2nd December 2017 – Come Sit With Me – In the Go Dog Go Tree Top Café

in the quiet time of evening,

when the stars assume their patterns,

and the day has made its journey,

and we wondered just what happened,

to the life we knew before the world changed

Sting – My funny friend and me, Emperor’s New Groove

Today I am going to write for the first time something very personal. I’d love for you to come sit with me and listen to my story.

I lost my elder son, his name is Joshua, I lost him in a tragic accident on the 9th of August 2017 and my world changed. I had him for 20 years and I wish I could bargain for more. It seemed too soon to lose the child I had the most difficult pregnancy with but waited for the most, it seemed too sudden to put a full stop on a life that I had held so tenderly when I brought him home from the hospital and then hugged as fiercely as I carried his ashes out to sea.

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my son Joshua 

So this is my story in the café today, it’s not going to be a happy one but if you’d still like to listen please come sit with me. I don’t know, there may just be some sprinkle of funny and happy as I go along writing this because my Joshua was that to so many, a funny friend, always the one they sought and counted on, the one adults looked for at church or at youth camp to get something done right, the one kids at Sunday School clamoured around for a piggy back ride but who they obeyed when he firmly disciplined them. My perfect son. I get angry with a future I will never have with you.

I have 3 other kids, my two older girls and after Joshua my youngest son. They know how much I love Joshua and that I am writing this and know I call him my perfect child even though I know it must hurt them just a little to know that I love him more because he is not here. But that’s not true I loved him more even from before. He was the one who read my flash fiction and silly stories, the only one who called me “Mom” when all the others called me “Mother”, who reads my stories now? I have stopped writing for that very reason; I did not know it until just now.

Beauty is not just in the face beauty is a light in the heart – Khalil Gibran

My son is beautiful inside and out, he had a face that calmed people, a smile so engaging people gravitated to its warmth. I witnessed a generation of people come out to mourn his passing, while I tried to keep my grief as private and closed as I could with my small circle of family, friends and church leaders, his huge presence in so many people’s lives expanded the number of people we planned for at the wake service. His grandmother, my mother whispered to me, you only see this number of people at a wake of a very old person not a young man. How she must have hurt to put her grandson to rest yet in her sorrow saw how much he was respected and loved. I can’t console her or my brother who says he lost more than a nephew; he lost his idol, his Mr. Cool. His eulogy told us about the private things they shared. My son was a brilliant light.

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my son Joshua

Indeed he was loved and that love sustained us, we could not turn people away as wake services go that way, they just come. How do you turn away a whole football team or an entire college faculty? My heart broke even more to see his friends, young strong and vibrant youth cry like little babies for a friend they told me was like no other. Many confessed how Joshua was the one that brought them to Christ, brought them to church, spoke to them when no one else bothered and was always there when they needed him. But my Joshua died alone with no friend around him, no one to hold him, especially not me. A kind hearted stranger, the Good Samaritan who crossed the street and called an ambulance after his accident was not even the last person who held him as he breathed his last, he was all alone and that grips me with a fierce anger at myself for being too caught up with my own life to not hear my son’s last breath.

My doctor friend who was Head of Trauma at the hospital said Joshua died instantly from his massive head injuries but his body looked so perfect, his arms crossed over his chest, his mouth in a crooked grin, his long lashes curved gently on his high cheek bones. Oh how the girls loved and envied his beautiful lashes. I am thinking he was greeted by his guardian angel that held him as he said goodbye to this world, so maybe he wasn’t alone. That’s why he looked so peaceful.

But I am alone in this grief, we are all handling it in our own way, we go for counselling but words cannot express or heal what we feel. We sit with people who love us and reach out to us but each one of us is truly alone and that’s the way it will be for we each honour him in our own way. The way Joshua is remembered by each of us. His brother has taken to wearing his T-shirts, his sisters take time to sit in his room or lie on his bed and just breathe him in.

It’s not what you take it’s what you leave – Jennifer Niven in All the Bright Places

And he left behind a legacy of a young man that touched the lives of people in a special yet understated way. My kids and his close friends show me the Twitter and Instagram messages and posts, I see the Facebook updates, I knew I had a special child, but this was overwhelming, an outpouring of grief by an entire community. I met primary school teachers, college lecturers, people I had not known before come up to me and say “I knew Joshua”. And they would tell me of something he did that touched them in a special way. Each one a different story, how could there be so many for such a young man?

They spoke softly of a life that was lived with such tender beauty and compassion for others.

This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but with a whisper – T.S Elliot in the Hollow Man

No shouting, no screams, he went silently in the evening air, he floated above us into Jesus arms. My son was a young Christian man who led a life with such impact I can only hope to have. In a whisper he was gone. By the time I got to the hospital his body was already cold but I hugged him for the last time. That was all I got.

