Our dreams, scattered
amidst our memory, last night
or the one before.
The dream, the day
the music that plays
in the coffee shop.
It is all noise
cluttering the silence
we think we want to hear.
original content and images ©j.g. lewis
I seem to spend more time reviewing the camera manual than I do shooting with the damn camera.
With my new camera, about six months ago, I have already enjoyed many hours capturing the sights and my surroundings at all hours of the day. There are several images I’ve created over the months, of both people and places, that I’m especially proud of.
I make an attempt, as often as I can, to practice a craft I have spent much of my life studying.
But I want to learn more.
I continue to establish what has often been trial-and-error proficiency in the craft, and art, of photography. It is what I do, and have done.
It is about finding value in what you do and how you live.
Involve yourself in what you can, find the lessons or the learning as you go, in everyday experiences. It becomes a rewarding challenge as you broaden your interests with a new topic, or focus deeply on what gives you pleasure
Not everything is immediately enjoyable, but with a concrete focus you might see greater possibilities.
There are a handful of albums that signified a change in music in the late ‘70s. Many of those albums were British, but you could hear an immediate response — even revolution — from a select few American bands.
Television was one of those bands, and Marquee Moon was one of those definitive records.
You didn’t hear the music on the radio, not in the middle of the Canadian prairies, so I listened to it intently on the stereo at home.
In the years that followed, I could hear the influence of Television’s singer, guitarist and principal songwriter Tom Verlaine on other bands of the time; even on the radio. I still hear it now.
Tom Verlaine passed away yesterday at age 73.
We document, in our journals, things we have done or make lists of what we have to do: it is a plan.
We all have an agenda.
A to-do list, either on a scrap of paper, an errant post-it note; a laundry list or even mental notes (often forgotten) seem to make it easier.
It makes us feel we have a purpose.
What’s on your list?
I'm like a pencil;
Still I write.
is a writer/photographer in Toronto.
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Restless now. Really for months, an urge
a need, to do something. Feel something.
An interest in objects, as much as anything.
Certain things mark a time. A sugar bowl, a
cookie tin; items, almost sacred. Empty, at
a glance, yet brimming with moments.
Grandmother long gone, she now finds
herself in a place. Voices. Ushered forward
by a child, young woman now, and held back
by memories. Her flesh, her blood, those
who raised her. Comfort. Restless still.
Words and thoughts, she wants to write.
She wants to write, but never has. Not like
this. Father’s firm disposition, a mother’s
tenderness, a voice that softened her reality.
She wants to write, like she wants to believe.
Decisions made, not regretted, but pondered.
The ink is fresh, the pen permanent.
A snap of memories, broken, diminished joys
not of parenthood, but of partners. She wants to
write about love; past and present and perhaps
more. She wants to write like she wants to breathe.
Ink flows smoothly. Her blood. History always
an interest, this is more personal.
Shameless, blameless admissions, only to herself
and a page presenting itself as a stranger. Now
it offers its skin as a lover. The smooth, thick pen,
heavy and hard between her fingers, finds a rhythm.
An object desired. She wants to write, like she
wants to feel. She has, and will again.
Never like this. Minute details reiterate her faults. The
pen’s nib, ever constant, captures lives left behind,
but still within. If only her heart, if not in her life.
The pen moves forward, she still there. Now. Every
letter, each stanza reveals a voice. A need.
She wants to write, like she wants to bleed.
Of Patience and Pain
Saturday night in the ER, it could be 11 or
thereabouts. Time matters not when you are
waiting. Each visitor here has a purpose,
they would not be here had they not. Incessant
florescent lighting obliterates all time. It
could be morning, as easily as it is night.
Settling into chairs of modicum comfort, we wait.
Mothers clutch screaming children, a husband
and a wife, not speaking. Who knows what each
is feeling? Minutes pass slower, punctuated by
coughing and crying. Conversations about nothing,
ailments and symptoms. Disease. I am here, alone.
Why bother someone else with a pain I cannot
control; a pain only I can explain. It is personal.
We all sit, amidst yesterday’s newspaper and
someone else’s problems. We muster the patience
to deal with the sickness, the boredom, the pain,
and the antiseptic scent of helplessness.
