Onward to 2021

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
― Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

I started this blog under ‘Stacks and Ranges’ to have a sense of agency. I started a new job but discovered a staff locked in time, unlock my first position. It drove me crazy, especially after working for bookstores where change happens and few people acting like jerks remained. (Unless they have highly specialized skills, with a wash cloth, and I am not kidding about that line.)

I decided to change the title, still write about libraries if I want to, but write about the things I enjoy. I have drafts. Lots of them. None seeing the light of day. I guess a writer is still a writer but this writer busied herself rebuilding her life.

My condo looks like 2020 with stuff from my parents still in my living room, clothes all over the place, a workstation on my dining room table sharing my meals. (I have a one bedroom.) I read Zen and the Art of Writing a long time ago and it’s time to read it again. I remembered Bradbury, one of my favourite Science Fiction writers, using the typewriting room of a UCLA library to write this short stories. (I am recalling this without the use of Google to prove I still have a memory.) I read it at the time I owned a Brother typewriter, a Christmas gift used to write free writes and term papers. Honesty, I like this era of writing with technology and exposure to writing workshops like the Gotham Writers Workshop and now a Spiritual NonFiction course I will take online. I used to think not getting published by age 30 meant things would end and now I reconsider that belief.

It’s a year of reconsidering beliefs alright.

My aunt said grief takes time and I took the time to get used to no early morning or last phone calls. Not hearing Family Feud played full-blast. Fragments of memories stepping forward like the trip we took in 1989 through the western Canada, ending it in Victoria, before heading back and staying in Jasper for a few days. I remembered my parents seeing the Elk up close one evening, something they never seen before. Mom and dad took the oceans, the green landscapes, and the brightly-coloured buildings in Sao Miguel for granted. Elk was something new, even after years of living in Canada. Those memories come through not the last moments, the wishes for more time to say goodbye.

Grief comes at the weirdest times.

I managed to watch Uncle Vanya on BBC iPlayer. It took a VPN, one I subscribed to before during my New York trip and not click on the cookies. (I had to clear them off and reset all my passwords again. Well, that’s a benefit I suppose.) After the initial thought of oh, my word, Byronic hair! Richard Armitage launched into Astrov’s lines and it turned into shit! too close to home! I got up and cried for a bit.

As for the play, I never studied Chekov in university but parts of Uncle Vanya might look set in Winnipeg:

  • Talking about the weather or the heat. (It’s a sport everyone who can’t skate can play.)
  • Professor bossing people around, changing mind, and making people wait. (I met variations on this one as an undergrad.)
  • The one person with a sunny personality, sometimes that person was me.
  • Sarcastic member of the group, sometimes that person was me but blunting my edges. (Holy Cow not Toby Jones he really leaned into it and makes it hard for people to sympathize with Vanya. Although, that might be the whole point.)
  • Unspoken crushes on unattainable people.
  • Feminists with no idea they’re servicing the patriarchy but prattle on about women’s rights, usually middle-to-upper class, white, and living large homes. (You should see some of the new subdivisions building out of Winnipeg.)
  • Note: Yes, this is other cities too I know. Please apply to your situation as you see fit.

I stopped doing resolutions and decided to have one or two goals in mind. In two words it’s surrender and onward. It’s the two popping into my head after of year of feeling mentally underwater. Last year, I didn’t have a break staying with dad, this year felt like coming up for air. People told me I was having a bad year but it took coming out the other end to see the last two years were hard. A third goal, unofficially, write more. That’s it, write more.

Let’s get on with it.

17 thoughts on “Onward to 2021

  1. Happy New Year! Please write more blog posts! ❤️
    I take to heart your posts when your mom passed away. My grief started Dec 9, 2020 so any and all advice is much appreciated and accepted by me. Take care..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Michele, I can’t believe I missed this. 😦
      Advice? You will know bad advice when you hear it, especially as it relates to grief. There are people who unexpectedly step up and those you expect to step up unexpectedly let you down. (I think I am in this latter camp for you.)

