Knowing about a girl who is writing every day online for a whole year is one thing... Being friends with one is an entirely different jar of fried pickles. With one week left to go, here to explain what the last 358 days have been like, are my besties: Teresa, Marcie and Christina (the other bestie in Columbus, Ohio should count her lucky American stars that she missed the entire hoopla altogether).
365: Alright, here’s your chance. Let it all out. What has it been like?
Christina: I now know what it feels like to have children.
Marcie: Ummm, I don’t know. It is like Groundhog Day, but the part when Bill Murray figures it all out and starts to have a good time.
Christina: I thought Bill Murray died in the movie. He died of writer’s block.
Marcie: Noooo he falls in love and lives happily ever after.
Christina: Sorry, I was thinking of Capote. Well, I now know every thought Tanya has had for the last 358 days. It was like being inside her head, minus the Being John Malkovitch coolness of it.
Christina:I mean that in the most loving and thoughtful way.
365: Are you saying I die at the end? This is terrible.
Christina: You may die at the end of this blog.
Marcie: I think I will miss you frantically begging us for ideas and then ignoring every one we came up with. That was fun!
Christina:I’m with Marcie. We had some good ideas that were ignored.
365: Hey, Christina, you got plenty of air time!
Christina:Not nearly enough for my ego.
Teresa: I got NO air time. In fact, I think you've totally missed out on all my news this past year. I feel like a middle child. Completely ignored.
365: THERE she is! Was wondering when you'd join the party. FYI, I’m a middle child, so now you know why I needed a blog.
Teresa: That was very Machiavellian.
Christina:Did you learn that word tonight?
Teresa: I’m very clever. You didn’t know?
365: Let’s stay on topic, folks! What else?
Marcie: How about having to get you home by 10:00p.m. for the past 358 days just so you could post before midnight.
Teresa:Seriously. I usedto like Cinderella.
365: And then you’d read what I came up with and think to yourself, “We rushed her home for that?”
Teresa:Not really. It wasn’t so disappointing, it just wasn’t news. We were part of the brainstorming process so no surprises for us.
Christina: I can't believe you never used Western Standard time. 365: That would be cheating. Did I ever surprise you? Did I ever write a post that made you learn something new about me?
Teresa:There were many times I wondered where your imagination came from. Especially your fictional dialogue pieces. Those were most surprising.
Marcie: I can’t pinpoint something right now, but I loved the posts with your niece. I think it showed a tender side of you that might not always be evident.
Christina:I learnt alotabout your family.
365: Well, I would like to officially apologize for discussing this blog at length one too many times. And I’m sorry if I stole some jokes.
Teresa:It’s OK, you had no choice.
Marcie: We knew this about you way before the blog!
365: I knew you’d understand.
Marcie: I was surprised at how much your readers loved those blinking dialogues. I loved them too, they were a big hit!
365: Yeah, the Conversations With My Cursor did well, surprisingly. OK last question: What is your pick for fave post?
Teresa:Ouff, that’s hard! The Architect was a memorable one.
Marcie:It really is difficult, I mean I am your niece’s fan for life.
Christina: Yeah, she hit it home. She made me feel bad for being single. And she’s not even my family. Maybe she has a future in blogging?
Teresa:I guess I’m happy the Internet dwellers got to know my friend a little better. In hindsight, being a middle child for a year was worth that sacrifice.
Marcie:I would just like to say, when you are on Jimmy Kimmel, I would like to be your date. And I would like Penelope Cruz to play me in the TV movie of your life.
365: Right. Noted. Thanks buddies. For everything.
Tonight I decided to have dinner at my aunt’s house.
Once we had finished, my cousin asked if I could look over her paper that was due tomorrow.
She said she was desperate.
We left the dinner table and went into their office.
I sat down next to her and read what she had written so far.
My gears started moving very quickly.
I watched her become glassy eyed as I tore apart her sentences like a grammar Nazi.
In a span of ten minutes I had practically written her entire paper on social networking from a socialist and feminist perspective.
She was smiling from ear to ear in gratitude.
I cringed and warned her to change around the wording to make it sound more like her.
(But in all fairness, she did learn something - I made her Google ‘Suffragettes’).
I have always had a knack at helping other people write papers.
When I was in high school, I would edit my older sister’s college term papers all the time.
But when it came to writing my own university papers …I was utterly helpless.
A real dud.
The idea of writing a thirteen page paper about a short sonnet seemed like an insurmountable task.
I would panic so much that I had to avoid it and then rush through it at the last minute.
But helping other people to write theirs meant they were graded, not me.
I liked that better.
I didn’t have to make it perfect - that was their job.
I was just another set of eyes to ensure it made sense, had a cohesive flow, and was proper written English.
