On Wending

It’s been a while, I know.

I’ve committed to myself to focus on my book until it’s complete; I’ve burrowed deep, barely coming up for air, but this blog, it has been calling to me so today I answered.

When I was at university I had a latin teacher who was in love- I mean in LOVE – like me and coffee: unbridled, unashamed, tell the world, keep with you close kind of love, but with words. I love words and language too and so I could appreciate his enthusiasm and readily embraced it.

The way you can massage and mould, and emote words depending on the one’s you choose. Languages have the same feeling, even to foreign ears, a cadence, a melody as thoughts form, words round and expel from lips are like magic. So I often found myself engrossed and engaged when he went off on one of his many tangents before class on words, meanings, language and roots and their power.

We sat in class each day, listening to him give us a word and its etymology. I would look down to his feet, under the desk, they would rise with his excitement and it caught me how his love for words would physically move him, even in his seat. It always made me think of english differently each day I left. One word in particular stuck with me, to wend…

Wend – verb

Go in a specified direction, typically slowly or by an indirect route.

(source: google search on meaning of word)IMG_2192

I feel like this is one of those life words, that holds and fits everywhere. Its beautiful to say, even in a whisper it gives of fa hint of mystery, of the unknown possibility. We as humans go in different ways, at particular moments slowly or indirectly at other times. In some instances we find our minds as writers wandering aimlessly trying to find our way toward something or someone (our characters) and so this word has always resonated with me.

Today sitting on the train, hearing the news day after day, seeing and reading the pain expressed and screamed out everywhere ,even on social media it crept into my feed. These senseless acts against humanity: war, injustice, terror… I could go on. I felt the urge bubble over to write a short piece and the word wend found its way to me again.

So enjoy and I hope I can get back on here a bit more frequently. The book is nearly done (at least until it gets edited) but time must be given when the urge calls.

Blindness

Blindness surrounds us.

Wraps us tight- confining shell.

Scream if you will, jagged edges, sharp points remind you well.

Your place in this space is not yours to define.

The colour that harnesses, grounds you and can become like a living prison cell.

Those other fools who try to crush the soul you try to burn bright.

To dim the shining magic, as you try to reach out and gain soaring height.

Look out- can we not see souls trying to reach out?

They scream in pain, they shout out in doubt.

The outer layer is only that, will fade in time, return to dust;

one day the make up of our essence will drift on, fade as it rises, will move and meanders on- this is us.

Beyond the hurtful words, pain brought on by ignorance and violent thrusts- why can’t we just unite?

See beauty in potential:

A child’s smile

A soul’s effervescent light

Creatures amongst creatures, move on land, air and sea; but when appearing together, a unified unbreakable sight to see.

We all go to ground, bodies cease, become ash in the end.

The earth holds no prejudice, accepts we are all the same, our souls  once free all continue to wend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Getting Older

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You wake up, excited, it’s your birthday dammit, that’s why. You jump out of bed- more like rise slowly since you’re stiff and numb from sleeping badly on your side. But no matter, the day is yours, make the most of it. It doesn’t matter that you creak like a rusty old door as you attempt a cat like stretch. Your cat looks at you with what feels like a smug face, she knows she can do it much better. You give her the evil eye as she stretches out- she indeed can do it better- and saunters ahead of you ready to be fed.

There’s nothing like the highs and lows of getting older. People wish you happy days and many more; friends and family celebrate your continued existence on this earth. But after a certain age, do you find you inevitably get stuck in a loop of self reflection big or small, sober or not, thoughts begin to churn unbidden.

They say things change after 30. You wonder where you are in life and if you don’t, people wonder for you. The media is constantly reminding you of milestones you’re supposed to hit. Where you should be at this stage in life.

Is it just me? Or do you often feel like you loose your bearings in a world loaded with images of overnight sensations, 20 something billionaires mingled with retirement ads. They tell you that you need to retire by 50 while if you are an artist the old adage “freedom 55” is more like freedom when your dead.

And then a cold hits or an injury and suddenly your everyday isn’t as easy to manage, those questions cycle back echoing the voices of friends, strangers and acquaintances and you find yourself asking- what are you doing with your life?

The thought burrows deep, sinking in, the anvil drops to the pit of your stomach, you reach for your smart device, turn on The Walking Dead and pretend that little slip of doubt didn’t enter your mind. But it did, so you have to deal with it don’t you? Because fear doesn’t go away as willingly; it sticks like molasses to you, its claws dig in gripped for the long haul. You have to answer the question because it will haunt you, forever on repeat like clothes stuck forever in a spin cycle.

