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 . . .

Mondays are just young Fridays

It is a substantial record: Clues.
   The 1980 album by Robert Palmer took new wave sensibilities of the late ‘70s and ushered in the magnitude of what would become standard ‘80s popular music.
   I listened to the record intently last week, twice in a row. It has been decades since I have done that, but I had to. I enjoyed listening to the music that much.
   Years ago, I used to do it often. As a teenager, I remember the excitement of buying a new LP and listening to it repeatedly for hours and days. These were the times when radio wasn’t playing a lot of rock and roll. I grew up in a city that had only one AM station for the longest time (until a country music station took to the airwaves), and it was more focused on news, current events, and mostly my mom’s kind of music. Evenings they would play to a younger generation, but only the more popular pop songs (there was also an FM station but it played only classical music.
   Records and Rolling Stone magazine were then my link to real music.
   Back then you would play new records repeatedly, learning the songs, studying the lyrics and cover art. Elton John’s Don’t Shoot Me comes to mind and, of course, Dark Side of the Moon.
   As my music collection grew over the years, as important as each record was, albums would be played less frequently; I had more albums to choose from. It had to be a damn good record to be played frequently.
   I know that changed when I owned my first car. The radio was still reliable, and I used to tape albums to play in the car’s cassette deck. Prior to that, listening to music was a stationary experience. Because of the limitations of the turntable, you had to stay in one place and listen, usually on headphones.
   I decided I wouldn’t buy any new albums this year, but instead listen to the music I already owned. I have a lot to select from, in all genres, on both vinyl and compact disc. I listen to music a lot, and in past years would frequently visit record stores to search out and both new releases and unfamiliar vintage albums by artists I was both familiar and unfamiliar with.
   I’ve now got a lot of alums that all need a good listening to.
   Clues was one of those albums.
   The album rocked a little harder than Secrets, his previous effort, but also dwelled in the synth-pop territory. One song, I Dream of Wires, written by new wave darling Gary New is sonically propulsive, a noticeable change of direction from the sophisticated strains of Palmer’s soulful, occasionally jazzy, sound. Palmer was the first artist I heard described as “blue-eyed soul”.
   This record captured the spirit of the times, without now seeming nostalgic. His albums that followed, both solo efforts and his work with The Power Station (an unlikely hook up with members of Duran Duran and Chic) continued in a similar groove, appealing to the Pepsi generation on MTV with his movie-star good looks and videos with the highly stylized back-up babes he became associated with.
   As I flip through my music collection, I am finding more and more albums worthy of re-discovering. All this music was purchased for a reason, and no doubt hasn’t been listened to with the intensity it deserves to be.

02/19/2024                                                                                        j.g.l.

truth or dare

Landscapes, like weather forecasts,
altered daily. Attitudes of how
we view our world, however,
remain stagnant.

Acid rain, climate change, dangers
inconvenient as carbon footprints in
freshly-fallen snow. We wait only
for it all to wash away.

Fossil fuels and solar flares, impotent
political dialogue of truth or dare.
Do we pay any heed past what
remains of the day?

Shame and blame living as we are.
What we do, or what we can do?
If only we would comprehend
how we have devolved.

Temperatures rising, though you
couldn’t tell it now. Common sense
approach far too common. We accept
what we cannot know.

We struggle, unknowingly, ignorant
of our ways. Messages lack meaning.
All talk. No action. Zero-sum gain
if all we do is complain.

02/16/2024                                                                                          j.g.l.

work in progress

I need to remind myself, more often,
who I am and what I have become.
More so, I need to remind myself of
what I am becoming.
If I am truly a work in progress, how
much progress have I made?
How can I tell if I don’t remind myself
or question myself?
Only I can really know.

02/15/2024                                                                              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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Clearly Spelled Out

Posted on January 4, 2017 by j.g.lewis Leave a comment

I’ve got this fabulous set of coloured pencils, each distinctive barrel displaying an empowering word. From BIRTH to DEATH, all significant emotions and expressions are included. Even without the words the colours are magnificent.

I don’t use coloured pencils a great deal. I use a blue pencil when editing hard copy, and a red one to draw attention to important notations in the margins. Sometimes, or occasionally, I will add a little colour to my journal pages to differentiate words or highlight a quote, but then I will use a random selection from a collection that has accumulated through the years.

But I never use this one specific set of pencils. I do pull them out of the desk drawer and look at them once in a while. Pointy, precise, and virginal; I admire them and then tuck them away. These are special pencils and are to be used only for special occasions.

For four years these pencils have been sitting in the original packaging. Still. Waiting. Idle.

Pencils are not inanimate objects. A pencil has a purpose and is designed to be used; each one is meant to spread colour and brighten up a page. Every pencil is designed to be worn down and then sharpened, and re-sharpened, and used, until it can no longer be.

This particular set of pencils just sits there looking pretty.

I think we all have items like these pencils, things we keep tucked away for a special day. There’s that crisp shirt or blouse hanging in the closet, a watch or piece of jewellery, or the flask of rum or bottle of fragrance we believe is best suited for one of those occasions that does not happen every day.

Everything we own has been designed or manufactured for a reason. To not use something is to not realize its potential; imagined or otherwise. To wait is to waste.

We all hang onto stuff, our possessions, our thoughts, all waiting for the right time. Sometimes that time does not arrive or is postponed or put off, so the stuff remains and so does the question.

What is more special than this day?

Are we not breathing?

Have we all not passed through obstacles or accomplished something worthy of recognition? We’ve made it through to yet another year, are these not days to be celebrated? Is that not significant?

Is each day not special?

Maybe, by using those things we keep stored away, we will make each day a little extraordinary, a little different from the ordinary.

I’m going to take the pencils out of the acrylic case and put them to use. If I get a kick out of reading BALANCE or JOY in big block letters, will I not easier find my PEACE or a little more FREEDOM by writing with a pencil where the intention is clearly spelled out?

Today is the first day of making special happen. I’m going to add a little more colour to my life and appreciate each exceptional stroke that I leave on the page.

I may even colour outside of the lines.

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