Sometimes you just got to accept that some people can only be in your heart and not in your life – Christopher Pike in The Last Story

He will always be in our hearts. His story lives on in all of us who know him and love him and now even in the people who only hear about him, like when our Youth Pastor preaches or when a friend uses his name and him as an example in a power point presentation for a college assignment, or when he is remembered for the words that only Joshua could coin, words remembered around a fellowship or group devotion, so newcomers would come to love him too.

Love is never wasted for its value does not depend on its reciprocity – C.S Lewis

And so this is my story this week, my intention is to give you hope not despair, I ask for a smile even though it’s sad but please don’t feel sorry for me. For I have known a true love because of the love Joshua gave me. I urge you to write and don’t get paralysed like me, trapped within the walls of my own sadness. But if you are, if you do falter, know someone is out there willing to hear your story. Be brave and write that which comes from your heart.

I end with a quote from one of Joshua’s favourite actors………..

To me friendship means loving tolerance – Robert Downey Jr.

Hope & Love

Gina@singledust

25th November 2017 – Come Sit With Me – In the Go Dog Go Tree Top Café

bty

at my poetry club we spend time over November poems and hot coffee

“Sometimes, people can go missing right before our very eyes. Sometimes, people discover you, even though they’ve been looking at you all the entire time. Sometimes, we lose sight of ourselves when we’re not paying enough attention. We all get lost once in a while, sometimes by choice, sometimes due to forces beyond our control. When we learn what it is our soul needs to learn, the path presents itself. Sometimes we see the way out but wander further and deeper despite ourselves; the fear, the anger or the sadness preventing us returning. Sometimes we prefer to be lost and wandering, sometimes it’s easier. Sometimes we find our own way out. But regardless, always, we are found.”

― Cecelia Ahern, A Place Called Here

It’s been awhile since I posted in the café and I have missed being here. Life can throw us curve balls we can’t catch or dodge that hits us right in the solar plexus. We recoil, in pain, in anger, in frustration and sometimes just collapse under the sheer impact. When it happened to me, I just wanted to disappear. Just like the novel I quoted above, I wanted to be in a place called here. In a place where no one could find me.

But soon the feeling, either of pain or grief lifts and we have to resume life as we knew it, with a new found understanding that even though things may not be the same and we are not going to be the same either, but we can move on. We need to find ourselves again and allow ourselves to be found.

While I was hiding away I had a lot of time to read and I did so voraciously, like I had been deprived or had been on a strict diet. I read in every free moment and space I found. My favourite place was a cosy café where I did not want to be known or recognised. The solitude was my own prescription and the coffee my tonic. The book was my salvation.

There’s an unspoken camaraderie among readers and coffee drinkers in cosy, quiet cafes, the silent welcome with downcast eyes peering over book tops. The gentle nod as you glance up once every so often to rest tired eyes, eyes that sometimes tear with not reason, and you blame it on the story in the book, and that gentle nod from a stranger tells you, they understand too. I craved the anonymity yet looked forward to the familiar faces. I did not need spoken words; I hated the sound of speech and laughter grated on my nerves. A quiet, cosy café gave me a place to grieve against the impact of the curveballs that left me paralysed and aching for answers to questions I had no one to ask.

But while I sat alone in the real world café, safely detached from all possible human interaction my friends in this virtual community of writers, poets and storytellers never let me be alone. They sought me out from my hiding place, they offered me comfort and encouragement through my hardest days, days of struggling with own thoughts that wound like a tight rubber band in my head waiting to snap, and my beautiful friends help loosen the cinch of that painful ache around my head and heart.

As always, this is the part where I stop and ask myself, what’s my point? Where am I going with all this? Belonging to a community is important, as a human first and then as a writer, we need each other, we thrive because the others never stop nurturing and encouraging us and our talent. The backbone of this café community was built on trust, faith, admiration and respect for one another. While tough times will always appear, tougher people stand stronger together; especially when one is floundering we join hands and provide a web of support, affirmation and love.
I love that I have this community to belong to, a place I can call home. Not just a place called here. A place where I am welcomed even when I am at my worst for then I can rest to become my next very best.

Hope & Love

Gina@Singledust

15th July – Come Sit With Me – In the Go Dog Go Cafe

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Flat white @ the Morning After

Come sit with me because I found a cafe that was empty at 5 am one Friday morning! It was called the Morning After and the coffee was ground fresh as you ordered it and served with a smile and little chat that warmed my heart.

My mind has been filled with mathematical equations, work instructions and achieving deadlines it seems all I really want to do is have a good cup of coffee to restore sanity to my life.

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity that has left me breathless and gasping for air before I finally crash at day’s end and sleep till the alarm goes off. I must thank my beautiful family for dutifully assuming their roles and carrying out their responsibilities while I was present but hardly around.

I thank Sangbad for writing in my absence and keeping the café vibe alive. His post for last week’s “Come Sit with Me” was brilliant and we may take turns writing this segment.

