NEWS

One morning the radio announcer ended the news broadcast with a “kicker”, a story about a kangaroo spotted in Austria, far away from its native home in Australia. No investigations at local zoos turned up a missing kangaroo. So where did this animal come from?

Decades ago I learned from my high school English teacher to listen to news broadcasts for the light pieces always delivered at the end. This happens without fail from CBC to BBC to ABC. I hoped this particular “kicker” would get resolved quickly.

When growing up my household received more than one newspaper. The comics section provided the lighthearted reading. I can still picture my father chuckling over those comic strips. My mother was in the habit of cutting out feature articles about my father’s sports career in lacrosse. She’d made a scrapbook which she kept that proved useful when I wrote a book about my father. I, too, am in the habit of cutting out articles, mostly about books or opinion pieces I find insightful.https://www.amazon.ca/Moon-Remembered-Lacrosse-Goalie-Wootton/dp/B003WHFKTO?keywords=Moon+Remembered&qid=1547647402&sr=8-11&ref=sr_1_11

Among my mother’s collection of loose newspaper articles I found a page about me. It showed a picture of fellow high school graduates from 1966. Although she had torn out the entire front page she hadn’t kept the rest of the article. Curious about what had been written back then I went to the local library. Fortunately the branch had a collection of early newspapers. I easily found the piece in the archives that were kept on microfiche. There I could read the whole article that named the graduates. Small town pride.

There was another interesting picture from that newspaper dated Monday, November 7, 1966. It showed a young man who was running for council. Although he had been a promising student, he had not gone on to higher learning like the graduates in the photo. Instead, he had settled down and started a family. I don’t know if he’d won a seat in council but I do know that his sister hadn’t graduated either and that she claimed to be in high school with me although she never was in my class. The record of that is in the year books which I kept. Remember them?

A Global Family

I belong to a global family. You may say you do too. You may assume I am speaking about the population of the whole world. You are correct about that assumption. We all belong to the global family, but I want to tell you about a very special global family. I belong to an international organization that behaves like a maternal family. There are some men who are members, but mostly we are women who dance together. The language of dance crosses all artificial boundaries. Therefore, if I travel to England or Japan, Australia or Sweden, Canada or Switzerland, I will dance the same moves as those members.

Continue reading A Global Family

Lloyd Wootton

mooncover
Donna Wootton, eldest daughter of ‘Moon’, wrote this book about her father. It is available through The Ginger Press in Owen Sound: www.gingerpress.com. In the Prologue Donna writes, “The story caught my imagination not simply because it was sensational, but also because it was well told, full of supporting detail and, more importantly, full of the love of life.” You can click on the cover to read more.

Lost Items

The geography of my mind holds many items no longer in my possession. The most memorable item I’ve lost is a peaked cap – not just any old peaked cap – mine had the logo of the Waterfront Trail.

final-logo

I like the simple design showing the three strata of the environment that the Waterfront Trail traverses around the Great Lakes: sky, earth, water. On the day I purchased the cap the sun was shining with pointillist light off Lake Ontario. When I lost the cap the sun was shining a pale light off the ocean below the cliffs of Dover.

Continue reading Lost Items

READING

IMG_1973 Reading the Globe & Mail on Saturday is a tradition in our household. It is the only newspaper we pay to have delivered. The edition published on the last Saturday in August was worth the price we pay. Here in the Travel section is an article on paddling the Dumoine River. It ranks number one.

IMG_1974This could be a picture of my husband and I canoeing that river, me in the bow and he in the stern. What wonderful memories reading that article brought back of taking the float plane into the wilderness and landing with our gear amid the solitude. We were adventurous.

There was much more to read like how Kitchener might take back its original name of Berlin. I found that particularly article interesting because my mother’s family came from Pennsylvania to farm in Ontario and experienced the trials and successes that move brought right down through the generations.

We live in a country where writers can write and readers can read freely.

Role Playing

IMG_1726No, this isn’t an idea from NUTTY blog site. Role playing brings out the child in the adult. I’m the fairy grandmother who will grant you a wish or three. Beside me are Tweedledum and Tweedledee. You remember them from Alice In Wonderland? Their names have become synonymous in popular western culture for any two people who look and act in identical ways. We’re at MMM summer school at Trent and it’s dress-up time. We’re not nutty but we’re a little crazy sometimes yet we trust each other enough to behave in this manner together.