I was crippled with anxiety for my own papers because, in all honesty, I hated being graded.
I didn’t want someone to tell me my writing was bad.
I needed it to be perfect, in my own mind, without their input.
Guess what that accomplishes?
A bonafide Type A personality and ridiculous writer’s block.
Years and years of it.
Do you see why I needed a blog?
Do you understand why I needed to do this?
To push myself forward without getting in my own way.
There is terrible grammar sprinkled all over the past 357 days.
But I wrote anyway.
And I'm not scared anymore.
Frankie: What do you mean 'what'? Sweetheart, this whole room was black and white until you walked in with that red dress on. Now it’s raining Technicolor in here! Marie: Oh, Frankie, c’mon, don't start... Frankie: I’m serious! Look at you! Marie: How many times you use that line, huh Frankie? Frankie: Just this one time, for you. Marie: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm sure.You're such a terrible liar. Frankie: Liar? Marie, when you gonna face the facts? You and me, we’re like peanut butter and jelly. Marie: Oh, so now I’m a sandwich? Frankie: Doll, you’re the stuffing and I’m the bread wrapped around you. Marie: You’re disgusting, you know that? Frankie: Ahhh, c'mon! Don’t get your panties all bunched up. You know I'm crazy about you! I’m just trying to be sweet, that’s all. Marie: The only way anything that come outta your mouth is sweet, is if you’re spitting up chocolate. I gotta go, I’m on in fifteen and I gotta make-up my face. Frankie: Wait, come here. Kiss me before you put all that red lipstick on. Marie: In your dreams, De Luca. And do me a favour, don’t holler when I sing. I hate it when you holler. It's embarrassing. Frankie: I can’t help myself; you bring out the animal in me. Marie: Yeah, the dog.
Today I went to a hipster pop show that celebrated religious music. It was set in a community center theater that looked very much like a church. Only instead of an altar they had a stage. And instead of host or holy wine, they had beer and a merch table. As I sat there in a wooden pew, hot sun shining through stained windows, fanning myself with the festival program I tried to recall to memory that 'going-to-church' feeling. All that sitting and standing and kneeling and sitting and standing. Yawning uncontrollably. The unbearable urge to stick in the exposed shirt tag of the helmet-haired lady standing in front of me with the strong perfume...
You see, my dad was a devout Catholic so we had to go every Sunday. Our church wasn't anything to write home about. It was a small old army barracks that they converted into 'Our Lady Queen of The World'. There were no majestic high ceilings or stained glass, just some pews and an altar with a cross. It was plain. It was humble. My parents were particularly involved - mom was a Eucharistic Minister and dad was on the Board of Trustees and when I was about ten, they decided I should be an altar girl. I didn't have much choice in the matter, so one day after school I went to the church to be trained.
At first it felt like a party - the other kids and I met in the church kitchen where Father Andre gave us pizza. He seemed friendly enough. Until he said, “OK kids, if you want some soda pop, you need to give me a quick kiss on the lips to get a quarter for the machine.” I was the only kid who didn't want soda pop. What I wanted to do was punch him in the face. Instead, I took my revenge by going back the following week with my friend's Ouija Board. I coerced the rest of the crew to play with it on the altar. He found us there and got very upset, saying that this was a holy place and we should refrain from games that go against the Lord. In short - he told me that I wasn't the ideal 'altar girl' candidate and that I should maybe stick to singing. Amen to that.
Much later on in life, I met Father Jerry, the new priest assigned to our parish. He was a good man, a simple man - as close to a 'Man of God' as I've ever met. Straight away he seemed to be doing his job for, what felt like, all the right reasons. Mom would send over food, and we’d find him sitting in a non-heated bedroom with his winter coat on, eating boxed Mac n’ Cheese. He wouldn't think of eating off donation money, he wouldn't think of living on our dime- he just wanted to prepare good sermons with a youthful outlook. I liked him right away, he wasn't preachy - he was real. He asked me to help out with the church choir, so I did. How could I say no to such a nice guy? He’d come over for dinner with the family and just hang out. He even, to my dad’s horror, attended my college theater production, where I had the lead role and in one scene had to passionately kiss another girl. My dad almost had a heart attack, but Father Jerry gave me a standing ovation.
He believed in me as an artist, and is probably the only positive experience I have ever had with the church. When he got reassigned to a Vermont parish, I was sad to see him go. With him no longer around, I realized that I had no genuine motivation to further attend mass on Sundays. Dad eventually gave up trying to force me to go - weary of my constant debating of the bible with him. I moved on from it all but I think about Father Jerry often. Mostly because the thought of him reminds me that, for one space in time, there was a good man trying to build a good church based on good faith.
