Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Silent Hero

Trial Island Lighthouse - Trial Island, BC
Gillian Cornwall, c. 2013

As those of you who read my work or keep my company know, I'm not exactly the kind who keeps her cards close to her chest. If you want to know something about what is going on for me, I'll generally tell you. At times, if you don't want to know, I'm compelled to tell you anyway...

On the flip-side of this equation, there are those who are less forthcoming, those who tend to walk their paths quietly, regardless of how great or poorly things are going for them. Today, I look to those of you who choose the quiet path.

I have people in my life like this. There is one person in particular who meets her commitments as a priority, who fights the good fight everyday no matter how hard it gets. If she said she would, she does. If she is given a responsibility, she meets it, whether or not it makes her unpopular with others who may not understand the circumstances. 

At times, she has suffered greatly but gets up every morning, stepping into life without complaint. She is tough, kind, caring, strong and willing. She is self-aware and a loving mother, daughter, sister, aunt and partner. 

She is the Silent Hero. Do you know one?

Today, I salute my silent hero and all of the silent heroes who get up everyday and do what they do without asking to be noticed and without asking for gratitude. They do what they do because of who they are and because it needs doing. 

You teach me through your silent splendour and I am grateful.

-Gillian Cornwall, c. October 27, 2013

The Cobble Beach at Parry Bay - Metchosin BC
Gillian Cornwall, c. 2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Writing on Writing

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I appreciate you taking the time. As I look toward the horizon of November 1st and, there, upon the two major writing competition deadlines before me, I think about this piece. 

I want to share it with you as a micro-insight into how I think about the words, the story, and how I shape the writing and stretch myself beyond my comfort to create something of me and beyond me, all at once. Each time I remind myself that I am worthy of the blank page, that we each have stories to tell and the right to craft them. After which, I put it forth with the hope, but not the expectation, that it will provoke a shift in the senses of the reader. 
Hulopo'e Beach - Lana'i HI
c. Gillian Cornwall, December 2012

Smell - evocative of palpable fogs, repugnant and dirty; it's my word for nasty odours. I've given it bad press. Scent is good, pretty, indicative of delightful perfumes. It often starts with a word dropped into a placid pool, the vision rippling out with endless and, at times, terrifying possibilities. What to feature; what to type? I remind myself why I can't care what you will think. I lay myself bare. This is what I have for you; this is who I am. Take my story to your heart or hide it in a shopping bag under the basement stairs. 

Armed with words and pen, I sail forth. I harbour a mad and secret desire to claim the Golden Fleece while the dragon sleeps. I empty my mind of the work-a-day trash and dig deep, chasing the tail of the tale, knowing it is waiting on the other side of sense, in the silt, across time and tide, past the singing sirens and the myth, the lie, the no.
-Gillian Cornwall, c. September 2013

 Me - flying on the winds
in The Garden of the Gods
Lana'i, HI

Here is a link to an interview I had with CBC Books - Canada Writes, as a result of winning their wonderful Twisting Titles Twitter Challenge.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Saanich Peninsula
c. Gillian Cornwall, October, 2012.
Grateful that I kept going because it did get better - so hang in there! It does get better.

Recognition of the parts of myself that I want to work on to better myself and my experience of the life I have been given is essential to my growth.

Able to reach out, to ask, to learn and grow.

Thankful for my friends, for they teach me and light the path for me and cheer me on when it is dark and difficult.

Instinct, trust it. Trust yourself. As far as we have come from our beginnings, we still have our instinct. Stop and open up to the gift of the senses we are each given.

Thankful for my life, everyday. Thankful for the hard days and the easy ones, for each is a gift and an immeasurable blessing.

Unassailable love - a gift you give to someone, regardless of what they do with it. Love freely and openly and be open to the amorphous shape of love for it changes and grows just as we do. Let love flow through you as universal energy and you will be full and free of fear.

Dance, for we owe our greatest debt to joy! While we have breath within us, while we have life, there is hope. Where there is hope, there is reason enough for joy.

Earth - our home. She is our mother and our keeper. Respect her and be kind to her. Give back to her equally that which you take from her for she sustains us in her bounty. 

Wishing each of you endless reasons to be grateful and endless reasons to be kind to one another. I am grateful to each of you for the life and love we share.

-Gillian Cornwall, October 13, 2013.

Oldfield Farm - Saanich, BC
c. Gillian Cornwall October 2012.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

From the Mud

Oil Pastel on Paper
Gillian Cornwall, c. 2011.

This week I am offering up a very short work of fiction. It is one of the pieces I prepared recently in light of a local competition which allowed only 250 words and six of them dictated to the writers as compulsory. I hope you enjoy it.

From the Mud

You pressed your finger to a live barnacle, watching it clench under the pressure. You mastered childhood delights as you mastered painting, an explorer of life and light. I loved you though you terrified me. It is true that a wondrous mind armed with an ocean of knowledge suffers ebb tides of confusion, depression and madness. There were times when your demons, released from the harbour of your salty seas, lay exposed, grappling and gasping, drowning in oxygen on your dishevelled shores. 

Shortly after your paintings were featured at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the stimuli and attention overloaded your sensory processors. Your psyche misaligned and your thoughts became a jumble. The loss and the gain, like inhaling and exhaling broken glass, left you derelict and remote.

When last I saw you, in the institution, you were painting again, great canvasses, four feet by six. To the eye of the unacquainted, these paintings appeared mud black and flat but, as I sat with you, guided by your eyes staring into the work, the clarity of the image arose through the texture of the paint. I saw the layers of life held within, an excavation of your ocean floor, exposed, for all to see should they care to look. It is only chaos when we don't understand.

-Gillian Cornwall, October 6, 2013.

 Vancouver, December 2010.
c. Gillian Cornwall