How do you Name a Woman?

Does it bother you to hear an adult man call his wife “Mother”, “MaMa” or other words similar? How about people who call themselves their pet’s “Mother”, “Daddy”, etc.?

Names are our identity/ identification. Names are how other people view us. I do think it is a bit odd when people refer to another person by their role – especially when it isn’t the role they have for the person who spoke. (Or that whole being your dog’s Mother thing, that just annoys me, personally).

My Dad used to refer to our Mom as “your Mother”. I haven’t thought of it for years. But, someone else I happened to mention it to found it very odd, they didn’t like it.

Other people don’t like hearing a husband refer to his wife as “Mother”. Does it help to think it is the short form for the Mother of his children? I’m sure that’s how it is intended but it does always sound as if he is calling his wife his Mother. What does he call his real Mother? Maybe “Grandma”?

Today in the Arab world, there is a custom still in place to not speak a woman’s name in public after she becomes a mother. In her 2011 book Gender, Sexuality, and Meaning: Linguistic Practice and Politics, linguistics professor Sally McConnell-Ginet wrote about how in some historical periods in China, women were only referred to by “relational forms,” names like “oldest sister” or “Lee’s wife,” while men were more often referred to by their individual names. These might sound odd to our modern ear, but chances are most of us have witnessed something similar in our lifetime.

Source: The Rise of ‘Mama’ : Longreads Blog

I found this, part of a long post about the use of the word “Mama”. However, the idea that a Mother loses her name was more interesting to me. When a woman marries she (still usually) changes her last name. She loses her family identity – or exchanges it for a new family identity. Then she has children and loses even her own personal identity as an individual. From then on she becomes a role, not an individual. Isn’t that like a nun too? They are referred to as “Mother Someone”, “Sister Someone”.

Without getting feminist about it, I wonder why or how our culture evolved to take away a woman’s name? It’s really interesting to think about. Not so much about laws, rights, fairness, equality, etc. But, just the fact of it.

Just Born Yesterday (About a Week Ago)

Dream of the life you want to live…

It’s your life.

Honour and celebrate your individuality. 

Surround yourself with people whose company you truly enjoy, people who not only support you but empower you to be your very best.

Reach for your deepest dream, the ones that tug at your heart. 

The dreams that just can’t sit on the back burner, no matter what else is going on around you.

And never forget that it’s your life… all yours.

So make it the life you love.

Happy Birthday to my new niece, born on St. Patrick’s Day. This is the card I’m taking with me when I visit my sister and her family.

Don’t Give Up Just Give More

If you feel that you will not be able to achieve your goal in the set time period, you can extend the time period. Extending the time period is far better than giving up your goal. When you extend the time period, make sure you give up doing other activities that are less meaningful so that more priority can be given to your goal.

Source: 5 Must Know Things on What to Do When You Feel Like Giving Up Inspiration Success Storys

I liked this tip best from the list. (See above).

I’m a perfectionist. You wouldn’t know it from everything I do but… I am hard on myself. I tend to feel I have failed too easily. Instead of giving myself more time, or getting help, or giving myself a break or looking at what I have done versus what I have not done, I will feel like giving up.

One of the worst things for me to hear is someone saying they want results, not excuses. That’s fine for people who perform like robots and have super powers (or no family with demands and expectations and needs)… I’m not a robot. I don’t want to feel that my life has so little value that it’s just an excuse for why I couldn’t deliver perfection on schedule.

Of course, this does not mean we should all slack off and get around to it eventually. I have high expectations of myself too. But, if someone demands too much they aren’t likely to get it from me. That includes myself!

Get in the Road Trip Mood

Find a vintage motel or hotel postcard on eBay. Pick something from your local area so you will know the streets, more or less. Use Google Street View (find the location on the back view of the postcard) see if you can find the motel now. Is it still there at all? If so, is the name the same? Spot the differences between then and now.


Source: Caribou Motel Barrie Orilla Ontario ON Canada Vintage Chrome Postcard | eBay

Take it on the road and visit the site. Get a photograph and (if you have a site) post the then and now images. Find some history, if you can. Or design a history for the motel yourself. Who owned and operated it over the years? Did they love it, grow too tired to keep it going, run out of money? What changes happened around them in the local area?

I found the Caribou Motel in the present, it’s gone. Replaced by a new gas bar. Nothing left of the old motel and diner except the space around the new building. You can see some curb out by the road and the parking lot is bigger than the current commercial business would need. Small hints at what once was.

caribounow

You can see what became of the Caribou in urban exploration photos from CopySix and other explorers who posted to Flickr and Ontario Abandoned Places. Note: the CopySix post has a comment from the original owner’s family.

