Library Blogs – A Great idea

Published September 21, 2015 by megdedwards

looking at this old blog from my library studies certificate

Libraries Live!

Our local library, the Port Elgin Public Library, is in the back room of an old building with a leaking roof, that also holds the village office and the volunteer fire department.

It is a small library but an active one. The librarian, Kate Grigg, is wonderful and manages the many requests from quite a large surrounding population.

I enjoy that library and have depended on it during home schooling years.  I have run the Hackmatack Reading Club and a Nancy Drew Reading Club, as well as sent my kids to any story time activity.

A blog for the tiny library would be an interesting project, although I am quite sure that if I suggest the idea, it will be handed back to me.

It would be a useful site where the librarian could not only list town and library activities, but she could also link RSS Feeds to book lists from reading…

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Metamorphosis

Published May 24, 2015 by megdedwards

meg writing

I wrote poems when I was a child. I remember one that was pretty straight forward. It was about my life plan. I wanted children and then I wanted to write. At least that was the gist.

When I mentioned this at breakfast the other day my husband said, ‘Be careful what you wish for, they say, because you just might get it’, but then he smiled because he must have wished for a sexy wife and a happy home with delightful children.

Then I had an epiphany. I had to stop and think; place my index finger on my lips and frown. All the whirring sounds of breakfast, a child asking where her brush was, a cheap dishwasher taking off like a jet engine, faded away and my mind focused on one point: had I been pursuing this plan all along? Was I living out a lifeline that I had set up when I was ten years old? I had to shake my head. I had to smile.

What really took me by surprise was that I have spent much of my life quietly thinking that I had failed; that I had not lived my dream life. I was critical of myself for not having ‘become a writer”. What I didn’t realize was that I was a writer, and always had been. My own child self had given me plenty of time to find a good man and create beautiful children and write and think all along the way.

I have always been writing, thinking about writing, reading, and writing some more. I wrote for myself, I wrote for academics, I wrote for the free ranging feminist community. I wrote on film, art, theater, computer technology, medical topics and local politics and events. I wrote about everything and anything as a freelance journalist. I wrote cover stories on everything from chocolate to female impersonators.

I have never stopped writing and one of the classic photos my kids took of me is of the back of my head, my hair casually clipped up, typing away at the computer. I had a Mom just like that – typing, frowning, placing her finger in her upper lip while she was thinking. We were trained to wait til she had finished her thought before interrupting.

And like all writers I also wrote poetry and stories. Files, folders and black journals full of emotions and ideas formed into words. It does not matter if anyone noticed. I have been following that plan like a blueprint. I do have the happy home that I imagined. It is becoming more possible to do more writing as they grow older.

Later that same day while I was wandering aimlessly around Facebook I saw the image of a donkey tied to a plastic chair and under it was written, ‘Sometimes the obstacles you imagine are not as big as you thought’. I think I heard a chorus of hallelujah in my brain. Second level to the epiphany!

The next day I stared writing a novel. I jumped in with no plan and no particular structure. I wrote and I wrote and at about 10,000 words (thank you Nanowrimo for getting me going) I re- thought the main character and introduced another character and kept going. At about 30,000 words I knew who I was writing about, why I was writing and how it was going to end.

I have long dreamed of this moment. I am ecstatically happy and not in a temporary way in which you expect that sad drop of disappointment later. I can’t be disappointed about results or expectations because I am entirely happy about recognizing who I am and acting on it. I have acknowledged my childhood plan.

Characters and scenes from short stories that I wrote long ago are queuing up. Some of them want to be in this novel, some of them want their own novel. I am enjoying the big canvas; I am taking my time building characters and scenes. I am having fun doing it and I know someone else will have fun reading it.

I am confident about my created world. It reminds me of the process of my rug hooking, a hobby I began last winter when I was homeschooling my youngest. I enjoy the process; the visual concept, the gathering of the wool, the painting in colors and textures. While I am pulling strips of hand cut wool up through the holes of the burlap my mind relaxes and indulges in day dreaming. I listen to music and I think about things. Halfway through one rug I have an idea for the next one.

And this is how I feel about my stories now. Working in an entirely different medium helped bring about this commitment to the novel. Just as I always finished every rug I began, even when I had thought of an even better idea for the next one, I know I have to finish this story before I begin the next one.

