Friday, August 24, 2007

summer drizzle

The air was so damp last night that the clothes I hung to dry overnight still felt wet in the morning. All that humidity broke the sky apart with thunder-showers and today is a drizzly, foggy day. Which I adore.

Rainy day photo by my brother

I am reading up a storm these days, probably in preparation for a return to the world of text books and papers. A place where there is no (very little) time for fun fiction. I have discovered an interest in graphic novels recently, which probably started when I read Chris Baldwin's Bruno online earlier this summer. I loved it, and it has led to some more truly lovely pieces of work. I really had no idea that people were using the medium of comics (well sort of comics) in such incredible ways. I am reading a great kid's book right now called Predator's Gold, which is the second of a four book series (Hungry Cities Chronicles) by Philip Reeve, who is fast becoming a favorite author of mine. What a brilliant setting! He imagined up a world in the distant future where, after the "60-minute war", the ground becomes unable to sustain life so the cities of the world become mobile. Countries are dissovled and people are citizens only of their city. The (albeit distored) law of Darwinism prevails, with larger, faster cities eating the smaller ones, and using the resources they havest to sustain their own city. It sounds pretty bleak, but of course it is the humanity of the characters and how they cope in this situation which makes the story work so well. Even though it is a strange, heart-breaking idea, I think the imagery of enormous many-tiered cities roaming vast plains like great clockwork beasts is stunning.

Next week is my last week of full time work and then I am back to student-land (and only working one day a week). Even though it means temporarily reading less of the things I choose, I am kind of looking forward to it. And kind of stressed about it. Not stressed about the homework I will have to do per se… after all I have become a veritable magician of getting-stuff-done-through-procrastination. But stressed about being stuck there. Stuck doing the same thing forever. What if my purgatory is school?

I wrote a post last week about the return to school, and that is still what I am feeling. Uncertain and even sometimes ever so slightly ashamed of where I am in "life". But at the same time completely joyfull about this crazy adventure (life?) and not the least bit worried about a destination. I know which feeling I want to cultivate and which one I want to squash! But since they are both still present, I guess for now, I have to sit with them both, honour them both.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

good morning...

The sky this morning was like the underside of a quilt. Light came through only in tiny pin-pricks, as if through seams. Looking up, it felt like someone had whipped the covers over our heads and made a tent of our bedclothes.

Photo of Montreal skyline from Getty Images

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A snail's pace

I love these late summer evenings, all buttery breezes and endless skies. I am digging in to the anticipation of autumn, which is my true favourite time of year, but I can still whole heartedly appreciate the resplendent summery now.
I am (once again) looking forward to school, which starts in a few short weeks. It is hard to believe that even after all these many years of study I can still feel excited about the prospect of new text books, lectures, papers and the messy stress of it all. But I do.
School is so familiar, and I have ample evidence that it is a place where I can succeed. But it is also challenging, and I know well how very much there still is to learn. I sometimes feel that I am a terrible slowpoke at "life", and that I am somehow not passing the stages I am meant to pass at the appropriate times. I sometimes wonder how on earth I can still be doing this whole university thing at my age. But then other times I can't help but chuckle a bit at it all (and myself) and think that I am doing just fine. I am obviously doing things at my own pace, in my own way. If I truly wanted to be doing something else, to be somewhere else, then I believe that I would be over there doing it. It is clear that some core part of my self simply refuses to be rushed by anyone, least of all me. As much as this trait sometimes frustrates me, I also have a grudging respect for it. It forces me to pay attention.

I have learned so much and I have been witness to so many mysteries unraveling right in my palms. How could I possibly ever want to change the path I've walked? Were a djinn to pop out of my teapot tonight and offer to do so, I would never ask him to alter my past. Even though it might also erase my mountainous debt and possibly return me to a thinner (healthier?) body it would mean that I would not be me anymore. And I like me. I feel a great deal of pressure from "out there" to try harder to get my act together. I sometimes believe that I would be happier with just a bit more money and a bit less girth. Even though I know how tied into the mass hysteria version of how things should be those messages are, they still seduce me with their fairy tales. I don't watch tv (it is in the closet, unplugged and dusty). I don't read magazines. I am fairly selective about what I read and/or download online. The only radio I listen to is cbc. I shop only very rarely. And yet those nasty messages still find me. So sneaky.
I just wish I could hold onto that certainty that I am marching to my own snail-drummer. There are panels of judges and critics that sit in my head and send out constant streams of negative feedback. As I said, there are times when I can laugh at them. When I can turn them into the two old geezers on the muppet show who complained all the time from the balcony, and I can brush off their bile with confidence. I can say: this life I am living is great! I have made fantastic choices, albeit unconventional, and I am thrilled to be this Christine. Other times though, it is much harder to silence them.

snail photo by my brother