long time coming: rant

It feels like a very long time since my last post. But I was in Regina, visiting Colter & Jordana, Zach, Danny & Erin, and Joel Gorrie. (I didn't have to mention them all, but I've heard that it's exciting when it happens. So there.) It was a good trip, but now I'm back in Winnipeg, feeling a little restless. School's throwing a minor fit of assignments, and that tends to happen this time of year. I've got an exam starting in something like an hour and a half (but I'm tired of studying so I've moved on to other things). Papers are brewing like a storm in the distance. I kind of wish it'd just rain somewhere else, but I don't think that's an option. I suppose that's why analogies are crummy. But they sure do make a person seem poetic. I'm not really, though. I think about brass tacks all the time.

Anyway, I may as well start by saying thanks for coming back again. I was warned when I first started that it's bad form to leave a blog for too long without writing anything. So thanks for the patience and for coming round again. It's kind of strange that you can make a place for yourself to write about whatever you feel like. I mean, I could say lots of cuss words, like BS or the f-word, and whoever came would read them. And I think it may have something to do with the fact that the people who come to see my blog are people who love me. Not entirely, I suppose, but there's some value attributed to a blog visit. That's why people feel the need to say, "Hey, I saw your blog" or "Liked what you wrote" or whatever. (And I think we all love that, eh? -- please don't stop...) And when I go blog reading (every Thursday, around 4pm -- am I joking?), it's like getting a letter or an email. But much different, of course. It's like a mass email, but not nearly so sad. It's like a magazine or editorial from someone you know. And they don't send it to you. The only reason you get it is because you want to. There's no bones about it, you're there so you can see what the person thinks or to laugh about what the person says or to just hear what's going on. I find it mildly fascinating. Like fish in the sea; yes, like fish in the sea.

I know that last bit didn't make much sense. But why should it? Afterall, I'm poetic, this is my blog, and I'll do what I like... I'm sorry, that was pissy of me. Maybe you can tell I've had one of those weeks that feels a little overwhelming. Kind of like I've lost control. All the pent up aggression rises to the surface and I end up challenging-- well, nothing really. Because I don't really know why things are going the way they are. It's one of those nonsensical things.

And so, getting to the point, here's a story: Monday this drunk and belligerent fellow came into Hull's and started talking shit about blue keys. Really, I don't know what it matters or why some street fellows have such a hard time understanding the concept of "donations," but he told us that we were false advertising and that we shouldn't be selling the keys because they don't work. And, well, this is kind of a dumb story, but after politely trying to explain it to him, and he didn't want to hear it because he was a little belligerent, I kicked him out of the store. And, boy, did my blood boil. Why? Good question. I have no clue. It's been happening more and more lately. Little things are so irritating. It drives me nuts. I think it even gives me a bad night's sleep (like on Monday night - terrible night's sleep). But when I come face to face with my own angry self, it makes me very, very sad. Just writing the story from Monday brought it all back, and I feel so helpless at not being able to do anything. I get angry, but I don't know why I do. Little annoying bits of my day. And a lot of times, it doesn't even bother me that much. But sometimes the slightest thing seems to set it off. (For instance, today at the library, there were no available computers. Can you believe it?) Buechner says that of all of the seven deadly sins, anger is the most fun because you get to put on a real show. Well, I usually don't put on much of a show. I just kind of talk the same and make stupid threats that don't mean anything or just say, "Oh, I'm so angry..." It really just comes to nothing. But what do I do with anger? That's what all this seems to be building up to. Usually, I don't do anything with it. Righteous anger is hard to come by, but it can be a pretty powerful thing. In some way it should motivate action, repairative action. Never retributive action. In some way anger is the realization of injustice. It's usually pretty self-involved injustice, but nevertheless... I have a notion that it might be best not to let anger control you, but rather inform you. Otherwise, you might just carry around a head full of rage that inspires very little except a tantrum now and then.

And, to end the rant, it only seems appropriate to rage, as every good rant should: BUT AT WHAT PRICE?


backward tracings

How sweet the silent backward tracings!
The wanderings as in dreams—-the meditation of old times
resumed—-their loves, joys, persons, voyages.
-Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

So you might have guessed, I’m on a bit of a Walt Whitman kick. But this one just fit so perfect with yesterday. Actually, I wrote this yesterday (well, not this part—-but what if I did?—-) while sitting in the Ellice Café, which is kind of my favourite new breakfast place on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I usually wander on down Ellice from the university and have a decent breakfast in between my classes. It’s kind of like Cheers when I walk in, everyone shouts “Chris!” and then I grab my usual stool and tell some quirky anecdote from my morning. Well, it’s not quite like that, but you get the idea. And now you all know how to find me… But that’s really not what I was writing about. Yesterday morning, I rambled on down Ellice to my favourite little spot and ordered oatmeal (no raisins, please) and toast, and mused over my morning:

It’s snowing outside and the temperature is dropping. But there’s something pure and crisp in that. And despite the mass of work that needs to be done, despite work, despite the fact that I miss friends I haven’t seen in awhile, I feel that pureness. Almost like life has been birthed anew. And memory floats in silver strands, a bittersweet sensation of longing. Memory is imperfect; it tends to idealize things, makes them seem so golden. It plays the heartstrings making a deep reverberation that hums in the mind and warms the soul. But that’s an illusion, a façade of “golden days” that makes it seem like there was this perfect time. It’s kind of a yearning for utopia or heaven, an unconscious plea for life and peace and young love. Nostalgia can be a dangerous thing.

This morning I woke from unremembered dreams. During class they floated back: an image from the lake, looking out across the water from the beach and feeling the excitement, the quickening heart of being free, in the darkness of mid-night. There was this sensation that always went with times like that: a communal feeling maybe, of intimacy and connectedness. It has something to do with the isolation of the moment. Being so late, being so dark, the only people around are the few you’re with. That’s a powerful feeling and it usually goes overlooked. Mostly because life doesn’t have a lot of those moments, not in an urban setting. Even dead night can crawl with people. Isolation, with just a few, is something else—-the word “solidarity” comes to mind. It’s not something that can be forgotten.



After the dazzle of day is gone,
Only the dark, dark night shows to my eyes the stars;
After the clangor of organ majestic, or chorus, or perfect band,
Silent, athwart my soul, moves the symphony true.
-Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

That’s when my defenses come down, that’s when real honesty happens, in the evening, after the sun is gone. And it’s a brilliant thing when the dazzle is gone, and the darkness reveals the stars. When silence settles around you and cuts to the core, and the song lingers on and moves you still. Sometimes it’s not until the day is done that you realize it was so beautiful.