Not In The Past

Looking forward from 30

Archive for the month “December, 2011”

Let the words come through my head and pour out

When I write, it’s with a spirit of nobility.  It’s to extinguish some form of fire that’s threatening to gut me and let your soul collapse on itself like tinder.  Or perhaps I just seek some form of recognition that the ideas bouncing around in my head aren’t just giving me a headache.   I let the fire and the headache keep going until it gets to a point where I have to lock myself in the room and let my fingers lose control on the keys, guarding the noise so that it doesn’t bother anyone and invite curiosity.

There’s always a hesitation though.  When I sit here typing, I get wrapped up with trying to get the post done and published that I often feel like what I post is not my best work.  And when I let everything build up, and I edit things over time, I wonder if there’s too much disconnection between the individual segments of what I write about.  I’m too critical of what I write and need to let myself trust my instincts before I can really make any use of them.

In 2004-05, my friend and I co-wrote a screenplay that was loose Don Quixote with college basketball players still clinging to past glories.  I always loved rereading the script because I had gotten to know and love these two people we built up and took from Duluth to New York.  My friend has written a few more pieces since then, and I loved reading and rereading every one of them, all full of detail and life.  He is the one who restarted the spark in myself that made me want to write again, and has encouraged me to keep at it all this time, but I wish I had a completed work to send him.

When I try to brainstorm and create a world, they all feel hollow, echoes of characters I had found before.  I’m afraid to know who these characters are, and I don’t know what world they really inhabit.  I wonder if I even have the ability to even know the characters and recognize the unspoken language between them.

Enough waffling, though.  I have made this my goal: I will have something complete to send out for feedback instead of the aimless scraps that I abandon or ignore.

RIP Joe Bodolai

crossposted from my other blog Existentialist Weightlifting:

When I logged into the SNL message board this afternoon, I saw that Joe Bodolai was found dead of an apparent suicide.  I had a bad feeling it was going to come to this before: I actually had seen his final post posted a few days before Christmas, and it did worry me based on the finality of it all, and sent him a message.  We had been twitter buddies (for what that means) since February, and we replied and retweeted each other quite a bit since then.  He had quite the life, and an unsung importance in the world of Canadian comedy: SNL, Kids In The Hall and Comics! were three of the shows he worked on.  I never met the man in real life, but if going by what he left online reflects who he was, he was someone who had seen and accomplished so much, and helped so many people on their way, and was generous enough to even offer a few words of encouragement about my own writing.  He leaves behind a lot of friends that miss him (I recommend that you read Tara Dublin’s post about him) and of course family and co-workers.  His pain is over.  We’re left to make whatever sense we can of the whole thing.

Thanks for everything, Joe.

Christmas, belief, and political correctness

I got a lot for Christmas this year: an Inuit sculpture and the complete series of Barney Miller from my sister, a sketchbook from my parents, as well as a few other CDs, DVDs, books and things.  Christmas dinner was exceptional: the traditional turkey, potatoes, squash, carrots, beans and gravy.

This is the time of year where people wish each other “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Holidays”, and “Season’s Greetings”.  More and more, especially in the opinion pages of the news people, some people are fighting against political correctness and saying things to the effect of “I don’t care if I offend people, I’m celebrating CHRISTmas, not Holidays”.   That whole line of posturing  just comes off as extremely defensive and condescending to me.  Wishing people well is not a competition.  Some people believe and some people don’t, and I have no problem with people saying either.  A simple “Merry Christmas” is fine: the process of adding those other words about fighting the political correctness and secularization seems to add the implication of “I couldn’t care less if your Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Yule is good or bad”.   You’re not going to know who celebrates Christmas just by looking at them.  I’m fine with Happy Holidays because not only is it inclusive of other beliefs, “holidays” can be the entire Thanksgiving to Epiphany timeframe: either way, Christmas is included.  The whole idea of a “war on Christmas” makes less sense when the holiday as it is celebrated today is largely comprised of re-appropriated traditions.  It’s not like athiests are forbidding a private celebration in the home or completely outlawing the sale of anything that actually says “Christmas”.  The Puritans were more opposed to Christmas than whatever the most vocal of the right-wing evangelicals say is opposing it these days.

