On the Homefront
Reflections on life: the funny, poignant, serious and quirky
I have lived in the charming town of Kingsville, Ontario on Lake Erie for…a long time. I am a freelance writer for the newspaper that I once worked for as a full-time reporter/photographer/columnist. Today I am a columnist and municipal reporter, magazine writer, poet of little merit, songwriter of sorts, and aspiring writer of books. Still working out the timing of my stand up comedy routine, I am destined to serve it up on the page and not the stage. Some of the things you will read in this blog are from my weekly newspaper column but I promise never to include any of my articles about town council. Though absolutely fascinating and good fodder for the bottom of birdcages, the less said about sewers and drains and riled up residents the better.
I have been married to my husband John for 31 years and we have two wonderful, smart and handsome sons, Adam, 27 and Tyler, 22. Adam is a rock god (soon to be a world renowned lead guitarist) and basketball aficionado and Tyler is my computer savvy clever (about to set the world on fire) college student. Over the years they have appeared in my columns so often that they no longer read them—so that when they meet someone “on the street” who has read about them, they feign ignorance. Oh yeah, and we have a cat called Kitty Bob who sometimes gets a column or two devoted to him. I mention the cat as he is a much beloved family member, who would be missed more than I, if he took a train to Austin and did not come back.
I began my writing “career” at the tender age of 10. My first story was a composition for a grade five literature exam and my teacher liked it (she really liked it!). Later, I was encouraged (and embarrassed) by a number of high school teachers who chose my essays to be read aloud in class. If you remember high school, being “centred out” was not necessarily a good thing. But in this case it was. Writing, then, as now, is a way of getting my lonely voice in the wilderness heard. I “honed” my craft a little more at university, where I was taught by hippies, poets, (it was the 70’s) and strict grammarians. Some of it stuck; some of it didn’t.
A note or two (or three) about this blog:
On The Homefront – is home to my weekly newspaper column and topics of “general interest”
Off The Cuff – is about writing in its many forms
Organizing -101 – is about my eternal (and at times, humourous) quest to become “organized” with some help from the pros
I just finished reading a blog post about weakness. And in that post, weakness was personified as feminine. I could not get past the fact that terms used to describe weakness—not the least being “he cried like a little girl” are offensive and merely lend credence to the fact that we are not as far in this journey of equality as I thought. The post was probably a good one, but I could not get beyond the way that feminine traits are looked upon as weak.
I admire a man who cries—he is not weak—in fact he is usually so strong in his convictions, in his compassion, in his beliefs—that this outlet is far from being weak. And when a woman cries—it is because that is how she becomes brave—that is how she gets over things—that is how she temporarily expresses her anger, frustration, and sometimes, compassion for others.
Whenever I see tears well up in my husband’s eyes, I know that he has been touched deeply by things—and to be touched deeply is not for cowards. It is a deep disservice to men (I am the mother of two boys) to have their feelings taken away from them. To disrespect someone, to mock someone, to make fun of someone for being “soft” is outrageous.
I do not mean soft in not having strength of conviction, in being spineless, or lax and pathetic. I mean soft as being flexible, sympathetic, gentle, sensitive, and soft-hearted.
Men and women need to give men permission to feel and to express their feelings in ways that do not entail punching a hole in a wall, spouting angry words, or making fun of perceived weaknesses.
As a woman, I cry. And I always feel I have to apologize for crying. Yet it is a real expression of real emotions, real feelings. And I should not have to apologize. Nor should you have to apologize to me for crying.
Equality has a myriad of faces. That there is even the question whether or not men and women are equal angers me. Men should not feel the burdens they do; women should not apologize for their independence. It is so basic and so ingrained in me that I cannot see the other side of this issue. As far as I am concerned there is no valid argument for inequality. And once everyone agrees that men and women are irrevocably, conclusively, forever equal — men will not be made fun of for expressing their emotions; and woman will not be looked upon as weak.
Mellow morning sun
Hidden by fog strewn landscape
Faint rays penetrate