And I also want to thank the lovely café community for the support and love that continues to make this a special place, the place where we can hang out and just be ourselves and where everyone knows your name!

This week I have hardly had the chance to read other blogs and have left my unattended but I have managed to sit in a few cafes while on my travels and read novels, combining my two loves as the days swirled past me. I devoured books as I was introduced to new writers and I felt my life enriched beyond expectation.

This past few weeks I have read to name a few:

Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland – gifted to me by my good friend and blogger here in Malaysia Ally L Mare, I loved it Ally and made notes so hope to write a review of this and the other book The Giver by Lois Lowry one day!! But just a quick word, to encourage you to pick it up, the ending was totally unexpected of a Young Adult novel, it started out dealing with teenage problems but finished saying something really profound to the adult we all need to become.

The Arab of Our Future Parts 1 & 2 by Riad Satouff, my book club reads interesting books and there are interesting people I connect with in this club that brings so much flavour than just being solitary in my choice of reading material. I have never read a graphic novel before this and started with trepidation but happy I persevered, it was an amazing look at the life of an immigrant, told through the eyes of a talented child.

Hemmingway’s Girl by Erika Robuck – fact and fiction interwoven set against the Depression Era in Key West with the 1935 Labour Day Hurricane as the event that brought the community together. My love for historical fiction and anything that deals with the war and veterans of the war pulled me into this fascinating story and I finished it during my 3-hour flight. If you have read Ernest Hemmingway, read this, it’s Papa come to life. And I felt like his daughter, and as a writer felt the ache a writer feels for the subjects we write on.

I was introduced to writers I would never have picked up ever, the Australian National Treasure – Tim Winton and his book Breath, a look at taking risks and how far we would go living a reckless life. The Heart of Darkness author Joseph Conrad and his travel through the Congo narrated while on a Thames riverboat is riveting reading.

So where am I going with all this? This week while I have had limited online interaction and missed it so much, the break has enabled me to connect with people in my physical world and be part of real life after hiding for a good many years. And reading books from a time long reinvents me I feel. And I think about what my assignment is, in writing and churning out stories and poetry?

I read this piece a few weeks back and it has stayed in my head, about the assignment we have as writers in dark and trying times equally in good and happy times. I quote the text from Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings a favourite inspirational site that blends science and art.

“This is your assignment created by Illustrator Wendy MacNaughton and writer Courtney E. Martin offer a heartening answer in a collaboration that stands as a mighty manifesto for our time and a testament to the only mechanism by which the creative spirit has ever pulled humanity out of every abyss of its own making.”

Feel all the things. Feel the hard things. The inexplicable things, the things that make you disavow humanity’s capacity for redemption. Feel all the maddening paradoxes. Feel overwhelmed, crazy. Feel uncertain. Feel angry. Feel afraid. Feel powerless. Feel frozen. And then FOCUS.

Pick up your pen. Pick up your paintbrush. Pick up your damn chin. Put your two calloused hands on the turntables, in the clay, on the strings. Get behind the camera. Look for that pinprick of light. Look for the truth (yes, it is a thing—it still exists.)

Focus on that light. Enlarge it. Reveal the fierce urgency of now. Reveal how shattered we are, how capable of being repaired. But don’t lament the break. Nothing new would be built if things were never broken. A wise man once said: there’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. Get after that light.

This is your assignment.

Wow! Isn’t that amazing to read and let sink in. Then after reading Hemmingway’s Girl I found out about this article he, Ernest Hemmingway wrote, or as I would like to refer to him: Papa as he is affectionately known, and here it is for your reference. http://www.unz.org/Pub/NewMasses-1935sep17-00009

I’ve copied below two passages that show you Hemingway’s anguish over the fate of the war veterans during that time and for some others that touched his life.

“Who sent them down there?

I hope he reads this—and how does he feel?

He will die too, himself, perhaps even without a hurricane warning, but maybe it will be an easy death, that’s the best you get, so that you do not have to hang onto something until you can’t hang on, until your fingers won’t hold on, and it is dark. And the wind makes, a noise like a locomotive passing, with a shriek on top of that, because the wind has a scream exactly as it has in books, and then the fill goes and the high wall of water rolls you over and over and then, whatever it is, you get it and we find you, now of no importance, stinking in the mangroves.

* * * *

You’re dead now, brother, but who left you there in the hurricane months on the Keys, where a thousand men died before you in the hurricane months when they were building the road that’s now washed out?

Who left you there? And what’s the punishment for manslaughter now?”

Read about a time when people were at their lowest, financially, morally and spiritually and then a hurricane hits and your government forgets about you. Forgets about the men and women who sacrificed to defend country in the war, left to die building a road for the economic prosperity of a town inhabited by the rich and famous and beautiful. A road to be built by the scarred, broken, ugly veterans who seemed to have less use than the envisioned road in a society focused on being beautiful and staying strong.

