Monday, April 30, 2007

please won't you be my neighbour

a strange calm descended upon my sister and i as we worked our way through a rigorous schedule of pvr'd shows. typically an exercise of lip reading and a volume bar at full throttle as her upstairs neighbour cranks out tacky dance tunes , it became something entirely more civilized. i am sure that if there were crickets outside her window, they'd be seranading us as i speak.

the sounds of a moving van rattled endlessly outside for about an hour and were accompanied by a change in the frenzied footsteps of said neighbours idiot dog. together, they seemed to signal that the van may well be destined to welcome boxes of his gold rope chains and hair products. gleefully we tracked the sound of boxes being loaded, muffled giggles from the girlfriend.

as excited as we were at the prospect of prolonged peace, our smiles soon turned to incredulous smirks. my sister has just given notice after months of frustration and well placed broom handle jabs to the ceiling. we've had a hell of a time finding something and now...

that's just mean. oh, the irony. cruel, cruel irony.

just when you,..wait, what rumble from yonder ceiling quakes? but soft 'tis the moron! and happy feet, his son.

oh what a tangled web we weave when we, from our neighbours, try to leave.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The price of beauty

found myself living out a seinfeld epidsode this afternoon. knowledgeable fans may remember an episode where elaine went to get her nails done at a salon and was convinced that the women who worked there (none of whom spoke english while they worked) were gossiping about her.

spurred on by my encounter with a dirty yoga mat and a conversation with my developmentally delayed bus acquaintance about the state of my fingernails, i decided that it was time for a little "maintenance". i decided i'd go girly and treat myself to a manicure and pedicure at a little place at the end of my street.

i was really looking forward to being pampered so it wasn't until i was at the front desk requesting an appointment that i noticed what a sorry state i was truly in. like a woman who cleans the house before the maid arrives, i was suddenly mortified that i hadn't done some preliminary prep before someone whose job it is to tend to my hands and feet, saw my hands and feet.

each of my nails was a different length and despite two showers and a sincere effort with a nail brush, paint from a backdrop i was preparing was still brightly shining between the layers of my nails. aiming for comfort and not knowing i'd have to take them off in public later, i'd worn my comfy,though rank, sneakers that haven't seen the light of day since last summer. i tried to explain apologetically before my esthetician approached but i soon realized that she spoke almost no english so i just tried to avoid eye contact as she rolled her sleeves up for a tough session.

soon after she began, the other women who worked in the salon began chatting to one another in Chinese. the banter went back and forth across the room and laughter soon rang out.

my sister and i glanced at each other from across the room and shared perpelxed looks anxious to know just what was so funny, quietly confident that on some level we were being mocked.

i was incredulous as the next hour and a half passed by and not a word of english was spoken except when the receptionist took a phone call.

as the room became animated with their private conversations, i started to feel as though i had crashed a stranger's party. it was as though i was on vacation in my own city. at least when you are traveling you expect to be socially isolated and left out of the loop.

salons are typically places where female bonding happens, where secrets are shared and you walk away feeling like you know the group of people you shared the afternoon with. incredible how a single element, language, skewed the whole experience. i found myself longing for the little banter that you share with someone when they are cutting your hair or putting lotion on your cuticles. without it , or eye contact or being addressed with words instead of a series of taps and gestures, i was a little lost.

suddenly realized that without the personal pleasantries it's not pampering. it's maintenance.

felt jaded. then felt guilty.

why should these women who have to spend 8 hour days sloughing off dead skin and picking out gunk from underneath other women's nails be obliged to engage in small talk? is it their job to entertain as well as buff and polish? before long i was making connections to john's and prostitutes. bad enough they have to do the job but they have to be sweet too? ridiculous comparison i know but guilt is a powerful emotion! can i really call myself a feminist when i get pissy if my manicurist didn't ask me about my day because she is preoccupied with studying to get her citizenship? (not exaggerating here, she really had the test manual beside her at her station and was reading it-with the help of a computerized translation device- as my nails dried.)

as my sister and i were walking home my concern for the esthetician's endentured servitude began to fade.

"what the hell was that?" she said.

"i know, that was so rude. i hate it when all the people around you are speaking another language. it makes you paranoid," i replied.

so much for a relaxing afternoon. ah, the price of beauty!

