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Simplistic As Pie

I read an article that said there was some discontent amidst contestants in the Miss Canada Universe Contest (really?) because one of the contestants is transgendered (male to female, if there was any doubt). The complaint seems to be that this contestant will receive an inordinate amount of publicity due to the fact that she is transgendered, thus overshadowing the other contestants.

Personally, I have no interest in this type of competition, but I have to say my gut reaction to this news was: then why make a fuss about it in the first place? Why not just get past the whole transgendered controversy (it's still controversial?) and just accept them as equal human beings, rather than treating them as freaks? Then there would be no unfair advantage.

I know it seems so ludicrously simple that I must have forgotten something. I did. People like to make life more complicated than it has to be. And that's the simplistic truth.

The Neverending Story

I am reading a very interesting book called, "If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him. A Modern Pilgrimage Through Myth, Legend, Zen & Psychotherapy" by Sheldon Kopp. Two interesting quotes that I have so far come across are: "There is an old saying that whenever two Jews meet, if one has a problem, the other automatically becomes a rabbi." and "God made man because He loves stories."

The first quote interested me because the author, who is himself a psychologist, believes that in the doctor-patient relationship, the doctor should be considered a fellow pilgrim who is on his own journey, the same as the patient. He is trying to narrow the inequality of power between the patient and the doctor. By citing that first quote is he creating a power struggle by making a mere passerby a rabbi: a person of wisdom and eminence? Or is he trying to even the playing field by saying we all have that capacity (wisdom, patience, compassion) within us?    

The second quote interested me because I have recently embarked on writing a novel, satirical in tone, that has a spiritual aspect in the plot. If one identifies God as a Creator (and I do, whatever design or formlessness He, She or It may take) then is this how we (men and women) are made in God's image? By the way, I also believe that animals and plants have their own stories to tell and are not exempt from being made in God's image.

There is a movement called Open Theism, that believes God is not omniscient, although there are variations on this position such as the fact that the future has not happened and, thus, cannot be known by human and deity alike. My own belief in God as a Creator is supported by this characteristic of non-omniscience. For creators, every day is always square one, whether we are facing a bare page, a bare stage, a bare canvas, etc.

If God did indeed make us because He (She, It, etc.) loves stories, then God put us all in the same position of constantly facing the bare platform that is our lives. Maybe that's where the story of wisdom, patience, compassion, etc., begins.

Anniversary Post, Part 2

This cat statue, which Thelma bought at Winners (aptly, although I can't explain why), marks where Emma and Digby are buried. As mentioned in the previous post, they were Thelma's cats whom we brought with us on the car ride from Toronto when we moved to PEI. They were brother and sister and had spent all their lives together, mostly with Thelma. Digby passed in 2010 and Emma in 2011. Due to illness, we had to have them both put down, which was far more traumatic than I ever expected. 

Although they were not the only parts of our Toronto life that we brought with us, these cats somehow symbolized a transitional element, at least for me, of the move from Toronto to PEI. With their passing something else ended. In a way, their passing made me feel more settled here, or at least marked a turning point where I felt a fundamental connection I had with my life before PEI had been laid to rest. 

The marker was originally for Digby, who died first. After Emma died I assumed we would get another marker for her. But we haven't, and somehow having one marker for two animals whose lives were inextricably linked with each other, and with ours, is quite fitting.


Anniversary Post, Part 1

Today, May 1st, marks 11 years since Thelma and I first came to PEI. We actually left Toronto on May 1st, 2001 at 4:00 a.m. with the back of Thelma's VW Golf packed with a large cage containing Emma & Digby (Thelma's two Toronto cats) and other artifacts packed around the cage. With a couple of stops along the way to comfort hyperventilating cats, we crossed the Confederation Bridge shortly around 11:30 p.m.

Below is the cottage (most of it anyway) where we first lived. We lasted until November before the cold weather forced us to move (temporarily) into warmer digs (a house in Wilmot Valley, near Summerside). The cottage had been situated closer to the river. After the year-round house we now live in was built, the cottage blocked our view of Foxley River until we finally had it moved across the yard.

Thelma has fixed up the inside of the 80-year-old cottage so it is very comfortable. Especially for a nap on warm summer days. We always say we will spend more time in it or entertain guests there, but that hasn't been the case. Still, it is as nice to look at on the outside as it is to sit inside. Can't imagine living here without it.


Sign, Sign, Everywhere A Sign

Last year I applied for a Canada Council grant to write the first draft of a novel that I had simmering in my noggin. In March I got a rejection letter that said the judging panel "highly recommended" that I receive funding, but the money was just not there. This month I got a second letter that I was getting the grant. Just like that! There are a number of possibilities that might explain such a turn of events. I prefer not to know and just thank my lucky stars. 

I had been prepared to just reapply in the Fall and start work on the novel next year. And although I have a few different projects to work on, the idea for this novel kept nudging the back my mind. 

A CBC radio show called The Dead Dog Cafe Comedy Hour  used to end with the line"Stay Calm, Be Brave, Wait for the Signs". I'm a believer in signs and I can't think of a more definite one than being denied a writing grant one month and then being awarded it the next. A sure sign that the time to write this novel has come.