Saying Farewell to Friends Who Blog

I haven’t posted in a while, I hadn’t intended to post again until the new year, but the past three weeks or so have been fully focused on my circle of friends here on my blog, and on one in particular.

I know I am not unusual in having had the opportunity to make many friends and some particularly deep connections with folk who blog – we stumble into each other in odd moments, like what we see and stick around. We are often introduced through another blog, usually in the comments where we air our thoughts and feelings (well, I do any way) generously, randomly and sometimes in great detail. ūüôā We find folk who resonate with us as well as having shared interests. It’s the resonating that is important to me, it probably is to you too.

My friend Cynthia reminded me that we first met through Derrick’s blog, I had forgotten the genesis of our friendship but she had not. ¬†We knew each well for less than two years – yet it seems we knew each well for much longer.

Our friendship grew quickly. We emailed and continued conversations started in a comment somewhere. We shared our opinions, our thoughts with honesty, sometimes acerbically, sometimes with humour, and sometimes with tears about hurt hearts. There was nothing that couldn’t be resolved, there was nothing that didn’t end with us bouncing humorously off each other. Despite having lived in different parts of the world and having followed very different paths on the journey, we found we held thoughts in common, about health, about education, about art, about spirituality, about life and death. Sometimes we ranted, sometimes we sighed, sometimes we amused ourselves and each other highly, sometimes we simply changed the subject.

I bought her book of poems, ‘A Certain Age’, loving so much of what I read on her blog. She ordered a light catcher, to be made in blues and oranges. Particular blues and oranges! I was aghast at her colour choices and kept trying to calm them down. “No, no!” she emailed back, “the other blue the bright one….” I strung some together and sent a photo, “Less amber,” she replied “more orange, the bright orange”

At last I got it right and she pronounced herself satisfied. It was spectacular!

cynthia-pizap

Cynthia had a gypsy soul I decided. She agreed, but don’t spread it around she said – I can’t dance any more and I’ve lost my castanets and you can’t be a proper gypsy without castanets!

And then my gypsy souled friend admitted she was feeling unwell. I knew she had been struggling all through that last northern summer. She emailed and said she had finally given in and gone to be checked out. She was afraid the cancer had returned.

Cancer? What cancer? She had a bout of cancer some time back and had gone into remission six years ago. Cynthia was afraid it had now returned. She didn’t want to go the medical cancer route and she didn’t want the battle she thought she would have to endure.

I mostly ignored that email – I didn’t want her to go that route either. Another note arrived hot on its heels. The diagnosis was in. Cancer. Metastisized. A matter of time.

The time was two weeks. Two weeks from diagnosis to a peaceful passing with her beloved sister Jen beside her and Celtic lullabies playing on the CD.

Cynthia Jobin, poet, writer, calligrapher, artist, blogger, friend, passed away December 13th 2016.

Cynthia will be cremated today. She did not want a service, just her ashes to be scattered when the weather is more clement off the coast of New Hampshire.

Far away in New Zealand on the 13th of December, I sent my last daily email to her. The following morning I sat before my in-box and a little voice whispered in my ear to let her go.

We’ve lost a great gal from our blogging circle.
A wonderful poet – a great mind – a ready wit.
A particularly kind woman!

I thought you’d like to know and perhaps share the news as appropriate.

Cynthia’s sister Jen is happy to hear from any of her friends who would like to make contact. Her email is [jlibby16@twc.com]

Cynthia told me that her friend and fellow blogger¬†John (Looker) Stevens had offered to organise publication of a second volume of her poetry. ¬†She was ecstatic about the kind offer and with her energy failing and her sister’s help, gathered together some works and sent them to him. ¬†‘They won’t go into the dumpster’ she wrote ‘Hallelujah!’

Cynthia’s intention was to make three last posts on her blog, poems already in her archives. ¬†She managed two.

I’ll leave you with the third:

The Sun Also Sets

Without a bedtime story or a lullabye
the evening’s blush sinks to a deeper red
then slips into a slit between the earth and sky
leaving our goodbyes lingering, unsaid.

I do not want to go, or let you go.
I want to dare this ending, call its bluff,
delay our parting with a sudden overflow
of words‚ÄĒtoo many and yet not enough‚Äď

while you, my dearest one, would choose
blunt disappearance, the mute way
to stanch an agony‚ÄĒthose deeper blues
along the skyline fire‚ÄĒas if to say

the sun rises, the sun also sets.
So let it set. Let us let it. Let’s.

To listen to Cynthia read this poem, follow this link 

The Books Piled Beside the Bed – Pt 3

This edition of the Book Pile features reads from some fellow bloggers РI hope you will check them out and see for yourself what has so pleased me.  And as a complete aside, today happens to be my third anniversary on WordPress Рwhat a great three years it has been Рthanks to all you lovely folk out there xoxo

Bits of a Boyhood

An on-line biography found here¬†subtitled ‘Growing Up in New Zealand’

I have never liked reading electronically, though many have told me the kindle is eye friendly- I just like books! I like the weight of them and the smell of them and the feel of them. I like reading covers and back covers and author profiles. I like rifling the pages and fiddling with my book mark which is tactile and friendly in my hands when the story is winding down or I am winding down ………. ¬†Despite that, late last year I spent some time reading an on-line biography written by Mr Bruce Goodman of Weave a Web fame. Covering the fifties and sixties and set in rural New Zealand the story is told compassionately and humorously of growing up in a large, rambunctious, Catholic family. ¬† ¬†I know much of the era and the areas and the descriptions resounded strongly for me. ¬†The pathos and humour of a boy sometimes struggling to understand the complex world of older siblings and grown-ups was a delightfully innocent read. ¬†Do wander over and have a read, it’s free and it’s delightful and give my friend Bruce a thumbs up.

