June Jollies: Monthly Missives from The Dream Pedlar

Musings on the passage of time, and looking forward with the optimism of blue summer skies

June Jollies: Monthly Missives from The Dream Pedlar
Photo by Sean Oulashin on Unsplash
Programming note: I'm travelling for a bit to spend time with family this summer, so July's missive will depart from the usual format. It'll be brief, and contain something a little different. Heartfelt musings will resume with full gusto in August!

What a month of celebrations June has been!

My little one, D, turned 8 this month, while my father turned 80!

I'm already tickled pink by the mathematical connection between those two numbers. Furthermore, I'll turn 44 later this year, so that mathematical symmetry with me being exactly in the middle, an identical 36 years apart from my father and my son, amuses me immensely.

My parents also celebrated 50 years of marriage this month. It's insane to even contemplate this! They celebrated the day by heading back for a visit to the very temple they were married in all those decades ago.

My parents celebrating 50 years of togetherness!

While I don't have a picture from five decades ago handy, the next best thing is this family photo from 1982. Here are my parents in their 30s, and my brother a gorgeous 7-year-old. I was not even 2 years old then! How I wish I could go back in time and give toddler-me the tightest hug ever!

My parents, my brother, and little me! Sometime in blurry, colourful 1982!

As always, these milestones compel me to stop and take note of how fast time is a-flying. You'd think one would get used to it after all these years, this relentless passage of time, its indifference to our wishes for it to slow down so complete and so absolute that it's almost cruel.

But with each passing milestone it's just as astounding, just as bewildering, and we once again find ourselves shaking our heads and asking the question: How did all that time go by so fast?

Perhaps the more pertinent question is, what do we intend to do with whatever time we have left? Fully aware that none of us really knows how much time we have?

That's a question we all have to answer for ourselves; no one else can tell us what to do or how to be (despite their best, well-meaning and mostly unsolicited attempts to do so!)

All I know is there there is no time for mucking around. There never was, in fact. And the sooner we can wrap our heads around this truth, the sooner we can shed what no longer serves us and focus on what truly matters.

In an attempt to make my latest collection of short stories, Your Mother's Nightmares, more available to readers, I've been publishing the six stories in the collection individually.

They're already up on various retailer platforms. So now you can pick and read a tale that speaks to you the most, and then see if you wish to indulge in the rest of the collection.

Don't forget! For welcoming me and my writings into your life, you already have access to one of the stories, Hide-and-Seek.

It is my favourit-est tale from the collection, for reasons I explain in a note to readers at the end of the book.

The paperback version is also available for purchase.

The other five tales are

Which one will you choose to read first?

Tales for Dreamers

the guardians of time

These musings on the passage of time reminded me of this tale I had written many years ago. I think I took this picture in Montréal but I can't be sure. (If there's one other thing about the passage of time that astounds me more than anything else these days, it's my sheer forgetfulness!)

tales for dreamers: guardians of time
Time has been allotted two guardians to ensure he gets up to no mischief. But how well does this arrangement really work?

Another delightful occurrence I must share with you this month was that my poem, A Snow Avatar, happened to win first place in its category in the annual writing competition organized by my local library, the Burlington Public Library, last month.

Here it is, for your reading pleasure!

A Snow Avatar

I do not wish to become a star when I die.

Let me become snow instead
so the snow clouds may carry me wherever they please.

Even when I tumble to the ground from dizzying heights
a million flakes, a billion flakes,
I will do so gently.

So pure and clean will I be,
you will not have the heart to trample on mine.

I will wait for the lone child to come and press their cheeks to me,
to make snow angels and bring them to life by the magic of their touch,
to make snow balls to hurl into the air,
to pack and roll me into a snow-person or a snow-bear.
I will not mind a carrot-nose or button-eyes or twig-arms.

Proudly will I stand
until the spring sun thaws me
into a shapeless mound,
melts me, softens me,
so I can slink through the earth,
make the slow, deliberate journey
to the roots and the seeds waiting for my call,
and whisper in their ears,
"Wake up! Now is the time to bloom."

