Wednesday, October 30, 2013

dogs teaching dream books

This morning during my spare block I went to the hardware store to buy castors for the set for my play. (I like it when my sets spin.)  In front of me in line was a man with a dog, an Italian Greyhound, wearing a green Christmas sweater.

In other parts of the world (though not Italy; I checked) Italian Greyhounds may be common and popular pets, but here they are not.  When I take my dogs outside I am perpetually stopped by people.  What kind of dog is that?  And once even, Is that a dog?  So I was sort of surprised to see an Italian Greyhound buying a hammer and some nails, and even more surprised at myself for becoming one of those weirdos that feels the need to talk to strangers in stores.  I needed him (the human attached to the dog) to know that I have Italian Greyhounds too.

I needed him to know that I, too, understand their delicate little emotions, that I also have foresaken going on holiday with my husband for the rest of their lives so they won't feel scared or sad or lonely or unsafe, because I, like he, truly know what it feels like to be loved.  Because Italian Greyhound people are insane, he was thoroughly delighted by my intrusion into his world and we talked outside the hardware store for fifteen minutes like a pair of lunatics.  I know all about his wife (former teacher), his Post Office worker retirement pension plan, where he buys his groceries, where he buys his dog gear, who is his favourite veterinarian, where he likes to walk, and so on and so forth.  I stopped short of inviting them to come over and meet my dogs, but only because I had to go back to work.


At lunch I met with Mr. CreepyBeard to talk about our social skills program.  I used to think it was ironic that I was selected to teach social skills, being that mine are a bit shaky, but compared to Mr. CreepyBeard I've got it going on.  Mr. CreepyBeard gives away too much information about Mrs. CreepyBeard and their Creepy Apartment and their Creepy Landlord and their Creepy Neighbours while we are meant to be talking about cognitive behaviour therapy.  (As a sidebar, when I first met Mrs. CreepyBeard I said, Hello, it's nice to meet you!  This wasn't especially creative on my part but at least it was predictable.  Mrs. CreepyBeard stared at me and did not respond other than to make a barely audible grunt.)  In the end I felt we accomplished nothing, so I took a pile of books and told him I would email him my work.  I find it difficult to work with Mr. CreepyBeard, very very difficult.


Last night I dreamed I was walking slowly across a large body of water, maybe a river.  It was deep, chest height, but not over my head, and the current was fast and trying to pull me under into cold water.  To add to the challenge, I was holding Ophelia in my arms and trying to prevent her from getting wet.  She was not pleased.


I am reading, somehow, several things at once.  Canary, by Nancy Jo Cullen.  It is odd when you approach reading a series of short stories as though they are a cohesive book.


Monday, October 28, 2013

non-profit organization

Tonight Shawn asked me if I knew where my current teacher retirement information booklet was (we are trying to figure out, with the help of our financial advisor, how we can retire... now).  I looked inside the filing cabinet where I thought it might be and was distracted, no horrified, by what the inside of the filing cabinet looks like.

Back around, oh, say 2001, I stopped doing things like opening bank statements, reading insurance letters, and filing my own taxes.  In my books, that's what husbands are for.  They're supposed to do the horrible financial thinking that no one wants to do.  Shawn does do that, but he isn't, apparently, so good at filing the paperwork.

The filing cabinet (I swear I haven't looked in there since we moved here in 2007) was stacked full of unopened envelopes from our investment company, and a plethora of other bedraggled looking papers haphazardly stuffed in every which direction.  No file folders, no system.

I used to have a system.  Like I said, I used to do my own stuff.  Last millennium.  I kind of remember how to file stuff.  I pulled out everything, opened all the unopened envelopes, threw away the tax returns from the 1990s, and created a dozen file folders and alphabetized them.  And put papers in them.  Ran all the old paper to the curb, all the private documents through the shredder.  Just like that, an hour and a half later, peace was restored to the inside of my file cabinet, and I wanted Shawn to be excited, enthralled with my organizational skills.  And I wanted him to feel the sense of relief that I feel that there is no longer any unopened mail clogging the track of the filing cabinet drawer.  I showed him the neatly organized drawers, sorted, alphabetized, and labelled.

