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Life As Poetry: A Lesson From L. Cohen

bubblesI woke up this morning and don’t you know it, that tiniest bit of fear about change had crept in while I was sleeping.

Change often is an uncomfortable process that yeilds beautiful results – if you let it.

So, as I padded around in my bare feet looking for my glasses, I paused to open an email from a couple whom I consider kindred spirits.  It inspired me, motivated me, and chased that little inkling of fear right out of my heart. It reminded me that my life ought to be more like my poetry; free flowing and without too much overthinking.

It’s time for change. It’s time to give my creativity, ‘land, lots of land under starry skies above,’. It’s been fenced in far too long.

I have work to do, and what better way to get motivated to clear physical and existential space than to listen to the wisdom of Leonard Cohen???

Wishing you a beautiful day…xo

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Leonard Cohen: A True Artist

cohen-hatMy favourite artist.

May your transition have been a peaceful one.

You are loved.

 

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Friday Afternoon; Nevermind

There’s nothing like a little bit of L. Cohen to get a writer in the mood for the weekend…

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My Secret Life

There’s nothing like a little bit of Leonard Cohen to ignite creativity…

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Trying Too Hard

trying too hardThe world seems to be trying too hard.

Just this morning the ticker-tape news on CBC news included these little gems; Bear bites boy off 9-year-old boy in Chinese Zoo, 350 Runners finish windy 20km race in Newfoundland, 14 people arrested after New England Pumpkinfest turns ugly, South, North Korea exchange gunfire across border.

Other than being vaguely entertaining, it really wasn’t news. North and South Korea exchanging occasional fire across the border? Pul-eazah, deliver some real news.  For instance, perhaps give a little more screen time to this Ebola vaccine,  the pr0-democracy demonstrations in Hong-Kong, or perhaps even the on-going sale of Canada’s democratic principles and social humanitarianism to China itself.

On a much less serious note, but serious to anyone (like myself ) who considers art, of any kind, the expression of the human spirit, consider Neil Diamond’s appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. The only feeling I had for old Neil was pity.

What old Neil Diamond needs is to be himself, not a duded out old songbird trying for one more. Thank you for your classics Mr Diamond. Even Jimmy Fallon, whom I adore as a truly talented man had to force amusement during the most entertaining part of the interview;

Neil’s performance was a swinging tribute to the 70’s, a decade fashion needs to leave  behind.  Granted, Mr. Diamond may be considered an attractive older man, with  skeletal legs holding up his leather jacket and huge, gaunt eyeballs, I just wanted to go on stage, gently take the microphone from his hand, and pat him on the back as I escorted him to a comfy chair and a plate of biscuits.

Even dear old Leonard Cohen’s last album was nothing to write home about. Sorry Leonard, you know I love you, but your persona as the ever-curious lover was awesome. Save the singing of your new poems, and let us instead hear you recite your poetry as poetry, not lyrics. You are a literary icon, not a playboy. We love you, but make room on the stage and pocketbooks of music lovers for fresh, new talent.

Take Hozier for instance;

 

Give me something unique, sincere, and weird, but don’t give me mimicry of the truly great originals.

The recent global slap to U2’s ego was heard around the world when Apple invaded our privacy and assumed everyone wants the same type of art imposed on our unassuming playlists.

Classics are classics because they gave a stellar performance during their five-minutes of fame on the world’s stage. Let them remain classics.

Julia Child cannot be mimicked, nor can Bob Dylan or Don Cherry. They became the royalty of their own weirdness, and we celebrated them for it.

Enough of the knock-off chefs with over done hair and glasses trying to imitate the sincerity of the proud, Michelin-starred-chefs-of-the-past .

Enough of the Nicki Minaj’s dancing around to someone else’s hit. Sweetie, we lived through Madonna’s coffee table book, your bare ass isn’t anything new.

Let us all have the courage and grace to flow from year to year being our own, unique, selves, without trying too hard to be someone, or something we’re not. That includes doing real work, reporting authentic news, and promoting fresh talent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When Life is Good; Top Ten

"A leaf fluttered in through the window this morning, as if supported by the rays of the sun, a bird settled on the fire escape, joy in the task of coffee, joy accompanied me as I walked." ~Anais Nin~
“A leaf fluttered in through the window this morning, as if supported by the rays of the sun, a bird settled on the fire escape, joy in the task of coffee, joy accompanied me as I walked.”
~Anais Nin~

Life is good when we think it’s good.

Yes darlings, I know that sounds corny, but it’s a universal truth. Gratitude makes everything just that much more fresh, innocent, crisp and fabulous.

The less fortunate can be the richest people in the world, just by virtue of their attitude, and ability to let the drama of others pass them by without absorbing the synthetic crisis of the mind.

As the years pass, I realize that life does not get easier. Nope. Not at all. Even the old folks I see every day must make major life changes, say good-bye to life-long lovers, give up their homes, and adapt to change.  Wealth may be selective, but karma is universal.