I was moved by his writing; Hemmingway knew how to live life one way only, loud and intense and died the same, but the life he led was honest to what he believed was the right way to live. Yet he never forgot the man on the street, defended the weak and tried to be a good person according to the standards of the people around him. That made him capture the people he lived with and he wrote them into his novels. How often do we do that? And is right to keep people between the pages of our stories?

So what is your assignment? Is there something happening around you that you must write about? Is there something that you read that has moved you to write your own words in response? If there has been, pick up your pen and write or your thoughts will be forgotten with the rush of day and then it becomes a distant memory you will never recapture.

This is your assignment!

I hope the weekend will be especially sweet and filled with memories, if they aren’t yet, go out and make them. I am looking forward to book hunting and more café moments this weekend besides a picnic in a park and holding hands under the stars.

Hope & Light

Gina@Singledust

 

24th June – Come Sit With Me – In the Go Dog Go Cafe

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Credit : my flat white in Circus Circus!

Get your coffee and come sit with me, I have my flat white ready!

I was recently introduced to John Berger an English art critic, novelist, painter and poet. I was given his novel G (which won the 1972 Booker Prize) as a reading assignment by my reading partner. It was not an easy read and I felt intellectually challenged as art has not been something I could ever comment on, not being a visually inspired person, most art is lost on me. But I did pick up something from reading his words, he had a keen eye for the insignificant. I love this quote from him – “If I am a storyteller, it’s because I listen”.

It surprised me that an art critic who had a keen eye for form and structure was also a keen listener. So I decided I would try to be both a keen listener and also observer of insignificant things and moments.

I did after all receive a lot of my stories from listening or rather eavesdropping when I was a child. My mind absorbed all of them and later I think I made up my own when I forgot the facts! But I was always listening to whoever wanted to speak to me, I found that the highest honour.

Then I came across this piece:

Walt Bettinger, the CEO of Charles Schwab, related one of the most stinging experiences in his life. He had maintained a 4.0 GPA in college and wanted to graduate with a perfect GPA. The final exam for a business strategy course was a blank piece of paper. The professor said he had taught them everything he could about business, so he only had one more question: What is the name of the lady who cleans this building?

Mr. Bettinger said that was the only test he ever failed. He had seen her, but never taken the time to speak to her or find out who she was. He learned the lesson to always get to know the people who can seem insignificant to us.

Always stop and listen to someone even if you think there are insignificant, you will never know what you miss. And never dismiss anything or anyone as insignificant.

And what did you miss at the café this week?

Come sit with me and let’s see!

The week started rather gravely for us as our Café Captain, S Francis observed a period of silence and mourning for the lives of the sailors lost at sea from the USS Fitzgerald collision early Sunday morning the 18th of June. S Francis has taken a period of time off from blogging to show respect and honour for these souls and their families during their most heartbreaking time. We stand by him and support him and offer comfort and understanding as what affects one affects all of us. We remember those who sacrifice so much to serve. My father was a Navy man too and I remember the weight of saying goodbye and not knowing when I would see him again. The loss these families must endure is unimaginable.

Again these maybe few and insignificant against the thousands who are in service but no, no one should just be a number, each a name and a soul we must remember.

Christine has led us during his absence and we continue to spread the warm spirit of community at the Go Dog Go Café.

Mr Davy D has a lovely discussion going on the subject of Why We Write Poetry? Davy says, “Shakespeare, according to some sources, wrote part of his poetry to supplement his income when plague closed the London theatres and stopped the performances of his plays. William Wordsworth’s poetry grew from his love and obsession with his childhood and nature.”

Davy then wrote a poem in response to his thoughts on the question and trying to solve the puzzle.

And I never wrote poetry till I started blogging! That puzzled me!

Read Davy’s post and the comments to understand why some of us write poetry.

Davy is our in house celebrity now, read about his recent new role here – Hanging Out With the Red Kites.

Christine did a most evocative Spoken Word Spotlight. This week she introduced us to a gorgeous poem written by Lois E. Linkens that was originally published by the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective.  We strongly recommend that you visit Lois’ blog and read more of her excellent poetry. Sit back, take a sip of coffee, close your eyes and enjoy.

There’s a Fiction section where you can read and also contribute stories on cafés and coffee moments, read my little story about a cute café in Auckland, New Zealand called Circus, Circus!

If you would like Christine to highlight a piece of your writing or contribute a story, please contact Go Dog Go through our Contact Form or email  us at godoggocafe@gmail.com.

I was pleased and a little overwhelmed to read Amanda’s rewind of an interview she did with me some weeks back. Thank you Amanda for the questions that prompted me to share and open up, you are a truly gifted person, and juggle so much yet produce such amazing work. Each Tuesday Amanda will post an interview she has conducted. Soon all the Baristas here will be interviewed too, so watch this space if you have a favourite you are waiting to read! If you would like to be a part of Amanda’s bi-weekly interview series, please reach out to her through her Contact Page.

