, only to stuff her mouth with more and more pages. I could hardly believe what I was seeing. I walked up to her.
She seemed to have felt my presence, for she stopped ripping the pages and soon her eyes were focused on me. She smiled and told me that she loved me, as one poetess should love another. I asked her why she was eating pages from a book (in a calm tone for I was unsure as to her mindset at this point) and she replied, “Sophie needs me,” in an eerily calm tone. “Sophie wants to be free.”
“Free from what?”
“Free from the pages, the words that bind her. She wants to be free and only I can do it. I am poetess; I have the power to save her.” Her eyes then dropped all contact with me and soon, she was back in her own world, ripping out pages from the book and eating them slowly, trying to free Sophie Jewett from the words. I stood there for a moment, staring at her, not really sure what to do. She was my friend, fellow poetess, and sometimes lover, but now . . . I slowly walked out of the room and closed the door behind me, the sounds of ripping pages burning in my mind. I went back to the couch and picked up a magazine to read. I felt numb.
She stopped showing up for her classes, claiming to me that Sophie needed her constantly. The department, after I explained to them what had happened, gave her a leave of absence with the promise that once better, would come back to teach. Deep inside of me, I knew that she would never teach again. What I did not know was that the department felt the same way but was kind enough to at least make a show of trying to keep her employed.
She stayed in the library, reading and eating pages of Sophie Jewett poetry, claiming that she could feel her breaking free that finally, the world would know of her life and her poetry. My fellow Muse was going to be the one to do it. She bathed constantly, claiming that she wanted her body to be clean and ready for when Sophie would be free. She refused to eat food but continued to eat her pages, claiming it gave her strength.
The days passed. I went to work and taught as best as I could although she was on my mind constantly. As soon as my classes were over for the day, I raced home to check up on her, making sure she did not commit suicide or something just as dangerous.
Then one day, I noticed that she looked different. I could not put my finger on it, only that she looked . . . different. When I walked into the library to do my usual check up on her, her eyes immediately focused on me, lighting up her entire face as she smiled at me. She was no longer eating pages for she had consumed the entire book and several others. I smiled back, not really sure what else to do but I was happy that at least she was smiling.
“Come and sit with me,” she said in a voice that was definitely not my friend’s while waving a hand in my direction. I cautiously sat down next to her and she grabbed my hands and began to kiss them. I could only stare at her . . . and stare, because this was no longer my roommate. Her facial structure had changed, her hair colour had changed, and even her eyes had changed. She was now someone else. I swallowed nervously then spoke.
“Sophie?” She looked up at the sound of that name and smiled.
“I am forever grateful to your friend for what she did for me. I am free now.”
“Where is my friend? Is she . . . inside of you?”
“She is and yet . . . not. I now occupy this body; she is now a good memory to me.” She released my hands then took my face in her own. For a moment, she stared into my eyes and I felt as though I was being mentally interrogated and ashamed although I was innocent. Her eyes held me and I could not look away. I knew then just what my friend saw that first night.

People ask me if my friend moved, to which I always say yes. She found another teaching job, one that would pay her more money and who could refuse that? They nod and smile at me then walk away to their own lives while I am still sorting through my own. Sophie (she prefers me to call her Jewett) lives with me, spending her days getting used to the ways of the modern world and writing poetry. At first, I would not speak to her, going about my day and ignoring her altogether. I wanted to punish her for taking my friend away from me.
“She gave herself up for me,” Jewett said repeatedly, trying to get me to understand. “She wanted this to happen.”
“So that you could be alive again? Wasn’t that selfish of you?”
“No, not at all. Her love of poetry was so great that she offered her own self in order to give my words life again. People had forgotten me and she wanted that to change. She felt that my life and my words were important enough to be rescued and revived.” After some time had passed, I began to understand just what she meant; my friend loved Sophie’s words so much that in her own way, she gave them life again so that others would know of her.
Under the pages are breaths taken deliberately slow.
Under the pages beats a heart.
Under the pages is a Poetess.

Several Poems by Sophie Jewett
(From the Poetry Foundation

Across the Border
by Sophie Jewett

I have read somewhere that the birds of fairyland
are white as snow.—W. B. Yeats

Where all the trees bear golden flowers,
And all the birds are white;
Where fairy folk in dancing hours
Burn stars for candlelight;

Where every wind and leaf can talk,
But no man understand
Save one whose child-feet chanced to walk
Green paths of fairyland;

I followed two swift silver wings;
I stalked a roving song;
I startled shining, silent things;
I wandered all day long.

