Time Warp

postcard_vintage_retro_busy_cleaning_new_address-rd2ec5b06ed7940c8b41e6864fc578cbe_vgbaq_8byvr_512We’ve just moved, and are getting settled in. (Editors Note: I suppose the ‘just’ is a little bit of an exaggeration.  We moved on Halloween, and now we are well past Remembrance Day and hurdling towards the holiday season.  Life got busy and messy, and this poor little blog sat on the sidelines for a solid week and a half.  But allow us to commence).    We moved on Halloween…which I would not recommend to anybody.  There’s my advice to you: don’t be born on Christmas day, never eat ribs on a first date, and don’t move house on Halloween.


Despite all the planning, the weeks of packing and organizing, come moving day it’s like sinister little elves have broken into your house to add mysterious piles in every possible corner.  Furthermore, no matter how clean you’ve maintained your residence, it suddenly seems an impossible task to contain the dust bunnies and vague smudges on the wall.


As Halloween is a pretty essential holiday on the kid calendar, I organized some birthday party characters for this big trick-or-treat extravaganza at the local mall…


…Right smack in the middle of moving day.  I arrived to help set up, wearing a frock with dancing skeletons, the purple fascinator that I bought for my Kate Middleton costume secured on my head, and it was not thirty minutes earlier that I was trying to stick my body into the oven.


As the kitchen was impossibly small, I was having difficulties getting a proper grip on the oven cleaning venture.  I could hardly get my head in to reach the back, and there was no space on either side to kneel, so it was a rather dangerous and awkward feat to wipe that son-of-a-bitch out.  Put it this way…if Sylvia Plath had my kitchen space, she would have lived a much longer life.


My eye was fixed on the rapidly ticking clock.  Benjamin and our friend Trevor was loading up the U-Haul, while I cleaned and listened to the radio, where “Thriller”, “Monster Mash”, the “Ghostbusters” theme song and for whatever reason, Warren Zevon‘s “Werewolves of London“.  Like every hour on the hour, and then  intermingled with Katy Perry and Ke$ha.  Normally I would have been listening to the CBC2, but Halloween themed classic music is not really a ‘roll up the sleeves, pump up the jam’ kind of genre.  Maybe at Edgar Alan Poe‘s house would Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” be on the cleaning playlist, but not for me. Not then at least. I had enough weighing on me as it already was.


Our friend Sheanna came by and offered her help, which was an enormous relief.  I felt that pinching nausea of stress, that force of tears behind my eyes, as I tried to wedge myself into the oven to give it a proper clean.  But sure enough, the house was nearly emptied, and each room was cleaned.  The guys left with the U-Haul, Sheanna wished me luck, and I dashed to the washroom, and changed with the same urgency that spins Clark Kent into Superman.


The event was in good standing when I slipped out to run a few errands, and do my after school pick ups.  My thoughts were swirling with this never ending checklist.  I wish I could split in two and be both Clark Kent and Superman, achieve all goals without causing insult or injury to anyone.  Just then, the “Ghostbusters” theme song starts up all over again.  Fuck that noise.  I steer the radio frequency over to the CBC2 and alas, they are playing “Time Warp” from “Rocky Horror Picture Show”.  Not familiar with the dance craze? Why darling, it’s just a jump to the left and then a step to the right…


 The older I get, the more disturbing I find this picture.  I’ve been watching it since high school and have traumatized a number of people with this perverted horror/Sci-Fi musical mash up.  Despite my discomfort, it’s still essential Halloween viewing.  Of course, catching ‘RHPS’ is the last thing on the agenda, and so I thank the radio gods for the offering by cranking up the volume and singing my heart out in between the crush of traffic and a string of red lights.


The day was a blur that occasionally bordered on disastrous. My original promise to our landlord: that we would be out by three in the afternoon, was also shot right to hell.  It was well past five, and I am vacuuming rather desperately in my day-of-the-dead dress, purple feathers all a muck.    I had slipped off my heeled boots, and was in my eight dollar fake uggs…my “fuggs”, and was mincing around in the kitchen and living room, collecting the remaining remnants of our life there.  The landlord stopped by, waiting for the new tenants to come by to pick up the key.  I finished the inside tasks, while Ben swept the fireplace and fallen leaves outside, in the presence of the landlord’s young son, who was dressed as a bright yellow M&M.

Vintage-Moving-Poster1The new tenants came round as we were removing the last miscellaneous pieces from the townhouse.  Which was nice, as we’ve since had to go there twice, once to pick up all the kitchen utensils that were left behind in a drawer, and to pick up paperwork from immigration. (Because when you wait eleven months for something in the mail, why wouldn’t it show up the day after you move?) Of course, this move coincided with a theatre festival, and those first few nights were spent unpacking until two in the morning.  We had a small party on closing night, and then come Sunday, we collapsed in exhaustion.  We also wandered around the strange house looking sort-of stupefied.  I was wishing for another time warp…where we could pause the Sunday, and live out several more days of sleeping, settling and unpacking, and starting a new chapter in our brand new home.

RHPS-OakleyCourtLImages Courtesy of Google


Reader’s Block

Stephen King takes a pretty firm approach when it comes to the writer’s reading agenda: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

Okay, calm down Stephen, how legitimate a source are you? How many books have you published? Oh a million you say…okay, well I’ll be sure to chisel out a bit more time.


