Saturday, 22 November 2014

Thoughts on a quiet Saturday

Today was the first day in a long stretch of days that I had all to myself. No work, no lessons, no errands, no visits anywhere. It was heavenly. And tomorrow promises much of the same, for which I am grateful.

I have been thinking, over these past few weeks, about not writing anymore. By which I don't mean that I want to give it up, or that I will ever give it up, really--it's too ingrained now, too much of a habit, too something-I-can't-find-the-word--but only that it seems that much easier now to say goodbye to things, to the idea of writing. To content myself with a job that pays more than anything my degrees have given me, with the ability to pay my bills and buy food that I like and purchase things just for the hell of it. To play music into the afternoon hours and turn my mind off after work.

I bought good winter boots last week. I paid the same amount of money for them that I paid for two months' worth of groceries back when I was living in Scotland. When I was happy and miserable all at once. And I didn't really flinch at this at all--this fact of so much money disappearing for something I could carry out of the store in a bag. I need good winter boots, I told myself. I don't want to be cold from the toes up this year. And as luck would have it, the day after I bought them the cold came in earnest. I walked to work in those expensive winter boots and I was happy, or content, or something. How cosy my feet were. How snuggled. How warm.

I feel the same way about the bookshelves that I bought from IKEA two weeks ago. Two bookshelves and two frames, another purchase that I wouldn't have entertained at all five years ago. Why spend money on something like that when you could go on Kijiji and maybe get something for free? 

But they match. They've brought an entirely different air to my house. And suddenly I find myself thinking: I need new shoe racks, and maybe more picture frames, and maybe it's time to trade my old Kijiji bookshelves in for something else that also matches, and maybe I'd like a new couch, too. And the thing is--maybe I don't want to sit in front of my desk now for hours on end. Maybe I just want my life to expand.

And still, the day comes when there's no need to go outside and I don't. I sit inside and stare at my computer screen for hours and push out five hundred words, maybe a little more. I think: I hate this book. I think: I love this book. I think: I want my life to be more than this book. 

And somehow more suddenly means nothing to do with this book, or any book of mine at all.

I am reading Alison Pick's Between Gods right now and even though it's about Judaism it's reminding me of what it felt like to grow up in church--the same hushed sounds, the idea that so many things could be holy. I miss that, I think, which is part of the problem. The holiness of good winter boots doesn't feel quite the same. They feel like lesser joys.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Full-time Life

How do people--writers, specifically--have full-time jobs and children and somewhat active social lives and still manage to get any writing done? I know it's all about Time Management, that most prized of skills, but at this point it feels less like a skill and more like magic. Like, something that I'd need to wrangle a witch or a shaman into procuring for me. Please give me some Time and some Energy so that I may continue to work on this godforsaken book. Much abracadabra required, sorry. 

Friday, 31 October 2014

Sometimes I am afraid of disappearing.

It has been a long week, and I am really tired. I shouldn't be tired because all I've done is go to work and come home, but there it is. Tired in body and also tired in soul, a little bit sad, a little disappointed. More than a little.

Everything that I could say about what's transpired in Canadian media this week has been said already, by people much more in the know (and much more eloquent) than myself. Go here and here and here for some excellent examples.

What's left to say? I am sad for these women. I am sad for a society that's so quick to believe the voice that sounds like chocolate. I am ashamed of myself for thinking it too, at least at first, at least a little, even if that little voice deep down inside of me also knew otherwise: maybe it's a misunderstanding. He seems so nice. Maybe a little smarmy, sure, but that doesn't automatically mean he hurts people, does it?

Well, perhaps, yes it does.

Mostly I am just tired, though, and it's almost winter, and I have revisions to do and now there is shift work all of the time (and money, thank God, thank God) and I'm just...sad, so I'm rambling. I can't believe that we live in a world where these are still the questions people are asking, where people still believe those with power over those with less.

I went to BC for two weeks in October, though, which was nice. 

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Sing me a song of a lass that is gone

I had such good plans this month.

Such good, smart, rigorous blogging plans. I was going to blog about Mad Men! I was going to talk about Emma Watson and HeForShe and Roxane Gay and all of these other Important Things, besides.

I was going to finish that draft first, of course. And then I was going to blog.

Instead, I have mostly been watching Outlander. 

I did also manage to finish a draft, though, so there is that.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

On Bad Feminists, and Mad, Mad Men

So I read BAD FEMINIST a few weeks ago. As expected, I loved it cover to cover. The grace, the wit, the humour, the love. It's all in there. In spades.

I have, for quite some time now, been struggling with the feeling of not really having things of note to say, and also not sure whether I have any platform -- or deserve any platform -- on which to say whatever things do happen to come into my mind. Which is all a bit rich, I'm sure, in a blog post. What I mean is: I've been so lucky. My whole life. I've had a few struggles, sure, but by and large I've had it pretty easy. I've had many opportunities. I have taken advantage of them all. I studied hard and glorious things came about as a result of that. I've also been lonely--most of my life, if I am honest, in one way or another--and I've been poor, but really none of these things have lasted for very long. Even the loneliness, when it comes, has a temporary end to it.

But over the past few months I feel like the news has shown me so many ways in which this is not true for other people. The struggles are real, folks, and for so many others they are so much worse. And so I think: why talk? Why natter on about being worried about my writing (don't you have the opportunity to write at all?), why worry about this job that suits my life well but doesn't thrill me (don't you have a job in the first place?), why worry about feeling stuck and sad here, even in the midst of knowing how beautiful it can be, how much your life has given you, how much you still have yet to do? Why worry about any of this, really, when the fact of the matter is that you're already privileged in a hundred ways that make your struggles that much easier than those of other people?

I try hard to remember that everyone, no matter where and who and what and when, struggles in some way. You don't know what other people face. You don't know what demons they carry. So what if someone is privileged? Aren't privileged people--or people that we assume are privileged--allowed to be depressed, to be sad, to worry? Didn't I write a blog post more or less to this effect a few years ago, in defense of Elizabeth Gilbert and Cheryl Strayed and the inevitable comparisons that come up between the two?

Still I worry. Still I feel paralyzed, afraid, sure that my words don't really matter. There are so many other people, I tell myself, who do this better. Women who know more about what it means to truly fight for equality in all walks of life. Women who have fought more than I have. Women who have had it harder than myself. People who know the world so much better than I do. They should talk. They should be given space.

I read the book, though. This wonderful book. And now I'm feeling a little better.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

The wind. Sometimes, she is hard.

There is a spider building an egg sac on my patio. Specifically, there is a spider named Charlotte (because what else could she be called, really?) suspended in a delicate web that stretches between my patio table and the patio railing, and she is building an egg sac in the middle of a wind that is telling her, in no uncertain terms, that this is not a good idea.

It could also just be a dead fly, I guess. The thing. But it feels like an egg sac. It has that mustard seed look of possibility. The wind was blowing tonight when I was out eating my dinner--thunderstorm, thunderstorm, yes yes yes please--and every other second her web buffeted this way and that. Charlotte the spider, holding on for dear life.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

"The only things getting tapped here are the maple trees."

I went on vacation. It wasn't that long and it wasn't really that far, but it was enough. Earlier this summer friends of mine retired and moved from Hamilton to just north of Belleville, and now they own a house on a point with three docks and a beach and a boathouse and a bunkie and it is pretty much as perfect as you could want. I had breakfast on the dock and swam in the lake and on the second day, when it rained, I stayed inside and wrote the whole day long.