Freedom has been the most important thing

(on having my cake and eating it too, O Lucky Man)

for myself relative to my being an individual and in terms of creativity. I was very lucky as a child to have lots of freedom as a latchkey only child, and it is that freedom I aspired to in my adult life through to early retirement from teaching at age 52.

Imagination and curiosity have also loomed large with an only childhood allowing scope for unlimited imagination. Curiosity and the desire to know more of certain information, particularly about great people of Western culture and civilization, has preoccupied me in the last decade. It has been sheer pleasure to learn about the greats of Western civilization from Leonardo to Michelangelo to Beethoven, Bach, Monet, Walt Disney and Edison.

My life has mostly been a search and quest, but many of the roads led finally to increased creativity and expression. I would have to say that Literature, beginning in senior high school and university, has greatly and hugely informed and expanded my life. It led back to Poetry in the 1980s, which is where I started with literature. From there, my values, views, and philosophy of life as well as my sensibility have been voiced best through the art of poetry. It is there you will mainly find my sensibility, views, and interests.

In the end, I feel I have long successfully, fully realized myself and my inner self. I have no missing pieces and accept all that has followed in the wake of my more active years and continuing select engagements and involvements. And, most importantly, I still have the freedom to be the individual I am and have communicated my various gifts to many others, including the most important people in my life.

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The Continuing Destruction of Edmonton

under Don Iveson. With the new garbage plan, Edmonton will become a willy-nilly drop-off for garbage in all the parks, ravines, and the river valley. Garbage bags will litter sides of roads and go unpicked up by the city. It will resemble more of a dump and wasteland than it already is.

The winter calcium road mixture will continue to eat up what’s left of city streets (after LRT destruction) and sidewalks. The city will likely go broke continuing to destroy the city well before roads and sidewalks are ever rebuilt or the LRT lines get finished.

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The absolute best column in summarizing

(A Canadian prophet signing one of his books)

what has happened to America via Trump is Andrew Cohen’s “What Everybody Knows about America” published today Oct. 10, 2018 in The Ottawa Citizen and other newspapers.
Leonard Cohen Lives!

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Henry David Thoreau

(little-known DVD about Thoreau and Walden; I visited Walden and Concord twice in the 1990s as part of Fall New England Literary Wonder Tours on my own–highlights of my past)

Quotes from Walden, “Walking”, and Reflections at Walden

-I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

-I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.

-Our life is frittered away by detail….Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!

-The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation….But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.

-In eternity there is indeed something true and sublime. But all these times and places and occasions are now and here.

-Books are the treasured wealth of the world and fit inheritance of generations and nations….How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book?

-I love a broad margin to my life.

-The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us. Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.

-Almost any man knows how to earn money, but not one in a million knows how to spend it.

-Cultivate reverence.

-Follow your genius closely enough, and it will never fail to show you a fresh prospect every hour.

-To be awake is to be alive. I have never yet met a man who was quite awake. How could I have looked him in the face?

-If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.

-In literature it is only the wild that attracts us….In short all good things are wild and free.

-I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay to life itself, than this incessant business.

-There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of his life getting his living…You must get your living by loving.

-If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and friends, and never see them again–if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man–then you are ready for a walk….I am alarmed when it happens that I have walked a mile into the woods bodily, without getting there in spirit…In my walks I would fain return to my senses. What business have I in the woods, if I am thinking of something out of the woods?

-So we saunter to the Holy Land, till one day the sun shall shine more brightly than ever he has done, shall perchance shine into our minds and hearts, and light up our whole lives with a great awakening light, as warm and serene and golden as on a bankside in autumn.

-Morning is when I am awake and there is a dawn in me.

-The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another tenderly.

-A wise man will know what game to play and how to play it. We must not be governed by rigid rules, as by the almanac, but let the seasons rule us. The moods and thoughts of man are revolving just as steadily and incessantly as nature`s. Nothing must be postponed.

-Take time by the forelock. Now or never! You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this, or the like of this….Take any other course and life will be a succession of regrets….There is no world for the penitent and regretful.

-All change is a miracle to contemplate.

-He enjoys true leisure who has time to improve his soul`s estate.

-Listen to music religiously, as if it were the last strain you might hear.

-The true poet will ever live aloof from society, wild to it, as the finest singer is the wood thrush, a forest bird.

-A man cannot be said to succeed in this life who does not satisfy one friend.

-Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.

-I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.

-It takes two to speak the truth–one to speak, and another to hear.

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Quotes by RD

Life is one long near-death experience.

You haven’t, always, experienced everything.

Poetry remains the most conscious, concise, aesthetic use of language.

The quiet desperation of the multitudes is physical, mental, and soul-related.

Objects often have minds of their own and bounce away or out of where we intended to put them. Matter over mind, pure and simple.

Three every day basics are sleep, three healthy meals, and movement of different kinds.

If you must work, make sure you have freedom and control, and feel like you’re making an important contribution to others and society.

Nobody likes others telling them what to do or limiting their freedom of choices.

To thine Inner Child and sensibility be true.

Sensibility is where the deeper feelings, thoughts, and soul experiences reside.

No one can/should ever make your daily or important decisions for you.

Childhood is best experienced on its own natural terms without unnecessary intrusions and impositions by the grown-up and cynical worlds.

Imagination is the saving grace of inner sanctum in all creative persons.

Creation and love remain the best games in town.

A full life requires mastery of language, self-expression, and effective communication.

A good sleep and breakfast are the two most important factors for a successful day.

Every day requires the presence of permanence to withstand the daily changes and adaptations usually in response to others’ stupidity, laziness, and egotism.

A good day is when you accomplish something positive, discover new interesting information, have insights, and move forward in one ‘world’ or more.

Psychologically speaking, it is most important to be and accept yourself as you essentially, really are.

