Lessons learned from this trash fire called 2020

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With 2021 fast approaching, now is the time for reflecting on the dying year – good riddance. Like all of us, I came into January 2020 (approx. 50 years ago) with hope and optimism. In my own diary entry from January 4th I write:

Here is the new year. They always feel so exciting when they’re shiny and new.

The person I was in January is a naive child of the summer compared to the person I am today. But with all the experiences and pain and loss of this year, some wisdom has been gained. At least a little.

I’d like to share some of my wisdom nuggets because it’s the end of the year and that’s a time for sharing. …

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A brief introduction to home-to-home visits at Christmas time

With each new Christmas I see, I find myself fascinated with old seasonal traditions. Whether it’s Victorian ghost stories or the pre-Christian symbols of Yule, there’s always something new to discover this time of year.

One thing I’ve learned this Christmas season is how many different old traditions there are which involve visiting neighbour’s houses on Christmas or around Christmas. Modern North Americans are likely only familiar with carolling — where groups of singers travel from house-to-house to sing festive songs and bring cheer — but there are several European traditions, some of which date back to Pre-Christian seasonal celebrations.


This is Why I’ll Never Do it Again

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NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, happens every November and participants set a word count goal (usually 50,000 words) and try to reach it in 30 days. 50k words in 30 days doesn’t sound like much, especially to some writers, until you actually go to write it.

I’d made three previous attempts at NaNoWriMo, once in 2013, in 2017, and one last time in 2018, but each time I’d failed to even make it past 15,000 words. I figured I just didn’t have some key writing component in my brain to actually crank out that many words in such a short amount of time.

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If you haven’t seen the 2015 film The VVitch, you might not understand the reference to this post’s title. If you have, I’m sure you get it.

Imagine now, it’s nighttime, dark as pitch outside, and a dark figure comes up behind you — the devil in the form of Black Phillip the goat-and, whispering, offers you the chance to live your life how you want. Creatively.

Wouldst though like to live creatively…

I know the price is probably my soul or something. But isn’t that what we pay anyway for the price of living the way we choose? We spend most of our weekdays (and sometimes even weekends) working to make money so that some imagined day sometime in the unknown future we won’t have to work — at least for a little while. Certainly, that should count as some sort of soul-selling. …

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Last year, to celebrate my favourite and most spooky time of year, I wrote an article about the 13 spookiest graveyards from around the world. Now I’m back with a list of the world’s most haunted places! Thirteen of them, of course.

Just as a heads up, some of the places I included in this list are part of the colonial history in South Africa and Indonesia, and unfortunately I can’t delve into too much about that in this article unless I wanted it to be a 50 minute read. …

Here’s what I’ve learned

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If you’ve been following me at all, you won’t be unfamiliar with my teeny-tiny online business: The Littlest Online Bookshop.

In case you don’t know, TLOB is a very small independent used bookstore completely online. I ship internationally and am working to connect people everywhere with books. It’s my passion project and something that has basically taken over my life… besides my actual job, that is.

Over the last two months, since the store opened, I’ve learned a lot. …

It’s not about what you have or where you live, but what you do

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I’m a bit of a wellness holistic spiritual slow living junkie. Please don’t laugh at my ever-growing collection of crystals and tarot cards and my breathing exercises and my addiction to herbal wellness teas.

This is what wellness looks like to me. It’s full of energy work, yoga, tea, gardening, and trying to live as slow a life as possible while also living in the suburbs.

Now, I’m not talking about Wellness Culture. No. I’m talking about being a happy and healthy person on a daily basis.

But sometimes I feel like maybe it would be easier if I could just walk around the block and pick up a healthy cold-pressed juice whenever I felt like it or wouldn’t it be nice to have wholesome organic food every day? Access to a wilder variety of eco-friendly choices is somewhat limited unless you’re in a city. …

Anne didn’t need to be modernized in order to be a forward-thinking woman

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Fans of the widely popular show Anne with an E (or just Anne in Canada) were out in droves yesterday tweeting at Netflix to save the show after it had been canceled earlier this year. It’s been 6 months, and they’re still at it.

I’ve stated my opinions many-a-time about this show, which, if you don’t know, is an “adaptation” of Anne of Green Gables (note the use of quotation marks), and I can’t seem to help myself when I’m reminded of what this show did to one of my absolute favourite books and book heroines.

Anne Shirley, not “Anne Shirley-Cuthbert”, was always and continues to be a feminist icon. Even before MWB decided she needed to be 21st-century feminist for some reason. …

Choosing the right words is a key component of being a writer

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How much does word choice matter?

I’d say quite a bit. But, that’s just my opinion.

Recently, I read an article that troubled me. The author – though clearly intelligent and eloquent – used the word “deserve” when talking about body types and body positivity.

Her message was:

You have the body you deserve.

Now, I’m of the opinion that the cancer patient, the chronically ill, those with disabilities didn’t do anything to incite some karmic wrath against their bodies. But that’s the impression I got from this message.

The word came up over and over. And the thing was, it seemed out of place in an article that was supposed to be about body positivity and not needing fancy clothes to go to the gym. …

Smell the flowers, listen to the birds, feel the dirt under your hands.

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The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.

- Alfred Austin

A couple months ago, I was in a bad place mentally. Lockdown living was keeping me safe, but not helping me thrive. I had all the time to write and paint and bake and do all the things I love, but I was still feeling glum most of the time.

Then something changed.

The weather got better and my family decided it was time to renovate the garden right in front of our house. It wasn’t much of a garden at all. It was a boxwood lined area covered in periwinkles dotted with some shrubbery. It didn’t look bad, per se. But, it significantly lacked inspiration. We’d been talking about it during the winter and even with the virus running rampant, we were still able to do what we needed. …


Jenna Goldsmith

Writer || INFJ || Wellness junkie and chronic oversharer. jgoldsmithwrites.com/

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