Tales of Imagination Never Get Old 

My favorite author sat down every morning to write before the world would awaken and bring with it the duties that made her life vastly different than yours or mine.

She wrote through sicknesses brought by the harsh Canadians winters, sometimes having to sit on her frozen toes to warm them up.

She wrote diligently, in times of grief and desperation, the same as she did on happy and hopeful days.

She beat all odds working against her; she was a woman, from a small town on a secluded island.

She went to become one of the first if not the first Canadian woman to make a living with her words.

She succeeded, in her life time, in doing something many of us writers, fail to do. And she did it all without having the luxury of internet, computers, even without typewriters in her early years.

Whenever I get discouraged I think of her. I have no excuses really.

She was a freelancer about 100 years before the word actually existed. Before she wrote her famous work of fiction “Anne of Green Gables”, she sent out stories written by hand to magazines and managed to make a stable and comfortable income.

At the time of her death she had written 22 books.

I read today that Netflix will debut a “Anne of Green Gables” series this summer.

Lucy sat down in 1905 and wrote the first words to the book that this same series is based on.

2017.

More than 100 years have passed since the idea for her story was formed in her head.

I’m honestly speechless about the whole thing, that’s how remarkable it is to me.

I’ve been struggling lately with my artistic ambitions and I’ve found why.

Some people go through life trying to find out what the world holds for them only to find out too late that it’s what they bring to the world that really counts.

Lucy Maud Montgomery

I really couldn’t have said it better myself.


Have you ever read Lucy Maud Montgomery’s books?

Do you have an author that inspires you?

Let me know in the comments 🙂

*Photo Credit: lovinkat flickr Creative Commons 2.0

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Blue Lights, Growing Old and Conversations with Kids

If you look closely enough, you can see blue lights flashing among the sea of white lights when the metro train whooshes in the underground tunnels.

The kids and I make a game of it. Whoever sees the most blue flashes wins.

The 4 year old always wins. For some reason she sees thousands even though she can’t count past 40.

The more time I spend with kids the more I appreciate their knack for seeing things we adults can’t see. I think I like it even more when they own it and do it on purpose.

When they tell you impossible things with a big smile on their faces you can’t help but play along.

It always makes for interesting conversations.

I never intended to become a nanny, I was supposed to go to grad school and become a great psychologist but I realized I’d be in the wrong line of work.

I was looking for conversations that made life seem like it was beautiful and simple, not scary and complicated.

That’s the sad part of growing up, the older we get, the more what we say gets weighed down by the ugly things we’ve learned about the world.

One time after our little game I asked if she planned to count all the blue lights to infinity.

Of course she said yes.

“Do you know what infinity means?”

She said yes.

I informed her that even if I counted from this very moment until the day I died I wouldn’t be done.

She looked at me for a moment, processing the information. She then asked me this:

“Can God count to infinity?”

*Photo Credit: saori usuki flickr Creative Commons 2.0

Writing Letters to Ourselves

I still have the first letter I’ve ever received.

It was from my best friend when she was away at camp during the summer. I was 8 or 9 I think.

I never went away on vacation long enough to actually write and send letters myself growing up.

As a teenager I wrote letters frequently. We’d exchange them between classes or go home with one.

I’ve always liked the art form. It’s an easy way to share a part of ourselves. There’s no immediate response needed like in a conversation.

Throughout the years after high school I’ve had a few correspondences who sadly all fizzled out.

I could never find someone as long-winded and willing to share as I was.

It’s partly why I started to blog in the first place.

To send my thoughts out to anyone who would like to read them.

I think most of us have lost the habit of writing letters.

That’s something I’d like to get back into.

If, like me, you have no one to send them to, you might want to consider an obvious recipient.

Yourself.

For the month of February I will be writing letters to myself.

A letter addressed to my past self and my future self.

A letter to open on sad days, one to read on happy days.

All sorts of letters, from me to me.

Because it’s the month of love and it should be the month of self-love as well. (or so I say!)



You can join me if you want. Think of it as a writing prompt.

Do you ever write letters? To whom?

Do you miss old fashioned correspondence?

I’d love to know in the comments.

*Photo Credit: Bianca Moraes flickr Creative Commons 2.0

The Power of Stories

I think as artists we all have days where we ask ourselves this question: “Why?”

Sitting down to write or create something, putting our stories out into the world can feel pointless.

It doesn’t matter what your medium of choice is, the fact is; being an artist of any kind doesn’t have many of the perks that a so called “real” job has.

No financial security, no status, nothing resembling a nod of approval for the important work we do.

Sometimes I do wonder. Is it important?

After all when it comes to life and death, fighting oppression and making the world a better place, a pretty children’s story or a contemporary dance piece are not part of the obvious work that we think should be done.

It’s already hard to find value in art when everything is rosy and sweet unless you’re an artist. When the world is looking bleak, like it does nowadays, even I, strict defender of the arts,  find it difficult to believe that sharing my words, my stories, a piece of my own vision is the most worthwhile thing I can do.

I’ve thought a lot about this in the wake of the recent political events that have (it seems) turned the world upside down.

Activists everywhere are waking up and people who never thought of themselves as activists are taking a stand.

Where does that leave artists?

Some say that art can be a tool in bringing social and political change.

If you have ever looked for a justification to do your art when more important things are happening, you probably gladly took this one.

I know I did and I am now.

If I’m being honest I didn’t quite truly believe it until today.

You could say I had an epiphany.

Where did it come from?

It came from asking this question: So what if I’m sitting down writing a story I believe the world doesn’t need?

We are already being bombarded by stories everyday. Stories that we don’t get to choose.

