Category Archives: Journal

celebrating a decade of word vomit

10yrs

 

I discovered this afternoon, while going through my notifications, that I am celebrating a milestone. I, of course, was oblivious to the fact that it has been ten years since I started writing, sharing, restarting, and writing some more here, but there it is. It is amazing to think back to that time. I was very timid about sharing anything that I had written in the beginning. After 10 years, I am still not 100% confident in sharing a story excerpt or poem, but I at least still do it. I save more pages now than I delete. I am still writing. It all says something, I am sure of it. Maybe. The one thing that I am very sure of is that I will continue to write whenever the spirit moves me to. I am grateful for the reminder today. I might even take some more time to digest and articulate how much of an impact that this milestone has on me but for now, I am just going to share a few ‘facts’ and get on with my day.

 

– la

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after the music

 

more photos from the weekend here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskAa1K9X

 

Over the weekend, I was one of about 150 volunteers who helped to cultivate the Home County Music and Art Festival in Victoria Park, London, Ontario. I sit on the board and have been working with an amazing team of individuals all year to get everything ready for the three day festival. Now that the weekend is over, and I have had a good solid 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep, I can sit down and look back (and appreciate) everything that we accomplished. In a week or so we will get together as a team to go over some of the finer details of what we could improve upon next year etc, but for now, I am happy to sit in reflection.

While I spent a great deal of the weekend in the admin trailer working, I did have the honour of announcing a few musicians and workshops over the course of the weekend. Being asked to introduce Lindy Vopnfjörð who performed between The Kramdens and The Sadies on Friday night was a treat. The humor was not lost on me being paired with Lindy. I am 5′ 3 1/2″ and he is 10 feet tall. My oldest commented afterwards that I looked especially tiny on stage. I bet I did! I also was lucky enough to introduce the Music in Folk workshop with John Wort Hannam, David Francey and Scallywag on Sunday afternoon. The joy for me was not so much being on stage but to have the opportunity to meet everyone, chat briefly and most of all listen to them perform. I was thankful that I managed not to trip on any cords while doing my job, and that I could retreat to the trailer afterwards! One moment I will never forget was joining everyone onstage at the end of the festival for the finale. The one time being the short one actually paid off and I found myself front and center.

I will admit my favorite time spent at the festival, outside of working, was wander listening with my camera. The festival always rekindles my love of live music, and reminds me over and over again that there is just no way to replace the experience of standing next to a stage with musicians from three different bands who all just decide to jam together over Neil Young. Amazing. The Kramdens, Twin Fin and Elliott Brood came together for the Folk ‘n Roll workshop and just killed it. There are a lot of memorable moments from Home County over the years, and that workshop will definitely go down as one of the top ones.

Thank you goes out to all of the volunteers and musicians who made the magic happen this weekend. As I start now to prepare for surgery at the end of next month, I will look back on Home County this weekend with great fondness and fill my recovery with music that I was able to scoop up at the Merch tent!

unfolding the bloom

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I imagined that I could start the month by letting go of all of the things I no longer needed. If not all, at least some. There were the obvious ones that were easy to let go off after so long. The old wedding pictures, except for one with me and my dad. The things that the kids had told me they did not want after they moved out. The two dozen mismatched coffee mugs that I never used. It was harder to let go of things I had made. I left the drawings and paintings to the last. Which should I keep? I asked myself looking at the pile left on the bedroom floor. Everything else except the bed frame had been moved already to the new place. I picked two pieces, and bagged the rest of them. I left it all at the curb of my old apartment, knowing that today it would be picked up by the garbage truck. I drove to the city afterwards with a mix of lightness and despair that I knew would sit with me for some days. I am still letting go.

I want to be light. I am watch the sun climb its way up higher into the sky this morning, stepping over roof tops and tree limbs to sit basking in the clear blue sky. I want to do that and climb over the remnants of the past that I brought with me, thinking oh maybe I will need that in order to get through the day. Really I don’t. I need only to get up in the morning, climb into the sky and let the day do what it does to feel lighter. Not that looking back and having memories is a bad thing of course. I don’t think they are. I like to look back at old photographs from time to time, and while I sometimes don’t remember the actual moment the picture was taken, I can see familiar faces. Except for the box that I went through last night. I opened it, thinking that it was filled with something else. I was fully prepared to chuck everything inside into garbage bags, because I thought it was something that I could easily be rid of from my past, except that it wasn’t. It was filled instead with old photographs from my birth mother’s family that I did not remember having. Old photographs of people I did not know from her family, photographs of me as a child, of my brother and sister, of my cousins, aunts and uncles. I don’t even remember how I came to own these photographs, but they are amazing. Going through each one it felt like opening petals of a flower. A past a barely knew. I will get smaller boxes to hold the photos to keep them safe. Slowly I will make digital copies and share them with my cousins to find out who some of the people are because I don’t know them. I want to. I need to look through this window to know.