Friday, April 27, 2007

bon voyage?

zut alors!

i received an email this morning from a contact in paris who had spoken to me about a job opportunity teaching esl at an international school for three weeks in july. my resume was sent and approved in january and several emails, including one in which i provided lesson plans, assured me that the question was not the availability of a position but whether or not i would be available for full time rather than part time.

based on these transactions i got my passport renewed, bought a plane ticket ($2000) and put a down payment on a hostel in one of my favourite neighbourhoods. i had started to accumulate resources and started imagining how i could use field trips to local landmarks as fodder for lessons.

if you speak french, you know that my opening was portentious and that the email was not good news. yes chers amis, my contact regrets to inform me that inscription into the summer school program was less stellar than anticipated and he will not be able to offer me any work!!!!!!!!!!!!!

as i read it i was at once mortified that i'd now have to find a new way to finance my living expenses and elated that i wouldn't have to be in the classroom for 8 hours a day.

if i seem strangely calm about the outcome it's because a part of me knew that this might happen. i had prepared myself in some subconscious way for it. as i wrote an email at one point in march describing my desire to teach full time rather than half my fingers were leaden and i put off sending it for two or three days. part of me knew that the entire purpose of going to paris was to be in paris and not to work, be drained, have a glass of wine and sleep in paris.

i feel freed in a way. now i can fill my days at will. i can do paris the way i have always wanted to do it. i have been three times before, each time in longer spurts but never for more than a week. each time i've tried to squeeze in as much as i could and pounded the pavement for hours on end not wanting to leave a nook unexplored. i've always enjoyed myself but this time i want to do the things that aren't part of the package tour. i want to spend a day at the sorbonne, reading anais nin's journals, simone de bouvoir's work. i want to bring my music with me and try to coerce my way on stage and sing a song or two. i want to go to the movies with the locals, to bring a sketchbook to the musee d'orsay.

it's a gift, this. a chance to breathe, to be a vacation in the truest sense of the word. just going to have to count my pennies and make those baguettes last!

isn't it odd how places that are half way across the world can feel like home? i remember being stunned at how familiar everything felt and how even the dodgy bits had charm. i felt the same way when stepping of the ferry in Dublin. The air felt familiar and the experience had a deja vu like quality. there might be something to that past life thing after all...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

pet peeves a la eats, shoots & leaves

i've got the tv on in the background and i just caught a clip promoting etalk where guest host hilary duff was blabbing out the "innertainment" industry. like nails on a chalkboard, the ditzified version of the not so hard to pronounce word "entertainment" made me cringe.

not to say that i don't take a few liberties with the queen's english from time to time, but the bastardization of perfectly fine words and the increasingly lax standards in television reporting are frightening. yesterday, gord martineau from city tv (crusty ass- helmet haired-short man with a complex that he is) actually said the word "ass" in his intro to a piece about a farm where old donkeys go to die. apparently the tasteless adolescent attempt at humour gave at least some editor along the way a twinge of intellectual guilt and they had poor old gord spell the word as a way to cushion what they knew would be a low in his career. come on, people! i know it's citytv but still!

my all time fave has to be the invention of the word "orientated" as in "he was very goal orientated". well, he can't be that goal driven cause the schmo doesn't know that he's goal oriented. i've heard the term used so often now that it'll only be a matter of time before i come across it in print! am i alone on this one, or has it made its way to the latest version of webster's? nevermind. i'd rather not know. now that homer's "doh" has made it it's only a matter of time before the old faithfuls go the way of the dinosaur.

at a workshop yesterday, i heard a woman (professional, mid thirties) say the word "fustrated" as she was describing a situation. writing it off as a dialect thing i simply smirked (snobbily, i'll admit it) and forgot about it, until...she pulled out a piece of chartpaper she'd brought with her as part of her presentation which included the word "frustrated" spelled without the "r" ! now i realize that in the grand scheme of things it means nothing and it's kind of shallow but dammit, if you're going to make a presentation have a friend look it over before you leave the office.

aside from word use, inane banter among co-hosts of news shows and flagrantly biased reporting rife with leading quesitons makes anything but sexless tvo an option for real news. (oh how i miss studio two)

don't be shy, send me your bug bears. as lovers of words i'm sure you have stockpiles of the stuff!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

i just want to be inspired, is that so wrong?

if only those who lacked intellectual vision could get a prescription filled at lenscrafters.

spent the morning in a think tank of sorts where a new initiative was being discussed and colleagues who had test piolted the approach were discussing their process. geek that i am, i get off on this kind of thing and set my wheels in motion, ready to listen and plan in parallel as they spoke.

