“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.