Beware The Phantom of the Opera

I will never forget seeing The Phantom of the Opera in live theatre downtown Toronto years ago with my family. I loved it. The rest of them…. they mocked it and continued to mock the show for weeks afterward. Doesn’t it really bug you when someone else just doesn’t get (understand) something you love? Anyway, that was years ago.

Phantom of the Opera Live on Stage or Creepy on Film?

I don’t think anyone, having heard the music from Phantom of the Opera, will ever really get it out of their head again. The story is one which has been told and retold in endless versions and twists since Beauty and the Beast (likely there was an earlier version before then but we don’t know it).

Does anyone remember the Phantom of the Paradise which starred Paul Williams back in 1974? For me that was far creepier than the Phantom of the Opera performed live at the theatre. But, the theatre was meant to be for all ages. The movie was not. It had all the weirdness of a movie made in the 1970′s and then some. I still remember the feeling of being creeped out more than the movie itself.

I’d like to read the original book by Gaston Leroux.

The sad thing about reading books which were not originally written in English is having to trust the translator not to edit anything while they re-write the book for an English reading audience. No one should buy a book which has been translated without finding out about who did the work and how it was done. So much can be changed depending on standards and ethics at the time. I’d like to read the book as close to the vintage version (with all the signs of the times) left intact.

I’m adding Phantom of the Opera to my list of classic books to be read. It’s a long list but I’m getting there, one book at a time.

Personal Life and Blogging by Choice

I’ve had sites up for more than ten years, more than a dozen years. In all that time my family showed little interest and never read anything. Maybe there was the odd skim if they remembered the link somehow. I never thought about what I was posting very much because it was all like writing a note to just myself anyway.

Now that has changed. People (my Mother and sister-in-law) have been reading what I write. My Mom even leaves the odd comment. That is ok. It is here, in public after all. But, it changes everything. Not in the way that I edit what I write about anyone else because I don’t write about family or friends much at all. In my mind this is another world from all of that. It does mean I’m getting feedback which I never asked for or really thought about.

It all changes when someone else sits in judgement on you. Let’s not pretend there isn’t judgement. Because there is. In my family it is all about competition, winning and who is on top. I don’t live that way, well, I have tried not to. Mainly because I am always on the bottom. I feel like I’m in a bottomless pit at times and that isn’t all bad. Without a bottom are you ever really on the bottom? Pretty good, eh?

Anyway, it is too bad that this has all changed from freewriting to unfreewriting at just the time I am working on fixing myself and actually making some progress. Slow progress. Bittersweet progress and sometimes I feel like I’m just stepping into hotter water, but it’ all in the name of progress.

I’m not asking or expecting anyone to stop reading. There is only one way to prevent that and I don’t want to make this a private site. That was never what I wanted. This has been an outlet into the great, wide world for me. I’m not much of a talker in person. So this was such a nice random, free and risky way to be out in the world without having to change out of my nightgown even. Online, no one can see you haven’t even brushed your hair yet.

I’m going to keep writing but I am going to expect people to keep their judgement in line. I don’t expect anyone to read here or ask for comments about what I think, what I have done in the past or what I may do in the future. I have not caused intentional harm to anyone. I work at being a good person and I am the only one who decides what that means for me. I write some adult content, I like some adult things… I’m almost 50 and I can make those choices for myself.

Anyway, this is only here. I won’t be talking to anyone about this post. Family can read it, make their judgements and their own choices. There will, however, be no discussion about this post, posts in the past or those in the future. If you read here understand that this is personal, yet available for public consumption because that is my choice. I write about stuff but I do not choose to talk about it.

Remembering BackWash

Listen to Your World

In a world of noise and bustle, we very often do not listen to it. Singers have often used city sounds as inspiration. Neil Diamond had a hit a number of years ago about the sounds of New York. As a writer you can listen to the sounds in your world and write about them.

Tonight, as I was arriving home, I heard a different sound in my parking garage. A lone cricket had found his way into the garage and the walls and cars worked to amplify his music. I started thinking about “a lone cricket, a lonely cricket, a lonely cricket attracting his mate… you get the idea. The “what ifs” led me to a poem.

Think about the sounds of your world.
What does your child sound like sleeping?
What are the sounds of your family dinners?
What is the sound of your morning? night?
What does the night outside sound like?
What is the sound of pen/pencil across paper?
What are the sounds of your neighborhood on a Saturday morning?
Listen to the park on a Sunday afternoon as the old couple shuffle hand in hand.
Hear the squeak of the swing.
Be very quiet and listen to the wind whisper in the trees.
Hear the waves on the lake…the roar of the jet ski… and the silence of the sail boat.
And what about the clatter of the diner?
Close your eyes, listen to your surroundings. Be sure to have your notebook with you. After all, you are a writer and I have to assume you have it with you all the time. Make quiet time for yourself. After about 20 minutes, write what you have heard. It will provide you with grist for your writer’s mill. What you write now may not have application, but you are training yourself to see. And those notes may just be the kernel of a story.