An elderly couple sits, three hours now, immune
to the commotion of reckless drunks with bloody
noses. They are quiet, respectful. More people come
and go. And wait. Gradually others take their turn, as
the rest of us wait, not knowing when our time
will come. We hope it is soon, but know it is not.
The elderly gentleman does not remove his hat. She,
tired and hurting, rests her head on his shoulder. He
is her strength. He is there for her, as always and now.
At one point he stands, takes her arm and guides
her to the washroom. He waits outside, as if guarding
his cherished possession. She is there for him. Always.
All those hours in the ER, he held her hand the
entire time. I know nothing of her ailments or
of their history, but I recognize, can plainly see,
all that is there. Love. In his palm, it is in their
lives. A type of love I do not own, perhaps a kind
of love I might have known. Not here.
This couple, a lifetime of love that keeps them
holding hands, in sickness and in health. Closer
now. Till death do them part. Patience, even
through the commotion of the ER and all they
have experienced in life. Love. Time matters
not, when you have the patience required.
The all-important Hyphen
The hyphen: there is really not a lot to it.
At first glance, a small stroke using up less ink than a capital I (or lower
case for that matter), the hyphen holds many roles but is mainly used as a
The hyphen brings words together.
Conveniently located adjacent to the numerals on your keyboard, the hyphen is
one of those reliable punctuation marks in a writer’s tool kit. It’s fairly
popular, rather practical, occasionally suffers from overuse, but has never
really been one of my go-to keys; I’m more of a semicolon guy.
The hyphen’s use and usefulness cannot be ignored. It’s helps modify and can
brighten up even the most euphorically-sunny day, further define a well-dressed
man in a made-to-measure three-piece suit, and can attach lovers joined by their
wedding vows. The hyphen, many times, can also be used to delineate parts within
a written date, or represent a span in time.
I suppose the weight of the hyphen really just occurred to me as I, again,
thought of my father and of his recent passing. I glance at his obituary and the
88 years summed up with a simple keystroke. Beneath his name sits a date of
birth and a date of passing; important dates indeed, but what of all the years
My father was just that, a true father. A Dad. But he was also son, and a
brother as well. He was a husband, uncle, brother-in-law, and a friend,
colleague, partner and co-worker. With each of those roles came responsibilities
he never seemed to shirk in a life filled with events and occasions, holidays,
graduations, weddings and anniversaries, career advancement, new cars and homes,
All those hours spent guiding his children, the lessons learned and wisdom
passed on, all represented by an insignificant hyphen.
It got me thinking about all the time between the start and stop of his life,
and mine. He made so much of his time on this planet, and I am just here.
I’m living in the hyphen right now and I have no idea when my full stop might
come. I would like to think the present is just another comma in the pages of a
life that still has many sentences and chapters to go, but maybe it’s time to be
There are goals still not realized, and a purpose not fully defined. I have a
great deal to offer my family and friends, and to those I have yet to meet.
There is more life to live, and more air to breathe. I’d like to think there are
many hyphens still within my grasp.
I guess its about deciding to make the hyphen important and squeezing as many
memories and moments into this one small dash. I need now to be more open to
changes that will inevitably happen, to be prepared to accept compromise and
It’s also time now to start paying attention to the smaller hyphens, the ones
that fall between self and awareness, or realization. Or preservation. Call it
self-examination. I don’t think I’m much different than any of us presented with
our middle-aged life (talk about a shocking hyphen). We all look at where we
were, and consider where we are going. How we will get there, and where exactly
I know I need to worry less about situations beyond my control, to be less
suspicious of others, and make myself more susceptible to options and emotions
presented to me. I need to be a more-reliable brother, and father. I need to be
a better friend, and I need to be able to become a stronger person. I need to
forgive more and criticize less (myself and others). I need to show a greater
aptitude for gratitude.
I need to live my life more by the example set by my father, and less like the
reckless self-absorbed teenager who once doubted his advice.
As stubborn as I am, I’ll still live by my words (or I will try), but in doing
so I will pay more attention to the hyphenation, beginning with less self-doubt and
What will I do today? This week?
Each day I ask this, of myself. I ask this of others;
daily, hourly . . . each second of every minute I ask questions,
with each question comes a decision.
