Sunday, August 10, 2014
2 - 4:30 p.m.
Knox College, Room 4, 59 St. George Street,
between College & Harbord
Entrances on St. George and King's College Circle, north entrance for no steps
Topic: THE JOURNEY OF CREATIVE WRITING
Presenter: PATRICIA McCULLY, Author, Teacher
Patricia McCully, BA, OTC (Ontario Teachers Certificate), is a life coach, motivational speaker, an author and a certified Laughter Yoga leader. She has been a teacher all her life, starting with elementary grades, then teaching programs to people of all ages with special learning needs. Later she formed her own seminar business where she designed and presented a variety of professional skills workshops (Public Speaking, Dealing with Difficult People, Thinking out of the Box, Time and Stress Management and more) for organizations like 3M, TD Bank, University of Toronto, Humber College and several professional associations.
Currently, Patricia teaches a variety of personal growth workshops such as Just Write!, Writing your Life Stories, Just Dance! How to Destress your Life, Laughter Yoga, Memory Techniques, The Art of Conversation, Say Yes! to Happiness, and more, to community groups, retirement residences, senior centres, professional conferences, and corporate groups. Patricia also offers specialized courses and individual consultations related to life coaching focusing on personal and professional advancement as well as life transitions.
She is a Canadian published author of a book entitled How to Avoid Presentation Pitfalls as well as a published poet. She is currently working on two children's books and other personal writing projects. Patricia coaches individuals on their writing process, with instruction and editing. She designed the course called Just Write as a catalyst for beginner writers, for those who want to return to their writing, and for anyone curious about the craft and joys of creative writing.
On August 10, Patricia McCully will speak about the Journey of Creative Writing, its pleasures and pitfalls, as well as the many benefits for everyone. She will share with us some stories of her own journey and other writers' journeys of writing. Also, she will read to us some of her work and short excerpts written by her students.
Visitors are welcome
SEPTEMBER GENERAL MEETING
Date: September 14, same time and place as above; Details TBA
INTEREST GROUPS AND UPCOMING EVENTS
Mosaic Planning Lunch
Monday, August 4 and 25
12 - 1:30 p.m.
Granite Brewery & Restaurant, 245 Eglinton Ave. E. (enter from Mt. Pleasant) Contact: Daniel Karpinski
Friday, August 29, 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.
at Virginia Rock's home Manulife Centre
Please RSVP Virginia if you are interested
Date and Place to be announced
Contact Vivian Haar if
interested in attending and working on a presentation for a Ulyssean Mosaic
(No meeting in August)
Member Events and News
Linda Stitt's next monthly Words and Music programs are arranged for Saturdays August 2 and September 6, 1:30-4:30 p.m. at Portobello Restaurant, 995 Bay St, just north of Wellesley. Upcoming monthly artists and past photos and videos are posted at www.lindastitt.com.
We were delighted to see Lois and Jack Linett at our July 13 meeting so soon after her June hip replacement.
Welcome to new member Lucy Brennan, who joined after attending our July meeting. Lucy is a writer, actor and storyteller, and an active member of the Arts and Letters Club, where she found one of the flyers we sent. Her website at www.lucybrennan.ca is a lovely introduction, and we look forward to getting better acquainted in person.
Dr. William Paul died peacefully after a short illness on July 18, 2014. A current member, he joined The Ulyssean Society after presenting a program a few years ago.
Ricker Choi, the fine classical pianist who performed for our 2011 and 2012 anniversary celebrations, usually presents an annual sold-out benefit concert. This year he has instead released a fundraising CD with net proceeds donated to the Caden Koo Tribute Fund at the SickKids Foundation. His Arabesque CD of classical favourites includes some selections he played for us. It is available online at www.rickerchoi.com for $20.
Carol Farkas and Paul Nash are offering workshops at the Academy for Lifelong Learning in the fall and winter. Carol will host Telling of Tales (storytelling) and Paul will facilitate a new course, Celebration of Song, on alternating Tuesdays 4-6 p.m. See Carol or Paul on August 10 or web www.allto.ca.
Shirley Gibson, Joan Appelby
Inquiring Mind - May 17, 2014
Our senses are much richer than previously thought. They interconnect in most unusual ways. We can read with our fingers (braille), we can walk through obstacles although we are blind (blind sight), we can see with our ears (echolocation); on hearing sounds, we see colours, or on tasting food, one feels shapes: spiky (synesthesia).
