Mythos & Marginalia

life notes; flaws and all

j.g. lewis

original content and images ©j.g. lewis

a daily breath...

A thought du jour, my daily breath includes collected and conceived observations, questions of life, fortune cookie philosophies, reminders, messages of peace and simplicity, unsolicited advice, inspirations, quotes and words that got me thinking. They may get you thinking too . . .

what could be

Believe in the coming day, the opportunities that will come, and the generations to follow.

   What is now is not what will be, and all we had is only a shadow of where we were.

   Evolution happens, no matter how well, or how poorly, we are prepared. If we have not readied ourselves for the times ahead, we may well gain a more meaningful experience by simply maintaining a spirit open to the expansion and contraction of our lungs, and allowing our eyes to wander.

   If we only look straight ahead, we will certainly miss out on uncertain wonders, necessary distractions, and our true potential.

   Breathe and see what could be, and let others notice exactly what you are.

Celebrate the darkness, and the light, that will guide you through another year.


© 2017 j.g.l.


ruminations, noise, 
nonsense and  
contradictory advice 
comes with a price .
What was said 
and what was  
meant were 
two completely 
different things. 
By all means  
say what you mean 
but please try  
your best to mean 
what you say. 

12/08/2023                                                                                                                       j.g.l. 

Mondays are just young Fridays

With the wars, chaos and conflict, and proliferation of hate speech that surrounds all of us right now, it is difficult to subscribe to the familiar mantra espoused in this season: 
Peace on Earth, good will to all men. 
   We can only wonder if this will ever be possible. More so, how have we even believed for so long that it could ever be probable. Globally or locally, peace and good will are notably absent from our lives. 
   Few of us are even in a position where we can affect enough change, and those who have any sort of ability are caught up in fruitless negotiations within the politics of it all. 
   Hatred has too much power 
   Love thy neighbour; who even tries? Locally or globally is anyone attempting? I do not wish to sound pessimistic and know there is nothing I can do personally to resolve the global catastrophes and calamities, but I am going to do what I can to create, or acknowledge, peace in my own little world. 
   In these coming weeks I intend to connect with family and friends who have been there when I needed them. I will reach out, even to those from a distance, to let them know I am thinking of them and what they mean to me. I should have been doing this long ago, and more consistently. I have neglected thanking people when I should have.  
I need to be more thankful. I need to express my gratitude more often than I have been. 
   We can all do such a thing, even if it is something as simple as sending a Christmas card, dashing off an email, or picking up the phone. 
   We can all pick up the peace.
   Yes, there are big problems on this planet we cannot avoid on the news of the day, but by making a daily attempt to reach out to those we care about our world can become a little smaller. 
   I believe we can find our own peace even in the absence of probability. 
   I still believe that peace is possible. 

12/04/2023                                                                                          j.g.l.


one into the next

Winter memories, particularly this time of year, begin with snow. 
   Growing up on Canada’s prairies, I remember winter weather would arrive as early as late October and hang on until late March or longer. Many years, ice would still be on the lake when May long weekend rolled around and we were beginning to dream of summer. 
   Spring, most years, seemed a long while coming. 
   I grew up knowing, and appreciating, four distinct seasons. 
   Toronto, my home of almost a decade, is not as accurate. Spring, summer, and autumn all seem to take time, often blurring one into the next with few noticeable differences. Winter seems only to find its place when you least expect it. 
   One of the things I miss most about the prairies is the true, definite seasons. You know when fall turns to winter, and tend to know it immediately. Seasons are too wishy-washy in Toronto. Nobody here seems to realize you must experience, even respect, a cold, harsh winter to truly recognize a gorgeous summer. 
   Last night’s slight snow startled me on my morning walk, the nightly dip in temperature allowing precipitation to show its true character. 
   Snow: it probably won’t last long (it rarely does) but is enough, this morning, to bring forth some winter memories. 
   That itself will warm me up throughout the day. 
12/07/2023                                                                                            j.g.l. 

It’s December

Counting those days to
that one significant date, with 
fascination or anticipation 
we all can’t seem to wait. 
Wishes and prayers, one in 
the same, we may bristle with 
excitement at the mention  
of his name. 
The reason for the season. Logic 
and lore shrouded in mystery, 
questioned by faith, myth, or 
legend and history. 
The wonder of his existence, 
spoken through the years, 
becomes even more exaggerated 
as Christmas day nears. 
A celebration of sorts for 
the gifts we receive, all
depending on whether and 
what you believe. 

