Poetry Month Introduction

Last year  I decided to dedicate my blog to poetry for the month of April to celebrate National Poetry Month. Because last year was such a success, I decided to bring back poetry month for it’s second year in a row.

goose

Here it comes…

With a little more emphasis on the “national” this year.

beaver

 

I don’t usually make a fuss over it, but I am Canadian and I’m proud of it! I live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Though the country may have it’s problems, I’d rather live in Canada than anywhere else.

Canada has a wonderfully diverse arts scene. Our artists are known the world over…for the most part. I was thinking yesterday and I realised that I could only name two Canadian poets that I didn’t know personally. How sad is that? I don’t know about my fellow Canucks, but I wasn’t taught about Canadian poets in any of my schooling.

eRFFySce5r-12

 

Instead of focusing on my own poetry this month, as I did last year, I decided to spend the month highlighting Canadian poetry. So, basically, prepare for beaver, moose and Canada goose pictures this year as opposed to the cat pictures of last year. The wonderful Shawn L. Bird (http://shawnbird.com/) and Matt Loeb (http://www.mattloeb.com/) will be stopping by and showing us a little something. I’m super excited for this month, and I hope you will all be enjoying it with me.

As we (don’t) say in Canada, goodbye, eh?

 

God bless,
Kelsey J.

Flash Friday: Chimera

Kelsey J. Mills

Handel had once been sure of many things, but now he was only sure of one: humans were not meant to have wings. His new appendages barely fit in his cage. Handel could feel every tendon and muscle and ligament in his wings as they ached in protest from being put in the tiny cage. And his wing itched, but every time he tried to scratch it, his talons would pierce his skin. His once crisp white feathers were sticky with dried blood.

They told him that there would be no side effects. Handel chose to believe them, even as he heard the observation room’s doors lock behind the scientists. His belief had only started to waiver when his back roared in agony and his fingernails grew and hardened into heavy claws before his eyes. He felt heavier.

The scientists had shuttled him from the observation room to his current…

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Blogging Vacation

Hello everyone,

You are probably wondering why, instead of seeing my regular content on the blog, you saw a reblogged piece from a few months ago. I’m taking a vacation from the blog this month to rethink my approach to blogging. I’ll be reblogging my most popular posts this month in lieu of new content.

I hope this break gives me time to make this blog better for you, my readers.

 

God bless,

Kelsey J.

Poor Old Jack: The Nightmare Before Christmas and Depression

Kelsey J. Mills

I was told by several friends that I wasn’t a true child of the 90’s unless I watched Tim Burton’s classic film, The Nightmare Before Christmas. I hadn’t seen it as a child, as the trailer terrified me. This year I decided to give the movie a go–all those goth kids had to be on to something, right?

So far I’ve watched it twice, once at Halloween and again as I was making Christmas cookies a couple of days ago.

The synopsis of the film is that Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween town (“Pumpkin King” being kind of like the Grand Marshall of Halloween) discovers Christmas Town and, while he doesn’t quite understand the concept of Christmas, falls in love with the idea of the holiday and gets the residents of Halloween Town to help him put on the scariest Christmas the world has ever seen.

While…

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What I’m Into, February 2016

I’ve had a rough month for mental health.

It’s been hard to find joy in anything, including my usual hobbies of reading, watching movies and listening to music. I’m getting better, so don’t you worry, but I haven’t really been finding anything new and exciting to share with you. However, there have been some movies and TV shows that have been helping me through this difficult time.  I’d like to share three of those with you today.

Home

The first time I broke down this month and had to stay home from work I tried to watch Pixar’s Inside Out (2015). I found it too depressing and had to switch films. I put on Home (2015) instead. I’d seen this movie in the theater and liked it, but I loved it the second time around. This film only has a 47% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and I think that’s ridiculous. It is not simply colourful, silly and utterly benign, as the Rotten Tomatoes summary puts it, but has strong anti-colonialist themes (aliens come and decide Earth is theirs, re-characterising human technology as useless and primitive based on their standards, and relocating all the humans into one place) and themes about individualism versus collectivism. Of course, the film is colourful and silly as well. It was the perfect diversion for my depressed mind.

