Author Archive

HAKA | MANA | STAUNCH MAN, YEAH?

Wednesday, July 14th, 2021

HAKA | MANA | STAUNCH MAN, YEAH?

Do things exist if we cannot name them? If named, are they into being now and forever furthered into their sense? I think so.
I remember meeting someone in my life for whom there was no words to describe them but I knew there was a word. (I tried to in #RussellSquareStation).I used to pronounce the unknown word with this face below, with an accompanied guttural expression of “ARGGGHHHH!!! WHAT IS HE?!!”

His stance could be confrontational but not combative: like a “haka” warning you that he could kill you, so just be aware, and mind is all. His oomphf was “mana” – that is the word: “2. (noun) prestige, authority, control, power, influence, status, spiritual power, charisma – mana is a supernatural force in a person, place or object.” And his being, “staunch,” just as Christina Thompson, author of “Come Ashore, and We Will Kill You and Eat You All” describes her Maori husband in a non-fictional biographical history book about their history both personal and of New Zealand’s Indigenous people. She describes ‘staunch’ as being of different meaning in New Zealand than elsewhere.

Three words that I never heard in Ottawa for the kind of person I would unlikely meet in the streets in which I lived life. Three words we don’t speak, and for which no other English word comes even close to describing viscerally. Three words that open the mind to a different kind that one finds elsewhere but not here, and always faraway. Like the Mauritius-born Northern Englander in London who was full of beans, tenderness, intellect and named A Man Called Woo Woo.

I long for the time to travel again to some far-off places to meet different kinds. And Montreal brings us so many. And recently in dreams, I’ve been some and seeing places.

Of all things we have not seen yet and the folks we have yet to meet. Of all the times we felt love but it wasn’t an “I Love You”, could it have been I love that you are here since everyone we meet may be willed and wanted? Destined?

Careful where you put your attention, they say. Yet some of the most blazed paths to the source are strongest not for the object of your attention but because you’re already burning bright and you’ve spotted a mirror reflection reflecting back your light — even if they are really dark.

I used to pretend I was tough with smokes and bottled beer at the Aloha Room but my haka was nothing more than shit talk.

I reckon I’ve free-flowed in the artistic realm having published things that once need be nuts or tapped into Source to let loose in the status-quo and perhaps in that, and with my virtue and that I’m here because Tolstoy paid for my Great Gran to come on over and my French Canadian Grandpa was a poet – I’ve got mana.

As for staunch … maybe I’ve got chutz·pah, and I certainly carry a Jewish nose that may have by way of Russia and Armenia.

I realize now it was never the boozing drunk wild and reckless I wanted in my sought. But the fierce and furious, mana-with-prana man, and staunch solid oak of a beast for which I’m destined! But we are what we eat, and we sow what we reap.

ERGH to unbecome what we’ve done over decades of aging, eh? To find our wits among fits and starts of planning and reinventing. Centred, I swear we find it all — and sometimes in silence, and peacetime, it just … happens along.

THOUGHT: DiscUSsion or – just digust?

Sunday, May 30th, 2021

DiscUSsion or – just digust?

I used to GET PAID for my public opinion that appeared in a printed weekly in news agent boxes on every bloody street corner, of every Ottawa city street stretching from the downtown out to suburban Orleans and Barhaven, and over to rural Perth, and into Quebec’s Chelsea and as far as Wakefield. Even across Canada to record labels, libraries and beyond. My words. My thoughts. Whatever was on my mind crafted in a confessional column style and critical thought to inspire conversation; debate in a “Letters To Editor” section and eventual online Comments section that I integrated in subsequent columns; and sharing. (Thanks Stuart Trew and Matthew Harrison).

And NOW?

Forget it. The change is this, and I’m not saying anything new. One public now-always-electronic word, one sentence out of place – and you’re blasted to high hell! The immediacy with which people REACT – not respond – is frightening because it closes the vented space in which dialogue can transpire and where two opinions can dance to an understanding. There’s no discUSsion anymore, just taunting. No learning, just abusing.

(See Ricky Gervais’ comedy show about posting the ad for guitar lessons in the public square and his comparison to the explosive reactions of Twitter).

Put another way, in our digital and virtual worlds, we’re not ‘sharing’, but merely PELTING our persona and one-way views that don’t benefit from the luxury of the back-and-forth with a real human face-to-face, nor the repair necessary for salvaging civility in a heated debate. Again, not new.

