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 . . .


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.


be proud

Personal accomplishments,
practiced perseverance,
following your own voice
even as it becomes muffled
by the world surrounding you.
Pride is not often easy, but it
is always possible.

12/03/2023                                                                                                 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.

follow on social media

keep in touch

Enter your email to receive notification of significant posts. Don't worry, I won't clog up your inbox or sell your data

Infuse Your Muse

Posted on June 24, 2015 Leave a comment


“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
                                                                                                                                                         – Marcel Proust

It’s different for each of us; the power, the magic, the light or spirit that guides us through what we love to do. All of us have a muse, tangible or intangible, we come to rely on to keep the creative juices flowing.

In fact, we may have several muses we count on (depending on the project or circumstance), but sometimes they are not easily accessible, or can’t be summoned exactly when we want.

We are demanding of our muses, expecting them to provide the inspiration to make it through another page or poem. We expect them to be there; we expect them to be as easily turned on as our laptop. It’s when they do not meet your expectations that you begin to expect more of yourself. You push yourself harder, stepping past the point of creativity.
You start forcing the work, and most often the results appear exactly as they are. Forced.

This is when frustration sets in and, often, when we begin to run dry. When the inspiration for your work goes missing or is ignored, productivity decreases and the results are less than enthusiastic. The term ‘writer’s block’ (a convenient excuse, more than a syndrome) is often used, but it is far more than that.

When your work becomes routine, you have probably been working too hard or have become too focused. It gets to the point where you begin to ignore life as it surrounds you. In doing so, you fail to notice your muses.

Like the sister goddess they are (the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, as Greek mythology goes), a muse is to be treated kindly, and not as slaves or implements. A muse must be respected and treated as the gifts they are. They cannot be overworked, and they, along with your self, need time to rejuvenate.

When you are at odds with your inspiration, it is time to infuse your muse.

There are easy ways to restore the creative process, sometimes it’s as simple as giving yourself permission to step away from the page or palette for a while. This is a good time to read, to take a walk or short trip, listen to live music, or go out for coffee with a friend. Feed your muse and it will continue to provide the mental nutrition you need.

Then there are times when the simple becomes complicated, when you don’t feel like talking and dumping your problems on a friend, or when reading the book everybody is raving about becomes more about analyzing another page of words.

This is when you need a wholesale change in how you have been functioning. As Carpal Tunnel syndrome may settle in when certain muscles are over-used, your creativity may become cramped in its current isolation. This is a perfect time to find a project or passion that uses another part of your brain or body, a time when you need to stretch other muscles.

For a musician, it might be taking up yoga. The graphic designer who spends too much time hunched over a Mac may take to the garden (I think the ‘high tech, high touch’ philosophy was introduced in the early ‘80s). A painter may take up sculpture as a means of providing an alternative artistic vision. A writer may take up painting, or a musical instrument. Sometimes
it is doing quite the opposite of what you have been doing.

I have been stuck in the edit mode over the past months, rechecking, reformatting, and (in some cases) rewriting past works, all with a certain goal in mind. Editing, while necessary, does not have the same creative spark as writing fresh material. It can be laborious, soul sucking, occasionally painful (you are, after all, killing your babies) and immeasurably frustrating. The more you edit, the more frustrating it becomes.

I often use poetry to counter to process, to give myself time to let words fall onto the page. It can, and does, work, but it still finds you in the same place; sitting in front of a keyboard trying to formularize feelings for the greater world.

It does not allow a fresh perspective.

Over the past months, I’ve stepped back behind a camera as a means of getting beyond the now-familiar fictional worlds I have created. Photography is also very familiar to me, having spent my first career as a photojournalist, but it is not an art form in which I have become immersed for many years. Even then, my former camera work was more focused (no pun intended) on what was newsworthy and what needed to be recorded. It was a career of learning how to fit art and intuition into a deadline.

These days my photography is more specific to composition and controlling, capturing or defying the availability of light. It’s a challenge, as much as it is enjoyable. It’s forcing me to look at life differently, to find a new perspective. It is about stepping beyond boundaries and comfort zone. As you look deeper, you begin using a separate and distinct side of your psyche.

Although I am still mainly in edit mode, these regular breaks from my current reality are allowing a new vibrancy into my poetry, and have fostered a greater overall sense of well-being. It comes from not doing something that is usual. While it may not be unusual, it is something different.

The adage ‘a change is as good as a rest’ rings true. Your creativity is refreshed by not using your talents in the same manner you have been. As you return to the work that brought you down in the first place, you can approach it in a different context. You may discover elements of your regular craft that you had not noticed before, simply because you are now looking at them in a different way.

Sometimes it is not what we look at, but how we look at it.

Words For A Father

Posted on June 17, 2015 Leave a comment


Always words I wanted to say.
Even now, they can’t stain the page.
Whys and whens, I might never know
if I don’t say,
if I couldn’t find the words, or some time,
to ask my father.

