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.

Monday, 4 August 2014


Well, not really bad. But it sounds nice as a title, doesn't it?

So a few weeks ago -- maybe a month? Time just blurs on by now as I advance in years -- the super swell Jen Sookfong Lee got in touch and asked if I wanted to participate in a blog hop. You know, one of those happy little games of "writer's tag" that take the Internet over every now and again. Since Jen is super swell (have I said that already?) and was also nice enough to TALK ABOUT MIRACLES ON CBC RADIO back in the day, naturally I said yes.

Here's how it works: you get an invitation to partake in the blog hop, you say yes, you answer four questions about your work, and then you steer the spotlight right on over to two other writers, who will themselves take part in the blog hop two weeks after your original post. Sounds easy, right? Super easy peasy as pie.

Naturally, I thought long and hard about my answers to the questions and then promptly forgot about posting until the morning of. So now here I am, typing madly into my wee laptop and trying to remember what I'd wanted to say when I was thinking long and hard about the questions in the first place. (Have I mentioned that time is passing on by and my memory goes with it?)

Never fear, though: you'll find my (hopefully more than semi-) coherent answers to the questions after the jump. Once you're done reading, I highly suggest you hop back on over to Jen's blog post about the same, to hear what she has to say about her own work (and also to see that she wants to have multiple drinks with me in the future, which means it's more or less a duty of mine to go to Vancouver now and make sure that happens, no?), and also to follow the links on over to the blog of Brian Francis, who agreed to the blog hop the same time that I did.

Also ALSO, when you're done here, you need to bookmark the websites of Liz Windhorst Harmer and Kevin Hardcastle, writer besties of mine who very kindly agreed to keep the blog hop torch -- look, I'm mixing metaphors and it isn't even noon! -- high and flyin' on their own sites in two weeks' time. Suckers.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

La belle ville

Last week I treated myself to a mini birthday present and spirited over to Montreal for a couple of days. It was, in a word, magnifique. 

I love Montreal. The last time I was there was in 2009, and I remember feeling the same then as now--like I'd stepped into a world exotic and exciting and yet just similar enough to home to feel comfortable and safe. The staircases, the flowers, the sidewalk cafes.