Weird random occurrence is weird.

Yes, I’ve finally decided to write it up. The critique did say I needed to take risks to be a real writer, after all… and when I think about it, this is about the most offbeat thing I’ll ever have to write about.

(Well, that and the whole ‘providing liner notes for a Bob & Ray CD’ thing. Heard back from the publisher last week, they’re just setting out the final layout and needed me to cite the few quotes I used. Gotta love legal departments.)

At any rate, please note, when reading the below, that I know there is at least a 95.9% chance I have taken a stupid little non-incident twenty years ago and have blown it up into something… else. Half the reason I am writing is to make it a 100% chance. The other half involves my being tired of chasing my own brain trying to figure it out, and deciding to ‘write it out’, once and for all.

So… it’s 1990. I’m hanging out watching TV… flicking round the dial… pausing to check out a spandy-new cable channel called  YTV. Back then, not so much with the hipness; more with the Camp Cariboo reruns. So when what appears to be an actual live-action costume drama pops up, I am intrigued.

Plot-thickening under the cut…

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I’m only mostly dead!

Ah, sweet, sweet writing habit… how I’ve missed you. *pets cozy little purring thing that’s either my ego or the kitten, since I’m too lazy to actually get up and turn on the lights*

The readership, however, has not missed much. Unless they want my newly-discovered fabulous recipe for beef Stroganoff, and that probably needs to wait until I tinker with the seasoning salt a bit. Also, switch to low-salt not-maple cured bacon. (Those noticing a pattern, give yourself a cookie. Seriously, ‘savory’ has limits.)

Basically, my life over the last few weeks would’ve been a non-stop parade of whine whine work moan whinge whine "ooh! cupcakes!" whinge moan. How I long for the day when my off-the-cuff whingeing sells a million copies, but until then, the tale of how I accidentally spilled juice all over the cats the other morning can stand the extra polishing time.

Granted, somewhere in there the despised home front did abruptly bust out into emerald swathes of lawn and apple-blossom everywhere and goslings in the park. Which frankly is not at all fair. (It was almost a relief to come home from the meeting the other night and see three police cars parked out front, while a second swarm blocked a nearby street. No, I never did find out what it was all about.)

It did however help me cope with the work situation — the goslings etc, that is, not the speculation on incipient grow-ops — inasmuch as it provided an outward focus and reminder of greater meanings. I don’t care if you’re technically still employed at the time, job-hunting sucks. You know all that Sesame Street-esque bilge about how it doesn’t matter, you’re special just the way you are? Hah. Welcome to Purely Random Judgment Land, boys and girls."Do you love me now? How about now? Do I look competent and trustworthy now? Oh… you didn’t want competent, you wanted proactive?"

If I ever get into the position of interviewer, top of my question list is "How many interviews is this, now? Four? OK, that’s an automatic +12 coherence forgiveness, right there."

My main issue, it appeared, was that I wasn’t giving off enough of an upwardly-mobile vibe. The buyers were envisioning Future Executive, and I was projecting more Hey, the Cats Aren’t Hungry Enough to Wake Me at 3AM, I’m Good. Honestly, I have never quite grasped this whole ‘passion for retail’ deally-bob. A more astute buddy of mine — ie, we started in the same position, and he’s now the Category Manager for frozen foods — pointed out that it’s about how the company can be sure it’s getting value for salary, which makes sense; I guess I just figured value as more of a ‘the work’s getting done’ thing, without having to pretend I looooove the notion of giving up my weekends to study sock sales trends, into the bargain.

Fear not, though, such of the readership as remains; eventually, there opened a spot that the buyer needed to fill fast. No time to ponder the intangibles, just bundle up my awkwardly-shaped-but-solid self and jam it into their equally hexi-deci-rectangular-tripod opening. And the good news is, I think it’s actually gonna be a decent fit. It makes excellent sense in terms both of who I am and where I’ve been. Plus, it’s in Soft Home accessories — think rugs, pillows, candles and the like — so I totally have a lifeline in the form of Shoemom, Shoesis and their Style @ Home subscription. ("Pssst… what do we think of puce?" "Oh, yeah, very hot colour this year. But make sure it’s more toward plum, too much brown is deadly with that camo green.")

So Phase One of the Master Life Plan is in motion. Now, I just need to figure out what to do with myself while waiting for Phase Two to come within unfolding range. Webcomics and hanging out at TVTropes are fun diversions, not bugging the audiobook people every ten minutes to see if the liner notes are finished a noble quest, but I feel the need for something a bit more… epic. One of those quirky yet life-affirming projects that will snag me a Purpose and possibly also that book deal.

