And here we are in a brand-new decade. I like that, a lot, because I’m much attracted to notions of new beginnings, even tho’ a new decade is no more a new beginning than a new day is and I’m still actually living the same life I’ve been living all along. I mean, the digits 2-0-1-0 don’t in any way change the unfoldment of a life. But the symbolism is juicy and yummy and also the questions posed to me about the last decade and the next decade by the very clever Sheila Killian are juicy and yummy and made me engage in some reflectional brain activity, which is generally a bit hard and scary and also deeply worthwhile.
What have you learned in the last ten years?
That I’m strong, that I’m worthy (okay, I still struggle with this one), that I can speak in my own true voice, that I’m brave (altho’ I must be braver), that I don’t have to settle, that it’s okay to be afraid as long as you don’t let the fear rule you. To run towards the hard thing. Yes. That, more than anything, has been life-changing.
How have you changed?
I take risks and don’t let fear get in the way of doing the things I want to do. I’m more willing to put my real self out there and that’s helped me lay to rest a lot of my old anger and resentment. I have an inkling of how to find joy now, and how to make it. Joy. Fuck. That is the biggest thing of all.
What was the best fun you had in the last ten years? What was the best thing you did?
The little lake in Quebec is always the most enjoyable external thing in my life. Being there with my kids and my brothers and their families every summer is what I crave, always. Whitewater rafting with my husband and our adolescent kids, my brothers and one of my SiLs, and my septuagenarian father last summer was a highlight of the decade, too, for sure. As soon as the ride was done, we all looked at one another and said, “We’re doing that again next summer.” And so we will.
The best things I did are these: quit smoking; moved to a house I love instead of hate; took up running and other pastimes that have made my body strong and fit and brought some peace to my wild chaoshead and perpetually roiled up soul; travelled alone; gone to Abelvær with Nina; made an unruly thing for people to read; climbed a little mountain in New Brunswick with WhiteFeather; run towards the hard things.
What is you biggest regret of the last ten years?
That it took me so fucking long to learn what I’ve learned. That I didn’t trust myself sufficiently to be myself.
What made you stronger?
Losing my job at the art magazine in 2007. That moment of smashworld was when I knew I could choose bitterness and safety and fear, or not. I chose “not”. And it changed my life, that “not”.
Where do you want to go now?
I want to go everywhere and do everything. I want to run through all the open doors that present themselves to me and to wrench open the closed ones. Also, I want to find a larger measure of financial stability, and to write more and well, to make art, to travel, most especially to northern places, to run the motherfucking Ottawa marathon in May, and above all else, to close my eyes and leap whenever I can.
Can you imagine what you’ll be like, in ten years time? What age will you be? What will you be like?
I’ll be two months away from 59. I’ll be brave and raucous and full of joy and foolishness and maybe even some goddam wisdom. I hope so. I surely do.
What do you want to have achieved or have done by then?
More than anything, I want to have raised up smart, strong children and to have a strong, healthy relationship with both of them. Then, I want to have travelled and adventured and made wild good writing and art and to continue doing all those things until the world stops spinning on its axis. I want to be strong in my body and the right kind of unruly in my mind. I want to be brave but always striving for braver. I want to be making as much joy as possible. I want to be a hoyden, now and then and always. I want to run into the arms of the hard things, now and then and always.
What do you wish for yourself, in the decade to come?
The usual things: health, happiness, peace, adventure, love, incendiary sex, wisdom, financial independence, for me and all the people I love. Hell, for everyone in the whole wide world.
And if you’ve got a few extra bucks burning a hole in your pocket, do consider donating to the clever Sheila’s charity, Soweto Connection.