Today, listening to these talented musicians sing and play lovely hymns, I couldn't help but wish he’d have been there sitting beside me, cold beer in hand, just enjoying some really pretty music.
I feel like you don’t really know the people you know until you play Monopoly with them.
In my experience, the fun and laughter board games are supposed to bring, do not apply to this game.
This is serious play-money business.
Faint hearts should stay on the sidelines with the official rules that come with the box.
I say this because, have you noticed how the rules change depending on who you play with?
Then you haven’t met my family.
Cheater 1: Nooo, I rolled a double. That gets me out of jail. And I land on Park Place by default. Cheater 2: Yesssss! Free Parking! That means I win all the money in the middle of the board and each of you have to give me twenty bucks.
Every Thanksgiving, my family would rent a cottage up in the mountains.
After a long day of hiking in fresh air, excessive eating and drinking, someone would traditionally utter those fateful words: Hey, let's play Monopoly!
It always got ugly.
Mom, for starters, instantly became a mobster.
She would insist on being the banker.
She would also control all the property and hotels and keep them close to her so that we couldn't keep track of what she had actually bought.
I could tell when she was cheating because about midway through the game she'd begin avoiding all eye contact.
Me(eyebrows raised): Heyyyyy, when did you get so many $500 bills?! Mom: What? I saved them. Me: But you only get two to start with! Mom (pursing her lips and looking under the table): No.
If she didn't steal from the bank, she'd steal from us – her children.
We learned quickly to take our fake cash with us when we got up to make snacks or, heaven forbid miss the action to go to the washroom.
And if any of us had decent property, she’d use her perfectly executed Italian guilt to get us to sell it to her for cheaper than we bought it for.
My mom : Al Capone aka Sticky Fingers.
And couples always formed unfair alliances.
Selling property only to eachother.
It was quite interesting for me to add fresh blood to the mix.
My poor boyfriends, they didn't know what they were up against.
They got to know one family and encountered another when this game was played.
Doors slamming, voices raised, extreme fits of laughter combined with bouts of rage.
Everyone became a tycoon or business expert in a matter of minutes.
Well, everyone but me.
Oddly I would always get stuck with sleazy Baltic Avenue.
Or repeatedly roll the exact number of place moves to the hotel swamped Boardwalk.
Going bankrupt was my specialty.
But then again, I always sat next to mom...
The Profit : This is God’s right hand man speaking.
365 (groggy): Wha?
The Profit: They call me the Profit, because I am here to profiteer. Be comforted, my child, your message to the almighty has been processed by the proper authorities and I have been sent to save you. To SAVE you, I say. For only three easy payments of 19,95$ - I’ll save you.
365 (brighter): Finally! Someone with something to SAY. Oh, wait, you said ‘save’. Do I know you?
The Profit: Well, that depends... have you ever watched America’s Most Wanted?
The Profit: It’s this thing where you search for a deeper meaning in life while manipulating people into doing your bidding. You should try it sometime. Anyway. I spare you the soul-searching - which y’all ought to be doing on your own time. Who am I? I am all that is glorious in all the world’s religions: the spectacle, the direct-fax-line-to-God, the profit. Ah, the profit... Now. How can I help you? Ask me about anything that is troubling you.
365:Time. Time is my trouble. I need it to stretch its limbs a little. So that I can write the way I want to write these last few days.
The Profit: Say seven Hail Marys, don’t eat fish on Friday, dress modestly, problem solved!
365: Really? Wonderful. OK! So...Pray: check. Steak: check. No cleavage or flashy jewelery -- well, we’ll work on that last one. Thank you!!
The Profit: Now regarding those three easy payments...
Ladies and gentlemen, it has been my pleasure to introduce to you, the front man, lead vocalist and 'preacher' from the secular, rabble-rousing, queer positive, feminist, subversive gospel music bandIrreverend James and the Critical Mass Choir: The Profit.
Sign Up and Stay Tuned: There will be more from us two in the days to come. AND... a fun creative collaboration with Irreverend Jamesonce my 365 Attempts are completed!
Hi. What’s up? Get it --up? Ha! That is assuming Heaven is 'up' there? Or is it all a big ol’ hoax and you’re really at invisible eye level? Such a trickster, you are, God. A real practical joker!
But I digress. I’ll get to the point real quick. Because I have to.
I’m contacting you in writing (just so it’s a little more official) with a request of the supernatural variety. I figured you would probably be the right person/deity for the job. Please Forgive me, God; if I bypassed your assistant and sent this letter straight to you but there is only so much time in one day to deal with assistants (trust me).
