Thursday, August 20, 2015

Je T'aime Chat et Pomme!

We're on vacation!

I'm writing this from a bench on Jean-Talon Street in Montreal. Barclay's in the store buying toothpaste and I'm drinking a coffee and Sullivan is having an uncomfortable-looking nap in his umbrella stroller. Every once in a while, someone will walk past and say something to me in French with a big smile on their face. I don't know French, though. I took a few years of French class in high school, so maybe I should. But I don't. Sorry, Mrs. Legge. Sorry, people of Jean-Talon street. 

(I mean. I know a few words that I could roughly string together into a sentence. So, like, if someone were to come up to me and say, "J'aime le chat et le four a micro-ondes et le supermarche et manger a pomme! Ferme le bouche! Est que je peux allez a le salle de bains?" I would understand that. But I don't think anyone will say that to me. Today, but probably also ever.)

So far, we're having a straight-up lovely time - thanks for asking. We're staying in a brick walk-up apartment in this sweet little neighborhood. The Jean-Talon market is a few blocks that way and Little Italy is just over there. We might stay here forever. We might! I'm serious!

Just kidding, though.

But seriously.

(A lady just rode by on a little red bicycle with a baguette in the basket.)

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Waiting Room

I'm back at the heart specialist today. In the waiting room. I come here regularly enough to know that I will wait for hours to see the doctor for less than five minutes so he can tell me that that one valve in my heart that doesn't work exactly right is still working right enough to keep blood flowing.

I get a kick out of the receptionist. She is a middle-aged lady with a flat, mumbling voice. Like she doesn't care enough about this job to even open her mouth when she talks. When I come up to the counter, she always says, "I see you, have a seat." Like I should not be wasting her time by standing in front of her. But the one time I came and didn't go up to the counter, she said, with what could be considered a frown if she'd put any effort into it, "You have to come up and let me know you're here." Both times, she spoke to me like I was an idiot. But I think that's how she speaks to everyone. 

Except for one person.

She got a phone call a few minutes ago, answered it the way that she always does, and then squealed, literally squealed like a thirteen year old girl. She opened her mouth, the way that normal people do when they talk, and shrieked, "OH!! Hello! It is so good to hear your voice, sweetheart!...Of course I miss you...mmhm...the sun isn't shining here either, Boo." 

But the sun is, in fact, shining here. So I can only assume that this was meant to be some kind of lovey metaphor.

When she hung up the phone, her mouth pressed back into a straight line and she went back to talking like her lips were sewn shut.

I have been here for almost two hours.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Angels in the Grainfield

We went to my parents' farm this weekend. It'd been a while since the last time we did. These weekends are the best because we mostly just hang out and play games and eat and run around outside in our pyjamas. Barclay helps my dad with farm work sometimes, but it's mostly chill.

So we were all sitting around in the porch on Saturday night being chill and my sister was there too and I said to her, "Sunset? In the field?" and she was like, "Yeah."

Because we both live in cities now and don't often get to see sunsets in fields anymore.

So we headed out, the two of us, wading through the golden stalks like we were walking through a pool of water - it sounded like water, too, when the wind went through it. It looked more like fire though, especially in the evening sun. Or like gold.

We had a good farm kid field heart-to-heart - mostly about how much we hoped we wouldn't get mauled by a cougar. Because sometimes, we have heard, there are cougars. And this field would've made an excellent hiding place for a predatory animal. And our dog is dead now so he's no help to anyone. We decided that if we came across a cougar, we'd stand back to back and throw things at it. Honestly, though, I don't think we would've stood a chance. My sister is not a mighty warrior, no offence, Ceese, and I am even less so.

(The closest thing we saw to a cougar, however, was a black farm cat who looked grouchy but not dangerous.)

We found a place where nothing would obstruct our view (an easy feat to accomplish in southern Saskatchewan) and we stood there and waited for the sun to touch down on the hill before us. I'm sure you know how sunsets work, so I won't belabour it. Just picture the sun, and then picture less and less of it, until you're not picturing it at all anymore.

But then, picture this:

As the sun disappeared from view, angels started singing.

No, I'm serious, this happened.

Angels started singing - and playing violins. And cellos. And also electric guitars.

In that moment, all of the hairs on my arms stood straight up. I thought, "Something incredible is happening." I thought, "Maybe the end of the world." And then I thought, "Maybe I'm just going crazy." And then I thought, "Yeah, no, definitely that's it."

But going crazy wasn't as scary as I'd always imagined it might be.

But then I found out, from my sister, that the angels and the violins and the cellos and the electric guitars were actually an alarm that she'd set on her iPhone.

Instead of turning it off she let it play for a bit, and we stood there in the field and watched the sky change colours and I pretended that it was angels.


Friday, July 17, 2015

This Means Something

The Saskatchewan Festival of Words is happening in Moose Jaw right now. It's a four day literary festival - think readings, interviews, panel discussions, workshops, a slam poetry contest, shows (music and theatre) and anything else that you can possibly imagine a bunch of writers and poets and word nerds doing when they're scraped together from all the corners of Canada and plunked down in a small town for a weekend.