It is incredibly satisfying to recognize that all my earlier writing is not wasted. It had its place in the forming of my characters and visions. I don’t need those dusty files anymore because the characters have burst out of their tight little short story forms and lunged forth into characters who want more space to develop. Poems, images, and dreams are becoming living thoughts in my fictional characters.

When I was a child I wrote because I loved to and that spirit is returning. Writing is my friend. I am writing because I want to. Sometimes it does take discipline to sit down and write but it is work I was meant to do.

Being in the ‘Moment’ is my Life

Published April 6, 2015 by megdedwards

Spring 2016

When I feel down I question every decision I have ever made.

I wonder if one wrong turn has turned into an inescapable life. What if I had made a million mistakes in my life, one after another; I dropped out of grad school, I had children before I had a career set up, I was completely absorbed by my children. I chose to ‘live in the moment’; we never saved for the the future, we lived by the seat of our  pants. I did not plan to do it but every choice I made put me outside the norm, home birth, non vaccinating, home schooling….

And what does it add up to? A very close family that lives in rural New Brunswick with  very little opportunity for work.  We immigrated into an old rural neighbourhood and have slowly adapted. I had to create everything I wanted and expected, like Drop in Centers and Reading Clubs. I did not meet a lot of people like me but carried on.

I  worked at UPS in a call center and I wrote for the local rag. We made a go of it. I studied for my Library Certificate and did graduate with high grades, but not a job was to be found. And then they cut my writing gig and I could not find work. Interviews did not go well. I am in my fifties and I tend to have opinions. I wondered f I would ever find work again – not even meaningful work, just any work.

Was I high and dry, unemployable in a small town?

That was what I was thinking about as I cared for my children last winter. Would I be a weight on them in my old age?  As my older children planned their escape from this area I had to wonder if we had made a big mistake coming out east.  As usual I put my children first. I was doing it at that moment too. I stopped writing my novel and did everything I could for all three so that they were in the best health and going in the best direction.

I was so busy being a mother and a caretaker that I stopped writing, dancing or learning the ukulele. Bit by bit I stopped having time to dream. Too busy, no quiet time, and I lost my sense of self at times and felt lost. I knew deep down that I would rise again out of the waves, and breathe and rest. But I was worried and looked around for ways to calm myself.

Sometimes when we are lost and anxious we contemplate meditation or concepts about  ‘being in the present’ or selflessness; going outside of your ‘self’ for peace. These phrase, these notions, I have discovered, are the opposite of what most hard working women need.  The notion that we need to be more ‘ selfless’ is comical. Being  ‘in the moment’ is the definition of parenting.  To be a mother is to be an expert on selflessness. We can lose the sense of self, no problem. Women are excellent at transcending and absolutely disappearing.

These may be a spiritual man’s desires  for peace but it seems less than useless to me. I remember reading about Buddhism when I was a curious 13 year old and even with my open uncritical mind I was suspicious of the stories with no apparent meaning,  And I could not help but notice that the work of acquiring a state of nothingness, sitting under a tree in a trance for example, would most definitely involve other people tending to your every need.

What I need when I have given all of my self away is to have some of it back. A project, a garden, a poem or a bath by myself.  Time to dream. When I have no projects  or time of my own I feel like I a shadow. I need some of the self back, I need to be separate from the universe. I need to create and take control of my experience.

Life in this particular body is weighted with ridiculous concerns. To live on earth is to be ridiculous. We cannot avoid that by staying motionless and believing the material world is not real. We have emotions, we get attached, we crave quiet or crowds and never know what is going to happen next.  That is living in the moment.

When I am old and my body is withered with age I will still have all the dumb emotions that my life holds now. I will be living in this same weak and silly body. It does not seem likely that I will change very much. And maybe that is good. Maybe the real test is not to grow and change but to remain as purely ‘you’ as possible. We think we crave transformation. We think we can be a better person. It  feels like if we could be happier.

I am always trying to control whatever parts of me are annoying everyone and then I find myself no further ahead in ‘self actualizing’.  And, as far as I can tell, no further ahead in being less annoying. From  my anecdotal observation of aging and death I would have to say that we only every get marginally more smarter or mature.  Mostly everyone is about ten years old inside and looking forward to some chocolate or their favorite show.