Our sensory systems are more widespread in the brain than previously thought. Vision is not just for seeing; hearing is not just for listening. The way our senses can inform and compensate for one another may seem exotic and extraordinary.
Thanks to neuroplasticity, we now know that the brain is like a very big river delta-if there is a dam on a major route, then water will flow along the minor routes, and these minor routes will become wider and more functional. The book The Brain That Changes Itself, by Dr. Norman Doidge, explains this neuroplasticity brilliantly.
Good social skills depend on picking up on other people's moods, a feat the brain performs by combining numerous sensory cues. Not only muscles of the face allow one to perceive how someone feels. Posture, tone of speech, hands' position, breathing, all of these are critical to emotion's perception. This perception involves knitting together an array of sensory inputs in order to help us read other people more accurately and communicate better with them.
Report of our last General Program
July 13, 2014
Topic: THE ART OF THE SUFI TALE:
THE STORIES OF JALALADIN RUMI (1207-1273)
Presenter: ARIEL BALEVI, Storyteller
KNOX COLLEGE Room 4, 59 St. George Street
The meeting, held at Knox College on July 13th, was called to order by our President and Program Chair, Virginia Rock. Joan Appelby lit the candle and read the Ulyssean Creed. Carol Farkas welcomed our guests and Virginia made several announcements of upcoming meetings and news of our members.
Virginia warmly welcomed storyteller Ariel Balevi to share his knowledge of The Art of the Sufi Tale: The Stories of Jalaladin Rumi (1207-1273). Ariel began with a brief overview of Sufism, its etymology, history and relation to storytelling. Sufi tradition is about the conversation between the master and disciple, which manifested into storytelling. At each stage of life, every person has a personal interpretation and spiritual path to the divine. The Masnavi is a poetic form of these teachings from master to disciple.
Ariel introduced Rumi, a 13th-century Persian poet and storyteller. Rumi's Masnavi is a complex gallery of stories, which Ariel described as "a hall of mirrors." This great 13th century poet has become popular in the West largely through English versions of his work by American poets such as Coleman Barks and Daniel Ladinsky.
Stepping away from the podium, Ariel took centre stage to perform two stories from the Masnavi. From Book One, Ariel told a tale of a master and his beloved parrot and from Book Three, a tale of a banished and homesick minister. After the performance, Ariel opened the floor to take questions and comments from the audience. They responded with praise and an engaging discussion. Carol Parkas thanked Ariel on behalf of the group and presented him with an honorary membership along with our founder's book The Challenge of Aging.
After a brief tea and coffee break the Mosaic portion of our meeting started. We were happy to hear from Elizabeth Allen and Shirley Gibson. The meeting was closed with Elizabeth reading the Ulyssean Benediction and extinguishing the candle.
Joan Appelby, Lindsay Wu, Shirley Gibson
*Ariel and guitarist William Beauvais's CD Unspoken Dreams: Stories from Rumi which includes oral tellings of stories from the Masnavi can be found on amazon.com and http://www.musiccentre.ca/node/40303. Storytellers, often including Ariel, present varied stories every Friday night at 8 pm at Innis College, 2 Sussex Ave. at St. George.
Those were the Days
I became an immigrant of Canada in 1976; I landed at Halifax Airport shortly after midnight, the 1st of September, accompanied by my sister. We were received by her friend, Penny, and spent the night in Mahone Bay. In the morning, Penny decided to show me the South Shore.
It was a cloudy, breezy day; the car was running towards Lunenburg. I saw trees and houses flying on top of the long slopes along the shore, and spotted weathered barns in the field. I was mesmerized; I threw my hand out the window, feeling the wind. Suddenly came a moody melody from the radio: "...where are the clowns, send in the clowns..." I couldn't figure out the lyrics but the tune was beautiful enough to haunt me. As the song was weaving through the landscape and the gray and the wind, I was touched by a moment of romance and melancholy.
My settlement days in Halifax were far from melancholy though. I was consumed by my studies at the Art College while settling in a place I called home. It was a huge stone farm house on the waterfront; I was the latest addition to the co-op: Ginny and Alan, fleeing the "American Dream," were into cycling, recycling and community development; Chris, a media guy, impressed me with a graphic presentation of borscht; Noel, the Quebecker, just returned from India, where he had served at one of Mother Teresa's missions; Blane, an idealist with a musical bent, introduced me to Bruce Cockburn and James Taylor, and finally, Bill, the documentary filmmaker.