And, coincidentally, Just to stay in a similar vein, I began this past months reading of real books with the delightful

Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle – Geoff Le Pard

DeadFlies

I should start by admitting I’m not much given to reading a book where the protagonist is a nineteen year old youth ….. ¬†and I continued past the first pages only because I had promised to read and review Geoff’s book. ¬†And yep, was I glad I did!

I’m a fan of Geoff’s writing style – ¬†found on his blog TanGental. ¬†I loved his month long supply of short stories back in November and marvelled over his ability to swap genres and weave on-going dramas for the same character. ¬† My question was would his ability with short stories bear up in the quantum leap to a novel?

I can’t remember when I last read a book where the story unraveled so clearly and independently before my eyes in the form of a movie. ¬†There is something in the author’s writing style that allows the reader, or at least, me; imaginative space to ‘see’ the characters and the context in it’s entirety, the whole scene unfolds like a movie – the entire book is a movie waiting to happen!

The story is wryly witty, the ongoing movie informed me when incidents evolved into laugh out loud comic moments or segued into moments of despair or desperation.

In the end what I loved most was the manner in which the story unfolded and revealed itself only as much as it did to the poor befuddled teenager, Harry. ¬†Girls are a mystery to him and these ones were to me as well. ¬†His parents behaviours and words make no sense – what is going on? ¬†Harry’s love and care for his grandmother is a tender side story that weaves throughout, though even she is now a mystery to him. ¬† As Harry twigs more to what is going on, so do we. ¬†The characters reveal themselves sometimes in surprising ways and the end denouement is exactly what Harry himself would have wanted!

I’ve got another book by Geoff Le Pard in the pile. ¬†I deliberately didn’t pick it up straight after finishing this one – I was so tempted, but I wanted to give this book time to settle.

[But I’ll tell you about the next one, next month, because now this post is up, that book is open!]

So I started in on

The Sunday Philosophy Club – Alexander McCall Smith

I actually struggled to get into this little book. I found the character of Isabel Dalhousie a bit stiff and unreal and not quite right……. ¬†I wonder if it is because it is a man writing – and his descriptions of a woman’s thought processes and emotions are not necessarily actually accurate. ¬† Or maybe I have just never known a woman of such a degree of philosophical ilk. ¬†Despite this, the thing I really like and appreciated was that the story stayed real, quite relatable to how real people I know might have responded in such a scenario. ¬†In other words, no derring-do, no flights of fancy, no taking on the baddies in the face of great odds. ¬†Just a slow peramble through gentle nosings and visits and the unravelings of the mystery. ¬†When the gripping bit does come it is actually chillingly real. I know I’d respond the same way. ¬† ¬†I don’t know if I’d read another one, but I might. ¬†If you are a fan, please do share your thoughts on these books, I’d love to hear them – I might be being totally unfair and judging prematurely and thereby missing out on further good reads. ¬†[Heaven forbid!]

SundayPhilosophyClub

Included in the ‘currently reading pile’ are two little volumes I’m opening at random and reading a page from most evenings.

One Р [A Compendium of Inspiration]

The first is a gift sent to me by my friend Norah which I mentioned in my last post. ¬†The photo shows the cover which bears the inscription ‘How many people does it take to make a difference’ alongside the giant digit one. ¬†Inside the front flap poses the thought: Instead of asking ‘What can I get from life?’ watch what happens when you ask “What can I give?” ¬†Which is a philosophy I thoroughly approve of!

One

 

It’s filled with little inspirational texts and quotes to ponder and muse over and take into sleep. ¬†I feel really honoured that Norah thought of me when she saw this book and went to the trouble of sending it to me. ¬†It’s appreciated and enjoyed Norah, thank you. ¬†It makes a lovely gift!

A Certain Age – Cynthia Jobin

The second book I’m picking up every evening is an anthology of poetry from the pen of the rather delightful Cynthia Jobin who blogs at littleoldladywho where you can savour her words both written and spoken.

ACertainAge2

Cynthia writes about the commonplace, the every day, she writes too of love lost and love found. ¬†She writes of her animals, her family, the seasons and festivals. ¬†And sometimes she writes and I wonder, ‘Now, what triggered that?’

The art of the poet, I feel, lies in making the reader share the experience, in causing the breath to catch, the eye to burn, the ‘Oh!’ to form or a chuckle to rise and so often, having read, to sit and let silent contemplation fill the soul. ¬†I so often experience one or more of these responses when reading the work of Cynthia Jobin. ¬†Do wander on over and see for yourself.

That’s it for this month on the reading front. ¬†Do share what you are reading and add in any thoughts to the books I’ve mentioned.

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did.