Continued Commitment

There are now fewer pages left in my journal than there are in this year.
   Perfect timing, really, for a new decade is approaching and I will begin the New Year with a brand new journal.
   I’ve been keeping a journal with solid regularity for about 20 years.
   I had tried before, at different points in my life, to maintain some sort of journal, diary, or account of my life, but those attempts always ended up incomplete. The books got lost, or I got lost (or lost interest), or couldn’t really find the time.
   Life is often like that, you find it hard to find the time to do things you really want to do.
   It takes more than commitment; it takes continued commitment.
   My journals are full of life, as it happens. Trips, trials and tribulations, events attended, tales about people I’ve met; people who have died, people who left, and those who are still with me.
   It becomes personal history. For me.
   It is important to me.
   I write every day, but not always in my journal. I’ve got a several manuscripts on the go, in varying stages of undress, and there is something on this site every day. Then there is poetry, and letters to friends and family scattered across this amazing planet.
   I write every damn day.
   The journaling is different, always by hand, always by pencil, I write both the consequential and inconsequential in my journal, as it happens and usually when it happens.
   Sometimes I will glue in an article from the newspaper, other times a postage stamp or concert ticket, or include a quote from somebody that has inspired me.
It’s pretty random, at times it is messy (like life), at times my thoughts are not complete, but the journal has a purpose.
   This current journal is the second book I have filled this year. It began with a trip to Winnipeg on father’s day, to visit my daughter (that’s always something to write about), and continues to describe weekends out and about in Toronto on my bike, my concerns over gun violence and public safety in this city, and memories of people, places, and music.
   You learn a lot about yourself as you write, and you continue learning as you write. That is the value of a journal.
   Journaling is sort of like the quote I jotted down in my journal on August 24:
     “Learn from yesterday, live
      for today, look to tomorrow,
      rest this afternoon.”
                         -Charles Schultz

 

Do you keep a journal? Are you ready to start?
2020 is almost here, a new year and a new decade.
There’s no better time to start than a new year.
soultalk is offering its annual free online journaling program to get you going in the new year an beyond.
Normally the program is 10 writing prompts over 10 days, but this year (and the reason seems obvious to me) it will be 20/20.
It begins January 1 in a closed Facebook group.
In addition to a daily prompt, there are hints on maintaining a healthy journaling practice, and the support of a group that are going through the same thing with you.
The program is open to, pretty much, everyone.
Come write your way into 2020.
For more details, and to sign up, send an email to soultalk@mythosandmarginalia.com
Come and write with us.
Write on.

Daughters Of Someone Else

Thirty years ago, 14 women were killed because they were women.
   Let me repeat that, in case you didn’t feel the impact:
   Thirty years ago, 14 women were killed because they were women.
   In Canada: in Montreal: thirty years ago, on this day.
   December 6, 1989.
   École Polytechnique. The Montreal Massacre.
   It was more than a mass shooting.
   I remember.
   I remember watching with horror, as details spilled out from the television set throughout that evening. It was sickening.
   I remember.
   I remember thinking of my daughter, not quite three years old at the time.
   I remember thinking these women were all daughters of someone else.
   I remember my tears.
   My daughter has grown up in the deep dark shadow of the Montreal Massacre She might not remember the actual event, but over the past three decades she has learned about what went on, and all that is wrong.
   She knows the significance of this day.
   The world changed that day.
   It has not changed enough.
   I will not take up space today to spit out my thoughts on gun control or public safety.
   I will not criticize today, here, those who continue to exhibit such blatant disregard for my fellow human beings, or the hypocrisy and/or misogyny of those people, or politicians, or corporations who try to hide behind flimsy excuses and transparent policies of diversity and inclusion. Or those who do not do enough to enforce, enhance, and encourage respect in the workplace, our communities, or countries.
   Today is not my day for that.
   Today, in Canada, is National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. It is a day for remembering the event, yes, but more so remembering the vital lives of the women who were hunted down and killed by a single man.
   I also will not, today or ever, utter the name of the killer. I will instead — as I do each year on the anniversary of this senseless tragedy — repeat the names of the 14 women whose lives were snuffed out by hatred, gender discrimination and attitudes which have prevailed in the years since.
   Our daughters, sisters, mothers and lovers face these injustices each day, in a country that prides itself on a satisfying and sufficient way of life.
   Violence against women is still here, it is systematic, and it is wrong.
   We all know it.
   The lives of those women killed, not their deaths, must remain an example. I dislike the popular term ‘Legacy of pain’, but I still feel it.
  These names must not be forgotten:

Geneviève Bergeron
Hélène Colgan
Nathalie Croteau
Barbara Daigneault
Anne-Marie Edward
Maud Haviernick
Maryse Laganière
Maryse Leclair
Anne-Marie Lemay
Sonia Pelletier
Michèle Richard
Annie St-Arneault
Annie Turcotte
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz

   December 6, 1989.
   This is a sacred day.
   Just as we pause on November 11, to pay respect for those who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our way of life in times of war, we must stop whatever we are doing later this day to pause and reflect on those whose lives were taken away, on this day. There must be silence.
   These women did not volunteer or ask for this violence. They lived with it every day, as many do now. Sadly.
   My heart goes out to the families, friends, partners, and loved ones who grieve for these significant women.
   I grieve with you.

   deep peace

How We Now Listen

As effortless as it is to turn on your favorite music and tune out the world around you, and go anywhere, it’s hard to imagine life without the convenience of portable audio.
  But 40 years ago, stereo-to-go was cumbersome, if not impossible. Until Sony introduced this nifty little device called the Walkman.
  Life changed, music changed; certainly how we listened to it did. It became personal and portable; this cassette tape-propelled little brick that delivered quality sound through lightweight headphones at a volume you, only, could fully experience.
  Yeah, just like we do now, with our mobile devices, but this was different. This personal listening experience was never before available until the Walkman.
  Thinking of it now, I still find it amazing.
  In the ‘60s, if you wanted music at the beach, you had to rely on the transistor radio. You accepted the music broadcast through a small monophonic speaker on whatever AM station you could tune into through a small monophonic speaker. Yes, you would sometimes get your favorite song. It was better than nothing, but it wasn’t anything like it could be.
  Technology was primitive. It was limited.
  The ‘70s brought the boom box, but let’s talk about cumbersome. Hauling around a suitcase-sized stereo proved, mostly, to be less fun that it was intended. And it became costly; all those big D cell batteries could eat up your allowance pretty quick.
  So the Walkman – itself not cheap at $150 – gave you freedom. Four double AA batteries could get you anywhere, or take you anywhere. Cassette tapes (now a thing of the past) allowed you to record music from vinyl (one album per side on a 90-minute tape), and away you went; running, cycling, walking, or studying. It was like adding a soundtrack to your life.
  Before that, it’s hard to imagine what commuters did on the bus or subway. Did they just talk?
  While Sony streamlined the original Walkman (later adding the Discman when compact discs became available), the technology was quickly knocked off and became the thing to have. Prices dropped to the point where personal cassette players were almost free with gas, and everybody seemed to have one.
  Headphones heighten the experience.
  The Walkman changed how we consume music. The Walkman inspired how we now listen, either through headphones or with the ear buds popularized with the iPod.
  In 40 years we’ve lived through a range of personal audio products to the point where we don’t think of it any longer as unique. It’s just something we do.
  We listen. It probably even sounds better now than it did then.