As I predicted and hoped at the turn of the year, 2013 has been a wild ride of letting go, change and hope.

Today, we took a break from our working toward a different life. We packed up the umbrellas and headed west, enjoying the turning of colours in the fields that are the lesser appreciated openers to the autumn symphony of colour we all know and love.

Today it was delicious chocolate at Rheo Thompson, a cold beer and scrumptious sandwich, a visit complete with laughter at Balzac’s, one of the most beautiful little coffee shops in the province, and most importantly, the company of two people I love.

As the world continues to spin out of control in the midst of our false, global economy, we, three of the increasingly squeezed middle class, stopped the world and enjoyed what it had to offer.

My list of ‘Good Things’ for the week;

1) Colleagues who giggle

2) Healthy children

3) Relatives you love and who you love back

4) A secret crush on a really great guy.(Yes my sweet peaches, at this age, you can just enjoy the thrill of the emotion, regardless of whether or not it ever happens.)

5) Becoming a ‘football’ mom for the first time

6) Gorgeous coffee shops

7) Chocolate that feels like silk and tastes like heaven

8) Harlequin romance novels for the nights you just want to escape before you have to go back to work the next day.

9) Leonard Cohen, Willie Nelson and Eminem

10) Homemade cookies still warm from the oven

Simple abundance is highly under-rated. We all have a multitude of people, places and things for which to be grateful.

Send this to someone with a note… “Of all the places I can’t wait to be this winter, it’s wrapped up in your arms in front of the fire, dreaming of the simple things.”

 

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Poetry of Life

laughatoddsThere’s nothing like poetry to raise a mirror to the quality of your life.

I know when certain things are neglected in my life, that I’m prioritizing all wrong.

Sure I have to work hard, do my job, cook and be a mother, but I don’t have to give up the things that make my  life poetic.

My bath time has always been sacred. It sounds silly, but it’s a ritual before I write, make love, or prepare for any significant event.

There is ritual about this time for me. I light candles. I listen to music with lyrics by Leonard Cohen, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and a plethora of other songwriters. I pour a glass of wine and have it within arms reach. I line up my soap, my razor, my cloth and loffah.

By candlelight I soak in the hot water, and let the music and lyrics penetrate the hard thoughts that have been pulsing through my  brain throughout the day.

Language is a  construct of logic. That’s why it’s often difficult to express emotion. Emotion defies logic.

Poetry  seeps into that space between our physical selves and our human spirit. Poetry, with its similes and metaphors is as close as we can possibly come to expressing everything about ourselves that is emotional.

Since it seems our ability to express our emotion is basically all that separates us from apes, our poetic ability is pretty important.

Whenever my life has lacked poetry, time for creativity, or the exquisite indulgence of friendship, wine and  blissfully rambling conversation, I have suffered.

…Now you can say that I’ve grown bitter, but of this you may be sure

The rich have got their channels in the bedrooms of the poor

And there’s a mighty judgment coming, but I may be wrong…

(Lyrics from Leonard Cohen’s Tower of Song)

When my ritual gets lost, so does the time I dedicate to my creativity. For me it is writing, for others it’s painting, cooking, music or any other creative act. Hell, if it’s good, lovemaking is a pretty intense creative endeavor.

If your ritual to make creative space has gone by the wayside, or if you’ve never had one of those rituals, consider this;

Imagine, bringing a fresh, soft-ripe peach to your lips, and having the juice drip between your fingers and over your lips. You can’t help but savour the sweetness and that taste of  fresh peach that you just can’t have any other time of year.

Now imagine biting that same peach, with the same juice covering your fingers, but you can’t taste anything. Your mouth is wet and full of the tender flesh, but there is no sweetness, there is no hint of that precious and rare flavour that you crave.

That my darlings is life without poetry.

Life with poetry becomes vibrant and joyful;

…And I’ll dance with you in Vienna
I’ll be wearing a river’s disguise
The hyacinth wild on my shoulder
My mouth on the dew of your thighs
And I’ll bury my soul in a scrapbook
With the photographs there, and the moss
And I’ll yield to the flood of your beauty
My cheap violin and my cross…

( Lyrics from Leonard Cohen’s Take This Waltz)

Life without poetry is like bringing home a dry, flavourless peach harvested green half-way around the world in February. It’s just not the same. It’s not juicy. it’s not sweet.  It leaves you feeling like there must be something more.

When life lacks poetry you find it incredibly tedious to prepare and dress for your lovers, until you’re finally left only with partners who satisfy a base desire and you’re relieved to see them leave.

When life lacks poetry there is no beacon of hope left to guide you toward your heart’s desire. You are trapped by habit and fear change.

When life lacks poetry you are not in the present moment. You are either living in the future, or dwelling in the past.

Whatever it is that ignites your spirit is your poetry.  Make time for it. Go after it. Remember what it means to live fully within your humanity.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

You can add up the parts, you won’t have the sum
You can strike up the march, there is no drum
Every heart, every heart to love will come
But like a refugee

(Lyrics by Leonard Cohen; Anthem)