We die as we have lived, never feeling as if we have got it right. And that feels about right. But as a codicil, if we keep trudging we can get through hard patches. Life is change, and I have learned to not only accept that but welcome it. Even bad experiences have unexpected good results. And sometimes a bistro opens up down your rural road  and you get work in a fun busy restaurant. And another job open opens up in your local university town and now you have two jobs.

 

 

About the Cha Cha Cha Changes

Published March 14, 2015 by megdedwards

killer whale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everybody’s change is different.  But change we do; we do change.

Adolescence is the first change. Little children start to morph right before our eyes. Tiny waif like boys fill out, voices dropping, shoulders forming.  Girls grow curves and budding breasts and the chemistry begins.  So we could call the beginning of adolescence, menoprimo, the beginning of change.

Then we go through our reproductive stage. Hormones take charge of the body and drive us through this next section of life. Let’s just call this next stage ‘meno’ and for women that stands for menstruation or non-menstruation, which is also known as ‘pregnancy’. Those are your two choices.

Then the beginning of the end; menopause. Men and women, pause. Change.

The waning of the hormones. The decrease in oestrogen and testosterone can feel pretty intense as the body  bravely tries to adjust. The list of symptoms for menopause covers pretty much anything that feels bad.

Anxiety, asthma, allergies, and arthritis can all be described as possible side effects of menopause. When the happy hormones stop the whole show changes. I gave birth fairly late at forty years and then breast fed for three years, so when the Change began I was in a free fall from happy hormones. It felt like I had returned from the moon.

Men experience the change too. I can see changes in my partner. And that’s cool because we are changing together.  We are not meant to reproduce anymore. And that’s good because we are a lot less energetic than we used to be.

The time of Change can be seen as a positive development, as long as you don’t mind the fact that you are actually getting closer to dying.

The woman’s body can rest from the rigor of monthly cycles and blood letting. She can grow a few chin hairs and have more time to take on the world.  If the man sticks with his wife he can also rest peacefully knowing that his baby making wife has retired from that job. He can mellow out and make cookies.

I did not mind the bleeding or the births. That was all pretty natural and made sense to me. It grounded me and made me feel like I was a part of the animal world in a cathartic and feral way.  Bleeding and birthing were intense bloody experiences.

When I was reaching the end days of the reproductive cycle I had massive blood lettings. The cycle would start with a minimal and discreet sort of blood; dark, scant and without pain. But it would build in intensity until I felt my muscles scraping every bit of blood from my lower body leaving me weak in the knees and pale.

The blood of the last few cycles was bright red as if from a wound. Stop now, I would say to my body, this is not menstrual  blood, you are just trying to kill me. And it stopped. Gradually the cycles slowed down, once every three months, twice a year. Once a year?

I have not heard from my womb in a long time. It is pretty quiet. It is no longer calling out the months, transforming my breasts, engineering my moods.

I am enjoying this Change. I am being transformed into a non-reproductive woman.  I am becoming a hag and a crone, a woman not weighted by sexiness or babies.

I feel strong. like a old bear waking up from a sleep, not about to take any shit from anyone.  Also, as the baby years recede behind me I feel a childish joy in the return of my own personal time.

Time to myself to write! And 50,000 words into a novel, I can honesty say I am writing. To create! Fifteen hooked rugs in the last few years and now I am planning a series of rugs and a show. To dream! I have ideas and concepts for plays, films, radio shows. The more time I have the more plans I have.

The hot flashes still surge through my body during the night. Sometimes my joints feel loose and like my hips could fall out of place. Things are changing and adjusting within me.

But I find that the sweating leaves my skin dewy and refreshed, and I believe that the heat of the flashes acts like a mid life protective fever, cleaning my body of bad chemicals and realigning my hormone levels for the next forty years of stable womanhood.

Like my girl friend the matriarchal Orca, or Killer Whale, I intend to lead the pod with my acquired wisdom.

 

 

 

 

Photo copied from skepchick.org (insights-into-menopause-come-from-killer-whales)  With thanks!

 

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