May 15, 2005




Here are a few of my favorite online haunts:
[This is the site I visit to fantasize about living in Toronto again, which is almost every single day during the winter]

Jonathan Cainer's Zodiac Forecasts
[This is where I visit in the morning, when I need a positive spin on things past, present and future.]

Living Local
[This is where I go to see what Canadians are up to, sometimes I even buy things from the businesses listed there.]

Environment Canada Weather
[This is the site I visit every morning, and before every road trip during the winter]

To live in modern culture is to swallow bitter pills. When I hide the pills under my tongue, spit them out when the "social gatekeepers" are not looking, wonderful things start to happen. Let me explain.

During my years at university, my opinions were not kept to myself. I participated in many stimulating conversations about society and what might make it a better place to live. My concern, for members of society who are unable to effectively lobby for their own interests, was not appreciated by many of my fellow academics. One "gentleman" went so far as to disparagingly call me a "bloody bleeding heart". Considering the source of this intended slur, I was both flattered and disgusted. However, from my present vantage point, I now believe he mistook my concern for ambition. Had he been correct, I believe the slur might have been deserved.

He could not conceive that anyone would concern themselves with the less fortunate, unless building a career or name for themselves. I could not conceive that anyone would concern themselves with the less fortunate, unless they felt a deep committment and concern for all the members of the human community. He was wrong and I was a fool.

My career path has brought me into close contact with two distinct types of individuals. The first, I consider to be exceptional, in their spirit rather than their overt accomplishments. My feelings about the second group changed over time; they became increasingly frightening as I got to know them. The thin veil of legitimacy, goodwill and social concern, that initially surrounded the second group, eventually fell away to reveal a hard core of raw ambition. I find ambition disturbing at the best of times, and even more so when hidden behind a veil of goodwill.

Lately, it seems that ambition has gained much popularity as a cultural icon and an ideology onto itself. Recent observations leave me unable to discern if it has completely overgrown decency and integrity. In any event, people seem unwilling or unable to touch each other's lives in meaningful and satisfying ways.

And that is why I have been thinking lately, that I just don't believe in "people" anymore.

"Just another of life's bitter pills," I thought.

Then an epiphany of chance allowed me the opportunity to spit out those bitter pills. And spit them out I did.

A few days ago, I received an email from a reader. It was simple and to the point, asking me what was meant by the phrase "quietly assertive", as someone once described my writing. I found the reader's question piercing and profound, because it addressed the very reason why I write this journal.

I considered the message carefully. Not everyone who writes is sincere. I returned to the message several times during the evening, and finally, the next day, decided at last that it felt "right". I replied. How glad I am.

The reader wrote back to share a bit about their own life, its challenges and rewards. The reader is a person who belongs to the first group of individuals I described, those who are rich in spirit.

Dear reader, thanks for sharing, it was a wonderful thing.

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Worldly Distractions

Attila's building a woodshed.
Attila's Woodshed

By the Easy Chair
north of nowhere south of loss
by Janette Turner Hospital

On the Screen
Return of the King

Maggie Turner Dogwood
Maggie Turner Dogwood


Page by Page: A Woman's Journal
by Maggie Turner

Canadian Maggie Turner writes and publishes poetry, photography, and a personal journal online. Her work reflects the current way of life in Canada, embracing Canada's past, present, and future in a unique portrayal of everyday life. Maggie's voice is one of the many that actively depict the rich diversity of Canadian culture.

Photography: "a term which comes from the Greek words photos (light) and graphos (drawing). A photograph is made with a camera by exposing film to light in order to create a negative. The negative is then used in the darkroom to print a photograph (positive) onto light-sensitive paper.
Source: University of Arizona Glossary

Poetry: "a form of speech or writing that harmonizes the music of its language with its subject. To read a great poem is to bring out the perfect marriage of its sound and thought in a silent or voiced performance. At least from the time of Aristotle's Poetics, drama was conceived of as a species of poetry."
Source: Creative Studios

Journal: " "Though a journal may be many things - a treasury, a storehouse, a jewelry box, a laboratory, a drafting board, a collector's cabinet, a snapshot album, a history, a travelogue..., a letter to oneself - it has some definable characteristics. It is a record, an entry-book, kept regularly, though not necessarily daily.... Some (entries) will be nearly illegible, written in the dark in the middle of the night.... Not only is it a record for oneself, but of oneself. Every memorable journal, any successful journal, is honest. Nothing sham, phony, false...." (Dorothy Lambert from Ken Macrorie's book, Writing to be Read )
A journal is a way to keep track of your thoughts about what you read... as well as what you did on any given day."
Source: Journal Writing

A Blog is an online journal created by server side software, often hosted by a commercial interest.

"The term "weblog" was coined by Jorn Barger[4] on 17 December 1997. The short form, "blog," was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog in April or May 1999.[5][6][7] Shortly thereafter, Evan Williams at Pyra Labs used "blog" as both a noun and verb ("to blog," meaning "to edit one's weblog or to post to one's weblog") and devised the term "blogger" in connection with Pyra Labs' Blogger product, leading to the popularization of the terms."

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