I have a problem with some forms of political correctness, particularly when it ends up being more patronizing than anything (“handi-capable” or “differently abled” come to mind), or when it ends up making a concept so abstract with its over-deliberate choice of words.  I don’t doubt the whole concept was noble in intention, but with so many things, it gets corrupted by our own shitty human nature.

Next year…

I had a few goals for the last year that didn’t exactly pan out.  Most new year’s resolutions tend not to anyway, but I do think I at least feel a little more open, and a little better connected than I did last year.  I managed to get out of town a few times, including a weekend in Fredericton back in April, a week in Halifax in July, and another fortnight down there in November.

I definitely think it is time for a new start next year.  I have to get out of Miramichi fast…pretty much everyone I’ve talked to about this agrees.  The goal is to get down to Halifax as soon as something happens on the employment horizon.  I think maybe I need to do something for New Year’s Eve though: my usual New Years celebration is staying at home and having a drink or two.  When “home” means my parents’ home, I get the urge to leave a little more because we have different ideas of what a good time is.  I see the patterns my life tends to fall into and I have to wonder if I can break some of the less appealing cycles, or if these are a manifestation of something fundamental about myself.

I wonder how radical my reboot needs to be.  The last time I started over, when I moved to Riverview almost four years ago, it didn’t feel so much like a radical change even though I was basically starting fresh in a new city without too many people I knew.  Back then, though, I wasn’t as brave as I realize I am now.  Half the stuff I’ve posted on here I wouldn’t have dreamed of posting four years ago, and I’ve been able to build a bit of a community for myself online because I had the courage to be who I am.  In a way, this move feels different.

I talk about moving to Halifax, but I wonder if maybe I need to go further than that eventually if I am to get anywhere.  I love Halifax, mainly because childhood memories have had it be the basis of what a city was, but I also have a lot of friends down there, there seems to be enough going on socially and culturally, and compared to other places there’s a more open mind about certain things.  Part of me wants to go further, though.

I wonder if I can make a living through writing or taking pictures.  Right now, career-wise, I can only think of what’s in front of me.  And a lot of the options I know I easily qualify for do not appeal to me in the least.  I honestly do feel at time that six years in a call centre has cancelled out my degree.

See where this takes me

I never seem to scratch beyond the initial ideas of what I come up with in my five minute free writes, and lately it feels like a chore.  Part of it is because I’m back at home, and back in a sort of holding pattern that I don’t necessarily like being in but feels nonetheless too comfortable to leave, at least for the time being.  I feel like part of me needs to have more experience (or at least more varied experience) before I can really write, because otherwise my mind goes stale.  I find myself repeating the same old lines and concepts, but not really finding a groove or an exploration.  Maybe it’s a sign that I’m writing with an audience in mind again, not trusting my inner voice (or some other vague new agey terminology).

The days seem to blur together now.  Before I know it, the year will be over.

Five-minute free write

Silence is mocking me like watter.  Push the door, and let your foot trip over the railing, and then nothing yells out if we are questioning our direction.  The fall will not be long.  Right and left they approach us with steel knives dancing around, and I think it’s time to go to bed, but then the bed fills with books and I am caught trying to read.  Time to let instinct take over, and to avoid conscious thought, trickle down the drain like drops of urine, and wells spring the shuffling noises we all dream of making as we do this shit in our bed.  I think it is time to let go of the real, the rehearsed and let your gut drive you half a world away, escape your body and escape your safety.  The west walleyed peyke cigars and wisdom fires off a red hot question towards your eyes.  The answer is coming out of your backside and we all know what you mean.  The chase is on, not so much of a a train of thought but of the unbridled madman that lies in your fingertips as they hesitate and pause as they type this story about the big lie.  T