But when it seemed the shadowy hours
Whispered of soft-foot night,
I crept home to sweet common flowers,
Brown birds, and candlelight.

by Sophie Jewett

When the last fight is lost, the last sword broken;
The last call sounded, the last order spoken;
When from the field where braver hearts lie sleeping,
Faint, and athirst, and blinded, I come creeping,
With not one waving shred of palm to bring you,
With not one splendid battle-song to sing you,
O Love, in my dishonor and defeat,
Your measureless compassion will be sweet.

To a Child
by Sophie Jewett

The leaves talked in the twilight, dear;
Hearken the tale they told:
How in some far-off place and year,
Before the world grew old,

I was a dreaming forest tree,
You were a wild, sweet bird
Who sheltered at the heart of me
Because the north wind stirred;

How, when the chiding gale was still,
When peace fell soft on fear,
You stayed one golden hour to fill
My dream with singing, dear.

To-night the self-same songs are sung
The first green forest heard;
My heart and the gray world grow young—
To shelter you, my bird.

White Head
by Sophie Jewett

Prone on the northern water,
That laps him about the breast,
Like the Sphinx in the sand, forever
The giant lies in rest.

The sails drive swift before him,
And the surf beats at his lip,
But the gray eyes look out seaward
Noting nor wave nor ship.

The centuries drift over,
He marks not with smile nor frown,
Drift over him cloud and sea-gull,
Swallow and thistledown.

I, of the race that passes,
Quick with its hope and its fear,
Lean on his brow and question,
Plead at his senseless ear:

“What of thy past unmeasured?
And what of the peoples gone?
What of the sea’s first singing?
What of the primal dawn?

“What was the weird that bowed thee?
How did the struggle cease?
Out of what Titan anguish
Issued thy hopeless peace?”

Nothing the pale lips utter,
What hath been, nor what shall be;
Under the brow’s stern shadow,
The gray eyes look to sea.

The blue glows round and over,
Thin-veiled, as it were God’s face;
I feel the breath, the spirit,
That knows nor time nor space.

And my heart grieves for the giant
In his pitiful repose,
Mocked by the vagrant gladness
Of a laggard brier-rose;

Mocked to his face from seaward
By the flash and whirl of wings;
Mocked from the grass above him,
By life that creeps and sings.

I care not for his wisdom,
His secret unconfessed;
I yearn toward rose and cricket,
Ephemeral and blest.

Ah! if he might, how would he
Quicken to love and to tears;
For my immortal minute
Barter his endless years!

He rests on the restless water,
And I on the grasses brown,
Drift over us cloud and sea-gull,
Swallow and thistledown.

by Sophie Jewett

The water sings along our keel,
The wind falls to a whispering breath;
I look into your eyes and feel
No fear of life or death;
So near is love, so far away
The losing strife of yesterday.

We watch the swallow skim and dip;
Some magic bids the world be still;
Life stands with finger upon lip;
Love hath his gentle will;
Though hearts have bled, and tears have burned,
The river floweth unconcerned.

We pray the fickle flag of truce
Still float deceitfully and fair;
Our eyes must love its sweet abuse;
This hour we will not care,
Though just beyond to-morrow's gate,
Arrayed and strong, the battle wait.

The Pilgrim
by Sophie Jewett

"Such a palmer ne'er was seene,
Lesse Love himselfe had palmer beene."

Pilgrim feet, pray whither bound?
Pilgrim eyes, pray whither bent?
Sandal-shod and travel-gowned,
Lo, I seek the way they went
Late who passed toward Holy Land.

Pilgrim, it was long ago;
None remains who saw that band;
Grass and forest overgrow
Every path their footing wore.
Men are wise; they seek no more
Roads that lead to Holy Land.

Proud his look, as who should say:
I shall find where lies the way.

Pilgrim, thou art fair of face,
Staff and scrip are not for thee;
Gentle pilgrim, of thy grace,
Leave thy quest, and bide with me.
Love shall serve thee, joy shall bless;
Thou wert made for tenderness:
God's green world is fair and sweet;
Not o'er sea and Eastern strand,
But where friend and lover meet
Lies the way to Holy Land.

Low his voice, his lashes wet:
One day if God will—not yet.

Pilgrim, pardon me and heed.
Men of old who took that way
Went for fame of goodly deed,
Or, if sooth the stories say,
Sandalled priest, or knight in selle,
Flying each in pain and hate,
Harassed by stout fiends of hell,
Sought his crime to expiate.
Prithee, Pilgrim, go not hence;
Clear thy brow, and white thy hand,
What shouldst thou with penitence?
Wherefore seek to Holy Land?

