Photo from Flickr

Due to laziness on my behalf ( and a certain Movie meme), Part 4 of The Soul Mate will be delayed until Monday (which is really when it should be posted.)

If you want to have some fun tomorrow…stop in at Nick’s Bytes for a HUGE celebration of his 1000th post. Yup – that’s ONE THOUSAND!!!!!

(I’ve only got like, 816 to go!)

Enjoy! (I’m pretty sure they’ll be cake!)


Movie Memories (from the cobwebs of my brain)

This photo courtesy of S. Sobczuk on Flickr, is from my hometown of Kitchener, Ontario (in the 1940s)

Most of you probably don’t know that movies are a HUGE part of my life and always have been. Not many children get taken to see The Battle of Britain as a tot (8 years old), nor do they force their pals to watch old screwball comedies like Arsenic and Old Lace at their 11th birthday sleepover. I did.

I was raised on War movies, Westerns, Gangster Flicks, Musicals and Oscar-winners. I can rarely go a day without having the movies enter into it. If it’s not my mom giving me the latest update on the “great movie” she and my dad watched on Turner Classic last night, then it’s a Final Jeopardy question. I spend most of my time saying either, “We must watch that one again,” or “Ooh, I’d love to see that!”

We have an extensive collection of films– some classics, some contemporary– all genres and particularly, we love the foreign films. With my husband being of Scandinavian (Danish) descent and us being all about the “hygge” , we have taken great joy in exploring the dogme films and other quirky and delightful films of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and even Iceland. We own at least 100 foreign films.

Kev and I have even talked about buying an old movie theatre in a small town and refurbishing it, just so we can show our favourites. Of course that would mean winning a lottery, so it’s doubtful that will ever happen, but we can dream!

So, when I saw this post at Ken Armstrong Writing, my skin literally tingled in anticipation. In fact, I wish there were more than 13 questions on this topic. I could do this all day!

If you’re a movie lover too, play along, won’t you?

1) List one movie that made you laugh:
Withnail and I (I laughed so hard the first time I saw this movie–tears were running down my face.) It remains my favourite comedy of all time. Here’s my review for the Imdb

2) List one movie that made you cry:
Cry is not the word. Weep, is what I did.
Hotel Rwanda If you’ve never seen this film, you are doing a disservice to yourself and the people who suffered through the atrocities at that time.

3) Name one movie you loved when you were a child:
Ring of Bright Water

My love of animals has carried over into my adult life. ROBW was one of the first movies I saw (after Born Free, which I love as well), but seeing a man with an otter in his apartment was hilarious! I wanted one of my own.

4) List one movie you’ve seen more than once:
There are many, but The Talented Mr. Ripley springs to mind – I love the plot, the acting, the locale, the music – it’s fantastic! I can watch it again and again.

5) One movie you loved, but were embarrassed to admit it:
I loved Ishtar. It got panned by the critics (it gets 3.6/10 on the Imdb), but the characters were so against type for such seasoned actors as Hoffman and Beatty, that I just ate it up. One scene in the desert where they are buying guns from Arabs is pee-inducing. Really!

6) One movie you hated:

Blue Velvet I watched it with a boyfriend who thought it was fantastic. I thought it was sick and stupid.

7) List one that scared you
The original Poseidon Adventure. I was eleven and my mom and I went to see it. I had to leave the theatre, I was so terrified.

8) List one movie that bored you:
I’m not easily bored – I can watch lengthy courtroom dramas, foreign films and period pieces.
Having said that, The period piece based on Edith Wharton’s novel, The House of Mirth, is like watching paint dry. My husband, who will sit through the likes of Pride and Prejudice and actually enjoy it, could not stand this movie. Neither could I.

9) List one movie that made you happy:
Fame How can you not get happy when everyone is singing and dancing and doing what they love?
and more recently, Almost Famous

10) List one movie that made you miserable:
Leaving Las Vegas

This is the most depressing movie I have ever seen. The man played by Nicholas Cage, spends the entire time drinking himself to death (literally) and the woman, played by Elizabeth Shue, is a tragic prostitute figure. They find a sort of love-connection before he succeeds at his mission to die.

11) List one movie you expected to be great, but it wasn’t:

Hot Fuzz
Friends said it was hysterically funny. Reviews said it was hilarious. My husband and I chuckled once or twice. Half-way through, we walked out.

12) List one movie you weren’t brave enough to see:
The Exorcist
Being Catholic, I do have a keen belief in the presence of Satan. This movie was no “Omen” ( of which I love every single minute). This was the real deal – possession with a capital “P” and all that goes with it.
The reviews at the time told of viewers getting sick in the aisles and running out screaming. The sound of pigs being slaughtered having been used to great effect, did not in any way encourage me to make my way to the theatre. I have seen bits and pieces of it on t.v., but I’m not inclined to rent it, or own it.