the philosophy behind the approach was practical and focused, the energy in the room, charged. i was so grateful to hear this kind of thing being proposed that i felt inspired again, ready to roll up my sleeves and get dirty.

i turned to my two bosses, hoping for a conspiratorial smile but found instead that one was going through her mail and the other, checking her blackberry. sigh.

when the interactive part of the session came around and representatives from different areas had to post their performance levels on a variety of measures they both scrambled to justify reasons why we should post a titch higher than the results we had compiled before arriving. i nearly laughed. we had spent the morning talking about the importance of being truthful in order to facilitate genuine change and there they were, ready to throw it away for the sake of saving face.

the kicker was when they considered passing out a handout during a staff meeting as fulfilling the professional development component! two hours discussing the importance of mentoring, sharing best practice and using data to bolster growth, two hours of colleague testimonials, two hours of people from across the city gathering to change the direction of the system and a handout is enough to mentally tick the box!!!!!!!

ah the life of the idealist is a tormented one. to come so close....what to do when your superiors don't get it? how do these people get these positions? how is it we could be in the same room, hear the same things and walk away with such different take home messages?

to top it all off, as we were leaving and talking to my bosses' boss, they turned to me and said "it all really needs to come from our staff" , defeated i replied, "no it has to come from above" (a comment supported by their boss but which fell on deaf ears)..deferring again! shifting responsibility again! avoiding direct influence over staff again!

and so i am left with two options. take this on and run with it because i am turned on by it (incurring the wrath of colleagues who'll think i am kissing ass or developing a god complex) or i can watch the whole thing die a quiet death.

it's times like these that i wish i was one of those people who never creep beyond the boundaries of their assigned roles, who are happy to adjust to whatever comes down the pipe rather than refit it altogther for greater flow.

but where's the fun in that?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

the diary-primary resource or fodder for fiction?

have been reading a lot of biographies lately for work. was discussing with a group how primary resources are used as tools to piece together a portrait of the subject who can no longer speak for themselves.

as i spoke about the utility of photographs, letters, emails, artistic creations and interviews with people who knew them i made the natural leap of wondering what my artifacts would say about me.

cyberspace cookies would reveal my browsing habits, my daily compulsions, the varied scope of topics i delve into daily. pictures i have taken would perhaps convey an aesthetic taste but it's my friend's bridal shower pics and halloween party masked debauchery that would skew the profile. my artistic endeavours are similarly untrustworthy to speak for me themselves. recordings i have made out of a desire to concretize a favourite piece don't stand as representatives of how i'd love my voice to sound.

took a course at ryerson a few years ago about the diary. argued for many sessions about its validity as a tool for understanding someone. my prof rolled her eyes at the notion of their usefulness, saying that even in private we invent;here perhaps most of all! was a great experience. loved reading people's attempts to capture their thoughts artfully. i could see the bias, see the plumes of the quill shake with fervour as a literary sensibility took hold and the mundane was transformed into the sublime. i get it because i've done it. i love to go back to a moment, to evoke it sensorially and polish it into something lasting.

this whole notion of editing the artifacts of our lives is interesting. how many of us delete unflattering photos,take people off of our contact lists, write responses to emails or engage in conversation using platitudes or quasi-template form?

haven't decided yet if it's just a filter thing where you can only hold so much so you manage by speaking a script, cutting off excess relationship baggage, don't want to waste space in memory or if we are all secretly manufacturing an ideal self as we go. i waffle depending on mood.

so after all of that i wonder if we can really be trusted to speak for ourselves about ourselves. and if not us then who, or what?

Monday, April 23, 2007


i am a total coward. i can sing in front of a thousand strangers without batting an eyelash but i just ran away from an instant message on lavalife!

i am venturing back out on the dating scene after a hiatus and reopened a dormant account on lava. say what you will, i'm not exactly tripping over single men in my circles and i find it's a great way to flex the dating muscle.

anyway, so i am compulsively checking my account to see if anyone else has sent me a smile and a little blue light starts to flash in the instant message portion of the window. panicked, i stopped dead in my tracks. i hate instant messaging, it makes me feel like i am being watched! purely psychological but it creeps me out. i hate the idea that other people know when i am on the site, it's like being caught with your hand in the cookie jar.