Stern the whisper on his lip:
Sin and shame are in my scrip.

Pilgrim, pass, since it must be;
Take thy staff, and have thy will;
Prayer and love shall follow thee;
I will watch thee o'er the hill.
What thy fortune God doth know;
By what paths thy feet must go.
Far and dim the distance lies,
Yet my spirit prophesies:
Not in vigil lone and late,
Bowed upon the tropic sand,
But within the city gate,
In the struggle of the street,
Suddenly thine eyes shall meet
His whose look is Holy Land.

Smiled the pilgrim, sad and sage:
Long must be my pilgrimage.

If Spirits Walk
by Sophie Jewett

“I have heard (but not believed) the spirits of the dead
May walk again.”

If spirits walk, Love, when the night climbs slow
The slant footpath where we were wont to go,
Be sure that I shall take the self-same way
To the hill-crest, and shoreward, down the gray,
Sheer, gravelled slope, where vetches straggling grow.

Look for me not when gusts of winter blow,
When at thy pane beat hands of sleet and snow;
I would not come thy dear eyes to affray,
If spirits walk.

But when, in June, the pines are whispering low,
And when their breath plays with thy bright hair so
As some one's fingers once were used to play—
That hour when birds leave song, and children pray,
Keep the old tryst, sweetheart, and thou shalt know
If spirits walk.

In Harvest
by Sophie Jewett

Mown meadows skirt the standing wheat;
I linger, for the hay is sweet,
New-cut and curing in the sun.
Like furrows, straight, the windrows run,
Fallen, gallant ranks that tossed and bent
When, yesterday, the west wind went
A-rioting through grass and grain.
To-day no least breath stirs the plain;
Only the hot air, quivering, yields
Illusive motion to the fields
Where not the slenderest tassel swings.
Across the wheat flash sky-blue wings;
A goldfinch dangles from a tall,
Full-flowered yellow mullein; all
The world seems turning blue and gold.
Unstartled, since, even from of old,
Beauty has brought keen sense of her,
I feel the withering grasses stir;
Along the edges of the wheat,
I hear the rustle of her feet:
And yet I know the whole sea lies,
And half the earth, between our eyes.

by Sophie Jewett

“O Love, thou art winged and swift,
Yet stay with me evermore!”
And I guarded my house with bolt and bar
Lest Love fly forth at the door.

Without, in the world, ’t was cold,
While Love and I together
Laughed and sang by my red hearth-fire,
Nor knew it was winter weather.

Sweet Love would lull me to sleep,
In his tireless arm caressed;
His shadowing wings and burning eyes
Like night and stars wrought rest.

And ever the beat of Love’s heart
As a chime rang at my ear;
And ever Love’s bending, beautiful face
Covered me close from fear.

Was it long ere I waked alone?
A snow-drift whitened the floor;
I saw spent ashes upon my hearth
And Death in my open door.

Poem from the Goth Librarian

My mouth is a fortress

holding back the rotten and blasphemous

from corrupting the world a little longer.

Eyes falling asleep, I keep the thoughts

of damage and drainage to myself,

hoping no one will have the courage

to peer within.

My thoughts are now frozen

due to the lack of use;

no one wanted to hear them anyway.

A poetess in black

to avenge those writers wronged

the fortress lifted; Pandora was an innocent.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Wanting - A Short Story

She walked through the streets carelessly because she had no fear and perhaps that was a good thing, for the world had enough cowardice to flood. I had asked her once if she ever taught herself to deny such a strong emotion and she said no, that she was simply born without it. Forgetting my manners, I told her that she was mad to be such an enigma but she did not take my words to heart - "We all must reveal our freakish side to others in order to truly live." I took her words as truth and decided to smile more until I died.

Poem of the Day - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Guards Came Through
by Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle

Men of the Twenty-first
Up by the Chalk Pit Wood,
Weak with our wounds and our thirst,
Wanting our sleep and our food,
After a day and a night.
God, shall we ever forget?
Beaten and broke in the fight,
But sticking it, sticking it yet,
Trying to hold the line,
Fainting and spent and done;
Always the thud and the whine,
Always the yell of the Hun.
Northumberland, Lancaster, York,
Durham and Somerset,
Fighting alone, worn to the bone,
But sticking it, sticking it yet.