You have to force yourself to be in the moment that birthdays are celebrations of life, struggles will always exist, your truth is what guides your compass in life.  If making art or writing is your lot in life then write on, because no one will do it for you. You are your only champion when the chips fall or your name rises. I try to remind myself that life is about the path, the bumps and the bends that is what makes life – living, interesting.

On Music As Amplifier

Harmony creeps, melody gathers, rising in fevered pitch.
Mind wanders, transported-
Taste salty sea air, crystallized, land upon moistened tongue.
Image dissolved-
Head sways left to right, feet tap in tune to that classic guitar strum.
Heart soars, swells, intensified by sorrow’s call.
Music fades-
Ethereal and transcendent, body rendered, hypnotized by sweet music’ song.

How does music move you? Does it inspire or enhance your creative thoughts? Does it bring forth words or imagery tucked away in your mind’s vault?

I have always found that anything sprouted from human experience, transposed by a creative voice, speaks to us all in different ways. Music in particular, for me, works as a strengthener, sometimes to boost my spirits, other times to set the right mood to let those writing juices flow. FullSizeRender-5

Music has become one of the tools I use to amplify my creative process, that sets the tone or mood when developing my characters and story. It helps push out those difficult words and thoughts that can sometimes refuse to come.

Most weekends the ritual of waiting for my caffeine to percolate, before sitting down in front of my computer is enough. But when I don’t feel inspired to write at all, when my mind is too riddled with thoughts of the “other”- to do lists that are never ending attack at full force and I can no longer hear or feel inspiration at my door. That’s when I surrender to my phone, not to call someone, but to search through my sea of music I use to create a playlist to set me right.

I have many rituals to prepare my mind, to help ignite my imagination for the act of writing. I tend to have situational rituals, music is a big one for me. I can let go and allow it to work with me, its like a pep-talk where I leave pumped, usually singing off key but ready to focus.

My playlists always have a special name, a sentient being living in my phone. Go ahead, snicker, I do. It sounds funny but it works- trust me. My current favourite: Screamed. Past tense- the distinction is important. I imagine those songs are written by songwriters at a point of desperation, frustration, defeat; then purpose, determination and resolve. The ebb and flow captured in a song. I imagine that when they reach that tipping point, fingers rush to put pen to paper or finger to keyboard, the words scrawled down in a rush, metamorphose into songs that feel like an anthemic roar. They feel like affirmations or reminders to me that sometimes you have to scream out before you can really breath in.  To another’s ear, it could sound and mean something all together different, but that’s what I love about creativity- diversity in understanding and action.

This type of emotive expression, coupled with the beautiful imagery a song can capture, render me. They take me away from the cacophony of the “other” trying to take up space in my head. But most important is that I let the music be that amplifier in my creative process.

Harmonic Reciprocity.

 

On Being the Odd One Out

Dinner parties. Gotta love them. The fuss, the prep, and the invites. The frantic thoughts of “will they come??” the shuffling and rework of the table when there is a last minute no show. I’m glad I’ve yet to host one. As an attendee, the anticipation, the pondering of what to bring, what to wear are my only worry. As an attendee, all one needs to bring is oneself and a little hostess gift, oh and don’t forget that “good company” attitude!

All these thoughts slip like flour through a sieve as I remember, I’m bring one more parlour trick to the party- my singledom. Don’t roll your eyes just yet, my soap box has been tucked away for the night. I won’t bemoan you with sad tales of being singe , merely a brief comment on my observations and their usefulness as a writer.

I walk up the steps to the front door to the house, a puff of air expelling from my lips, like mini clouds in the crisp afternoon air; I brace for what is to come next. You see, I am the only single goer in this smattering of couples. I knew what would be on the menu: PDA, wine, beer, questions and laughs. A strange but common mix of groupings I’ve experienced of late. The PDA I must disclose is rarely sent my way. This dining cycle of parlay is one  that I’ve come to expect with this particular group of acquaintances. It always makes for a dinning adventure.
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What started as an office food tour group of co-works spread to include one “significant other” after another until it became an “everyone’s coupled but me” situation.  Where suddenly I became hyper aware of all the affection littering our table and the tumbleweeds gathering in my corner. Although I enjoy each and everyone of their company, the disconnect comes when the couples gather. Once together they become a superorganism or a hive if you will: they forget to be individual people, thoughts and experiences echo each other, laughter a chorus. This isn’t always the case mind you, there are always exceptions to every rule- I know a few of them actually- but this condition does exist and  happens often enough to draw notice. We singles tend to pool our stories, between a glass or two. Others have witnessed this action during their dealings when around coupled friends, this has only steeled my previous conclusions as correct.