We all make decisions
all the time.
Where to go, what to do, what to buy, whether to stay,
what to say,
how to say it, how to ask a question. ?????
Each and every act, goal, accomplishment or
failure, begins with a decision.
How can I be sure the decisions I make are right, or proper, or ethical . . . even moral?
I can try.
I can leverage all my knowledge and experience, and hope, and plan,
but even then I can’t be sure the decisions I make, at that time, are correct.
I am like everybody else.
We all struggle with decisions.
Many, or even most, of the decisions we make involve someone else. In fact, many of the decisions we make must function, or cooperate, or align, with decisions made by others.
And that is hard.
Even the simple decisions we must make are hard.
Every decision is one of hundreds of inter-connected, though seemingly unrelated, decisions made each day.
Life is a cumulative series of decisions.
Your decisions impact the lives of those around you; those you love
or those who, just by their nature of being where they are or what they are,
are just there.
Every day we make decisions.
You decide how you will be viewed, how you will be remembered,
how you will be accepted, or how you will accept others.
We wake and walk upon each decision we make.
Some, in fact most, decisions are irreversible; resolution is not even in your hands.
And the decisions made by others may possibly be the most difficult decisions to deal with.
You are forced, without having to decide, to deal with the consequences
you had never intended.
One decision leads to another, and there is always the danger of collateral damage.
And if we don’t question the decisions made by others, we wonder: why they did that; why they said that; why they left, or let you go?
All are questions fuelled by decisions, and decisions made without your input. Mainly
decisions made with little care or without concern for you.
Then again it’s not the actual decision that hurts, as much as it’s how you react to the decision.
If you don’t react properly, there is certain to be conflict.
Decisions can lead to arguments, as much as agreement, or conclusion, or worry . . .
Without decisions we do little, or nothing, to contribute to
this grand parade we call life.
Think about it.
There, right there, that’s a decision; you have to decide how you will think about it
and what you will think about.
What will you think?
What choice will you make?
If you don’t make a choice, you are leaving it up to a chance, or fate. Kismet.
And taking a chance is nowhere near effective as making a decision.
It might be easier, at the time,
but really it’s not.
Not at all.
When we make the decision to leave it up in the air — to leave it to chance — that in itself
is a decision; not one to be taken lightly,
and one that can only lead to indecision.
Indecision can kill you, if not physically then morally, or spiritually.
Just as the wrong decision, or even the right decision at the wrong time, can
take its toll on how life should, or could, be lived.
With decision comes responsibility.
We own each decision we make, and every mistake made.
Spur-of-the-moment decisions often haunt us the longest.
So how do you make the right decision, without worry, without regret?
I suppose, above all else, it’s a matter of being flexible, and even more so,
If you are making a decision it should be made in fairness, and with intention.
And it should be made for all the reasons that are good and whole,
Not just right for you, but those you care about.
Think about it.
Ask yourself: What do I want . . . what do I really want?
is what I have what I really want?
Make that decision.
My January Breath
Snowflakes. Only movement. Twilight comes until twilight goes. Daylight leaves too early. Swiftly. The deeper the night, the colder the darkness.
My January breath suspended, my thoughts wishing to go somewhere. Anywhere, other than here. A deafening winter silence.
The air is slow.Still. Almost. Alone, even in the shadow of the streetlamps. Nobody to shield your ears from the cold, or dampen the inevitable.
Pointless the task, reviewing patterns and paths carved into the cartography of the ego. Realization. What once was, may never be. This season stays the longest.
Even with full sunlight. The wind, should it decide, rips through me. Harsh. I am not here, not really. Permanent as my January breath.
Flurries obscure constellations and the moon. Isolation. The circumference of my being is reduced. Limited. Blinded by temporal beauty, or tears.
Nothing has happened, or is happening. The brazen wind chill clashes with body heat, the atmosphere the victor. Obvious. The world still gets in your eyes.
Time agape with a grey known only to the night. A solitary trek through the ordinary. Undisturbed. Each step resonates the soul-crunching scream of a thousand snowflakes.
Beneath winter’s fickle facade, the ice cracks. The fragility of the planet apparent. Vulnerable. Each season has precious moments. Gone. Time stands still. This is my January breath.