You can no longer rely on public education for yourself or your kids and must assume personal responsibility for it and whatever life-long learning.

Love is essentially doing for or sacrificing for someone else and putting that person on a par or ahead of yourself and your own life.

Friendship is unquestioning loyalty and support regardless of circumstance.

Knowing and accepting yourself is one of life’s main obligations.

Regularly, you must be nice to yourself since there are no guarantees that anyone else will. You must ‘put back in’ for yourself and learn something new each day. Otherwise, you’ll be depleted and run-down.

A life without music, poetry, books, or art is terribly limited.

The truly great movies or artistic movies cannot be found on Netflix. They are also more likely to be found before 2000 AD. Today’s movies are too coarse, loud, violent, stupid, predictable, limited, phoney, and dumbed-down.

Nature is the greater context in which we live our lives. Experiencing it is necessary for perspective and personal fulfillment.

Everyone and everything is limited in some way. That said, there are myriad possibilities and one can choose to transcend whatever limiting context.

Most people settle for less or the conventional and use others while ignoring the finer, deeper, higher stuff and soul matters.

Materialism and chasing money blind most Western people from deeper consciousness and self-actualized autonomous living.

The secret of happy old age is not being bored or being a burden to anyone else.

We are only here so long so we’d better experience fully each passing, non-refundable moment of life.

Governments are exercises in holding onto power and creating agenda-ed perceptions in the voting public.

Everyone has a right to experience sensation.

There are many times when God and imagination are one.

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6+ Questions for Adult Life

1. What is my bliss? What do I like? What am I into? What am I passionate about? What can I lose myself in/distract myself with? What is positively engaging, immersive, and distracting in my life?

2. What am I good at? What are my strengths? What do I have to offer others and the world?

3. Who can I rely on and trust? What for? To what extent can I do as completely as possible for myself? What are my current (known) limits and limitations?

4. What missing pieces do I still have in my life? Do I need to address any isolation, alienation, or loneliness? How might I do this?

5. What specifically is ‘to do’, remains undone, unfinished, and unfulfilled?

6. What do I have to look forward to today, soon, or in the near future?

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Of Passions

“To burn always with this hard, gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life.” (Walter Pater)

Walter Pater’s quote asserts that actualizing and experiencing our spirit and passions is perhaps one of the finest possibilities in and of human life. What is there that is most memorable and meaningful in a person’s life? Often it is that which engages and fully subsumes our consciousness, attention, and energies. It may be a pet project that we feel is unique and potentially interesting and valuable to others. It may be a simple open-hearted enthusiasm for beauty in nature. Or it may be a person with whom we feel some deep attraction and desire for.

There are always people, things, and experiences we gravitate towards, which move us and deeply interest or intrigue us. Natural curiosity can play a key role in this process, although if we have some idea who we are and what we really like, then the ruling passions tend to ‘play themselves out’ or naturally assert or unfold themselves in the course of daily living or over periods of time.

Passions also appear as driving forces when one is, as mythologist Joseph Campbell said, ‘following one’s bliss’. These passions might range from hobbies such as playing a musical instrument, to leisure activities such as supporting a local sports team, to life-long commitments such as extended charity work. Passions usually are very engaging, sometimes to the point of total distraction. But they embody meanings and purpose that are frequently best-known, understood, and appreciated by the people who espouse and live out and for those passions per se.

Who can define spirit or what ‘a spirit’ is? And yet, we know when that something vital and significant life force declines or goes missing as in the case of depression or serious illness. So, motivation for passion assumes a will and capacity to be directed by spirit to whatever pleasurable, engaging, or meaningful activities and ends. We are, each of us, defined by our passions, our spirits, and our various enthusiasms expressed in life. It is fair to say that our various ‘burnings’ and ‘ecstasies’ are keys to understanding our identities and who we really, individually, are. As famous French diarist Anais Nin put it, “The fiery moments of passionate experience are the moments of wholeness and totality of the personality.”

In a much larger sense, though too, Pater’s quote illuminates not just our own lives and those of who we have known and are familiar with. In Honore de Balzac’s words, “Passion is universal humanity. Without it religion, history, romance and art would be useless.” The actions and deep beliefs of multitudes, entire peoples, and countries have long depended on the energies and enthusiasms of the many living and dying on the basis of the driving spirit and passions. And so it is that what Pater speaks of is what has motivated not just individuals, but is reflected in the longer course of civilization and much of what is valuable about the life experience itself.

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A Fun Thanksgiving Here Yesterday!

Rolled out the 1938-39 Mickey Mouse and Goofy cartoons featuring Pluto, Donald Duck, and Goofy to many belly laughs from the 3 and 6-year-old grandsons. Amazing that something created 80 years can still please and excite kids this age today, moreso than any other children’s video entertainment out there today.

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If they had any sense at all,

they’d be long gone from snowy. cold Edmonton today.

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Astral projections

2 players chasing shadows
on a dim-lit city street
full moon in october
night jet above flashing red

poor man’s tennis:
no rhyme or reason to our play
writing a poem without a net

dream: a bird’s eye view of life
waiting for the one that never falls
about as close to heaven
as we may get: 2 shades of night

on the fly we serve & are served
playing blind for most of the game,
live in dark, though we aim to
keep it going (the bird, I mean)
lightweight though it is,
by backhands & bouncers

the net affect of twilight
is a kind of love between us,
stabilizing feathers,
we fly to one another
& pray for contact–
the odd bird grounding out
with the thud & racquet-scrape
of failure

& yet that empyreal possibility
we keep the bird alive
between us & the spirit of flight
fine gut exchanging volleys
in the welkin
beneath polaris star
counting hits & hang-time
waiting for the one
that won’t come down
the one that won’t come back

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