Friday, May 19, 2017

I hear the music and it's 1993 again

Something very unexpected happened to me when I heard about Chris Cornell’s death. Not only did I feel grief, in the same way, many of his fans all over the world felt, I saw myself go back in time to the early 90s.

It was 1993 to be exact and I've just moved away from my home province of PEI. I had a sense of nostalgia as I envision myself in the bachelor apartment in downtown Moncton, NB (Canada). It was furnished, allowing me to move in with only my personal belongings and start fresh, ready to discover a whole new world.
I remember walking down the street and seeing all the girls my age in Dr. Martens and short skirts, outfits that I wasn’t courageous enough to wear, clothing that was very different from the conservative hometown where I grew up, where kids were wearing Chip and Pepper shirts and Edwin jeans; usually the 'cool' and accepted kids in school, to be exact. For those not familiar with the culture, you have to understand that ‘grunge’ wasn’t just a type of music, it was the culture of youth. And of course, like most places I’ve ever been in my life, I didn’t quite fit in. But unlike most time and places that I would live, I wanted to be a part of it.

A group of my friends lived just down the street from me in an older house, one that I guessed to have been around for decades. Once known as a party house by the former tenants, it left my friends with the job of reforming its image and using a lot of elbow grease in order to clean it up. But it wasn't aesthetic perfection that we craved in those days but the sense of freedom and independence.  

I remember walking into that house and being met with music, laughter, and friendship. After spending my teenage years feeling like an outcast in my home province, I finally felt like I belonged somewhere. There was a sense of acceptance in the house that I had never experienced before; it didn't seem to matter who you were, few people weren't welcomed in the door. To this day, whenever I hear Alice in Chains Jar of Flies or the early Pearl Jam music, I think of that house and everything it introduced into my life.

But it was Soundgarden that I listened to when I was alone in my little apartment. I found solace in Chris Cornell’s voice. I connected very deeply with the band’s music; with the words, the tone of the songs, the emotions locked in every chord. While I loved Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and so many other bands, there was something about Soundgarden that I connected with on a much deeper level.

When I heard of Chris Cornell’s death, one of the first things I said on social media is that every time I hear his voice, I’m 20 again, standing in that first apartment, ready to take on the world. That’s the beauty of music. It magically takes us back and opens up a vault of emotions and memories as if time stands still. It’s a world where we never age, friendships never fade and those we love never die.

Mima is the author of seven books including Fire and A Spark before the Fire, both taking place during the late 80s and early 90s music scene. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Vampires: The Kind You Should Be Afraid Of.....

I love people who take chances; who are ambitious and do things that scare them for the betterment of their own lives, those who aren't afraid to color outside the lines. It's not easy to take a chance and go after something you really want because the chance of disappointment is always lurking about; but it's the people who try anyway, refusing to allow fear to take over, that I respect the most. They inspire me.

It's for this reason that I support anyone who does something (positive) to move their lives forward. I love hearing stories of people were unhealthy changing their diet and lifestyle. I smile whenever someone talks about going back to school or are learning a new skill. I'm impressed when people make an effort in their own lives even though it would be easier to sleep in on the weekend or watch Netflix all day; they choose instead to find the time to go after what they really want. Not to suggest goals have to be lofty; you may not want to win an Academy Award or climb the highest mountain, but taking a chance may be as simple as changing the way you view the world or dropping that friend who always lets you down.

It might surprise you that what I dislike isn't the opposite; I don't necessarily have an issue with people who aren't so inclined - whether it be due to laziness or lack of confidence, they may still get there when it's their time. Actually, the people who really frustrate me are those who don't support other people's goals. There's nothing more annoying than someone who tries to knock down other people's dreams simply because they can't envision them or have none of their own, therefore assume they aren't possible. However, having said that, it's understandable. If you can't envision an amazing life for yourself then it's easy to see how you may not be capable of envisioning success for others.

For that reason, I think the most frustrating people are the obvious attention seekers of the world; we're talking about the people on your Facebook list who let everyone about all their successes but never support others in the same way they expect to be supported. We're talking the people who practically want a parade every time they have a successful bowel movement or go to the gym but remain blissfully unaware or uninterested in what others are doing. Nor do they care.

Some people may call them narcissists. Others may call them assholes. Personally, I call them energy vampires; and we're not talking about the kind of vampires I've been known to write about - sexy, savvy or smart - we're talking about the self-absorbed yet, quite often, terribly insecure jerks who only are aware of your presence when you're around to pat their back. If put on the spot, they will pretend to care about your life but as with everything, action speaks much louder than words.

Personally, I'm happy when people are excited about my accomplishments but at the same time, I'm also very excited when other people succeed. I don't even have to know the person to be happy that they've reached a goal, overcome a struggle or took a chance to better their lives. That's not the point. The point is that you get more out of life if you support others than if you look for support.