12/01/2023                                                                            j.g.l. 

I'm like a pencil;
sometimes sharp,
most days
other times
dull or
Still I write.

j.g. lewis
is a writer/photographer in Toronto.

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gentle dishonesty

Posted on December 6, 2023 Leave a comment

        Moments hardly seem forgotten,  
        hidden beneath grief and deceit,  
unknowingly present and accounted for. Reminders; 
a receipt of relationships bought and paid for  
   with the gentle dishonesty  
      of indirect falsehoods. 
          We lie to one another, yet
           rely on each other to uphold the truths  
           which once seemed so consequential. 
               We don’t talk like we used to, or even at all. 
    When did we tire of each other’s voices? 
                 How would we know? 
© 2023 j.g. lewis 


why it is so

Posted on November 29, 2023 Leave a comment

Subjective or suggestive, visually,
physically, experimentally accounting for
a specific period of time.
Inevitably art confronts the realities faced
to the point where we are allowed a view
beyond what is presented to why it is so.

More complicated than mathematics, as
simple as politics, lines converging into
our present from past
misunderstandings. Can you not see
or hear the tonal range, words dripping
from a page? Open your mind.

A camera recording what is not always there
but should be. Possibility or probability,
classic or contemporary.
This is art. Representational mystery,
soothing reckless souls, enraptured and
necessary to deal with the pain of life itself.

© 2023 j.g. lewis 

Signs Are Everywhere

Posted on November 22, 2023 Leave a comment

As Black Friday approaches, our thoughts turn to consumerism and, perhaps, lining up at the malls to get the best deals and lowest prices on items we desire. 
   Or not. 
   We are entering the season of giving, the time of year where gifts for friends and family become top of mind, where even an unplanned walk down an unfamiliar street leads into some retail establishment or another. 
   It is also, traditionally, the time of year when appeals from charities find their way into your mailbox or inbox. 
   The signs are everywhere. 
   I walked through Toronto’s Dundas Square the other day, actually on my way to pick up a small gift for my daughter, when I noticed the electronic advertising looming large over the streets. 
20% of your neighbours are facing hunger
   The billboard, over the next few minutes, flashed statistics and facts about the current state of food insecurity in my city. 
   Hunger and homelessness; the necessities of life are lacking. 
   The signs are everywhere. Panhandlers here and there along the sidewalks, shelters filled to capacity, news reports on just how bad life is for many right now in this fractured world and uncertain economy, with the ebb and flow of our currencies, continual price increases and bankruptcies. 
   Everything indicates everybody will be spending less on gift-giving this holiday season. 
   We all feel it personally. How can we not? 
   The appeals from charities have not let up over the past year. It is no longer a “seasonal thing”. 
   Hunger is an issue everywhere, all the time. 
   You see and hear it on the global news. 
   Locally, we feel it even more. 
   The food drives for the unfortunate are unforgiving, and necessary. 
   This electronic billboard, smack dab in the middle of similar signs promoting the latest fashions and must-have devices, drives the point home. 
   I know the intent of the advertising is not to guilt you into giving, but I can’t help but feeling remorse, or shame. Or helpless 
   Recent reports indicate there have been 2.53 million food bank visits in Toronto this year alone, a 51 per cent increase year-over-year and the highest annual surge ever reported. 
   Locally, 30% of food bank clients are children and youth under the age of 18. 
   It’s more than sad; it is disgusting. 
   I feel it. 
   I have a warm home and bed to sleep in each night. I know where my next meal is coming from; have an adequately stocked pantry, and leftovers for when I don’t even have to think about cooking. 
   I also know many people in this city, and elsewhere, struggle to put food on the table, and pay rent, and, and. . . etc…, etc … .
   I am fortunate. It is only fair, and only just, that I share some of what I have. In the true spirit of the season, I intend to give more this season, to increase what I have donated to a few select charities over the year. 
   I must; I am able to do so. 
   If you are able to give, do so.  
   Please. We need to care more for each other.
   This time of year, especially in a year like this, charity (and need) is so close to home. 

less than yesterday

Posted on November 16, 2023 Leave a comment


This day, unlike others before (except yesterday), showed much 

less promise than possibility. I succumbed to my inner rhythm,  

inconsistent and less palpable than days previous, doing slightly  

more than nothing of consequence. Productivity can be such an 

immeasurable notion, and one I do not feel today (slightly less  

than yesterday). After the fact, I find it far less distressing than  

depressive. I can only concern myself with what will become of  

this restless, repressive malady, neither curious nor causative. I  

fumbled my way through today, and likely will tomorrow. My  

ever-present tension: present tense. The past comes rushing back. 