…I wonder what the market’s like for blogs about the search for a quirky yet-life affirming thing to blog about?

Maybe I’ll just go hang out at 4chan instead.

Well, here’s a uniquely McLuhan-esque dilemma:

I popped over to the agony booth last night to reread one of their recaps, and ended up following a link into the forum…

…there to find a snarky TVTropes slam against the booth in one member’s sig line.

A little further down, on the thread for the (500) Days of Summer recap — short and scornful version: what the hell was all the hype about? — Albert the sitemaster quoted some fatuous comments from the TVT page for the movie, with the note that ‘This tells you something about the kind of people that contribute to TVTropes!’

Well. It appears I’m the kind of person who contributes — rather heavily at that — to TVTropes. But I’m also the kind of person who thoroughly enjoys the agony booth recaps.

Those of you who’re still hopeful of the Interwebs as a force for grand interpersonal peace and understanding… we’ve had another setback.

How do you dance in the dark?

 It’s half-way through Earth Hour. During past EHs I have eschewed modern tech altogether and sat around staring at candles, but now I have a battery-powered laptop, and it is comforting. The solitary celebration of darkness makes it awkwardly clear that light is about people, movement, civilization. Dark is about — among other un-nerving things — wondering what the hell that noise is coming from the bathroom. You’re pretty sure it’s the cat, but where would they get a thing that sounded like that? Or do you want to know?

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When the lights are on, I’ve been reading Eric Idle’s Greedy Bastard Diary, about his recent North American tour. Funnily enough I have never ventured further into Monty Python than the basics — The Holy Grail, the silly walks, the parrot sketch — but have enjoyed many of their solo projects immensely, particularly Idle’s and Michael Palin’s. 

At any rate Idle turns out to be, in the fully British sense of the word, a lovely man. His musings on road life, the comedy universe, and everything are witty, naughty, charming, poignant without being sentimental — and let us not forget roaringly funny. The best way I can describe it is Truman Capote sans need to write classic true-crime novels. Er, and the flaming, of course. 

Tag, I’m it: a random factoids meme

Courtesy :

A. List seven habits/quirks/facts about yourself.
B. Tag seven people to do the same.
C. Do not tag the person who tagged you or say that you tag "whoever wants to do it."

Well, shoot. How’s a girl supposed to keep a good online sulk going around here?

Seriously… feeling better, not least because of good friends *gives  a grateful hug*. The apartment is… understanding of sulks. So are the two cats currently curled up beside me on the nice new couch. Also, Shoemom dropped off some chocolate fudge today. I defy JD Salinger himself to keep wangst alive, in the face of Shoemom’s fudge.

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1) I am the least sentimental person around… and cute is my Kryptonite. The tinier and daintier the miniature — or plushie — the more high-pitched my squee. There is a wonderful shop in Toronto called The Little Dollhouse Company that I actually have to avoid like the plague, because I know that one day I will snap and buy their entire stock of bitsy bouquets and teeny place settings in one go.

2) If I were ever to write a fan letter it would be to Elizabeth Enright, for her Melendy family stories. Funny, smart, talented preteens Mona, Rush, Randy and Oliver were my heroes from the moment I first discovered them at the same age, and in some important ways they remain so. Enright had a knack for creating characters fully alive to their environments yet totally real in their responses to them; twelve-year-olds who went to art museums on their Saturday afternoons as naturally as they got lost and fell out of boats.

3) I am one of those people whose weird ‘body chemistry’ blows streetlights as I walk under them and makes wristwatches go wonky. At least this is how it was explained to me as a kid, complete with assurances I had inherited it from Shoedad. As an adult, I am honour-bound to be more sceptical — but I still feel vaguely guilty about those little ‘pouf!’s of darkness. Sorry, fellow night-time strollers!

4) Save with family and very intimate friends I am much, much more articulate on paper than in person (and any cracks about how articulate I am on paper, you will kindly keep to yourself). Picture the same vocabulary, except sans editor or chance to think out ideas — let alone if they’re interesting to anyone else or not. Usually not, as it turns out.

5) I cannot lie to save my life, or fake an emotion I don’t feel, or make a dishonest response to even the touchiest request for opinion. Trust me, this isn’t anywhere near as noble as it sounds. Try it the next time your close friend gets you a gift you don’t like, and see how fast you start organising the telethon.