so this guy writes that he likes my smile and before i have time to click on his name to see what he looks like he's added a new line of text: "do you date guys that are 46?" granted, i'm in my thirties but it still felt like my grandad was asking for a poke and a tickle!

freak show that i am, i closed the window and opened up this one instead. a welcome safe haven from watchful fortysomething eyes. (nothing personal forty somethings, it's a stupid hang up)

can't believe how years of experience still haven't quashed the freak out factor when it comes to handling creepy advances. well advances is a little strong but you get the idea.

so far, the range of men who've responded is really varied. i've got the corny romantics, the faceless computer programmers, some random guy from the states (come on!!) and one who also likes to read Dave Eggers-one of my favourite authors. must admit felt a twinge of hope when i read that one. i returned his smile calmly and confidently. nice to see some potential among the craziness.

Friday, April 20, 2007

rain on my parade

been reading a lot of charles bukowski's poetry lately. it's conversational and immediately ridiculous references to obscure greek gods. thematically it's an honest look at the banal aspects of life and the ridiculous things we do because of loneliness.

i say this because i had a shitty encounter with a colleague today that put a pall on an otherwise really successful workshop i led that i had put a lot of thought and effort into. thought instead of just waxing philosophic about it that i would borrow from mr. bukowski and turn it into a poem. (

it's friday and we're all in jeans we look like people again. a group forms around the food table. the naturally skinny are going for the muffins and the self-conscious and health-conscious pick at slices of melon.

i'm reading over notes, checking to see that packages are in order. i'm keen but wear it as honestly as the slackers openly checking their blackberrys. start the spiel and most eyes are on me feigned interest from some, genuine curiosity from others.

still talking and have only heard a few sidebar comments pretty good considering there's often open disdain. questions come, hit em out of the park we're on our way and working i'm in the clear- or so i think...

am buzzing with the flow of productive, complicit professional activity and run head on into an active resistor whose out to stick it to the man. announces, "i don't need to do this"

i wait

i've seen this before

thirteen fucking people are going along with it but somehow she's immune. "i got what i need out of the information," she says, "do i really have to do all of this?"

i wait

i outline the point of the exercise again

"so what are you saying, i have to do this?"


walks away and grumbles loudly about the futility of the exercise gradstanding now "you know, if you're going to do this, you really need to.."

you fucking bitch ass whore the mantra running continuously in my mind as she spends the next hour trashing my preparartion, mocking the work

one. one freakin squeaky wheel sucking the life blood of all things positive.

want to give it to her ghetto style but turn on my heel to go back to the buzz of the quiet converts.

So it's not great, really need to edit it but you get the idea. wanted to be a bit more straightforward but caught myself going imus on her and thought it a bit melodramatic. just wanted to testify to the teeth clenching moment where you want to bite the head off the smartass that's out to sabotauge for the sake of it. wanted to capture a sense of how much it sucks to have hard work get overshadowed by somebody else's agenda.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

rumble in the 9-5 jungle

bit of drama at work today. there's been a reshuffling of positions, and with it a ruffling of feathers. paranoia abounds and everywhere you look there are clusters of conspirators trying to suss out the master plan and their place within it.

unfortunately, this is an annual occurrence which wreaks havoc during an otherwise enjoyable time of year. it's incredible to watch the dynamic between "the threatened" and the secure, between the admin and the underlings. no gesture goes unanalyzed, no loophole for self-preservation unexplored.

fear's a pretty powerful emotion. given the amount of time you spend at work, any time that the nature of what will be coming across your desk changes, a Darwinian kind of lens starts to filter everything around you. Suddenly, you find yourself on the defensive, quietly composing a list of why the work you've done is much more in keeping with the goals of the organization, how you've gone above and beyond the drivel joe flunky (your colleague who at any other time of the year would be your best friend) produces on his best day.

while i am in the clear this time round, i remember all too well the way that the options being presented to me seemed surreal, completely separate from anything that i would have chosen for myself or from anything that anyone who had bothered to take the time to look at my past work, would suggest for me. it's the impersonalization of something very personal, at least in my field, that threw me. it was impossible not to take the suggestion of making a move that was totally unrelated to my personal goals as anything less than personal. while it all really boiled down to financial purse tightening and factors that were procedural, not personal, i still felt like a stranger in my own home.

i also remember, not too proudly, that the situation brought out a ruthless side to me where i felt like a lioness protecting her cubs. i wanted what i felt was mine and hated not having a say in the course of my own fate.