And we have two fabulous call and response poems from Chrstine and Chuck, two brilliant poets. Using words in tight spaces to tell a story of courage and resilience. Read them both here. The Call / The Response.

I leave you with a quote from one of my favourite poets, a wise and tender soul:

“In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.” – Rumi

Hope & Light

Gina@Singledust

 

17th June – Come Sit With Me – In the Go Dog Go Cafe

bty

My Vietnamese coffee on a leisurely day

Welcome to the Go Dog Go Café

Bob Dylan said – people have a hard time accepting anything that overwhelms them.

So when things do overwhelm you, don’t get reckless and don’t be irrational – pick up your pen and write or type. We need to speak it out but our voices may not be loud or firm so we write, and from writing comes the clarity we look for. Clarity gives us power. Power is knowledge.

Power is not violence and senseless acts. Power is using our gifts to change situations for the better, for humanity.

Many violent and senseless things are happening in the world and sometimes they are really close to home and our hearts. Let’s speak up and let our voices be heard. Use our writing to share what we have learnt and as a reminder never to repeat such atrocities and grievances against humanity. Let us use our words powerfully and effectively. Not our fists and weapons.

Let me first share a poem from a favorite poet e.e. Cummings

Humanity i love you (e.e. Cummings)

Humanity i love you

because you would rather black the boots of
success than enquire whose soul dangles from his
watch-chain which would be embarrassing for both

parties and because you
unflinchingly applaud all
songs containing the words country home and
mother when sung at the old howard

Humanity i love you because
when you’re hard up you pawn your
intelligence to buy a drink and when
you’re flush pride keeps

you from the pawn shop and
because you are continually committing
nuisances but more
especially in your own house

Humanity i love you because you
are perpetually putting the secret of
life in your pants and forgetting
it’s there and sitting down

on it
and because you are
forever making poems in the lap
of death Humanity

i hate you

He ends with the line “i hate you” to show you his disgust. This is a cynical poem, using words to show disgust, some people write like this to show their frustration about the world around them they so desperately want to change and see change. They see injustices like Cummings did, seeing richer sections of society abuse the poorer and less fortunate. Or just be indifferent, their indifference encouraging more neglect and abuse.

We write like that when we are disgusted with what’s happening in the world; politics, abuse, discrimination, destruction and marginalization.

But our writing needs to offer a solution too. Suggestion, advice, hope, future steps and not just empty words. Make your words count, you say you have a way with words? Then make it count.

Humanity is selfish. When we are at the top looking down, we crow over our success, forget those in need, sometimes all we do is just write about the weak and miserable, but have you really been there to know their suffering?

Most of us cannot say yes to that question. We are quite cocooned in our safe little worlds. But some do see the injustices and must have our voices heard. Today I want to highlight a few people and posts that have done just that in this café.

You thought you were just hanging out at a cool café? Well this is a living, breathing and evolving entity. Be happy and proud to be here.

Come sit with me!

I started the week reading a delightful piece of flash fiction from our barista Vanessa @saynotoclowns – Her flash fiction had an open ending and it let my imagination make up the ending. It was one I liked for the female lead was the one that brought adventure and colour to the story. Vanessa does this superbly, little vignettes of a tale snipped off a larger fabric, most times coming from a song she has heard. Music does inspire us deeply. Sometimes the stories we write hide some of the reality we cannot speak about freely. We may need to weave a tale that parallels our own realities but never revealing its true source. But we do write from our own experiences and share it and find there are others just like us with those same experiences we thought only unique to us. And that offers the comfort of a bond across the seas and miles that separate us.

And so you must write! Or like Byron said – if I don’t write to empty my mind – I go mad.

We may write about simple things not major events as not everyone of us goes through horrors unimaginable in life to relate to those who do and write about it. Like for example – If the venerable Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh — who has been through horrors I cannot even imagine — can say, “The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms,”

We too can practice peace in the midst of the upheaval, the anxieties, the self-doubt and self-reprisals.

And our other barista Davy D has set out to do just that in his weekly post Hang out Thursday – this week he takes us to have Coffee with Basho .

Davy D talks about his favourite poet and how reading the poet’s words gave him comfort. He highlights the works of Basho and makes references to world events and urges us to seek peaceful places around us, pockets of peace and tranquility. Davy asks each of us to reconnect with nature and by doing so back to our own humanity and the gentleness of spirit we have forgotten. Not a spirit of animosity, greed, anger or hatred. The spirit of respect for nature and our fellow human. We seem to have lost this in our quest for development and success. And I like Davy’s thought, for everything around us does have a value and a purpose, no matter how small they may seem. Even our everyday experience is valuable.

Our everyday experience is both physical and temporal.

Christine our most illustrious and hardworking barista set out a challenge to use 10 objects in our life to paint an experience. Read Christine’s challenge – originating from her post Asylum that intrigued me.  Read some of the responses, see what defines each of us. The differences, the similarities and the parallels. I thought this was an amazing challenge to do, so simple it became philosophical in discussion about the things that define our experience.

