Tag Archives: lessons

September Long Weekend

I don’t know what it is about this weekend that makes it so striking in its memories.

Perhaps, it is just because the time of year finds some things ending and others just beginning. It is like spring in that regard where newness takes on a personality of its own guiding us into the upcoming unknown – whether it is season, project, or feeling, with seemingly little effort. We don’t struggle as much with this season because it eases us into the change with such beauty – all of nature calls to us: cooling winds and comfortable sleep, shorter days cut by silent seconds, calling geese practise overhead, and trees slip silent into their golden frocks. There is a change that comes with turning the calendar page to read: September. The long weekend is like taking another stab at failing summer, hoping to get in one last… … …

For me, one of my favorite short stories is written based on a trip to the mountains I took many years ago. It has morphed in length and words to become the compact piece provided below. In recent memory, the long weekend signaled the true ending to several emotional events including acceptance that a trip east did not work out as planned and a passionate one night stand signed off a no hope relationship. It also warns of impending work over the long stretch ahead and planning is realized. But of the simpler times when young hormones raged and understanding love was yet to be discovered, Keep on Smiling is a memory written from those emotional depths and as the Stones said… I was looking for an “emotional rescue.”  

KEEP ON SMILING

I remember the day I met RJ like it was yesterday. It was the long weekend in September and my friend and I had driven to the mountains just to get away. At 23, I was having difficulties with dating and love. I was “sowing my wild oats,” if you could refer to a woman as such; working hard and partying harder. I equated sex with love and if it were true I might have found happiness.

I had recently dropped out of University and was searching for myself yet wondering if Mr. Right would ever come along. My efforts to find him were futile. “Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places” was my theme song. I thought I was supposed to find Mr. Right and get married. Up until then I had been so sure of my future. It would have included law school but when I discovered I enjoyed immediate things, I picked the easy way out.

That weekend in Banff found us doing things we loved. We did a lot of sight-seeing and a little shopping. A cool breeze was already starting to blow down from the snow-covered peaks but it was a glorious weekend.

After a full day, we changed and headed back to the evening crowds. We chose a quaint little restaurant where we ordered our meal complete with wine. After nine o’clock, most of the local eateries transformed into dance clubs and we remained there for the rest of the evening. The crowds, the dance beat, the drinking until all hours; “Emotional Rescue” by the Stones was playing. And there he was.

He was medium height and athletic; dressed in jeans and a T-shirt. What I noticed were his eyes ~ they pierced your very soul. His dark hair was on the long side with one of those light patches in the front. Striking!

We danced. We connected. My heart was lost in one fell swoop… again. We talked. He was going to Vancouver to make his way in the world. He was fun to be with. He stole my heart. We spent the night together holding each other close trying to make the magic last. I remember lying awake at one point thinking about the morning fast approaching. Daylight. It would soon be here and we would be leaving. So would he.

I tended to forget I was with my friend and by morning she was frantic when I hadn’t returned. Didn’t she realize I was clinging to another chance at love? My indignation was unfounded as my feelings usually came first with my exploits leaving someone in the lurch while I went about my quest.

I left RJ in the early morning. My friend had packed in a frenzied worry. She cruised the streets; making a stop at the local RCMP detachment, she was advised I was not yet considered a missing person. She returned to the B&B. There I was. She was not impressed but I offered no excuses.

As we drove away, it was not just silence that returned home with me. I couldn’t explain my feelings. My heart ached in that empty sort of way. RJ had come to mean so much in such a short time, it was painfully hard to accept, let alone explain. I felt like I left something behind.

Looking back over that weekend and my fondness for it, I remember something he said to me; something that has remained with me all these years. When we parted ways (me in that tearful way I do), he gently touched my face. He didn’t say good-bye. He just said, “Keep on smiling.” Then… he went his way… and I, mine.

That chance meeting remains one of my fondest memories. I often wonder what happened to RJ. I never did know him by anything other than RJ. I don’t even know what RJ stood for. To me, now, it represents the temporary happiness of the time even if the void I felt afterwards lingered. The memory of the time embraces me with a warmth I cannot explain and when I am filled with yearning I just remember all I have to do is…”keep on smiling.”   

