dear santa

Dear Santa,

Once again at this time of year, I am writing to thank you for all you have done for me throughout the past few years.

When Larry decided to portray you, I was introduced to a world of incredible people who set aside their lives to portray you, eventually leading to their being shaped by you and what you represent.  I thank you for Larry’s friends and mentors who continue to don the suit of red.  Many have become good friends, mentors and spiritual advisors to me.  

Having you in my life figuratively and in many cases, literally, has helped me survive the past five years as there is a constant reminder of the magick, spirit and love that you represent.  The men in the red suit who have remained in my life are blessings to me – I am reminded to love and give freely of myself through their actions.  My faith in humanity is refreshed when you show your presence in them.

Your biggest and best gift to me was Larry being given a focus and drive – even through the worst cancer threw at him.  Your next greatest gift to me has been that the men who portray you that stood behind and beside me and supported me when my world crumbled, many of them propped me up to ensure that I didn’t fall apart.  At least two of these folks have been a large part of my life before you entered it and they remain a large part of my life.  They continue to support me in their actions, words, prayers and deeds and they remind me that faith can be a powerful thing when given the right intent and reason.  I believe.

You have given me a good friend who both portrays you but also has taken me under his wing and works with me musically.  David has been my most ardent supporter, believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.  He still does.  I was able to reconnect with him this year after some time away when I was not in a good head and heart space and I’m reminded that the spirit of St. Nicholas and St. Francis of Assisi can still exist in an over noisy and complicated world.

Make me an instrument of your peace indeed.  David is such an instrument and he brings peace within him wherever he goes.  Thank you.

You have given me a number of spiritual supports and guides who are showing me that faith is a personal thing and can be balanced with my scientific mind’s desire for rationality and evidence.  Just as I believe in your existence in the hearts of the people who portray you, I believe in a higher power that exists in the hearts and minds of people who are searching for more.

Michael, Glenn, Hal, Bruce, Lee, Leon and Stephen have shown me this higher power through their actions, words and hearts.  Again, they all have shown faith in me, when my own faith and belief in myself has been sorely lacking.  I thank you for their presence as it’s nice to have someone in my corner when I don’t feel like it’s warranted.

You have given me the drive to keep going when everything within me fought forward motion.  I continue to make and release music that represents who I am and provides a glimpse into whom I am striving to become.

You have continued to keep my family in my life and I am blessed with a supportive and caring Mother and an amazing brother, sister-in-law and nieces.

So.  For once, it’s time that someone thank you for all you have given me.  Gifts that aren’t material, however gifts that have supported me, provided me strength and kept me alive.

Thank you once again, Santa, for all you have given.

I love you dearly,

myke.

P.S. I’d still like to ask you for one thing.  Can you see to it that the good things that happen to me this year aren’t immediately followed by not so good things?  I understand the need for balance, however 2018 was like one sucker punch after another and I’m getting pretty winded and sore.

a tale of two businesses

Or Fear and Loathing on James St. N.

Two businesses on James St. N.:

  1. A business who has existed since 1999, starting as a record company who highlighted and supported local musicians, moving to a regular newsletter that both advertised and connected the local arts scene, finally becoming a storefront which sold art supplies, the creations of local artists and as a place of connection for the Hamilton arts scene.
  2. A business that’s existed since 2009, a night club that has hosted bands both young and local and legendary international acts within its walls.

Business One announced earlier this year that it had been given the opportunity to move to another location within the city.  A location with a decades long history of supporting the local arts scene.  A location that is known for its tireless support of local authors and publishers while providing impeccable service in a beautiful environment.  A location that is minutes away from the proprietor’s home and allows them to continue to provide the stellar service for the Hamilton area arts community.

Business One is still attempting to operate the original location as a “pop up,” offering a reduced inventory of the best sellers while also allowing the artists who are staffing this location to display and sell their wares.  This will continue while the location as Business One invested in the James St. location, buying an empty building, slowly renovating it into retail spaces with studio and office space above.

Business Two announced in the media that they would like to sell their building for $2.15 million, and are “testing the waters” to see whether they can reap a profit from their $350,000 investment after being approached by a local real estate agent.

In an anti-gentrification round table Business One was castigated as selling out and placed on the same platform as real estate investors, developers, predatory absentee landlords and a city government who uses the local arts scene as a branding tool without actually supporting the local arts scene.  Business Two (who coincidentally hosted the kickoff party for the anti-gentrification round table) was hailed by one of the speakers at the round table, “I hugged the wall and had a bit of a moment … it’s the end of an era and the end of a great space in the city.”

It’s very clear to me that Hamilton tends to have a conveniently short memory and willfully forgets all that people do for the community as a whole.  Decades of work are forgotten in a world of butthurt and feelings that people are “owed” because they frequented an establishment and gave them business over the years.

I guess some people are less scary targets than predatory investors with lawyers.  Bravo Hamilton, once again you target the little guy who has tirelessly worked to support the community, was a trailblazer in revitalizing an area of the city that even city council had written off and gave of himself and his family to uplift the arts scene to what it has become.

Dear Hamilton arts scene:

All I can do is quote Bernard Baruch:

“Do what you want to do, say what you want to say – because those who matter don’t mind and those who do mind don’t matter.”

Mixed Media and Dave Kuruc will carry on, despite what you say about him in local forums.  He’s suffered slings and arrows from all sides and continues to thrive on.  Perhaps it’s time that you turn your mirror and microscope on yourselves and ask what you’ve done to uplift the city and how you’ve contributed to gentrification.

pensivity

People have commented on how quiet I’ve been as of late and some have indicated that they are finding this concerning

I haven’t written or posted much, because I’ve been processing a lot of thoughts and emotions as of late.  I have found life to be increasingly noisy and I’m not interested in further contributing to the noise and chaos around me so I’m focusing on listening to discern some semblance of order.

My personal chaos includes:
  • the loss of a musical friend and mentor due to cancer.
  • the loss of a musical friend and collaborator due to cancer.
  • a relative being diagnosed with a terminal form of leukemia.
  • a relative being diagnosed with a terminal form of cancer.
  • family members being physically hurt and injured and dealing with the frustrations of rehabilitation and recovery.
  • co-workers with 18-35 years’ experience losing their current positions and being let go or demoted.
  • friends whose parents are severely ill and not expected to see the new year.
  • friends and mentors experiencing financial hardship as their city government is tying a project up in red tape and affecting their ability to proceed forward.
  • an individual from Larry’s past making an unexpected return to the scene.
  • many friends are leaving the city for greener pastures and forcing me to re-evaluate what “home” means to me.
  • at the same time, under the tutelage of Lori Yates, I’ve written two good songs and have the bones for a third potential song underway.
  • I’ve also achieved a goal in my spiritual studies which allows me to continue onward towards ordination.

There is a lot of “noise” in my life and it’s taking its toll on me, so I’m having to take time to withdraw, regroup and sort through.It’s especially difficult when there’s little I can do about any of these issues beyond mitigating my reactions to the situation and offering what support I can to those directly affected.  For someone who tends to be a care giver and likes to have some control over any situation, this is a difficult thing to accept and I’m trying hard not to beat myself up over being ineffectual and feeling impotent.

These surprises are also forcing me to re-evaluate where things are in my life.  To take a step back and consider what is important to me and why this is the case.  As I do so, it’s clear that simplifying my life must continue and I need to stop trying to be all things to everyone and just be who I am to be.

And right now I am tired and kinda lonely – but this too, shall pass.