One person that responded to the challenge and I would like to mention here is Jerennazuto in his post – “10 objects” – read his collection of both the physical and temporal objects that make up his experience, simple yet profound, relatable yet imaginative.

One person I read who blends the physical and temporal so beautifully in his writing is S Francis our café founder and leader of our community. He inspires us with the books and songs he listens to. His younger self poetry is a must read to see the man develop from the boy while still retaining the innocence and love for life that is so fragile. His tender words as a young man contemplating the balance in the world is worth your time and consideration. Games of the Sandbox is my favourite.

When I read S Francis’s writing I realise that we all need something to believe in and we cannot become more than what we were yesterday without reading or continuing to learn. And I take an excerpt from his recent Song Of The Week post –

“I have just finished reading Alan Lightman’s book The Accidental Universe, a very good and respectful discussion that allows space in the world for both science and faith. He divides the book into seven essays to explain different understandings of the universe from all disciplines of science with a respectful reverence for both the technical and the spiritual aspects of our existence: Accidental, Temporary, Spiritual, Symmetrical, Gargantuan, Lawful, and Disembodied.”

We may be people of science and mathematics but the universe is made up of more than just numbers and formulas, our understanding too should not be so limited but all encompassing. I urge you to spend some time reading S Francis writing to understand the real foundation of this café.

But…..our café is also a fun and happening place! With specials for everyone!

Sangbad kicks off the week on Monday with his very special Guest Posts – I enjoyed this one as it made me think about my kids at that age. Sangbad selects special writers and highlights some of their best stories here. Read Asiya’s – the Clingy Period here. It was hilarious!

Mandibelle has her amazing and in depth interviews lined up every Tuesday, where we will be introduced to new writers and personalities. Check out this week’s interview of a contemporary writer Carolyn Shelton (JoyRoses) and illustrator Jodi from The Creative Life In Between. 

We have a new event every Wednesday – Spoken Word Spotlight Night  where we will hear Christine speak our poetry. I was so pleased to hear my poem “Soil of Your Seed”. Christine has an amazing voice and gives the words just the right intonation and magical feel.  If you would like Christine to highlight a piece of your writing, please contact Go Dog Go through our Contact Form or email us at godoggocafe@gmail.com.  

Similarly if you would like to be a contributor to our Blackboard Specials  use the same contact form or email. This week we read another fine piece from Aurora Phoenix  – Dances with Words 

Many other things are happening at the café and you need to drop by and check out the menu!

Two new baristas have joined us this week, Alisa  and Beth Amanda  and I would like to welcome them warmly and look forward to their contributions.

And there are more stories here last week where you can read about coffee and how it connects people and keeps this community together.

Thank you for sitting with me and I look forward to seeing all of you at the CAFÉ!

Love & Hope

Gina@Singledust

 

 

 

10th June – Come Sit With Me – In the Go Dog Go Cafe

bty

Always room for one more!

Welcome to the Go Dog Go Café

Come sit with Me

Hello everyone!

Isn’t it exciting that we finally have our own café to hang out in?!

Come sit with me. This is a safe place for you to write and be heard. For here no one judges you, they listen and appreciate your story. There’s always room fro one more!

The start of this week saw the café come to life and the baristas are all familiar names by now; Amanda, Christine, Chuck, Davy D, Sangbad, S Francis and Vanessa. They are truly amazing people and talented writers and you can read some their work posted here (or on their own blogs) as we continue to journey and encourage each other.

Since I have had too much sugar this week I am opting for a flat white, lots of warm milk to complement my mood! And I feel really warm inside!

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Come sit with me dear friend

I wrote this piece last December for a friend and thought it would fit nicely on this site. I was going to change the name because of the similar name on Gina’s recent posts, but decided it reflects perfectly the kindred spirit we’ve found here. We are all so different with different stories, but we respect each other and hope you will feel welcome here too! Vanessa

~•~

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“They I said it wouldn’t happen again,

this flooding”

a sight not to be seen for another __ years.

“My ears filling with expert voices

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3rd June – Come Sit With Me – In the Go Dog Go TreeTop Cafe

bty

caramel macchiato at the cafe

Welcome to the Go Dog Go Treetop Café

I order a caramel macchiato today, for I need some sugar! I see friends gathered around the table, smiling shaking hands, the circle has widened I note happily, we are blessed to have each other on this journey.

So happy to announce the first Café Collaboration in two parts, S Francis  our cafe host is the brilliant mind behind these two wonderful pieces. His imagination and pure talent combines the pieces from each poet then added his own magic and connected the two parts. I love his ability to make poetry come alive like this!

