Thursday, December 29, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Friday, December 2, 2011
Thursday, December 1, 2011
5. Listened to Basia Bulat. Non-stop. For the past three days.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
For me, as a young girl, I read to find myself reflected back to me. I read seeking answers to the questions that dwelled in the nether regions of my heart: Could a girl have her own adventures? Could she go up against the monster, and vanquish it?
Because of these questions, I desperately needed to find myself in the stories I was reading - and I did. I found girls who travelled through worlds, befriended armoured bears, sent the undead back where they belonged, and bound magical creatures to them with just a name. These girls told me so much about myself, and what I was capable of.
But as I’ve grown, I’ve begun to notice that while I find myself – a white, heterosexual girl - in these stories, I rarely find other girls in them. And that frightens me. Because I know what it means to find yourself reflected back to you in the stories you read, and I know what it means when you can’t find yourself there.
I think change is coming, but it is oh so slow. And not nearly enough.
So. In light of this, the next book I'm starting on is this one.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Thursday, November 3, 2011
What stories are you craving?
Monday, October 31, 2011
Check out my featured artist page here.
There will also be a Christmas Studio Sale that is yet to be planned, and I'll put up the details of that when I plan it. :)
Monday, October 24, 2011
|(gorgeous bar stool courtesy of my dad and step mom)|
Friday, October 21, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Oh, and this part:
"And what if I don't?" Conor said.
The monster gave an evil grin again. Then I will eat you alive.
And possibly this part too:
Stories are wild creatures, the monster said. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?
Unrelated to this... in my next life, I would like to be born here please. (I have a thing for fjords.)
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Ever since fall started settling in, I’ve been anticipating something. I’m not sleeping properly. Not eating properly. I can’t focus on normal, everyday things. I’m both yearning for and fearing the future. It’s a bizarre place to be in, like I’m walking on an edge, darting in and out of the world.
Then today, a friend recommended I read Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet. I found this in letter #3:
In this there is no measuring with time, a year doesn’t matter, and ten years are nothing. Being an artist means: not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesn’t force its sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come. It does come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are there as if eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly silent and vast. I learn it every day of my life, learn it with pain I am grateful for: patience is everything!
Be patient. Ripen like a tree. Summer does come.
I needed to hear that.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
It is a well known fact that I am excellent at starting things and not so excellent at finishing them. When I took a Myers Briggs test five years ago and it declared me to be an INFP (introverted, intuitive, feeler, perceiver) I fully claimed this identity. I basically stamped the letters INFP onto my forehead. “I start things and I don’t finish them!” - was my mantra. I think I did this because I was noticing a tendency in my life to fail. I failed to pass my classes because I didn’t try to. I failed to finish post-secondary programs because I lost interest in them. I was always quitting jobs that I had once been convinced were right for me. Deep down inside, I was afraid – no, terrified – that there was something seriously wrong with me. Why did I find it so easy to start things, and so hard to finish them? Myers Briggs gave me a label that I could hide behind.
Everything changed this year. After yet another failure (quitting my program at school last fall) I started writing again. Writing stories. Something I hadn’t done since before going to university. I started writing and I didn’t stop. I started a novel. Then I middled it. And then… I finished it. I finished a whole novel! When I realized this, I had to take a step back. Me, an INFP, perpetual starter and never finisher… finished a novel? What in the world was going on?
I think I’ve figured it out. I think that maybe my reasons for always starting things and never finishing them was because I was starting the wrong things. It was like I had writer’s block - but in everyday life. And the solution to writer’s block is to always go back. Go back to a part in the story that was working. And then re-write from there.
So that’s what I did. I went back to the thing that used to work: storytelling. And now I’m re-writing my life. I’m re-writing the part where I decided I’m a failure and claimed an identity that wasn’t quite true. Yes, I am excellent at starting things. But now I can also say with pride that I finish things too. Or at least, I finished one thing.
I’m holding on to that.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
“A place where something flourishes, is most typically found, or from which it originates.”
After a very busy three weeks, I needed some time to rest and recharge. The place I usually go to do this is my childhood home.
There’s something sacred about the farm I grew up on. There are memories woven through every room of my grandmother’s house. There is magic hidden just beneath the floorboards of the barn. And there’s something that sits, waiting, just beyond the trees. Something transcendent, and nameless, and huge.
At Hillside this weekend, a poem was read in one of the workshops I attended. With it came an image of this particular spot in the forest, where I used to sit as a child:
The trees ahead and bushes beside you are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here, and you must treat it as a powerful stranger, must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers, I have made this place around you. If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman was beautiful and tender and a little bit scary. It's about a boy raised in a graveyard. This is my favourite part:
Bod shrugged. "So?" he said. "It's only death. I mean, all of my best friends are dead."