This, on the morning after an amazing four-hour visit-walk and talk with a mate hiking a mountain and venturing Montreal speaking of the current BLM, Nazis, activism, the pandemic and vaccinations, Rwanda and atrocities, Bolshevism, dating, feminism, Trump. There was room to be politically incorrect. To vent. To get it so wrong, and to have “Aha moments” of compassion for sides we didn’t see yet.

In this world of a shit-tonne of noise pollution, who is your sounding board? Your filtering-friends to help you sort out matters?

I’ve found the very groups shouting for visibility – and rightfully so – are often NOT the places I can go to learn more about their plight. I fear being turned away in a righteous, and rightfully-so exaggerated and intolerant, “oh please, lady! Figure it out!”

Reckon this is why Indigenous Elders were so valuable to a community. The passing along of information that we may never otherwise know for the seeming judgement out there that “well, you should JUST know!”

Do I know why the feck they changed Amherst to Ataken or that name that sounds like a Jedi? Do I know what bad McDonald did for his statue to be toppled? Do I understand why Steve’s Music store was looted in an BLM movement? Do I get why that girl in my old building defended her wardrobe malfunction of exposed bra and ample bosom as her ‘right.’

Good thing terraces and pubs are opening here in Montreal. That people can gather once again. Rather interesting how the blood boiled this past year with hot topics revolutionary in nature and yet — due to a mysterious spread of a mysterious bug — we all were disconnected from one another to TRULY CONVERSE and work shit out, relying only on the shit venues out there: social media, and news media.

Do you know what’s shaping your mind today? #CriticalThinking

TV LOVE: The Letters: Rediscovering the Art of Courtship

Saturday, February 13th, 2021

Who doesn’t miss getting love letters these days? ? ? If you’re craving some extra romance this Valentine’s day, tune in to THE LETTERS: REDISCOVERING THE ART OF COURTSHIP!

(I’m the host!)

In this exciting and unique series, ten Suitors set out to court a mysterious woman known to them only as “Roxanne,” but with one very romantic twist. They must woo her only using the power of the pen! Anonymity is key as the Suitors and Roxanne never lay eyes on each other and use pen names to mask their true identities.

Whom will she choose to meet face to face for a very special first date?

Now you can catch season II exclusively on Encore+ this Sunday, February 14th, on the day of love ?

Click the link to watch:
https://www.youtube.com/encoreplusmedia

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Saturday, January 9th, 2021

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LOVE: “From the garden to the grave” – the non-burden of true love

Thursday, December 31st, 2020

A mate sent me this video for the skateboarding, and I stayed for the lyrics. Remarkable tune featuring the singer of Reuben and the Dark and his young Big Brother. You can see footage of them in their younger age. The lyrics of “from garden to the grave” and “if you want a hiding place that’s fine with me” are so touching, on top of the weightlessness in carrying the heart of one you love and care for very much that you feel is hardly a burden.

I met the singer one night. One night at a Sadies gig, having a beer, I looked behind me to scan the room and came upon this chap with his long hair and beard in a blue jean shirt. That him? He has an aura about him, gentle eyes, and an inviting smile. Like his wife, they radiate Om and positive energy. A day or so later, I received a free download invite from his record company. He remembered my name, I guess. Kind man and genuine as hell. Or maybe it’s that we’re both Albertan and tied by some cosmic Prairie vibe 😉

This was also my second-last gig of 2020 I went to (before closing it off with Joseph Arthur) and it was powerful as hell. Dude really is magical and extends his family vibe from on stage to make one with the room. Myself, I wasn’t in the best place — needy from another big move, missing my good friends who knew me well, while exhausted by the energy and effort to meet and accept new ones into your life — and my companion that night was tender, kind, gave me space to be moody and also shared with me an honest conversation at the end of the night about how I was feeling, and he taught me one of the biggest lessons lately, which I’m happy to keep applying.

The lesson was rather than stewing in your unmet needs or disappointments envers les autres, it’s to pay more attention to who they are and what they represent rather than imposing upon them what you need and want them to be. I can only imagine this is a quality one would have to show as a Big Brother … and one I hope to bring into my little cat relationship soon, and helping the elderly in the new future.