The more I do in life and the more I accomplish, the more I see the people in my life changing. Sometimes it can be a bit of an eye opener, but for every person that I've left (or will leave) behind, I find new, positive, awesome person who I wholeheartedly support and who does the same for me. If we can't do that for each other, then what's the point?

Mima is the author of Fire and the prequel, A Spark before the Fire, as well as The Rock Star of Vampires  Her Name is Mariah and Different Shades of the Same Color. Join Mima on Facebook, TwitterG+ and Goodreads also, check out her Amazon Author Page

For some reading, check out her blogs – personal or writing                                               

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Perspective is Everything

A friend recently commented that she felt the need to hold back on announcing her amazing accomplishment on Facebook. She feared it would seem like bragging and it would turn people off. I asked her one simple question;

If you were a man, would you even be asking this?     

Certainly not to suggest men are the ideal that women should be modeling themselves from, but the idea behind the question is to change your perspective. For example, you might ask someone what the 5 year-old version of themselves would think in the same situation or if this issue would matter if they were currently on their deathbed. The angle for which we view things can sometimes change everything.

During this particular conversation, we decided that the male version of her wouldn’t hesitate to announce these accomplishments; in fact, he would probably relish in doing so and have little concern if it ruffled anyone’s feathers. 

I think one of the biggest mistakes women make is worrying about what others think. It’s almost like there is a set of unwritten rules for females that are cryptic, assumed to be common sense and you're judged when you don’t comply. I certainly have felt the pressure over the years and where it once weighed me down, it no longer does. 

At any rate, I’ve used this change in perspective experiment to work through a recent issue that was lurking in the back of my mind.

I had a concern regarding some people in my life that regularly lie. It’s obvious and I’ve caught them on it more than once. So I used this different perspective experiment and here’s what I discovered;

- The male version of me just shrugged it off with ‘that’s just how they are’ mentality and didn’t let it bother his day.

-       - The 5 year-old version of me didn’t understand, assumed these were bad people and went on to play with a Barbie doll, quickly forgetting the issue.

-       - The person on their deathbed felt pity for those not strong enough to face their own truth or to be honest.

When you look at things that way, it really gives you food for thought. I believe that as a woman, I often over think and over analyze both people and situations that are often not worth the time and energy that I end up wasting, not to mention the mental frustration.

So next time you're in a troubling situation, ask yourself; What would you think if you were the opposite sex? What would the 5 year-old version of you think? 
What would you think on your deathbed? 

See what you discover.

Mima is the author of Fire and the prequel, A Spark before the Fire, as well as The Rock Star of Vampires  Her Name is Mariah and Different Shades of the Same Color. Join Mima on Facebook, TwitterG+ and Goodreads also, check out her Amazon Author Page

For some reading, check out her blogs – personal or writing                                               

Friday, April 22, 2016

I want to smell more flowers

Yesterday, like many others, I was shocked to learn that Prince had died. In fact, it hit me much harder than I would’ve expected. I grew up listening to him, but I don’t know that I was a super fan – although I was in awe of his talents and loved his music – he wasn’t my favorite artist of all time.  However, his death had a very strong impact on me. 

One by one, it seems that so many celebrities that I grew up with seem to be passing on. I think like most people, there’s something about someone else’s death (even if you don’t actually know the person) that makes us think of our own impending death. It’s unavoidable; it doesn’t matter who you are, how much money you have or how careful you are in life, you’re going to die. You can choose to hide in the safety of your home,  but you can’t escape that everyone’s life gets a little shorter every day.

Just after learning of the death of Prince, my friend text me. Like me, she shared her shock after learning that the legend had passed away and followed it up by a story about how she had gone to an awesome concert just the night before; she said that life was short, so live it. Her exact words were to ‘take the time to smell the flowers'.  Sadly, since returning to the east coast, I’m doing the exact opposite and if anything, I feel like I want to start smelling a hell of lot more flowers. For example, how many times have I commented on how much I LOVE live music; yet when was the last time I went to see an awesome rock band? I want to go to all these places – Greece, France, Ireland – and yet, I haven’t. When was the last time I went out and did something totally wild? Daring?

I never really got people who felt that life was meant to be lived quietly. I always wondered if those people lay on their deathbed, regretting what they hadn’t experienced; the things they never did because of what others would think? What people think of us holds a lot of power, whether it is the concern for one’s ego, how friends and family view us or even what enemies think.  It gets in the way a lot more than you might realize – how many times have you not spent money on something you ‘didn’t need’ simply because you felt you had to justify your purchase? Ever went to a psychic or to get a beauty treatment of any kind and avoid telling others, cause you know they will assume you just stupidly pissed away money? Exactly. 

