Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I am singing the blues. Last week I was down in the dumps and this week isn't much better. I am grumpy. I'm not the best company. And my easy smile is not appearing often.

And last week, when I least felt like talking, I had a Dialogue meeting. At my house. I thought myself "the bitch from hell." Nah, that's too strong. I saw myself as contrary. I didn't know what was a reaction to what was being said or what was coming from my own despondency.

I feel quite alone and so yesterday I hit a psychology book. Not literally. (I'm always curious when I'm not in control of my emotions.) At present, I am reading James Hillman's "The Soul's Code: In Search of Character and Calling." I am drawn to what he says about loneliness. He says it comes without bidding whether one is literally alone or not. He suggests that there is an archetypal sense of loneliness that is with us from our beginning. And it isn't necessarily negative.

"When we look - or, rather, feel - closely into the sense of loneliness we find it is composed of several elements: nostalgia, sadness, silence, and a yearning imagination for "something else" not here, not now. For these elements and images to show, we first have to focus on them rather than on remedies for being literary alone. Desperation grows worse when we seek ways out of despair."

I like the "yearning imagination" part. I like the idea of focusing because when I concentrate, I become curious and curiosity brings forth energy - the energy to direct one's thoughts into examining the elements of loneliness or whatever.

Am I making any sense?

No matter. I'm doing all right.

Monday, October 22, 2007


I crash and once again feel like a child - lost about how to approach others and the world. And the child in me wants to scream with rage. I have worked so hard to grow up. I don't want to feel helpless. Why can't I be dignified and full of grace? I hate the part of me that runs and hides because she feels small and inferior. She embarrasses me.

In my mind's eye, I see this big finger pointing at me saying you have so many riches. You have never had anything truly horrible happen to you. How dare you feel helpless and hopeless?

I need a poem. (Winterson wrote in an interview that poetry is like coffee to her.)

When I write that I feel low, I don't want scorn or sympathy or advice. I don't want anything. I just want to tell the truth about my life. And it pisses me off, this need to speak, to expose myself. Why can't I be like others? Full of grace and dignity. I don't know. There is something in me that feels compelled to tell. And though I hate her, I comply. This is who I am.

It's rainy here. It feels as if it's been raining for days. Although I know that the rain is responsible for the green beauty of this place, still it depresses me, makes me feel sluggish, lifeless.

This week passed quickly. On Wednesday Gill celebrated her 21st birthday and I spent a lot of time and love trying to make it special for her. (She had a wonderful day. Loved her birthday blog.)

On Friday, I went to see Hollis speak about "What makes good people do bad things." I like Hollis. He's a good speaker and though he uses big words and a lot of Jungian terminology, he gives easy accessible examples to make his point about shadow - that which makes good people do bad things or that which takes a person out of their comfort zone and can unravel them and push them to extremes (though he said that he had two men who declared that they had no shadow.) Everyone has a shadow.

Shadow is the part of us that makes our ego uncomfortable, the part of us that we don't like. It's the part that has never adapted to the culture of nice. There are personal shadows and collective shadows. (He gave as an example of the collective -
"Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings.")

I wrote down a number of his ideas that appealed to me. "Who says what is good? The collective usually." "When we violate the self. There is real suffering." "When you come to a place when everything you can do is wrong, then you're usually at another step in the individuation process." "The presence of conflict is the proof of the rightness of your journey." "Accept the fact that you're acceptable and that you're unacceptable." When depressed, you can ask "where's the unlived life? what am I trying to push down?" "Depression is a learned helplessness." "Addiction is a system to stop us from feeling what we're feeling."

Hollis explained that shadow is good or rather rich and we should pay attention when caught by shadow. It shows us what we want to distance ourselves from or "overthrow" our adaptive personality (in contrast to our reactive personality.) By ignoring shadow, we are perpetuating a false self. "Sometimes we murder our selves."

Heady stuff.

On Saturday and Sunday, I attended a autobiography workshop at Marlene's. She has a gift for teaching and listening. She also has a knack for gathering groups of women (most often they are women) who are intelligent, thoughtful, caring, and who want to write either professionally or for themselves and/or their families. The two days passed quickly - full of poetry, quotes, discussions, writing and reading (and I should not forget eating - such tasty morsels of Terra breads, Seigel bagels, salmon and egg salads, raw vegies, French cheeses, fruit, and apple and chocolate cake.) There were light moments and heavy moments. Some of the writing stunned me. I am always always shocked at what some women have gone through and lived to tell the tale. With dignity and grace.

As I sit here trying to describe something that is too sensitive for words, too private to speak about openly - for it is unacceptable to tell others' stories when told in such an environment - I am reminded of a passage in Nancy Mair's book "Voice Lessons". She was attending a workshop at Skimmilk Farm where all was permissible. "At the Farm, the women simply listened to my essays very hard and laughed in all the right places... And really, what more can we - as writers, as artists, as human beings - do for one another?"

A little further down, Mairs says: "I want to give her the courage to say the next hard thing, without fear of ridicule or expulsion if she strays across the borders of good taste, good sense, or good judgment demarcated by a tradition she has had no part in forming. I want her to do the same for me."