And that’s why you have this letter in your glowing hands. (Do they glow?). I need you to stretch out Time for the next 14 days. Well actually, specifically, if you could just press ‘pause’ with your giant (glowing?) remote control on all of my apartment renovations, office type assignments, cleaning, laundry, cooking, socializing… that would be super duper! Bold, to ask this of you, I realize...but I've been a good girl for 351 days --for the most part, you know, aside from the acute bouts of lying, philandering, and gossiping -- regular stuff. Good.
If you’re really feeling cheery, maybe you could whip up a clone for me? Oh yeah, that would be just stupendous! And I’d be sure to introduce her to everyone (after she did all my office work assignments and the cooking, cleaning and laundry of course) so that the Good Word about you could spread across the lands…or at least the Greater Montreal Area.
You see, I just want to write. I’m in love with writing. I have a few posts left to try to produce some choice quality on here. And I don’t have the free time that I would need to really accomplish that.
Muchos Gracias <--you can translate that in whatever tongue you like, because YOU CAN!!
Tonight, after a family dinner at my parent’s house (and after my sister and her family noisily tumbled out the door) I found myself sweeping the kitchen floor.
Over the clinking and clanking of dishes in the sink, dad calls out to mom in the other room.
Dad: Rosa, did you take the garbage out? Mom(muffled): Yes. Dad (not hearing her): Ro? Did you do it? Or do I have to do it? Tanya, ask your mother- Me(cutting him off): Yes, Dad, she did it. Mom(loudly now): He can’t hear me anymore! Yes, John! It’s done. Dad: Ok, thanks honey. Can you pass me the dishcloth over there?
Then we got quiet, and I could hear the dryer tumbling in the other room.
The scent of fabric softener and dish soap wafting through the air.
My eyes were on the floor as I began sweeping under the same kitchen table as I did back when I was seven or twelve or nineteen…
And without warning I had a flashback to ‘teenager me’ sweeping in my childhood home.
I was wondering about my homework as I made my way around the table with the broom.
I was wondering what I would wear to school the next day.
I was trying to figure out how to steal the television away from my sister who was watching her pre-recorded soaps on the VHS.
But above all that I was remembering, I had this great rush of feeling.
I felt safe.
Like I belonged exactly where I was, with all the people I loved most.
When I tuned back in to real time after this brief little flash down memory lane, I felt lighter.
Ordinary moments always bring me the most solace.
And as I continued sweeping and listening to my parents’ chit chat, I made a mental note to flashback to this moment in twenty years or so, to remember just how perfect it was.
Exactly as it was.
She’d be the little engine that could.
If she could.
She would even chop all the wood,
That burned itself good.
To keep that long train choo-chooing through the deep woods,
Moving along the rails as fast as it should.
She's just terribly misunderstood.
Because she’d be the little engine that could,
If she could.
I have not been able to send word before now. Mother’s condition has worsened and the mood of the house is rather melancholy. I’m afraid I will be staying in London longer than expected. We cannot meet in Paris as we had hoped. I know I said I would speak to father about our plans, but he locks himself in his study until the early morning hours. Timing is a sensitive matter. I pray that I may tell him soon. I know you will understand. You always do.
I miss you terribly. I wish you were here. I wish many things…
Please write soon.
December 11, 1933
I’m deeply sorry to hear about your mother. I hope by the time this letter reaches your hands that her health has improved considerably. I know you are being the strong Clare that I love. Paris will have to wait. As shall I, wait for you.
Mr. Loughery has managed to find me work at his shop every other Tuesday. I am most grateful for it. My brothers and I are diligently working to pay off my father's debts, so that the Wimbley name will once more be one that your father can hold in high regard.
I picture you smiling before I fall asleep. It seems to be the only way to find peaceful slumber.
Very early yesterday morning, I made my way to the hospital to get all the electrodes removed from my head. It’s a pretty funny set-up they have in the EEG department, it sort of looks like a hair salon. They have salon chairs and sinks, and blow-dryers. Since I was there at the crack of dawn to bring the equipment back, it was just me and the technician. He was a soft spoken Indian man, with the loveliest Punjabi accent. He directed me to my chair and got all his equipment together to start the removal process.
Him: So this is the good part, where we remove the torture device. Me: Yeah. It wasn’t so bad, just awkward. And the glue made my head really itchy. Him: Yes, that’s very, very common. OK, Tanya, I’m going to need you to close your eyes and keep this towel against them. The product I am using is acetone and dangerous to get in your eyes. Me: Acetone? Like nail polish remover?! Him: Yes. Me: Is my hair going to change colour? Him: Not supposed to. Me (eyebrows raised): Oh. OK.
Then he began the ungluing process and I was pretty close to passing out from the fumes. I could taste the acetone in my mouth. After all that heavy scrubbing on my head, he sprayed some oily thing and started combing through my hair.