"Yes." Silas hesitated. "They are. And they are, for the most part, done with the world. You are not. You’re alive, Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you’re dead, it’s gone. Over. You’ve made what you’ve made, dreamed your dream, written your name. You may be buried here, you may even walk. But that potential is finished.”
Silas was my favourite character.
On to the Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. What an amazing book! I sometimes forgot to breathe while reading it. From page 1 it dug it’s oily, grimy word-claws deep inside me and refused to let go until the very end. Here’s a snippet from my favourite part:
Family. It was just a word… The blood bond was nothing. It was the people that mattered. If they covered your back, and you covered theirs, then maybe that was worth calling family. Everything else was just so much smoke and lies.
Well, that's all for now. Goodnight everyone.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
Friday, June 3, 2011
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
I was genuinely intrigued by this. I use the title “sir” (as well as “miss” or “ma’am”) when serving customers in the café where I work. At the same time, I’m pretty committed to uprooting the withered roots of colonialism. If there was a contradiction between these two things, I wanted to remedy it.
So I asked him: “What kiswahili word would you use to acknowledge a stranger?”
His reply was simple and succinct: “Ndugu.” Brother.
Language is powerful. Use it for good.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Today I’m feeling stupid. Part of this has to do with the changing of the seasons (which somehow always manages to turn me into this hyper-sensitive creature). The other part has to do with school.
Lately the words “maybe school isn’t for you” (said to me last fall) have been echoing in my head. In some ways, I know it’s true. University is the very epitome of order, structure, and obedience to authority. If you can’t follow rules, you really don’t belong there.
And therein lies the dilemma.
On the one hand, I want to read and learn and formulate ideas in a structured, orderly way. On the other hand, I don’t want to sacrifice the parts of me that are disorderly for the sake of succeeding in or gaining approval from a hierarchical system.
This struggle between order and disorder comes out most clearly in my essay writing. It’s simple, really:
P1. I don’t like structure.
P2. Essays are all about structure.
C. Chaos ensues.
Seriously, though. Essays are all about rules, and following rules. There are rules around how you write and organize an introduction, a thesis, a main argument, and a conclusion. There are rules for how you structure sentences and paragraphs. (Every paragraph must be a kind of “mini-essay” a TA told me recently.) There are even more rules derived from the MLA or APA, telling you exactly where to put your page number, how wide your margins have to be, and so on, and so forth.
Maybe it’s just because I’ve been out of school for too long, but it seems to me that the essay is just another form of control, and school itself is just another tool to train people how to perpetuate the status quo. The most interesting part for me is that we pay (or our parents do) exorbitant amounts of money in order to subject ourselves to this system. Control through consensus.
Isn’t that a kind of hegemony?
Of course, this could just be a justification for why school makes me feel stupid. :)
Monday, March 28, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
Thursday, February 10, 2011
After living away from my childhood home for seven years now, I’ve suddenly developed this desperate and fanatical need to be connected to my family in any way possible.
Every time I leave my grandparent’s house, I get this feeling... it’s a lot like being punched in the gut and having all the air sucked from your lungs... that feeling of what if that was the last time I see them?
But there's a deeper fear in me than that of physically losing my grandparents.
These days I’m never sure whether my grandfather is going to remember my name when I walk through the door. The man whose house I grew up in, who let me fall asleep on his lap every night and carried me to bed still sleeping, doesn’t always know who I am. His frequent question of, “What relation are you to my wife?” never seems to get any less painful – although I get better at hiding the pain. I think the first time I realized he didn’t know me was the day the homesickness began.
In the beginning, I raged: against nature, god, whoever would listen. It wasn’t fair. In fact, it was cruel.
As I’ve begun to spend more time with them though, I find myself wondering if my grandfather’s forgetting is simply a reflection of my own forgetting. Perhaps it's not that my home is slipping away from me; rather, I slipped away from my home a long time ago.
My grandmother often tells me, “We used to be such good friends, you and I.” It’s true: she was my best friend growing up, before I left. But the longer I lived far away and pursued things completely outside of her world, the less I stayed connected to her.
I think the truth is that I began the process of forgetting them long before my grandfather began the process of forgetting me. In gaining independence and freedom and self-discovery, without knowing it, I began losing some of the things that are most precious to me. And that realization is the most painful one of all.
Can this be corrected? I intend to try.