another move

31 08 2006

So I moved again today. I’m now established in a small little town that doesn’t have a theatre less than a minute away. I’m suffering a bit of withdrawal after 4 plays in a week and a half. I miss the theatre and the swans and the great coffee and most importantly (don’t let the order fool you) my family (puppies included).

In my head, I know that living closer to school makes sense – I just don’t feel like being sensible today, I guess.

My room here is nice. A bit plain. I haven’t brought a lot so nothing really says that it is Me yet and I’m not sure if it ever will. With going home on weekends (weather permitting) I feel like there isn’t much need.

I’ve been feeling tired all day. So tired that I felt my eyes almost closing twice during conversation. How rude and on my first day too.

I did bring the tome with me. Reading is not going very quickly. Probably because my arms get too tired from holding it up.


A Very Short Review of The Perfect Elizabeth

29 08 2006

So I’ve finished it.


All done.

Anything more to say?

Not really. No.

I know, I know… Not really enough to count as a “review” – though the old adage “If you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all” comes to mind…

I did choose it. I chose it looking for something escapist with a hint of wit and intelligence. And it did say it was a “modern-day Sense and Sensibility” so it can’t be entirely my fault, can it?

There was a moment when I first started reading it where I had the urge to throw it down and cry, “Was this really published?” It got a little bit better than that. A bit. The neurosis of the central character was at times somewhat relatable particularly in terms of career anxiety.

The sentences were very short. It’s not usually something I notice or critique, sentence length, but I really couldn’t help myself. It was also written in very shot sections, even when the next section was part of a larger scene. It was so brief and direct and immediate, but only in a somewhat annoying way.

I kept looking for the Sense and Sensibility ties. Didn’t really find them. There’s two sisters. One of the sisters reads Sense and Sensibility for about a sentence.

Damn those misleading back cover blurbs.

A lump in my throat

27 08 2006

I have just returned home from seeing The Glass Menagerie. It has left me – as all moving and transformative theatre does – with a lump in my throat.

It came upon me rather suddenly today. I enjoyed the play, and I was particularly touched with the image that concluded the first half, but I did not feel in anyway overwhelmed until the very ending. It took me off-guard today. The complicated familial relationships, the sense of duty, the sense of longing, hopes that are all too often disappointed – all of this snuck up on me today. Tom began his final speech and suddenly I was overcome to the point of breathlessness, Williams’ word pushing, pushing everything up in me, up to the lump in the throat that contains and controls and, I suppose, suppresses the extreme emotions I feel about all that the work has taught about suffering and love and beauty and the human spirit.

It came home with me today, the lump in my throat, followed me through the door, down and then up the stairs and to the dinner table. I’ve spent the last hour feeling on the verge of tears for a reason I can’t even explain, but the lump, the lump has done its work and kept it at bay. And keeping it in like that, not releasing, not allowing the emotions to (falsely) overflow allows what I saw and what it meant to grow more inside of me. To grow and to haunt and to inspire.

Perhaps I should have seen it coming. There was a big, red flashing sign today. Before the play began, I read an essay in the program. Not all all unusual. What was unusual, what was quite unlike me was being struck – quite emotionally struck – by a passage in the essay.

Talking of Laura’s glass collection, specifically the breaking of the unicorn, the writer, Allan Pero, says: “In being prepared to mourn the loss of [the unicorn’s] horn, Laura makes us realize that she treasured the unicorn because she knew how fragile he was. She loved him as much as she did in the anticipation that she would, some day, lose him.”

The wisest and the most necessary words where you least expect to find them.

It’s finished….

26 08 2006

Finally! I have made it all the way through. I finished it last night after returning from the theatre.

I enjoyed it to some extent, but it wasn’t quite what I had expected I suppose.

It did get me thinking about a couple of issues.

There seemed to be a lot of coincidence in the novel, to the point of being somewhat unbelievable. It was something that perhaps struck me even more as a writer than a reader. I considered my own novel and how things happen and how you get from one place to the next. Shaw focuses a lot on fate and things happening because they should or need to happen, but I felt Jude’s journey to find Daniel in the actual physical sense could have been a bit more complicated.

There was, of course, a great deal about survival and about surviving and copying with physical and emotional trauma, but not in a way that I found overly moving, particularly the testimonial scene itself, but perhaps I am holding those scenes up to too high of an ideal.

What struck me the most about the novel was the issue of revenge and the cycles of violence. I’d been to a Talking Theatre session earlier in the week and the topic was revenge, so it was on my mind, but as Shaw went into the sections in Ireland, particularly those when the characters discussed why they got involved in the Irish cause, a great deal had to do with harm on a very personal level. In the novel, what breed hatred and what actually motivated many of the characters into fighting against the English was violence or degradation directed at those individuals or their families rather than belief in an abstract cause. It was more a case of an innocent and uninvolved civilian being subjected to horrific treatment or witnessing crimes against their loved ones. Shaw made the cycles of hatred and violence were very clear and the novel certainly had me thinking about very real and fearful contemporary connections as I saw time after time the way that violence and injustice and sorrow only begot more violence and injustice and sorrow.