Him: Keep your eyes closed, Tanya, until I tell you to open them. Me: Don’t be alarmed by my hair falling out. It seems to be falling in bunches these days. Him: Ahhh, you’re thinking too much. Me: I always think too much. Lost a lot of weight too. Him: You know what I think, Tanya? There are some things that we can change, and some things we cannot. The only thing we can control is our attitude. Correct? Me: Yep. I’m trying. Him: We are lucky to live here in Canada. And to have our medical system. There are people dying with famines in Africa or from radiation complications in Japan. We are lucky. We need to remember we are lucky.
I nodded. Him(still combing through my hair): I want to tell you a short story. Me (smiling): Sure. Him: There was a man in the world who was very down and depressed. He was upset because he had no shoes. And all day long he would be embarrassed, sad and worried about it. Until he met a man with no legs. (He tapped my shoulders gently and then gave them a little squeeze). OK, Tanya, we are done. You can open your eyes now.
My new writer friend and fellow old soul, Andrew Morrisey, graciously agreed to co-post with me in this, my final stretch on the blog. He is smart, witty, and a talented modern day Kerouac. I couldn't be happier that he shared some of his magic with me. The result of our efforts is a cat and mouse post (inspired by this video) and is as spontaneously written as they come. Each of us writing as a character, one line at a time. Why? Because some guys like to keep gals on their toes.
Guy:Oh Girl, girls make boys lead even their own blog entries.
Gal: And boys are particularly good at false leads.
Guy:Girls think they’re butterflies all sprinkled with cinnamon.
Gal: And boys are just caterpillars trying to hitch a ride. Guy:No I’m not. Daddy issues and lip gloss and glittered up coodies. Gal: I think you mean cooties -with a “t”. Hey, know what else has a “t” in it? The word ‘dirty’. Like your hair. And your mind. Boys don’t know clean if it hit them upside the head. Guy: Where boys come from cooties are other things, girls have those too… (ahem). But come on, boys got sweat and guts and boogers to wipe. Gal: They sure do. Girls don’t sweat. We glisten. And we don’t touch guts, we just use them. We’re smarter. We’re softer. And we smell like cotton candy. Don’t you like cotton candy? The pink kind? Guy: Oh now Miss Gal what am I gonna do with you?--I like candy with legs!, and bright eyes!, maybe a soul to search. Gal: I figured you like that type of candy. I do too, but it’s sure hard to find the blue variety that doesn't leave you, well, blue. Guy: Blue can make pink blue but not rainbows. Rainbows are like butterflies sprinkled with cinnamon. Gal: Hey, you ever mixed up cinnamon with paprika? I have. They look the same, so they’re easy to confuse. But they can sure change your butterfly wings a nasty colour when you pick the wrong one by accident. Guy: Mixed it up once. Twice. Yeah, yeah, three times--Shall we mix it up? Gal: Quite honestly, I have a hard time believing we’ll have anything in common. But... well...sure. You seem to be a dark shade of blue that has seen brighter days. And maybe I understand that a little. Guy: Uh huh. Gal: Can I tell you a secret, Blue? Lean in closer, so nobody can hear. Alright, here it is: I may like pink cotton candy and such, but sparkles and glitter don’t suit me none. Guy: Now you’re talkin’ --dudes dig whispers. And glitterless gals. Gal: Do they now? What else do they dig? Guy: Boys dig holes to climb out and stars and eyes and starry eyes waiting. Can a gal dig? Gal: A gal can dig. Sure. A real gal can, anyway. She can dig holes with her bare hands. She don’t mind getting her nails dirty. All depending on what she’s digging for, I guess. Guy: Hey hey, hey Girl--show me all about what the world ya diggin fer. Gal: Oh, I’m always digging for something. Peace of mind most days. But I reckon I’ll dig all the way to China before I dig that up. You got peace of mind, Blue?
Guy: Check that, Gal. Gal: Got a piece of it you want to offer to a gal like me?
Guy: Heck that, Gal, comes long long ways from born to dead. Lean real close though, I heard this thang once: Nobody really knows anything ‘bout everybody. Gal: Clever.
Well, I have looked lovelier.
Quite honestly, I look like some kid’s science project gone awry.
You see, today is my 24 hour EEG test.
This means I have 27 electrodes glued to my head monitoring brain activity.
(Insert wise crack here).
And that I have to lug around a medium sized recording device and battery pack all day.
I tried to cancel the test, seeing as I’ve had no weird symptoms for over two weeks.
But my neurologist met that request with cold silence.
And then said, “No way”.
So here I am.
At home. Hiding in my living room.
If only this were scheduled on October 31st, I’d have a fun Halloween costume out of it.
I mean, I scared a few people on the street when I brought down my recycling.