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Filed under On Dreaming, On Life, On Thinking, On Writing

What would you do…

There appears to be a reluctance to write and to share as evidenced by my lack of July blog posts. Rest assured, it is not due to a lack of words, but the better part of the month has been spent on reading others’ words and editing for upcoming book releases. I have also written a significant amount at work and although the social media tweets and comments and links have been plentiful, my posts have been remotely distant. At least, that’s how I am feeling them. I always want to offer encouragement through my work – but this month – I just really want to scream. That, of course, would do no good for loud words are not heard any better than softly spoken ones. In fact, silence often speaks loudest.

The month has its range from good to bad, with the good being extremely rewarding sliding into the depressive vast oasis of middling, right on to the other end of the scale tipping with heart breaking. When I think on the worst of the bad, I have to constantly remind myself of the words shared in a sibling moment… keep positive – that is what will defeat the bad. Positivity – I am shamed at times to remember these very words are offered by someone who suffered one of those very bad moments not that long ago.

Suffice it to say, that is the extent I am willing to go and hereinafter will keep my words positive even if I harbor deep within a distinct bitterness. The only place they will leave a bad taste is in my own mouth – they will not be said if they cannot ring with positivity.

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Several articles and posts over the last couple of days have addressed the value of words; specifically writers who offer their words to the big world and lessen their value by giving them away for free. Now I am not opposed to donating a copy of your work, here and there, for the purposes of promoting or creating awareness about you as an author or your book as “the next best read.” The real centre of my disdain lies in the provision of books (ebooks in particular) for the ridiculous price of free. My short comment to this is: if you don’t value your work as a writer/author, how do you expect anyone else to find value in it? I’m not suggesting everything written is well written; I am certainly against overpricing and gouging the consumer to make a buck; there could even be an argument in there somewhere about every written work’s literary value, or lack thereof…

If you are only sitting there, day in and day out, plugging out cheap trash to a repetitive plot outline with only a change in the character’s names, perhaps free is where they should be. AND I am in no way targeting any one genre – all can be trash if not written well. BUT if you are just a new author and you don’t have a name, and think that giving away your book will build you that name… well, you need to rethink your logic. Don’t think that giving away your work is going to get you that name. It takes time – persistence and a willingness to continue to hone your craft, share your expertise, and create new work. It takes more than one book.  It takes building a reputation as a good writer and building a network of followers. It takes a positive attitude and image. Perhaps you have to revisit why you write.

The extremely proud moment of the month saw me publish my first ebook online. The other extreme which pales all other lows will not be gone with the close of a cover. At this moment in time, I wish I could be packaged and sold under the name of “Klondike”, for I feel as if I have sweet chocolaty goodness on the outside for everyone to see and “I scream” in the middle – no matter what I do.

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Filed under On Life, On Writing

Heed the Call – A Graduation Dedication on Life

Waters ripple… breezes beckon… conspiracy tempts the soul to motion.

Pitch and roll… whispered secrets, call little boats out to the ocean.

“Come see what land lies far beyond the protected shelter of your bay.

Maybe there a brand new life… untold treasures… a brand new day.”

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Tethered to a dock below… while maternal mountains tower above

Mighty eagle shares the sky with hawk and harmonious dove.

Shoreline grasses dance their best to lapping sounds of waves at crest.

Sunshine blesses happy home… tied to wharf where safe it rests.

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The waters repeat their gentle pull and winds they whip the boat astern.

“Come out to sea… adventurous be… there is so much more for you to learn.”

A tempting draw to far off lands beyond the dune of comfort sands,

But they will not coax too far this time… destiny not yet in one’s own hands.

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Abrasive sea. Relentless fear… it wears upon the shaken hull.

Stormy weather threatens high before there is another lull.

Chipped and worn and tossed about… what’s to become of thee?

Salty tears for journey’s loss… feeling unworthy of the sea.

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Loving hands mend wounds that show and soon will heal okay.

A fresh new coat of make-up paint covers pain of yesterday.

