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 . . .

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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The Tradition Of Christmas
Posted on December 25, 2019 by j.g.lewisLeave a comment

Those of us who celebrate the date do so with traditions we adhere to, learn, or create.
  Above all else, Christmas is tradition.
  It shows itself beyond gifts or cards lined up on the shelf. It is felt more deeply than religion or faith. It is the simple belief that this day is what we were once told.
  It keeps us believing.
  Tradition is found within a mother’s needlepoint, or a song she sang. Maybe now you do too. It is remembering your sister as a child, as you see her child as she was about that age. This is, and has always been, time marked by family love and lore.
  Tradition is in the stories we tell, or told.
  Traditions keep us close to what we knew.
  However you celebrate, if you celebrate, I wish you a Merry Christmas.
  May your memories – the one’s you hold or the ones you make – be as warm, as loving, and as generous as mine.

Deep peace

Let It Burn
Posted on December 18, 2019 by j.g.lewisLeave a comment

Every year, as we near the end of the calendar or come close to our winter’s solstice, I make a list. I write two lists actually, on one slip of paper with a bold line drawn right down the middle: the dividing line.
  On the left side I begin to list all the negative crap I have dealt with over the past year, the frustrations and things that got me down, or couldn’t be resolved. To the right (because it’s all right), I freely list all the good things that have taken place, the positive news, and stuff I simply feel good about.
  It’s my way off summing up the year. Hopefully the good side is longer than the bad. Usually, it is.
  I then take the paper and tear it down the middle, right along the line, separating the positive from the negative.
  The left side I’ll tear it into tiny pieces and toss it in the recycling bin, or flush it down the toilet. Gone. Good riddance to bad rubbish. The right side I neatly fold, slip it into an envelope, and mail myself a letter.
  Cathartic, yes, it’s my way of leaving things behind and stepping forward with a new positive attitude. The year-end review is invaluable, providing me a better idea of what I have done. It also rids the mind of what is no longer important.
  I don’t open the envelope when it arrives in my mailbox, but only slip it into my most recent journal. I keep it there for future reference; perhaps there is a day I’m feeling down and need pep talk, and I’ll open it then. Or, maybe the next year will be kinder to me and I won’t need reminding.
  Presumably, it may forever sit, unopened, in my journal, and that’s not a bad thing (I left all those behind). Writing the lists keeps me looking ahead, and that’s much easier once you’ve got the negative stuff out of the way.
  Others have told me they appreciate this exercise, and have adopted my practice. It might just be a symbolic gesture, but deep thought and action often provides us with those little moments of resolution.
  This year, heading into a brand new decade, I am shifting things up and taking a longer look back. Don’t we often find it helpful to see the big picture? I’m reviewing the past 10 years and coming up with six things.
  On the left of the paper I’ll write three major frustrations of the past 10 years. Perhaps a haunting disappointment, or two, maybe something else I simply could not accomplish, or I have given up on. I’m pretty sure I wont have to think that hard; stuff like that often pops into mind, or I’m reminded at the most inconvenient moments.
  On the right side I’m going to list three things I’m proud of. It might be a few accomplishments, or something I’ve managed to do, or maintain, or a change I have welcomed into my life. These are three of the events or undertakings that make me a better person, or have helped me better deal with all those other frustrations.
  These are the good things I want to remember today, next year, and in the decade to come. This is the list I’m going to mail to myself. I may never open it, but I know what is there. You want to be remember things like that.
  I’m then going to take the other side of the paper, the list of all that shitty stuff, and I’m going to set a match to it. I’ll let it burn to ash, disappear right before my eyes, as if it is a ceremony or exorcism.
  It’s not that I won’t think about it again — this kind of stuff always haunts you — but I will know, in my mind, I have dealt with it, that I’ve made the effort to remove some of the negativity from my life.
  I’m planning my intimate ceremony for Saturday night. I’m going to welcome the darkness of the shortest day by shedding my own light.
  It might only be symbolic, but don’t we all need more symbols, or gestures and actions to mark even the smallest steps we take forward?

© 2019 j.g. lewis

Do you keep a journal?
soultalk is offering a FREE online journaling program to usher in the new decade. 20 prompts over 20 days (it is 2020 after all). Come write with us in a closed Facebook group. We start January 1, 2020. For more information, or to sign up, send an email to

Continued Commitment
Posted on December 11, 2019 by j.g.lewisLeave a comment

There are now fewer pages left in my journal than there are in this year.
   Perfect timing, really, for a new decade is approaching and I will begin the New Year with a brand new journal.
   I’ve been keeping a journal with solid regularity for about 20 years.
   I had tried before, at different points in my life, to maintain some sort of journal, diary, or account of my life, but those attempts always ended up incomplete. The books got lost, or I got lost (or lost interest), or couldn’t really find the time.
   Life is often like that, you find it hard to find the time to do things you really want to do.
   It takes more than commitment; it takes continued commitment.
   My journals are full of life, as it happens. Trips, trials and tribulations, events attended, tales about people I’ve met; people who have died, people who left, and those who are still with me.
   It becomes personal history. For me.
   It is important to me.
   I write every day, but not always in my journal. I’ve got a several manuscripts on the go, in varying stages of undress, and there is something on this site every day. Then there is poetry, and letters to friends and family scattered across this amazing planet.
   I write every damn day.
   The journaling is different, always by hand, always by pencil, I write both the consequential and inconsequential in my journal, as it happens and usually when it happens.
   Sometimes I will glue in an article from the newspaper, other times a postage stamp or concert ticket, or include a quote from somebody that has inspired me.
It’s pretty random, at times it is messy (like life), at times my thoughts are not complete, but the journal has a purpose.
   This current journal is the second book I have filled this year. It began with a trip to Winnipeg on father’s day, to visit my daughter (that’s always something to write about), and continues to describe weekends out and about in Toronto on my bike, my concerns over gun violence and public safety in this city, and memories of people, places, and music.
   You learn a lot about yourself as you write, and you continue learning as you write. That is the value of a journal.
   Journaling is sort of like the quote I jotted down in my journal on August 24:
     “Learn from yesterday, live
      for today, look to tomorrow,
      rest this afternoon.”
                         -Charles Schultz


Do you keep a journal? Are you ready to start?
2020 is almost here, a new year and a new decade.
There’s no better time to start than a new year.
soultalk is offering its annual free online journaling program to get you going in the new year an beyond.
Normally the program is 10 writing prompts over 10 days, but this year (and the reason seems obvious to me) it will be 20/20.
It begins January 1 in a closed Facebook group.
In addition to a daily prompt, there are hints on maintaining a healthy journaling practice, and the support of a group that are going through the same thing with you.
The program is open to, pretty much, everyone.
Come write your way into 2020.
For more details, and to sign up, send an email to
Come and write with us.
Write on.