Never a message of hope,
Never a word of cheer!
Fronting Hill 70’s shell-swept slope,
With the dull, dead plain in our rear;
Always the shriek of the shell,
Always the roar of the burst,
Always the tortures of Hell,
As waiting and wincing we cursed
Our luck, the guns, and the Boche.
When our Corporal shouted “Stand to!”
And I heard some one cry, “Clear the front for the Guards!”—
And the Guards came through.

Our throats they were parched and hot,
But Lord, if you’d heard the cheer,
Irish and Welsh and Scot,
Coldstream and Grenadier—
Two Brigades, if you please,
Dressing as straight as a hem.
We, we were down on our knees,
Praying for us and for them,
Praying with tear-wet cheek,
Praying with outstretched hand.
Lord! I could speak for a week,
But how could you understand?
How could your cheeks be wet?
Such feelin’s don’t come to you;
But how can me or my mates forget
When the Guards came through?

“Five yards left extend!”
It passed from rank to rank,
And line after line, with never a bend,
And a touch of the London swank.
A trifle of swank and dash,
Cool as a home parade,
Twinkle, glitter and flash,
Flinching never a shade,
With the shrapnel right in their face,
Doing their Hyde Park stunt,
Swinging along at an easy pace,
Arms at the trail, eyes front.
Man! it was great to see!
Man! it was fine to do!
It’s a cot, and hospital ward for me,
But I’ll tell them in Blighty wherever I be,
How the Guards came through.

From the Poetry Foundation -

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Blast from the Past


I received an e-mail from someone in my past this morning. This person was someone close to me, someone that I fell in love with last year. However, things did not go according to plan and I ended up single while he moved away. Funny that.

When I received the e-mail this morning, I first read it as an attempt to reconnect with me, a chance to possibly become friends again. I almost wanted it.

However, when it read it a second time, I felt the old wounds wanting to open once more, so I deleted the e-mail and went about my day.

Was I a bitch? Perhaps, but then again, you were not there for the over three hour talk we had in which I poured my soul into his lap, wanting him to take it forever and instead it was handed back to me, still wrapped in its package.

I have a rule: let the past stay in the past. If we continue to go back to our past wounds, they will never have a chance to heal.

I wish we could have remained friends, but my feelings would have risen to the surface again and soon, my new self awareness would have been exposed to defeat.

I loved him. He loved me but in a different way and all I can do now is go forward with my life, filled to the brim with good friends, a loving family, a wonderful boyfriend, and my writing.

There is a reason why it is called THE PAST.

Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My Life - Thoreau Style

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, to discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and to be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.

Walden or Life in the Woods

- Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)

New Orleans - My Second Home


Yesterday, I arrived home from my usual trip to New Orleans for Jazz Fest. Their festival always takes place the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May, filled to the brim with music and sights, arts and crafts, and people who, although still shattered from Katrina (called The Bitch), still have lives full of hope, music, and spirit.

One of my favourite things to do is get a large mango freeze (like a slushie but better!) and go to the Jazz Tent to hear some great jazz performed by either local and/or nationally famous musicians. This year was no different. One of my favourite groups, The Bad Plus, performed and I was in jazz heaven! This trio is jazz for the Gen Xer: piano, bass, and drums are all that is needed for this trio to play songs from Nirvana, Tears for Fears, and some of their own wild and crazy compositions. The band is on my Friends List so do yourself a favour and check them out! I also have two of their CDs so you are more than welcome to listen to them as well.

I also had the honour to see Terence Blanchard, famous jazz composer and a wonderful New Orleanian, perform music from his CD A Tale of God's Will: a Requiem for Katrina. Some of the music from this CD were in the Spike Lee documentary When the Levees Broke; to hear the songs Levee and Wading Through gave me chill bumps and I felt as though I wanted to cry, not only for the beautiful music but those who lost their lives and property during The Bitch.

New Orleans, for those of you who have never been, is a city that is full of music, laughter, parades, moments of spontaneous dancing in the streets, food, histoire, and the like. The people are unlike any people I have ever met in my life and it gets a little harder for me to come home every year. I had even considered moving down there last year to be a part of the rebirth and rebuilding of the city, much to the groans of my family and friends who thought such an idea to be stupid.

New Orleans is my second home and to still see damage from The Bitch breaks my heart but I know that this is a city that will come back, even if another Bitch ever comes back.

I am at home sick right now, but my heart is still burning for that city; I have already begun asking people if they would be interested in going down there this summer for a weekend trip!

Laissez Les Bons Temps Roulez!