Continue reading Role Playing

Three Degrees of Separation

The saying, six degrees of separation, has become part of everyday parlance. It seems, though, that as one grows older that degree can reduce to half.
Here’s my most recent experience. I ask a friend to accompany me to an author reading. I offer her the ticket of someone who has gone south. She knows this person, too, though not through me but from a different association. She is an avid reader and happily meets me beforehand for sushi. I learn that she has been to another author reading at the Reference Library earlier in the week.
At the Heliconian Club, the venue for the evening, we drop our coats on two chairs then go downstairs to the washroom where we encounter a woman who, like me, regularly attends this series. I start to introduce her to my friend, a woman who I know from my old Toronto neighbourhood, only to witness them excitedly proclaim that they met one another earlier in the week at the Reference Library while standing in line to have the author sign their books.
A place that supports the arts
It’s with like-minded people at the places in common where the degree of separation shrinks.

reading/performance

What captivates a listener? When planning a reading from my novel Isadora & Lucia I thought about my audience. I would be standing in front of them. They would see me, not my words. They would hear my words. Why not offer them something else than my voice reciting my own words? So I pictured myself doing something else. What if I were in a dance class doing improvisation. Some passages from my novel are set in a dance class and one in particular is a description of an improvisation class. I have participated in many such classes as a student. As a teacher I have led these classes for children and adults. I have some idea what makes these experiences work for the participants. Role playing works. So I decided to read from the passage in my novel where the teacher asks the characters who are students in her dance class to role play. To prompt this role-playing the teacher dons suitable attire. That is what I did. I got four hats and I plopped them on my head while reading. The audience found the experience enriching. From my reading/performance they could visualize the characters and what they were doing in the text. I taped my reading and uploaded it to Youtube. You can watch it on my channel.

MOBILITY

MOBILITY

Fourth and last in a series of achieving a better lifestyle

My positive life experience is through an exercise and dance programme that is a fusion of movement and breathing at a level of discipline that feels comfortable for ongoing mental and physical fitness.
This discipline is over 100 years old.
It is called MMM (Margaret Morris Method).

I started with posture and balance, then barefoot dancing. Now I am moving on to mobility. Mobility uses the parts that join everything together; that is the smallest parts that connect the big parts. Mobility exercises benefit the whole body. In my piece on barefoot dancing you can continue the movement pictured by lifting the foot and rotating the ankle. Now you are mobilizing it. If you lift your leg and rotate the the hanging bottom part of the limb then you are mobilizing the knee. My favourite mobility exercise is Spinal Mobility. It can be done as a warm up starting with the hips and moving up to the shoulders. How many people experience problems with hips and shoulders as they grow older? Head and neck exercises, also developed by Margaret Morris, can help mobilize the heavy part that sits on top of your body.

If you ever have the opportunity to take a class in MMM or attend a workshop you can see what exercises are done to piano pieces.

Margaret Morris developed MMM as a movement of exercises and dance for all ages and abilities. She started with classes for children in 1910. She continued to develop MMM for older children and adults. Some were trained dancers or athletes. Some were simply enthusiastic. Some were limited so she developed movement therapy. As I grow older my body remembers the positive effects of this healthy lifestyle. I am happy that I am able to continue to participate in MMM.

BALANCE

Second in a series of achieving a better lifestyle

My positive life experience is through an exercise and dance programme that is a fusion of movement and breathing at a level of discipline that feels comfortable for ongoing mental and physical fitness.

This discipline is over 100 years old.

It is called MMM (Margaret Morris Method).

I started with posture and now I am moving on to balance. Balance is achieved by strength and focus. MMM balance exercises are delightful to do because they are aesthetically pleasing and graceful. They benefit the body through coordination of parts. A body learns and remembers where all the parts are in relation to the body core and appendages.

Margaret Morris developed MMM as a fusion of movements influenced by her times. Orientalism was popular then and some brave souls were experimenting with the likes of hatha yoga. Continue reading BALANCE