Welcome to my blog!
Still have my learner’s license, so stay tuned while I learn how to drive this thing.
Consider buying some poetry for a special stocking stuffer this Christmas… it’s not chocolate, but then again. it’s not a lump of coal either…
my new home
Saturday…and the sun is shining, though rain was promised for the weekend. I have had an a lot of activity today already… A trip to the farmer’s market, to a yard sale where I bought a solid wood side table which I carried home over my shoulder, laundry, bathroom cleaning, and an unsuccessful nap. I think it is fair that I sit around on my butt for a while, writing about nothing.
It’s a beautiful day and the tree outside my bedroom window has little pale green bouquets of flowers on every branch. The clouds look like clean laundry and the blue sky is just a spotless as a newly washed kitchen floor. I am taking it easy, enjoying my apartment, which feels like it was made for me… even the living room carpet is a peculiar blue that the sea sometimes is, and the rest of the rooms except for the bathroom and kitchen are hardwood, which i love… they remind me of a musical instrument, that the sun plays on. Because i am at the top of a house, and have windows on all sides, I have light all day from some direction. I am so happy to live here… and there is a garden all around the house, woodland violets on one side, bleeding hearts on another… it’s like finding easter eggs, to come across a patch of flowers.
I am working now,for 12 weeks, at the Antigonish County Adult Learning Association… my first choice of organizations to work for here in town, so I am very happy to be a part of it. My hope is that something will happen to allow me to continue there for longer than the 12 weeks. ACALA has a lot to teach me, about digital story making, video editing, tutoring and facilitating, working with others.. and i have some skills they need too, I think and hope!
There is so much more to say but now is not the time for me. I am thankful to have a weekend to get my head in order and rest, clean and putter, wander around outside if I wish… just to feel free. Even though this is the most grown up life I’ve led I still want run around outside in the sun like an untrained puppy and flop down on the grass with my tongue hanging out.
It’s my moving day. After a long morning finishing the packing and a trip to the bakery to buy some apple streusel muffins and date cookies for my lovely friend Kathi who is coming up from the South Shore to help me, I am in waiting mode now, flopped on the love seat, conserving energy for the task ahead.
It is also a moving day for another reason. It’s the beginning of Ridvan, the “Most Great Festival” for Baha’is. Ridvan, which means “Paradise”, is a 12-day period commemorating the time during which Baha’u'llah, the prophet founder of the Baha’i Faith, said his goodbyes to his followers in Baghdad and revealed to them that He was the Manifestation of God for this age.
I hope all my Baha’i friends have a very moving first day of Ridvan, as I make my way to my new home closer to the heart of Antigonish.
I’m so sick and sad right now after reading about Rehtaeh Parsons, a 17 year-old Cole Harbour girl who killed herself after she was raped by four boys who shared a photo of that crime around her school. It sounds like she was rebuilding her life, attending another local high school but the depression and anger got the better of her. She hung herself, after continued harassment by former schoolmates, including girls who called her a slut.
If those boys had stopped for one minute and considered how they would feel to be raped, I wonder if they would have found it so easy to rape Rehtaeh and to share a photo of that act around; and if those girls had shown outrage and anger instead of shaming the victim who is, really, a mirror of themselves– perhaps Rehtaeh would have found the strength she needed to continue.
It’s horrifying to me to remember my own confused self-hatred as a young woman… and to see it reflected in these boys who so devalued a girl’s experience and girls who are so devalue their own sexuality and womanhood. I remember it not being clear or easy, I remember blaming victims and blaming myself; but it is easy and clear to see that things may not have appreciably changed since then for many young women and men.
At the same time, I think there are many young women and men who would not allow such a thing as happened to Rehtaeh without standing up and speaking out, who have a stronger sense of themselves than to let an injustice like what happened to Rehtaeh to go unchallenged. Still, it sounds like many of them were quiet, as were many of the adults in the lives of these young people.
I believe it is up to men and women to examine the way they view themselves, one another, and how they relate to each other; and to model for young people what it means to treat themselves and others with respect. The boys that raped Rehtaeh and shared a photo of the crime, showed extreme disregard for her as a human being but the also had no qualms about degrading themselves in public, and apparently no fear of the legal consequences for themselves. The girls who called her a slut demonstrated their own self-hatred and shame about being women.