Solving Lonely Winter Nights

Spring Responds to Winter Loneliness

So I get my coffee and stop and say hello to Charles, The Reluctant Poet, who seems not so reluctant anymore from all the love poems he has been posting! I am always blessed by your firm support and sweet words. This week Davy D composed a lyrical and most creative poem as a tribute to Charles’s work, check it out here. You see at the café there’s lots of support for each other.

Then I must say a warm hello to Sangbad, who has been a friend and fellow writer that encourages me so much. Always has my back, reading and commenting on my poetry format – he knows I am still a beginner here and many a time saved me from humiliation and making big blunders – I so love my Mr. Romantic Poet’s heart and the value he gives to my writing, always the eagle eyes and that he reads and appreciates my work by being brutally honest makes him a very special person to me. We have collaborated on some poetry work, always spontaneous, me on my lunch break and he still at work, a kind of camaraderie in our lonely days, reaching out and creating a love story. We are taking a short break but will be back soon! Please read this post here – and see the masculinity of his strong words. Then go read all his other love poems and swoon!

Smiling so sweetly from behind her book is PS the Storyteller, she writes the most beautiful haikus, something I struggle with as you all know I love to write lots of words and long sentences!! But I want to get as good as she is, I read this one and fell in love with her strength as a writer and a beautiful storyteller.  Spend some time sifting through her poems , you won’t be disappointed!

Oh! Before I can take a sip of my coffee I see a wave from Davy D – the wisdom from his words helps me see clarity in my sometimes too bright equatorial world, he writes about a humdrum day – – and don’t we all have them, but if you read his words you will see how he captures so subtly the beauty in the ordinary that escapes so many of us. I enjoy Davy’s writing for he always makes the obvious beautiful.

And of course dear Vanessa  who is my place of refuge in a storm, read her beautiful poem of a young life that continues to give even after it has left the earth and a family that is stronger by sharing love and support – you must read her post here – MORE. About ordinary heroes! Yes, just like you and me!

I look around the table and see other faces I am happy to get to know here, there’s Roland from Roland’s Ragbag – and his poem on memories half truths – touched me, for childhood memories are what inspires us to write today, memories from our youth the fuel for a new story that links the chain between people and lives, telling a story enlarges our humanity and that’s what I got from reading Roland’s words.

And that brings me to the question why we write?

Joan Didion says “we tell ourselves stories in order to live” but my other favourite writer (who I believe every word he says!), says this – “perhaps we live in order to tell our stories”!! I would go with Gabriel Garcia Marquez! But both persons have truth in their words, depending where you are in your point in life either one will resonate with you. Whatever said we must tell our stories! Or one day we will leave this earth and take our stories with us. I shudder at the thought and promise myself to not delay putting together my Tales From the Equator collection so I never lose my father and grandfather’s stories.

And by reading others telling stories, I met a writer that writes from the heart and I have enjoyed our new connection but one I know will grow strong through the love of writing and blogging. My first follower from Twitter! Jerry is The Backyardpoet,  drop by and read his beautiful story about his dad  and this was the foundation of my café chat this week. Any stories about a dad captures me for I loved my dad fiercely. Especially a dad who has stories to tell. Jerry can write with candor and also with humour. I am lifted up and smiling whenever I read his words. Read this is if you want to know Jerry better – Voices in My Head. Jerry this is kind of a shy invite for you to come join us at the table!

And I never fail to be impressed with Christine and her writing, her poems are raw and mighty, her song of the day reminds me I too have another story to write! Christine, I read that all artists have a responsibility to light, to be a light, to shine a light and reflect light of others, you embody all this in your poetry and sharing. Love that I had a chance to hear your voice recordings! You guys need to take a moment and listen to her!!

The café is also a place we gather to inspire and also offer support, I would like to highlight this special person whose daughter has just lost a young friend. Read Mich’s account  of this beautiful young soul that succumbed to cancer, something close to my heart as I work with these resilient and beautiful souls every day and it’s not easy saying good bye to a burning light. Mich I am sorry for you and your daughter’s loss, be comforted by the arms that I wrap around you and knowing that Zoe is free from pain, no longer chained to medications and subject to invasion of her personal space. Rejoice, she has her second chance.

I want to introduce two lovely ladies to the café, both named Angela, one I have come you know very closely and one that I am getting to know better!

Angela from Heartbreathings is a talented poet and warmest human you will have the luxury of meeting, yes luxury, for to me her words are like spun silk, fresh water pearls and satin covered words. I could spend all day reading her poems and her musings. We share many common interests, books being one of them and also having daughters we see growing up before our eyes. We connected over book titles, most recently both crying over “The Light Between Oceans”, Angela shares her passion with me and I am blessed to have her blog to read when I need some soul pampering. Her post that I love so much is She May – Angela so tenderly tells you what a woman’s heart wants to say. Oh! so many more, you need a rainy afternoon, a cup of your special brew and a window to look out from and then settle to read her poetry.

The other Angela is Angela from The Abundant Heart  . I adore her ottava rima –  and what she writes about her children is just so precious.

