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

What has been heard, what has been said, after 24 or 27 months give or take? More or less, what was said (even wished) was mainly, and above all else, that we wanted things to return to normal.

We were longing for the everyday day-to-day, the regular way, sort of; or at least, some semblance of such. We wanted, we said, to be with people again, doing the things we usually did.

We wanted to see smiles, again, on stranger’s faces, we said from behind our masks and wanting so much for our lips to be read as much as our expressions of joy. Or reality. Or anything other than what it was for the 26 or 25 months of what came to be.

We weren’t asking for much, really, or nothing any more spectacular than what life grants us on any given day. We wanted the ordinary, if nothing else.

What we have known is not over. How we are living, coping, or struggling, is not the same as it was eight months, or 11 months, back (or 25 or 23). It was a long time, and longer still will be this shadow of a virus that has hung over us (more than a footnote, and still not quite a chapter) in this never-ending story.

What was, or what is, close to some kind of normal, feels closer now. Dare we say it? We wished it, didn’t we, and here we are now more than two years later, finally gathering in parks and parades, galleries, shopping malls, and back at the office.

Masked or unmasked, we might not be as close as we were before, but we are working on it. Aren’t we? Can’t we now see, or hear and experience life, a little bit like we did before?

Yes, we want more, but right now this is as good as it gets for those of us still cautious, yet relieved, that we are here to see what’s going on.

It is, or seems to be, a return to the usual, the normal, and the everyday ways. For some of us it will never happen, for many of us it will never be, but for all of us there is a new (or another) opportunity for ordinary.

The ordinary: after all we have been through, that may even be better than it sounds.

06/27/2022                                                                               j.g.l.

 

cloud songs

     Morning begins it all,
yet it is much later
                    you notice
   nights become shorter
when the day is no longer.
          We see less
       than we want to, and
   know more than
          we should.
   Darkness allows silence.
        May your thoughts
            be understood.

 

06/21/2022                                                                           j.g.l.

Mondays are just young Fridays

The lush canopy of green above us seemed to take its time arriving.
   The recent sunshine, warmth, and humidity contribute to a general feeling of euphoria.
   No specifics required.
   The changing of the seasons is not lost on us; nor is the change of reasons.
   In the grand scheme of things, this feeling doesn’t last as long as it should.
   Shouldn’t we appreciate this more than we do?
   Look up. Look around.
   Think of where you are now and why you are here.

06/20/2022                                                                            j.g.l.

I'm like a pencil;
sometimes sharp,
most days
well-rounded,
other times
dull or
occasionally
broken.
Still I write.

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

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Free Speech Or Hate Speech

Posted on October 30, 2019 by j.g.lewis Leave a comment

There was a substantial protest last night outside a downtown Toronto library demonstrating against an author speaking her views on gender identity.

The event went ahead as planned, following a great deal of media attention, weeks of protest, a hefty on-line petition in opposition, and ‘no place for hate’ signs liberally taped up through the city.

Vancouver writer Meghan Murphy unapologetically promotes her opinion not to recognize the rights of transgender people. Reportedly, about a hundred people attended the event. The number of people protesting outside was far more than twice that number.

While the event has broadened conversation on transgender rights, it has shone a light on the gap between diversity and inclusion. It has also opened up a wider debate on the role, and purpose, of a pubic library.

In any city or town, libraries are traditional civil institutions dedicated to culture, history, free thought, information, and ideas. The purpose of a library, as I was raised to understand, is to encourage and advance opinion. The library is a place of learning. I have long carried a library card.

The library as I know it, in any of the cities I have lived in, is also central to the community as it hosts neighbourhood meetings, presentations and exhibits for all ages. I attended a pen and stationery show last Sunday in this city. The pen show, while not offered by the Toronto Library system, used public space within the library.

Last night’s presentation was not sponsored by the Toronto Public Library, but took place in library space. The use of this space, above the topic of the presentation, has been questioned. The mayor has publicly voiced his displeasure over the contentious event in a city library. A local councilor has said she will present a motion to council directing the city manager and solicitor to review booking rules for all public spaces.

What last night’s event does is question the difference between free speech and hate speech, and with that there are further questions we must continually ask ourselves.

When does refusing a speaker, or book, constitute censorship? When do we take opinion at face value and when do we give it more gravity than it deserves.

I’ve not read anything by Murphy. I have not bothered clicking onto her Feminist Current website. This event is actually the first I’ve heard of the opposition to her views on gender identity and apparent anti-trans stance. Last night’s protest, then, may actually be giving the author more of a platform because of the anger aimed at the Toronto Public Library system.

I have heard concerns, through the media, over the past week that some authors will no longer appear at library events. I’ve read that performers will cancel their roles in popular children’s programming because of this event. I’ve also read that trans-women will no longer feel safe in a Toronto library. I am saddened and fearful when I hear all of these examples because a library should be a safe place for all individuals and families. This is how I have always known a library.

Efforts to reduce services or withdraw participation within the library will only further harm the Toronto Public Library system. When people do not visit, or books are not lent out, and when crowds no longer gather in these magnificent spaces, it will eventually lead to budget cuts.

But this is not as much about future funding as it is the future itself.

You have to ask one major question.

When they attempt to take away an author’s right to say, or write about what they think or feel, when will they next attempt to silence you?

© 2019 j.g. lewis

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