Monday, December 28, 2009

Sunday, December 27, 2009

how the notes all bend and reach above the trees

I like running alone. Listening to Shawn complain makes my knees hurt, which might be the ultimate manifestation of empathy, but which also defeats the purpose of running. When I'm alone I can get outside my body completely. I like how the little birds scatter when I get close, as though they're actually in any danger of my overtaking them in a flurry of beating wings. They think I can fly and I like them for thinking so.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

[17=] This is not working.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

please repeat whatever you just said

1. C is having heart problems. Her heart is damaged by what she does to herself and she is careless with hearts.

2. The day before yesterday Shawn accidentally killed a bird as we were driving home from his father's place. The bird was focused on something it wanted to eat on the road and it came out of nowhere in front of us and was under the car before anything could be done about it. I think I am overreacting to this. I keep watching it over and over.

3. The neighbour's cat is missing. I hear coyotes crying at night in our yard all the time. Their kids came to our door asking if we'd seen their cat and I think it's gone forever.

4. K and H are getting divorced. She's going back to the winter prairies and he's moving back to Holland but not before he moves in with us for a little while, while they sell their house and divide their things precisely in half.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

thinking of more things to confess

Sometimes I purposely ignore what intuition tells me because I want to prove to myself that I'm in control of what I choose or choose not to do, that I make my decisions cognitively instead of instinctually like some kind of reptile. But when I do that I almost always make poor decisions that I have to go back and fix later.


Mike was here when I arrived home after work on Thursday night at 11:00 after the play. We hadn't even known he was going to be in town. It was nice to fall asleep hearing them talking downstairs. After his kids were born, Mike suddenly became self-conscious about cursing in front of me (all women, I assume), which left him with very little to say in my presence, so I didn't stay long to talk. I don't understand this new voice, why he thinks it's necessary - as if my memories of him don't exist - but I think I appreciate the sentiment behind it. I see us all at seventeen sleeping in a pile on the floor like pet store mice pressed against aquarium glass and wonder why things have to change.


The new courses start in about three weeks. I don't want them to start so soon. I need more time.


The supervisor called to say that C won't be visiting with J tomorrow because she's been hospitalized again.


Once in junior high I spent the night inside the school, in the girls' locker room. At first I was hiding but then I found I was locked in. I don't know how I wasn't caught there, why the caretakers didn't find me. I always think about that when I'm leaving school at the start of vacation, wonder if there could possibly be anyone hiding anywhere inside the building.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

85% of the world's doormats are made in Kerala, India, which also has a 91% literacy rate and the lowest rate of population growth in the country. I'm thinking how pleasant it would be to live there in the sunshine and make doormats for a living.


Friday, December 11, 2009

A grade eight boy called me a douchebag today and before I could stop myself I busted out laughing. This kind of thing is so problematic when you're supposed to be running the show. It wasn't funny because there's anything particularly amusing about being called a douchebag. It was just funny because this kid literally has an IQ of 60 and uses all of it to keep breathing, and he was trying to be cute, he really was, because I asked him -it was my fault- I asked him what he was thinking, and it just so happened to turn out that he was thinking about what a douchebag I am. (How can I blame him for that? I was thinking the exact same thing about him.)

He smiled and I could tell he thought he was teasing me rather than being disgusting and all the kids froze in horror waiting for the apocalypse and I couldn't stop myself from laughing although I tried because of all the little faces frozen in slow-motion terror and because of the stupid lopsided grin on this kid's face; the whole thing was just hilarious. And you can't kill someone after you've laughed... which made it all the funnier.

Sometimes I am truly a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad teacher. I can only hope that I've set this kid up to call someone else a douchebag, someone who is more apt to punch him in the head than I am and take his IQ down a couple more points so he forgets how to talk.


The set revolve broke yesterday during rehearsal and my student director had a meltdown. He kicked one of the broken pieces across the room, the castors spinning crazily as it flipped upside down. These kinds of moments when students are directing pain me because I know how they feel when they've spent time getting attached to some sort of artistic vision and it doesn't work. He left rehearsal early so he could go smash things and I picked it up where he left off. I've learned not to chase people when they're in this mood, and they've learned not to chase me.

Not that I kick things across the room anymore, but yeah, sometimes I still want to. It's easier to forgive people that you like, isn't it; I really like this kid. I wasn't mad at him for kicking the broken piece toward our heads. I wanted to protect him from being disappointed by fixing the revolve myself, not that I have the skills to do so, and the adult part of me that knows he's supposed to learn about artistic flexibility in this way is very nearly sublimated by the bleeding heart that wants to tell him I'll fix it even though I can't. It's kind of like raising a thirteen year old kid whose mother is dying of opiates; you know that learning how to deal with it is important and necessary and makes her stronger but part of you just wants to fix it even though you can't do anything about it at all.

At tonight's rehearsal we used half the revolve and it worked, it worked better than it worked before it was broken. The student director is happy again, his dream is working differently but well, and how clever of him to think in semicircles. These things remind me of when I was only a few years older than the students were and I used to smoke in the boiler room with the caretakers because they were the only ones who didn't offer me stupid clich├ęs or lectures when everything was always, always broken.


Carolyn came into the theatre after school while I was lying on the floor with four of the actors, pretending to walk on the ceiling and talking about dreams, which makes me look like an ass. I don't know how many more ways I can make her think I'm an idiot but it seems I'm bound and determined to find out. Carolyn wouldn't have done this when she was 35 and she wouldn't have done it when she was 25. She knows it makes you look stupid to do things like this and she doesn't understand why I'm okay with looking stupid. I'm actually okay with looking stupid because I'm not stupid, which sounds egotistical but it isn't.

Maybe it's a difference between visual artists and performing artists, maybe it's just a difference between me and her. How things look is of importance, of course, to a visual artist. How things are is important to me. I didn't do this kind of thing two years ago when I was new because I didn't trust them, staff or students, with who I really am. Now that I know them better I let them know me in bits and pieces and sometimes even though I'd rather stay in bed than talk to anyone, I just love them so much it's ridiculous. I love these idiots enough to have joined their stupid dodgeball team so they could qualify with the required number of females on their team (1) and that is seriously a lot of love because there is almost nothing in the world I hate more than dodgeball. Besides, lying on the floor and walking on the ceiling was actually my idea. I do it at home all the time (which the dogs love) but it's totally different inside the theatre because you have to step over all the bars in the lighting grid, which is challenging and dance-y and worth working for.

Carolyn is too professional to say anything in front of the kids about what I'm doing but I know she's going to talk to me later about it, about why I'm lying on the floor with seventeen year olds, about why the office is a total whirlwind of props and paper and junk, and... about why I'm me. The best part is that I actually really love Carolyn too. She's the best department head I've had because she's so organized and blunt and honest, and when she's done telling me off I'm going to kiss her on the cheek and call her mom and she'll roll her eyes and tell me to shut up.


J isn't Little anymore, she's a teenager. We took her, with ten friends, to the movies last weekend to celebrate this travesty. Tonight her mother was slurring so much on the phone she could barely be understood. But J understood enough of it to be hurt by it, to be made guilty by it. How we can offset this kind of guilt remains a mystery. I can't tell her how not to feel guilty about it because I feel guilty about it too though I'm not certain why. I don't think it's as simple as Shawn believes it is, to just choose what to feel. I wish I could do that, I wish I knew how he does. I've never been able to choose in that way. None of us think that C has long to live. Tonight I'm holding her daughter in my arms the way I did when she was six and telling her whatever happens is not her fault.I don't know if she believes me or not but I'm not letting her go until she does.