Forever a distance I could never cross.
More than a few steps, questions lost,
ifs, ands, or buts, I dared not to mention.
How could I, then?
Or now? If I didn’t find the time, or the words
for my father.

There have always been years, months and days
I never found the time, or the way.
The fault is mine, tongue-tied.
Can I speak, now?
Or ever? Time is a barrier to words
with my father.

A love held back, not purposely so.
It’s my fault, I know it’s there, I’ve felt it grow,
still I can’t, so it seems, make myself known.
How can I, now?
How would he know? Does he? Do I
know my father?

There is a will to utter sentences in my head,
to say what needs to be told, has to said.
I’d like to think he realizes what holds me back.
I understand him less,
than he knows me. How can he?
He is my father.

I was supposed to ask, supposed to say,
but never did. Was it meant to stay that way?
The clock has expired, true nature of time.
Words unspoken.
Unrealized. Thoughts remain mine.
Not my father’s.

Did he know why I needed my time?
Questions then would always remind.
Maybe he thought it best I find the answers
on my own.
It’s probably right, words meant to remain
with my father.


Words and thoughts change over time, even those you feel you cannot express. The bulk of this poem was written in late 2012. The last two stanzas were just added. The words were never spoken, yet the poem is complete. Or maybe it just now provides closure? Father’s Day is about remembering, and I do. And I am. Peace and love Dad.

We Keep Stepping Forward

Posted on June 10, 2015 // 1 Comment


Each movement of every step, the seconds adding up to minutes and days, takes you closer to a finite end. In spite of all we want to believe, or all we put off, we are slowly making our way towards a certain death.

I can’t sugar coat it. I’m neither a pessimist nor an optimist, but a realist. We are all dying; it is a natural part of our evolution, the last step of life’s cycle.

Many of us are, or may be, fortunate to walk through our time steering clear of the multitude of diseases that accelerate the process. A greater number of us will be blessed with a cure for ailments unknown, or will be healed. Some of us won’t be as lucky. I, at this age, count myself in the first group, though things can change; things always do.

All of us are dying. From the moment the cord is cut, it is part of the process. We grow up and grow old. As the years pass, our skin will fade, hair will thin and take on a silver tone, bones become brittle, eyes grow weak, and gravity just happens. We see it, most noticeably, as the ageing process is personified by our parents. We watch, we listen, as they do, and as they do, so do we. We don’t notice it to the same effect until they are gone, as they pass on through old age or otherwise.

And we keep stepping forward.

The death of a parent forces a closer look at what you are doing in your own life, and how you are living. You think a little deeper of changes, physical and spiritual, you have made or are making. You question choice and chance.

How we choose to move forward makes up the difference between a life lived, and a life well-lived. Caution rarely seems to work, for in doing so you miss out on what this life affords. At the same time, reckless behavior — tipping the temptations that cross your path — will surely hasten the pace. Some things are simply too good to miss, and some things are mistakes.

It’s finding a balance, making decisions on how to live, without becoming obsessed or depressed with the end result.

Death is neither a possibility nor a probability, but an eventuality. You can decide to face it head on, or choose to ignore it by trying to squeeze as much life and experience out of your years. Still you need to be cognizant of where you’ll end up. Ignore is the root word of ignorance, and I will no longer be ignorant. I’m well past the Peter Pan stage (I was a lost boy far too long) and would like to think my decision to live is a somewhat serious concern.

It’s deciding how my body and mind, and thus my soul, are to be nurtured. I still carry a manageable share of vices, can occasionally be led into temptation, but I’m trying to create that equilibrium between what will prolong, and what will kill. I’m hardly middle-of-the-road, but I am more careful how and where I spend my time, and with whom I spend it. It’s how we decide to live now that has the greatest ramification on how we die.

I am attempting to find value in all that is around me, and weed out things with less worth. Simplicity is attractive, but getting there is rather complicated. I suppose patience has a lot to do with it. I’m more patient now than I was when I was younger.

I’m past the point of wanting things, but hold a desire for what I need in my life. Yet, I no longer think about it, as much. Time is wasted wanting things that may never occur. But to allow the desire to continue means accepting things the way they are right now, and leaving your mind open to what may be.

Desire surpasses want (on so many levels), but is less forceful and occurs naturally, much like death. Or like life. The things I want to do, the places and people I want to visit, become more significant when they are desires. They become the things worth living for.

I don’t know how much time I have left, yet I do know my time is precious, so I’m going to enjoy as it flows. I will do so patiently, naturally, with intent, appreciation and forethought.

I’ll continue dying to live, instead of living to die.

“When did the choices get so hard
With so much more at stake
Life gets mighty precious
When there’s less of it to waste”
                           – Bonnie Raitt

Sing Of Your Presence

Posted on June 3, 2015 // 1 Comment




Morning crow, reliable soul, dutiful beyond reproach,
an eagerness to greet daylight before fully formed. Nothing,
if not enthusiastic.
You, solitary and without conscience,
never fail to usher in the day. A voice recognizable, its volume
ever-present but, as usual, without tune.