Deadlines mean so little when you’re not paying attention to time. 

© 2023 j.g. lewis

The Greatest Respect

Posted on November 11, 2023 Leave a comment

I have no space in my heart for war.

   I am fearful, and saddened, by continued conflict on foreign soils that I have grown up watching on television and reading in the news. I cannot get past the hatred expressed by bombs, and guns, and the death of innocents unable to defend themselves.

   I am distressed by the threat of war. I have no space in my mind to even try to comprehend such action.

   I have no room in my heart for war.

   I do, however, have the greatest respect for those who have served this country, or made the ultimate sacrifice, so that I, that we, may live as we do now.

   It is not hypocritical.

   It is honest.

   I grew up listening to the horrors of war. I grew up attending, annually, Remembrance Day ceremonies. Armistice Day, as observed by commonwealth nations, marks the end of the First World War. We learned of the war, and those that followed, from a very young age, in textbooks, through the media, or from our parents.

   The stories were not lost on me, but truly didn’t sink in until the end of my teenage years.

   As, then, staff photographer at a mid-sized daily Canadian newspaper, I was assigned to cover the annual November 11 ceremony at a cemetery on the outskirts of the city.

   As a photographer you learn to hover on the edges of an event. I, not wanting to disrupt the ceremony — and wanting to pay respect to those who were there for greater reasons than I — tucked myself behind a tree, attached my telephoto lens, then watched and waited for the right shot.

   The crowd was not small, rain threatened, and veterans still stood tall in their uniforms, blue blazers and berets, medals displayed proudly. Their postures straightened as a bugle played The Last Post.

   I watched as a man in a wheelchair began to shudder, his head bowing down. I then watched as the soldier next to him reached over and placed a hand his shoulder. I was watching through a 200 mm lens, the complete picture of the scene and the crowd was not important to me.

   The sound of the bugle filled the air. I pressed the shutter button a few times, capturing the intimacy of this small act, then my eyes began to cloud with tears. I lowered my camera and broke down.

   I tried to remain silent behind the tree. My eyes were no longer fixed through the camera lens, but sweeping the crowd. I watched aging veterans, wives and widows, and sons and daughters honouring family.

   The impact of the wars, on me, was felt more deliberately than ever before.

   After any event, as a photographer, you search out the subjects of your photograph to get names (and correct spellings). This particular photograph would not require the soldiers to be identified as I shot mostly from behind and they were simply the two men, in a crowd of many, who were not identifiable, as such. I could have easily offered a cutline in the next day’s paper identifying the men as “veterans”. I did not think it as respectful, or I wanted to know who these men were. I had been profoundly affected.

   When asked, both men proudly provided their names, ranks, and details of where they served. I was also invited to the Legion Hall where a simple lunch was planned.

   I went, and I sat and listened to men who were not regaling themselves of war stories, but sharing memories of friendship, of comradery, and of duty.

   I have no place in my heart for war.

   But I have room to remember those who defended this country and others; proud soldiers who defended the lives of others across the globe. The numbers have dwindled over the years.

   They were fathers, and husbands, grandfathers. They meant something to their families, and to me.

   I still tear up on Remembrance Day.

   Some years I will watch the beautiful ceremony broadcast from the National War Memorial in Ottawa. I have visited the Cenotaph in Winnipeg, on Memorial Boulevard, and sat through the ceremony. There is nothing as dramatic as the cannons going off as a sign of respect, heightened by the silence between each shot.

   I cannot help but stop for a moment each Remembrance Day, wherever I am, and offer a silent prayer.

   I have no room in my heart for war, yet, if I am to claim peace the most important goal, I am also to acknowledge, and dare I say, respect, war, and Canada’s peacekeeping role throughout the world.

   No, it is not hypocritical; it is the reality we are faced with.

   War is a reality we are all forced to live with, sadly.

   That should not stop us from hoping, for praying, for peace.

Lest We Forget.

© 2018 j.g. lewis

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