Last night, there was this thing called a - ready for this? - Readception (When I told Barclay about it, he said, "Sounds fun. Is it before or after the Novel Tea?"). There was cheesecake, first of all, and there were also six authors who each had three minutes to read a small portion of one of their books and say a few words. I've been to this event before, two years ago, but that time it was very different. Not, actually, because it was different, but because I was different. Or, I was in a different place.

Life-wise, I mean.

I was pregnant, first of all. I was just starting to tell people. I was anticipating motherhood. I was crib shopping and asking my sister-in-law grossly personal questions about labour and child birth and epidurals. I was excited about it, overwhelmingly excited, and I saw everything in life through the lens of this new beginning.

And this time, last night, two years later, I was on the verge of another new thing. A very different kind of new thing. I'd written a book, a whole novel. With people in it, and some metaphors, and a plot (It might not be any good at all, but the point here is that I did it). I was just starting to admit it to people. I was anticipating this life-long dream I had coming true. I feel like some people might think it crass to compare the upcoming birth of a baby with a silly little hobby, and I know they're not the same thing, but, also, YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW. Or maybe you do. But, like I've said probably a million times before on this blog, this is just something I've always, always wanted to do.


Last time, I'd watched with a passive kind of interest as the authors took the stage and shared their words. There were one or two that I loved, but I was a tough audience. I enjoyed the evening immensely, but was okay with the program being short and sweet.

This time though, as each author was announced I was on the edge of my seat like I was reading a thriller. As the lists were read of the books that they had written and the magazines they'd contributed to and the other various and interesting ways that they used their skills, I leaned in. As they walked toward the stage with the confident, comfortable air of people eager to share their words, proud of their work but not arrogant about it, I found myself wanting to go up there too.

Which is weird and crazy, because I can't think of anything more terrifying than reading my very own, very personal words to a room full of literary snobs. But still, I thought to myself: wouldn't it be cool? To be one of those authors up there? Reading from my book?

I was, as they say, inspired. The kind of inspired that makes you feel like your legs are made of straw and your stomach is full of helium. It's not very comfortable, but it's also quite nice. I love hate it.

We'd been given raffle tickets as we entered the room. The last little event of the night was the draw for a door prize. I, full of inspiration and daydreams and naivety, held my ticket with both hands and thought to myself, rather dramatically, If I win this, it means something. Because I'm five. I quickly laughed the thought off. I know, I know, that that's not how life works. But my brain just gets so caught up in these things sometimes. And I feel like it's probably okay to let your imagination run around in the confines of your own head sometimes. Right?

So, anyway, the lady read the numbers off, and I mouthed them right along with her. "Nine," we said. "One, Four." We took a breath and paused for dramatic effect. "Three, eight, seven."

And then I said, right out loud, startling Hannah, who sat in the chair to the left of me, I said, "WHAT!?"

I know it didn't mean anything, but still. I stood up, and I walked to the front of the room. In front of everybody. Just like the six legitimate authors had done before me. For a very short minute, I pretended that I was one of them and that I was going to stand behind the podium and say, "Hi, guys. It's so great to be here. I'm going to be reading a small chunk out of my first novel, Violent V. I, uh, I really hope you like it."

It felt like I floated to the front of the room, but it was probably much more awkward than that. I am not a graceful human being. I headed straight for the podium, and at the last possible second, I turned to the man standing there and accepted my big blue gift bag. I bet he was thinking, Wow. I've never seen someone so excited to get a frisbee that says SaskPower on it.

What can I say? It's very nice, durable plastic.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Interesting Things

Can you tell I had so much to do and now, suddenly, have nothing to do at all?

Well. I shouldn't say "at all". There is, actually, plenty I could do. But Sullivan is asleep, and I am trying to be quiet. And normally this time of day I'd been sitting here doing a little research into Bolivia or naming imaginary people or trying to figure out how to make a certain character disappear into thin air in a way that is interesting and mysterious and traumatic and, also, noble.

So today, it really does feel like I have nothing to do at all and here I am. Talking your face off. I'm going to tell you all sorts of interesting things, (but mostly just things) about myself and my life as of late. You look curious.

First of all, I've wrecked my foot. Last Wednesday, I was walking out of my house and off of the step and suddenly I was over there on the ground saying, for lack of better words, "Nope! Nope! Nope!" I'm sure it's just sprained, but a week later it still hurts day and night and is a beautiful shade of bright purple-y blue. I can walk on it though, so that's good.


Yesterday, when I was walking on it, I stepped on a piece of glass. There was blood and more pain, and if I had not been able to walk, that wouldn't have happened, so I don't know.

You must think I'm very careless. I am.

What else?

Oh yes, one morning before work, I asked Barclay to cut my hair. He said no. He said, "I have to leave in ten minutes." I said that that was a valid point.

And then a week later, at about the same time, I asked him to cut my hair again. He said no, and I said, "But please? I just want it gone. It'll only take a minute."

So he did. He cut off 18 inches and then, guess what? I fainted. Right into his arms. I don't know why. It was weird.

So that's me in a nutshell. Hair cuts, foot cuts, etc. What a fine life we are livin.