It was gone for too long … not for me because I only really care as a byproduct of my son caring … but gone for too long for my hockey-mad boy. The hockey strike is over now tho’ and the shortened season is better than no season at all, you can be sure of that.
So many boats in my dreams, this last while. Boats and boats and then again boats. I like boats, always have (particularly those powered by muscle not motor), maybe as the result of having for a father a man who in his youth was a sailor or maybe as the result of my Piscean nature.
After the Alphabets
I am trying to decipher the language of insects
they are the tongues of the future
There’s no rational explanation for how much I love frogs. I mean, there might be a rational tidbitual oddment I could lay down for you but all the tidy, comprehensible bullet points in the world wouldn’t do justice to how deeply fascinated and charmed and shivered I am by those little half-blood princes, those darling swimmers who leave the water to tuck the soft green of themselves into the grass so they can lie in wait for me, so they can leap in ambush and make me bark a laugh of surprise at their ridiculous bodies, hurled up from the grass, bounced high, airborne.
If tomorrow I were to walk away to some other place, go live in a where that is not this where, the place I would go would have lots of snow and the house I would live in would be made of cold, a house of snow — or of-snow-adjacent.
I don’t know about your little piece of the planet but here where I am there’s been a lot of greyworld and I’m not really an appreciator of greyworld, unless it’s mitigated by storm. Which it hasn’t been, here and now. So what can be done? One can give in to the grey and be taken down by it — opt for bed or heavy drink for weeks on end, except those are roads to ruin and I prefer to remain unruined for just a little longer in life.
I don’t know how it works, how to do the math, but it’s like every emotion I’ve ever felt somehow gets wrapped up in trees. Trees become some kind of conduit for thought and feeling, for understanding, for epiphany, for optimism, for love.
Maybe you’re a creature like me: all loved up by words. Or maybe you’re a creature like me: all loved up by dreamscape derangements.
Nothing makes me wanna go on a homicidal killing spree (as opposed to a homicidal puppy-patting spree) more than people lambasting someone for doing something new to them.
A couple of days ago when I was stopped at a street corner waiting for the light to change, a man walked up from behind me, stood beside me, looked at me, smiled, and said, “Nice legs, librarian.” Now, I’m really not a woman who enjoys strangers making commentary on her appearance but he didn’t have the stink of testosterone poisoning about him so I didn’t just default to my “Fuck you, you fucking fucker” setting. Plus? He called me “librarian”. And oh good lord, I do love me a librarian, so very very much I do, and am always so happy to meet a fellow member of that tribe, which obviously that man was.
Butcher’s charts take it all apart.
Sewing patterns put it all together.
The sundering and the reconciling … they interest me, both. I maybe love taxidermy because it requires both; I should maybe love the jigsaw puzzle more than I do, for the same reason.
I think I think too much about clothes — mine, yours, his, hers, theirs, whoever’s. Because really? I think an awful lot about them. Like, an AWRFUL lot. Thing is, when the world is being beautiful, I don’t want to be a blight on it and when the world is being unbeautiful, I don’t want to add to the ick, so I end up thinking a lot about my clothes. And in my thinking, I also think this: I think style is an act of generosity. I think fashion is just merchandising. I think one is qualitatively superior to the other, by a lot, and in my mind it’s clear that the superior one is style.
Yellow! I don’t really like it, most of the time, and yet my favourite shoes in the whole wide world are yellow and I love it when a cool-toned garden is warmed by splashes of yellow and I think lemons are not only delightfully delicious as foodstuffs but delightfully delectable in every aesthetic aspect and I like looking at my bookshelves and seeing the yellow spines of Upside Down and Cheap Chic and A Prick Up Your Ears and What It Is and maybe now that I think of it I do like yellow, not as the object or the subject, mostly, but in small illuminating punctuatory doses.
I make playlists on my iPod and they’re often very theme-y because I am nothing if not a theme-y woman — I like to group and organise. I like to find patterns, or, in their absence, make them. Maybe that’s the curatorial urge. Or the librarian’s urge. Anyway, I have a playlist on my iPod called “river” and I listen to the songs on that playlist a lot, especially when I am despairing because those songs are very cathartic to hear and especially when I am all joyed-up because those songs are very cathartic to hear.
I read a blog (very intermittently kept) written by a Korean artist who writes in English, which is not her first language. Her tiny strange observations are often very beautiful and made more so by the flaws in her English, a lot more so, I think, because those flaws can be very illuminatory — that skewing of language can make you look at a thing from a whole different perspective. The accidental nature of some of the beauty she writes makes her observations fresh and astonishing.
Here’s a thing I just realised. Chet Baker had it right: let’s get lost. That’s what running is, for me: a getting lost, the way you can get lost in very few things, maybe only love and sex and music and physical exertion and the way the air smells in the woods in the fall or the way a cold lake feels on your body when you jump in naked and let all that cold swirl across all your bare skin to leave you gasping and shuddering in a strange beautiful release that’s almost like the moment of orgasm, in the pleasure/pain aspect of it and also in the being completely present in your body aspect of it.
Ice is nice. Okay, if you’re me, it’s more than nice.
A couple of nights ago, a friend e-mailed me with the news that singer Lhasa de Sela had died of breast cancer at her home in Montreal on January 1st, at the young age of thirty-seven. I had had a hard day and my head was full of black miseries, and this news, which I would under any circumstance find dreadfully sad, just undid me, and I cried a long, long time. Which in a strange way is fitting, not just in a crying-is-an-appropriate-response-to-death way, but in a to-hear-Lhasa-was-to-be-moved-by-her way. I’ve had her on my mind since then.
I am interested in the connection between the physical and the mental, in the connection between a crisis of the body and the germination of an idea.
It’s the space between the leaves that makes me shiver, that makes me cry, that makes me need to bow my head.
Why? Because in the words of John Hejduk, “I believe in the density of the sparse.”
Last May, I ran a half-marathon. It was a dreadful experience, in ways I can’t, even four months later, fully articulate. I can tell you that I wasn’t jubilant when I crossed the finish line, I didn’t feel the lightness of spirit I had anticipated. Not at all. In fact, I was bitterly disappointed in myself because I hadn’t run the way I wanted to run and because in the months of training I’d done to prepare for the race, I’d lost all the things I value about running, sacrificed them to this goal of propelling myself 21.1 kilometres in tandem with thousands of strangers, in a specific and challenging amount of time.
It’s not terribly often I say this but
I listen to a lot of music. A lot. And while I think my taste is fairly wide-ranging, ultimately I have to recognise that I am particularly drawn to and moved by music that is odd or broken or primal or otherworldly. I want from music what I want from poetry and fiction — I want to be moved. I want to be taken to a place of sentipensante, feeling-thinking, to borrow Eduardo Galeano’s most beautiful word, because sentipensante is “language that speaks the truth”. And my god, that is a powerful notion.
How to Craft a Cello from Parts You Have
by Tanya Laramie
Awhile back I did a meme on Facebook that involved making a list of sixteen albums (CDs, for you whippersnappers) that had been really influential in my life. Only one musician got two spots on my list.