We subscribed to the vegetarian movement and belonged to a food co-op; we shared rent, groceries and five dinners on week nights. Alan had devised a brilliant system-each of the five would choose an evening to cook for the entire household, and then she/he could expect dinners on the table for the rest. (The sixth person would shop for additional groceries and make granola.) Everyone wanted to dish out her/his specialty to impress; mine was rice and noodles, but over time I managed to deliver a decent potato casserole.
The kitchen was in the basement, a hub for food, company and music. It was abandoned during the day. About 5 o'clock, the cook would arrive; by 6, some hungry souls would come down to help out or hang out; around 7, the dinner bell would ring. Over a harvest table, Ginny would try to bring out our thoughts and episodes of the day. Most of the time, I observed and listened to conversations flowing from ecology and politics to the arts and the absurdity in our time and life. After a few months, I added loads of new words to my English vocabulary, including various herbal spices; I even learned how to "split" myself in style from social gatherings.
Each birthday party was a rather peculiar event. As the birthday girl/boy got to request her/his favourites for the menu, everybody, with the exception of Blane, wouldn't miss the chance to order meat and devour every piece that she/he could find...so much for the vegetarian ideology! To finish off, we'd have a big black forest double chocolate birthday cake baked by Alan, and gorge on it till we dropped.
A jam session was one of our favourite activities. With a line-up of Blane and friends on guitar, banjo or harmonica, we'd be lost in the words and music. Typically, the event ended with a popular: "Those were the days my friend; we thought they'd never end; we'd sing and dance forever and a day; we'd live the life we choose...la, la, la, la..."
Little did I know then I was in a culture immersion; it was a fabulous time of my life!
Virginia's Trip to Poland
"You are going to Poland?" friends exclaimed when I told them that I would be making a nostalgic trip in June to the place that had changed my life. I anticipated their next question "Why?" My answer was simple though astonishing: "I'll be reconnecting with students I had taught 50 plus years ago in Kraków. Isn't that remarkable?"
With my long-time friend Lien Chao I set forth on this journey of reconstruction and renewal to experience again some of the places where I had taught and lived. But I especially wanted to talk with my students-what their lives were like after their university studies, what they did to earn a living, how they are now. As I look back on our ten-day trip, it was really two journeys-reconnecting with my students and the memories they evoked and refreshing my delight in the beauty and history of places I experienced. For this part of my story, I focus on the human connection.
After a direct 8 hour+ flight on LOT's new Dreamliner (in comfortable premier economy class), we landed in Warsaw. There to meet us were three of my former students-Stefan, Magda and Slawek. Hugs and flowers (the traditional European way to welcome visitors), greetings and questions-we were so excited and thrilled to see each other. "Can you believe it? Here we are! Together!"
Immediately I contrasted this scene of free human interaction at Warsaw's modern colourful airport with the Poland I experienced in 1962 when I saw a bleak grey world of scarcity and oppression, controlled by Communist ideology. I had come at the invitation of Jagellomoan University as their second Fulbright Professor selected by the U.S. State Department to continue the exchange program which had been inaugurated the year before.
I was to teach students majoring in English my areas of expertise- American literature, the American South, backgrounds of American culture, writing, bibliography and research methods. I did not teach language. (Their English, both spoken and written, was excellent.) Surprisingly I was completely free to select the topics, books and authors and to say whatever I wanted to about these or special subjects which I introduced for the cultural context of the literature. We covered all the genres-fiction, drama, poetry and historical/political documents. My lectures for fifth-year students on topics such as the American Revolution, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, the American Dream, varieties of religion in the U.S. might have been seen as subversive in a totalitarian state and censored. But that didn't happen.
My teaching schedule for the first year was four courses at third and fourth year levels, five in my second year, adding the fifth year level; each meeting was an hour weekly. Satisfactory completion of the fifth year included writing a long paper in English (like a Master's thesis) for which students received a Magister degree. The students who connected with me and made our reunion happen were all in my upper level courses and one, Slawek, wrote his thesis on Sinclair Lewis as Social Critic under my supervision.
