Monday, January 25, 2010

Can you feel it?

The feeling of Change in the air is palpable, my friends.

I don't know about your neck of the woods, but here in Toronto, change-with-a-capital-C seems to be happening everywhere. There are big things happening within and without me.

For instance, my grandmother called me on Saturday and asked me to come visit her. When I arrived at her house a few hours later, we talked on a more genuine level about one another and our family than we ever have. This is the grandmother that usually laments that no one cares for her anymore, no one calls, no one comes over, etc. Something in her has shifted and allowed her to make the call to me and simply ask for what she wanted. This is a big deal on my mother's side of the family.

I don't know what is causing this ripple of change, but I do have one idea. Often, in the spring, with warmer air blowing through the city, everyone (including me) gets all riled up and ready to go. This makes sense, no? People were meant to be outside, so when they can finally go outside comfortably again and everything is lush and green, it makes you want to try for things. The blood starts pumping in your veins and all of the sudden you can quit your job or pick up that instrument or call that person or whatever. Well, this winter (January in particular) has been unseasonably warm. Today the temperature reached a balmy 7 degrees celcius. If I had to guess the time of year, without any knowledge of what the calendar date is, I'd say it's near the end of March. And that is right on schedule with that amped- up feeling that comes with the beginning of spring...the one that makes change happen.

What do you think? Is there change all around you too?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Reading & Writing

When I was four years old I was given a tape recorder for Christmas. ( I asked for it).

When I was eight or nine, I started writing stories with protagonists with names like Charlotte and Victoria.

When I fourteen I started keeping a journal, primarily consisting of my tortured feelings about boys who didn't know I existed.

When I was eighteen my friend Danyel convinced me to start a Live Journal, which is filled with self exploration and suburban angst (the worst kind).

In 2008 I completed a degree in English.

And now, as you know, I'm blogging publically for the first time.

Needless to say, reading and writing have been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember.

I have all these bits and pieces collected from my short life and together, I suppose, they give some representation of who I am. I've been digging through some of my journals (there's 20 of them!) and reading through old blog posts on LJ. This is both funny and bad for me...not only because I'm drinking wine and listening to the Rolling Stones at the same time...but because the past is just that. Past. I used to love nostalgia and spending time with relics from days gone by, but that's not me anymore. I think too much of that really holds you back.

Now, that being said, if you're careful, you can really learn about yourself by doing this too. I know I'm being contradictory, but I stand by each of my statements. So there!

I'm thinking of posting old entries from LJ here from time to time and perhaps even scanning some of my real journal entries for all eyes to see. Writing publically has been something I've struggled with for a long time and frankly, I'm done with that. Why not let my growing pains out for all to see? Ha, ha!

All my life I've wanted to be an artist and wondered if I am and what that means and what Art-with-a-capital-A means and what it means to me and why, oh why, does nothing happen when I sit down in front of an instrument and how can I have all this passion but feel no instinct as to how to express it and what happens if I never do and will it make a differene to anyone and does that matter, it should only matter to me because you have to please yourself and being self-concious about even talking about this stuff with anyone and feeling like less than I am and feeling envious and joyous for other peoples art at the same time and thinking there must be a reason I'm surrounded by artists ALL THE TIME, right?

Well, maybe it's time I gave myself up to writing. I tend to lost in words, but it looks like they might be all I have. I didn't choose words, but they certainly seem to have chosen me.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

In B Flat

I just got home from work and a massage and I'm feeling quite sore. That's an understatement; I feel like I got my ass kicked. I've had a couple of massages now, but neither of them left me hurting like this one did. However, I do feel a deep kind of relaxation and surrender. There is nothing left of me right now except raw skin and bone and feeling. I don't know if that makes sense...but I am certainly feeling very aware of my body right now. Anyway, I'm going to curl up bed shortly, but before I do, I wanted to share this amazing video I stumbled upon today.

Go here to see it. I don't want to ruin the surprise, but as an incentive to make you click on this link, I'll give you a quick description.

It's 20 YouTube videos that you can play all at once or only a few at a time, whatver you like. It doesn't matter when you start them. You can try and sync them up or not. It's a collabortive music project and no matter how many times you listen, there is always a new song. It's incredible.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I'll always love you, Joni.

