Posts Tagged "letters"

Dear Nightwish: please forgive me

Posted by on Jun 17, 2015 in Life in Writing, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Dear Nightwish: please forgive me

I mistakenly said, in this post, that Kamelot had dethroned Nightwish as my favourite band. I’d like to formally retract those words. I’m sorry, Nightwish! Please forgive me! I was feeling somewhat jaded and, yes, a little heartbroken over the fact that Anette was gone. After going through the heartbreak and uncertainty of Tarja’s dismissal, then coming to love Anette and having the same thing happen, I was, somehow, still worrying about the lead singer. I got caught up in the drama and the personalities, when any true Nightwish fan knows that the band doesn’t revolve around the lead singer at all. I’m a little ashamed. Because I reacted that way, I needed a good reminder that Tuomas was and still is the mastermind behind the whole project–that the music hadn’t changed, and, despite the talents of the various singers involved, that it didn’t really matter who sung. That reminder came this past March, when Endless Forms Most Beautiful was released. I could get into a story about how excited I was for the album. How I had listened to live shows, featuring Floor at the forefront, for months in preparation. How I was waiting for the album, forgot about it, then my husband surprised me with a copy of it after coming home from work on the day of its release. How I put Amelia to bed that night and raced downstairs to put my headphones on and blast the whole thing uninterrupted while in a state of awe. How, later that week, I’d wake up in the middle of the night to feed the baby and put my headphones in and use the music to keep me awake. Yeah… I could get into a story like that. But I’d rather just gush at oh my God, you guys, this album is so freaking good. After the first few listens, I decided I had to see where it fit with the rest of their discography. So, I listened to every Nightwish album, from beginning to end, in order. It took about a month and a half, because of baby duties. Despite this, I also decided to watch every live DVD/documentary, also in order. And now I’m reading the book. My final verdict on Endless Forms Most Beautiful is that it’s kind of like Once’s older sibling. It has hints of a more hopeful, organic Century Child. A sequel, of sorts, to Imaginaerum. And, actually, the perfect transition from the latter (“Interstellar/Theatre play/The nebula curtain falls/Imagination/Evolution/A species from the veil” – “Shudder Before the Beautiful”, the opening track). You see, I was initially disappointed about Anette leaving because they had just gotten into their groove with her. Imaginaerum was a masterpiece, and it was written specifically to suit Anette’s voice. There was even a jazz track on there that managed to fit perfectly. So, yes, her departure may have hit me a bit harder than it should have. After Anette brought my doll onstage and had been so kind the three times I met her, I took her separation from the band the wrong way. As much as I loved her voice, I was so attached to her as a person that I refused to see that her departure was the best thing for her and the band. My perceptions have since changed. You’d think I know all these people personally, wouldn’t you? I don’t. I’ve met them a couple of times, but their music has been a part of my life for more than half of it, so I’m allowed to be a little emotional about it. I’m a Pisces. Emotional is kinda my thing. I love Kamelot. I was living in the moment to an extreme when I wrote that original blog post. I had just been fresh from seeing them play, meeting some of the band members, and was obsessing over Silverthorn. On top of it, I was still reeling from the news about Anette. But there’s something about Nightwish that I’ve never been able to find in another band, even if I had a year or so that I lost hope. Their music inspires...

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Happy birthday, Mom.

Posted by on Jul 24, 2014 in Life in Writing | 0 comments

Happy birthday, Mom.

I missed doing a Mother’s Day post, as was my intention, because I was too busy giving my mother the news that she’s going to be a grandmother in January. Since I did a Father’s Day post, though, it doesn’t seem right for me to skip one dedicated to Mom. Today is her birthday, so I’d say this is as good a time as any to say a few words about her. Where to begin with my mom? Laurie Armstrong Cooper is an incredibly special woman. No amount of words I could speak could begin to thank her for the things she’s done for me. I’ll try, in some small part, nonetheless. My mom is an English professor at l’Université de Moncton, and I have not met a student of hers that doesn’t love her. I’ve had more than one of her former students tell me how much her guidance meant to them during a difficult time in their lives, some of them going so far as to say she was like a mother to them. This isn’t out of the ordinary for Laurie Cooper–this is an everyday occurrence. Any time I’m in public with her, she will stop to wave to someone, then turn to me to explain, “student”. Most times I can guess that on my own. She remembers all of her students and they all have a special place with her. It’s inspiring to see. I even took classes with her in some of my early years of university. A lot of people asked me if this was awkward or weird, and it never was. Even if she did sometimes tease me for some of my obviously BS-ed exam answers… She wasn’t always a professor, though. When I was growing up, she’d often take odd jobs in order to A picture Mom took of a peony in front of my house. help support me and Dad. She started off as a journalist, and that was what she initially went to school for.  She had a very short maternity leave–this was well before New Brunswick’s maternity leave was improved upon–and she left me with Dad during the day while she was busy with work. She took photographs for her journalistic pursuits, and in the last few years has gotten into it again as a hobby. She took some wedding photos for my cousins a few years back, and the pictures always turn out beautiful. Both of my parents, in a lot of ways, made up for a childhood that would have otherwise been very difficult. While I was teased and bullied for the way I looked, my parents were building me up and encouraging me to pursue my dreams. Everyone has some kind of struggle growing up, and I’m glad that through it all, I had a great relationship with both of them that kept me going. School was hard, but at least I got to go home at the end of the day. Likely I wouldn’t be writing in this blog today without their early encouragement. My mom is also one of my best friends. I really feel like I can–and I often do–tell her anything, and she always listens without judging. We meet at least once a week for coffee or breakfast and if we had more time, I’m sure we could talk for hours on end. She is incredibly supportive of everything I do, and doesn’t discourage me, even when my dreams are bigger than reality, and even if my expectations are sometimes selfish or unrealistic. One of the things that always stuck with me about Mom was how she would get interested in my interests. I gamed a lot growing up, and not only would she come to watch me playing these games, she would join in, too. To this day, her favourite is still Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and when I go to visit on holidays, sometimes I’ll hear the music playing in the other room and I’ll know she’s started up a new game. On road trips, we used...