13) List one movie character you’ve fallen in love with:
Michael Kitchen’s character of Berkeley Cole in Out of Africa. I know, all the women swooned for Robert Redford’s Denys Finch-Hatton, but I love those scrawny Brits with their quirky smiles and sexy accents.

My Hooker, Calliope

Photo borrowed from Flickr

Red Hot Poker

I want to scrawl on widest wall–

coffee must be talkin’.

what’s deep in me, unleash, be free!

my wares I must be hawkin’.

fire inside is burnin’ low

time and again, I’m stokin’.

diggin’ ashes—raisin’sparks

stirrin’ embers, smolderin’–

with my red-hot poker.

Words wedged deep

keep me from sleep

towards the break of day.

find the missin’ piece

that pulls me apart–

reveal it at my core

let me sing for you

so you may see

what my words

are meant to mean

when I’m off the damn caffeine.

Muscles all are taut,

givin’ all I’ve got,

not enough, but still

comin’ down,

or soon I will

when my blood is clear

once more–

Inspiration’s just a whore!

comes once in a while

bringin’ service with a smile

‘til she goes

and slams

the door.

Kathleen Mortensen© 2008

George Carlin as he was

In tribute to the late, great comic, George Carlin, here’s a really old bit from the Sixties. I was only 6 years old when he performed this. He truly was a brilliant artist who made many people laugh their socks off.

Incidentally, this is one of my husband’s favourite bits. He will often quote Biff Burns’ Sportlight Spotlight routine.

Rest in Peace, George!

A spirited conversation

Photo borrowed from Flickr

If you’re just encountering this story for the first time, please see these posts first:

A Down-East Tale

Shortcut Home

The Soul Mate

By Kathleen Mortensen © 2008

Chapter Three

“I’m sorry, Alice,” the voice answered slowly, with a slight lilt, “I only wanted to feel a human being once more.” She sounded terribly sad, “It’s been such a long time since I’ve touched anyone. I’d almost forgotten what it feels like.”

I tried to take this all in. Here I was in the middle of a graveyard, talking to a ghost! “I must be dreaming,” I thought to myself and pinched my arm through my sweater to make sure. “Ouch!” I whispered sharply and then I knew it was all happening, for real.

“How do you know my name?” I was full of questions now for this bodiless voice. “Are you Eleanor?” I demanded. “Are you the person buried here?”

“Aye. That’s me,” she answered. “But it was a long time ago now.”

”How do you know my name?” I asked her again. I was going to get to the bottom of this.

“Your mother told me, Alice,” she replied. “She sent me to you. That’s why I’m here.” I felt the cold wet hand touch my face again, as if to console me. “She knows you need a friend like me.”

I pulled away. My mind was racing. My mother had sent this spirit to be my friend? How could this be happening? I had so many things rushing through my head all at once: How was my mother? Why didn’t she come to me herself? How did she find Eleanor? I needed answers to so many questions.

I settled in against the tombstone. “This is going to take some time,” I thought to myself. I might as well get comfortable.

Pulling my legs up to my chest, I slid the skirt of my dress down over my knees to keep them warm. I closed my eyes and suddenly I had a puzzling thought; what if the pinch I had felt had been part of the dream? I offered up a quick prayer to make sure:

“Dear Lord, please let this be only a dream,” I breathed. “Please let me open my eyes and find everything is normal.” I reconsidered my position, “Or if it is Your will for me to communicate with ghosts, give me the strength to cope. Amen.”

Slowly, I opened my eyes and looked around at the graves. Nothing seemed amiss. I was totally alone. I must just have taken a turn. There was no ghost, no spirit lingered beside me.

Somewhat disappointed, I whistled through my teeth and started to get up to head home. Grabbing the strap of my satchel with one hand, I grasped the top of the headstone with the other, for balance, when the voice came again,

“Must you leave so soon?” it intoned.

I stood stock still.

Kathleen Mortensen ©2008

(Come back on Friday for further developments in the story.)

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Seven Songs I’m Into

Cirellio of Five Rings has tagged me for a very unique sort of meme. As I’m not really an iPod kind of gal, preferring my cd player or the radio (not even Satellite – sorry youngsters!), I’m having a tough time coming up with 7 songs. This is made even harder since my taste is so very eclectic and we file all of our cds alphabetically in categories. Here’s the problem: the cds are in cases, somewhat like photo albums, but the covers and liner notes are filed elsewhere. So, if I’m listening to anything new, I’m not always sure what it’s called.

