" SpiritofSaltSpring:BC:Canada:GulfIslands:SaltSpring:Salt Spring:

February 17, 2012

Baby Steps in the Big City

"Well, that’s a new technique," he said after I showed him my poor knee. "Haven’t heard that one before. So, you hurled yourself touchdown-style in the middle of a crosswalk in downtown Vancouver hoping, maybe, that prince charming might come to your rescue, on Valentine’s Day, no less. A bit desperate don't ya think?"

Some women get chocolates. Some get roses. Some get, well, you know, but me, I prefer to lay, splayed on concrete, shocked and dazed.

I wasn’t looking for sympathy. I just tripped; one of those spectacular, I think I can recover falls that has you moving even faster, almost parallel to the sidewalk, in a hopeless attempt at recovery. It would have been better if I’d just let go and fallen down, immediately.  

I was wearing the new boots I’d bought with the 3 inch wedge. They weren't purple but they were suede.  And, just as one must acclimatize to rural living  and learning how to dress down when, say, you move to Salt Spring, when you move back to the city you have to learn how to ramp it back up. That means you have to trade hiking boots and comfortable, flat black shoes or flip flops for something with heels.  
When it comes to jobs, some people focus on salary, benefits, vacation but one of my greatest priorities seems to have become, Can I dress in a way that lets me still feel like me? Can I wear jeans?

I started a month-long job thanks to "all employment eminates from Karen McD" and I was rushing, on Valentine’s Day, to the bank to deposit what seemed like pretty easy money. Then, at the corner of Howe and Pender, the rubber on the bottom of my boot got momentarily stuck and set in motion a maneuvering toward my spectacular spill.  If the traffic light hadn’t been in my favour, I might have been run right over or broken my nose on the side of a passing BMW.

It always happens so fast. One minute you’re upright, the next you’re sprawled almost licking the pavement, the world a blur of sneakers, boots and legs moving dreamlike past your head. 

"Are you okay?"  I heard a voice from above. 

I didn't even answer. Moving not yet possible. Arms reached down to help me up. Some nice young guy. I limped back to the sidewalk with his help, more shocked than embarrassed, keenly aware that I would have been laughing hysterically had I witnessed myself as the passengers in the cars a few feet away waiting at the light on this one-way street surely had. 

I leaned up against the side of the building housing INGDirect. Just stood there for a while, while dizziness rushed slowly into my head.  I touched my knee. Gauged the chance of passing out. Clutched my wallet and looked, well,  probably very strange, to those who hadn’t seen what had just transpired.  Standing there, just staring, leaning against the bank, I’m sure I looked as if I might have amnesia or dementia, confused about which direction to head next. Maybe she forgot where her office was I could hear their thoughts.

"Somebody is sure to have it on video," he said as he took another swig of his beer.  "You should put a sign up on one of the poles near there." It could just say, Spectacular fall happened here on Valentines Day. Anybody catch it on your cell? Post on Facebook. Tag me.”  

"Very funny," I said, snidely. 

An even bigger surprise? i didn't break anything or skin my chin. So, these do have a purpose, I thought, looking down at my chest. Thank god for cushioning. 

The only damage to my right knee, scraped and bloody.  A small price to pay, I suppose, in exchange for learning how to get up early again, get out and get dressed to pretend you fit - yes you do - in the big city. 

PS: That is not me, above! :-)

February 02, 2012

Ode to the Writing Compulsion

There is a lot of writing to sort out these days. There's the SFU Writer's Studio writing which is really THE writing that matters to me right now, and will for at least the next year.

Then there are the ideas and queries to write that are a constant swirl in my head, driving me to distraction, to the point that I have started Mindmapping out the ideas and which magazines might make sense to target in a never ending attempt to make some money from freelance writing.

Then, there's this Blog which, isn't important, just my reprieve and my indulgence as you may have noticed.

Oh, and then there's everything else: Life.
I feel that I should write a Dear John letter to my friends for the year ahead because nothing is more important to me this year than trying to finish some writing that I want to do (and complete).  So, I forgive you for not understanding because I know some of you are wondering why I don't just get a job and be happy. Have money. Plan vacations. Get back on track after a departure that began with Salt Spring and seems to have turned a mid-life detour into a round the world excursion that's created a full-blown 9-5 refugee.

How can I explain? I can't really. But I'll put it this way. Writing is a bit like the state that you enter right before you fall asleep and right before you wake up. Even though, to an outsider, you may look like you're there, you're not. You're still back on the last paragraph of the thing you wrote. You're still wondering if in that query letter you should have put the first sentence of the second paragraph as the lead sentence or if the first sentence is alright afterall. So, if I look at you blankly when you've just asked a question or I say Yes and it makes no sense as the answer to your question, it may be because I'm not actually with you yet. I'm still with me. In my head. Again.

Am I having the kind of time we've all had at 17 about to scare the hell out of ourselves on the roller coaster at the PNE, screaming like a banshee (whatever those are) right before the 95 year old box on wheels heads down the rickety tracks full speed ahead. Wheeeeeee! No.
Am I experiencing the pleasure of being 20-something again, necking on the rocks at Lighthouse park with a cute boy and the sun warming everything on a brilliant August day? Not even close. I'm not having that kind of time and at the same time, I don't want to be anywhere else. Where I am feels where I'm supposed to be. So, please forgive me. Show some mercy.

Think of it this way. In the same way I have been known to look at each one of you at some point in time and wondered how you could put up with so much, asking myself like a detective trying to solve some British Murder Mystery why the hell you don't just stop, I'm asking you to recognize that for me, my compulsion, my vocation, is my writing; a pre-destined friend, the kind who chose me.

So, I'm asking you to indulge me in the same way I begrudgingly accept those things I see in your own lives that make me crazy and then maybe you'll  understand.  It's just me, at 50, knowing it's now or never to do what has mattered forever for reasons I've never really understood ever since I was born.

So, thanks. In advance. For your patience. Or not.