Things that have kept me from finishing…

25 08 2006

…my Current Read. It’s dragging on and on and on. It’s been too long. Really, it has. I’ve thought of starting something else. I used to have several books on the go, but I can’t seem to do it anymore. I need to focus.

And it’s not that I don’t want to finish my Current Read. I want to get through it and hopefully I will tonight or tomorrow at the very latest.

But in the meantime here is a top ten list of things keeping me from finishing The Photo She Took.

  1. Unpacking – 5 billion boxes unpacked, 5 billion more to go
  2. The CNE (went all that way and didn’t even get my Tiny Tom donuts…why else go to the Ex if not for the Tiny Tom donuts)
  3. The Princess Puppy (very jealous of books of any kind)
  4. Feeling I should spend time writing and not feeling that time should be spent reading when I’m not doing writing of any kind
  5. The Handy Papa ending up in the hospital (again)
  6. The Handy Papa getting out of hospital and working as hard as ever and making one feel guilty if one is not working as hard or long as the Handy Papa
  7. Theatre
  8. Buying more books for my two read bookshelf
  9. WWI related novel = desire to go back to what I really don’t want to go back to = uncertainty about future path = great deal of unhappiness and stress and all the unpleasantness that comes with it
  10. Theatre

Speaking of the theatre…big news today – the Prime Minister’s in town. Now why his attendance at a performance of Oliver warrants not one, but two news vans is beyond me.


21 08 2006

I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness recently.

Probably because I’m not experiencing happiness per say.

I’m content. I’m blessed and I’m thankful. I’m even learning to enjoy small, simple pleasures again, something that I would have thought impossible a year ago. Yesterday I made muffins – a simple things, yes, but, making the time, going through the routine of it all, was both comforting and reassuring in the most bizarre way.

I felt something approaching happiness while doing that small, simple act, but I’m not experciencing happiness as I once believed it to be.

I had something of a crisis a year ago. My world, my future came pressing in on me. It’s something that many, many people experience, I’m sure, but it felt unique. It felt like that burden of fear and anxiety about the future was all mine.

I’ve got past it. I’m not sure how I did it. I know that a year ago I was crying every afternoon, and now I don’t. I can’t actually remember the day when it stopped, but it did and I think that’s the most important thing.

It has left me changed though, and while I am thankful for some of those changes, while I rejoice in the ability I have to learn and appreciate certain aspects of life that I once took for granted, I also mourn certain losses. Like my simple trust and faith in the future. Like my steady nerves which now (on certain days – though some are better than others) sometimes lay in shambles.

And, of course, happiness.

I suppose happiness becomes too complex. Once you reach a certain point, once you realize certain things about life and yourself, it becomes too qualified and dependent on too many factors. “This makes me happy as long as I don’t think about this” or “I’ll be happy with this as long as I don’t get that,” etc.

I can see now that I expect too much of it, of happiness (expecting too much is, I believe, my tragic flaw, but more on that in the future, I think). I count it and I qualify it and I equate it with perfection and though it tries to be all that I want it to be, the pressue is too much. It pulls, it strains, trying to bear all the burdens of expectation I put on it.

i had a really good idea…really i did

16 08 2006

I was all set to write an entry and then the idea just vanished. Poof. Right out of my head.

And it hasn’t come back yet.

I guess that’s an indication of how tired I am.

I sat down today to revise my online course. I came up with a whole new course outline and moved a bunch of topics around. Then I realized how much work it would actually be to move something like Revision from Week 8 to Week 5 and I decided to go back to the original.

I don’t know why I felt like I had to make so much work for myself. Looking at the course, I didn’t see anything wrong with it. It just wasn’t me. But with new technology (new to me) and going back to school full time and the house still in a shambles from the move, I just can’t devote all my time to fixing something that isn’t broken.

I haven’t written in a week and a half. It’s actually been longer than that because I wrote a few lines, revised a couple sentences in the novel, but I haven’t done any “real” writing.

I’m disappointed in myself because I’ve tried really hard over the past through months to be more disciplined about my writing and to write a certain amount of time each day. And I was doing really well, though the amount of my output didn’t change that much.

It hasn’t been frustrating me yet, this not writing. Usually when I have some many other things to do, I’m desperate to find the time to write and I get very annoyed with anything that gets in the way. Or the ideas just start overwhelming me, filling my head, but then partially disappearing before I get a chance to write them down fully and then what I do end up when I finally find pen and paper and jot down the brilliant prose that was in my head ends up just being disappointed when I see it there all permanent.

But that has been happening. There has been nothing. No words. No desire for words.

If I wasn’t so concerned about the house and the course and going back to school in two weeks and the continued lethargy of the Princess Puppy maybe I would be more concerned about not writing.

A week and a half isn’t that long…

Some good news though: I’ve been making some excellent progress on the arranging of books…now if I could only find the two boxes of books the movers decided to hide on me.