I thoroughly believe that there are a lot of people who live their lives as if they are already dead. It sounds sort of cruel, but we all know people who go through the motions, never change their routine, never change the people in their lives – hell, I know people who won’t even change their hairstyle, let alone take a chance. Sometimes you got to go out of your comfort zone even if that is something as simple as watching a show or reading a book that isn’t your usual type. A few years ago, my friend watched Star Wars for the first time after some coaxing from her family, under the assumption she'd not like it; she loved it. It sounds quite small, but it had meaning to her. However, if she hadn’t taken the chance, how would she have known? It wasn’t her usual thing to watch, but she was open to the idea.

I think that’s where the problem often faced. A lot people aren’t open to new things and don’t want to live life large. They want to keep it small because it makes them feel comfortable. They criticize people who try new things, saying how ‘that will never work’, ‘you know how SHE is’ ‘and the insinuation that people who take risks are crazy. Hey guys – you only got one life and it could end up being much shorter than you think. 

So would you rather be the person who did everything you were supposed to or would you like the be the person who takes some time and smells all the flowers; even the ones that are a little bit weird;-)

Canadian author Mima is known for her complicated and diverse characters, a dark style and for never shying away from controversial topics. To request an interview or if you are interested in doing a book review, please send requests here  

Mima is the author of Fire and the prequel, A Spark before the Fire, as well as The Rock Star of Vampires  Her Name is Mariah and Different Shades of the Same Color. Join Mima on Facebook, TwitterG+ and Goodreads also, check out her Amazon Author Page

For some reading, check out her blogs – personal or writing

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Why I decided to join MADD...and it might not be for the reasons you think

I have a terrible memory, but there are some things I could never forget. As a young child, I remember my mother receiving a phone call and being very emotional immediately after. Two cars had been involved in a car accident in our rural community on Prince Edward Island and it was the result of drinking and driving. The crash victims were mainly teenagers and most, if not all, were dead.

It was a heartbreaking story, but one I would hear again and again, only with different names and faces. I heard it on the news, in different cities in different years. I've read it on Facebook and in emails. And sadly, it’s a story that I will probably keep hearing in the years to come.

In 2012, I would learn the news that one of my close friends had also died as a result of drinking and driving; and I was furious.

I was furious because she got in a car with someone who had been drinking. I was furious because she had a young child at home, a factor I thought would make her rethink that one, tragic decision. I was furious because it was one of many, irrational decisions she had made during the time I had known her. I was furious that someone was arrogant enough to think that he was okay to drive. But mostly I was furious because this same young woman, years earlier, had been caught drinking and driving herself. She lost her license for a period of time, was lectured by many people – including me – for her irresponsible behavior. It’s not difficult to see the irony in this circumstance.

Having said that, it was still a heartbreaking situation. I understand that people make bad decisions, bad judgments; there’s probably been times we’ve all been in similar situations, without realizing the severity, but happened to be lucky.

I returned to PEI after living ‘away’ for many years. One of the things I noticed almost right away was the casualness of people when it came to drinking and driving. There were excuses (‘there are no cabs around, how is someone supposed to get home’), justifications (‘he’s always done it and never had an accident before’) and of course, just plain ignorance. There seems to be this underlining sense of entitlement among some people, a belief that flying down the road after getting wasted is acceptable. Not like there is much traffic in rural areas, right?

The thing is, most of the stories I’m hearing aren’t about cars hitting other cars, but rather drunk drivers hitting pedestrians; people going for walks on the side of island roads. As you can imagine, this activity is usually done during daylight; we aren’t talking late night stragglers nor are we talking sober drivers.

I joined MADD because of my anger regarding drunk drivers. I’m angry that my close friend once drove drunk, got caught and didn’t learn her lesson. I’m angry because she later died and the person responsible got a pretty light sentence for taking her life. I’m angry because people think it’s a joke, that getting drunk out of your mind than driving down the road is a very rock star thing to do. I’m angry that right now, there’s someone, probably not far from my house, who is drunk and in a car or on an ATV, with no regards for anyone except themselves. Drinking and driving isn’t just a moronic decision, it’s a selfish and arrogant choice that people make every day, throughout this country.

I joined MADD because I want to make a difference. I don’t seek the group’s support as much as I want to fight for the people who no longer have a voice; and sadly, those who may soon lose their voice because someone decided to get behind the wheel after having a few drinks.

Canadian author Mima is known for her complicated and diverse characters, a dark style and for never shying away from controversial topics. To request an interview or if you are interested in doing a book review, please send requests here  

Mima is the author of Fire and the prequel, A Spark before the Fire, as well as The Rock Star of Vampires  Her Name is Mariah and Different Shades of the Same Color. Join Mima on Facebook, TwitterG+ and Goodreads also, check out her Amazon Author Page

For some reading, check out her blogs – personal or writing

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