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Father’s Day

Posted by on Jun 15, 2014 in Life in Writing | 0 comments

Father’s Day

My Dad, Allan Cooper, reading poetry at the Université deMoncton library. “Everyone knows Allan Cooper.” That was how my father was introduced on Thursday, April 24th, when going up to read his poetry at a Frye Festival event here in Moncton. Something about that moment filled me with such immense pride that, I couldn’t help but beam and clap loudly as he went to the front to read. Those few words summed up my childhood with Allan Cooper pretty well. If I went anywhere with Dad, you could be sure that we were going to run into at least one person he knew, and he’d have a chat with them. It was, and still is, an inevitability. He’d even spend a few minutes catching up with the woman working the counter at the post office if he was just popping in to get the mail. Anywhere I went with Dad would end in a slightly longer trip than expected.  Sometimes, though, it wouldn’t be because we ran into people, but because we went on an impromptu adventure. He’d tell me stories about when he was a kid and his father–my grandfather John Cooper, who I sadly never met–would take him on adventures. They’d get to the bottom of a street, and Grampie John would ask Dad “left or right, boy?”. Dad continued this tradition on with me, and we still do this sometimes on my days off. My Dad loves to golf, too, and often spends a sunny day in the summer time on the greens of Fundy. My Dad is a social animal, but he is also well known for his talents. He’s is a poet–that’s his full-time job. He’s written 14 books and won literary awards. As previously mentioned, he’s read at the Frye Festival, on numerous occasions. In addition to being a poet, he’s also a musician. He started out with a blues trio and went on to do his own solo projects. He’s been nominated for Music NB awards and has played showcases for both Music NB and the East Coast Music Awards. Dad wanted to be a poet since he was a young man, and the fact that he’s been able to follow his dreams his whole life has been an immense inspiration to me. Me and Dad a few years ago, heading out to see the bandMother Mother in concert together. Dad also was the one in charge of cooking, most of the time. Being a poet, he would stay at home while Mom went to work. Most of the time, she was working as an English professor, but early on she did some freelancing. Dad would stay home to do the cooking and the cleaning while I was at school, and I would often come home and plop myself in front of my Nintendo 64 while he worked on one of his delicious suppers. I attribute my cooking ability today to Dad’s influence. Being an artist himself, Dad always has encouraged me to pursue my own dreams of becoming a writer. He has helped me edit and proofread my own poetry and helped me find my voice, in addition to all the guidance he gave me growing up. Now, spending time with my dad isn’t just like hanging out with a family member–he’s a good friend. We still spend a lot of time going for hikes together, which we did when I was in high school–this, and his influence, helped me have an appreciation for the woods and nature. We used to go on the back of the hill and pick blueberries to make pies together. We’ve played many, many hours of Mario Golf and Mario Kart together. Besides the serious side he displays while reading poetry and playing music, many friends and family members can account for his silliness and fun-loving attitude. One of my favourite early memories of Dad was when I was very young–probably only 2 or 3. Dad had a big garden in our lower lot in Riverview. He grew big, beautiful tomatoes, and one day had picked...

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Resurgo.

Posted by on Jun 10, 2014 in Life in Writing | 1 comment

Resurgo.