I should have at least got some candy out of the deal!
I sent a photo to my sister and best friends thinking it would be funny.
But I have since realized they can now take turns blackmailing me.
Not the smartest tool in the shed, am I?
So many wires!
Every time I near my computer I have to reset the router.
But I must say, the reception on my TV has never been clearer.
My awesome dad (who picked me up at the hospital so I wouldn’t have to walk home looking like this) laughed and said, “You don’t need to dial on your iPhone, just think of the phone number and I’m pretty sure you’ll get an outside line.”
I laughed so hard, a few electrodes almost popped off.
Soooo, looks like I’ll get a lot of reading done today, and maybe have a movie marathon or two.
If anyone wants to hire me for Show and Tell at your son or daughter’s school, I am available for another 22 hours.
You can pay me with food.
I wish I had an Old Hollywood party to go to. Cole Porter playing a tune. A sea of champagne glasses. And the glamour! Garbo! Hayworth! Monroe! Women just don’t dress like that anymore. The soft and touchable finger waves. Full crimson red lips. Long sleek dresses that hugged curves in all the right spots. The satin gloves. The long cigarette holders. So sultry. So timeless. Unbeatable in my books. I want an excuse to get all dolled up that way. And if none of you are going to throw one of those parties, I might just have to. Hmmm...
I have made a frightening realization:
Two weeks ago, I didn't watch the VMA’s because I didn’t recognize anyone.
Like, anyone. (Nicki who?)
You know what I watched instead?
I watched Beaches. On TV. With commercials.
Because I’m old.
This morning, I was plucking my eyebrows and found one renegade white hair in the mix.
A mix of bewilderment and horror came upon me.
I had to put my glasses on (because I’m old) and pluck that scary lil' sucker out.
I think I might have even looked over both shoulders to make sure no one saw.
(I live alone).
And just before, I saw some Jonas-brother-guy premiere his sexy new music video and felt completely creepy for finding him hot.
You know why?
Because as I was watching him straddle some girl, I realized: he’s half my age!
When did this happen?
When did I slink into my mid-thirties?
Nobody asked me if I wanted to be here yet!
If you would go back in time and give a glimpse to my 17 year old self at where she would be at 34…
She would most definitely not be impressed with the Beaches thing.
She would look at Future Me with an incredulous expression.
She would say, “What the fuck? Where’s all the money we were going to make? Aren’t we famous? You’re what? Single?! “(echo echo echo)
And then she would cry into a bag of Humpty Dumpty BBQ chips..
And Will Smith would have to show up and zap that thing so she could forget the whole ordeal.
You see that?
See what I just did?
I referenced a movie from 1997.
I rest my case.
Relationships are kind of like baking.
It’s a tailored science.
Extremely hit or miss.
You can follow a tried and true recipe down to the last detail and it can still fall flat because you opened the oven too soon.
Or the wrong blend of spices can end up making something that tastes nothing like dessert.
Even when you were certain their combined flavours would be amazing.
You try it, and it just doesn’t work.
Or maybe, horror of all horrors, you got way too buttered up that nothing stuck like it was supposed to.
The whole thing just fell apart.
That’s not so sweet, I’m afraid.
So why is it, that fail after epic fail, we keep fastening our apron strings?
Why do we crave it even though the last time it burned our tongue something awful?
Wouldn’t a diet offer better perspective to making healthier choices?
But not everyone can get a perfect chocolate soufflé their first time around.
Sometimes you have to try a batch or two (or three) until the timing and the blend is just right.
Oh the lazies are calling real bad.
You know the sound, right?
So seductive and pleasing to hear.
Kind of like Gillian Welch’s voice.
Sleepy and mellow.
Floats into your ear and down your throat.
Travelling through your lungs and stomach.
A deep breath and a yawn.
The sudden need to stretch out or curl up.
The indecision of which to choose.
The sofa is swallowing me up.
And this blanket is flirting with me.
Tell the sun I’ll be out in half an hour or so.
Nights like these are meant for walking.
Hands in coat pockets, sneakers on.
Starry skies, big fat moon.
Catching snippets of chit chat.
Recognizing the language.
Not recognizing the language.
Traffic lights changing, red glow green glow.
Red stop, green go.
Dug up street.
People on cell phones, cigarettes dangling from their lips. Got a light? No, sorry man. I’m just walking.
Nights like these are meant for walking.
I’m pretty sure my downstairs neighbor is about to put a hit on me.
You see, I found a ‘Super Ball’ behind the TV.
(You don’t? C’mon! Google it).
Here’s the thing: I love Super Balls!
(That just made me crack up. Why is the word “balls” so funny?).
Forget that I have no clue why I have one.
Let's just discuss how I immediately started bouncing it against the floor (her ceiling) and catching it.