Books You May Love

Reading has fallen a bit by the wayside what with the weather being so glorious out there and all I want to look at are the blue, blue skies and the white bunny clouds drifting past.

Still, I did manage to read. Books are where I go to seek comfort and solace. Books are where I find respite from the relentless demands of life.

I had previously read Gregg Olsen's The Hive and found it a very imaginative and gripping read. I picked up The Amish Wife not knowing it was a true crime tale. This is how I ended up reading a true crime book for the first time!

In this, Olsen investigates the suspicious death of a pregnant wife and mother, Ida Stutzman, of the Ohio Amish community in a barn fire in 1977. Apparently, Olsen wrote on this incident in an earlier work, Abandoned Prayers, which I haven't read.

I was quite fascinated by how Olsen details this investigation with great empathy for everyone involved. He holds the Amish community in high regard and portrays their lifestyle with much respect.

He also shares the trials and tribulations of the investigative process: people refusing to talk, folks shutting doors on his face, long journeys made to no avail, all of which made it a very fascinating read for me.

I forgot to note down the exact words but at one point Olsen remarks upon how the Amish are loathe to gossip about others in their community. He contrasts this with how the world at large often seems to thrive on gossip and tearing down other people at unbelievable speed and recklessness.

A true crime story reads very different from a thriller, obviously, and I'm now curious to explore this genre more. Any recommendations?

The Centaur's Wife by Amanda Leduc is a breathtakingly beautiful story!

It's rather impossible to describe this book briefly; it has two interweaving tales.

One centres around an apocalypse in the present time brought about by a meteor shower that the protagonist Heather wakes up to right after the delivery of her twin girls.

The other is an ancient story in which a centaur falls in love with a woman and prays to the mountain he lives on to transform him into a human being, so he can marry the love of his life. Except, when she gives birth, three tiny centaurs emerge from her womb, terrifying her, and she wishes to have nothing to do with them.

Heather and the three centaurs share a connection through the mountain that overlooks the city, the mountain that has not been affected by the meteors.

It is a complex story of loss and of survival. Throughout the book, Leduc has scattered fairytales of her own making, which made it an even more beautiful read. It is a wildly imaginative tale, but then that's what made it so engrossing.

And so I did what I always do when I fall in love with a book so much. I went and wrote an entire post inspired by it.

why growth is not antithetical to enough-ness
An unexpected lesson on growth mindset learnt from The Centaur’s Wife

If you'd like to purchase a paperback copy of the book, take a look at a Toronto-based indie store promoting the analog life, Young W. Run by my friend, Elena Woo, Young W is a place to explore the beauty of the offline world.

In her beautiful and whimsically imaginative venture, Elena invites us on a journey into a life of beauty filled with books and poetry, adventures in theatre and culture, and an immersion into visual and performing arts.

Home - Young W
Discover a flourishing offline life.

Young W stocks several amazing books. That's how I came to know of The Centaur's Wife and could immediately trust it'd be an emotionally satisfying and enriching read.

While you're wandering there, take a look at my own novel, Dying Wishes, whose paperback version is lucky to have found a place in Young W's catalogue. I feel so stoked to see it listed beside the beauty that The Centaur's Wife is.

Well, we're on the brink of July, dear Dreamer! Half the year has already slipped past. Another half is ripe for the taking.

This is not to say that we must run ourselves into the ground by filling every moment of our days with goals and achievements in order to have something to show for it all in the end. The only requirement is to bring our utmost presence and attention to whatever we do.

I'm choosing to slow down and do a whole lot of nothing else as I spend time with family for a few precious weeks this summer.

The more intentional and present we are in the choices we make in our day-to-day lives, the less space there is for envy and FOMO.

And it doesn't even matter what we choose to do — work, rest, play, travel, run errands, feel our feelings, do nothing, pluck stars from the skies, howl at the moon.

That is how we can let go of everything else and live fully in the moment at hand.

Au revoir!

~ Anitha