Tanya Cliff  is an amazing poetess and beautiful lady both inside and out, I have followed Tanya for some time now even before the café was open for business, and have found great inspiration in her writing. One haiku stands out for me and I hope it gives you a taste of her verdant beauty.

I hope you are inspired by each other as you visit each other’s blogs and read the stories, the poems, the funny, the serious and the sad. All these make us human and we share the stories because we have a responsibility to light.

Hope & Love

Gina@Singledust

27th May – Come Sit With Me – In the Go Dog Go Tree Top Cafe

bty

Monday writing at coffee shop

Sitting in a café reading and writing is one of my guilty pleasures. I don’t get a chance to do this often enough. Last Monday morning was the rare occasion I managed it and it was such a lovely time. I will make extra effort to do it again on a regular basis.

But I was alone in that café, and while the solitude made for good writing and reflection having a group of friends to share it with is equally fulfilling to a writer, poet or even just a book lover like me.

I am fortunate that I have another “Café” I can go to without planning to take time off work. It’s a very friendly place filled with warm, talented and inspiring people I am privileged to sit with and have a coffee and chat.

That Café is accessible to anyone who wants to be part of building a healthy and supportive writing community. It’s the inception of S Francis the Sailorpoet and his Café the Go Dog Go Tree Top Café  has attracted many like-minded souls as we journey together writing and finding our voice in the world.

Em and S are the first people at the Café when I get there, they have a special bond, sharing a love for music and poetry and two very creative souls in the writing they produce, pause at their blogs to sample some beautifully haunting words.

Read PoetGirlEm’s“Walk with Me” and feel the soul of a poet who embraces the hurts with such passion and writes this piece that speaks out on so many different levels, of loss and of trying to understand that loss, and we can’t do it alone  we need the support of friends who understand our grief and our need to be in a safe place while we sort ourselves out.

S pulls together a group of eclectic personalities I would never have had the opportunity to meet hiding in my own little corner of the coffee shop. There’s a gentle pull from this group that makes me inch closer to the warmth of the circle of friends gathered at the table.

Davy D brought a new book to the café and I love being introduced to a new book or writer! In his post “Where Poppies Blow” he takes a few lines from a recent interview I did with another amazing writer Mandibelle, (thank you Davy for the mention!) and the essence of this new book he is reading. He talks about writing from a place deep inside you each time you put pen to paper, like it was the last poem or story you will ever write. I thank Davy for giving life to my words and also the words of the soldiers from that book. Davy is just lovely, always a joy to see his friendly wave at the café and his wisdom and humour. If you drop by Davy D  you will see his inspiring quotes and take on life.

May has always been a difficult time for me, things culminate in May and I am often unable to cope with the weight of memories and emotions, and this is the time I am the most reckless, with my words and my actions and hurt a lot of people around me. Unable to talk about a lot of the things I am trying to process and just get through the days makes me a very confusing person to be with, in trying to keep everything under control I lose parts of myself in my unkindness to others. I become a person I don’t like to be with. I even blame the Supermoon in Gemini for my craziness! It takes reading others words and their grief that puts me back on course. That’s the core value of this Cafe.

This week we rallied together to support both Em and S as they dealt with personal loss, read two very moving accounts that left me in tears each time I went back to the words, but tears are good, when you need to feel human again.

Skeleton Tree, When the bough Breaks – Sailorpoet

No Dream – PoetGirlem

Vanessa at saynotoclowns  wrote a very moving piece about life and death. That shook up me out of my self-pity. Vanessa is the friend I would sit next to at the café for her quiet strength and warmth calms me as my shoulder touches hers. If you need a pick me up story or song, visit V!

While I was contemplating writing this Christine at Brave and Reckless wrote the most delightful response poem “First Timer” to Sailorpet’s invite to the café – “In the Café” – Christine is a force! That’s how I see her, as she creates and encourages new writers, discovers hidden talent and makes a valuable contribution to this community. Her writing prompts has seen such a huge response, this I believe mainly due to just her being her, the person behind the blog. Christine in real life I would never have the courage to speak to you, so I am glad we have this Café or I would never have met such a brave and fearless soul.

There are others, beautiful writers and real people I have met since this café came to life and I will write more next week. I will introduce some of them to you here first though.

Sangbad – my Romantic Poet he writes strong and sensual love poetry. He is like my very own Pablo Neruda with his passionate words.

PS  – the beautiful Storyteller – she weaves such beauty with her words I am often left sighing. Her haikus are gems!

And Charles The Reluctant Poet – he writes the loveliest words of love and longing, bringing me back to a time when love was simpler and gentler, who I am always happy to see “champion” all the writing I do. He sprinkles me with gold stars and I float.

So welcome to the Café, get your favourite drink, grab a chair and join the lovely people meeting here and be part of a growing community spreading love, peace and hope.

Hope & Love,

Gina@Singledust