Remembering the past is always a challenge. My hope to refresh my memories of half a century ago required extraordinary help. It came from six former students: Magda, Stefan, Slawek, Marcin, Marek and Krystyna. All of them brought photos of me, themselves and classmates showing how we looked and what we did-dancing at a party I gave, playing games, being part of the crowd who gathered at the Collegium Maius University museum courtyard to greet Robert Kennedy and his family.
I was touched when Magda showed me her official record book where grades for courses were recorded: there was my signature three times- opposite her grades in American Literature, twice, Thesis Seminar and Research and Bibliography; the handout I had distributed for this course she still had, saved for more than 50 years!
But now we are in another, different world; my students are seniors, mostly in their 70s. Their lives and careers have been shaped in various ways by their study of English and completion of their university degrees. When we had time to talk, they touched on their personal lives, how they had earned a living; almost all were in the academic field until their retirement. Two taught in universities; one is still the head of the English department at JU; one has been teaching English to Japanese businessmen; another has focused on translating; one abandoned English studies entirely for business although his mother was a Professor in the department; he chose to establish two successful companies in Warsaw and Kraków and travels back and forth almost every weekend by train.
Lien and I were treated like royalty from the beginning to the end of our nine days in Warsaw and Kraków. Stefan, Magda and Slawek all invited us to their homes. With his car, Stefan took us great distances-a return trip to the airport to check on a lost piece of my luggage (never found); a long drive to Chopin's birthplace, a spacious home with 18th century furnishings, nestled in an extensive park of majestic trees, a stream, gentle hills-peace tranquility, enrichment for our spirits; a drive to his home in the countryside (far from Warsaw) where he had thoughtfully prepared an afternoon feast with tea, coffee, apple strudel, poppy seed rolls, perogies.
Magda invited us to tea in her tiny apartment, every bit of place filled with papers and stacks and stacks of books in English; after all these years and little reinforcement she is still a dedicated reader of literature and history in English.
And Slawek-he had been my right-hand man a half century ago when I needed help with the managing of special events, like the visit of John and Elaine Steinbeck to the University. In his small apartment and balcony he arranged an afternoon of sipping wine, talking and eating (including a special pistachio ice cream); it was a luncheon of such elegance it would eclipse the fare of a four-star hotel.
There was more in Krakow-Marcin's selection of a folk-style restaurant with authentic Polish food; his personally conducted tour of Kraków by car, taking Lien and me at my request to see the apartment building where I had lived for two years-I remembered the address - in Polish! Marek brought 50-year old photographs I had not seen. Krystyna's gift was commemorative newsletter (for the 650th year of Jagiellonian University and the centenary of the Department of English). It included her impressive article "English Studies at the Jagiellonian University after World War II," a fascinating account of the department through two World Wars, clandestine meetings during Communist restrictions to revitalization from 1958 to the present, with photographs and information about colleagues and students. It has simply reinforced my determination and realization - I must go back to Poland! SOON!
There are too many questions I didn't ask, other former students I haven't seen, people and places I must visit and revisit.
A Scent-free Request
We have some regular attendees who are sensitive to strong scents. We are joining many other organizations in requesting our members and guests not to wear them.
Still Accepting 2014 Membership Contributions
The Ulyssean Society is accepting member renewals and new memberships for the 2014 calendar year. Donations will be acknowledged with a tax-deductible receipt. The suggested donation remains $70-100 for single, or $125-200 per couple, but other amounts are accepted.
Please specify preferred newsletter format, printed copy mailed or pdf file attached to an email, and whether you will share your name, phone number and (if applicable) email with other members only.
Cheques payable to The Ulyssean Society are accepted at meetings or send them to the address below (our former Treasurer, Beverly Bloom).
In June forms were enclosed with copies of our newsletter mailed to members who had not renewed. Request a form, or just send information and cheque to
The Ulyssean Society, c/o Beverly Bloom,
421 - 3179 Yonge St., Toronto ON M4N 3P5
Thank you to everyone who has already renewed. Invite your friends to meetings!
*Editor's note: If anyone would like to contribute to the next issue of Entre Nous with writing or news, you are welcome to contact Lindsay Wu at email@example.com
Guests are welcome at our meetings
Invite your friends, relatives, acquaintances,
fellow students in the courses you take,
members in other groups you are in
Become an active part of your Society
Help it to continue to function well
The Ulyssean Mantra - A guiding principle
LOVE, LAUGH, LEARN, HEAL, CREATE
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