But what of scars too deep to mend… internal bonds a rift?

Silent waters… emotions deep… despite care’s loving gift.

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What of the winds that call out to you, “Come to the great beyond.”

Home is dear, but lands far and near, encourage you to respond.

Someone said the sorrow sweet in ways when we part so…

Then set it free to chance the storm… untie it… let it go.

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Waters surround, and then out to sea… waves set life in motion.

The rope untied. Heart filled with pride, as craft sets out upon the ocean.

A distant spot that bobs and rocks… while fading out of sight…

Follow stars. Land near and far; determined dreams you cannot fight.

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Although it seems a modest boat cannot compare to ocean liner.

Refurbished bow and stalwart oar… make proud the ship’s designer.

To heed the call of destined squall… a dreaded lifelong wait.

Cut the ties… despite the cries. The journey… a captain’s fate.

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Linda J. Pedley © 2003

Photo by Gary Iverson -source Internet

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Filed under On Life

Life’s Lessons

To a writer, the impact of an event is significant to our craft. Based on this effect, we word sculpt a rendering of it in our minds, then record it in our journals, on our blogs, in letters, as poetry, use it in writing projects, or in some other written form we store it as a keepsake. It is a reminder of the way we saw it happen. It also provides research from which to draw at intervals along our writing journey. Over the course of our career, we have opportunity to experience many events; we meet people who have a purpose in our life; we have also heard the adage “write what you know.” Memories from events that happen to us, or with us, or around us and people we meet for a “reason, a season, or a lifetime” are the basis for this knowledge.

While attending a graduation ceremony the other night, a myriad of thoughts passed through my mind, but as a writer I was drawn to the words spoken throughout the night. They were given as accolades to the accomplishments of the year; they were shared as encouragement to fledgling citizens about to embark on the next steps of their journey; they were confirmation that the expected, although a long time in coming, was now upon us and would soon become a memory. Hearing these words, not only allowed me to reflect on the current situation – Sabrina’s graduation ceremony – it naturally expanded in my mind to encompass the graduating class and those around me; it took me back to my own daughter’s commencement in 2003, and ventured further back to my own in 1975. Those words of encouragement given were not unique to the night even though their focus was on this school, this class, this year…

The universality of the message directed to these grads focused on today and what was truly important to them, yet those same words have been delivered to every class and every year, past – and will certainly be delivered to future classes with the same bravado.  They did, however, single out this event’s importance in the passage of time. They recorded it as not just a beginning, but also an end. The experience would be happy and bittersweet, the outcome expected and unexpected, its completion freeing and overwhelming, its direction planned yet unknown. The future holds in store the same offering as it did, and will, for everyone – dreams are out there to be discovered, even if in the asking you don’t know quite what they are yet. The success of one’s future will be based on what you gain from your experience and all is dependent upon the choices you make. Memories and experience, good or bad, are created with each passing.

Significant events and people we encounter during our life provide the basis for memories. Some memories we covet fondly, bringing them out to experience their joy, over and over again. Sad memories are also held within that reservoir although we much prefer to keep them covered and hidden. It may seem, in retrospect, that we hold on to them with as much reverence as we do the happy ones. However bad their recovery, they create a connectedness we are sometimes reluctant to release.

Reference was made to a graduation speech that defined the friendship you have with yourself as being the most important relationship to invest in and foster. After all, you will spend each and every day with you. If you are not your best friend and truly love yourself, you will be spending a lot of time with someone you don’t like. Is that the basis of a good relationship? Everyone, not only new graduates, needs to discover the person they are, and in that process, like that person. Who you are is not defined by what you have; it is based on the contribution you make to the greater good and the legacy you leave behind.

The world can be overwhelming, scary, confusing – little comfort is gleaned from the fact that others have gone the way before you – your concerns, your dreams, your direction, your story – is your own and no one can tell you the best path to take. Whether a new graduate, a life veteran, or a writer working on a story, the world is your oyster – take the pearl, learn from the experience, and create your own jewel to pass along.

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Filed under On Dreaming, On Life, On Thinking, On Writing