***
“Weightlessness” Reuben and the Dark

That howling wind
That sound you make
Those days a diamonds (?) in the rain
You go out like a flame
The hearts a heavy load, wouldn’t you say?
With the way the world has changed
If you want a hiding place that’s fine with me
And the song no one can sing
And you’re counting on dreams to carry you home
You’re counting on me to carry your love
Carry your love

Courage balanced on a blade
The black and white serenade
Safe from the garden to the grave
All those things that you do to disappear
If you want a hiding place you’ll find one here
And you’re counting on dreams to carry you home
And you’re counting on me to carry your love
And you’re counting on dreams to carry you home
And you’re counting on me to carry your love
Carry your love

(Weightlessness)
On all of the stony cliffs
And the past that has been dangerous
Fearless
Forgiveness

Oh
(Carry you home)
(Oh, weightlessness)
(Carry you home)
(Carry you home)

Fearless
Fate-less
Faultless

NEWS! Sylvie est une *Nouvelle Blogueuse* chez Migraine Québec!

Thursday, December 24th, 2020

Je suis la nouvelle blogueuse chez Migraine Québec!

Mon témoignage.
Ma biographie!

“Je m’appelle Sylvie Hill, j’ai 46 ans et je suis une migraineuse épisodique classique. Mes déclencheurs sont les hormones menstruelles et, évidemment, le stress émotionnel épique. Éviter l’alcool et le fromage, mes tantes et les dynamiques familiales angoissantes, la cigarette, et m’en tenir essentiellement à un régime végétarien m’aide énormément. Bien sûr, la routine est fondamentale, notamment des cycles de sommeil et de réveil constants et une alimentation sur une base régulière, afin de maintenir un bon taux de glycémie. L’activité physique peut aider ou nuire. [Lire plus…]”

THOUGHT: Do / Be: why people feel it’s impressive to tell you how good they are in bed?

Monday, December 21st, 2020

IN DATING, I wonder why people feel it’s impressive to tell you how good they are in bed? Imagine how ridiculous it would sound if they told you how great they were at loving? And here’s the point: no virtuous and experienced potential lover needs to advertise a thing. It can be read in the way we:

– open the car door for a friend, date, lover, mother, brother
– hold the door open at the pub for another
– help with the dishes after supper
– fetch them a glass of water on the way to the cupboards
– help someone in need walking by
– speak of our exes with appreciation in the eyes
– admit our weaknesses with a chuckle and admission
– humbly reveal how we’re helping ourselves in our mission
– undress the person while seeing them still
– bring them a barf bucket when they’re feeling ill
– say ‘hi’ as a check-in at start of sexy intercourse
– slap on the ass after a quickie when we’re both used to it
– carry ourselves with confidence but awareness
– hear/see/feel the other as we do ourselves.

I never had to question that my friend is an incredible cyclist – because he cycles! I don’t question my other mate is great with cats – he knows all about their food and the perfect toys! The musician practices guitar! The yogi does that yoga, and the Zenmaster has the breathing! The chef does the cooking, and the runner has her running! (I have done the ruminating and no wonder the Healer in Chelsea told me ages ago to change the medium!)

And so what of your choosing is what you are doing? And what you do is who you’re becoming. If you’ve been loving well and treating a body naked as a real person, it’s unlikely you will falter in love, lest you abuse a body like an object and disguise your fear of closeness in shame and hatred… If you feel so empty, fake, and hard, no wonder you would treat a person like a vessel, not real, and — then, simply, discard.

Photo used with kind permission by Loui Jover. Buy his art here.

BOOK PEER-REVIEW: “Motherhood in Precarious Times” | Demeter Press

Sunday, December 20th, 2020

I was honoured during the summer of 2019 to peer-review an anthology of essays and poems about mothers in dangerous times. An exceptional and enlightening read now published, Motherhood in Precarious Times is available for purchase for $24.95 on Demeter Press. My favouring review appears on the back blurb of the book.

Motherhood-in-Precarious-Times_FC Motherhood 2

“Motherhood in Precarious Times explores through reflections and academic analyses in poems, stories, and essays how environmental, socio-economic, political, and cultural and gendered threats shape mothering. The diverse voices combine powerfully in this vital anthology that will undoubtedly shape many debates from choosing Mother Earth vs. Motherhood, to fatherhood’s role in emergent maternal independence.”

– Sylvie Hill, Writer, Poet and University Continuing Education Professor of provocative literature courses on sexuality, relationships, and female “awakenings.”

RANT: Bon Voyage! The trips to us, them, others: always back in time?