Undeterred, you provide each of us a lesson, or
each of us who hear you calling out, perhaps to brethren
who just yesterday settled on power lines as jurors,
passing judgment on those below. 

Searching, as you do, within your realm, for a crust
of bread, or carcass of a roadside squirrel. Deservedly,
you should well feast on the flesh of lesser creatures,
those without speed, or sense, to deal with vehicular traffic.
Scavenger thus, 
you welcome scraps few others would accept.

So you sing of your presence, a persistent craw
craw   craw        craw
a noise unlike birdsong of a thrush or swallow, or any 
of those pretty birds. 
Your song is more utilitarian, less than rhythmic,
and to nature’s great voices
what a parking ticket may be to a poetry.

Still you go on and on, and on,
and on.
I hear you. I empathize with you,
I know you. 
For I too may not have the voice, or the content,
others may possess, still I try.
I too 
have something to say and I continue trying.
For that, I appreciate you.

But morning crow, please know it is Sunday.
Perhaps you may not be a Biblical bird,
as the regal Dove may be, but you should know,
if only by observation, this day is one of rest.
It was my wholehearted intention, 
if only allowed, to let sleep remain 
for another hour. Or two.

So crow,
morning crow, proud crow,
please allow me this time, just for today.
Return tomorrow 
when your song will be appreciated, 
even if not understood.

©2014 j.g. lewis

All You Can Hope For

Posted on May 27, 2015 Leave a comment


I have five favorite words. Individually, each is strong. Together, in any order, in any amount, they are powerful.




Five words; words worth waiting for . . . or searching for, fighting for,
or hoping for.

For many years, the words had become a mantra of sorts, my mythos; so to speak. Not so much an incantation, but more of a statement, or laundry list, of words I believed in.

Then, it seemed, I didn’t.

A few years back, in frustration mainly with myself, the word hope lost its power. By circumstance or consequence, I lost my ability to communicate authentically. My words, my thoughts, my actions and aura, were not connecting, as they should have. I didn’t realize this until it was far too late.

I went numb. I settled into a pattern, and hope never once gave me a nudge. Without hope you are hopeless. I wasn’t. So, I removed the word hope from my vocabulary. It seemed like the right thing to do, at the time.

It came to me at the wrong time, but I realized there is nothing to hope. Hope it is a useless word. Unlike the other four words, hope has no substance. You can know peace, you can feel love, you learn and earn trust, and you can find faith. But all you can do is hope for hope, and that itself says something.

Hope keeps you wondering, hope keeps you waiting, and hope keeps you thinking. There is no resolution in the thoughts hope provokes. You just keep hoping, and that is wrong. Or it certainly isn’t right.

There is nothing tangible to hope. Hope is wishy-washy.

Hope does nothing but prolong pain, anger, or insecurity and fear. Hope, eventually, does little more than create doubt and disappointment. While hope comes from euphoric thoughts or feelings, there is nothing concrete to it.

If anything, hoping creates false hope, or it seems as if that is what true hope is: false. It tends to create unsubstantiated ideals for desiring what may be, when instead you should focus on what you have or what you want.

So I stopped hoping. I began planning.

I settled into a routine I believed would accomplish my goals and remove the sadness I had encountered, simply by staying busy with my plans. And, for a while, it seemed to work. I planned, and I followed through on my plans. They were concrete, they could be adjusted, or altered, or erased. Plans were made, plans were acted on, or plans were dropped. It seemed easier when I didn’t include hope.

Hope is a difficult word; it is tenuous, at best. It lacks definition. I, then, lacked definition. I was lost, and there was no hope. I could not even aspire to hope. You can want, but it is not hope. You can dream, no, you can wish, but that is not hope.

I had stopped hoping.

What I was doing, I thought, was a far cry from hope. But, as you go, as you grow — as I evolved — I then realized you couldn’t erase hope. No matter how I continued to deny myself, hope was always there. It may not always be bright and shiny, but it reaches out, or occasionally whispers from the shadows. Perhaps it is subconscious, but as you plan, as you accomplish even in small increments, there is this bit of hope that keeps you moving forward.

You just have to acknowledge it.

Not including hope in your life is like painting a rainbow without violet; the rainbow is not complete. Life is not complete without hope.

Hope, as a word, has returned to me. I have allowed it back into my vocabulary, and into my life, though I know it never left.

I don’t think you ever lose hope, which is not its nature. Hope keeps you believing, I think hope is what drags you through the grief, or giving-up stage, and keeps you looking further ahead. Hope is the root of all planning.

The thing is, the hope you seek must be self-contained. It’s a lovely thought to hold out hope for someone else, but you don’t really have that power. Hope is internal. In the face of tragedy or despair, I think the greatest hope is how you respond to the situation, and how you deal with the aftermath. Hope is always there, in the back of your mind, or at the core of your being.

It’s when I stopped hoping, that I stopped being.

1 118 119 120 121 122 125