I was born in the Moncton Hospital in 1986. I lived in Riverview until I was 5, when we moved to Alma. I started attending Université de Moncton in 2004, and lived in Moncton in fall and winter until 2008, when I moved here year-round. I joke to people “I was born in Moncton, and I’m still here! I haven’t gone far in life!”, but I love this city. I can’t go for a walk without seeing somebody I know, and that’s just from working customer service here in the last five years. Last week, tragedy unfolded. Our beautiful city, a vibrant and close-knit community, was under threat from a gunman. More than a third of Moncton was in lockdown. I had friends who heard the gunshots while out walking, thinking people were setting off fireworks because it was such a beautiful day. I knew at least six families, off the top of my head, who were in the red zone. We weren’t, but we were close enough that we didn’t want to risk it–the closest police barricade was only five minutes away. #prayformoncton was trending globally on Twitter–a recognition we sadly hoped would be in better circumstances. Everyone in Moncton was somehow affected by the hours of terror that followed. Five officers were shot, three of whom died from their wounds–their families and friends, to say the least, were among the most affected. These are the three officers whose names we must remember: Constable Dave Ross, Constable Fabrice Gevaudan, and Constable Douglas Larche. These three men died protecting our city. Despite the terror and fear, though, there was one thing I noticed about the situation that made our beautiful community seem even more so. Love. Support. Unity. People were sharing information–not the locations of the RCMP and their movements, mind you, as was requested of us–and putting friends up in their homes. Porch lights were on across the city to aid the police in their manhunt, leaving a city that felt very dark covered in lights of hope. People stayed in their homes in an attempt to make the suspect the only person moving. The whole city was at a virtual standstill as businesses closed and buses were pulled off the roads. When the announcement came that the suspect was in custody, there was a flood of relief. People were on the roads at 1:30 AM, cheering and smiling. I’m sure I’m not the only one who immediately felt safe again. The days that followed the shooter’s arrest were filled with such an outpouring of support for the RCMP and other first responders that I couldn’t help but be proud. I went to get lunch with my mom the day after, and an officer was behind me in line. With tears in my eyes, I shook his hand and thanked him. I watched as he approached the front of the line and a man tried to pay for his lunch. The woman behind the cash smiled and shook her head, saying “it’s on us”. Business signs on Mountain Road were changed to say “thank you RCMP”. My own workplace started selling muffins, 100% of the proceeds going toward the Moncton Fallen RCMP Members Memorial Fund, and today I am trading in my work uniform of green and black for red and white to show my support. Friday night, a candlelight vigil was held in front of the RCMP’s office on Main Street. I’ve heard mixed reports that anywhere from 2,000-10,000 people were there, but I would believe any number on that spectrum. My husband and I went to witness it, and it was incredible. Flowers covered the steps leading to the building to the point that they had to be left on the street. There was so much love and respect. This is a public thank you to the RCMP, who were professional and dealt with a difficult situation in a way I can’t imagine being any better. Thank you for protecting our beautiful city while mourning your friends, who must have been like family members to you....

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Girls just wanna have fun

Posted by on May 24, 2013 in Life in Writing | 2 comments

On May 22, 2013, an e-mail I wrote was sent to the 20,000+ subscribers of mailing list The Listserve. I included my e-mail address at the end so anyone could write back to me. Nearly 100 e-mails later, I have received articles, book recommendations, and a few very interesting counter-thoughts. I’m pleased to say that, as of writing this, I have received only a single troll. I’ve been recommended the books The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir and Lean in – Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg. I’ll be looking both of these up the next time I go to a book store. There is a plethora of feminist articles that readers sent to me, as well, that I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t share. A good one from Curator of DialogueWhy society still needs feminism, on TumblrClara Fritts’ take on feminismA TED Talk that might turn every man who watches it into a feministSerenade my Soul on my articleMen are from Mars, women are from Venus (such bollocks!)  Some people directed me to causes they feel strongly about as well, such as Girl Develop It, whose mission is to empower women from diverse backgrounds to learn how to code and develop software, and a non-feminist but very real humanitarian movement based out of NYC that is actively moving against the controversial stop-and-frisk program. I have learned a lot about people from all over and their views and impressions of feminism by sending a single e-mail. Thanks to everyone who read my e-mail and who felt compelled to write to me, and those who remained silent as well. The title of my e-mail was Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, which meant as an ironic twist to the well-known song.  I’ve pasted it below for you to read. — I was going to take this opportunity to talk about something entirely different, but after something that happened yesterday, I’m going to use it to clear up a few misconceptions about a topic very dear to me. My mom is an English professor. During one of her classes, she looked at her students and asked “How many of you here would identify as a feminist?”. To her dismay, about three or four of the twenty-some students raised their hands, and all of them were female. “Let me ask you something,” she said. “How many of you believe in equal rights for women?” Everyone raised their hands. “How many of you believe women should be paid the same amount as men in the workplace?” They all raised her hands again. Mom smiled. “Then you are all feminists.” The first two definitions of feminism, as per dictionary.com, are:fem·i·nism[fem-uh-niz-uhm] Show IPAnoun1.the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.2.( sometimes initial capital letter ) an organized movement for the attainment of such rights for women.If you’ll look, you see none of the common misconceptions of feminism, which include:1. hating men2. burning bras3. getting angry when men hold doors open for them4. trying to take over the world with our feminine wiles5. obliterating men altogther and releasing them as a fine powder into the atmosphere (okay, I’m embellishing just a bit) The reality is that feminists are sick of the way women are portrayed, the way they are pitted against each other and the way that society tells women that their bodies are shameful and that they should hate them for not looking good enough for men. Yesterday I had a guy refuse to let me help him lift heavy things for the mere fact that I was a woman, even though I had just carried one of those “heavy” things (which, for the record, really weren’t that heavy) across the floor to him with ease. Instead of standing there and arguing with him, I decided it said more about him than me, and I left. And that was when I knew what to write about for the Listserve. A few traditional sexist practices need a little clarification, too. If a man...

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