Words in My Head

Words in My Head

I go to sleep with headphones on
to keep the brain occupied
and the demons at bay

Those words in my head
fill up any cracks
that would allow the
dark to get in

Went to bed with a
heart so heavy
The breath would barely come

Months of isolation
from ideas
from contact
from people-watching and
from new horizons
Even the fumes were gone

4:16 AM
I heard words
A poet blazing his truth
His life
Lighting the dark

My heart stirred
My breathing quickened
And like an old furnace
My own words ignited once more.

The podcast I woke hearing — and which breathed oxygen to that dwindling ember inside — was a rerun of this episode of CBC’s Ideas: The Last Bohemian: Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

This post was created as part of the Poetry Friday challenge, hosted each week by a different poet.  Today’s host, Michelle Kogan, is celebrating a birthday this weekend!  Please enjoy her lovely poem on her blog and wish her a happy birthday in the comments.

Special shout-out to my friend and fellow poet, Christie Wyman, whose mutual love of Walden and writing has led me to my pandemic lifeline that has gotten me this far.

My Weekend Mornings/The Toasties

My weekend mornings start the same way every Saturday and Sunday.  At 5:55 AM, the strains of “O Canada” stream through the headphones I’ve gone to bed wearing, and the urge to stand at attention is strong, but the legs aren’t awake enough to safely leap out of bed as I should.

I’ve written before about my love for the CBC Weekend Mornings radio show, a treasure for us here in the Maritimes*, so I won’t extoll its virtues again here.  But this morning’s annual Toasties Awards is my favourite show of the year.  The awards are voted on by the listeners of the program, and I’m not gonna lie: I had to do a coin-toss bracket for one of the categories, because the artists are just that good.

Sitting here with my London Fog tea (I saved my last one for the auspicious occasion) and watching the sun gradually melt the lacy frost on my windows, I’m listening to the winners of “The Young Whippersnapper Award,” et. al., and thinking about what a wealth of musical talent we are blessed to have here.  Our cultural mosaic is well-represented, and that may be my favourite part of these awards: we share with and celebrate each other.

I don’t know if the podcast links will work outside Canada (Toasties Hour 1 and Toasties Hour 2), so you may not be able to hear the magic, whimsy, and occasional silliness (meow).  But thanks to the beauty of YouTube, I will share some of my favourites (in no particular order) from the past year here below:

and my very favourite:

  • Morgan Toney – Ko’jua : Its fusion of both indigenous tradition and the Celtic sounds of Cape Breton is utterly addictive, and makes me want to finally learn to play the bodhran I’ve had sitting here for six years.  (I’ve never felt so thwarted by a stick in my life.)

Thanks for sharing a little slice of my life.  Enjoy the music, and let me know your favourites in the comments. 🙂

* “The Maritimes” — The Maritime Provinces of Canada are on the eastern coast of the country, and consist of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.  “The Atlantic Provinces” consist of the Maritimes, plus Newfoundland and Labrador.

This post was created as part of Two Writing Teachers’ March Slice of Life Challenge.

You can view other writers’ Day 7 contributions via the comments here.

The journey of 1200 kilometres begins with a single step.

Most mornings, my day begins by listening to the local CBC radio station here in Saint John.  I especially enjoy Information Morning, which is a nice mix of news, community information, and music.  I like it because the host, Julia Wright, is serious when she needs to be and not so serious when she doesn’t.  The chemistry between her and Cindy Grant (her on-air partner in crime) makes it feel like I’m having morning coffee with friends.

Well, yesterday morning, there was a segment called “Walk, run, snowshoe around the province virtually.”  My ears perked up.

The short version is that, in an effort to inspire New Brunswickers to be more active, RunNB is hosting the 2021 RunNB Challenge, in which the goal is to (virtually) walk, run, or snowshoe a route around the entire province.  (By Canadian standards, New Brunswick is small.  But by world standards, we’re about the same size as Ireland.)

Well, dear readers, I am not a runner.  Some days I’m not even a walker, depending on what my autoimmune disease is up to.  But I know that if I can move, I should move, because as painful as it is to put one  set of twisted toes after the other, moving will keep things from getting even worse.  I know this, but I will not exercise for the sake of exercise.  I would rather perform my own root canal.  But if you dangle a goal in front of me, well, then …

2021 RunNB Challenge Medal

There is a medal for completing the challenge!

So 5:30 this morning found me sitting on the floor next to my dusty treadmill, sawing open a bottle of belt lubricant and hoping the Internet manual I’d found was the same model as my machine.  I’d woken up at 4:30 AM, excited to register for the challenge as soon as my pay hit my bank account (I know! I don’t know who I am right now either!), and I was ready.

I find nothing motivates me quite like accountability, and I figured “Go big, or go home.”  So yesterday, when I decided to do this, I tweeted to Julia Wright/Information Morning, Duran Duran, and the rest of the world that I was going to commit to the challenge.  That way I couldn’t back out.  (Let down Simon LeBon?  No way.)

Tweet Screen Capture

I’m not sure who groaned more — me or the treadmill — when I climbed aboard, but I had my phone in my pocket, my headphones on, and I was going to do it come hell or high water.  After crunching the numbers, I realized that if I averaged 4 km a day, I’d finish it with room to spare come December 31.

Given that I’m not exactly an athlete (I’ve walked two 5Ks, but many days my Fitbit doesn’t register quadruple digits of steps), I figured I would start small this first week, and see how it felt.  Whatever I managed today, I’d do for a few days, then add 0.5 km, do that for a few days, and so on, until I got up to 4 km per day.

After about what seemed like six hours on the treadmill (but was more like 12 minutes), I heard Cindy read my tweet on the radio!  Moments later, I felt a rush of energy flood through me as Duran Duran began singing (Reach Up for the) Sunrise in my ears.  My radio friends were cheering me on!  I could do this!  I would not die!  Not today!

As the song ended, and I could hear “You go, girl!” coming across the radio, I glanced down at the time and distance.  I had managed more than I thought I could.

Okay, folks.  Watch this space.  I am in it to win it!

This post was also shared on Two Writing TeachersSlice of Life Challenge for January 26, 2021.