it's times like these when i wish i was one of those diplomatic types who accepts the situation and gracefully manoeuvres themselves through it, head held high and cattiness curtailed. maybe one day. need a few more role models!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

One, two, three, four hold five, six turn seven, eight

am reclining while typing and have just contorted myself to remove my socks. feet were feeling clammy after having done an hour's worth of dance in the same boots i wore all day.

how's that for a snappy intro? are you hooked yet? too tired to be witty so i'm just gonna tell you like it is tonight.

went to a chinese dance workshop after work today. saw it advertised and thought it would come in handy for a show i am putting together next month. have i mentioned how much i love this city? where else would you have the chance to develop a mean fan technique on a tuesday night on a whim?

So i arrive late. had to take transit and the bus was late then i went to the wrong location and had to ask a group of kids for directions. would've asked a passerby but it was a bit of a dodgy neighbourhood and my bright red jacket wasn't doing much to help me blend in with the locals. When i walk in,the class was in full swing. a sprightly, skinny man with a corny sense of humour is encouraging a roomful of sweaty women that he's going to make them earn their water. it's been awhile since i've had to learn a routine and i'm a bit leary but find a spot in the back and do my best to fake it.

luckily i enter at a point where the move they're doing is a derivative of something i am familiar with. i did musical theatre for a number of years and have attended a number of rehearsals of modern dance companies where i've been able to pick up on some key physical 'vocabulary' , if you will. as pathetic as it is i find myself getting into the challenge of seeing how quickly i can pick it up. i am no dancer and have never been the least bit athletic but i do have a bit of a diva in me when it comes to performing. my back gets straight, i up my sorry excuse for form by moving my head with my hands and pointing my toes to focus a step-details i'm sure are impressing no one but me.

i amuse myself as i can literally feel a "look at me, i'm a performer" jekyll emerging from my day job hyde. i have an odd desire to separate myself from my yoga panted peers and prove that "yes, it's true, i've danced before." Hilarious! now if i was actualy a trained dancer and didn't jiggle as i jumped, a trained professional might be able to find a sensible root source to my delusions but alas there are none. all i know is that i love pretending do be a dancer almost as much as i love to dance.

as we went through the dragon, the butterfly, did some cool turns and ran around in a circle holding our scarves above our heads like kids with kites on a windy afternoon, i found myself content and smiling. all around me others too were grinning, pushing themselves on and working the moves like they meant them.

we were playing and we were loving every minute of it.

it's a good tired, this. hope to feel it again sometime soon.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

trying to decide if he's my man

watching leonard cohen: i'm your man. it's a documentary covering a concert of people covering his songs. my beloved rufus wainwright and his sister martha are featured prominently.

leonard cohen, bob dylan and tom waits are favourites of most male musicians i know. given the lack of vocal abilities in all three i've never really paid them much mind. as a singer i am much more drawn to melody than i am a lyric. never really had a good ear for them either, i'm the type that needs to see the words before i can hear them.

the fact that i don't have all of the key albums from each of these icons makes me an infedel among the aforementioned musically inclined men in my life. every one of them has tried to school me in the merits of this holy trinity of wisdom. i was reluctant at first because i hate to be told to like something simply because people who collect albums like baseball cards say so.

so this film is part of my open minded attempt to see what all the fuss is about. my first exposure to the world of leonard was when i discovered the song suzanne in a compilation of tunes i had in a second hand guitar book. i was mezmerized by the melody-so much more appealing when i plucked it out rather than hearing leonard do it. the lyric, at once ambiguous and beautifully specific (tea and oranges) soon generated a strong feeling that was very similar to the connection i feel to a lot of tori amos' bizarre lyrical jaunts.

my second glimpse of lenny was the tune i'm your man, as sung by an incredible woman named madelaine peyroux. i did a cover of it with my band at the time and loved the feeling of it. the plaintive feel of it then the swelling, desperate b section. it's got a cool ragtime-y feel to it that i also love where you can lean on the phrase a little bit.

anyhoo, back to the film. so i'm at a part where leonard is describing how all of his songs are about trying to translate the beauty that he finds all around him. how he's always doubted his abilities as a writer because the word just isn't enough. s also speaks about the way that sometimes after he's written something he's not sure what its about. sometimes it's just about connecting to a moment.