He said, Did you find that booklet?


Sunday, October 27, 2013

until i met you

I went back to the Writer's Festival again this morning with CC, who sent me a message last night asking if I wanted to go.  Although there are times I cannot bring myself to meet up with CC, going to an event is always a better way to package a visit because it gives us both a destination and a frame that imposes a beginning and an end.

As always she was not ready to go when I arrived.  I watched her finish pouring pancake batter in a frypan (which smelled like it was burning), hand off tiny pancakes to her two young daughters, and then we went to the yard to say goodbye to A, who was painting in the garage.  At some point (a while ago) I decided it was hilarious to call A homie.  I don't remember why.  I know it is obnoxious, and it is also clear he doesn't find it funny, but I cannot seem to stop.  Hey homie, I said.  After we left, CC talked about his alcoholism in a way that we rarely talk about it.  At 27 I lost touch with her for awhile because homie's antics were so intolerable.  Five years later or so I was ready to conceed that my opinion of someone else's partner was irrelevant.  Now, with even more time gone by I am ready to listen, and even to share a gentle opinion if asked.  But she does not ask.  I wouldn't either.

At Writer's Fest I was surprised by the fact that the audience was almost entirely comprised of women.  Why should that be?  I was also surprised by how many of these women were willing to sacrifice hearing the writers in exchange for whispered conversations with the wait staff about getting more coffee.  (It was not even particularly good coffee.)  In another life perhaps I was overbrimming with ideas, the kind of person who put pen to paper and cranked out reams of books; in this one I am a thousand false starts and an endless series of chronically awkward attempts at self-expression.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

bien dans ma peau

Listening to writers talk about their craft mortalizes them.  They write like anyone else does their job.  Get up, get dressed, walk the dog, drink coffee, sit down, get started.  Have lunch.  Work some more.  Stop, eat dinner, laze.  Just like every other job in the world.

So why is it so difficult to see anything through to completion?  One writer suggests that we are still young and can afford to play with words as long as we like.  Another posits that fear of failure translates into failure to culminate.  (I shoulder the certainty that it must also have something to do with apathy.)  Another has no answer to this because he has written -and published- six books this year.  Though he prides himself on his imagination, he cannot relate.  (Perhaps he writes nonfiction.)  Three artists on a panel is not enough to get an adequate answer to this question.

It would be better to spend the whole day, several days, listening to writers talk about writing, listening to dancers dance about architecture, being inspired and being realistic.  It would be satisfying to look at photographs of log cabins in the woods.  (Septic tanks and well water...)  But it would be safer to keep doing what we always do.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

this is how you lose her

Some days I've really got it all together.  Can simultaneously talk BB in off a ledge and help her barter peace with a colleague while juggling a lunch meeting (and getting minutes sent off to everyone with time to spare) and covering RDub's class so he can make an appointment with his son.  And still make it to afternoon rehearsal in a good mood, take great notes, get good feedback, and then get J to her riding lesson in time.  All while wearing heels.

Or ... maybe I actually forgot to show up for NC's class that I had somehow also agreed to cover without realising it was at the same as RDub's.  And maybe I was so confused I told admin I had no idea what they were talking about when they asked me about my double booking.  And I might have even followed that up with a sassy email to admin telling them to quit assigning me to cover other people's classes when it was actually ME who made the arrangement with NC.

Whatever.  I might have been fabulous today.  On another plane I'm pretty sure I rocked it.

I'm kind of a fan of apologies.  That is, I believe in making them when I owe them, and making them good.  Sincere and immediate.  (I count at least three apology coffees that I need to bring to work tomorrow.  I might need to bring a couple extra just in case I fucked up anything else I haven't figured out yet.)


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

lyrics and chords

Your breath is heavy, I can tell you are nearly asleep.  If I hurry, I wonder, could I catch you?  I touch your arm lightly, thinking I might be able to keep you here with me another minute while I catch up.  We might dream together of the same thing.  (I rarely see you on the other side.)  I want to count backward, aloud, sip on a sedative, and float beside you.  