      The only thing I can offer is the first year is rough and it feels like you’re underwater. It’s this huge adjustment to not having a parent there or dwelling on the last days or years, rather than the scope of an entire life. So it’s that and Stages of Grief by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler. That book helped if there is one book to read. Again, I am so sorry for our loss and for missing this. You were reaching out and it looked like I ignored it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahh I cannot tell you how much your words mean to me. My dad is now in the hospital and the worry I am feeling is indescribable I cannot be there because of Covid and I’m just underwater right now! I reread your posts about your mom and try to hold on to my emotions but it’s so hard 😢

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My sister is really mine and my brothers line of communication right now
        She talks directly to our dad because she’s on the ground where they live
        My brother and I live in Virginia, they live in Texas so I get most info from her. I think that I’m not physically there ( I wanted to fly down and my dad said too dangerous) compounds everything
        I just felt your emotions and the honesty flowing through your posts connected to me and I’m very grateful for that ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What *is* it with seniors and Family Feud? Dad watches hours of it every day. It has definitely increased my appreciation of Steve Harvey. It’s a job I can’t imagine doing.
    30: PBS showed a doc about Laura Ingalls Wilder over Christmas and it pointed out a few times that she didn’t publish till she was 65. And her books will go down as some of the most important writing in the US in the 20th c. Not that that’s a motivator, really, to write. I’m glad you’re doing an online course and I will look forward to reading more from you this year (or later — with delayed publication of drafts).
    Vanya: I felt while watching it at the time, and even more after this year, that that play just rips open a lot of barely scabbed over wounds. Totally agree re: Toby Jones / Vanya.
    Grief: I won’t say “none of the advice I got was of much use” but it’s almost at that level, except for small things (someone had tips about grief-related plantar’s fascitis, for instance — that was useful). I think people gave me unsolicited advice because they couldn’t do anything and didn’t know what to say. My advice to myself about that first year, now, would be to let myself cry more, although at the time I had so much stuff to do, and it seemed like I was crying all the time anyway. I also had that feeling after mom’s death of “I’m breathing again, whew.”
    “Elk” and “Byronic hair” are such great moments.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have no idea what’s up with old men and Family Feud. Mom watched a lot of CNN, like a lot. (She hated Trump, naturally. She loved Biden and genuinely respected him on a spiritual level as a fellow Catholic.)

      I know you had a tough trip but I am glad you got to see Vanya live.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Bradbury’s “Something Wicked This Way Comes” was one of my favourite books when I was young. I haven’t read “Zen and the Art of Writing”. Probably should.

    Glad to see you posting! Good luck with the forward motion!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. CNN has gotten to be a nonstop barrage of anti-Trump news and commentary. It’s not so much that I disagree as that I think there’s more to news than that. But that probably appealed to your mom?

    London last January: At the time it was a huge privilege (despite the tsuris), but now in retrospect it appears an order of magnitude more so. It’s definitely something I won’t ever forget. I’m hoping that the world re-opens and a trip to a live Armitage play is in the cards for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I miss New York. Going to New York and seeing him in a play would be a special experienced. As for CNN, it does tire me out hearing about Trump ad nauseum. Mom couldn’t get over how someone that immoral would get elected and my aunt dumped EWTN (Eternal World Television aka ‘The Catholic Channel’) with their pro-Trump coverage. If mom was alive, she would wonder what are they putting in the incenset to make people so stupid.

      We are not any better here. We have people hating Trudeau including one guy who drove down to Ottawa, armed, and almost at the gate of his residence. We also have a number of Alberta politicians who traveled south despite telling people to stay home this holiday season. What a mess on both sides of the border.


      1. EWTN is *insane*. I’m not Catholic but even so, their news is from another planet. Good for your aunt.

        People astound me these days. Even people I “knew.”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah, I wouldn’t touch that site with a ten-foot pole before everything happened.

        People are confronting their beliefs, even those they didn’t realize were there, and they are not liking it. I had to unfriended and blocked someone. There’s agree to disagree, that feels dicey, and then there is yikes.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Particularly since the middle of November, a bunch of friends of mine who had successfully masqueraded as normal conservative have revealed themselves as part of the Trump cult. I feel like lines need to be drawn. I am a big fan of boundaries in general, but I started to feel like by not telling them how I felt about their embrace of nonsense, I was endangering my own moral integrity.

        Liked by 1 person

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