Joni Mitchell was one of the first (if not the very first) musicians I became interested in, all on my own. I was 14 years old and I saw someone singing "Both Sides, Now" on a made-for-TV-movie and I was hooked. I needed to know who wrote that song and where I could find more music like that. Once I discovered it was was Joni Mitchell, I saved every penny I had, literally, and when I had saved up enough money for her compilation album "Hits," I begged my mother to drive me to the mall so I could buy it.

From that day forward, Joni has always been there. No matter what kind of mood I'm in, listening to Joni Mitchell always makes me feel better. And if that mood was already a good one, then it just gets better.

It's safe to say that Joni Mitchell has had an effect on the kind of woman I've become.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Life Online

I just read this article from last Tuesday's Globe and Mail. It's not surprising to me that digital "detoxing" is becoming a trend now. Our lives are becoming so digitized ( digitalized?) that it only makes sense that some of us are going to stop and say, "Hey, is this really good for me? What am I really gaining from living so much of my life online?"

The article from the Globe specifically talks about deleting your Facebook account, but it generally discusses the effect spending so much fragmented time online, with "tools" such as Twitter and Facebook. One of the people quoted in the article emphasizes the fact that focusing on too many things at once seriously effects most people's ability to get anything done. And once that happens, people start to lose energy and enthusiasm for their work. This point resonated so deeply with me. I have never been very good at multi-taksing and at times, I've felt bad about that. Even in conversation, I can lose my train of thought and the points I want to make very quickly if the subject is changed or if I am inturrupted. This means that fast-paced commucnication like Twitter and Facebook don't go over well with me. It feels like a lot of meaningless noise. The buzz of everybody trying to keep up with each other what's hot right now. It actually makes me wonder if we're all going crazy if this is how we prefer to communicate. IM, SMS, Twitter, FB, MySpace, these mediums make people feel more connected to anyone? Really?

I think businesses are benefitting from these tools the most because it's humanizing them. Customers can directly address someone who has power at the organization they are talking to, rather than calling a automated answering machine to leave a complaint that will get lost in the great voicemail void. But I think it's working the opposite way for individuals- we're getting more and more impersonal with each other all the time. Social media is supposed to be bringing us closer together, but I really don't see that happening. Sure, we all talk to a larger number of people now, but how meaningful are our interactions?

I know there's no particular answer to these questions out there, but I think it's important that we all keep asking ourselves what we truly get out of living so much life online. The glow of a computer screen just can't compete with the sunlight.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I wish...

I wish people weren't allowed to smoke. Anywhere. Ever.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Pictures from the Rock

As you know from my last (brief) post, D and I went to St. John's, Newfoundland for New Year's! I have wanted to travel throughout Canada all my life and Newfoundland specifically over the past couple of years. My interest in Newfoundland was largely sparked by Wayne Johnston's memoir, Baltimore's Mansion. You should read this book.

So here are some shots from the trip:

I think this photograph speaks for itself.

The cold and endless North Atlantic. As one man we met described it, "Next stop: Ireland." This was taken from Signal Hill.

St. John's, as seen from atop Signal Hill.

This is Cabot Tower, built to commemorate the 400th anniversary of John Cabot's landing in Newfoundland. This event also coincided with Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.

Funny and informative sign on the hill.

Wonderful, colourful homes, commonly found in the Maritime provinces. I think the colours are great and they really make the city feel more upbeat.

We actually didn't take too many pictures. Most of the shots are from Signal Hill, which was definitely one the best parts of our trip.

I have nothing even slightly negative to say about St. John's. I thought the city was very pretty, the people were incredibly nice, the food was good (and fishy!) and there is lot to see and do. The only tiny downside was the season, not to be confused with the weather. The weather was actually much better than it was in Toronto while we there. However, because of the holiday season and since living so close to the ocean makes the weather unpredictable, a lot things were closed while we there, like Cabot's Tower, The Bookery and the whale watching boats. But none of that is St. John's fault.

Next time we visit, we'll just have to make sure it's summertime.
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