So what happens in these situations you ask? Well I’ll tell you:
Girl sits at table, couples laugh and banter about couple-y things that couples do. They turn to me- target locked- realization hits- girl is alone. Focus sharpens, thought: she hasn’t been talking, how to save…how to save (insert mental reel of the coupled mind or the fixer friend- got it!) Ask girl about her solitary ways, why said girl is “single girl” not “coupled girl”.

Let’s all turn our focus shall we, surely we can fix this tonight. Saucer eyes tick-tock side to side seeking out exit- Girl.Is.Trapped.

I jest, but it can often feel that way.
I’m sure they mean well- in fact I know they do- but some people, of all sexes like the single life at times, some dare I say, haven’t found the right one. Others are really not in that much of a rush to join with another. Whatever the reason, the reason is theirs alone.

The dinner party draws to a close. I walk out into the quiet street blanketed from an unexpected storm. I stare out before me and see a tiny house, small and untouched while all around big houses surround covered in snow and modernization. To me that house stands strong against the elements, not caring if it’s dwarfed by the facades around. Its environment works to its advantage. I think that tiny house  and I shared a moment. I realized that much like the house, I will make the best of the moments- interesting or dull- that make up the everyday. I’d like to think those experiences help make great characters and stories: The good, bad or hilarious tossed in your way make good kindling for the writer’s imagination.

On Things Left Unsaid

Time, like nature is unbiased. The change it enacts has order and isn’t vindictive when it comes. To the human eye, we may see it much different. A woman ponders this as her eyes gaze out through the window, a brown leaf catching her eye as it dances in the wind. Locked in the carefree motion, the branches join in, swaying, debris picks up in the growing gale. She turns away and sits at a cosy dinning table. Unaware, her fingers quietly grip and ungrip her dinner fork before picking it up from its carefully chosen spot. The effort it took to make things “just right” on the table has long been lost for this Sunday meal.
“Please tell him to pass the potatoes” A son, distilled with old rage speaks to his wife, no eye contact made with his father sitting on the other end.
The tension around the enclosed space sets off imagined sparks, enough to set the house aflame. Potatoes move from one hand to another, reaching their destination through a silent, circuitous route. Mother rises, humming as she goes to grab the gravy, a strange harmony in a room void of melodic sound.
Sirens.
A woman blinks away the memory as she turns from the window of a hospital room. The echo from the sirens dissipate into the distance as it leaves the circular driveway. The leaves have browned, barely stirring in the wind, grey sky snuffed out what little light remains of the day.
Three stand around a bed, the silence blends into the sterile white walls. Father on one side, son and daughter-in-law hover on the opposing end, all the things they would have said left in the space between. The rhythmic beat of the cardiac monitor a strange harmonic sound cutting into the deafening silence that surrounds. Mother lies in a hospital bed, while they watch close as she breathes.

I am reminded how fragile and fickle life can be and how quickly things can change in the blink of an eye. Sometimes we let words and feelings burn deep within us, our hurt and anger fuses, unwilling to be let go. FullSizeRender-3

Last week a series of bad news and saddened moments cascaded around me- not happening to me, but effecting me all the same. They continued to reverberate in my daily life, tiny ripples barely visible above the surface, as I watched friends struggle to push through their obligations and navigate their personal hurdles with strength and determination. Even now, I can almost taste the fragility in the air, how fleeting things can be and how swiftly the wind can change.

These stories became a part of the kaleidoscope of the everyday surrounding me. It left me hyper aware of the randomness in everyday life but also to be grateful and mindful to hold good things when they happen and to take lessons from the bad.

I felt these moments were worth capturing, so I’ll leave you to take what you will from this tale.

On Balancing the Creative When you 9 to 5

Eyes flick back and forth between the whiteboard and clock on the laptop screen. The buzz of conversation swarms around me like frenzied bees to a hive. All energy and focus lies on the grey suited figure at the head of the rectangular table. The small glass room is electrified with energy and tension. Things need to be done, action taken. Fingers move at lightning speed capturing minutes, thoughts, moments. Grey suit leans in, “we need to get onside with this new direction”. Pulled in like magnets our bodies sway forward as we nod.IMG_1103

The meeting comes to a close, I walk back to my desk to field emails, answer calls, engage in dialogue. Clock hits ending time, I rush to grab my things, and dive into the thick sea of people, I blend into the surroundings as I move through the motion. I veer right, running up the stairs, I hop onto the train to begin heading homeward bound.