Five minute free-write

It’s all surface mnoise and sparks.   Once I was on an upper floor of a cicrular hotel building, the swimming pool on the top floor and awkwardly circling the elevator on one side, filling the space between the shaft and the glass window looking out on the town of Kenora.  I think of places I have been in my past, and want to revisit them.  I want to find some way to just create this one narrative from one point in my life to the other.  I want to just get to Saskatchewan, where I was a  toddler, to Manitoba, where I lived for years and years, to Ontarion, really where I feel like I’m from.  Halifax is the next step, apparently.  Am I having cold feet?  Maybe I don’t want a  life of danger, but a life of the same old, the familiar.  The facrt I can recognize this as empty and false is encouraging, but where do I go?  I  think it’s time to bust loose and star cruising down a remote stretch of highway that opens into the outside world and not this shadow rural land that feels like a vaccuum.  No fixed history, we tear down everything after neglecting it for 50 years.  And we still don’t build on anything anyway.  Ity feels jerky and spaced out weird.  Mundane, no special feeling like the runner would want.  Listen

Assorted updates from the frontier

I’m a late night person, and I’m a boy who needs his time alone.  When I don’t have anything to do the next day, I stay up until most people are asleep, and don’t wake up until the day’s over halfway over.  In a city where the bus service runs only once an hour and never past early evening, most of my days are being wasted by my usual habits.  This has to change.  I think of the shifts I need to make in my life, at the risk of sounding all self help-y, and see where I come up short.  How many of my habits are reflections of weakness and laziness?  Is there an underlying issue beneath them all?  I tell myself discipline and persistance is all I really need to make the jump.  But do I need something else?

I need time to just lose myself in music and books.  It will be good once this Christmas season is over and done with, and I can get  on with living.  I feel a little scattered these days, with so many things I’m trying to accomplish but with a distractability that catches up with me before I get anything done.  I had a chat with a friend online who tried to help me connect to my imagination, and look for signs in the universe.  I’m looking for the quick routes all over again, not taking time to listen to myself, or dig deeper when I get a clue.  The quick routes are what got me stuck before.

I get nostalgic about the past, or at least an alternate version of the past stripped of all the mundane shit we wade through every day.  I get these images in my mind that I get the impression are an unattainable reality.  Perhaps it’s just an indication I’ve been conditioned to settle for less.  Was it me doing the conditioning?  How much of life is something I can truly fashion for myself, and how much is at the mercy of other people, time, chance, and luck?

Some good blog posts I’ve read lately:

Losing My Identity: Only Gay When I’m Not Iranian – Yashar Ali wrote about after he came out to his parents, they gave him the order not to disclose his sexuality to fellow Stateside Iranians or his extended family in Iran.  He discusses how having to hide himself was suffocating him, making him “a prisoner of [his parents’] shame.”  Ali writes about how trying to accommodate this shame had a negative effect on his identity, until he decided that he was tired of living an inauthentic life.

A Letter To Christians From A Gay Man – Chad writes of the issues that he, as a gay man, has with a Christian culture that has no empathy for GLBT people.  He illustrates how there are rigid norms the cultures enforce with regard to mens’ and womens’ roles, as well as a fear towards anything outside of the bubble it creates, the end result being him not feeling welcome.

I’m Christian, unless you’re gay – Dan Pearce of Single Dad Laughing writes about how so many self-proclaimed Christians end up treating others like dirt, deeming them unworthy of their love or friendship, and using self-righteousness and “concern” as a way to blanket their disdain.  “Why is it that sometimes the most Christlike people are they who have no religion at all?”.  I also recommend checking out the follow-up post where he shares some of the responses he got to the original post.  The first two were negative; the second letter is particularly noxious, and only serves to prove his point about how such hatred is usually cloaked in a rationalization that it somehow is “love”.   But for all the negative response he got, there are so many powerful responses about how his post has really opened minds and hearts.  There’s a second group of letters that are just amazing as well.

