On hard days, happy moments, breathing and why we need to document it all


First, Rumi:

“every breath you take
makes one of two choices:
you either surrender to your soul
or struggle with doubt”

…because the joyous Yuletide season is the most brutal time of the year for me, and for so many of you, and this year, for someone I love, it just got even worse, as bad as it can get, and what can we do?



Second, Agatha Christie:

“All this poetry and music and translating Shakespeare and Wordsworth into Arabic and Chinese and Hindustani. ‘A primrose by the river’s brim,’ etc. … what’s the good of that to people who’ve never seen a primrose?”

Oh, Dame Agatha. I hope you’re lampooning the character who’s saying that, but if you’re not… I’m so sorry.


Third, Ender:

nbtb-Happy Sledding Ender

Caption: This is a happy moment.


Fourth, a resolution:

I have not been as good at jotting down, documenting those happy moments as I used to be. I am so very grateful for the iPhone camera—and for Instagram—and the ease with which one can freeze one of those moments in time.

My New Year’s resolution, I think, is to document more, in ink—and in pictures.

I’ll try to share, why not? But mostly—it’s for me, my record. And for them, of course. I want them to remember me remembering them, if you know what I mean.


Fifth…. breathe. Remember. Breathe…


Finally (don’t stop breathing), tis also the season for the bellyaching of overfed bellies and New Year’s resolutions that will lead to a fitter, slimmer, happier (ha!) you.

So, would-be-dieters, Rumi is totally on your side:

yesterday you filled your stomach
with all kinds of bread and goods

you became so sluggish
so sleepy

what comes of such indulgence?
either recklessness
or the need to go to the toilet

sounds of moans and mourning
come from the soul while fasting
but the only sound that comes after a meal
is a low-pitched rumble from the rear-end

so friend
if you want to hear what the soul has to say
then skip the meal;
if you want to hear from the other end
then bring the bowl closer to you

You’re welcome. 😉



P.S. The Rumi poem translations are taken from Will Johnson’s Rumi’s Four Essential Practices: Ecstatic Body, Awakened Soul, and they’re Johnson reinterpretations, in part, of Nevit O. Ergin’s translations of Rumi into English from Turkish—which were translated by an assortment of translators from old Persian into old-then-modernish Turkish. What would Dame Agatha think?

Would Edgar Allan Poe by any other name smell so sweet? (And wear a fez?)


First, this:

Flora: Was Edgar Allan Poe a real person?

Jane: What? Yes, of course.

Flora: And he really wrote The Raven?

Jane: Yes.

Flora: And his real name really was Edgar Allan Poe?

Jane: Yes. Well, he was born Edgar Poe, but then he was sort-of-adopted by a family called Allan, and so he became Edgar Allan Poe…

Flora: That’s just brilliant. He’s so lucky. Because suppose he had been named Edgar Steve Poe? Or Edgar Smith Poe? He’d never have written The Raven then. No way.

Jane: Really?

Flora: Yes. Only someone with a cool name like Edgar Allan Poe could have written The Raven. Edgar Steve Smith Poe would have written… The Pigeon.

With apologies to Steve Smiths… everywhere…


Then this:

Flora: Was Charles Dickens a real person?

Jane: What?

Flora: Was Charles Dickens a real person? A real writer?

Jane: Yes. He wrote… David Copperfield, which is so good. And of course, A Christmas Carol. And The Bleak House, and Nicholas Nickleby, and…

Flora: OK, so Charles Dickens is like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Not like Sherlock Holmes.

Jane: Yes. Sherlock Holmes was not a real person—he was a character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Flora: It’s important to get these things straight.

Jane: Absolutely.

Gods, I love her.


And finally:

Flora: So Agatha Christie was a real person.

Jane: Yes.

Flora: But The Doctor is not a real person.

Jane: No. I mean, yes, he is not a real person.

Flora: But Matt Smith is a real person. And so is David Tennant.

Jane: Yes.

Flora: Two different real people, playing the same character.

Jane: Yes. Well, actually—what, 12? 13 different people playing the same character over 50 years…

Flora: Why is all of this so confusing?

Because… life. Art. Authors. Characters. Creators. Creations.

Yes, she’s watching The Wasp and The Unicorn, and The Day of the Doctor. Simultaneously. Reading Sherlock Holmes (graphic novel version, adapted by Ian Edginton, and illustrated by I.N.J. Culbard—brilliant). I’m not quite sure from where Charles Dickens makes an appearance. I ask. “Horrible Histories.” Of course.

NBTB-Fez Medley for Edgar Allan Poe post



PS  “Well, this is all very nice interesting, but I’m here looking for that interview tips for kids video that’s part of the Sunnyside YYC Flood Scrap Book Project.”

“Are you? Thrilled. That’s this here: Filing, flooding, interviewing—or, ‘Confluence.’ Our kids and the film crew will be at the Hillhurst-Sunnyhill Farmers’ Market today interviewing. If you’re a YYC reader: come tell your story.”

Quote This: The universe’s random messages to you


From my fab friend and neighbour Crystal Moontree, who needed to hear this yesterday and thought someone else might too:

No heavenly being is waiting at the end of the line, giving out awards for sadomasochism. Give yourself a break.

Read In Praise of Calling It Quits at the Gala Darling Radical Self-Love Project for the full  context.

English: A Swingline-brand Stapler

From my “how could you move so far away from me” friend LD, via Unlawful Humour:

Whoever said nothing is impossible has obviously never tried to staple water to a tree.

I’d add… or clean a house with a three-year-old awake in it…

Agatha Christie

From Agatha Christie, via those annoying quotes WordPress chucks at you each time you post:

The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.

No, Agatha, it’s not. But the kitchen sink’s not a bad place at which to rough draft blog posts.