Monday Morning Musings

Posted on September 30, 2019 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville where many C&W greats got their start

 

“Three chords and the truth”

WARNING: RANT ALERT

Call me a late bloomer or just call me old but with time on my hands lately, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. This is singularly a dangerous occupation for a senior citizen like me. I’m convinced that society doesn’t really want us thinking too much. It wants us to react to the blizzard of information thrown our way. It especially wants us to spend money on things we don’t really need.

It’s official. I have stopped watching television news. I just can’t stomach it any more. The little bits of news I consume are from my CBC News app. I pick and choose what I want to read rather than having it rammed down my throat.

I watched the opening salvo of the Federal Election coverage but I refuse to watch federal leaders tell me for weeks on end, how they are going to make Canada a better country. Sorry, I ain’t buying it. I saw one day of attack ads and that was enough to make me turn the channel and watch a Muppets rerun.

So now that I have finally rid myself of these irritants, what am I doing to fill those wasted hours?

I have rediscovered PBS. Instead of watching someone promising me the sun and the moon and a tax cut, I am learning about some of the great cities in the world like Prague, Berlin and Rome. I am watching all sorts of documentaries. I am not being force fed advertisements. I feel liberated.

Late one evening last week, I flicked on PBS just before turning in for the night. There was a special focusing on the history of Country and Western music. I got quite caught up in it and ended up staying up way beyond my normal bedtime. I won’t tell you what this is. I want you laughing with me and not at me!

I have continued to watch for the past several days and it has been quite the education. I am finally starting to realize the appeal of C&W music. The music is simple (three chords) and the lyrics are honest (the truth). In a world inundated with false news, there is something pure about Country music. You don’t have to struggle to understand what a performer is actually saying.

The other morning, rather than listen to Jay and Dan at 6:00 a.m., I turned on PBS and watched a fantastic concert from the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, a place I visited with my son four years ago. The history lesson continued with a who’s who of the greats in C&W performing many of the classic hits. It is a bit of a slight to suggest that country musicians only know three chords. “Three chords and the truth” is a Country mantra, not mine. The stage was filled with world class musicians brilliantly displaying their craft. I was mesmerized.

I’ll take three chords and the truth over fake news any day.

“My god, Len you sound like a broken record.”

“What’s a record, grandpa?”

Have a great week.

P.S. I am hoping some of you can make it to my book launch this Friday, October 4th. at 6:30 p.m. at The Arts House (former Visitor Information Centre next door to Boston Pizza).

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Thursday Tidbits

Posted on September 26, 2019 under Thursday Tidbits with no comments yet

From the boardwalk at Pomquet beach

 

“How many beer breaks do you take when you walk to the Cape?”

One of the greatest joys of writing is that I get to chat with my readers. Often, I bump into people while walking the streets of my hometown. Occasionally (rarely) someone calls me on my cellphone. When you think about it, very few of our communications are by phone these days unless you consider texting a phone message. I still receive quite a few e-mails but most of my exchanges are on social media including Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and Twitter.

Some of you are not on Facebook. I suspect that you were probably among the smartest kids in your class in school! But, for all of its flaws, Facebook still fascinates me.

Since returning from the Camino in June, I have been doing a long walk every weekend, somewhere between 30-40 kilometres. I typically post something early in the morning indicating my destination. Then, Facebook takes over.

Besides the obvious health benefits of a long walk, you get to see the world in slow motion. It is a beautiful world, if you take the time to look.

I love everything about my weekend walks but the best part is meeting people. Decades ago, dropping in on neighbors and friends was normal activity. It seems these days that if you don’t make an appointment, go to a sporting event, or arrange a dinner date, you might never have human interaction. But these are all planned activities.

My interactions while walking are mostly spontaneous although I have some loyal friends (you know who you are!) who routinely provide me with nourishment when I’m heading in their direction. There hasn’t been a walk yet when someone hasn’t stopped me on the side of the road to chat. Very often these people are complete strangers. And, yes, I routinely get offered a cold beer. I just love it when someone yells out my name from their front lawn and asks me to join them for a cold drink.