6) I love water — bathing in it, swimming in it, listening to waves, wandering around in the rain. Even reading about it, voyages and mermaids and the like. When we lived by the lake once I spent long whiles pondering the moonlight trail across the waves, imagining — as per the aforementioned reading, I think — that the flickering light was a hypnotically alluring language, so complicated that anyone who learned it would be driven mad — or called a genius. I was a weird (and possibly also fatuous) kid.

7) I have a thing for earrings. I like to keep a little touch of the unique around me at all times; rings/bracelets etc drive me nuts, and my hair is very short, so my ears are my canvas. When I was younger I preferred huge, bizarre hoops and chains; nowadays I’m more into glass beads and silver. A friend who makes jewelery and keeps me in mind doesn’t hurt.

Tagging… oh, say… and  and  and  and *ahem* any three other friends who may wish to participate. 🙂

Stopping by the old neighborhood on a winter afternoon

I have a peculiar affection for Belsize Drive, here in the city.

It’s a residential street, longish as they go. Very pretty; just young and unkempt enough to avoid being too old and grand. Bisected for two long stretches, for some blissfully random reason, by parkland. Not an avenue — no bricks or plaques — just worn grassy centre strips where the locals walk dogs, bike with their kids, play touch football. I stood and watched them rescue a kitten from a tree, one afternoon.

In my decade in Toronto, I have always had the good fortune to live near enough that a walk down Belsize didn’t require excuse. The delicate wonder of this never quite wore off, not even in winter. There is a spot, on a hill just above it, where when the trees are leafless you can stand in the parking lot of an old church and look down on an entire vista of lovely, snug neighborhood streets below — my neighborhood. If I did not achieve all or even most of my dreams, at least I had found the best place possible to dream them in.

These are the sorts of things you think about, on your first real walk out after a) deciding to move away and b) being confined to bed for four days with a bad cold.

And as you look around you further realise… all those things that brought you here, caught your eye, that you’d mentally ticked off as having ‘done’ and over with… you haven’t actually done in awhile, have you? Here you are on Mount Pleasant Road for the umpty-squillionth time, and within a dozen yards are a bunch of things that you’ve been planning on ‘doing’ for some few years now. Little things, like that fish-and-chips shop supposed to be the best in the city, but still… Suddenly the entire urban landscape, familiar as Gramma’s wallpaper, springs to crisp, questioning life.

You start to understand that moving on may be more complicated than you thought. 

Then, of course, you get a grip. Remind yourself that while daydreams may be free and easy, achieving them in real life is emphatically neither of those things, not in the city anyway. That the best you’ve actually managed, in twelve years, is to hang onto a mid-level admin job — sometimes by the skin of your teeth — that just about affords you a nice apartment in a nice, practical location. If there is no longer a hill, there is at least a sunroom on the fourteenth floor.

I am a part of all that I have met. And I tell myself that I am not moving away from anything; I am moving towards the centre, physically and psychically, and from there experience can radiate out in any direction I want. If for no other reason than I will no longer be spending hours out of most days trapped on a highway commute.

But none of that changes the fact that when I next look down from the hill, what I see will no longer be mine.

I have an angst.

And I’m not even sure why, exactly. The vacation’s going fine, in fact personal things generally are more peachy than usual.

Perhaps it has something to do with the material a fellow Facebook fan kindly sent me from Bob & Ray and Tom. Basically a little pamphlet put out by their principal outside writer Tom Koch, in an effort to ensure credit that — wasn’t denied him, exactly. But it also can’t be denied that Bob & Ray did have this stubborn blind spot, never confirming public assumptions that the whole thing was theirs, but never correcting them either.
Whether creative insecurity or professional shrewdness or some combination of the two, I don’t know. But feeling as I do about plagiarism and assorted offshoots I don’t like the idea of my gentle heroes being mixed up in it nohow.

Perhaps it has something to do with downloading Janis Ian’s At Seventeen the other day, and finally getting a good listen to the lyrics… thus getting a harsh reminder of the things nostalgia can hide. Quoting another Famous Wistful Song, Bob Seger’s Against the Wind: "Wish I didn’t know now/What I didn’t know then…"

Or…perhaps it’s just PMS.

At any rate, I thought I’d relieve it in the time-honoured LJ manner: posting emo poetry. I have this iPod app that works like a magnetic word set; the catch is it uses only words from Shakespeare. Does wonders for the artistic ego.

Beauty
that pure drawn
Injury
that thou recievest
Hurt of a
disarm’d self

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