Friday, October 30, 2009

a few of my favourite things

1) Mat Kearney-Closer to Love from City of Black and White-going to see him Sunday!!

2) French roast from Starbucks

3) Anatomy of Gray-"We all come from loss and from love"

4) Beeswax tea lights

5) The White House in Fort Langley-you will think you've died and gone to heaven at Christmas time!

6) Scott Micheal Foster and Siren's Eye-check out Go Away and Falling on myspace

melon call een de fall

I have always been a lover of waves. The crash-beauty of the beach. The sun and even the salt. I love flip-flops and walking leisurely with friends. So when, about five years ago, I first dropped out of the sky and landed in California, I knew I had found a home for all the longings of my soul.
But today as I sit in perfect couch-pajama squishyness, candles lit, the gray sky framed by late autumn-yellow and wet brown bark, I am filled with lovely, thoughtful moodiness. Sunshine makes me run and waves make me swim and laugh, but they can't make me think.
It's the dark skies that make me aware of who I am. I always thought that I didn't need the seasons. But I do. The sunshine to be and the clouds to know. The dark moments of my life actually serve to enliven the luminous ones. The way that darkness and light are interspersed throughout my life is what gives me hope and pause, and I need both.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

can we go back?

I have just began reading the autobiography of Sidney Poitier, a recommendation of my mother's, and found myself remembering the last autobiography that I read, Child of the Jungle. Both begin with childhood's spent in simplicity. Both experienced their first years of life without television, advertising and a bombardment of stimuli. As Sidney described his early years on Cat Island in the Bahamas, how he fished and roamed and lived his childhood literally just him and the world around him, something within me stood up and shouted "Amen!"

Similarly, the girl (who's name I have lost) in the aforementioned 'other' autobiography had such an uncomplicated experience. Just her and her siblings and the children of the tribe with whom they lived. They climbed trees and picked fruit. They nearly drowned and learned to swim. They taught themselves games and made spears and arrows out of the rocks and trees.

Both stories are replete with tragedy and hardship. But in societies of less and even no sense of entitlement, death and loss are not abhorred, avoided and stamped out. They are accepted. This is what happens. When you fall into the river and the current catches you, you drown. Then your family weeps, they have a public and emotional ritual to say goodbye and honour you, and then they move on.

In a world of luxury and convenience death seems unacceptable. We spend our entire lives, and really Western Civilization's entire existence trying to beat death. Medicine and health-related advances mean that no one should have to suffer. Even common Christian-thinking, that Christ died for us and therefore we should not suffer, but in his power rise above it, denies pain, sickness and grief a place in our lives.

I believe in Christ's power to heal, that his presence on earth and in my life changes things. But he wept when Lazarus died, not for Lazarus, but for those who were left behind. And I don't know exactly what it means for me that he did take on all pain and human-condition crap when he went up on the cross, but surely it doesn't mean that we should chase health and youth to the point of denying that life here on earth in these bodies does end.

So what I want to know now is how can I for myself and for my family to come, embrace a more rooted, organic life. How can I give my children a holistic and life-affirming experience. How can I learn to accept pain in my life.

(Now this would be a great time to send down answers on a scroll, or a banquet hall wall...anything clear and definitive would be greatly appreciated).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

forlorn never looked so good

Autumn crunches
beneath my boots
and I pull at the cuffs
of my sweater
tuck fingers inside

I breathe in gasps
the gingery
scent of fall
lost in the lines
the curve of every bough

I choose to climb
the lookout
high and lonely
leave fears below
for some other day

I trample through
the bramble swarms
on an unremarkable slab
a concrete reminder
of brevity

And the deepest ember
glows with pleasure
at the crunch beneath boot
the inhalation of spicy-sweet
the happy-lonely view
the past-lives of this place

This is how I choose
to remember today

The day I turned

Friday, August 21, 2009

today in the park

I asked fate to meet me
today in the park,
the third bench from
the pond; I sat
skirt newly pressed
damp hands clasped

I asked fate to meet me
because I always wondered
what made him shake with laughter
and about that look in his eye
when he saw me

I asked fate to meet me
a little after seven
when the air sparkled
clean with rain
and the sun settled down

I asked fate to meet me
so that I would not
sit here alone, my hand tucked in his
we’d speak of the everything
not yet said

I asked fate to meet me
knowing it was easier than
asking you
but he did not show and without him
I alone am answerable for this
half-empty bench

Thursday, June 18, 2009

my pursuit of happiness

So today I signed my first legally-binding rental agreement, handed over a wad of cash, interviewed for a babysitting job and had a fly breathe its last in my eye. And all of these events led to greater happiness? Yes, indeed they did.