Murdoch Mysteries

I’ve spent a lot of time both at home and at my Grandmother’s, and a lot of that time has been spent watching Murdoch Mysteries. This Canadian series focuses around William Murdoch, a fictional detective for the Toronto Constabulary around the turn of the 19th century. Murdoch uses some anachronistic technology and other eccentric crime-fighting techniques to catch killers. Murdoch is assisted by his superior, Inspector Brackenreid, a gruff Englishman, Doctor Ogden, an intelligent woman doctor and Constable George Crabtree, an eager-to-learn policeman. The series is full of good mysteries and interesting characters, and paints a nice picture of old Toronto.

Abridged Series

I love abridged series, and I’ve been watching quite a few this month. They’re funny and quick, and an entire season can be devoured in an afternoon. They’re also good to put on in the background to listen to while doing other things. For those of you who don’t know, an abridged series is when a work of fiction is shortened and then made fun of, usually in video form. This is mostly done with anime (Japanese animation) series more than anything else, for whatever reason. These series are mostly found on youtube, which is where I find most of mine. My favourites are Yu-gi-oh! Abridged (as seen above), Dragon Ball Z Abridged, Hellsing Abridged, 50% Off and Justice League Abridged.

And that’s what’s been helping me through this month. Until next time,

 

God Bless,

Kelsey J.

 

PTSDiaries: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

Today, I have both good news and bad news. The good news is that my PTSD symptoms have largely disappeared (leaving me with depression and anxiety to deal with but who’s counting?). Hurray! The bad news is that leaves my topics for PTSDiaries pretty limited. I thought that, since I’m in a position to now look back on my journey through the wilderness, I’d share some of the books, movies and music that helped me through. I’d like to start with one of the hardest books I’ve ever read: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock. And I will be spoiling the book, so turn back if you don’t want to know Leonard’s secrets.

forgive me leonard peacock

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is by Matthew Quick, the same author as Silver Linings Playbook. I really liked Silver Linings Playbook, so I knew I’d find at least something of value in the book. The synopsis is as follows:

            “Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.

But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate, Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school’s class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.

In this riveting look at a day in the life of a disturbed teenage boy, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.”

This book was hard. Trigger warning is an understatement. I sat on my bed and cried all the way through this book. Matthew Quick wrote a damn interesting and engaging character, and I felt like I was in his head. This was not easy, given, well, you read the synopsis. But this isn’t a book review.

It is revealed in the book that the reason Leonard has such hatred for his best friend, Asher, is that his best friend raped him. It is also hinted that Asher was molested by his uncle. Leonard suggests that “[he] thinks Asher wanted [Leonard] to save him.”

It really said something to me. Even though Asher was a horrible person and appeared to have everything, popularity, good parents, he was still battling this secret pain. A pain that he passed on to Leonard.

Should Leonard have “saved” Asher? Could he even have?

There is this idea that abusive and toxic people can be “saved” if you just love them enough. I know that’s not how it works. I know that no matter how much I loved R., which was a lot, it wouldn’t have saved him from the monster inside of him. Abusive people have to acknowledge that something is wrong with them and then seek help by their own free will, or else it just won’t work. Loving someone abusive will not save them. I’m sorry, but it won’t.

The most important thing the book made me realize, though, was this: there is no winning.

Despite the terrible things that Asher did to Leonard, he was still a victim too. He had to live with his inner pain and inner torment. Even though Leonard doesn’t kill Asher, Asher doesn’t win. He’s going to have to keep going with this pain forever.

I realized that there is no winning or losing in my situation with R. I may live with what he did to me, and it may be hard, but his life isn’t great either. I know that he dealt with his own secret pain. We both have to deal with it and keep going.

