A Hopeful Transmission

Merry Christmas everybody!

When we were kids, a tradition on Christmas morning would be to take a brief pause from our gift opening to watch the Queen’s Message broadcast on the CBC. My Dad, being from Northern Ireland and an unrepentant loyalist made sure we never missed it. He remembered tuning in to the Queen’s message (and the King’s before her) on radio when he was a kid. It just dawned on me: he heard “The King’s Speeches” first hand. Pretty cool.

As a child, I always liked the idea that the Queen was taking time to address her loyal subjects directly. I actually liked the idea that we were her loyal subjects and that she was somehow vaguely responsible for us and cared about us in her own way. I know, I’m weird.

We we got older, “The Queen’s Message” became a running joke between my brother and me, and in fact even to this day when we call each other on Christmas, one of the first things we say to each other is, “Did you catch Queenie?” or “Damn, I forgot to watch this year!” or something like that.

I’m writing this post a couple of weeks before Christmas, but I’m going to use the scheduling widget in WordPress to ensure that this goes up at 11 am on Christmas morning, the exact time that The Queen’s Message should go out to the world. Watch out, Queenie: Mountains Beyond Mountains is coming for you! Let’s see if there is a dip in her viewership this year as the faithful fanbase get alerted that there’s a new post.

So come with me on a visioning exercise: Close your eyes, and imagine me in a cardigan, sitting in a rocking chair, next to a roaring fire, perhaps with a steaming warm mug of cocoa in my hands, smiling benevolently out at all of you. I’ll wait……okay……got it? Good.

Now, what do I have to say to all of you on this Christmas morn? I probably should have thought of that a bit before I started writing, but no one’s ever accused this blog of being overly prepared, right?

I used to keep a personal journal or diary for many years. I think I started it in Grade 12 and I’ve kept up with it with fairly regular entries. Most of the time it was just a way to get some thoughts down and help me work through some stuff or to mark special occasions, but it was always meant as a private document for me alone, and as a result it would be totally unedited  and free flowing. I found it quite therapeutic, actually and got into the habit of jotting down one or two lines sometimes, sometimes pages, before going to bed. It was a nice way to wind down after a day and I have about 20 years worth of scribblers, journals, notebooks etc. “Binders full of whining” might be how a certain presidential candidate might put it.

When I started this blog a couple of years ago, I have pretty much stopped my personal journaling. I guess this blog fills a similar need for me, with a huge difference being that I’m not the only one reading it. It’s out there on the airwaves. So that means that most of the readers are people I don’t know personally. It’s not an accident that the twitter account to which this blog was linked up until recently defined my location as simply “in the library with the rope”. I wanted it to say “In the Library with the Candlestick” because I thought that was cooler, but I ran out of characters for candlestick, so I had to settle for “rope”. I probably could have squeezed in “dagger”, but I digress. It now says “New York, London, Paris, Munich” and astute U2 fans will get that reference, I hope. The location changes, or like Liam Neeson said in that turrible 1990 film, “I am everyone and no one, everywhere, nowhere”.

But it would be weird if I just jotted these posts down and emailed them out to people, right? I mean, that would be insane. But somehow putting it out there this way is sort of acceptable. People can read them and comment on them if they want, and some people do. (Full disclosure: it doesn’t stop me completely from sending out longish emails to people. I still do. I can’t help it sometimes.)

A side effect of maintaining this blog then, is that my own personal musings and thoughts eventually creep in here too, which I think is okay. I know we’re told good blogs should have defined themes (A blog about scrapbooking! A blog about model railroading! etc), but no one will ever mistake this for a “good blog”, right? I wouldn’t want to be pigeonholed into one type of writing, and if I ever did, I could just start another blog. I’m not even sure how you could define what we do here at Mountains Beyond Mountains. It’s more personal than a subject blog, and yet not nearly as personal as my personal journals once were. I’m intimately at arm’s length, I guess is one way to put it. A paradox.  So this blog ends up being a weird hybrid: part parenting blog, part personal musings, part rants, part lists, part tributes to things and people I have loved and lost, part library talk, and part whatever I feel like writing about. Described that way, I really can’t imagine what kind of weirdo would want to read this, aside from me.

I do realize that this is the queerest Christmas message ever, so I’ll wrap it up.

This is the time of year when people make resolutions. I usually make the same resolution every year, which is to not make any resolutions. Last year was different. My resolution in 2012 was to eat every type of pizza offered at this local pub in town. There were like 12 pizzas on the menu, so I thought a pizza a month was doable. Well, I certainly didn’t factor in the fact that they also have “specials”, so the project became a bit of a lost cause from the beginning. Even if I limited myself to just “regular” menu items, I felt like I was cheating myself. Plus, my wife said, “What kind of person resolves to eat more pizza? It’s crazy”. She’s right. Also, thinking I would actually get out of the house 12 times in a year was overly optimistic. I had a final chance to complete the circuit (I think I maybe had 6 of the pizzas at that point) about a three weeks ago, when a group of us was going to head there. I had the crazy notion that if I could convince everyone to order a different pizza and then have a wee bite of each one I would discharge my obligation to myself. But guess what? The damn place was closed for a “private event” and so my last ditch attempt was bejiggered.

So I’m back to my old, reliable resolution: no resolutions in 2013. I feel better already.

In wrapping up, let me just say, in my fire-side cardigan, that I love all of you, the readers, and especially the ones who comment on the blog, here or through the tweets, and that I wish each and every one of you a Happy Christmas and a Super New Year, and let’s all try to stay healthy and be good and kind to one another because if we don’t, who will?

Over to you, Queenie!


1 Comment

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One response to “A Hopeful Transmission

  1. I’m quite fond of the style of this blog. You never know what you’re going to get! You’re guaranteed a good read, though. Laughter, tears, U2. All the good stuff. Merry Christmas!

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