Posts Tagged "open letter"

Further public embarrassment for the parties this is dedicated to.

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

Further public embarrassment for the parties this is dedicated to.

I’m not the greatest friend. I’ll be the first person to admit that, even if it pains me to do it.  From the early years of my life up until university, I’ve had a few poisonous friendships that benefited neither party. We would argue incessantly over petty things, fight over significant others, and, whether we were conscious of it or not, silently compete with each Sally on the left, and me on the right, at her and Danny’s wedding reception on August 9th, 2014. other’s accomplishments. I would never try to blame these things on a specific one of us–we were equally to blame for the shortcomings of our friendships. Regardless, this trained me to become a pretty crappy friend. It was in my fourth year of university that my view of friendship was about to change. I was going through a pretty difficult time–I hated my classes and was even failing a few of them. I was developing an anxiety problem that brought on sudden anxiety attacks and was experiencing depression as a result. I couldn’t see an end in sight, despite being nearly finished my degree. Through all this, I met a girl named Sally in one of my classes. To say we hit it off pretty much immediately is an understatement. The next thing I knew, she was telling me all about her boyfriend Danny and saying I should introduce Brad to him. Before long, the four of us were inseparable. While I did have a few really good friendships early on–Brad being one of them–I never had to work through any glaring friendship problems because the friendships were rarely important enough for me to be worth it. It’s a sad reality that I talk to few of those friends these days, often because our friendships, to me, just weren’t worth working on. I’m not proud of that, but it’s the truth. It’s not always the case, of course: I do still talk to a few friends from early on, but they are the minority. Sally and I supported each other through good and bad throughout the years, and she was one of the people, along with Brad and my parents, who supported and agreed with my decision to temporarily leave university when the anxiety got to be too much. Of course, we had our differences as well, but we worked through everything in honest, open communication, and our friendship is that much stronger for it, even if I resisted it at first. The long and short is this: over the years, I have been more than willing to work through and openly discuss any problems Brad and I may be having, and the same goes for my parents and any family members, but I haven’t always been that willing to work through problems openly and honestly with friends. Sally has changed that in me, and she has inspired that change in my other friendships, as well. I haven’t always cared whether friendships lasted or not. To be honest, when I was very young, I was often separated with anyone I considered a best friend, due to distance. I can confidently say that even if Sally and Danny were to move away, we’d still be in contact. I like to think that the same is the case with a number of my friendships now. I can’t write all this about Sally without saying anything about Danny, of course. Though I’ve had more opportunities to really bond with Sally, I feel just as comfortable with Danny, and have hung out with him readily if Sally’s busy. This guy is one of the sweetest and most caring friends I’ve known. He’ll give you the shirt off his back and do anything for a friend. I’m not exaggerating. If you’re a friend in need, he will help you out. If he can’t immediately help, he will find a way and look for a solution as creatively as he needs to, often enlisting other friends as well. The phrase “he has a big heart” is a little cliché and overused,...

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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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An open letter to the guy who almost ran me over this morning

Posted by on Aug 14, 2012 in Life in Writing | 0 comments

Dear Sir, This morning, as I was walking to work, I stopped at a busy intersection to press the walk light and wait for my turn to cross. It came on immediately, and so I started crossing. About half way there, I turned to see you suddenly veering around the corner. I know that you also had the right of way, but I’m afraid you weren’t really paying any attention, even as I stood there (I had to stop for you) and pointed at the walk light! As you passed you seemed to be having a particularly animated conversation with the lady beside you. I’m sure you didn’t even see me in your rear view mirror–did you look in your rear view mirror?–as you sped away. I’m glad one of us was paying attention. I just wish it had been the one operating the 1 ton piece of machinery. The unfortunate part of this is that it happens all too often. I’m not talking about distracted driving, though that’s certainly an issue. I’m talking about utter disregard for anyone traveling on foot. Here in Moncton, the pedestrian’s rights are few and far between, and when we do get the right of way, our time is either short or interrupted by drivers who also have the right of way. Even if we push a button on one of the many non-intersection crosswalks in the city, it’s hard to say if we’ll make it to the other side of the road without having to stop and let a car go by. Yes, it’s the driver’s fault if we’re hit, but how many people honestly want to play chicken with a motor vehicle? I’m not saying the pedestrians should retaliate by walking in the middle of the road at any given time, though some do. I’m saying that the time has come for pedestrians to be a priority for drivers. We all lead very busy lives, but that extra 30 seconds that could be getting you to work a little earlier could also save someone’s life. Sir, you were not on your phone, and you weren’t texting, but you certainly weren’t watching the road. Please have a bit more consideration for the world around you. Not-so-fond regards,The blue-haired pedestrian you somehow missed this morning. Please follow and like...

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