Despite this, I am motivated to give it a go for my friend Cirellio, so here it is, piecemeal though it may be:

Gotan Project – Tango cancion
Frank Sinatra – Witchcraft
Chris de Burgh – Sailing Away
Al Stewart – Year of the Cat
Sixpence None the Richer-Trust
Led Zeppelin – The Immigrant Song
Corinne Bailey Rae – Choux Pastry Heart

Here are the rules: List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your summer. Post these instructions in your blog along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they’re listening to.

I’m tagging, Marja, Ken, Colleen, Will, Caroline, Thora and Squirrelmama, but if you’re keen go ahead and steal this one.


Chapter Two: Shortcut Home

This is a serialized story in chapters. To see Chapter One, go here: The Soul Mate

Picture by Descending Angel on Flickr

The Soul Mate
By Kathleen Mortensen © 2008
Chapter Two

It all started back in October of ’28. I took the shortcut home from school. The fog was so thick I could hardly see two feet in front of me. The sky was spitting rain and the salty smell of the sea was in the air. I cut through the blueberry field, as usual, picking my way along the old path, swinging my satchel full of schoolbooks. I know that field like the back of my hand. On the other side is St. Anne’s graveyard.

I shouldn’t have been surprised when the big, iron cemetery gates rose up through the mist, but they still gave me the willies. Nanny says you must always hold your breath when you pass a graveyard or else you’ll breathe in the spirit of someone who has just died. I knew Old Man MacLean was buried just the week before and I didn’t want to be taking in his spirit, so I sucked in my breath right quick.

Inside the cemetery the pebbly, dirt path wound its way through aisles of tombstones. Little granite markers carved with family names lined up in long rows. I could just make out the big headstones in the filmy mist. My mother’s tombstone is twenty rows in from the gate and sixteen rows up on the right hand side. Every year, on Mama’s birthday, Daddy and I visit and leave a bouquet of red roses next to the flat stone. We like to come on that day instead of the day she died. She would appreciate that.

I hurried past the gate, my shoes scuffing the pavement, my satchel hanging off one shoulder. The wind was blowing cold, so I pulled my cardigan close around my wool dress when a strange sound stopped me in my tracks. An eerie, high-pitched noise seemed to be coming from inside the spiked, iron railings of the cemetery. I thought at first that it must have been the wind, but as I listened, the noise began to sound like the voice of a little girl who was very upset.

I started to walk away, slowly. I wanted to run, but my curiosity got the better of me. I stopped and strained to hear; I could just make out the tiniest voice: “Please, don’t leave me! Don’t leave me alone! Please, come back!” she cried.

My arms were covered in goose bumps and I felt a shiver travel down my neck that made me tremble. Now my feet felt like they were glued to the cracked, tar road.

The voice came again, “Please don’t leave me, Alice! Please, come back!” I looked around carefully and quickly, but there was no one there. I inched my way back towards the cemetery gate. I was scared, but I had to find out who was calling my name.

I wandered slowly around the cemetery. The voice was still calling out in the distance as if it knew I was looking for it. “I’m over here!” it cried. I tried to follow the sound, but it hung in the air like a whiff of perfume, and then disappeared.

I came to some of the larger, shiny stones, the ones with words and dates on them. I stopped to read what was written on them. There were pink speckled headstones and flat white ones shaped like church windows and black ones like lumps of coal.
The voice grew louder and louder as I read the names on each stone aloud: DONALD MACDONALD, 1844 to 1907, gone home, ANGELA FRASER, 1879 to 1902, beloved wife. It seemed the voice was at my ear now, “I’m right here beside you,” it said quietly, “You’re almost there.”

I stopped beside a grey, flecked tablet. Moist leaves squished under my feet and somewhere in the distance, a dove cooed mournfully. The stone was smaller than the rest, about three feet high. The writing was covered up with long blades of grass. Dropping my satchel, I knelt down on the wet lawn and parted the tufts with my hand. The inscription was done in fancy letters. It read:

A Special Daughter:


Age 12 yrs, 3 mos, 5 days

May 15, 1816 – August 20, 1828

Eternal rest, grant unto her,

Oh Lord.

I stared at the headstone, astonished. Her birthday was the same day as mine! She had died when she was the same age as me only it was 100 years ago.

I stood up and felt a chill run through me. My knees were wet and streaked with green above the tops of my brown socks and water was seeping through the soles of my Buster Browns. My hair had all curled up with the mist and my cheeks were burning with the wind.

Then, I felt a trickle of water running down my neck. It felt like someone, or something, touching me and pushing my hair back behind my shoulder.

“Was that you?” I whispered hoarsely. “Did you just do that?” I put up a hand to flick the sensation away. Water seemed to stream down my cheek. I shuddered and pulled away from the unseen hand.

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