Thoughts ping pong against the walls of my mind of things unsorted and tasks ahead. The old train jostles through tunnels, the mind mimics- pause and go on all my “to dos”. This rusted box of shifting gears, sway as breaks engage, passengers wobble around me like tipsy dominos threatening to fall.

How does one calm the mind, separate the thoughts of the job and shift into the mental space needed to feed the creative spirit inside? Somedays, I struggle to come down from the chaotic whirlwind of decisions and experiences of all that transpires during the day. I’m sure we all had those moments where our other jobs: the 9-5, the 24/7 parental role or life and its obligations, negate our efforts by distracting and depleting our energy.

During times like these I find the best recourse is to fully give in to my mode of relaxation. Letting go, knowing I may not put any words to paper that day. It’s about learning the difference between honouring the commitment I’ve make to my craft and listening to my body’s need to recalibrate. To remember to find balance, keep whole.

On Old City Parts

I step out into the cold, feeling the damp air brush against my skin like tiny fibres, soft but firm they pass by as I wait for the cross light to change. The clouds fluff out, primped and ready to show off their pillowy form to the slow waking city. Cars rush past, tick, tick, tick I watch, hypnotized by the count down of the cross light, holding me still until the walk symbol grants me passage.

Up ahead I see the bus in the distance, mentally and instinctively I begin to pick up speed. I look back and forth, from side to side- safety first- but like a lioness, I stalk my prey with my eyes, beginning to prepare my body to catch my moving target. Once inside, I sit in the seat with the best vantage point, where the sky and streets are clear ahead and I can take in the suburban view.

I love going out into the city in the early morning during the week. Even in winter, I can walk at my leisure, not jostled by people rushing to get to their “whatever” on time. The school bell has already rung, while I, not a part of the salmon going upstream, can get lost in the old parts of the city and take the streets and city sounds all in.

Today I wandered back into the Distillery District, my last visit had been during the Christmas Market in December. This time the streets were quiet, all the affectation of the holiday long removed. The stark red brick now naked, contrasted against glass buildings and dustings of stale fallen snow. I found myself walking to my favourite little shop to grab a coffee and smoked toffee chocolate chip cookies (a mouthful of smoked heaven- I do not exaggerate) and sat on some near by green steps, wrapping my hands around the cup for warmth as I savoured the simplicity of the moment. I played back in my head a similar instance, sitting there, lights and christmas tunes over head; streets busy with children, couples, barely any wiggle room and this here and now where I could lay on the ground and maybe not a soul would bother me until closing time.

I check my watch: 10:55 am flashes at me and fades, while my mind wanders, time feels as if it stood still. I brush the crumbs from my cookie sampling off my fingers and rise, the chill finally seeping into my jeans. Up a head a man waits for someone- I assume, or he is just resting with his two dogs, trying to enjoy the view. I admit I have a bias toward the boxer breed, as I can’t seem to recall what the other dog type was, but that mug got my attention and when those boxer eyes locked with mine, we shared a moment of head scratches and cold hands. The owner graciously allowed me this little whimsy and after a while I waved goodbye to them as the creak of old wooden doors and movement signalled to me that it was nearly 11 o’clock.

I am astounded the difference that 5 minutes can make; people started to pepper in, the brief moment of solitude began to dissipate as I watched a few teens, phones raised high at the ready, trying to catch that “insta” shot. Sounds began to litter the space while I continued my walk. I thought to myself as I passed them, if they actually saw the beauty in the quiet stillness around them, but then I realized that I often suffer from that same affliction. Its become far too easy to forget to live in the moment these days and more through the filters on my phone. When I come here though, the old history and architecture captivates me and I’m more interested in taking in my surroundings, playing with a 1 year old boxer and watching the restaurants ready for the dinner crowd. I’ll admit, I can’t help myself, I see a great moment worth capturing- mostly because it’s so rare to see this place, usually busy and crowded, devoid of bustle. FullSizeRender-2

When I get home with my favourite treats from the Distillery, I look back at the photo and once again the memory rushes in. It’s now become a reminder to me when I mentally complain about the muck and the rush, the push and the shove of people as we all flood into to the city centre during the weekday. Of the hoods and scarves tucked high, everything forgotten in the drive to get inside and out of the cold that the beauty of a place remains, regardless of if it is hidden by the frost and snow blankets and to remember the wonder of all those little silences in between.