Saturday, December 19th, 2020

Hein, qu’est-ce que je dois faire?
C’est vrai je dois bien finir quelque part
Loin de tes terres, de ta mémoire
Je voulais juste te dire au revoir
Juste une dernière fois te revoir
Avant que j’erre, que je ne m’égare
J’aimerais qu’on se serre puis qu’on se sépare

Le Rempart

BON VOYAGE!

I remember getting ready to leave London to Paris the morning after arriving to Bloomsbury from Ottawa. I was flying to and from London for a couple of weeks, but just hanging around a day or so at the start.

Had time that afternoon in November 2013 to check in to the Jesmond B&B, grab some food, check out the area some, and nap before dinner plans at 5:30 pm with an old acquaintance who I’d met in Soho back in 2000 at a Hawksley Workman gig. A great trip – planned to see the House of Love reunion tour in London and Motorhead, with a sojourn to Paris to meet up with three friends and see Vanessa Paradis in concert. London was so busy — it was a nice to switch gears to Marais, and coast for a few days in the slower pace of le Paris.

I miss travelling for the concerts — especially to cities like New York and over to London. Excitedly, you’d spot the gig online, cost the tickets, then wait for that fated email from your boss at work that read: “For sure – go. Just submit your leave in the system.” Then it was GO TIME as you reached out to your friends in the cities and countries nearby and scoured the Internet for all the other shows happening!! Let the planning start!

And what memories!! These were the trips that would nurture friendships and bonds, and make stories filled with love and fun times – and great food.

The night I went to see Vanessa Paradis and Benjamin Biolay (below), I had a good dinner with a mate I met in Montreal. He knew Paris, he was French from Brittanny. He didn’t like Parisiens, he was more California. He walked like he owned the place – but with real confidence. Not an arrogance that masked insecurity. He was quiet, self-assured, and brilliant. And had grown quite bored of Montreal for noble reasons. We enjoyed a lovely Italian dinner – our last was sushi before a Miike Snow gig in Montreal! He was years younger but had more character and value than most guys my age who were/are single. On the other side of the world, a great dinner, wine, laughs, and then — off to my show!

I was over the moon to hear this song here, written by Mathieu Boogaerts for Vanessa Paradis. A HUGE fan of the artists on Tot ou Tard record label since back in the day of Record Runner on Rideau Street (Ottawa) that would order me so many imports from Fersen to Breut!, I was excited as hell to see and hear it performed live. I shot some video of the live performance and sent it to Mathieu. The coolest was his response back – that was so like me to want to CONSUME the feeling, the song, the energy and to touch a bit of the stars!!!

After enjoying seeing Vanessa Paradis in concert, I walked off into the amazing Paris city night lights along the big boulevard to try and find my way to the metro to get back home to Rue de Turenne. Of course the day before I had been navigating the Tube, and now another city again. Another key to my flat…

NOT BEING ABLE TO TRAVEL ABROAD DURING THE PANDEMIC is showing me to where I travel in my mind par habitude, and has reinforced my new way of being.

Despite all these wonderful trips and moments with friends — at home and abroad — why such a focus on the flailing or fiery romances, and the fixation on certain persons? To the Writer, this is fertile territory, but like my first Muse said “Let me expand. Do we really need to be the down & out types to express ourselves? Maybe in the past times when thrills were considered cheap, forbidden &/or hidden. When social standing had a modicum of importance. & all the interest of Billiards. It’s all upfront now. Underground’s overground.”

He’s not wrong.

But for CREATIVE TYPES who have sucked the life out of feelings and exquisite experiences — must you continue? CAN you continue? Or does the chaos bleed you dry with only trite to write.

At one point, I would have relished this song in layers of meaning about a personal story I could relate to with some former lover. Who cares, though. Evolved, evolving: now, I see it as a song about the CONCEPT of where we try to look for answers. Is it between the sheets? In the arms of a lover? In the loss of the arms of a lover?

Oui, qu’est-ce que j’espère?
Qu’on me dise la fin de l’histoire
Qu’on me libère, qu’on me repère
Qu’on me dise si je viens, si je pars
Que l’on m’éclaire, que l’on me fasse voir
Ce qu’il y’a derrière, derrière cette histoire
Derrière ce rempart, c’est un mystère

There’s no mystery there. Just confusion. Dashed hopes built from the euphoria of a scent or hormonal bond that, in our age and with experience, we realize does not sustain a reality that shows itself so readily despite masks, tricks, and charades. That’s if you’ve been dating poorly like I have. With real love lost — again: no mystery. Your shit or their shit got in the way: so fix it. Move on.