My new apartment will be too small and it doesn't have laundry and maybe the neighbour's dog will drive me nuts, but the apartment will be mine. I can hang things on the wall and have dinner parties and crazy fights with my lovely roommate. All of these seem like luxuries after ten months of living virtually alone in a brand-new-still-for-sale house with only the landlord's mother for company. It has been a good place for me...but I am ready to leave the dream house behind for a real home.

I love living in a place where people want to know you, where more than surface level relationships are formed and where people you only know as customers at the store where you work, pass on your number to their friends who need a babysitter. I love arriving (on borrowed bicycle) at a home and having my knock met by a little face in the window and a child's British accent calling out "Hello Kim! Mum, Kim's here!"

And as for the fly, well it too has led to pleasant moments in my life. I encountered the unfortunate fellow while cycling back from the interview and on my way to find my roommate a job. Concerned after excessive blinking and rubbing did not dislodge him from my eye, I entered the first place I came to, an odd cafe run by an unfriendly couple and their adult son, none of whom seemed to love their job. I first asked for their washroom, though after I saw the look on the proprietor's face I felt obligated to become a customer. And I could smell the cinnamon buns from the moment I entered so it wasn't really a hard thing to do. Then he asked if I wanted something to drink and I felt obligated to order tea though water would have sufficed.

Only then did I remember I had no money allotted for frivolous and fattening spending...damn. But then the sullen couple brought me my food and drink and it all became worthwhile because I now had the simple pleasure of sitting in peace on the sidewalk with a crazy-good cinnamon bun and hot English tea.

And this is how I pursue happiness. I seek out moments and opportunities that bring me happiness. I make choices that afford me these chances. And sometimes I just fall into it all. I think this kind of pursuit benefits the soul and makes other forms of happiness seem a little less worth chasing.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

take this cup

I find myself thinking a lot about suffering. Usually my thought process goes something like this: "Why do I have to go through this?! Don't I deserve better? Doesn't God want good things for me? Haven't I been told over and over again in church that God is willing to give me every good thing, I have only to ask?" Then why the hell do I have to suffer?

This week I have been thinking a lot about suffering, but not so much "why do I have to suffer?", as "why is suffering so unacceptable to me?". When I look at the development of Western culture, specifically in North America, I realize that we have been tirelessly working towards our ultimate goal of personal happiness. Convenience, efficiency and entitlement are three of our most cherished values.

Having experienced significant loss in my own life, I am always shocked and amazed at the way in which grief and loss of life are dealt with in other cultures. The acceptance of illness and death in traditional cultures is worlds away from my own experience. I do not understand, but am drawn inexplicably to public displays of grief; oh to have permission to scream, tear your clothing and ultimately to share your emotion with others.

But we are islands here in North America. We do not expose ourselves unnecessarily. We, in our pursuit of individual happiness, have actually condemned ourselves to individual and isolated pain.

How can I get outside of my Canadian-raised brain, and accept that suffering is part of the deal. I am not entitled to a free and happy existence. I have to slog through the crap like the rest of the world. And maybe, there is an upside, (because we North Americans have to find an upside) which is that my experience of suffering and isolation can move me towards compassion and empathy for someone else.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

a few of my favourite things

  1. Kings of Leon
  2. My new computer-gift from my genius brother and a thousand times faster than my old one, though I can't bear to stop using it...we've been through a lot together.
  3. Summer sun on a south-facing porch
  4. Poladroid-download for free and turn the photos on your computer into polaroid-like pics!
  5. Indie 101.3-out of LA and a wonderful escape from our local, corporately-dictated radio play
  6. MAC makeup
  7. Darlene Cole-amazing artist
  8. Tom Miller's Trading with the Enemy-A Yankee's Travels Through Castro's Cuba
  9. Seat sales with Westjet
  10. True Value Vintage on Robson Street

begin at the beginning

If personalities were political parties, I'd be the NDP. Type A but not really living up to my potential or ideals. Starting this blog is me attempting to further my creative aspirations. I want to read, write, think and have something worth saying. I feel constantly stuck in a cycle of underachievement, starting many things and finishing very few. I hope this blog will help me to kick-start a new era in which I care more, do more and ultimately become more of the person I should be. Big dreams? Yes, always.
So if you take the time to read this, I'd love to hear what you think. I mean otherwise I should just be writing in a coil-bound notebook that will only be read posthumously, right? My biggest hangups come from not beginning because I fear failure from the outset. So here least three people will now know a goal I have set for myself and I am counting on you three to keep me accountable.

"Write what you think. What you feel. Write because it's the only way you'll get better. Write because it will teach you. Write because you want to."
Ok fine, I will.