Over and over.
For so long, in fact, I think I fell into a trance.
Just bouncing and thinking.
Then I began bouncing it fiercely on the floor, to get some height and make it hit my ceiling.
A few minutes of that...
And I believe this is the point where the Benny Hill theme song started playing in my mind.
Then I went really fast-motion crazy.
I started bouncing it really hard from the sofa to strategically have the Super Ball ricochet and land in a bowl.
A few things fell over (my aim is horrendous) and I had to move the sofa a few times.
But it was SO much fun!
It was a Super Ball Extravaganza!
It was a Bounce-a-Palooza!
I only stopped because I can’t find the damn thing.
(Hand eye coordination, not my strong suit).
Anyway, it was a workout.
What with the bouncing and the chasing.
It was a racket too.
I think she’s going to have me shot.
I have been at it for thirty minutes. Oh shit!
I hear someone coming up the stairs.
It’s been real swell knowing you all.
I'm going to go hide under my sofa a wee bit.
(But, hey,if I make it, come over tomorrow night and we’ll play double or nothing).
It’s been said that you don’t know a man until you've walked
a mile in his shoes.
The same can be said for a woman, of course, but which ones do you put on?
The flat comfy ones she wears around the house?
Or the four inch pumps she wears to the office?
The strappy black sandals for nights out dancing?
Or maybe those thick sneakers that she runs in?
No, take those off the list.
She hardly ever runs these days.
Not in those, anyway.
But what about her boots, then?
She’s got rubber boots for puddles, and high leather boots for riding.
And she’s got moccasins for walks in the park, and stilettos for seducing.
What a pickle.
The truth of the matter is, you can’t know what it’s like to walk a mile in a
Because it will take all day long just to decide which ones to wear.
I wouldn't want to live where the alternating seasons didn't bring new weather.
Things need to change, they're supposed to change.
It can’t be summer forever, that’s just crazy talk!
And I love summer.
But I love fall even more.
Those fiery colours and them crunchy leaves under my old leather boots.
Walking about the streets, camera in hand, tweed pageboy hat on my head.
Feels so nice and feels too short.
Ol' Man Winter wants his turn real quick.
Sure, he can be fierce and stick around too long.
But the good parts of him include sitting out a snow storm while drinking hot toddies.
Or just plain scotch, my favourite, while snuggling by a fireplace.
If you ain't got one, well, freezing is good reason to get real close to someone accidentally on purpose.
To stay warm, you know?
And then after the wicked cold spell, there’s spring.
She smells kind of bad in the beginning, what with all that unearthed dog poop.
But when she warms up, and cleans up, everything gets a brand new start.
Everything – even me.
That’s pretty nice of spring, don’t you agree?
And when her sister summer come around, I get giddy about being so damn hot.
Like it’s the first time I ever met her or ever felt the sun on my skin.
The BBQ grilling, cold watermelon slices, feet dangling in cool
Life feels pretty sweet.
Then, faster than you know, it starts all over again when cousin fall shows up.
so on and so forth.
It's the way it’s supposed to go.
I know it's a pain in the ass to have to rotate them drawers and closets every
But people have been doing it since the beginning of time.
we to get so damn lazy?
Seasons make life feel like an art show.
And I wouldn't want to live anywhere I couldn't be part of it.
I'll take 'em.
I'll take 'em all.
Tonight I went through my computer documents and surveyed a lot of my old work.
Stories, personal essays, journals, songs I've written...
It’s so funny what you think is good at the time.
What you save.
And then years later you read and just ...cringe.
I wonder if any of these 365 posts will stand up to my critical eye when it’s all said and done.
I have to seriously refrain from reading the archives, as the urge to revise the shit out of them comes on strong.
They say in art, ‘don’t be afraid to kill your darlings’.
I’m just trying to get them to graduation day on October 6th!
After that day comes (and maybe some more time after that, sister needs a break) I think it will all go under my murderous review.
Reviewing your writing is much like reviewing your past.
You have to be a smart editor.
Sift through all of it with an objective eye.
See your weaknesses, and see your progress.
Kill the superfluous that fail to move the plot forward.
Hold on to the lines that really resonate.
The ones that demonstrate the right word choices.
And then save them for a rainy day.
They just might play a part in writing a far more interesting story in the future.
After running some errands this afternoon, I walked by a used book shop.
I've passed it a million times but never went inside.
Today the narrow staircase called out, and I decided to check it out.
The lighting was lovely in there.
And the smell of paper was thick and pungent.
Shelves and shelves of colourfully bound treasures.
Sectioned off by genre.
In the front window, in a nook, were three men deep in discussion.