Everyday I read on SnapChat stories about some celebrity’s vacations or sudden acne flareup.

I read on Facebook stuff about an airport officer getting shot and a 2 year old singing perfectly a famous country singer’s song.

One can avoid reading the news you could say. That’s true. But it’s not just about story lines on social media or in the papers.

It goes deeper than that.

The power of stories is at work right now in your life and in your children’s life whether you like it or not.

Whether you realize it or not.

It’s also at work in our neighbor’s life, in our friends, in our enemies, in elected officials. Everyone.

What do I mean?

First, the obvious; what we do, what happened to us, that’s a story. You can’t say that has no power. The past impacts us all in ways we wish it didn’t sometimes. Conversely what you’re doing right now impacts you future, even though you might not want it to.

Secondly, the less obvious but perhaps a lot more powerful; the stories we pick up here and there, the one your grandpa might have told you when you went fishing with him or that time you got caught telling a really good lie. The stories big and small that we use to create. The stories that created us.

The stories that tell us what is important at all in this life.

Being an artist may come without a status but it does come with great power.

If you’re ever in doubt, please:

Never underestimate the power of a really good story.

Especially your own.

 

*Photo Credit: Eric flickr Creative Commons 2.02.0

Going to Familiar Places

There’s this place I go often called “La salle des Pas Perdus”.

The Hall of Lost Footsteps. 

That’s the literal translation.

It’s a wide, empty room made exceptionally bright by its white floors and impressive skylight windows.

There are little wooden benches in the middle with fake trees next to them. Whenever I go I like to sit on one, always the same.

Sometimes I look at the old pictures on the wall instead.

The Hall hasn’t changed much in the hundred and more years since it opened as a part of Windsor Station (Canada’s first heritage railway station).

The Hall of Lost Footsteps is the best name anyone could ever find for this place.

Millions of people have walked in and out of there. Travelers going to unfamiliar places or coming back to familiar ones.

So many footsteps whose trace has long disappeared from the white immaculate floor.

I usually day dream about the lives of these people I see on the black and white images of the very same room I stand in.

Where have their steps gone to?

Today I thought of my own instead.

The invisible thread retracing my steps that my mind created tells me one thing: I keep going to familiar places. 

Living in the city where there is absolutely no shortage of new places to discover, I still go down the same roads. The same paths.

Tonight my feet took me to a street I have been on, one, two, too many times. As I walked by the usual shops, the new boutiques, the corner on which my ex-boyfriend used to live and the familiar sight of the cars on the highway below, I thought of all those steps of mine I could see if they somehow never got lost.

It’s easy to not take them into account when your feet leave no traces.

I was standing there with the cold wind in my face and I realized that maybe I should start taking the direction of my steps seriously.

What good is it to always walk mindlessly if it takes us to the same roads again and again?

It seems to me like going to familiar places does leave a trace in the end.

It’s something that starts but doesn’t end with your feet.

Going to the same places is akin to doing the same things.

If you want to conquer new terrains and new things maybe it’s worth it to stop going to familiar places.

Where do your footsteps go?

*Photo Credit: Rob Gallop flickr Creative Commons 2.0 

Same Same But Different

I’ve always been a good girl.

Sweet, agreeable, kind. Quiet.

Those are the adjectives used to describe me. I have no problem with using them to describe myself either.

I’m generally a nice person and most of all I want to be a nice person.

That’s the core of who I am.

However, if I’m being honest I have put on layers that hide this truth at many points in my life.

Sometimes I forgot to be nice to others.

Most of the time I forgot to be nice to myself. 

I may have said or done the wrong thing and disappointed people I love throughout the years but I’ve definitely let myself down.

I let myself get focused on what I should do or shouldn’t do. I waited too long to go after my dreams because I didn’t think I deserved them.

I’m here to say this:

Even good girls get it wrong sometimes.

There is however one thing that we are great at and that is forgiving.

I forgive myself for all the times I insisted on staying the same.

The good parts of me will always be there even if I’m not the exact same.

I’ll just be same same but different.

The updated version of me.


Have you dealt with guilt about always being the same version of yourself?

Have you forgiven yourself? If not, what’s keeping you from doing it?

I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments.

*Photo Credit: Alice Barigelli flickr Creative Commons 2.0

I Wasn’t Always a Tea Drinker

I had my first cup of tea at age 18.

It started out as a once in a while thing. My boyfriend at the time would brew me some cheap English breakfast type tea. He topped it off with a good dose of milk and a very bad dose of sugar.

Throughout the years I kept on having tea on the regular with him and occasionally by myself.

Although our relationship ultimately failed I remained a solid tea drinker. Only minus the milk and sugar.

I like my tea pure.

If you’re not a fan of tea or of reading about it, don’t worry, this post is not really about the hot beverage.

It only so happens that it’s one of my daily rituals. Tea is my companion. It’s there when I wake up. When I want something to drink with my mid-afternoon cookie habit.

Most importantly it’s there to soothe me when I’m trying and failing to write.

I talk a lot about dreams and reaching goals on this blog because I’m focused on mine.

Being a successful writer is what I dream about.

On some days, like today, when I’m tired and I need my tea even more than I usually do, I wonder how I will make it.

The truth is just like I didn’t become a tea drinker after my first cup of tea, I won’t become a writer by writing occasionally.

We become what we want to become by the actions we do everyday. Our little rituals.

So when my spirits are down and I don’t want to go on, I do this:

I drink tea and I remind myself I wasn’t always a tea drinker.  

What are some of your little rituals?

What rituals would you like to start doing this year?

Let me know in the comments 🙂

*Photo Credit: Ton Tip flickr Creative Commons 2.0