I know a lot of change is driven by youth, their idealism and commitment to justice. But I think every individual man and woman who cares what happened to Rehtaeh need to examine their own attitudes, beliefs and actions and how well they demonstrate what it means to be a man or a woman and a self- and other-respecting human being to those young people. We’re all in this together, and we can do better.
And so… it`s April and the sun was singing like Nina Simone today. My book is pushing up through the soil like a crocus, spilling little dirt granules earth worm-wise, and just as blindly. Or rather, I am the blind one because I can`t see how to reorder the chapters. Thinking too much, seeing too little. And tired. it`s all this unsettledness- moving, job hunting, book-finishing- and Spring is king of unsettledness anyway.
There are a few things i need to get done… yes a number of things waiting in the wings. Lots of little baby birds all screeching for attention, blind to everything but their own hunger. Once when I was not very well, a dead tree got cut down in my dad`s backyard and a bird house full of baby woodpeckers came down with it. The mum was killed by the cat as she tried to feed those babies, and I decided it was up to me to keep them alive. I put the bird house up in a tree and fed them raw hamburger, but not often enough, because I was feeble myself and overwhelmed by the responsibility. They died and I remember when i took the roof off the bird house… their little bowed heads, covered with sawdust.
No more. Now it`s just books. Nobody dies if I don`t tend my words for a day.
So… it’s the day before my self-imposed deadline for the first set of revisions for my novel “Low”… and it feels like there’s a magnet buried in my manuscript and the magnet in me is pushing it away for all it’s worth. My aim is to get the chapter breaks done tomorrow. I probably should have been doing them all the way along but my brain was on “Stupid” setting for most of the time. I also realize in my effort to keep my stress to a minimum I have probably glossed over the difficult parts. but I have done the best i could with the brain i have, which reminds me of a marshmallow, really. A friend of mine who has a little girl told me that her brain doesn’t seem to work the same as before she was pregnant… mommy brain, it’s called. I do not have that excuse. My brain doesn’t work for a lot of reasons but I am pretty sure the big one is fear. the farther i push fear away the stupider I get. I guess i just have to hope somehow that it’s not all crap, even though my tired brain is telling me it’s just so much bird poop. Damn.
So… me Ma is off to a New Zealand winter soon and the rest of us Quons are hanging about here waiting for Spring! and I am on Central European Time ( or on whatever time zone goes right down the middle of the Atlantic ocean more likely). Actually I’m on my usual Antigonish time… Up at 5:30 or so, in bed often before 8 pm. It makes it hard to do nighttime things but it’s my body’s preference to be awake early it seems.
I am enjoying being in Dartmouth, hanging out with my Dad and seeing friends, between bouts of work… getting there slowly… wherever there is… my surgery is looming a few days down the week… I am not anxious about the surgery but because it marks the end of my work on the novel for a while… trying to get through it… but am fearful that I’ve done a crap job that’s my biggest fear in life- that I do my best and it turns out to be crap… it has happened a couple of times with freelance articles I have written… crap is probably too strong a word but, whatever, the work didn’t fit the publication for whatever reason. And stakes are much bigger with a novel!
6 am- breakfast time apparently, under Antigonish Standard Time… banana pancakes here I come!
Between storms… an island of sunshine, flanked on both sides by blustering , spluttering, snow days. A person needs to squeeze such a day like an orange to get every drop of its citrussy goodness. And so I did. Morning swim, in my very own lane; breakfast at the Tall and Small, and a couple good hours of work on the novel; off to the Women’s Resource Centre to eat my lunch with a free cup of coffee; library to make a same day coffee date with a local artist, Gillian McCullough; Friendship corner for tea and a chat; hot chocolate back at the Tall and Small, with Gillian and then another good hour of work. Doesn’t sound like a lot of writing work got done but it’s about as much as I can handle, in one day. I’m beginning to love my downtown Antigonish haunts, feeling good about the work i’m doing when i get out of the house, and into the company of people i’ve been meeting here. I hope i can stay awhile here… looking into co-op and lowcost housing, thinking about future possibilities for further training or work…
if i am meant to stay here i believe good things will come! They already are…