The Daily Blend

Writing to make connections

Revised edition of “First Chapbook – Proof” now available

street scene with large tree and bright sun for a revised edition

ethereal Elgin for a revised edition

Why a revised edition?

Each of us moves in our our own way and in our own direction through this life due to personal experience and current situation. This can create confusion and conflict when people we’re close to move differently from the way we do.

When I first wrote the poem You Think You Know Me I followed my muse through a specific door, in a specific way, on a specific vector. Some months ago I realized that the door had been swinging in the wrong direction when I went through it so I’ve made a new poem by turning around and going through the door the other way. This new poem is a replacement for the old and reflects a clearer and deeper understanding of myself and of the world around me. My sincere apologies to those of you who may have been dismayed or offended by my first attempt to translate that particular musing onto paper.

For your enjoyment, here is the new poem and a revised edition of my First Chapbook – Proof with the new poem in place of the old.

You Think You Know Her

You think you know her,
angry young man
who shifts his weight
leans just a bit,
and bumps her shoulder
to knock her off balance
in passing
on a suburban city sidewalk.
(just some old white hetero bitch)

what you don’t know is
when the girl from the only Jehovah’s Witness family
in her neighbourhood stood alone
every day in the school yard,
she was the one who went over and made friends

what you don’t know is
a closeted queer guy was her best friend,
and in high school they were seen as a couple
so she never, not once, got asked on a date
‘cause she was not gonna be the one to out him to anyone

what you don’t know is
of all the variety of guys who were her friends
and who she dated over the years,
an immigrant from a different culture and language
was her first love and her first lover

what you don’t know is
when same-sex “couples” prom tickets
were debated and voted down by the student council
she was the one who called out her friends
and walked out of the meeting

what you don’t know is
when the first black department manager
was hired to help run her family business
working with him on the leadership team
came as naturally to her as breathing

Your anger may be righteous, young man,
but what you don’t know is
if you open your fist, she will shake your hand.

Val des Monts March 2017

Read More

Book review: Deep Diversity: Overcoming Us vs. Them

Deep Diversity: Overcoming Us vs. ThemDeep Diversity: Overcoming Us vs. Them by Shakil Choudhury
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Everyone, and I mean everyone, needs to read this book. Assuming everyone wants to live a life full of rewarding and healthy relationships with everyone they meet.  The author makes a convincing case for changing ourselves to spark systemic change. He shows how searching our own attitudes and assumptions helps us see systemic biases. Biases that disadvantage ourselves and others. He provides specific exercises and action each of us can take to do two things. He believes we can overcome our innate negative bias. He believes we can teach ourselves to welcome the differences in others. The differences that enrich us and our communities.

One of the most striking points Choudhury makes is the following:

” In the Deep Diversity framework, personal power and the potential for change it represents can serve as a catalyst for system-wide change. There is always a dialogue, a creative tension, between recognizing the influence of institutions on the individual and of the individual on the system. The trick is holding this tension and not getting caught in the either/or polarity. This is the balance point, both emotionally and intellectually.”

View all my reviews

Read More

Snowshoeing First After Fifty

Like almost every kid who went to public schoolSherburne celebrates Winterfest with snowshoeing in Ottawa in the 1970s and 80s, I’d been snowshoeing with my class a couple of times. The snowshoes available at the time were traditional wood and gut shoes. I’d enjoyed snowshoeing then but hadn’t tried it again.

Since then, the only winter sport I’ve done has been downhill skiing. My husband taught me to ski the year I turned 19. You may love winter sports. You probably get out there and skate or ski or board every chance you get. You may even ski from right outside your door every day. But this was a bit of a stretch for me – I’m not in any way athletic.

Synchronicity

You can understand then, that my family was surprised when

Read More

Cloth Gift Bags for Christmas Wrapping

Cloth gift bags make wrapping easyLet’s face it, lots of the things we do for fun entail consuming for pleasure. But many of us are genuinely concerned about the waste involved in some of our traditions. One way to reduce (the highest “R”) the resources you consume over the holidays is to buy or make cloth gift bags that you can re-use (the middle “R”).

Yes, I know, it seems like more fun to rip open wrapping paper. And, yes, you can recycle (the lowest “R”) wrapping paper in many Canadian municipalities. But I urge you to just try using cloth gift bags just once and see how people respond. Untying a ribbon and peeking inside a festive gift bag can be just as satisfying.

Read More