Sunday, August 12, 2018

BIg City Blues

Went through a long, exhausting cold. Yes, of all things in the middle of summer. My body was too drained of energy to accomplish much, and yet my imagination kept churning at hyper speed with depressing thoughts on my health, city pollution, deceptive people, the violence in our world, making sleep a fidgety affair.

Grateful for the support of caring friends, and the creative resources that helped me out of the funk. I exorcised the wretchedness out of my system, and poured the chaos into Big City Blues, a photo montage, and poem about my feelings for this beloved, yet maligned city. I feel cleansed, and hopeful. If my art moves you, please write to me ...

Big City Blues

city lights glare
hard edges everywhere
streetcars screeching
cars spitting fumes
frantic rushing
vitriolic swearing
coldness of a stare
saps the heart bare
you crave the softness
of rolling hills
cool mists of waves
scents of wild flowers
that smell of hope
you taste its warmth
aware, so aware
of those who care

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Authors' Afternoon with Ken Becker

Inviting you to chat with our guest author, Ken Becker, brilliant writer and journalist, who will discuss his memoir, The Expat Files: My Life in Journalism. He was a regular contributor to Maclean's magazine, a writer and producer for CBC News, and a journalism teacher at Humber College in Toronto. His op-ed pieces have been published in the Washington Post, the Toronto Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star. His amazing stories will make this an afternoon to remember.

You can read a short sample of his book on amazon by clicking on Look Inside.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things

I caught a bad cold a few days ago and I ended up watching movies and documentaries in between sleeping and resting. This documentary resonates, especially at a time when we keep being pushed into insatiable consumerism by corporate advertising, and society in general. 

Minimalism is one way of getting out of the superficial consumer rut and getting in touch with our true selves. In this documentary, Dan Harris. explains that we keep wanting more because we're wired to "hunt". Since we don't need to hunt like caveman anymore, we now hunt for things to better our lives.

We're told by our governments to buy goods to keep the economy rolling so our countries can prosper. But corporations seem to gain the most in this, hence the extreme gap between rich and poor. So, why make prosperity the main goal in our lives? What about aiming for a sensible economy that is not fed by useless goods but the betterment of people's well-being?

I'm all for minimalism although I do want some minimum comfort in my home and I'm not planning to live with items that fit into a few bags. But I do feel lighter when I get rid of things I don't need. Owning less frees the mind. Try it and you'll see what I mean.

Minimalism can help us focus on more important things. like meaningful connections with people and communities that are inclusive and respectful of others, which would result in less anger and violence in this world. 

Here's a preview of the documentary. You can watch it on Netflix.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Books I chose for Scope Magazine

Happy to share these pages from Scope Magazine, a publication in Mauritius. Thanks to the editor, Khalid Atchia for asking me to write about four of my favourite books. I chose the ones that influenced me as a teenager. It was neat to go back in time, and recall the impressions they left on me. The editor's notes on the books are below mine.

We have all been affected by books. They touch our emotional core, sharpen our critical thinking, open new worlds to us and overall enrich our lives. I'd love to hear your comments on the ones that impacted you most.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Over-giving in relationships

People who are overly generous often amaze us with the extent of their giving. But what are the deeper implications of over-giving in relationships?

Generosity is natural for many of us as it feels good to help others. Over-giving however is different. This article explains the difference: How to know if you're a generous person or an over-giver

I'm intrigued by the emotional make-up of people who over-give, and did some research for the short story I'm writing. This article and the quotes below shed some light on this topic:
Being too generous could hurt your relationships

... over-givers and people pleasers go hand in hand. Over-givers use gifts as a way to gain and keep friends, because they think they need to be overly generous to be liked ... Most commonly, people who give too much are suffering from low self-esteem ... They think they have to rely on giving to be seen in a positive light ...

In my short story, a woman showers the man she's fallen for with expensive gifts, and devotes her time to gain his love. He is not physically attracted to her, but is taken by her generosity. Her over-giving works but at what price?  He cheats on her throughout their relationship ...

Just a teaser for you, readers. You will have a chance to dive into the emotional turmoil of these characters when my collection of short stories gets published. Writing is sometimes akin to acting but with words only. I need to get into the inner world of my characters, feel their conflicts deeply, to be able to relate the stories from their perspectives. Oscar Wilde in his 1889 essay The Decay of Lying, said, "Life imitates art far more than art imitates life." Does it matter which is more than the other? Life and art imitate each other interchangeably when you're an artist.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise

I recently watched this documentary on Maya Angelou's life, and I'm sharing it with you as I'm so awed by her expressiveness, honesty, amazing courage, and indomitable spirit.  We need positive leaders of her calibre to speak up, and inspire us to make this world a better one, especially at a time when we are being bullied by an American President who keeps lying blatantly, and stirring hostility.

Click on this link to see the full documentary: 

This poem of hers, which is also the title of the documentary moves me very deeply as it expresses so intensely the inner strength of the human spirit. When we're put down by others, lied to, and treated inhumanely, and have the courage to not let the horrors of others' meanness drag us down, we can rise above all the negativity, flourish, and inspire others to do good. What an empowering message of hope.

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Monday, July 16, 2018

John Lorinc is back at the Authors' Afternoon

By popular demand, John Lorinc is back with his new book The Ward Uncovered. 

Inviting you to drop by and chat with this award-winning Toronto journalist and editor
who has contributed to The Globe and Mail and Spacing Magazine, among many publications.