Tag Archives: women filmmakers

north pole, south pole

Hello, friend…

Just a quick thought before I go to bed tonight. How life swings from one extreme to the other, how the heart and spirit can soar before the proverbial balloon is popped and everything falls to pieces.

This time last week, I was settling in for the night at my sister’s home in Lachute, Quebec and preparing for my first batch of stand-up shows outside of Toronto! I had always thought my first gigs outside of Toronto would be in Barrie, Ontario or whatnot… not miles and miles away in my home province of Quebec. But I had a fantastic Quebec debut in Gatineau, Quebec and cannot wait to go back!!

A year ago, I could not have fathomed my stand-up career would be moving along as nicely as it has been. A year ago, I could not have fathomed I could say “my stand-up career” with a straight face.

Then fast forward to tonight, I am digesting the news that my dear friend Ray has passed. His death is not a surprise, he was not well at all, but it is still a tough reality to digest. I will be at his funeral in a few days, to wish his family love and Ray peace as he goes to infinity and beyond.

A year ago, I met Ray as part of the documentary I’m co-producing on a phenomenal man named John Feal & his fellow 9/11 first responders. I recall John telling myself and the crew we’d be meeting Ray that day, and I loved him from Hello. Despite the cancer that had invaded his body, Ray was light & love. I was able to call him a friend for one year, 365 days.

Such extremes, but such a perfect example of where life can take you. A girl came into the bakery so sad, only letting me know that she was having a very bad day and we agreed a cupcake would help perk her spirits. Hopefully it’s sweetness would counteract her tears.

As my heart nurses its wound, I take immense pride in recalling how days before I went up on stage in my hometown and made people laugh. At one show, friends were in the audience. My sister and my nephew as well. I marvel at where my life path has taken me, and wonder where it will continue. If I will ever remember what it feels like to be kissed at the end of a date, because I think I’m starting to forget how nice that can feel. But that’s the beauty of a new day, isn’t it? New opportunities present itself… as my friend Ray would have said, that’s a good thing.

I have lost two beautiful friends to cancer this year, Ana-Alecia & now Ray. But while it took my friends, it can’t take away the impact they had on me and those who knew them.

Because that’s all that matters really, how you impact people & the impression you leave behind.

xo.

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for the benefit of mr. ray

Hello, friend…

I found as I woke up this morning not 100% certain of what happened the night before. It’s not that the previous night was a booze filled Saturday night, but rather… well. I’ll try to explain. As I’ve alluded to at times, I’m making a documentary (my first!) and about a year ago now we started filming (we being my amazing core team of Rob, Kristine, Jaime & Nic – and other awesome souls along the way). I’ve traveled with them over the year, as we follow this unbelievable man named John Feal (a 9/11 Responder and the president of the FealGood Foundation). In the course of getting to know John, we’ve gotten to know some phenomenal men & women, First Responders and their families. It has brought so much love into my life, this horrible horrible event has brought proverbial flowers growing through cracks in cement… I’ve gotten to know people who need more help now than you could possibly imagine because of what they did that day in September.

And on Saturday I found myself at a pub in a part of Long Island I’d never been to before, amongst more people than you could count, celebrating the sunshine that is a beloved 9/11 First Responder named Ray Pfeifer. For the first time, I was there without my core crew but with a new friend, my camera guy Jimmy… and we just soaked in all this love. Ray has Cancer, he’s been kicking its ass since 2009 when he (& a lot of 9/11 Responders, actually) learned of their diagnosis and it’s relation to Sept. 11th. But as I say, this is my first documentary and I came into it so very accidentally (watching the Daily Show & sending a Tweet). I began following John because I was astounded to learn of what he’s been doing and continues to do for his fellow Responders. And little by little, trust was granted and given, and they have welcomed us into their community.

As photos flashed all through the venue, it struck me that we have been woven into the fabric with our little documentary that could. I saw pictures of myself, our director Rob, Jaime… I saw us flashing amongst these photos of years previous as the guys lobbied in Washington… and amongst all of their history was us.

Short of what I was wearing on 9/11, I remember almost everything about that day. I remember how scared I was as I watched the TV with co-workers at the CBC in Toronto. There is no way on Earth I could have foreseen myself crossing paths with people like John and Ray. But it’s an example of the good that has come out of the horrors they experienced, and I witnessed. There has been so much bad, but there has been so much good too. But it’s come at a cost, and I’m aware of that.

With our little film, I’m trying to throw as much good as I can into the world. The world needs it, stories of good hope and people doing the right thing simply because the right thing needs to be done. For as hard of a time as I’m having with finding love, for the mess I’m making of that (though yes, I know it makes for “good material for my stand-up”)… the event yesterday reminded me that I’m helping to tell stories that need to be told. And that is a good thing.

I wish so much I could make Ray’s Cancer go away.  I wish I could bring back my dear James & my friend Ana-Alecia who lost their fights to Cancer, but I cannot. But I can help by telling stories.

I don’t know what I’m really trying to say here tonight. What point it was to post this, except that … well… we all have stories to tell. YOU have a story to tell. So you should go tell it. Because by speaking up, it could help someone. Jon Stewart spoke up on The Daily Show, and it moved me to speak up on social media and offer help to strangers. Who are now my friends.

xo.