My stomach tells me that I need to eat. I need to make coffee as well, although I have not had much this week because I have not been feeling well. Maybe I will make another cup of tea instead. Then the day will really begin.

la

[ note: for the next week or so I will try to sit down and just write a page or so of freefall. The gist of writing like this is that you write whatever comes up for about 10 or 20 minutes depending on how long you feel to write. Sometimes I might not share what is written – depending on what came up, but mostly I will. No promises on the quality. The main rule aside from writing what comes up, is that there is no editing allowed. What you see is what I just wrote. Grammar nerds… I’m sorry (but not really)]

letting go, beginning and diving in

my little red box

I have a bad habit of starting projects and abandoning them midway through. Usually it is not because I have become bored with the project, but more because I have run out of time to give to it. There are only so many hours in the day and up until recently I have not been able to spend a lot of time working on the things that I ‘want’ to do. Instead, I have been doing things for others (which I don’t regret at all) and the normal “stuff that I must do” eats away at the bulk of my time. However, with some recent significant changes in my life, I am making more time for myself. Some of that might be enforced due to health reasons, but it is almost entirely by choice.
One of the “projects” I will be returning to is writing. I have all but abandoned it in recent years. I didn’t realize just how much of it I had given up until I decided to go through my old writing and archive it all. Aside from discovering that I have a ridiculous amount of writing that is sitting unedited in the files (ie. 371 stories and 4422 pages… whaaat!?), I could see quite clearly when I basically stopped writing regularly. The stories stopped being written, poetry came in dribs and drabs and I let the dam become blocked by what was going on in my life at the time. It’s ok that it did. In many ways it was very necessary to do that but I am ready to get back to it. I have been ready for a while, but realistically it was not possible until well, today. So here I am.
The process of moving to a different city, letting go physically of a great many things (including all of my old artwork) and clearing the slate for a new chapter in my life (har har) I am ready to begin again. It might not end up being very frequent in the short term, because there is a possibility that I will be heading into hospital fairly soon, but regardless, I am mentally there, writing.
One of the exercises that I used to do with my writing group before was to write a page a day, or what we used to call a five day writing retreat. I want to get back to doing that again. It can be a very fun and insightful exercise. I have always been amazed by what can come up while doing a five day writing retreat…. And today will be the first day that I dive in. Wish me luck!

aging gracefully – it’s a shame really.

{warning} I am grumpy today and this post might lean on the ranty side.

There are those who say to me that I should be grateful when it happens. There are those who say “Oh you are lucky” blah blah, but to be perfectly honest, I am not. I don’t find it funny or complementary at all. We live in a world where people are judged 100% of the time by how they look on the outside. Every time I am mistaken for being much younger than I am, a few things happen. After I get the past the shaming for not being the age that the person that I was, and the “oh you don’t look that old” or the I should be grateful bit, I realize that I am being judged on something that has nothing to do with me.

Age , much like physical appearance, is an arbitrary idea after all. So is the construct of what the process of growing older should be/ is. There is a strange expectation that I encounter almost daily in the workplace or socially that a person should wear their age/ experience appropriately and that I should look like I am turning 47 in eight months, not 27 (although I was recently mistaken for being younger than 19 when trying to buy wine at the liquor store). Even those ‘let us guess how old you are by your face’ apps peg me in the late teens, early twenties. Stupid.

I wouldn’t really care if these mistakes didn’t impact me directly, but of course, they do. I have been on the receiving end of some pretty harsh criticism in the past because I looked too young to really know how to do anything in the line of work that I was in. Too young meant too inexperienced to have an opinion let alone the ability to get the work done and well. It can be very frustrating when it happens because the end result invariably is my opinion does not count because I have no experience to back it up (very frustrating when I was job hunting let me tell you).

People also think I am lying to them and I am forced to show (in some cases) identification to “prove” that I am as old as I say I am. Imagine what a pain in the ass that is going to be like for me when I am trying to get the Seniors’ Discount!?? Bloody hell. I am annoyed already.

So what is the point of this mild rant? Well, how often do you form an opinion about someone based on what they look like and how old you think that they are? I have become hyper aware of it as a result of being judged that way constantly. I have decided that it is just another mechanism we use collectively to discriminate and put people down, to shame them for being who they are. We use it as an excuse to dismiss others, and to stay their voice. Why? To somehow make ourselves ‘feel’ better, superior, more worthy. Sorry though – I don’t buy it.

One of the biggest reasons why I hate looking at a photograph of myself or having my photo taken is because of this inevitable judgement on what I look like. Like anyone else, I have wrestled with self esteem issues (hell I still wrestle, I won’t lie) based on my physical appearance and the shaming I have been a target of. Add age shaming on top of that and you get a sense of the reality. It will never end. The bottom line is: To be age positive or body positive or positive period should never come at the expense of putting someone else down. (d’uh). Shaming is not overcome by more shaming. Period.

end of rant.