How We See Ourselves


“No man can be a failure if he thinks he’s a success; If he thinks he is a winner, then he is.”Robert W. Service

When we get up in the morning and look in the mirror, who is it that we see?  We have so many roles in one lifetime…child, spouse/mate, sibling, parent, caregiver, friend, colleague…who do we see?  I guess it depends on how we get up in the morning. If I had to think about it, let me think back to a short while ago when I arose…I saw ME:  The me that tries to smile in the morning no matter how I feel. The me that follows her routine, makes the single cup coffee, turns on the computer, lights, heaters in the basement. The me that is a blogger for the past year. The me that would definitely welcome an easier life even though I am retired. This is not a complaint, just a desire.

How our children and young people see themselves will contribute to what they do, how they feel, what kind of a life they make for themselves. We all know the U.S. educational system must make huge improvements in all areas. We all know that a percentage of parents shouldn’t be parents. We all know that equality is still lacking and not where it should be. We all know the negatives. What are we, individually, doing about these negatives that dim the positive outcomes we want for our society, our world?  Start with the me. 

Today, in 1874, British-Canadian poet, Robert Service was born. He had wanderlust and lived and worked in many places before settling in Canada at the age of 21. “Robert Service is “the singer of the common man.” Stanley Walker  

“There is no doubt that Robert Service was a Canadian for all seasons. He was a people’s poet before the word was used, and he wrote for the common person in a direct and accessible way. It was on the Canadian West Coast and in the Yukon that Robert Service cut his poetic teeth and earned his literary stripes. He stands for a way of being Canadian that we can still learn much from in an age in which poetry and prose often ignores the common person and writes for, as Milton once said, ‘a fit audience though few’. Robert Service did not write for a fit audience though few, and he probably would have seen such people as ‘the pretenders’.”Clarion Journal 2006

Robert W. Service knew who he was; he didn’t tolerate pretense well and recognized the “sad gap between the pandered rich and pretender class andneedsof the poor and the people.”-Clarion Journal 2006

To honor Service and his Canadian roots, let’s listen to a little of Ian and Sylvia sing 4 Strong Winds:














5 thoughts on “How We See Ourselves

  1. I saw ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ this afternoon. It is amazing. It tells you all the wrong things about loving folk music which I think makes it even more exceptional. It’s gorgeous. I can’t wait to read your review on it.

    • Oh Matt: Thank you so much. It will be a while before I see it; we don’t go to the movies, so when it’s On Demand, I will definitely order it. There were 2 good reviews in Sing Out! Magazine, one pro, one con. I know that it is fiction…so why all the “con” reviews by some is ridiculous. No one said this was a true story!!!!! Here are 3 reviews: : , …oh, you can read what *folksinger Happy Traum* had to say here: (I copied and pasted):

      “*Well, Ive finally seen Inside Llewin Davis and I feel compelled to join the heated conversation. Ill say right off that Im definitively, squarely on the fence about the film – although the fence is leaning precariously toward the positive side of the argument. *

      *I certainly understand the criticism Ive been hearing about how poorly the movie reflects the ethics, politics, friendships and pur*

      *e musical excitement of the folk scene of the Village in 1961 and the people who were participants in it. My friend Terri Thal made some very cogent points in her Voice piece, and no one knows the Dave Van Ronk story of those years, and the rest of the folk scene, as well as she does. The Llewin Davis character bore not the vaguest resemblance to Van Ronk, nor did the other characters who were based on real folksingers and managers except in the most stereotypical and simplistic way. Mixing a completely fictional story with recognizable people and places was a mistake that left the Coens open to just the kind of derisive comments and disappointments Ive seen expressed here on Facebook and elsewhere, mainly from those few of us who were there and who were desperately hoping that they would get it right. The opening scene, with the title card Gaslight, 1961, shows Llewin in the spotlight on a small stage playing for a rapt, smoking, era-appropriately dressed and coiffed audience. It gave me a thrill of recognition which was shattered moments later when the camera pulled back to show cavernous arches, a bar and, outside, a dank alleyway, none of which ever existed at the actual club. Why not call the cafe by another name that would not have elicited immediate comparisons with the real thing? The sleazy club owner who supposedly slept with aspiring female folk singers was just a bad attempt at putting a cynical face on what was a relatively idealistic and somewhat naive scene. *

      *It felt really off to me. On the other hand, the Coen Brothers and their cinematographer did a fantastic job of reconstructing the look and feel of MacDougal and other New York streets and interiors of the time. Oscar Isaac was terrific, both as an actor and as a credible folk singer and guitarist. I loved that they let him sing his traditional songs all the way through, and his performances were touching and authentic. I felt similarly about most of the other musical performances. The songs were beautifully chosen (thanks to T-Bone Burnett) and accurately represented a part of the traditional song repertoire of the pre-singer/songwriter days. The scenes with John Goodman were priceless (as usual), and I recognized the sycophantic Upper West Side couple who let Llewin crash in their spare room despite his disdain and careless abuse of their hospitality. The most riveting part came at the end, when an unknown Bob Dylan took the stage right after Llewin and you knew immediately that it was all over for him (and almost everyone else on the scene). That moment made the film, for me.* *In the end, it was a Coen Brothers movie and there were enough flashes of humor, creativity and artful filmmaking that it won me over. It was the story of one guy and his misadventures, and it didnt have to represent an entire musical community. Best of all, how wonderful that Elijah Wald s excellent book, Dave Van Ronks music, and the phenomenal music scene that had its birth in 60s Greenwich Village were given such a huge platform, and generated such heated discussion. So okay, it wasnt the movie we all wanted it to be. Hopefully this very fertile ground will be plowed by others in the future and they will make their own version of these wondrous times.*”-Happy Traum

      The article he refers to by Terry Thai at the beginning of the above was in The Village Voice… HAPPY READING!!!!!!!!

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