TRAVEL is a lot like our experiences in life … we go there, we come back: changed, every time.

Maybe we can treat people like this? We go there, we experience, and we leave.

Thinking of it this way – we can better spot the losers.

The ones who have not put any thought into their journey, are following some guide, and will return home boasting they went to Paris and saw all the sights, and went to all the naughty places, but whose souls would have never have been touched cuz they were a superficial tourist, and likely just adding on a few days to the place cuz they were there for some work thing. Sorry.

Then there are those who went *really* to look. To see(k). To feel. Who researched and observed, who were curious and discovered.

I guess people are like places? Places we go to.

So how do you wanna travel to me, or why should I travel to you? And what are the real reasons we’d all want to go back? Or fuck it, and never return again?

Disclaimer: Ludic lovers need not apply here. They’re like the hop on-hop off organized tour bus people while some of us prefer living locally for a while with an investment in the residents.

THOUGHT: The Bright Lights of the Dark Side of a “broken family”

Monday, December 14th, 2020

THE BRIGHT LIGHTS OF THE DARK SIDE

People with tiny minds seem to forget something about those of us who have suffered tough childhoods…

In the case of a sociopathic parent, chances are – that parent was brilliantly charismatic, highly achieved, and supremely competent in the public world while …triggered privately.

In the case of the emotionally abused and battered wife, she was equally determined to work hard for her single-parent household and resilient as fuck, and … about as resourceful as you can imagine.

Where there are siblings in this difficult family upbringing, there is also a shared story — and whether it’s discussed consciously, or guarded genetically, there is great strength in not being alone and inherently, always, understood on some unspoken level.

These are delicious traits to pass down, minus the strange stuff. And it it’s very possible to not inherit the strange stuff if the child took to school and helpful teachers; role models; and good friends and their families like I did growing up.
While psychology traces all neuroses back to our childhood — be cautious, here. This is a sure route, yes, to the root in the mind of how we may instinctively respond to triggers — our lenses. But the soul. Aw, the soul and spirit look forward: there you will trace forward all strengths to your endurance and likely in many of us from “broken homes” your immense appreciation for balance and achievable beauty.

Those of us who missed out on a steady family life, may be smarter than most in knowing what has been missing. In the absence, we craved it. Why is that a bad thing? The crime is not having been deprived, it’s the feeling not-so-worthy to accept it when it’s there. We fall back on assholes because it’s what resonates to us as unfinished or sad business that we want to fix them — while continuing to walk toward better people hopefully.

But trust us, and look to the company we keep as close friends – you’ll see we surround ourselves with quality, peace, and sanity. That’s because we know a good thing when it happens to us, and how to leave a loser.

So you’ll likely find us single a bit longer than most. And how appreciative we are to receive a lover with a clear mind, generous heart, and kind spirit… We will not take you for granted *because* of our plight in life, and our compassion for the families that fell apart for the reasons we do not judge. We know our family wasn’t meant to be but came together in the 60s or 70s because someone didn’t know how to use a condom.

Be careful about how you judge someone’s “fucked-up” past. You may just accidentally reveal that it’s you who is the disturbed one.

If one has sorted it and resolved their pain over the years, you may actually only hear the good stuff about someone’s challenging family life. So, it is you who is not sorted, you may feel betrayed, scared, or critical — or innocently confused — when they reveal the truths about their father who had a temper and got off on scaring some women, or their mom who ignored them for an emotionally immature reason for a year or four. You may not ‘get’ it, nor them nor be able to cherish their empathy for most humans.

I’m amazed by the simple minds who have no grasp on the grace that comes from passing through a turbulent past. I recall my second Muse once explaining it this way: that our parents are just ignorant. Some are evil though. Others not so much; they’re just like bulls in a China shop and mean no harm when they ask us things about our lives that they do not understand. He said it similar to T.S. Eliot in “The Cocktail Party” in speaking about families —

“They do not repine;
Are contented with the morning that separates
and with the evening that brings together
for casual talk before the fire.
Two people who know they do not understand each other, breeding children whom they do not understand
and who will never understand them.”

To me, that is an equal death, perhaps, in the stablest of families, then? Can the havoc wreaked from divorced units enlighten in ways a passive and dull acceptance of subpar relations prevent?

It’s not to say we have to be broken to shine bright but like Leonard Cohen wrote, if it’s through them cracks that the light gets in, then man … I’m broken in all the right places.

Sylvie Hill, Montreal, December 14, 2020