They were spiritedly discussing an artist friend of theirs who had sold a painting only to discover that it had been altered by another painter and then covered with an entirely new painting altogether.
They argued upon the rights of artists.
I tried not to eavesdrop, but their voices were so distinct.
I shuffled some books, and peeked through the shelves to get a look at them.
To match voices and points with appearance.
They sat close around a small table, drinking beer in glasses.
It felt like a scene in a Woody Allen movie.
I accidentally made eye contact with one of them, who smiled and left his seat to greet me. Woops. Caught.
“Mademoiselle, can I help you find anything?”
His accent was hard to place. French? English? South African?
“Oh, thanks, no. It’s my first time here. Just familiarizing myself with your sections.”
He pointed to the book in my hand.
“Ah, I see you are eyeing Katharine Hepburn’s biography. I read it. It is very, very good. She is an amazing woman. Very witty.”
“Yeah, I love her. I love biographies. I think I’m going to buy it."
"Can you show me where your classics are? Or have you any Mark Twain, by chance?”
“Yes, I do. They don’t sell so well here. I put it on the front table outside and - no interest.”
He left me for a second and then handed me some Twain books.
Then he motioned for me to follow him, and cleared a chair in the corner for me to sit.
“Here you go. You read here. You choose here. What is your name?”
“It is nice to meet you, Tanya. I am Gilles. Please, sit down. I will make you a good price.”
“Nice to meet you, Gilles. I really like your shop.”
“Thank you. My shop likes you too.”
He smiled and returned to his guests and the conversation that switched from Parisian French to English.
I closed my eyes, listened to their accents, and the jazz music playing form a radio above their heads.
Then I cracked open Twain’s A Tramp Abroad and smiled instantly as I read the first paragraph.
"This house shall permit a yard, but not a garden."
The builder specified that in his contract.
Such a shame.
You see, the buyers were avid gardeners.
Who wanted nothing more than to sit and watch their flowers grow.
But this home was all they could afford.
Single women of the world, it’s tough out there, we hear you on that one.
Men are hard to read, hard to decipher, hard to crack...
Or maybe we’ve just decided that’s the case, because we don’t want to admit we’re a little clingy and a tad bananas.
Let’s face it, we have played our part in turning 'bad dating' into an art form.
My trusty pal, Jukebox Jives, and I have decided to amalgamate our own foiled attempts with those we’ve accumulated from our fellow sisterhood and create 11 Sure-Fire Tips on how to save time and get to a crappy end result faster.
(Time is money, people).
How To Date Unsuccessfully
1) Always, always go out with more than three of your best girlfriends. Huddle closely and laugh hysterically while overlapping each other's stories. This way, no man will find an opening to come over and talk to you.
2) Should a man come over and strike up a conversation be sure to talk about how much you want kids within the first 5 minutes of flirting.
3) On dates with a guy you really like, read into things he says: i.e. when he uses the word “us” lodge it deep into your psyche immediately. Spend your lunch breaks picturing upcoming vacations together, or him laughing at your dad’s jokes or what your future master bedroom will look like.
4) Cry. Cry in the middle of a bustling bar because you are so happy. Or cry because he forgot that today was your 3 week anniversary and planned a night out with the guys instead. Either way, try to cry. Guys love that.
5) Get him used to texting you instead of talking on the phone. But you can call him all the time, especially when you know he won’t/can't answer (i.e. when he is at work, at the gym, sleeping...). Then get really bitchy when he does pick up and start a fight about how you don’t feel like you are a priority.
6) Ask your close guy friends for their opinion on something your new boyfriend said that puzzled you. When they give you a realistic answer, erase it from memory and start asking your girlfriends instead. Spend an entire night discussing it over dinner and drinks with them until you all come to the conclusion that something is bothering him. Call him at a late hour and say you need to have a talk about why he never opens up. Cry.
7) After you have sex for the first time, ask him where he sees this relationship going. Make sure to say the word ‘relationship’.
8) Effectively communicate your disapproval of his friends. Tell him they are holding him back. Invite him out with you and the girls. Get hurt when he says he doesn't want to be the only guy there. Get moody. When he asks you what’s wrong say tersely, “Nothing.”
9) Tell him you don’t want anything for Valentines Day/Your Birthday/One Month Anniversary, when you really mean you do and convince yourself he can read your mind.
10) Talk about ex-boyfriends so that you can open the door to having him talk about his ex-girlfriends. When he does not take the bait (they never do) ask specific questions about his past relationship/dating history. Especially questions regarding sex. Find out what he liked to do with the other girls. Act cool and laugh while he is telling the stories but memorize the names of the girls and then stalk them on facebook. Get jealous, freaked out and really quiet the next time you are together. Long silences are great to convey you are upset. As, of course, are excessive tears.