Sunday, October 19, 2014

Not precisely the 15 minutes of fame I might have hoped for!

By the time he reached the end of his mile long walk Saturday morning, Rich Landriault wasn't sure he was going to make it.

It wasn't just that his feet hurt. Every muscle in his body ached.

"Everything hurts," the Hamilton man said, moments after finishing his tour around the Pen Centre shopping mall as part of the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event to support the Gillian's Place Women's Shelter. "That was so much more difficult than I expected. It's like a workout."

Landriault came to St. Catharines to join the team of walkers put together by Tory Gillespie of Thorold to raise money for the sheller.

Gillespie said he put together his group, called Judy's Gentlemen, for Walk a Mile in Her Shoes because his mother-in-law had been a victim of domestic abuse, and supporting the shelter was a way to show solidarity with her.

Judy's Gentlemen, along with a host of other teams and individual men who donned high heels to march around the mall, raised more than $86,000 for the shelter.

Community development manager for Gillian's Place, Nicole Regehr said the funds will allow the shelter to keep operating. The facility is only 80% funded by government sources, leaving Gillian's Place to fundraise the remaining 20%. However, Gillian's Place is the midst of a five year funding freeze, making the Walk a Mile event, it's largest fundraising effort, all the more important.

"We have a funding freeze, but costs keep going up for everything. So this is absolutely vital. When someone comes to the shelter and hits a light switch, the lights have to come on. We have to feed 30 plus women and children every day," she said. "So we have to include this fundraised money in our budget. Without it, we couldn't operate."

The total for Saturday's event was down from last year's $125,000. But Regehr said 2013 may have been an anomaly.

"We were aiming for $120,000 but it may be that we blew the roof off it last year, and it is difficult to reproduce that every year," she said. "The $86,000 is in line with what we raised in 2012."

The 40 member team from TD Canada Trust raised the most money of any participating team, bringing in more than $30,000.

The St. Catharines Standard team was a distant second, with more than $5,000, most of which was raised by publisher Mark Cressman, who raised the most of any individual who took part.

Event emcee and radio personality Tim Denis, said the unfortunate reality was that Walk a Mile was such a necessary charity, but that the ongoing support for the event was heartening.

"Your support means a woman in crisis will have a place to turn to if she needs it," he said. "And your being here is saying to them that they are not alone."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Every day

"You need to blog everyday."

My brother said this to me late on the night of his wedding two months ago. I guess we were talking about me; how I was doing. And what was on my mind was how I'd been way too long in an unproductive funk; dicking around haphazardly, here and there; bouncing around between way too many projects.

I once went through a journey - over the course of years, that I suppose no one will ever understand, much less believe - unless I manage to figure out how to write a book that would effectively demonstrate it and then actually write it and then people actually read it...

I came out of that journey so very inspired; knowing I possessed something that could change people's lives. But that inspiration waned when I found out how nearly impossible it is to break through the walls that instinct and society and investment build around people. And then that inspiration bounced back when I started to associate with youth for the first time since my own youth; some of them very special; very intelligent but without nearly so many walls in the way.

I'm thinking of Neo and Aqualad mostly; both of them brilliant in different ways. So why have these associations not yielded a great leveraging of my resources as I thought they surely would? Or have they, but not in the manner I expected? I don't even know. I don't even have the energy to imagine trying to figure that out.

I've been lacking motivation for so long. For me, motivation comes from inspiration. Inspiration comes to me from special people in bits and pieces. I see them each too infrequently. Mostly I spend time with people who have no clue what I'm all about; no clue what I have to offer, and I spend so much time giving and receiving such mundane words and trinkets; giving people the lame little things they want, but damn it, they could get these things from just about anyone, couldn't they?

Why am I not isolating myself in circumstances that actually leverage what I'm truly good at; the rarer resources I possess? Why am I so pliant, so patient, so mentally tired? How can I finally demonstrate to people who I am (or should be) and what I possess if I'm always holding their hand and telling them more or less what they're comfortable hearing instead of reaching for the truth; as scary and difficult as those truthful insights are - scary and difficult and ugly and beautiful and freeing and joyful.

The youths are getting older. Are walls being built? Will I get my shit together one day but find I am too late for them? I know it all comes down to me; getting my shit together. All of the hurdles are not to blame; only me to blame for not finding my way over them. There are many things I know I should be doing. I've got to start making more of them happen.

Well, I am more inspired these days than usual. I'm dieting again and I think it's going well. And it's prep time now for National Novel Writing Month which certainly inspires and sparks a good work ethic too; very important.

And Neo has leaked to me is upcoming album which has been a joy to explore - not that it doesn't contain very sober components. It has monopolized the car stereo every day since I got it. It's a beautiful and unique piece of art and certainly a motivation factor.

"You need to blog every day," my brother said.

Somehow I've long known that this is one of the important things I must do though I don't even fully understand why. So how the hell did my brother know it? It startled me when he said it. I wondered how the hell he knew to say that. And I still wonder. Well. Here's hoping.