The post above comes from a friend I met while writing on BackWash.com. The network is now gone, just archives you can find with the Wayback Machine. The writer is gone too. Marcia was taken by cancer several years ago. I posted this because we are having a BackWash reunion. At first I thought it was ten years but it may be more than that. Anyway, it is at least ten years since the days I was a columnist on BackWash. If you wrote for the site take a look at the reunion site and add your update to the Personalities page. 

Love Letter Writers

love letter writers
I was a letter writer until my last older relative died, the Grandmothers and their sisters. I did write to my Grandfather sometimes but it was mainly the women who wrote back and gave me more reason to write back. It is much easier to reply to something in a letter than to break out fresh inspiration each time all by yourself.

However, not everyone answered my letters and I would not have known they actually liked them if it weren’t for my Mother and others who knew the older women I wrote to. Maybe they didn’t know what to say to reply back to a grandchild they would only see a few times a year. Weddings, births and funerals as they say, but I would see my Grandparents at family holidays too.

Writing a letter seems simple enough when you decide to start one. Then the blank page… it just sits there so untouched and unhelpful.

So how do you start a letter?

Salutations! Greetings are a simple place to start. A simple Hello gets you into the letter writing process. Address them by name or title (I went with Aunt Emma, the title and the name, when I wrote to the older ladies). You would likely write something else if you were writing to someone you knew on a casual basis.

Next, remind them who you are in some way. Just like leaving a phone message, you tell people who you are and why you are calling. This is pretty much the same when you put your message into print too. Simply give your own name and title (in the family letters I was usually Diane’s daughter or Violet’s granddaughter). Then say you are writing to see how they are, let them know how Christmas/ Thanksgiving/ Easter/ etc went with your family… there are endless reasons you can think up as the purpose of your letter. (You don’t have to say you’re writing because you thought they might be feeling old, lonely or left out).

At this point you start the real letter, the actual content, like a leap out into space. Don’t get tangled up – just talk about your day. The ordinary occurrences can be far more interesting than you think.

Next paragraph, talk about whatever you said you were actually writing about, your reason for the letter. I don’t start with that. If you get right to the point in a letter you seem to be pressed for time, unsocial and not really wanting to connect with your letter reader. With the older ladies this was especially important. I didn’t want them to think someone had told me I had to write to them. No one had, it was all my own idea.

The body of your letter can go on for as long as you can think of some bit of this and that to write about. Often as I get started I think of several things I can mention in the letter. Trivial stuff is fine. Life is made up of the little things.

Don’t ever forget to ask about your letter reader, how are they doing, what are they doing? Ask questions in the body of your letter too. Make it interactive. It’s not likely you will get your questions answered, not all of them, but it does give your letter the feeling of being directed to the reader rather than your own personal monologue to no one in particular.

When you are reading to end your letter, or when you realize you’re close to running out of paper to write on, give some kind of conclusion to the whole thing. Wrap it up with a bow. Something simple like: I hope this letter gets to you before Christmas. After all, it is traditional for letter writers to talk about the post office and the cost and reliability of mailing a letter.

Sign off with your name. Dating your letter is optional – but you never know where it might turn up far in the future when some relative picks up an interest in family history.

Don’t forget to actually mail the letter.

I usually pick an interesting stamp too. Sometimes I get into mail art as well and doodle/ draw on the envelope before I mail it out into the big, wide world.

Mundane Things

Logic, common sense and all those mature and sensible things don’t apply when it comes to the ordinary things that for some reason you just don’t like. What common, mundane stuff bugs you, disturbs you? You might think it is so silly you don’t even tell friends and family. Here is your chance to air out your feelings. Write about the ordinary things you just can’t deal with in an ordinary way.

via – 8 Mundane Things That Make me Highly Uncomfortable chookooloonks :: discover your superpowers :: karen walrond.

Mine are:

Sharp Things Near Skin – I would not say I am afraid of needles, exactly. But, seeing something sharp like a needle, or a knife, near human skin makes me want to crawl out of my own skin. I can deal with the raw carcass of a turkey at Christmastime, pulling out the giblets, washing out the insides… I don’t know why puncturing the skin of something living makes me so squeamish.

Peanut Butter – I don’t like the way it fills your mouth with it’s smell. As if the thickness of the paste wasn’t enough it even has to take your breath away with the thick scent of it. I do like peanuts, unsalted. I will even have peanut butter cookies because the thick smell is diluted and does not bother me so much then.

Those are the only two I can think of right now. I’m sure there are more. We all have our little oddities after all.