On a seven hour walk (35 km), I normally stop a few times by the side of the road and have a snack. Invariably, I have at least one other unplanned stop and these are truly golden. I have met some of the nicest people imaginable. Actually, I am convinced that most people are really decent human beings. It’s just that we’ve lost human contact and are caught up in all the crap and don’t take the time any more to visit.

My son was home for a visit on the weekend and we were talking about my walks and why people seem to like to follow and aging man wandering aimlessly along the back roads of Nova Scotia (and Spain… and India!). One thing led to another and we then got talking about walking across Canada. We wondered who is the oldest person to walk across our country. A Google search didn’t readily answer the question. I reckon it would take me about 200 days to go from Vancouver Island to the east coast. Now, that would be a great challenge!

My wanderlust remains intact.

My late brother, Tom was a huge proponent of travel. He felt that is was the best education that money could buy. As many of you know, my fifth book (how did that happen?) has just been published and is available worldwide through Amazon. One of the people that I interviewed for the book said that she was unable to have the book delivered to her country. Another fellow Camino walker had received his book (in France) and was wondering how he could get it autographed. Then I got to thinking… always a dangerous pastime!

With all of my new contacts all around the world, especially in Europe, why wouldn’t I just do a mini book tour and go visit these countries and hand deliver some books? I could get to see new parts of the world and re-connect with friends. Who knows? Maybe there might be another book in the works doing a follow up with the people I interviewed on the Camino.

Antsy in Antigonish.

Have a great weekend.

 

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on September 23, 2019 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

Ballantyne’s Cove

 

Seven years ago, I wrote my first story on the back of a boarding pass on a flight from Toronto to Tampa Bay. When I ran out of room on the boarding pass, I wrote the remainder of the story on a bar napkin. One thousand and thirty-eight (1,038) stories later, I’m still at it. William Shakespeare needn’t feel threatened. I like to write and I write about ordinary things. Often I write about extraordinary people and lately, I have been doing a fair bit of travel writing.

My fifth book is on its way from the printer and on Friday, October 4th. at 6:30 p.m. at the Arts House (the former Visitor Information Centre), I will release book #5 – “Eat, Sleep and Walk: Stories from the Camino”. This book launch will be a bit different from the previous ones. Instead of reading passages from the new book, I plan to do a brief PowerPoint presentation. Rather than tell you about my walk across Spain this past May, I will show you some pictures of the landscape and some of the interesting people I interviewed for the book.

I hope you will be able to join me.

A few of you have wandered into the 5 to $1.00 looking for my new book. I expect to receive my books at the end of this week so hopefully they’ll be available the week of the 30th. For those of you out of town, you can order a copy on Amazon. There’s a link here on my homepage that will direct you to Amazon and my book. Of course, for you locals, if you want to save a bit of tax, you can track me down and get a copy directly from me.

While I’m on the travel theme, there is an interesting event happening tomorrow evening (24th) at the Red Sky Gallery on Main Street at 7:00 p.m.“Travel Tales: trauma and triumph on the road” will feature several local people, including yours truly, who will briefly describe some of their best (and most hair- raising) experiences traveling the world. I think I lost the last remaining hairs on my head during the three weeks I spent in New Delhi, India trying to sort out a visa problem.  If you’re interested in travel and storytelling, this is an event that you might quite enjoy.

Are you a small business owner? You might be interested in advertising on my glamourous website! As you can see from looking at my home page, several well- known businesses have chosen Week45 as one of their advertising platforms. The ads are inexpensive ($10/week) and on average are displayed between 20,000- 25,000 times over a six month period. I add new content to this website at least twice a week and with a loyal reading audience, advertisers get maximum exposure. I have a web team who can assist you with the design of your ad which is clickable directly to your home page. I have only four spots remaining.

Pie making: take two.

I’m on a roll. In the past 10 days, I’ve been on a pie making rampage. Well, not quite a rampage but I have made three pies – two butterscotch cream and one banana cream. Like writing, baking is a creative pursuit but unlike writing, it comes with many added calories. After all, quality control is paramount and before serving dessert to guests, the host has to ensure that the product is fit for human consumption. I will have to exercise caution or else I’ll have to walk a lot further than across Spain!

Have a great week.

 

 

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