Showing posts from October, 2018

When Questions Aren't and Neither Are Requests

A long time ago, in a country that feels increasingly far, far away, I learned something important: Many sentences with a ? at the end are NOT actually questions. (I was probably watching Dr. Phil. Don't @ me.) Here are a couple of sentences that read as questions that aren't actually questions: * How could you do this to me? * What were you thinking? Recently I've (re-)discovered a corollary: Many requests for input/feedback/thoughts are NOT sincere requests. Silly me, I keep forgetting this corollary. So if someone asks what I think, I forget my lines.  Here are some things I'm supposed to say instead of giving my opinion, even in a setting when we are all ostensibly encouraged to give input, even when I'm not taking the space of someone whose voice is traditionally underrepresented, even when I've been asked: * Gosh, I don't know. What do you think? * It's perfect as it is--no changes needed! * Oh, I'm sure you're right! R

Good Writing by Women

Good reading recently! 1. Tanis MacDonald, Out of Line . Thoughts on being an artist outside of The Big City (as you define it). Addresses lots of issues of class. Contains lots of truths, both hard and inspiring. * "What is there to say about not winning, or even not being nominated? This is the state in which most writers live their lives" (p. 163). * "Artists need to be sensitive, but they also need to be tough" (p.  169). * "Don't worry about a grand plan. Produce work. Make stuff" (p. 174). 2. The simply lovely blog by Alberta writer Shawna Lemay, Transactions with Beauty  A photographer and writer, she shares words AND images AND bits of poetry from others. It's a treat to dip in, and she updates often. Here's just one recent thought, from a few months that have felt especially difficult (although perhaps most times feel especially difficult). * "But there's something about good writing by women that makes me feel les

Swirling Leaves

A quintessential October image: coloured leaves. Lighting a tree. Swirling through the air. Chasing other leaves down a rivulet. Lying on the ground in splendid repose. After an intense and busy season--"season of life," not specifically this summer, though that too--all my focus, attention, intensity, whatever you call it, seems to be devoted to sleeping and goofing around. I'm trying to listen to myself, which includes listening to my body. Because who knows, really, how long this turn will last--the turn toward fallow, toward rest, toward yin from yang. Yang in the weather will re-approach in the spring, with the sun, but other outward-facing projects might appear regardless of weather. A couple of leaves I've been chasing around: 1. The unique satisfaction of a reading wonderful library book that turns out to be every bit as wonderful as was claimed. I feel this especially keenly because the previous library book turned out to be a dud--though that's


It's Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. I'm grateful for women who speak up at great personal cost. I'm grateful for the opportunity to vote, even when it is the very definition of an exercise in futility. I'm grateful for people who wield their power to make life just a little easier for those around them. Today, for example, I read a tweet from a teacher who talked openly with his students about navigating higher education. He told them that they were welcome to ask him for help with assignments, how to schedule an appointment to talk with him or other professors, that deadlines could be altered for some situations, that it's always better to be upfront about struggling than pretend you're on top of things or know what's happening. He's using his power and position to help level the playing field for students who are the first in their families to access higher education. He's making explicit those norms and unwritten rules that those familia


Words to describe North America: worried, tumultuous, fevered, agonized, enraged, weary. * Some weeks are like that. Last week. For example. Probably this week, too. * 0 * Some weeks, you know you're fragile. Cracks appear. Some weeks, you can hold it together. Like this. Some weeks, you can't. And that's OK, too. * 0 * *Are we in North America lucky? Or perhaps, "lucky"? We're still here. We have not yet been swept away in flash floods, mudslides, wars. Our homes aren't flooded or crumbled. I acknowledge our affluence.