it's exactly how i feel. all art is trying to translate something natural that has moved you. he's incredibly humble, sharp, charming, self-aware, choosing his words thoughtfully and pointedly. his drawings, interspersed between his narration are similarly sparse, centred on the iconic female form.

he's reading from a preface to a chinese translation of his book beautiful losers. in it, he warns the reader to skip the parts they don't like, to approach it with humour and to realize that what they are reading is more about sunstroke acquired from the hours he spent outside on an island writing it than anything else. i've read the book and found myself smirking as he spoke, like him, i appreciated it in paragraphs and turns of phrase rather than as a complete entity. such a treat to have the author speak in their own voice as a disclaimer of sorts to the experimental voice they borrowed while trapsing around in the lives of the characters who follow.

visions of him as a monk now. cloistered himself up after he lost his way when he separated from the mother of his children. feel a similar inclination to actively surround myself in silence when faced with emotional noise.

now that the words are appearing in drawings on the screen and are being contextualized i'm drawn in. i am most impressed by the intention of the words and his attempt to capture it all plainly.

credits are running now and he's singing. deeply resisting urge to ffwd, got a william shatner stiltedness that is making me nauseous. in sum, have discovered i will never be a fan of his vocals but am more inclined to read the liner notes.

glad i rented it. if for nothiing else than to pay homage to someone who tried to express himself in the most honest way he knew how.

Friday, April 13, 2007

interior designs

went to a friend of a friend's house tonight for the first time. my friend prepared me to be wowed by the fabulousness of the place. couldn't wait to take it in. one of my favourite things about meeting new people is seeing the way they decorate the place they call home. i love reading book titles,scanning cd and video collections, seeing how people take up their space,what colours and textures they surround themselves with. i find it adds a new dimension to a person you can't determine from a conversation or from who they are at work. i am consistently pleased by the little nuggets of history that fill in the gaps and somehow make that person more whole.

i'm as voracious about consuming images as i am about consuming a can of pringles. when in a new environment, i acquaint myself with every nook and cranny, take the tour and soak everything in from all vantage points. life's all about the details for me. when i first went to paris i was literally intoxicated by the beauty that leapt out of every crevice of the place. it was overwhelming. barcelona's the same.but i digress..

so we park in front of a gorgeous place in quaint neighbourhood. inside, the colour palette was muted, there was a great flow to the space, it felt wide and white. the objects in the cabinets were made of unadorned like materials with accent pieces in large glass jars.white sofas in many of the rooms were accented by tasteful yet comfy cushions. every object was pure in terms of colour, geometry and material. each object simply was what is was-a mirror, a chair, a bowl.

the modern, intellectual feel of the place immediately served to create a rough sketch of the woman i thought i would meet-put together, monied, well schooled in quality. unfairly, the sketch also included an anticipatory sense that the conversation might be less than intimate.

the woman behind the vision greeted us in comfy (yet high quality)clothes and carried herself in a way that instantly communicated she was also comfortable in her own skin.

as i got to know her, i kept trying to reconcile the muted, staged surroundings with the grounded person she was revealing herself to be. being a sentimental decorator where everything in my home has a story (within a tasteful colour scheme of course!) i have a spontaneously negative and judgemental reaction to all things modern and minimalist. i am so attached to my things and how they make my house a home that i simply can't wrap my head around the idea of living among objects that someone else picked out from the latest chic boutique.

as i was openly welcomed by this woman and was able to watch her interact in her home like someone who loved every angle of it (vs. someone who liked to keep things "just so" for company) i was motivated to take a second look. upon closer inspection,the black and white prints on the mantle turned out to be her own shots from a trip abroad. as we toured the place, i was pleased to note a pile of papers on a desk in a corner on the third floor. "i'm home!" i thought to myself, suddenly feeling the kinship i was looking for. from that point on i fully relaxed and took myself off edit mode. frustrate myself sometimes when i can't just let go from the get go.

the whole thing just made me aware of how i seem to need to see something of myself in someone else in order to feel at ease around them. silly me.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The word was the day

been thinking a lot about themes lately and, like anything you bring forth to your consciousness i am beginning to see them everywhere.

today i was literally smacked over the head repeatedly with experiences across situations which related to the power of language.