Friday, October 11, 2013

bark bark

The first vice president of my union phoned me at work today.  She wanted to talk about my negative perception of the union and my public comments about such.  It was interesting.  I decided to listen to her, and to share my opinions with her, and we ended up talking for almost an hour.  She didn't hang up convinced of anything new, I'm sure, and neither did I, but for the first time since I moved here I felt that someone at the union was actually interested in and listening to member opinions.  It was definitely the first time that anyone at the union asked me what I thought instead of telling me.  This school year has already been filled with opportunities for me to act like a grown up and I am trying to take them as often as possible.  Dixie promised me a second puberty at age forty that would mark the end of my fear of confrontation.  I'm a little ahead of schedule.  Precocious if you will.


Wednesday, October 09, 2013

respect for acting

Charlie helps me.  He gives me fifteen minutes at the end of the day to talk to the people I work with.  He brings energy to something that has gotten me tired.  He gives me a break from doing it all myself.  And it's all very valuable.  But he is simultaneously everything I hate about acting school.  Actors.  He's the epitome of all-dressed-in-black, with a natty bowtie, and a bicycle helmet.  Leave him alone for fifteen minutes and come back to find him in leopard printed Y-front long johns and bandana, sweaty and red in the face, table drumming and conducting a "movement workshop".

He's all "warm up your lips!" and "make a bold choice!" and lie on the floor and pretend you're a piece of bacon frying in the pan acting school caricature.  All the stuff about acting school that gave me the creeps and put me off meat .  Especially the leopard printed long johns.  It reminds me of Brian, my acting coach, prancing around in his purple MC Hammer pants, leaping like a gazelle, and shouting at us to move with intention!.  

It kind of reminds me of those mad churches where people kiss snakes or throw themselves on the floor and babble in tongues when they are moved by the spirit.  Something about the way people behave when they are groups, losing their ability to recognize ridiculousness as everyone around them becomes increasingly more ridiculous.  Adults lying on the floor pretending to be frying bacon, adults dancing madly while someone drums on a table, adults opening and closing their fingers and rolling their tongues and lips in unison, brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!.  And taking it all very seriously, wondering why the rest of the world thinks actors are nuts.  And then putting the black dress slacks on over top of the leopard printed long johns, tucking their black dress slacks into their socks, re-clipping the bowtie, and donning the bicycle helmet for the ride home.


Sunday, October 06, 2013

Uh oh, I've mouthed off in the union forum.

I wonder what will happen to me now?  Will I be banned from the forum?  Will my union discipline me?

I'm scared.  (Not really.)



Saturday, October 05, 2013

Street in a strange world

This afternoon I went to the bookstore.  I used to go to the bookstore quite regularly before Shawn gave me his Kindle and insisted I learn to use it.  (Now I have a bookstore in my bed with me when I finish a book at midnight and want another one straight away - something that happens more often than one might imagine.)

But I went to the bookstore today.  I went because I had a gift card, the kind that must be spent in the store, and so I thought I would try to find something that was only available in the store.  Normally bookstores are a bit of a religious homecoming for me, but for some reason today my heart was not open to it.  None of my favourite authors had anything new, except Margaret Atwood and damn her anyway.  The gift card was only for fifteen dollars and eventually after looking at everything in the store I decided to waste the money on a blue bracelet.

Why does my bookstore sell blue bracelets? you ask.  I have no idea, but they don't just sell blue.  They also have pink and purple.  But I chose blue and marched it up to the front counter where I was greeted by a cashier who looked at my purchase and asked if I had found everything I was looking for.  As if perhaps I had also been looking for the matching necklace and earrings.  I wanted to scream, "Don't judge me!  I read!  Seriously, I love books!"  Instead I confirmed my shallowness by receiving a text message, loudly, while she was explaining their school book donation program.  I refused to make a donation because I have already donated to this program, but the cashier had no way of knowing that and undoubtedly assumed I was saving my hard earned cash for more jewelry.


I decided to write a bit more porn.  The publisher contacted me and offered me an advance which made it all the more tempting.  I can see my pay in blue bookstore bracelets already.


Thursday, October 03, 2013

the more you ignore me

I said yes.  Yes to Italy (again), yes to France, yes yes yes to Spain.  Now I trust him so it's different.


The guy on the morning news just referred to "African refugees from Syria".