Of course I read…street signs, labels, tweets and the back of the cereal boxes…but who’s got time for a whole book?  I have a growing pile on my nightstand, but there’s this funny thing that happens when I climb into bed.  I fall asleep.  Or I read the same page about seventeen times before I drift off to dreamland.  The other evening, I  took to the couch, curled up with Sylvia Plath‘s “The Bell Jar“, and–no offense to the incomparable Ms Plath, I read three pages before snoozing with the book splayed open on my chest.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

As far as I know I didn’t absorb the story through osmosis.  But holy frick, how fantastic would that be?  Just tuck Dostoyevsky under your pillow, and the next morning, BOOM! “Crime and Punishment” is already in your head.  And because you were asleep–your mind is relaxed and unburdened, and therefore you were able to keep track of all those Russian names.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to read, and often fantasize about being alone in a hotel room with two weeks and a stack of books.  In fact, when I was in the throws of writer’s block and inactivity, I would say that when I couldn’t write I would read…but then I would watch TV.

And now that I am writing, blogging daily, which is not always an easy feat, I find there is little time for the other side of that coin. So I have spread the books across every corner of my life, and simply flip through the piles whenever possible.  I’ve got Nora Ephron  in my work locker.


Caitlin Moran on the nightstand:

moran 2

David Sedaris is sandwiched between Moran and Chelsea Handler, which must be a change for him.


Is it wrong that I haven’t even cracked into Chelsea Handler?


I recently reread “Bossypants” by Tina Fey, which is on top of the pile in the office, above notebooks, “The Bell Jar”, and a book detailing the making of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours”.


I love Tina Fey, and I think her writing is excellent. It’s clean and concise and very funny.  When I first read the book, I had just attempted to tackle Russell Brand‘s “Booky Wook 2“.


Lord help me, I could not get through a single chapter of this book.  Everything I learned about good writing I learned from this book…as in “what not to do”.  Of course I’d like to know how Brand to came to shag Kate Moss, but I shouldn’t have to work that hard to get there.  And that’s when I realized, nobody cares how fantastic the story is, if it’s difficult to follow, if it’s a slog to read, few people will get the the promise land. (I’m looking at you Dostoyevsky).

fyodor-dostoevsky_eK44ZI love that moment when your eyes have gazed the last sentence of a great book, and when you close it, and revisit the cover.  “I know all your secrets”, you whisper creepily.  (Oh you don’t do that? Me neither).

When I read “Bossypants”, I appreciated the clean style, and I wanted to emulate it.  And this is what Stephen King is talking about.  If don’t read “good” writing, you won’t write well.  You can’t just write in a bubble (though my team in currently working to build one for me), you have to know what is good–or bad, and construct your writing accordingly.  And therefore, with limited time, you have to know your genre. In a pinch I go straight for non-fiction.  I enjoy humorous essays, as you get a whole story in ten pages, and then can walk around for the rest of the day feeling smug because you actually read something besides celebrity tweets and the back of a Shreddies box.  And then you have something to write about.  And hopefully the writing improves as the pile of books on your nightstand grows higher.  But maybe someone will develop my literature through osmosis idea, then you would be an unstoppable force, your head full of fact and fiction, with so much spare time to write for others to absorb.

That’s not a bad idea. When my bubble is complete, I’ll get my people on it.

Reading, vintageAll Images Courtesy of Google

| Tagged Caitlin Moran, Chelsea Handler, David Sedaris, reading, Russell Brand, Stephen King, , writer's block,

Last Train To Plathsville

Oh dear.  This is the danger of a daily blog; the confessional aspect leads to texts and emails from concerned loved ones.  Surely everyone is allowed an off-day?  It couldn’t have caused too much concern, there was a Kim Kardashian joke, an “A-Team” reference, some fabulous shots of Audrey Hepburn, it was hardly Sylvia Plath‘s suicidal precursor “The Bell Jar“.


Plath, 30, famously left her two small children with buttered bread and then popped into the kitchen to stick her head in the oven.  “The Bell Jar”, and her other books of poetry had a small following, but her fame blossomed after her suicide.  (Because isn’t that always the way?)  She was being swallowed into deep waters of madness, where I was dipping my toes in pools of discouragement.  Plath gave up; and I’m not giving in–sometimes frustration can feel claustrophobic, and all one can do is find an appropriate outlet to let that out instead of holding it in.


After writing the blog, I walked down to the nearby yoga studio, and had a lovely class. Once home I curled up with some mac-and-cheese and ‘Eat, Pray, Love‘ on NETFLIX. Ben came home early, and watched the film with me, cracking the occasional snide remark but not judging me for taking this movie a bit too seriously, or for referring to Javier Bardem as “hunky”.

javier bardem

Settled by a few creature comforts, I was able to just relax and not worry so god-damned much.  What can I say? I have a big, bruisable heart and I feel and want too much.  I think Sylvia Plath says it best:

“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited.”

I hear that girlfriend, but what are we meant to do with these limitations?  My friend Robin says of some actors, that it is the audition where the really satisfying work is done.  That, even if the part is not won, that you performed within every inch of your capacity, and are still a success.  As it is with writing, whether there is a flush of readers or publishers, that the work is being done faithfully and with great joy.  And so I will never be a sailor, doctor, astronaut–or even a professional writer, and I will probably never get to all the places I wish to see; but what is there to do with this moment, right now…when few things are in your favor.  Focus on the things that matter most; feel grateful for those few pebbles in your pocket, and keep moving forward into this continuous present state.  sitting plath

Images Courtesy of Google