1.shared a story with a group this morning that was packed with beautifully adorned images that made the world described real for all of us

2.had a conversation in a car where I completed the phrase phylogeny recapitulates ontogeny, when the first half was supplied by a doctor acquaintance. it has been years since i learned the lovely little nugget and i grinned as i completed the second half successfully. loved being reminded of both the way it rolled off the tongue and the scientific principle underlying it. the connectedness of the species illustrated in the alien like embryos eerily content in their transparent phrase and i was back to grade ten science enjoying the nomenclature, the exposure to the lingo that was linked to explaining it all.

3. attended a public speaking competition where young children were strutting their stuff on a makeshift stage, where their first forays into writing in their own voice revealed the inner comic, actress, activist. so incredible to see them experience the power of their own expression, bask in the glow of the effects of their own words on a group of strangers.

4. late afternoon received news that three of my students were having poems published. again words were at the forefront of it all. defining them. standing out as part of a significant moment in their lives.

like i said, hit after hit of this theme of words today. impossible not to see it. pretty powerful to see things filtered like this at the end of the day and all because i've been trying to think about what to write here!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

thus spake the soiled yoga mat

we had to switch locations for yoga today and the lighting was brighter revealing an embarassing swath of dirt stains and heel marks on my cheapass vanilla coloured mat. for the duration of the session i wondered how it was that i'd managed to make a mess of it while everyone else's remained pristine. adults aren't dirty. how was it that crossing the dusty floor barefoot on my 10m jaunt to my place at the back row resulted in an accumulation of filth only my heels seemed to attract?

felt twelve again. subsequently felt less than feminine. was reminded of failed attempts to create perky bangs and perfectly straight hair. There have always been stray strands in my ponytails and runs in my nylons. i wondered secretly, do they wipe the soles of their feet with their sock just before standing on their mats? there must be a trick. a sly, subtle trick that everyone knows that hasn't made its way to me yet. womanhood is filled with these little mysteries.

then again, maybe it's not womanhood. maybe it's just about caring about the details. maybe it's not a high maintenance thing, it's just a maintenance thing. i'm often juggling so many things from so many spheres that details in any one of those spheres are luxury.

the whole thing likely wouldn't have penetrated my thoughts so significantly had this yoga mat mishap not been accompanied by a remark from my developmentally delayed transit companion this morning about the state of my nails.

What happened to your nails?" she asked pointedly her chubby finger motioning toward my crossed hands. Freshly showered not a half an hour before I was perplexed by her comment and simply replied. " Nothing, they always look like this. Some of them get broken throughout the week."

accustomed to her queries about what groceries i am going to buy and why i am not wearing proper boots this little zinger caught me off guard. if they were covered in chipped nailpolish or red raw from being chewed to the bone i'd understand. i had to look hard to see what could have prompted the remark. they looked like they always look. so odd.

considering the source, the whole thing had one of those talking fish dream sequence, the gods are trying to tell you something kind of vibes. i almost laughed at the near sitcomy-ness of the set up.

according to the rules of literature i suppose this main character is about to devote a chapter to putting in motion a series of events to resolve the conflict. don't worry, i'll spare you the details ;)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

we are all one

was translating an ancient Chinese folktale into a script today,as you do, and found myself surprisingly affected by the experience. while converting the author's voice into the narrator's, i was in the forest with the old man in search of the magic herb. i felt his fatigue as he stumbled fruitlessly from trunk to trunk. i was with him as he leaned down to spare a hill of ants from a flood, in a flash of distracted generosity like the way you stop to thoughtfully dust a neglected shelf on your way from the doing the kitchen to the dreaded bathroom in your rubber gloves on a sunday. it's an incedental act of kindness that makes you feel better on your way to solving a real problem; one that will truly test your character.

anyway, so i'm in the forest with this old man who's now a monk in my mind, red robe and all, and i'm buying the way he's communing with the animals, seeing himself in them and lending them a hand cause he happens to be in the neighbourhood. i'm fully there even though there's a cursor flashing in my periphery and the words are flat and colourless on a photocopied page.

so powerful, the voice, the i guess you call it zen-like simplicity of it all reaching me thousands of years after it first found its way to the folklore.


Monday, April 9, 2007


bought my own easter bunny on sale today. bright pink box with a picture to colour on the back. not quite the prize it once was. didn't glow today with that sense of possessing something once coveted. remember the novelty of the rice crispies, exotic almost to have the cereal appear in foreign terrain. i've dated myself here. sort of like the way that pink jello salad i remember seeing on picnic tables at friends' houses would date a woman a generation before me. i've ruined the ritual by playing a different role in the scenario. now it's just chocolate.