There is no winning. We’re both flawed human beings who are in a lot of pain. Getting better doesn’t mean that I’m winning; it just means that I’m getting better. Done.

In the end, I’m more like R. than even I could have seen. And it’s important to remember that.

Thank you, Matthew Quick.

Subverting the Superhero: Deadpool Review

So my partner and I went to see this movie on the weekend:

You may have heard of it.

If you haven’t heard of Deadpool, he’s Marvel’s merc with a mouth and one of comic’s best kept secrets (until now, of course). He hails from the X-men universe, and has crossed over with almost as many people as his more famous counterpart, Wolverine. Deadpool (aka Wade Wilson) is a mercenary, ex-Canadian black ops, and was given his powers by a shady organization that promised to cure his terminal cancer. The procedure does cure his cancer, but gives him horrible scars and leaves him mentally unhinged. Comics Deadpool is a violent, foul-mouthed anti-hero with next to no morals and a billion and one wise-cracks. He’s one of Marvel’s most unconventional characters, and he is loved by many fans. In the film, Deadpool’s girlfriend is kidnapped by the aforementioned shady organization and he must use all of his violent skills and wise-cracking to save her.

This isn’t the first time that Deadpool “graced” the big screen. He also appeared in X-men Origins: Wolverine (2009). While the fans loved Ryan Reynolds’ portrayal of the character, some storytelling decisions were….well…really terrible. There’s no way around it. I’m not mad at you, X-men Origins: Wolverine. Just disappointed.

deadpool 2

As a massive X-men fan, and a Deadpool fan, I was looking forward to seeing the character redeemed. This time I was not disappointed. Good job, movie.

I’m going to try not to spoil the movie, because that would be unfair. There is one spoiler I will let slip through, though, because I think it’s awesome: Deadpool is from my hometown of Regina, Saskatchewan!

Regina

Was Deadpool a perfect movie? No. Was it a perfect Deadpool movie? It came damn close.

Let me explain. Deadpool’s general plot-line (man loves woman, man must save woman from bad guys) felt a little too formulaic. I would have liked to see the character’s unconventionality reflected in the plot-line that the writers chose to use. Of course, I understand the writers choice to stick to a familiar story–Deadpool himself is so odd and out there that I imagine the writers felt like they had to keep the story simple so that this wackiness could shine through. I understand, though it was a missed opportunity.

I would have also liked to see more call-backs to the X-men universe. I understand that the movie’s team would have wanted to distance themselves as much as possible from X-men Origins: Wolverine, but it should have been Weapon X that transforms Wade Wilson into Deadpool! That’s more of a nerd quibble than anything else.

deadpool 3

Deadpool is, at his core, subversive. He was created as a parody of the dark and gritty characters populating comics in the 90’s, and has been poking fun at anything and everything ever since. He’s He breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to the audience. He recognizes that he’s in a comic book/fan fiction/movie/video game and will call out the writers. He is violent, sadistic and rude. And the movie nailed this. I can’t give too many examples of how this looks in the movie, but rest assured, it’s there. Lots of comics get this right. Whoop-dee-dee. He’s funny and violent, big whoop. What made this movie one of the best portrayals of Deadpool is that the movie made this character human.

A trait of the alpha-male comic book hero that many critics have called out is a lack of vulnerability. Deadpool can often veer into this too. However, this film shows Deadpool’s vulnerabilities. He’s insecure about how he looks after the procedure. He has affection for other characters, including his best male friend, Weasel, and his roommate, Blind Al. He also goes through horrible things and survives, but barely. He’s a human being.

This isn’t seen enough in comic book movies, and I was so happy to see it in Deadpool.

So was it a perfect movie? No, but it did give one of the most three dimensional portrayals of a comic book character that I’ve ever seen.

deadpool 4

God bless,

Kelsey J.