 

Five-minute free write

Head in the grinder and my eeyes are popping because my forehead sounds like it’s caught i a vice, and I just won’t go to sleep at a decent hour because the night is when I finally have a few minutes tomyself without prying eyes and clingy neediness.  God I hate being here.  I want to gwet the fuck out odf this town and just escape the smother and get the rest of  my life back on track.  I am addicted to sugar and caffiene and carbonation, and I feel like I don’t have any way top really get anywhere unless I break free from this place.  I feel trapped and I am worried about ever getting out.  I don’t like being here, and that’s something I can’t overemphasizer enough.  Not the cats can even hold me back.  I  feel like I have to do something fast or I will just be nothing or even worse, something lame. I sound like a dork when I say this.  Or just an overdramatic teenager.  Buit I feel my growth being arrested and I can’t stand not really doing anything useful with my life and  the longer I stay here, the less likely I will rejoin th eliving.  No fucking way..  Time to leave.  Time to get out.  I am living my life for someone else and I am sick of it.  I am sick of not being my true self and I can’t keep the charade much longer.

Fifteen-minute free write

Yeah, overcompensating for two days missed.

Ready to run out screaming into traffic, vweering off into the distance as the road goes over hill and brook, and we merge onto anotyher road that takes you out of the province.  Maybe it’s good to get out of here.  I seem to want to escape, but what is it that I want to escape from?  Is it m7 stasis, my unemployment, my feelings, my conformity, my safety, my familiar patterns?  Who cares/  Where does life really dictate what we need to do?  I believe in the song about the red car going through the St. Lawrence river for some impossible reason.  I question too and I sit down.  Sitting.  Why do I say the same old shit that I feel.  Where are my thoughts going these days>?   I used to branch out into different oatterns but there are times when I find myself repeating the same old truths and same old fictions in an attempt to just get the space filled.  It is not time to be myself.  It is time to get through this as quicklyt as possible, believing in a distant, unkown piece of hair that smells of burnt cheese (doesn’t taste as good thoug) and I waltz from one room to another to the tune of a guitar track from some unknown master.  There is nothing groing in my head at this time and I see too many shapeless forms in the visage.  The scratch and the clattering is fun, and I queen it up again.  Who is a queen,, who is a king.  What are we doinggrilled cheese is good.  The right guards the reactionaries, and we pay dearly for it..  I don’t kn ow if I should let myself be dictated by coherence anymore.  Lfe is more what I make it when I let my thoughts scatter, go into places I never thought possible and never had the foresight to go.  I like the end of the wall, and I crawled over a mountain in Quebec to just gwet out of my locked mindset and think about the cheese quickly drying up on a frying pan.  Dashed like a drunkard, they free the deviant yellow pork chops and I created my latest visage. Stood out about the wet robert frost books and the bald women fending off internet weirdos just like they kippered fish.  Yer blues, like the Beatles song.  But I don’t really want to die anytime ssoon.  As long as lifer goes on ahead of me, it’s my responsibility to hold onto the possibiilities that it offers me and if I don’t then it’s just a waster.  Like space givben on a record store rack to a Nickleback albu,.  Or Nickelback.  Either way, a nickel would be paying too much for their shitty, derivitave and constipated sounding music.  Sales figures don’t mean anything.  I read a chart indicating how many records the musicians of today sell and if sales indicateds quality, the record company should stamp out all the talent before they start influencing people to take away sales that “rightfully” beling to grunty mcgee, and the warbling melismatics.  This is not truth.  This is ranting, and I feel like letting the snot drop from one part to another.  I would write too much if I didn’t have a laziness about myself.  What does what I write even mean?  Too self-referential.  Beep booop beep.  Kinky like a hose, or a dreadlock.  Natty dresser like pope jean ralphio from Parks and Recreation.  If the guy who wrote the song about the fish ran red like a traffic light, light up like a question mark and run loops around the coffee table.  I can rap like a white guy that I am.  Well my name is me and I’m here to say…that is not rap.  Rap I hear a certain level of dexterity and a lievel of inventiveness.  When people do it wrong, it makes the good stuff even more brilliant in comparison.

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