I left the weekend feeling heavy hearted. I can admire everyone but myself. And I don't really understand this. I never feel as if I give enough. And this makes me feel miserly and miserable. And then I blurt out at the end that I feel a failure. And then I verbally lambast myself for feeling self pity. I hate feeling self pity. And so the vicious cycle begins. Something strikes a chord here. I return to my Hollis notes. I read "forgiveness of self. compassion for self. therapy attends to the disillusionment of stage that you're at. a developmental stage. what wants to come into being wants the death of ego."

I want the death of ego. I want to write.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

HAPPY 21 DEAREST GILL - I hope you have a wonderful day.

Here's a number of birthday messages from family and friends (arranged in alphabetical order.) As you will see, I've shamelessly copied you.

My Baby Girl



Auntie Bev
















Sunday, October 14, 2007

Here's to the Man I Married

Birthday Man

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Thanks Giving

I've been playing on the internet reading about Thanksgiving. I'd like to give thanks for all I have - like the freedom to do as I please, the roof over my head (that can be sold for a bundle) and plenty to eat (a big fat turkey is in the oven) and family and friends who I love and love me. What more could anyone ask for? (Well a muse would be nice.)


I started writing yesterday, at Whistler, while the turkey was in the oven. Now it's been eaten with a generous helping of mashed potatoes, sweet squash and apple casserole, brussel sprouts, cranberries, pumpkin pie and several goblets of very good wine.

A naked little boy just came running by the table. My sister's youngest does not like clothes. His father is keeping him company - not in his nakedness but in an attempt to keep him quiet so my sister can sleep. Hannah (middle child) is now up and wants pumpkin pie for breakfast. When I look questioningly at her father, he gives me the nod "there's no rules here." The eldest child starts playing his school recorder. The nudest wants it and starts screaming. I'd forgotten the days of young children and the energy they take.

Where are my children? I think Gill and Michael are getting together with their loves for a thanksgiving lunch. And Brendan - he was celebrating a friend's birthday yesterday and couldn't join us. I miss them all at holiday times - though given the noise level here I'm glad they're grown and have their own lives.

I loved Kate's last entry where she says that she thought by the age of 35 some things in life would go smoothly. "Nope." I doubt anything can run smoothly with young children underfoot. But come to think of it, even without children at home, there are always challenges - both internal and external. (Just when I think that I have all under control, something happens to disrupt my peace.)

Today Rob and I may take a walk - if it ever stops raining (a drizzle would be alright) - through the forest to Whistler Village with its ritzy shops, cafes and restaurants. Later, we will probably head back home as Rob leaves Friday for France and there's much to do.

I'm not feeling very inspired about writing today. Could be that I am one of those writers who has to be alone. (Although I have slipped downstairs and closed our bedroom door, I can still hear big little voices and the patter of small feet.)

Interesting Facts about Thanksgiving - copied from various sites on the internet

The history of Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to an English explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been futilely attempting to find a northern passage to the Orient. He did, however, establish a settlement in Canada. In the year 1578, Frobisher held a formal ceremony to give thanks for surviving the long journey. More settlers arrived and continued the ceremonial tradition initiated by Frobisher, who was eventually knighted...

It should be noted that the 1578 ceremony was not the first Thanksgiving as defined by First Nations tradition. Long before the time of Martin Frobisher, it was traditional in many First Nations cultures to offer an official giving of thanks during autumnal gatherings. In Haudenosaunee culture, Thanksgiving is a prayer recited to honor "the three sisters" (i.e., beans, corn, and squash) during the fall harvest.

The first Thanksgiving Day in Canada after Confederation was observed on April 15, 1872, to celebrate the recovery of The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) from a serious illness.

Proclamation and Observance of General Thanksgiving Days and reasons therefore.

Monday, 14 Oct. 1957:
For general thanksgiving to Almighty God for the blessings
with which the people of Canada have been favoured

Years thereafter:
Proclamation of 1957 fixing for the years thereafter
Thanksgiving Day on second Monday in October

(I find it most interesting that a writer instigated one of the biggest US holidays.)

George Washington proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving in 1789, although some were opposed to it. There was discord among the colonies, many feeling the hardships of a few Pilgrims did not warrant a national holiday. And later, President Thomas Jefferson scoffed at the idea of having a day of thanksgiving.

It was Sarah Josepha Hale, a magazine editor, whose efforts eventually led to what we recognize as Thanksgiving. Hale wrote many editorials championing her cause in her Boston Ladies' Magazine, and later, in Godey's Lady's Book. Finally, after a 40-year campaign of writing editorials and letters to governors and presidents, Hale's obsession became a reality when, in 1863, President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a national day of Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Happy Birthday to a Woman who loves chocolate, dancing, singing, poetry, teaching, chocolate, walking, friends, candlelight, full moons, travel, chocolate, beauty, love, laughing, hugging, chocolate, faces, friends, movies, extravagance, Steve, flowers, sunshine, truth... and all things great and small